Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review: KARAPAX Ice Crystal Case for iPhone 8 Plus / iPhone 7 Plus from Anker

New review!  The  KARAPAX Ice Crystal Case for iPhone 8 Plus from Anker.

As you know, I am privileged to be a tester for Anker products.  I haven't had any disappointments yet, and this one holds up to that standard.

It fits the iPhone 8 plus or the iPhone 7plus.  I used mine on the 7plus.

The phone case is great! it is scratch resistant (eventho it does show fingerprints).  The lip around the edge does help protect the screen if I lay it down screen side down.  

This has a good feel to it and doesn't feel as if it will slip out of my hand all the time, unlike other smooth cases I have had. The cut outs for the speakers are perfect and no sound quality problems.

I have had many friends comment on it already.  They are amazed that they can also get it at Amazon for such a low price. KARAPAX Ice Crystal Case

All in all, another great product from Anker.  it is a basic case, but looks nice.  I know in the business world, I like seeing a nice phone case than one that looks like it should belong to a 12 year old little girl.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Today I want to post my review of the Anker PowerLine + 3ft USB-C to USB-A 2.0 charging cords.
Let me start by saying that I have been using Anker products for a few years now.  I have never found a better company that makes such great products.  This follows with these cords.  I received two of these cords that are the perfect length to use on my car.

These charging cords are great!  They charged a nearly dead phone to 100% in a very short amount of time.  The plug is a perfect size that it fit my phone case without a problem.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Academy Life: Jack's Valley II

Explanation of Jacks Valley Activities

This is an explanation of Jacks valley Activities that I borrowed from the Webguy blog.

Real activities in Jacks Valley start on Day 2.  This is when they
begin cycling through all of the activities and courses.  You'll
eventually notice that they go to the same courses more than once.
That is because the first time is to get "acquainted with" the course
and what is expected.  The final time they go through a course is for
squadron competition.

Each year, WebGuy posts an explanation and rating of each
activity/course.  I've copied the entry from last year and place it
Smile  Smile   Smile
Throughout 2nd BCT, the Basics will complete a number of "Courses" and activities. I will describe them below. On some courses, they will go through the same course a number of times. This allows them to get introduced to a course, learn it, then attempt to perform on it at max capaciity. (An example is the Obstacle Course)

Assault Course (Official Description) 
Mission: The Assault Course will teach hand-to-hand combat skills and rifle fighting techniques while allowing basic cadets to practice these elements in controlled scenarios and pugil-stick competitions. The second-half of the course will require basic cadets to demonstrate these skills by completing the pugil-stick competition and negotiating a course of 18 obstacles/stations and demonstrating hand-to-hand and rifle fighting techniques in a controlled, but mentally and physically challenging environment. The course is designed to assess basic cadets' mental and physical stamina and confidence.
WebGuy Translation:
You run around and hit stuff with your rifle. Then, for the pugil-stick competition, you get padded sticks and a helmet and you smack other basics .
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Assault Course is Negative 50.
Pugil-Stick Competition is 8 if you are landing blows, but Negative 8 if you are taking them.

Here you get to wear not only a stylish helmet, but also a bright orange mouthguard. (Caked in mud after slogging thru the trenches.)

CATM (Combat Arms Training and Maintenance)
Mission: The course will train basic cadets on the nomenclature, assembly/disassembly, and safe operation of the Colt M-16A2 rifle.  Basic cadets will fire the Air Force Qualification Course (AFQC). If basic cadets earn an expert rating for the M-16 AFQC, they will be authorized the wear of the USAF small arms expert ribbon.
WebGuy Translation
You get to shoot stuff.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
CATM is 7.

Confidence Course
Mission: The Confidence Course will develop and assess basic cadets' self confidence and physical capabilities by guiding them, as individuals and teams, through a selected group of 15 obstacles which vary in height and difficulty. The course will require all basic cadets to demonstrate physical dexterity, teamwork, and cohesion to achieve successful outcomes.
WebGuy Translation
Climb around on high obstacles with classmates.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Confidence Course is 8

Leadership Reaction Course
Mission: The Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) will safely provide basic cadets experiences in functional leadership, effective followership, group and individual problem-solving, and group dynamics by working through 6 exercise scenarios. Assigned cadre will provide critiques after scenario completion to enhance the learning experience.
WebGuy Translation
Problem solving.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Leadership Reaction Course is 8

Self-Aid and Buddy Care Course
Mission: The Self-Aid and Buddy Care (SABC) Course will train basic cadets on the principles of SABC so they can satisfactorily demonstrate injury recognition, response, treatment, and transportation in a variety of situations. The training will culminate in a station-oriented exercise to test these skills in a field environment.
WebGuy Translation
You learn all that icky First Aid stuff. Necessary, but not pleasant.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Self-Aid is 2

Airmanship Day
Mission: To provide motivational and informative airmanship displays for basic cadets.
WebGuy Translation
Go hang out at the airfield all day and learn about the Academy's airmanship programs up close.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Airmanship Day is 8

Here are some shots on the parachuting side of the airfield.  Here are some basics getting off the OV-18B Twin Otter aircraft after having gone up to jump altitude.

Everyone gets to go up in a glider, whew, that's a lot!  No wonder they're there all day!
Let's relive a play by play, shall we?
First, Basic gets in the glider...
 (Again Dustin isn't in the action shots..=(  )

Then Basic shows some enthusiasm...

Next, Basic buckles up!

Then the upperclassman behind the Basic goes through the checklist which includes ensuring all the controls work.  The upperclassman will be controlling the glider, as the Basic experiences the controls moving.

Next, Basic must look cool while getting additional instructions from the upperclassman.

Then the Tow Plane gets in position.

Then the glider is connected to the Tow Plane.

Then they'r off!
Obstacle CourseMission: The Obstacle Course will teach and require basic cadets to negotiate 17 physically-challenging obstacles. It is designed to assess their physical fitness, agility, and confidence and increase awareness of personal capabilities.
WebGuy Translation
Climb, crawl, jump over and under obstacles. Think "Officer and a Gentleman" and war movies.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Obstacle Course is 4

Latrine Details
WebGuy Translation
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Latrine Details are Negative 10 (Note: This is still better than the Assault Course)
Operation Warrior
Mission: OPERATION WARRIOR will train basic cadets on basic individual and team ground combat skills in accordance with USAF lesson plans and AFM 10-100, Airman's Manual. Skills will be assessed during training and highly controlled tactical scenarios.
WebGuy Translation
You get to play war like you did when you were growing up. Woohoo!
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Operation Warrior is 9

Warrior Photos
Individual photos of Basics will be taken.
WebGuy Translation
You get to "strike a pose" (thanks Madonna) and be Rambo.
WebGuy Rating (Fun Level Scale 1 - 10)
Warrior Photo is 7. Parents think it is 10.

Academy Life: Jack's Valley

I have been so busy these past few days that I haven't blogged about anything since Dustin marched out to Jack's Valley.
Jacks Valley is a 3,300 acre training complex where the Basics will
spend the majority of 2nd BCT. The location is the valley north of
North Gate Boulevard. They go out there, pitch big tents, and camp out. 
What do they do out there? Remember when we were young and watched
movies like Private Benjamin, Stripes, Officer and a Gentleman, etc?
All of the running over obstacles; falling in the mud; crawing through
dirt. That's it!
Below is a picture showing where Jacks Valley is in relation to the Cadet Area.

The Basics marched out of the Academy on July 11th. The Basics arrived in Jacks Valley, received some opening remarks
from the Commandant, and then got to work setting up the place.  Of
course, many of the main structures will already be set-up - storage
facilities; latrines - since these are permanent wood and/or steel

The Basics have to set-up the tents they will sleep in.  On the
ground, there are already concrete slabs.  On the slabs, their tent is
sitting folded.

Their duffel bags will be pre-positioned in their designated squadrons
area.   Here you see a shot of the duffel bags from two years ago.  In the back right of
the photo, you see the letter "D" on a wooden bin.  In the bin are the
tent poles for the Demons.  They will have some of the Demon basics get
these poles while the others unfold and lay out the tent properly.  Then,
they will begin the set up.


These tents remind me a lot of M*A*S*H.

At least I can be assured that he was able to sleep while at Jack's Valley.  He didn't have to worry about messing up the carefully made bed!  LOL

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Academy Life: The End of BCT 1

10 July 2010 (Saturday) 

0430 Reveille
0530 - 0630 Breakfast
0630 - 0700 Transit to Athletic Fields
0630 - 0700 Chapel
0700 - 1100 Field Day
1100 - 1130 Transit
1130 - 1230 Shower
1230 - 1300 Transit
1300 - 1830 Doolie Day In
1830 - 1930 Transit/Briefing
1930 - 2030 Pack for Jacks Valley
2030 - 2130 Hygiene/Personal Time
2130 TAPS

09 July 2010 (Friday) 

0430 Reveille
0500 - 0600 Breakfast
0600 - 0630 Transit
0630 - 0730 Chapel
0730 - 1030 Gen Cox Change of Command
1030 - 1130 Transit to Field Day Area/Practice March-on for Field Day
1130 - 1300 Transit/1st BCT Awards Ceremony/Lunch
1300 - 1730 Afternoon Activities
1730 - 1830 Dinner
1830 - 1900 Transit
1900 - 2000 Heritage Speaker
2000 - 2100 Pack for Jacks Valley
2100 - 2130 Hygiene/Personal Time
2130 TAPS

08 July 2010 (Thursday) 

0430 Reveille
0500 - 0600 Breakfast
0600 - 1200 Morning Activities
1200 - 1330 Formation and Lunch
1330 - 1730 Afternoon Activities
1730 - 1830 Dinner
1830 - 1930 Heritage Speaker
1930 - 2030 Briefing on Proper Wear of Blue Uniform
2030 - 2100 Hygiene
2100 TAPS

07 July 2010 (Wednesday) 

0430 Reveille
0445 - 0600 PT
0600 - 0700 Hygiene
0700 - 0800 Breakfast
0800 - 1200 Morning Activities
1200 - 1330 Formation and Lunch
1330 - 1730 Afternoon Activities
1730 - 1830 Dinner
1830 - 1930 Change into Intramural Uniform/Transit
1930 - 2030 Intramurals
2030 - 2100 Transit Height & Weight Checks
2100 - 2200 Hygiene/Personal Time
2200 TAPS
Well I finally was able to talk to Dustin on Saturday.  This was the last day of BCT 1.  They had Field Day that morning, then the afternoon was given to the Basics to be able to call home or whomever they wanted.  Dustin called me the instant his hand touched his phone (which they gave back to him just for this afternoon). This is what is called Doolies Day In (DDI). A Doolie is a Fourth Year Cadet.  DDI is when the basics get the time to eat pizza and sundaes and drink cokes. Its a special treat for them.  Apparently there used to only be one Doolies Day Out (DDO), but because of the H1N1 virus last year, they had to keep the basics at the Academy, DDI, and then let them have the DDO at the end of BCT.  I am not too sure if there is a DDO this year.  Still trying to find a schedule.
So Dustin said he was doing ok, but really tired. He doesn't sleep in his bed since it would take too much time to remake it to their standards in the amount of time he has each morning, so he says he sleeps in a chair.  He tried the floor but it was just too uncomfortable. He said once he gets into his dorm room for the academic year he may sleep in a sleeping bag. (good grief!) He really misses everyone, but said he will still stick it out.  I tried to give as much encouragement as I could.  He had received a few letters by then.  In fact the day he received them I saw a picture of him giving me the "sign" that he had the letters. Our sign is a tap on the side of the nose.  I adopted that way back when he had school performances or awards days to let him know I am there and love him and am proud of him.  See I don't believe in yelling or whistling at these events.  So very uncouth. 
I learned a lot about how the meals are conducted (another blog later).  They march incessantly.

Trying to tap his nose without being seen by the Cadre..LOL
He talked about being issued his "Blues" uniform.  this is the everyday uniform once the academic year begins.   He said he thinks he looks snazzy in it.  There are only one set of creases, on the shirt sleeves.  He then said, "Thank you SOOO much for teaching me how to iron!  At least I don't have to put in as many creases."  He is also teaching his roommate how to iron now too.

He did say that when he was issued his rifle for drill he felt really good because the drills are the same as what he did in NJROTC.  He said he is even teaching his fellow basics. His gun is named Leonardo. Yes apparently the rifles had names attached to them..LOL  He also talked about visiting the dentist and that his teeth were in bad shape.  He then told me, "At least they have a good dental plan!" 
It was hard to have to say goodbye, but I just gave him all my love and told him to take it one day at a time or one meal at a time if he needed to set the goal that way.  He marches out to Jack's Valley on Sunday for the second half of BCT. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blog Bog Down

Ok, so I haven't been on here for a while.  Since I posted last week I have flown to Philadelphia and back for an interview, spent 3 hours on the phone Saturday afternoon with Dustin, and spent copious amount of time beading an awl case.
It was a fairly good flight to Philly. Except for the kid behind me that kept kicking my chair every-so-often and the squalling kid in another row.  The company I was interviewing with flew me up and put me up in a hotel the night before. I am so glad that the hotel had shuttle service.  Saved me a bunch of cash.  Of course it is highway robbery that a coke costs $2.70 in the airport!  I could have had several 2 liter cokes for that, but of course you can't carry any liquid over 3 oz. thru the security point.  The hotel I stayed in was nice, but I couldn't sleep. Plus with the time difference, for a person who is a night owl in the Central Time Zone REALLY is a night owl in Eastern.  Got up plenty early and psyched myself up.  Once the car arrived (oh yeah, the company also provided car service) I was off thru the most beautiful countryside to the office. I think the 4 hours of interviews went well.  Lets just say that I feel a lot better about this one than I did the Chicago interview.  After all was said and done, took the car to the airport for the long wait for the flight.  Once on the plane we had a 1 hr wait on the runway.  Don't ask me why, but the line was backed up forever it seemed.  Finally got home after another 3:45 hr flight.  I was never so happy to be standing again.  At least all of the people I sat bedside were decent.
I really hope I get this job.  It has been very heartbreaking to be out of work for as long as I have been. The area up there is absolutely beautiful!  It reminds me a lot of the little area we were in in Washington.  Lots of trees and you can't see for 30 miles because it isn't flat like around here.  Of course, here I thought I was going up there to escape the heat, well it was 101 there while it was on in the 80's here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Academy Life: Uniforms

Just a quick note about the uniforms that the Basics will wear.  They are being issued different uniforms each day.  Be it their ABU's that they were issued on Inprocessing Day, or the PT uniform, the Parade Uniform or their Service Dress.  Yes they are even issued official jogging suits.. (oooo ahhh)

The basics have themselves measured for their parade uniforms.  Here's the long explanation.
Each year the Cadet Uniform Board meets.  This is where they decide what to add and subtract from the cadet uniforms.  I heard that the Parde Uniforms are tailor-made.  I always thought the parade uniforms were like all the other uniforms.  They simply gave you a parade coat and tailored it for you. 
Au contraire, Pierre!  These puppies are tailor-made!

Some other trivia about the parade uniforms.

I have to chuckle that they measure you for the parade uniform as a basic.  By now, you've likely lost weight.  They fit it to you exactly.  So, when you first get the uniform after basic when you've gained back a few pounds, it can be a bit snug for the first parade.  By the time senior year rolls around, sometimes it takes a crowbar and some Crisco to get into your parade uniform.

On the serious side, they do look awfully sharp.  I have to admit that I love the look of this uniform. If I am correct, the Seniors, or Firsties, wear the sash.  I also like how the females wear the same exact cover as the males.  One thing I think looks ridiculous in the other services. IMHO

Here's a moderately known fact.  When they were designing the Academy and the uniforms, they called on Cecil B. DeMille for help in designing the cadet uniforms. 

(I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!)