Ideas For Sale, Cheap

I’m starting to consider Facebook a marketplace of ideas, where every post in my feed is a vendor trying to sell me on their idea. Thing is, I only have so much change in my pocket. I’m basically broke on attention and concern. And here’s everyone, trying to push their trinkets, amulets, pottery, hammers, and swords at me for purchase.

The best solution, really, is to just not go to the marketplace. Don’t even pay admission to walk amongst the crowds and tents. But the problem is: that’s where the people are!

Decisions, decisions.

9-19-91 First Journal

(transcript of the first page of my first written journal, in my 2nd year of college at OBU)

9-19-91 4:05PM:

This is my personal journal. It’s my goal to write down my thoughts, feelings, etc., when I feel like I need to. Perhaps it could be a key to find out who or what I really am, or what I want to be. I beg the reader of this document (this is for no one to read!) to understand these goals, to understand my attempts and my logs. I hope no one ever gets to read this without my consent. No one. If you can’t understand what I write, too bad!


If you read this you will notice that there aren’t too many “happy” entries. Bear in mind that when I am feeling good, I probably will see no need to make an entry, so chances are, most of the entries will be written in a “depressed” or “angry” state.

9-20-91 12:00AM:

I’m feeling pretty good at this moment. I am tired, as you might figure. I just got finished with a big Intro to Mass Comm assignment, and I’m glad. Why am I writing two lines per ruling? I don’t know. Habit, I guess. Besides, I write better like this, and I save space. It works for me. Oh well. I have to do some more stuff before I go to bed. (Do you ever feel like there’s something that’s got to get done, but you can’t remember what?!)


I’m feeling pretty good today. I have been for the past couple of days. Indian summer, I guess. Lots of questions about some people. Getting sick of some people’s criticism and sarcasms. It’s alright for a while, I’ve had too much. New table maybe? Yeah. Cool. Go for it!

What you’ll find is that this electronic journal is more of the same kind of things, but far less intimate. I love you, and hope you understand me more by reading, but the deep, dark stuff? Forget it. That’s what paper is for. Those will never make it to electronic form, not until long after I’m gone.

That being said, it’s true that I seldom write when things are good. I suppose many people do this, but I’m sensitive to that of myself. Thanks for following along and reading when you can. You make this all worth it.

Contact Points

So let’s start out with a little edit of my previous post. Seems I spoke a moment too soon — this morning around lunch, I punched Refresh on my FCC license search tab and kaboom my callsign has been published! Finally!

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the ham bands I am now known as: KG5RHR. Hello!

I made my first contact tonight on the Austin ARC repeater 146.940 MHz. Was some cool cat named Kevin who lives out in far east Travis County. We chewed the rag a bit, he gave me good advice, talked about Chinese radios. He now has the magnanimous honor of being my first contact. 73’s!

From my side of town, 3 watts and my mag-mount groundplane car antenna is enough for my Baofeng HT to get into the repeater mounted on the KXAN tower in Westlake. I need to try from other areas of town to see what my reach is (my apartment balcony has a direct line of sight to the tower, so I can probably work it with just my rubber ducky antenna). Apparently that club’s repeater is pretty sensitive, and its location and elevation is great, so it’s tough to be in a dark location in this town.

I can’t wait to make my first simplex contact; that’s when I know I’ve arrived.

Also, this is the annual AARL VHF contest weekend where hams can try to make as many contacts as possible above 50MHz within certain time, power, and location limits. It looks like it’s a little too late for me to get in on this, but it’ll be interesting to tune in and see if I can monitor any contacts. Should be fun!

Futile Callsign Checking

Getting impatient. Seems the FCC is taking their sweet time granting me my ham license. I took and passed my Technician exam almost 2 weeks ago, and the examiner said I could have it as early as the following Thursday. The docs I’ve read said if it’s been over two weeks, feel free to call the FCC. Guh.

I know we’re in the perfect storm of events that are slowing down the licensing process. Yeah, I know. They just got off a Christmas shutdown and are catching up. They’re in an Administration change-over. There are no less than two federal holidays this week — Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and today is the presidential inauguration. I’m pretty sure the FCC offices won’t be open to process my CESC form.

I just wanna be able to transmit, dammit! From what I hear, this weekend is a national contesting event on VHF, everybody working the simplex frequencies to make as many contacts as possible over three days. Damn, that sounds like fun. Sure, VHF doesn’t go far past the horizon, but I’m sure there’s a good many hams in Austin that are playing. I wanna play!

I guess I’ll keep clicking “refresh” on the ULS page to see if my name and callsign show up. Le sigh.


My life has always been a constant struggle to reconcile that I want desperately to communicate through high art and find my own space on this earth with the finest people on it, versus the mandate that I must wake up at 6:30am and perform the artless needful in order to sponsor my dreams. I see hopefulness in expression, the hope of being able to craft my own reality and be the man I want to be — like all the arty free-thinkers say — but that has never, ever jived with the harshness of my life’s reality: I’m a working stiff. Try explaining to my bosses that I want to be free; if I try hard enough, they’ll let me go to be as free as I want, for free. And then what?

Reality is somewhere in the middle, and I must take both legs in stride to make my life worthwhile.