Monday, July 8, 2013

Time & Space, Not enough for me!

It has been a long, long time since I last wrote something in my blog. Many factors contributed to this lack of communication. Force of Fate - Letters to Oma was released in EBook format on Amazon. Additional work continued on the book to have it released in Paperback format. I was introduced to the Google+ Hangout concept. Not being known for ever turning down a challenge, I created my own Hangout show: SlushHeap  . I invited my ghostwriter Darcie Duranceau to join me and present a show dedicated to new, would be authors. I envisioned this show to eliminate the hassle I faced  trying to publish my own book without any prior knowledge of the industry.
We created a 'Brand'. A commodity that perhaps some day will be recognized for what it is designed for. We designed a logo that is unique in its concept but still represented the ideas and purposes of the show. Our slogan is simple and to the point: "Come to us at SlushHeap and stay out of the slushpile".
 Our members on the Cast & Crew has grown and I hope will continue to do so as we create a better show each week. Darcie and I are the co-hosts who introduce and interview our guests with the kind of questions that our audience can take away and use in their endeavor of creating their master piece.
Matt Frost is our technical guru, our IT man, so to speak. He makes sure before that show that all visual and audio devices used by us and our guests are functioning properly. And of course he keeps us on track by constantly checking our time consumed and remaining. Since Week 1 we also have added two "Friends of the Show" to our cast. Jim Ault, a software expert, has been a tremendous asset to us in pointing us in the directions that will result in a larger audience by being exposed to the important social media outlets. Although Jim is not an author he has been very helpful when we are understaffed by stepping in and asking the right questions. Our latest addition is John Rakestraw. John is not new to social media. He has hosted a number of shows including his 'Live Events!' show, a Radio-Talk-Show and of course his greatest achievement, John along with his wife Toni,  operate Rakestraw Book Design. John is my "Cosmos Brother" One night during our show, John made the statement that he is not an author, he is a 'Teller of Stories'. This has been my line as long as I can remember my short life on this planet. Bonding with someone just because of a mere few words was awesome.
But our show is not based on men and women who create the show, but rather on great men and women who have done what most humans are incapable of. Taking the words and putting them on paper to serve as inspiration. entertainment, healing, laughter and uplifting to the masses. I admit that the first week was the hardest. At best we were rookies in a Beta Format on the internet. We delayed our opening show week after week and practiced more and more each day. I'm not sure who finally pulled the emergency brake on our run-a -way train but it came to a stop and we were forced to stop pretending and get a show on the air.
Our first live show, our first attempt at live dialog in front of an audience that could not be seen by us. Perhaps we had thousands watch us, perhaps only one - or none. So many concerns that nerves were on edge. We scrambled all week to get a guest that would fit our subject matter. Being green and a rookie I was no help. We finally landed a guest and Tuesday, 7PM rolled around. Karen Moulder was our perfect first guest. We were stepping into a part of the new internet that contained some great names and she did the same in her quest for employment. She became the first female firefighter in Texas. We knew right away why she was successful. She was gutsy, afraid of nothing, not embarrassed very easily and stood up to anyone in her way. My inauguration into the world of talk-shows was a enlightening experience.
As each week came and went we added more and more names to our wall of fame. There were those who were authors such as Kathryn Chastain Treat, a first time author, who has not missed an episode and became our roll model of would-be-authors who would allow us to judge our success or failure of the material we presented.                                                                                                            
Week after week the show got more exiting. Our name was out there and more and more people accepted our invitation. We hosted the likes of: Mimi Luk, Win Charles, Alana Terry, Jim Niedermeier, Daniel Benz, Aaron Wood, JS Mathew, Raymond Benson, Katie Hayoz, Melissa Wyllie, Amy Netzger, Johannes Froebel-Parker,  Joey Pinkeye, Slash Coleman, Jason Matthews, Corel Basil, Marla Miller and Sonia Marsh. And the list is not done. This week we will host show #11 - Audio Books with guests Caley Rose and Dai Karnberg. From all indications this should be a very lively show. I hope all of you, my friends, will stop by and watch an episode and most of all give us feedback. Without communication we cannot bring the Right Stuff to you and improve our show.
I promise I will post more often. I have so much more to share with you, including the long awaited second chapter of my life and the fate awaiting me.
Hope you all had a great 4th of July. Stay healthy and safe.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Change of Pace. Today I got some religion.

Today, I put on an old hat, which I retired some 10 years ago. I became a chef for a day again. The Lutheran Church in Rehoboth, Delaware, which my wife and I attend sponsored a seminar by Dr. Paul Maier. Since this was to be an all day seminar with four sessions, two coffee breaks and a lunch, I was asked to prepare the lunch for today. There were 125 people in attendance which is a small gathering in my book. I decided on a menu of my award winning Chicken Salad with Snow peas, Southern Style Tuna with Apples, Red Bliss Potato Salad, Caesar Salad, Fresh Fruit Salad and Assorted Cookies. On Thursday morning a few of the men and one lady came to give me a hand cutting some of the vegetables necessary to make all these salads. This morning, early I went to the church and assembled all the necessary dishes. While doing my chores I managed to listen to Dr. Maier over the intercom in the fellowship hall. I actually found it amazing and at the same time it brought back memories of my childhood. In order to explain my feelings I have to backtrack to the early days of my childhood.

As many of you know I was born at the end of the great war to end all wars. There were only two religions in Germany: Roman Catholic or Lutheran. Judaism was not a choice anyone spoke about for obvious reasons, although I did have two Jewish boys in my classes. During the time of my childhood, Germany did not have separation between state and church. America has enjoyed this freedom of religion since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I mention this because  after every war that we fought in modern times, for punishment we would lose one of our states; the Saar. To Germany, the Saar was important because a majority of coal used in Germany came from the Saar. France on the other wanted the Saar for the same reason. So each time a war ended and a treaty was signed the Saar was given to France. After World War II this was the same situation. After a few years the public began a campaign to return the Saar to the Germans. Only this time it fell on deaf ears. Germany, for the first time had a democratic government, elected by the people and a Catholic Chancellor was in power. Chancellor Adenauer was aware that to return the Saar to Germany was political suicide. 90% of the Saar's population was Lutheran and it would upset the powers to be.  In 1957 the Saar was finally returned to Germany by an overwhelming vote by the people of Germany. This in spite of Chancellor Adenauer’s refusal to ‘give his blessings’.

Why am going into all this history when I was talking about Dr. Maier’s seminar? Simply put, I grew up in a state of segregation and today for the first time I heard an American bring this to light. There are things to be said about whether segregation is good or bad. Although Dr. Maier did not get into this, I can say that, although I do not believe in segregation, it does have its points. Just before I immigrated to the US, things started to change in my country. New Christian denominations arrived in our land and attempted to convert us. This I objected to. When a church sends it members out as missionaries it is to find those who have never heard the word of God and convince them to take on a religion. But these churches came not to save us from paganism, they came to convert us to their way of thinking. I was born Lutheran and I will die Lutheran unless I find flaws in my religion and opt to change it. I know, the argument is: “How would you know what is the right religion for you if you have nothing to compare it to?” That is why God gave me a brain and allowed me to think.

Dr. Maier spoke at length about the churches of Europe from the time of the Holy Roman Empire to modern times. It was so refreshing to hear this, especially from an American. You see, being born in Germany and subsequently moving to the USA, I learned one thing. History is recorded with the eyes of the beholder. The only thing that remains constant are numbers, i.e. dates of battles, casualties or troop strengths. Oh, sorry, we even found ways during the Vietnam conflict to fudge those numbers. So History is no longer an exact science. Dr. Maier, however, managed to keep it honest.
After four sessions today, he is spending the evening in Rehoboth Beach, all this and he is 80 years young, and coming in tomorrow morning to be part of all three of our services. This is one service I will not miss. I usually do not look forward to any long speeches, especially about religion. I have my own take on that subject, but I will not miss this for anything

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yes, tonight is another episode of SlushHeap. Looking forward to some good info and some great book covers.
Looks like I'm finally going to take Force of Fate to print. People are asking me for the book and I can only the electronic version. Have to get with the times, no wait, I'm in the times, well whatever I have to meet the wishes of my readers.
Hope to see or hear from some of you tonight.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 - 2 - 1 ON AIR

What has it been? 2 maybe 3 months nothing coming out of our camp. Well, the wait is over. Last night, Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 7 PM SlushHeap went live. After practicing, polishing, writing and rewriting the contents, the curtains came up and we exposed ourselves to the world. Now don't get any ideas, SlushHeap is a family oriented show. We advertise that our show is dedicated to all authors, but the primary audience will be those with an interest in entering the industry. In other words, our audience will be looking to our guests for general advice and an improved understanding of the writing, publishing , and marketing processes. We hope to portray this information in a story-telling manner, which would both promote the guests and provide entertainment for those watching. There is a live Q&A portion allowing for audience participation.

This week we featured Karen Moulder. Karen has led a very interesting and less-than-traditional life. Her determination has helped her break numerous barriers personally and professionally. She was the first woman to be hired in the Brownsville, Texas Fire Department in 1983. Her tomboyish nature and single mother circumstance led her to this fascinating and dangerous career which lasted more than ten years. Karen's career involved protecting lives, property, and educating the public on fire safety. She entered a man’s world in a time when few women did.  As a result, she faced a series of peculiar and challenging obstacles, but also became a role model for other women.

In 2012, Karen Moulder became a published author when her auto-biography was independently published.  The book, titled 'Burning Barriers' can be purchased at major online retailers as well as in several bookstores near her hometown of Ware, MA.

SlushHeap is scheduled for the next 12 Tuesdays. Each week a different subject matter will become our topic. Surprising to use after Tuesday evening's episode, time slots on our schedule began filling a quite a pace. On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7 PM our discussion will be about Children's Books, illustrated versions and text versions. As soon as our guests are signed you may find their bio on If this topic interests you please join us either on Google+ or on our homepage to watch the show. If you have a question, you may do so on Twitter @slushheap 
or on Google+.
We hope to grow from this humble beginning last night. I feel good about our future. The question I have been asked the most: "Why are you doing this?" My answer is simple. I too want to learn more about writing, editing, publishing and marketing. After all what brought me here was a book I had visually in my head and through the skill of my co-host Darcie Duranceau it became reality. There is the next book waiting around the corner. I want to make it better than the first one. Plus I must admit that Google+ Hangout on Air shows have given me exposure that I could not have bought. And let's face it, those of you out there who know me, realize that I love to be in public and rub elbows with all my friends. When I became a loner, my troubles grew. Just as music is not my life, but my life is music, so it is with talking to people.
Some years ago, as my children were growing up, we joined the local YMCA and became part of a program called 'Indian Guides'. We, my children and I, learned the ways of the native people of this continent. We learned to respect nature, take care of our environment and love our brothers as ourselves. I came away with another lesson. Native Americans had no written language but passed on their history orally. Grandfathers would sit with their grandchildren and tell them about their forefathers, about Mother Nature, about the Big Hunt. I took this to heart and began to visit local school to speak to the children about my life as a little boy growing up in war torn Germany. When I had exhausted my childhood stories, I turned to short stories about Native Americans. I prided myself in the fact that I could remember stories and jokes so well. I even took jokes and inserted myself into them. At the end of my little speech, folks would not only get a punch line but also would find out that I was in no way part of the story and their love, hate or pity for me were for-not.
While still being part of the YMCA Indian Guides, I had the opportunity to write a letter to someone in a Southwestern State ordering some genuine arrowheads. Months went by and nothing was received. I felt cheated, but life has to on. One day a package arrived. This package originated in Oklahoma. For the life of me I could not recall ordering anything from Oklahoma. I opened the package and found it contained the arrowheads I had ordered. The package also contained a letter from Grey Wolf, Chief of the Lene Lenape Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. As it turned out when I ordered the merchandise I signed my name with my adopted Indian name: Greywolf. No address was given. So the sender researched the name and found that Grey Wolf was the buyer. Once Grey Wolf received the merchandise he began to investigate who Greywolf was. As luck would have it he discovered me. After many mail exchanges for the next year, Grey Wolf made me an offer that brought joy to my heart. He made me Greywolf an honorary member of Lene Lenape Tribe. This was perhaps my proudest moment. That young boy who used to go watch the cowboy movies in Germany and was never allowed to play an Indian that afternoon had come full circle and now was a real member of the great Lene Lenape Nation.
My children grew up and were to old to stay in the Indian Guides. They pursued their own destiny. I went from telling stories to sinking into the bottle. I gave up friend after friend until the darkness consumed me. Years passed and life was so bad that I had a difficult time holding a job. It was not my lack of skills that cost me the employment but my anger got the best of me. One day a brother Vietnam Veteran gave me a lecture and made me promise that I would face my demons. I signed up with the VA and as they say ' the rest is history'.
The life is back in me. Physically I am not the man I was and my memory is getting the best of me. That will not stop me from educating the next generations to our accomplishments. This all came to a head when I med a young man, a self-made author who wrote the stories of those who fought World War II. We would talk but he was always in a hurry because he had to go interview a veteran about the war because as he expressed it: " when they are gone so is the opportunity to write their stories.
I hope to see you on the show or at least read your question. Stay safe and don't ever loose hope.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nothing's gonna stop us now

The Train called City of New Orleans
Just like in the song, I feel like for the past year I have been on a train, perhaps not a passenger train like the City of New Orleans but a very, very long freight train. When  we finished the book, we started to move this train at a snails pace. As days turned into weeks and the weeks became months, we gathered speed and now we are we appear to be flying ten feet of the ground. Things are happening so fast I hardly have time to sleep, eat or shower. Don't get me wrong, I'm seeing results but for every step I now take in the right direction and I seem to move back two.
I was somewhat prepared as to what was expected for a self-publisher. It turned out there was so much more they never told me ahead of time. My biggest handicap is the fact that I am not a software man, I was educated as a hardware geek. Now I know why people would stand and stare at me years ago when I carried on a conversation with another hardware engineer. Must have all sounded like a foreign language. To give you an example, we are trying to set a live show on Google+. The gent that is given the lessons does not realize that we need IT Jargon 101 first. After about 45 of trying to get on his show, and please don't ask me how I managed to get there, he started by telling me that my lower third was not set up. Now my lower third is my legs and they seem fine to me. So now he has to backtrack and tell me that I should have my name, company affiliation, national origin, my oldest child's first name, sorry just kidding, at the bottom of my screen. OK, at this point we are going to go and we will be back next session and you can start out at the beginning, like say first grade and let me learn. People have to understand that not everyone speaks Geek. But having said all that, we are making progress. We have selected a name for our domain OK, OK I hear the snickers in the room. There is a purpose for all this. During that session I just spoke about, I did learn that when you pick a name it should be the same for all the web sites you will create. Ha ha, what a joke. I was told to go to  and find a name or ID that is available for all the services I will be subscribing to. A URL, Facebook, a Blog, Twitter, Google+ and who knows how many more things. I sat there for 4 hours and plugged in names only to find that they were taken. To make things more interesting I was told: 'Keep the name simple, no more than 12-14 letters. Makes it easier for people to remember'. So I enlisted the services of my son Jeff, who had just come down this weekend for some R&R. Now Jeff has had a knack for something all his life. Create a company or business and he will come up with a cool name and slogan. I would refer to him as an 'Inovator'. I put him to work. So he says to me, how about slushpile? Slushpile, what the hell is that. He explained it to me and the search was on. After a few rejections we found slushheap and book'em, Danno.
 So what is slushheap mean? Well I'm glad you asked:
Slush Heap- where you get the help and advice you need to avoid the slush pile
OK, you got that now? What is a slushpile?
Slush Pile – where all the manuscripts that are rejected or never read go.
So what does your slushheap do for me?  Beside keeping you up to date on our endeavor, it will keep you entertained. If you happen to think about writing a book, want to edit books, illustrate books, publish books or become a critic we can do much more for you.
Promote: share your insight, worth, and expertise with those who value it most
Inquire: ask questions directly to those most likely to have the answers
Learn: obtain the knowledge you need to make your project a success
Expand: use this as your opportunity to reach new professional heights
And pray tell how will that happen?
Here's where our new weekly Internet show on Google+ will help. But then I'm getting ahead of myself.
We are currently working on setting up the show up, getting the right personnel, a good time slot and some props. Most of all we have to practice to make it right.
So stay tuned and we will keep you up to date and hopefully very soon give you a Preview date. Thanks for hangin' in there with me.
Just one more thing. Any of you who have purchased the book and may have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I will personally answer them and once the show starts we will answer them on the air.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On the right path

Publishing Progress Report
It has been almost two weeks since the book went to and was published as an eBook. All in all the progress is going as expected. Sales are coming in, problems are being discovered and reported and finally fixed. For the first time publishing anything I think we are ahead of the Boeing 787. At least the book hasn't been grounded. Having accomplished this much takes a large weight off of my shoulders. But, we are not home free. You see during the last 9 months of writing this blog a trend has developed. The good and the bad thing about blogs is that everything is tracked. The number of hits, where they originate from, etc. At first I was surprised that visitors to my blog were primarily from Eastern block countries and Asia. Who am kidding. Although I did not necessarily intend these to be my intended readers, they were the source of my writings. Once word got out that the book was published, I started to hear from people I had never met. Most of the questions were standard, nothing I could not or should not answer.
Now that the book is out almost 75% of my blog readers are from Russia or China. I'm sure the people who are reading this were not even born at the time it all came down. They are just trying to find out the truth just like the people in the Western World. Question is: "Can they handle the Truth?"
So now it's crunch time. Get back to work on Volume II. Although the material for this volume is less bothersome for me it does present problems within its contents, I am no longer in a "sterile" environment, miles removed from the action I came to explore but now it is hands on. Facing the enemy and all they they could do to stop us. It was not what I had volunteered for but nevertheless it was my duty to perform my tasks.
Besides writing the next chapter I also have to make arrangements to have the book produced in hard copy. I have had many request for appearances at book clubs here in Delaware, signed copies and even my presents in class rooms to enligthen the children. So for a few moments I will enjoy the tranquility that has come to our house and then on with the new chores.
I want to thank all the people who have purchased the book. I really appreciate your support.I do ask that you might take a moment and write up a little something to give me feedback. Thanks again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Update on book

URL Information

Leave it up to me to forget to post the url where the book can be purchased or borrowed. For now it is available for the kindle, iBook and there is a free app that can be downloaded for the PC. So for those who would like to read the story of my life or maybe just a good book try this:

This should take you right there, and please write a review for my sake.

P-Day has arrived

Publishing Day finally here.
Forty-four years after leaving the US Air Force and two years after starting this project, I can look up and see the results. Yesterday Force of Fate - Letters to Oma was published on For me and my family this is a major milestone. I had begun to doubt myself when everything took so long to come together. My family was tired of hearing my story and my gripes about it not being published. Several times I was ready to give up. But the audacity in me kept me going forward. I feel at this moment that I am winning the battle. Don't get me wrong, I know we still have to sell books, and that would be nice. Those results are still in my hands as to how I handle the publicising of the book. Having it available was my first goal and that I have achieved. I have had some replies from friends and strangers asking me about the contents of the book and that is encouraging. The most frequent question is that folks who don't have the Kindle want to know if ii will be available in other format. Amazon tells me that in order to cash in on their generous royalties I have to stay with them for 90 days exclusively. I can handle that. I'm hoping that in 90 days we can have the soft cover book available as well. All I'm asking those who are purchasing or borrowing the book to please return to Amazon and critique the book for me. It could help my sales but most of all it will give me a measure of how I did and what I have to change in the second book.
Force of Fate has brought much to my life. It has allowed me to shed a demon that lived in me for over forty years. It has opened my mind to accept outside help for my condition. The VA has been great in pushing me towards a more normal life. On the downside, Force of Fate has opened some memories that bring with them really a dark part of my life. The psychiatrist says that it is good to face these demons. Just as we cleanse our bodies, we have to cleanse our mind. The single good factor that talking about my experience is that the more I talk about it the more I accept it, unconditionally.
During the past two months so many people who have read my blog or follow me on Facebook have been in touch with me and shared my story. Recently a friend of my middle son called me. He is now a teacher at a Western Pennsylvania High School. I remember him being a young lad in college and having the time of his life. Now he is so professional about everything. We talked about my story and because he is a History teacher, he really got into it. He now has a family so I am blessed that he finds 30 minutes every so often to call me and ask me about my adventures. Last night I spoke to him and told him about the publishing. He was so happy to hear that. The point I'm trying to make is that I am glad as well. Children will most likely never study about the dark days of the Cold War. I, however, can bask in the light of the release of the book. I know the story is out there now for all to see and my goals are met.
I would like to thank all those who have persevered with me on this journey. I hope my randing and raving as well as my soap box speeches have kept you entertained. I hope it has given you an inside into me, of who I am and who I am not. Do not judge a book by its covers for it might disillusion you.
I want to leave you today with one thought. I did not seek this life, just as you did not seek your. We are born into it with little say of how it will go for us. We do have the power to make ourselves worthy or worthless. I wrote a little ditty for a Preface to the book but my ghostwriter thought I was long winded again and we came up with a different one. Here was what I thought of when I finished the book:
From the time of my childhood with my Oma, it has been instilled in me that Fate or Destiny was to be my guiding light my entire life. To further cement this believe into my soul, some years ago a friend recruited me to aid him in a project he was working on. It was not the object of this project that fascinated me as much as the little booklet he printed and packed with the object. In short, the title of the booklet was ‘The pyramidal threat of life’. It was his believe that each of us was a threat in the tapestry of life. We, the threat , were pulled off some huge spool and inserted into the weaving machine. From that moment on we would cross paths with many other threats. We, as a threat, would break and be repaired to continue on our way. At some point another threat would intersect hours and we would be knotted together to continue our joint venture. We had tight the knot. Unfortunately all threats end at some point and we are left behind, perhaps forgotten, or we could have made an impressive statement with our threat that we would go down in history.
There was something missing to me. I searched for some time and finally realized that to little emphasis was placed on the ‘spool of threat’ we came from. This spool used to contain the threats of our ancestors, who, through the makeup of the material of the threat had left us with their character and hence the threat that still remained on the spool was that of my future generations who would inherit the trades of my ancestors and those I would pass unto them
So no matter what I did or didn’t do, my legacy will always be a part of my tapestry of life. Whether anyone would see it and interpret it cannot be said for certain. No matter, we are all there for history, preserved forever .This book, placed in the darkest corner of a library, covered with spider webs will still bear witness to the deeds a few did for the many.
All this we did for God and Country.
Rudi Fischer

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The world is changing, let's go along for the ride.

Post Military Service Continued
During the next two years I had to learn the chemical composition of ferrite powder, the art of 'pressing' the cores, kiln firing them, cooling them and then look at all the data. Any minute change created havoc on the acceptance rate of the mass of cores. At the time I took charge of the Quality Control section of Fabri-Tek, the acceptance rate of good vs bad cores finished was less that 50% in the testing department. Once the cores were tested and the bad ones ejected, the vials full of 'good' cores came to my department. We would still reject approximately 10% of the vials if more than 7 out of 100 proved defective. In retrospect we produced millions of cores just to have enough good ones for a single computer. Memory in those days were measured in 4 kilo bytes increments not in megabytes or giga bytes as today.
My research into all facets of production led me to find changes that were tremendous boosts to the reliability of memory cores. When I finally stumbled upon the holy grail we upped the acceptance rate at the testing level to above 90% and the failure rate in QC to less than 1%. We applied for a patent and received one. Only it was in the name of Fabri-Tek since we all signed contracts with the company, just for matters such as these. Reliablitity was not the only facet I experimented with. Size and speed was just as critical. It is here that I must make some changes to my previous posting. Last night I typed the numbers as fast as I could remember them without going to my spec sheet. Tonight I want to correct that In 1958, Fabri-Tek created the first memory core that actually contained a lettering and numbering system.The A5080 was a core that was 50 mil. in diameter and had a speed of 1 micro second. This meant that the 80 was not really true. When I arrived at Fabri-Tek they had moved past the A through the B3050 to the C2530. As I studied the memory core they introduced their latest D1820. This core literally looked like a piece of fly speck (if you know what I mean). After my experimenting andhaving our first automatic press build for us in France we were able to press the E1418. 1 mil in size and an access speed of0.125 micro seconds. The A core cost $1.00 to produce. The E core just $0.01 per unit. The largest facture in this was the acceptance ratio of the core vs the rejection rate.
We had made giant steps but we were still playing with cores. In the mean time other companies tried other means for memory. The most promising one was 'THIN FILM'. Ultimately it did not last long because of the complexity of producing it. Then one day in 1970, while we were at a meeting of Department Manager, looking over the blue prints of our new manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, Pa, Fabri-Tek's president made the announcement that all plans for a new building were to be put on hold because a couple of scientist in New Jersey had come up with a new mousetrap, a 'Chip' that was designed to be better, smaller in size yet larger in capacity and spell the end for our technology.
Now I don;t give up easily and so I began to look into this new product. It was so radical that is was hard for us old timers to understand it completely. At that moment I became a 'Conspiracy" advocate and I have not stopped since then. Many of the things we used then and now have a history of development, enhancement and ultimately leading to new products. Chips, the microwave oven, memory metal and others throw these theories out of the window.
This brings me forward some 4 decades and things have not changed. Technology now changes almost every 6 months. Most of the new gadgets are based on previous ones just made better and with more mind bogglers.
And so I was left behind like many hundreds of us were. I made several attempts to catch up, but as I got older and younger and younger people outshone me. I knew it was time to stop the madness and just be happy with what I had.
We now have texting, video messaging , Facebook, tweeter, you tube, Skype,  Google, googling and now Google+, URL: This new endeavor was launched to be the next Facebook. It is not based on text but video connections to friends and face to face conversations. Google allowed outside programmers to play with Google Plus and along came "Hang Ten"
Hang ten is a means of having a corporate size video conferencing at no cost (not taking into consideration that a web camera, and audio devices are needed) The latest innovation is to have scheduled broadcasts by persons having special subject matters.
This is were I come in again. I'm in the process in starting my own channel on Hang Ten with the subject matter at this time being writing, publishing and marketing novels. I will keep everyone informed when we go on the air for the first time. I'm trying to encourage my Facebook Friends to come on board but as expected of the 146 friends I claim only 5 answered me and only one said yes. Makes you wonder who really is your friend. I grant you other than through photos I can't tell you what my friends look like nor have I heard their voices. Or most of all if they are who they say they are. Food for Thought. If you have any interest please get in touch with me. Would love to have you and most of all I can call you my friend and mean it.
'Til later. Stay strong and smile, we will prevail. God Bless you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The sky is not falling but the world is changing.

Post Military Years

Excuse me while I pull up my soap box a little closer to the microphone, take a sip of water, get my mind in gear and let the words roll off my tongue. Now, I am not one of those conspiracy theory nuts, but some things get me to wonder what has had a hand in it to make it this way.

When I finished my days in the Air Force of these here United States of America, I left with a plan, a plan that was so tight there was no room to wiggle. I came home, chilled a few days and listened to my family bitching because I was still unemployed and finally hit the pavement. I think even my car knew where we were headed to. When I arrived at my future place of employment, I looked in the mirror, checked myself out and took the most important steps in my life. Once in the building the Personnel Director, as he was known at the time, handed me an application, offered me a pencil but I took my pen out of my jacket pocket, sat down and did my thing. I filled out every question completely. Something I had learned in the service: Leave no stone unturned. That's what gave me my Top Secret clearance so fast. When I was all done, I walked to the receptionist and handed her my paperwork. She instructed me to take a seat until the Director looked over my application and called me into his office. Nothing different between civilian life and the military: Hurry up and wait. After sitting there for some time and growing older, the Director came out, sat down on the sofa next to me and had one question."Son", he said, " it says here in Question One that you are not a US Citizen?" "Yes Sir", was my reply. He looked at me and said: "I'm sorry but I cannot hire you. We work mainly for the Department of Defense and are only allowed to hire citizens." I looked at him dumbfounded, pulled myself together and spoke. " Sir, I don't mean to blow my own whistle, but I probably know your equipment better than anyone in here. I have worked and used all of your systems. I have send your company numerous technical changes to your equipment that was then incorporated into the system, and you can't hire me?' He shook his head, thanked me for coming, stood up and walked back to his office. Well my plan was shattered, maybe I should have had a back-up plan. If this happens, walk away go to the Russian Embassy and offer your services to them. They don't care what citizenship you have, only the information.

But I am a Patriot, I love my adopted country no matter what happens and I will find another street paved with gold that has my name on it. And so I went to the unemployment office. In those days they actually had a veteran working there that would help people like me. The old chap convinced a former grunt to give me a job in his company and so my janitorial career started with Fabri-Tek, Inc. They manufactured  memory that went into computers that took up a whole room. That, however did not concern me. I was in charge of emptying the trash, sweep the floors and mop when necessary. Oh, and don't forget to make sure those sanitary napkin holders in the Ladies Toilet are full. Unbeknown  to the company I did empty the trash cans, but I did not put the trash into the dumpster. Well, not the same day. During my breaks (remember in the 60's the laws said that you had to have a 10 minute break twice a day, plus lunch) I would take the papers, read them and sort them by importance. See, I was going to Fabri-Tek College on a scholarship from Fabri-Tek. Now you're asking yourself: "Why". Well, you never know when somebody leaves and they need someone else to step into his slot. Problem was the company was so good, no-one wanted to leave. So I had to create a hardship for someone and I soon found my candidate. In retrospect I must say this, I was always taught to give the company their money's worth of work. Our Quality Control Manager was not of the same opinion. Because of his lack of enthusiasm, shipment went out late, which cost the company precious dollars. I made it my mission to cause this individual to quit and me take his spot. Took me six months.

I had arrived where I wanted to be. Work is work, the product was new to me. I had worked with electron or vacuum tubes, some transistors, diodes, resistors and capacitors. Plus of course transformers in various sizes depending on the equipment you worked on. Now I no longer worked with many of these components other than in the testers used to evaluate our product in a pass or fail scenario. Fabri-Tek manufactured ferrite memory cores. What drove the electronics industry was speed. In the Air Force we know that a delay of seconds making an enemy on radar could cost us our life. When I was the janitor, Fabri-Tek produced the A6080 core. This stood for a core that took on a size of .00060 inches and had a speed supposedly of 80 nano seconds. In actuality it was much slower. We employed mechanical presses bought as scrap from Bayer Aspirin Company to press the ferrite powder into donut shaped cores. It was the job of my department to sample test the finished product and if passed our standards the cores would be on their way to Hong Cong, a British Colony at that time. Here they were strung with 4 wires in a plane 64 rows by 64 columns. This required 4096 cores. Hence it became known as a 4K memory plane.

Are you bored yet reading all this jargon? Well, I was. So I created myself a new job. Product Development. I took a small corner in my Quality Control shop and became R&D.

Tomorrow I will continue the purpose of this lecture as it pertains to not only myself but also to each of you every day in your life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Diagnosis: PTSD

Someone once told me that 'We are merely a threat in the tapestry of life. We have a beginning, an end, sometimes we break during our time when we are woven, at which time we either are repaired or sometimes we are tied into a knot with another threat, this is marriage. But when the spool runs out our life is at its end'
Friends our spool is getting lighter, make the most out of it!

My last post was my second encounter with the tragedies of the Vietnam War. The blog consisted of Chapter 8 of my book Force of Fate - Letters to Oma. I always understood that what happened to me was not the result of an assignment, TDY or other connected excursion. It was the boredom of the type of assignment I was experiencing that caused me to seek out friends and fun. In the mean time Fate had other ideas for me. Certainly my first day trip to Vietnam was exciting and fun. It was a life lesson without many twists and turns. The second day-trip was the exact opposite. From the arrival at Da Nang to my departure some 22 hours later. Fate threw everything possible at me. This became a life-changing trip. My stepfather had trained me years earlier to be the best soldier, in retrospect a killing machine. After boot camp I was asked many times why I did not become a sniper and even today my answer is the same; The US Government decided  my Fate the day I raised my hand and became a soldier. No matter what I did , right or wrong, there was no deviation from their expected goals. How many soldiers have you heard of that struck a superior officer and remained in the service of Uncle Sam? Probably not many, but I was told to be more careful.

So time passes and I return home and slowly I sink into a place that is dark, bare, cold and lonely for me. After 4o years it takes a military friend and my wife to convince me to go to the VA for treatment. Reluctantly I go and I begin a regiment of psychological treatments augmented with constant changes of doctors. No sooner did I take to a doctors and he or she would be transferred somewhere else. Finally in 2010, I had a psychiatrist and a psychologist which I trusted enough to confide in. The psychiatrist was the first to wonder if it was PTSD that I was suffering from? Of course being a proud man I denied it to myself every chance I got. Some notes were made in my medical records and upon my next visit with my psychologist the subject was brought up and I was instructed that I would begin a 12 visit program to address my problem.
It all began with my "Stuck Points". I had to go home think about them and write them down. That's better said than done. The dog ate my homework. So when I arrived for my first encounter, I had not written one line. I had no 'stuck points'. So the doctor began writing down my problems and each time she wrote a line, I just smiled. She knew me better than my wife. OK, so you call them stuck points, to me they are survival points. Her answer was: Why do you need survival points now? You are home, you are safe. " Doc, have you picked up a paper lately or turned on the TV, we are far from safe. " That didn't phase her, she continued and ended up with a long dozen. I was to focus on these and change my outlook. By week seven some points stuck with me or perhaps I became unstuck from them. On of them did not budge, I could not stop it from blaming myself for the death of my best friend.

For those who read my previous blog, you will remember that after I returned to base aboard the Spooky, I waited for my friend to return. Than did not happen. When automatic beacon signals were picked up in the jungle a Search and Rescue Mission was initiated. Pulling some strings I ran out to the helicopter only to be told that I could not travel on this mission without proper equipment. Flak jacket, helmet and a M-16. They held the chopper until I returned and we were airborne. When we arrived at the crash site, the VC had moved their prisoners to a nearby hiding place. When the chopper landed and we disembarked we heard gunfire coming from a path nearby. Without retelling the entire story let me just say this. Since that day I have asked myself constantly why him, why not me. Then the guild would strike: was it my fault, because I held up the helicopter because I was not prepared and that caused the loss of life? I might sleep a little better because with medicine and constant discussions I have done away with some of my nightmares but the one question still hangs over me. Was it my fault.

In 2012 another change took place when a new psychiatrist came to our little outpost here in Delaware. Reluctantly I went to my first appointment with him. Now friends you all know by now that I am 100% German. Born in the Vaterland, raised there and I speak the language. My name gives me away, especially if whoever sees it is a history buff. In 1945, when I was given this name I was only the second child born in Germany with such a name. The first was the son of Rudolf Hess. I will let you research who he was. I stay out of politics. Turns out my new doctor is of Jewish descend. With these facts people right away thought we would have problems. Not so, at all. He was very professional at first until he got to know me and our conversation became personal. At one point he read in my records that I still suffered from 'self blame'. He looked at me and asked point blank: " Why do you blame yourself?" Now I am used to have psychiatrists ask me question and then ask me to give them the answer. He was different, he looked at me with a frown on his face. When he spoke again these were the words that came out of his mouth: "Did you ever think that had you been prepared and the helicopter was on time that your helicopter may have been shot down and all of you may have died that day?' I almost fell off my chair. The fact that he answered his question was unique but the answer itself was so to the point. Its taken me 6 months to accept this theory but since I can't answer it with any certainty, I have to accept its possibility. Blame is not gone but has been diminished. maybe 2013 will be better for me and I can make it better for those who care about me.

Maybe now I can allow love to come into my heart again and let it surround me with a new light.