A Carnation for Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, many of us give flowers and candy to our sweethearts. A single pink carnation one Valentine’s Day is part of a cherished memory of my courtship of Mrs. Hoge.

She was just starting her career as a recording engineer in Nashville and was working at Audio Media Recorders. The small room where tape copies were made had begun to be called “Connie’s Closet.” I stopped by the studio on my way to work at Harrison Systems, and left the carnation in a bud vase on the counter where the Ampex and Studer tape machines were installed.Carnations wound up having a very special meaning in our lives together.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

This episode of Blogsmoke first ran five years ago today.

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BlogsmokeSOUND: MODEM CONNECTING FADES UP TO FULL MIKE—SINGLE SHOT—RICHOCHET

MUSIC: UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 1

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!

MUSIC: THEME HITS: FULL BROAD SWEEP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 2

ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)

JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.

MUSIC: MAIN TITLE—RECORDED—CUT 3 Continue reading

Challenger

While I was drinking my third cup of coffee this morning, I noticed some traffic on Twitter from people talking about their memories of the day the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up. Here’s mine.

I was working as the Chief Engineer of a company that built equipment used to transmit high-quality audio over satellite and cable systems. Analog stereo audio for television was just being rolled out, and we were developing equipment to allow stereo satellite audio feeds to be used with cable TV systems. In order to prevent interference, it was necessary to synchronized the audio subcarrier with the video’s horizontal sync signal. Because CNN’s signal was generally clean and usually available 24/7, we used it in our lab as generic video signal for testing.

On the morning of 28 January, 1986, I was setting up our prototype stereo generator for a test, and I looked up at the lab video monitor to verify we had a video feed. I saw the shuttle engines lighting up on the pad, and I went back to finishing my test setup. Then a puff of smoke on the video monitor caught my eye. I looked directly at the monitor and saw that something was wrong, so I turned up the audio on the CNN feed. It didn’t take long listening to the confusion to realize what had happened, and I went out break the news to my coworkers.

Covid and Murphy’s Law

I started the New Year off with a cold which took a few days to get over. Of course, I had a covid test. It was negative, verifying that it just a cold. Although I’m fully vaxxed and boosted, I was hoping that it was covid so I could claim natural immunity as well. Nope. Just a cold, and I got over it.

So I went about my normal routine over the weekend.

This morning, I took another covid test even though I’m asymptomatic. It turned out positive.

Given that I’m elderly, I suppose an asymptomatic case isn’t such a bad deal, but being placed on hold for the next few days is going to be a real inconvenience.

OTOH, I can now claim natural immunity on top of being vaxxed and boosted.

My Better Half

I was born on 31 December, 1947, at 11:55 pm Central Time. Connie and I were married on 24 November, 1979. She died on our 37th anniversary; we were married for 37 years, 3 hours and 52 minutes.

It’s just before 8 am Eastern Time as I’m typing this. In a few minutes I will have been alive for twice as long as we were married. Being married to Connie certainly was the better half of my life.

Anniversaries

Today is the forty-second anniversary of my marriage to Mrs. Hoge. It is is also the fifth anniversary of her death.Connie’s wedding dress was originally made in 1949 by my mother for her sister Willie Mae. In the mid ’50s my mother altered the dress for two of my cousins, Jane and Peggy, and it was refurbished again in 1979 for Connie. Since our wedding, the dress has been worn by Peggy’s daughters and granddaughters at their weddings.

Early Images From Landsat 9

Landsat 9 is a joint mission of NASA and the U. S. Geological Survey. It was launched on 27 September, and has been going through its initial set of on-orbit testing. NASA has released some of the first pictures taken by the satellite’s two imaging systems. They are the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2), which detects visible, near-infrared and shortwave-infrared light in nine wavelengths, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2), which detects thermal radiation in two wavelengths to measure Earth’s surface temperatures and its changes.

Data from both systems are shown above. The TIRS-2 images are on the right.

I was part of the design team for TIRS-2. My principal contribution was the design and testing of the power supples for the Main Electronics Box and the Focal Plane Electronics (the IR imaging detectors). I started working on TIRS-2 in February, 2016, and my part of the team delivered our hardware at the end of 2018. It’s nice to see data coming back to Earth.

Image Credit: NASA

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Stacy McCain maintains that Bill Schmalfeldt is a deranged cyberstalker. Eight years ago today, Schmalfeldt’s behavior led me to consider Maybe McCain is Right.

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Stacy McCain says that Bill Schmalfeldt is a “deranged cyberstalker.” I published a post at 9:33 this morning, and the Cabin Boy had this tweet up 10 minutes later.frr201309301343Z

Hmmmmm.

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Eight years ago today, I was about half way through my first retirement. As a retiree, I was welcome at technical presentation at Goddard. Since then, I’ve gone back to work, retired a second time, and gone back to work again.

As of this writing, don’t know if the next few days will have some unscheduled time off.

Stay tuned.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The TKPOTD for six years ago today dealt with on of the more bizarre claims that Brett Kimberlin made about my background in his RICO 2: Electric Boogaloo LOLsuit.

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The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has me confused with another William Hoge. He put this in a recent filing in his Kimberlin v. Team Themis, et al. RICO 2: Electric Boogaloo LOLsuit.ECF 67-p8He must have me confused with my late father, who was a Special Agent in the U. S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps during World War II. He was involved in investigative work in the U. S. during the first part of the war, and he commanded a Counter Intelligence Team attached to the 66th Infantry Division in Europe. (Military Intelligence was not a separate branch back then. My father was commissioned in the Infantry, and he was the only infantry officer to accept the surrender of a German submarine, but that’s another story.) After the war, his CIC team was involved in rounding up Nazis. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve until the late ’60s and transferred to Military Intelligence when it became a separate branch.

I was commissioned in the Signal Corps, and while I worked closely with SIGINT guys from time to time, I was never a part of Military Intelligence. I’ve had various security clearances as a soldier or as an engineer working on government programs, but I’ve never been a spook.

TDPK is either very confused or hallucinating or lying. Or perhaps all three.

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He was lying.

A Brief History of Labor

Mine.

While I was a kid, I earned a bit of spare change mowing lawns, but my first fill-out-this-W2 job was shelving books as a stack assistant in a university library. I was 16, and the “trainee” job paid 70-cents-an-hour. It was indoor work, but required some heavy lifting. One of my stacks contained bound archival copies of newspapers. Bound copies of a week of the New York Times or a month of Pravda are big and heavy. I kept the job through high school.

During the summer between high school and college, I took the examination for a First Class Radio Telephone Operator’s license. I passed the exam, but because of the slow bureaucratic nature of the paperwork, my license did not arrive until after classes had begun in the fall. Because of my family’s support, I didn’t have to work during my freshman year. The following summer, I was offered an on-campus job working as a technician in the Department of Electrical Engineering (my major) for the summer break. During my sophomore year, I picked up occasional odd jobs at businesses that has some sort of technical task that required sign-off by someone with a First Class RTO’s license. That eventually led to my being hired at a local AM station in Nashville. When I went in to pick up my first paycheck, the Program Director heard my voice, and when he found out that had some announcing experience on a campus radio station, he offered me a job.

I spent almost a decade, interrupted by an active duty tour in the Army, working in the broadcast business in Nashville, and the connections made there got me into the music business. Those music business connections got me into pro audio equipment manufacturing jobs in Switzerland, Nashville, and California. Pro audio equipment manufacturing led to the satellite communication industry, which led to work with the flight test community at Edwards AFB. A call from a former Nashville colleague led to a move to the DC area to work on active noise cancellation. And when I decided to get out of management and just sell technical advice, I wound up as a contractor for NASA designing instruments and support systems for both Earth-science and astronomy missions.

Which shows you how things can turn back on themselves. My original interest in science and engineering stems from my fascination with astronomy when I was in elementary school.

I’ve left several gigs on the cutting room floor because they were brief detours from my real career path.

What’s next? I’ve retired twice from working with NASA, but I was asked both times to come back, and I did. I’m 73 and tolerably heathy. I’m still having fun at work. I had been sorta/kinda thinking about retirement around my 75th birthday, but I’m having too much fun still working. I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.

Gun Non-Violence

I served in the Army. During my time as a soldier, I engaged in violence, and much of it involved the use of firearms. In the decades since I left the Army, I’ve been involved in several tense situations which could have escalated to violence but did not. In each case, the threat was terminated when the other party or parties realized that I was armed, and that the cost/benefit ratio of engaging with me was less favorable than had been expected. My having a gun resulted in non-violent ends to those encounters.

Not every bad guy will weigh the odds the same way, sometimes deterrence will fail, and force will have to be met with force, but so far, deterrence has worked for me.

Being armed isn’t for everyone, but it has its advantages for those willing to undertake the responsibility.

How I Met Mrs. Hoge

The original version of this post ran eight years tomorrow. While I was going through some old technical files, I found a picture that reminded me of how Mrs. Hoge and I met and our time working together in the music business in Nashville.

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I met the young lady who became Mrs. Hoge in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria just before 6 pm on the Saturday of Halloween weekend, 1977.

The Audio Engineering Society was having its Fall convention at the Waldorf, and the main exhibit area was in the Grand Ballroom. I had presented a paper on loudspeaker driver parameter measurement that afternoon and was spending the rest of Saturday checking out the exhibits. It was almost closing time when I got to the booth for Harrison Systems.

Henry Martin, an old friend from Boy Scouts and high school, worked for Harrison. He was giving a demo of a Harrison recording console to a very attractive young lady who seemed intent on learning as much as she could. I waved at Henry, and he waved me over. It was almost closing time, and Henry wanted to get to supper with his wife. He introduced me to the girl, noting that she was just finishing her degree in Audio Production at Indiana University, that my job was currently based in Elkhart, Indiana, and that I had worked as a recording engineer in the music business in Nashville.

The exhibits were closing, so I invited her to dinner. She said no. She had plans that evening with the friend she was staying with. So I asked her to lunch, and she said yes to that.

Lunch the next day was at Oscar’s in the Waldorf. Since she’d never had one, I ordered her a Waldorf salad. I asked if she had plans for the awards banquet that evening. She said that she had a ticket. Who was she going with? No one. I was stunned. There were five or six thousand men at that AES convention and maybe a half-a-dozen women who weren’t booth babes, and this beautiful woman didn’t have a date. How about going with me? OK.

We kept in touch afterwards, did some long distance dating, and wound up both moving to Nashville at the same time a year later. (Back to Nashville in my case.) And about a year after that we were married.

RULE 5 UPDATE—Connie_1983

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2021 UPDATE—In late 1978, Connie and I coauthored a paper on concert hall acoustics and recording techniques. It was accepted for presentation at the May, 1979, Audio Engineering Society convention in Los Angeles. She presented the paper at the convention.