hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘crazy’

We Just Bought A New House and We’re Moving!

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 24, 2019

We have been house hunting all year in another primary region of the country for several different reasons, and I initially thought it would and should turn out to be quick and easy, but it’s been the most hellish house buying/moving experience of my life! Because of things like my poor health and my wife’s busy schedule, we simply couldn’t work out the logistics of a long trip, so we’ve been doing this remotely, which I’ve never done before. It’s really way too long of a story to tell, but we looked in a 3 state area for the whole year, and it has been the worst and toughest year of our lives! But we finally closed on a house a couple of weeks ago, and we’ll be moving to Pennsylvania in two weeks. I’d love to tell the story, but it would take too long and I don’t have the time or energy. So this will be another photo blog, with picks of the house we’re going to be moving into. It’s not what we started out looking for, it’s not ideal, we would probably prefer a number of things it lacks, but for here and now, it was the right place in the right location at the right price, and it’s actually a nice little house, I think, although I do cringe at the idea of downsizing. Heh. We’ll be living in a TINY community in the middle of the state, north of Baltimore, in between Pittsburgh and Philly, so there are many reasons why that’s an ideal location for us, which I won’t go very deeply into, but basically my health is so bad that numerous specialists have given up on my health even being MANAGED, let alone treated here in Chattanooga, the state itself, and even the entire region and I’ve been repeatedly advised to move to one of the following places: Mayo Clinic (Minnesota), Cleveland Clinic or Johns Hopkins (Baltimore). And since Gretchen is from Maryland and her family all live there and since she worked in Baltimore, and it and DC nearby, and they have a much better job market than here, and she’s also excited about seeing old friends and more, it just makes sense. (Frankly, it’s time for us to leave the South.) Additionally, this will be about a one hour commute for her to Baltimore, or if she could find a closer job, we’re 20 minutes from Gettysburg, 10 minutes from Hanover, 30 minutes from York, 45 minutes from Harrisburg, an hour and a half from DC, an hour and a half from Philly, and it’s more to Pittsburgh, but in the event Johns Hopkins can’t handle all of my issues, both Pittsburgh and Philly have top hospitals in some my areas (neurology, neuroscience) that could serve as backups or supplements. So as much as I would like to describe how insanely nuts this year has been, what we’ve had to go through to make this work, and how grueling this has been for us, I simply don’t have the time or energy to describe it and write more than I am here, so I’m going to go ahead and mainly post some pics of the new house we’ll be moving into in early December.

First, a few basics: It is a small, older two-story colonial (built in 1930) that we think is fairly attractive. It’s got three bedrooms and one bathroom, a nice covered front porch, small but nice back deck, small level yard, lovely real original hardwood floors with a pleasant and good sized living room, dining room and kitchen. Upstairs, the master bedroom is uniquely shaped, but not a bad size and has a door leading out to a back upper story covered balcony. The other bedrooms are somewhat small, but they fit the house and we knew we’d have to downsize. There’s a very large unfinished basement that will provide excellent storage and if we ever get the funds to partially or fully finish it, the listed “living space” square footage will shoot up tremendously because the literal square footage is actually over 900 more square feet than the listed livable square footage. We didn’t have many requirements and were forced to lower our expectations because Maryland (our original intended location) is such an expensive state to live in, and we wouldn’t have had many options, and yet even in podunk PA, in the neighboring county, the property taxes were just insane! We’ve been spoiled in Chattanooga, because the taxes are the lowest we’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen monster ones in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Phoenix and Malibu, but all the time we were looking at regular sized, regular priced (cheap even) houses in that county, I kept asking the realtors WHY a 1800 square foot house with three bedrooms and one bathroom that runs about $220K-$250K would have property taxes of $6000, $8000, even $11000 and $13000 a year?!? There? Manhattan? Sure! Newport Beach? Sure! Santa Barbara? Of course. But what the hell is in the sticks that is such a big draw that people are dying to move there and pay those kind of property taxes for a generic rural area??? That’s nuts! I offended some people by asking that question about some place no one has ever heard of, that has no draw at all to merit robbing people like that – why?!? In any event, this house’s taxes are much more than we’re used to, but less than the examples I gave and for that area, about average. Even though we didn’t have many requirements, most of the houses in that area are very old. I knew that because I spent a decade living in that state as a young boy and I can recall all of the many houses from the 1830s and 1790s, etc. So almost none of these houses have any AC at all — and I get massively hot. Also, I prefer gas heat, and most had electric. We also prefer city water and sewer, and of course, most were on wells and septic tanks. BUT, this house has gas heat, central AC and is on public water and sewer, so YAY, that makes a big difference to us. There’s so much more, but I have very poor health and am tied up in trying to make arrangements with movers, auto transport services, utility companies, and all the details that go with this, so I’m just going to move on to the pics. The only other thing I’ll mention is that the house is located in Adams County, PA, where the county seat is historic Gettysburg. Our town is the fourth largest (of 18) “borough” in the county with a massive population of all of 3,000 people, making it the second smallest place I will ever have lived. It’s called McSherrystown (Borough) and it’s old and cute. And here’s something we really like! No crime. Like none. During  this century, no murders, rapes, assaults, one arson every other year, two robberies, and fewer than 75 thefts total for the whole damn century! The “city” has a police force of FOUR! Hell, that’s how many cops got killed on my block in LA every night when I lived in 18th Street Gang Territory, as well as when I was in North Long Beach (and dozens of other places there and elsewhere). Since we’ve been crime victims multiple times, this matters greatly to us. You may not be impressed with this house and it won’t be the nicest and will be the smallest I’ve ever lived in, but we do like it, think it’s attractive and it has some really nice features, and since every place has its pros and cons, we’re happy to have found this after 11 hard months of work trying to get a house and we’re especially happy to have gotten it for so much less than most others anywhere around there and others we were considering.

 

1. Our new house, front from street.

 

 

2. An angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

3. A different angled street view of the front of our new house.

 

 

4. The foyer. Needs a touch up here and there, but otherwise nice and in good condition with access to all of the important parts of the house.

 

 

5. The well lit, open living room with a lovely opening to the large formal dining room next to it. Original hardwood. Lots of windows. Good size. This is especially important to me as I have serious mobility issues due to my health, and so I spend the majority of my time on the ground floor, and so obviously the living room.

 

 

 

 

6. Another vantage point of the living room.

 

 

7. From the living room looking into the foyer.

 

8. Spacious cheery formal dining room!

 

 

9. Dining room, looking into the kitchen and the living room.

 

 

10. Spacious kitchen. This honestly isn’t our favorite, but we looked at so many houses throughout three states that we saw every kind, size, style imaginable and while this lacks the cupboard and counter space we would really prefer, it’s MUCH better and massively larger than the one in the house we had signed an agreement to purchase the previous month, only to have the inspector find so many “invisible” problems that the likely repair bills would likely have been in the six figures alone — and so we walked. That house seemed very nice, was quite large, but had the tiniest, most useless kitchen we’d ever seen, so we’ll take this present one any day over the former. Hey, can’t get everything you want, right? It’ll be good.

 

 

10. Kitchen facing entrances to other rooms.

 

 

11. One of the bedrooms.

 

 

12. A (small) second bedroom.

 

 

13. The master bedroom. Oddly narrow and long, but still pretty nice, we think.

 

 

14. Another view of the master bedroom.

 

 

15. The back deck with small, level back yard and a decent shed in the background. I’m not much of a “deck” person, but I’m actually pretty happy about this one, because our current one — which we’ve had to have ripped up, torn down and rebuilt twice in five years at great expense — is SO incredibly high off the ground, and the stairs so steep and vertically challenging with small, narrow steps, that it’s completely unusable for me, while this should be, so maybe I’ll actually become a “deck” person…

 

 

15. The back of the house. The cool thing about this photo is the funky thing I didn’t show in previous pictures. If you look up toward the top floor, you’ll see that the master bedroom has a door that opens on to a fairly decent, comfortable covered balcony, which is a little unusual, but we think it’s pretty cool.

 

I won’t bore you with any more house photos. It’s just that I literally have no one to show, and even though it’s probable that no one will even see it here online, at least I’m getting to attempt to show some photos of our new house, so it would be nice to know if anyone saw this post. As I said, it’s been a demanding, exhausting, draining, frustrating, infuriating, tiring, impossible, expensive as hell year culminating in finally finding a house we could buy, but now the end of it all is finally getting near and we’ll (hopefully) finally be able to sit down, take a breath and relax in a couple of months. Unreal year. For so many more reasons not mentioned here.

Well, enough of that. I’m going to post a few final pics I got off the Net of a few parts of town so you can see how tiny and quaint it is. I won’t label each of them like I did for the house, but the one of the church is of the town’s Catholic church, and the biggest one around, while the one of the diner shows the only restaurant they have, and the hilarious one of their police car is of the only one in town for the four police officers to share while not having to do a darn thing about the near total lack of crime. LOL! Thanks for indulging me, if anyone did. We’ll be moving in a couple of weeks. Catch ya on the other side…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ID Cards and Certificates for Some of My Zillion Professional Organizations

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 23, 2019

I want to try to blog more, but my health is very poor and I’m horribly busy, largely trying to buy a house in another region of the country and get us moved — all remotely. It’s been far more time consuming and labor intensive than I anticipated, it’s wearing me out and not leaving me time for much more. But I actually have taken quite a few pictures over the past few months, so I thought it might be fun — for me at least — to post some picture blogs! Most of you still looking at this blog probably didn’t notice the new Page I created a few months ago titled “PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS” and listed as one of the menu items at the top of this page. You can find it here. I know most people probably wouldn’t be interested in a topic like that, but a couple of the things that I think make it pretty cool are A) I belong to a Zillion, as the title of this blog post states. Actually, not that many, but currently over 40, and if you were to count the number I did belong to at one point and have left, it would be over 55 easily. And there are some interesting things about this stat. For one thing, they are very varied in the fields they represent, so I’m betting not many people out there are members of such a huge variety of professional organizations, let alone such a crazy huge number. Another interesting fact is many are very hard to get into, very specialized, and have high to insanely high educational, work experience, experience levels and years and so forth requirement for consideration, and a good number of them vett applicants, which can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to over a month. Some of these organizations reject the majority of their applicants. And then the other main point I think is pretty cool is that B) I haven’t initiated applying to all of these or even many of these. For quite a few, I was invited to apply or even invited to join! Why? Sometimes it made sense and other times it beat the hell out of me! But it’s still a bit of a compliment, so while I actually do NOT join every organization I’ve been recruited for (including two pretty famous and influential ones I may mention later), I do try to join ones I wouldn’t normally think I’d be qualified for if they represent my interests, official or unofficial experience, etc.

Anyway, you can find the list of most of the professional organizations of which I’m currently a member at the top of my blog site along the header menu, the far one on the right, titled PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. But that’s not the purpose of this post. Remember I said I was hoping to do a few picture blog posts? Well, this is one. Some of these organizations may be viewed as a little more “professional” than others, and as a result, some of them send or provide you a Member ID Card and/or a certificate for framing, some of which are quite nice, while others are simply paper you print out and they’re cheap looking. One organization even sends an attractive metal medallion of some sort, although for the life of me, I’ve never figured out why. It’s not a pin, you can’t wear it, what can or are you supposed to do with it? But I actually like it, so I’m not complaining. When I decided to do this, I was going to try to put the photos of the cards and certificates in alphabetical order to mirror the list on the webpage, but I really don’t have the time to devote to that, so I’m just going to place them on this blog post I think in alphabetical order of their acronyms rather than the official organization name, but I’ll try to provide sufficient identification so you’ll know what they are as you see them. (And I may put a couple of screenshots of a profile or something I have on an organization’s site rather than a member ID card or certificate.)

 

 

 

American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) – the top half of my web directory profile page

 

AAPC

 

 

 

 

American Counseling Association (ACA) Member Certificate

 

 

American Counseling Association (ACA) Member ID Card

 

 

 

 

 

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Professional Member Certificate

 

 

 

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Professional Member ID Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA International) Member ID Card (Front & Back)

 

 

 

 

American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) – Upper section of my profile on the organization’s website

 

 

 

 

 

A screenshot from The AllHumanity Group‘s Network website in which I was welcomed to the group some years ago

 

 

 

 

ASIS International Member ID Card

 

 

 

ASIS International Member Logo

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Medallion (Front)

 

 

 

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Member Medallion (Back)

 

 

Foreign Policy Association (FPA) Membership Webpage Header

 

 

 

 

IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Member Certificate

 

 

 

 

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) Member Certificate

 

 

Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Member Certificate

 

 

Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Power & Energy Society (PES) Member Certificate

 

 

 

 

Robotics & Automation Society (RAS) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Society (SMC) Member Certificate

 

 

 

Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT)  Member Certificate

 

 

 

IEEE Member ID Card

 

 

 

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) Senior Member ID Card

 

 

Internet Society Member ID Card

 

 

 

Framed, Hung ISACA Member Certificate

 

 

 

50 Year Anniversary ISACA Member Certificate

 

 

ISACA Bronze Member ID Card

 

 

Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Member ID Card

 

 

 

There are a few others not mentioned on my blog Page, and obviously I am missing member ID cards or certificates from quite a few that are listed. One reason, though, is that a number of these organizations, some of which I’ve been a member of for decades such as Usenix, no longer produce member ID cards, although I have many of my old ones from previous decades and I have Usenix member ID cards for myself for the last four years before the turn of the century! So I’m about to finish this idiotic post that no one will read or care about, but I’ve had fun putting it together, by posting a few screenshots while leaving many more unposted from my very large profile on a site that used to be called ExecuRanks, but which changed its name to AdvisoryCloud a couple of years ago. I was invited to become a member and while there is an annual charge for most people, I was not required to pay it. Since I was in the process of doing some consulting and had been thinking about getting a seat on an advisory board again somewhere, I decided to join (because I have actually declined invitations, although it probably seems hard to believe), put together a profile, have a public listing and see if anything would happen. Unfortunately, almost immediately after, my poor health took a serious nosedive, getting progressively worse ever since, and I’ve been forced to turn down numerous opportunities, some of which would have been great, such as being asked to join the advisory board of an Australian cryptocurrency startup, collaborate on a technical security paper with a Ukrainian security expert for a large circulation European security publication, engage in research, experiments, publication of findings with a US nuclear entity doing some cutting edge research and work, help a university “rebrand” itself and much more, as well as sadly having to cancel or turn down an unreal number of speaking engagements, ranging from everything from being a featured speaker at a major university’s graduate MBA program in which I was asked to give a presentation on entrepreneurship to speaking at a well known annual security conference on cloud technology security to a UN NGO on the topic of successfully accomplishing one of the UN’s official SDGs before 2030 to being asked to speak on sustainability at a well known annual international science conference in Paris and more. Serious disappointment! I’ve also had to cancel trips to various conferences and conventions around the country, in places like Atlanta, Huntsville, Washington DC, Baltimore, Charleston SC and Los Vegas, among others. And finally, I’ve had to consistently turned down repeated requests to provide me with VIP passes to serve as a visible SME at conferences and conventions throughout the country, ranging from Atlanta to Nashville to Knoxville to Washington DC to New York City to Baltimore to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, as well as repeated invitations to be a guest at conferences located elsewhere, such as England, Poland, Switzerland, Australia, South Korea and more. Most of these would have involved compensation plus expenses. Bitterly disappointing, I have to say. Finally, a couple of somewhat humorous and somewhat odd situations. Two organizations have tried fairly hard to recruit me with my either refusing or not agreeing to commit for an indefinite period of time. One is the Freemasons, where over a period of several years, I was approached by three members of various ranks, all of whom attempted to persuade me, and the second was especially odd. Most of us have heard of, if not being pretty familiar with the historic Knights Templar, and while history tells us the group was outlawed with its members hunted down, and tortured and killed by the Inquisition even though these Christian knights had dedicated their lives to guarding pilgrims on their way from Europe to the Holy Lands, as well as having to fight numerous, gruesome battles with a variety of Muslim groups surrounding the area. There are confirmed, documented historical reasons why they were banned, but I won’t go into that here. Suffice it to say that many people believe them to be a part of the past while many believe a good deal of them survived and fled to other countries, especially Finland, England and Scottland, and depending on which conspiracy theory you read, either have survived under the radar all these centuries while wielding tremendous influence behind the scenes (as well as the belief they still hold a huge fortune, as well as the Holy Grail and the Ark, etc…, the second two being solely rumor) to their descendants being one or both the Freemasons (and there is a lot of evidence to support that theory) to the Illuminati, where this is not nearly as much evidence, aside from the fact that many members of that group were also Freemasons, which was allegedly linked to the Templars, so there you are! And while the Freemasons have survived and thrived all these centuries (our first president was one, as were many of the other Founding Fathers), the Bavarian Illuminati was banned 10 years after it was formed and its members were hunted down throughout Germany, so naturally conspiracy theorists believe a number of them escaped, fled elsewhere, with a certain number eventually making their way to America. Where they united with former German colleagues to form the Skull & Bones fraternity at Yale, which is a whole different story and conspiracy theory that is huge enough to fill many books and which I won’t get into. The point is this: there is little tangible evidence to conclude or confirm the Templars A) remain in existence while under the radar for centuries or B) ever made it to the US. Nonetheless, there has been such historical international obsession with the order, that for centuries, publications have appeared about them, books have been written, and even movies made (The DaVinci Code with Tom Hanks is one of them) because a whole lot of people believe or want to believe this group still exists. For whatever reasons. And the irony is, there ARE current organizations claiming heritage of and the right to use the name for their organization, and while they no longer are actual “knights,” they typically maintain the same original goals concerning Christians in the Middle East, aiding others, and much more. And the largest and most visible such organization that asserts it is the only group with the historical right to the name “Knights Templar” is OSMITH. This international organization is called “OSMTH,” which is an acronym for The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, headquartered in Europe with some 5,000 members around the world, and its US branch called The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ). OSMITH is a registered UN NGO with many privileges, great influence, and as just one example, it is one of the few entities allowed to vote on winners of the Nobel Prize every year. The majority of its members are retired general and admirals from countries around the world, with several others who are high ranking commercial or national governmental leaders and heads of state. It is invite-only, and few are admitted. So I was incredibly surprised when over the past year or two, two different high ranking individuals approached me about possibly joining, and one of them was so ardent a recruiter of me, that he assured me privately that if I wanted in, I would get admitted! WTH??? That’s incredibly bizarre, although also strangely flattering. I never committed, wanted time to mull it over because A) I’m not sure I can commit to what they ask of their members in terms of service, and B) I don’t know if I share the same values and goals of the organization. However, I’m still in touch with the second in command in Europe so I guess if I did decide I wanted to be a member, I could simply contact him and discuss it and I guess it would happen. I had to include this bit, because these recruitments were so unexpected, so unlikely, so ardent, with so many possible implications that it kind of blew my mind.

So now that I rambled like an idiot and got off track, I’m going to finish this post up by posting a few screenshots of the top main portion of my AdvisoryCloud profile. The actual size of it contains informaton documenting education, employment, specializations, and various credentials and notices of SME in various subjects and it is so long, printing out the profile results in about 7-8 pages with the majority being the information I just mentioned. But I don’t want to post all of that because even I would be bored, so I’m just going to post screenshots of my main profile description to amuse you and make you giggle. And if anyone out there does or did read this, A) I’m grateful to you, B) I hope you found it at least mildly interesting or entertaining and C), you have a very high pain tolerance level. LOL! Thanks and cheers to all. The last few photos are from my AdvisoryCloud profile, as mentioned.

 

 

 

Partial Screenshot of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

 

 

A couple of examples of some credentials from my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

 

My only “Business”-type photo, which is displayed on my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

The first (top) main part of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

 

The remainder of the main part of my AdvisoryCloud Profile

 

Go ahead and laugh. It’s okay and I won’t be angry. While everything here is true, it admittedly seems bizarre and not totally believable to everyone, I would imagine, but I can back all of this up, so odd or not, it’s accurate. But you can still snicker. LOL!

 

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