In mid 1995 when Anne Langley gave me the nickname Brainmuffin, I was the only one. I added the history of it to my “Be of Schnur” page which explained the origins of my other two nicknames: Ropeman and Schnurmann. A search for Brainmuffin in those days brought only my pages and items from Lambda MOO as I used it as the name of my character.
Over the years, I used Brainmuffin as my e-mail address on Yahoo, as my character for Enemy Territory and Battlefield 2, among other sites. Search people on Flickr and you will find me. A general Google search now though, will return all kinds of fake Brainmuffins.
In the words of the president, “Let me be perfectly clear.” I am the original and only actual Brainmuffin. All the others are fake and frauds. Anne created the nickname from the way she heard Southerns say my first name “Bryon” and Frank Zappa’s favorite word, “Muffin”. One day she turned while using the Silicon Graphics Indy computer we had in the Hodges Library, Systems Department, and called me Brainmuffin. Bob Patrick agreed with the name.
Accept no substitutes. If you want the real Brainmuffin, this is where you look.
I have been to Atlanta, Georgia many times. Well, I’ve been through Atlanta, Georgia many times. Whether it was family vacations to driving destinations further south or transferring from one plane to another at the airport, Atlanta has not been a place I’ve stopped. Until now.
This year, the AAA/CAA Marketing/IT conference is here. Right in downtown at the Peachtree Center. Getting here is quite simple. From the airport, I skipped the expensive options for travel and went with a trip on MARTA. Despite getting turned around 2 times trying to get to the hotel, it was 25 minutes from the time I boarded the train till I was at the front desk. I thank you to all those who helped me on my way. The cost? $2.50 plus $1 for the card. I bought a two trip card, so the total was $6.
Nice. $10 in and $4 in dollar coins. I didn’t know they still made these things. Will have to save them for my return home to Cincinnati.
I had planned on hitting a Geocache or two, or a few Munzee scans, before the conference workshops started today, but leaving from Cincinnati was delayed and I arrived an hour later than scheduled. So is my experience with coming to Atlanta. I’ve never had a flight arrive or leave on time. Ever.
I first came through the Atlanta airport in 1986 when I was going back to the states from Stuttgart, Germany. I had lived there for three years and my father was still active duty Army. He was up for retirement in early 1987 and elected to stay in Germany for a few months. This left me as an unaccompanied 18 year old traveling on Army orders ( had them in my pocket). Customs was a little confused by me, but they managed.
It was August when I came through Atlanta and the layover was to be three hours. I found the USO and left my bags with them. The next few hours were spent wondering around the airport, eating and trying to remember what it was like to live in the States. I did approach an outside door and the blast of heat kept me inside.
The flight to Knoxville? It was delayed an hour. Typical and things really aren’t better. Atlanta is a busy airport. Many, many flights. Will this time around be different? Probably not, but it will be the homeward leg, so it doesn’t matter. There is no connection to make that might be missed. Friday will be time to relax and take in Atlanta one more time, before heading home.
Late one night while clicking through videos on YouTube looking for something interesting, I came across a Dutch band named Within Temptation. Fronted by a beautiful woman with a powerful voice, I had to listen to more. Their sound changed with different albums and I really liked when they went a bit harder The Unforgiving. Sharon’s voice became stronger and the band had a more polished sound. It was easy to put a tune on and let the beat drive.
As much as I liked the songs Faster, Sinéad and Shot in the Dark, it wasn’t until the Hydra videos started to be released that one captured me. Recently the video for Whole World is Watching was released. This one captured my mind and heart. This one spoke to me. What a great message this song has.
You live your life. You go day by day like nothing can go wrong. The scars are made, they’re changing the game. You learn to play it hard.
And I know you wish for more, and I know you try. And now you realize, you know the time is right.
The whole world is watching when you rise. The whole world is beating for you right now. Your whole life is flashing ‘fore your eyes. It’s all in this moment that changes all.
What are you waiting for? What are you fighting for? ‘Cause time’s always slipping away. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching you when you rise.
Whole World Is Watching reminds that it is not enough to know yourself. You want more. You hesitate. Time is lost. Change does not happen unless you take action. Hardship and setbacks are opportunities to pause, reflect, re-energize and start again.
Your sacrifice comes through your mind, but nothing is wasted. You made it now. You rise again, breaking out. Each step you’ve taken, you’ve paid the price.
The whole world is watching.
The whole world is watching. Yeah, the whole world is watching you when you rise.
What are you waiting for? What are you fighting for? ‘Cause time’s always slipping away. The whole world is watching. Yeah, the whole world is watching you when you rise.
So, it is your turn. The world is watching what will you do with your chance? What will you make of the skills and talents you possess? Time does not wait. Time marches forward.
Vote Your Favorite
Having one version of the song is not enough. Sharon den Adel sang Whole World Is Watching with Piotr Rogucki and Dave Pirner. Both of these men offer depth and harmony to Sharon’s voice. The videos are more or less the same with Piotr green screened in over Dave. Here they are. Watch and vote your favorite.
The January 2014 issue of Iron Man Magazine arrived sometime ago. Reading the articles is always a delight to learn more about workout ideas, fitness and nutrition. Quite often I skip through the interviews as I find them tiring and boring. The interview with Lee and Hunter Labrada was different. I had to read it.
Looking at the pictures, one can easily see that Lee is big, but his son Hunter is huge. A former football player, Hunter has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into bodybuilding. Hunter is definitely benefiting from good genetics, excellent techniques and superior nutrition, especially from his father’s line of products.
The chemistry and comradary between father and son was quite warm to see during the course of the interview. Most interesting to me was the workout splits. When it came to legs, calves and quads were worked together. Calves are worked on a second day with hamstrings. Hmmm, interesting. Time to take a closer look.
My latest round with the leg workout had come to a close and it was time to move on. I had to try the quad and calf routine used by Hunter. Unlike other workouts that start with quads and work their way to calves, this one starts at the bottom and works its way up. For me, this meant the quads had done some work before getting to squats and leg press. Very interesting. The workout is as follows:
Standing Calf Raises 6×20-30
Seated Calf Raises 6×20-30
Donkey Calf Raises 3×20
Leg Extensions 5×20
Hack squats or barebell squats 4×10-12
Leg Presses 4×12-15
Leg extensions (light) 3xmax
Alternate hack squats and barebell squats week to week
As my gym does not have a seated calf raise machine nor is there anyone willing to help me do donkey calf raises (ok, no women that will sit on me), I do the seated raises using the leg press machine. This is perhaps where my quads are getting more work before their time. No matter. My calves are responding nicely.
I’ve done this workout twice, both with barebell squats and not hacks. This thing is a quad killer and they hurt for two days. This is awesome. Later this week will be the other side with the calf and hamstring workout. As this is ski season, I do need to blend these in with Ski Patrol shifts.
Every person has a muse. For some, it is the love of their life. For others, it is aspiring to greater heights. The muse takes many forms and always alters the consciousness of the receiver.
I once heard an interview with Graham Hancock where he admitted using various drugs when he was writing his books. During a trip to the South American rainforest, he used ayawaska and had a different revelation. Not only was an idea for a new novel given to him, he was told he had to do it sober. Yes, quite an interesting turn of events.
I’m not Graham. And I’m not totally sober.
In the past, great emotion put me into a state of poetic verse. In those days it was usually the love, or love lost, of a woman. Somewhere there is a notebook full of poems dedicated to a true love. I’m sure most of it is bad teenage poetry, maybe someday I’ll find it. Maybe I should toss it. Who knows.
Tonight while listening to an interview with Olivia Stefanino being conducted by Lilou Mace, I heard something fantastic. Sure, the subject of the interview was about being your own guru and much of it dealt with believing in yourself and understanding you have within you what you require to be great, but one thing in particular stuck with me in my altered state inspired by Rogue’s Dad’s Little Helper: start from here.
Each of us is in a place we want to move from. Each of us feels there is far more to life than what we are currently experiencing. Some tend to dwell too much in how we got here and why and who is to blame. Forget it. Learn from the past, but do not live there. Start from here. Start from where you are right now and more toward what you really want. For some, it will require setting and meeting goals. For all, it requires aligning your actions for what your really, really want. Stop living the dream of someone else. Find your own and live it fully.
It can no longer be denied. There is something about Sarah Elizabeth Cupp that I cannot resist. Her face. Her voice. Her mouth. Her legs. All of it. S.E. Cupp is just too much for my sexually charged brain can handle.
I first saw S.E. Cupp in video clips on The Blaze talking to Glenn Beck. A quite video search shows her on various shows on networks like CNN and Fox News. She is gorgeous on all. Yes, she is an atheist, but she is also Libertarian. Oh my. Have to do some more searches.
Google will be quick to autofill the search field for S.E. Cupp with hot, Maxim and legs. Oh yes. The legs. Pictures show her shorter than people. She must be short. Oh wait…no. 5’11”? Really!?! Perfect.
She’s been on Glenn’s TV show. She’s been on Duck Dynasty. She seems to be everywhere. What is the complete attraction? It is those glasses and my dirty mind racing.
Among all the sexually charged love for S.E. Cupp, there are also detractors. The so-called Liberal women hate her as she is a beautiful woman who has her own opinions and voices them. Doesn’t she know how much her sisters before her have sacrificed? Doesn’t she know they don’t like it when beautiful women use her beauty to get what they want? Doesn’t she know? Does she really need to have her legs on the desk? Does she really need to flirt with the camera? Message lost.
On the other side are religious Conservatives who cannot get past her non-belief. Sure, many of them will comment that S.E. Cupp is beautiful and that many of her political beliefs they share, but they cannot get past her atheism. Oh if she would just come to Jesus, they contend, she would be perfect.
Forget it all. Sure. I don’t always agree with S.E. Cupp, but I don’t really care. She is gorgeous. She is a free thinker. She is sexy. She isn’t a man hater. S.E. Cupp is just plain hot. Hot in all meanings. Hot. Hot. Hot.
People join the National Ski Patrol for many reasons: an extension of their medical training, free skiing, help others. I joined due to my desire to help others and ski. It could easily be said that my journey to Basic started in mid-1990 when my dad, my brother and I became candidates for the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Patrol. We were living at Johnson Bible College and the Outdoor Emergency Care classes were to be held there. What could be more convenient?
My journey, thought, didn’t start then or there. It started in the winter of 1975 in the small town of Saint Johann, Austria. My dad was in the Army and we were stationed in Karlsruhe. We drove down to Saint Johann for our first ski vacation. My brother and I loved it. A few weeks later, we went again. It was on this second trip that my frustration with improving my skiing started. I tested out of the beginner class, but for whatever reason, I was not able to keep up with the next class level. I was sent back. I skied. I learned. I had fun. Little did I know it would be 5 years before I would ski again (Bryce Mountain, Virginia).
In the mid-80’s, we returned to Germany for what would be by father’s last tour of duty with the Army before retiring. We kids joined the Sitzmarker ski club at Patch American High School and went on a trip every year. We also made several family ski trips, sometimes for just a day, and my skiing slowly improved. I had Elan 190s and a poster of Engelmar Stehmark on my wall. In late 1986 before leaving Germany, my dad bought for me a pair of Head Radial SL 203s. It would be a couple of years before I bought a pair of Tyrolia 480 bindings (yes, the skis and bindings matched).
After retiring, my parents moved to Johnson Bible College outside Knoxville, Tennessee, we would occasionally ski at Ober. Larry Green had a hand in recruiting the three of us onto the Patrol. We signed up and enrolled in the class. Little did I know just how much effort and time OEC takes. It started during the summer and neither my brother nor I had classes. I was attending the University of Tennessee and was studying Computer Science. A few weeks into the new semester, however, and my schedule started to take its toll. Not only was I taking OEC, I had also enrolled in Advanced First Aide and Emergency Care as an 400 level elective. I was the only non-medical student in the class, but I was there for one thing: Red Cross certification in CPR. I needed that card in order to challenge the BLS exam conducted for the JBC fire department.
I was tired. I was behind on computer lab work. Something had to give and I decided to make it OEC. I didn’t want to go one evening and my brother Chris did his part in convincing me. I did go and somehow became energized to finish the course. We all passed and attended both the OEC and on-hill refreshers. Now all we had to do was wait for the snow.
I don’t remember much from the ski training that first year. What I do recall is it being disorganized and not very effective. In those days there was no system of sign-offs. A candidate had no clue where they stood until the pre-test which was conducted at a ski area in North Carolina. I had trouble with the sled. I ended up in a Stem Christie too often. I knew I was nowhere near ready.
Over the course of the next few years, my mother and sister joined the patrol. In 1991, my wife-to-be went through the class during the ski year and joined as my wife in 1992. That year I really concentrated on training, but did not feel ready for the pre-test. I knew I was close. It had to 1993. It had to be.
The 1993-1994 was to be my year. The sled had become easier. I could get down the hill. I had confidence. I knew I was ready. This journey would only last four years. The day of the pre-test I awoke early for the two hour drive. My throat hurt and I was very warm. I had a fever of 101. I was going nowhere. I was crushed.
My wife left the Patrol at the end of that year. My brother and sister had already married and moved away. My parents had moved to Germany. My fifth year on Patrol at Ober I spent by myself. It would be my last there. I was out of gas.
Christmas of 1999 found us preparing to move in with my parents. I had taken a new job with SSI in Cincinnati and we needed to sell our house in Marion, Ohio. Over than holiday, my brother, sister-in-law and I went skiing at Perfect North Slopes. I was interested in the Patrol again and put my name in. By the end of the season I hadn’t heard, so I contacted them again. As a former patroller I had two choices: challenge the OEC test or do through the course again. It had been 10 years since I was in the class and the manual had grown by nearly 200 pages. I didn’t know the local protocols. It was a no brainer for me, I asked to take the class again.
Classes were held at PNS twice a week. This time it wasn’t a 5 minute walk to attend, but a 40 minute drive. I had to leave work early to get there on time. By now I was working at Mycom with some of the same people who had been at SSI. It wasn’t a problem and I stayed later on other days. I made it through. I got my blue candidate jacket.
My candidate year was quite eye opening. Now there was a system. There were sign-off. The skills were listed and explained. Tom Worley got me through the first set. I made good progress and felt that surely I could finish the next year.
At the end of the first year, the names for the candidates are sent to National. Mine kicked back with my old number and an updated region: Dixie to Ohio (yes, I know PNS is in Indiana). At the refresher in 2001, George Allen informed me I needed to have my picture updated as I was listed as an Auxiliary. At Ober, we covered our yellow backcross with blue fabric. As it matched the blue over the shoulders, we were a bit incognito. At PNS, Auxiliaries wore a while backcross. I asked my mother to sow it on lightly. After all, it wasn’t going to be on there very long.
I started my second year at PNS with much enthusiasm. I was determined. The snow fell. I hit the slopes and it all went wrong. I seemed unable to do much correctly. I trained with John McGoff, Pat Flischel, Pete Oka and others. Some expressed concern. One evening they had a training session just for Auxiliaries. I attended and John Cole showed me a problem with my boots. They were eleven years old and would expand when pressed. Great. Need new boots in the middle of the season. Awesome.
I bought a pair of Nordica Flex 7’s from the Ski Train Depot. This was the start of knowing Myron. He balanced them for me and adjusted the cant. When I hit the snow with them, my Kästle Pure Machines came to life like never before. Sign-offs came, but so did the end of the season. Ugh!
During the off-season, Frank Clearly, our Patrol Director, contacted my via e-mail. He wanted to know how serious I was about reaching Basic. After all, there wasn’t much need for a skiing Auxiliary. I said I was going to finish this year, no matter what. I was committed and ready.
The Monday before Thanksgiving 2002, I was laid off. I was the last one left in my group at Mycom. I figured it was going to happen soon and had taken my personal computer books home. I hoped to get through the holidays as I knew how had it is to find work as a developer before the beginning of the year. They offered me 6 weeks severance and time would show I would need every bit of that and then some. The season started a few weeks later. Nearly every day, I went out to PNS to train and get those last sign-offs. I would start my day looking through job posts and submit at least a dozen applications. Some days I would be lucky and have call backs. The afternoons were spent at PNS. I could almost taste it.
My last sign-off loomed. I spoke to Fredda McGoff about it (she was in the same candidate class as I was) and she talked to John. He hadn’t signed me off on confined skiing yet, so we setup to do it Monday night. Little did I know how many times he would make me go down the hill to earn it.
That night we met at the top of the red lift. As I only had one more sign-off, I took precedent over the others. We went down the right side of deception. I was loving my shorter 190 shaped Rossignols that evening. I thought I did well, but he wanted me to do it again. Off I went and stopped at the bottom of red to wait. Only one word: again.
For whatever reason, I decided to go down the left side. Once at the bottom of the hill, John asked which side he had said to ski. “Right side,” I replied. Basically, the wrong one. We loaded to do it again. At the top of the hill, Rick Prinz expressed his annoyance and strongly encouraged me not to have to do it again. Down the right side I went. Met at the bottom. “Ok,” was the only response.
Once again at the top of the red lift, we went down Center Stage. Now we did confined skiing, side-slide, falling leaf, etc. Once at the bottom, John said I was done and could either hang with the class or ski. Sorry, I don’t remember what I did. All I remember was making sure John signed the book and put in to Frank that I was done. All that remained was the ski along with the Director.
The next day I received an e-mail telling me when my ski along would be. It would cover every sled and skiing skill and I needed to be ready. This was no automatic venture and it was not odd to not pass and have to review some more. That night, Deception had bumps the size of small cars and they were making snow. Dan Dickman needed a lead review for Senior. Somehow I ended up on tail first and Adam Heist rode. Great! My worst skill was going to be reviewed first.
Dan took a good path and made it easy for me, even if he did nearly pop Adam out of the sled near the bottom. On the next run, I was in lead. Though I had treated by glasses with defogger, my old Scott goggles let me down and fogged up. I had to take them off to see. I did many falling leaves to make it through the bumps and snow, but I made it.
Run three was Adam’s turn to take lead. At last, I thought. I get to ride. Nope. Tail again. Adam was smooth and confident. We made it down. I didn’t fall. I looked at Frank. No smile. No reaction. No emotion. “Ok, let’s go down Center.”
Center that night was smooth. Box turns. Emergency stops. Finally done with the sled. Give it to the training class and time to free ski. We made several more trips with little word from Frank. Adam and I rode up together on the lift. We talked to one another. Did we make it?
At the top again, Frank talked about patrolling. We reviewed various situations. He had us ski ahead of him this time and he followed. Closing was approaching and patrollers were started to gather outside the aide room. Without telling us anything, Frank reached for his radio and announced Adam and me as the two newest Basic patrollers. Alas, I had made it. I was the last of my class to make Basic. My 7+ years of work had finally paid off. I asked the crew chief for a few minutes before he made assignments for closing.
I clicked out of my skis and ran into the Patrol room. Out came the Swiss Army knife I had purchased in 1990 when I started at Ober. Quickly and carefully I cut the thread holding the white backcross on. No disrespect to Auxiliaries, but I was not closing the hill as anything but a Basic tonight. It didn’t matter that this wasn’t my normal crew. It didn’t matter what assignment I got. All that mattered was that beautiful yellow cross. It hadn’t seen the light of day for over 12 years.
When I returned to my parent’s house that night, my wife met me at the door. I didn’t want to give anything away and my mom needed me to take the trash out. I handed my boot bag to Deana and took the trash from my mom. The front door was closing as I turned around and I heard my mother say “Look at his back! Look at his back!” Returning to the house, my wife was all smiles. Congratulations all round.
It has been nearly 11 years since that night. This year marks my 14th at PNS and 19th as a Patroller. My skiing as come a long way and I have seen many things on the hill. Yes, it gets hard when you find a 14 year old unconscious in the snow, when people complain about the snow guns or when bratty teenagers seem out to ruin everyone’s day. Those 8 hour weekend shifts in 38 degrees and rain are awful and the early morning first tracks seem too few. From time to time, a customer will truly thank you for taking care of them or a loved one. Perhaps it is a smile, perhaps it is a bit more. We don’t get paid. We do it because we love it.
And when I’m done. When I really feel like there is no more. I close my eyes and I relive the moment Frank announced me as a Patroller. I recall where I started. I recall my Journey to Basic.
The method of the Tyrant draws the creation of need, whether through neglect or direct contrivance, to the Public who believes the forbearance of the State till no other avenue has presence. Thereby leading the Public to acceptance, perhaps demanding, the Solution given by the State as the only viable Choice. The Truth being the State generated the circumstance and guided the Public to the path leading to the Tyrant’s placement in power. The culmination of such a path is total loss of Liberty and total growth of the State.
A Public such imprisoned by the Tyrant will have exchanged their Liberty for the illusion of Security. Their light will fade and become unknown. The memory of their Posterity will not contain the pains of Liberty, unless applied by an Awakening. A Public awakened requires temperance lest they should replace one Tyrant with another. Sovereign leadership will direct the Public to apply energy to removing the Tyrant and establishing Liberty.
It is not the authority of Government to protect the Individual from pain of self-infliction. Society is responsible for understanding such and nurture them to a different path.
The clamor for forced Benevolence is a ruse. Those who feel cheated, slighted and jealous use the plight of others to gain from theft. It promotes the Collective while destroying the Individual so that a few might appease their self-loathing and lack of worth. There is nothing in Creation worth more than the Individual and the Liberty for the greatest pursuit of Happiness. The most tormented Souls reside in the minds who see no worth in Themselves. The utmost evil is produced from those who disallow or destroy the worth of others. One may choose to believe they have no worth, but they have no Right to take it from another.
When an Individual realizes fully their self-worth, it will manifest as Love for Others. It pours forth from all that they are. It pains for those in pain. It cries for those in sorrow. It laughs with those in Joy. Love comes from the worth of the Individual. Love pursues Freedom for Others. Love produces Liberty. Love produces worth in Others. Love multiples in a Society of Individuals. Love dies in a Society of Collectives.
Washington may be vying on the manner of Tyranny to build to enslave the American population, but that does not mean one has to accept the cage. They may build shackles, no matter how well gilded, and the mind is free to choose how the soul will live.
One of the first steps to true daily change and freedom is showing Gratitude. Many have labeled this an “Attitude of Gratitude”. This is not some mere change or just giving an extra dollar as a tip. This is about changing your very being, your very core. There is true power in this attitude.
Start today. Take a few moments and list everything for which you are thankful. Pause. Clear your mind. And write some more. Don’t judge whether something is large or small; doesn’t matter. Write it down. Now think about all your pains being remove. Give gratitude for that. Give gratitude for your future situation. Do not dwell on what you don’t have. Assume the mindset that you have it. Now be thankful.
Everyday, review this list. Give thanks allowed for what you have. Put the thought to the Universe that you deeply desire to have more of this feeling. Desire more Gratitude. It will be provided to you.