Here's what's been going on with my life for the past few months.
First, my friend Jim and I have ventured forth and started a podcast. It's called the Low Barrier Podcast which is titled to parody the reality that everyone is starting one. I mean, podcasts have been a thing for at least 10 years in general, but as of late, a lot of people are firing up microphones to join the fun.
To me, as saturated as the craft is, it's a lot like a more formalized and technically savvy version of 1970s CB radio fad. About 90 percent of the people, like Jim and I, talk about nothing with any kind of gravity. We are trying, like everyone else of course, to move into a sphere above by improving show quality and maintaining a consistency. We are now 11 episodes in and with much room for improvement in future episodes.
I'm also moving soon. It's to a new neighborhood literally blocks away from the Canadian border, so for the next two months or so I'm going to be engaged in box moves, some house repairs, and all the usual hassles, stress, and frustrations that come with it.
I am anguished about leaving the trendy neighborhood I've lived in for the past 3 years, but alas, most of the potential good time in it was ruined by the pandemic. Though, in any event, it became pretty clear to me that living in stairs-distance to all the area bars was leaving me nothing more than at risk of being arrested every weekend.
Originally I imagined myself as some sort of artisan joining the most eclectic neighborhood in Buffalo. In reality, I wound up the annoying drunk barfly even steep tips couldn't abate the bar tenders who had to deal with me.
I gave being hip at 50+ a chance and we'll just say, it didn't work out.
Now I'll have a chance to focus on supporting a home with someone I love and want to be there for, making up for some lost time I hope. Not to mention, all while enjoying my hobby of over-securing a large property with webcams. Because, yeah, I have that obsession and my new flat gives me a platform to express it with.
In fact, my move will require me to bring down the Buffcam overlooking Allen Street and Delaware Avenue. If you are someone with an interesting vantage point in the Allentown neighborhood, reach out to me to discuss how you can continue hosting the camera and keeping the view alive.
And, it looks changes may be in store on the work front, too, but it's too soon to tell how and in what capacity. Recent events there have expanded my range of support expertise and value, and I think it's going to lead to greater things if not more challenging ones.
By Dave for Personal Blog.
A one James W. Ricketts molested me for about a year in 1979-80 or so. Not necessarily you, if you happened to be named James W. Ricketts, and not necessarily a James W. Ricketts that you may know. There could be several James W. Ricketts.
Some 40 years later, yes, he probably looks exactly like this guy.
The James W. Ricketts I am outing today lived in Ft. Lauderdale Florida in the cited time period, on Southwest 19th Street, just ajacent to I-95. For a year, he would pick me up from my then-home in the city, and take me to his house (and once his mother's) where he would go free, following a classical grooming process. This guy from my perspective of him in this world, was a classical textbook pedophile.
I believe I have a rich file on this guy chronicling a period from which he apparently left the VP bank position he held at the time, to opening and operating a barber shop in Dania Beach, Florida. From there it's a little ambiguous what he might have been doing with his time but following what I suspect to be the matched online records, he's done pretty well for himself financially.
He married his husband, who I suspect is his one-time roommate from the period I knew him, but which is speculation and irrelevant. I could reasonably assume the worst about him too since, while "sleeping over", I was in Mr. Rickett's bed while the roommate slept in the next room several instances over, but there's nothing to indicate in my mind he tangibly knew what was going on. A different time that it was, one might believe it to be innocuous. But of course, I'm probably being generous.
I believe my James W. Ricketts was the same person once criminally processed in North Carolina, and if so, I can certainly guess the nature of the crime. North Carolina doesn't provide as many details online as so many other jurisdictions do, so I can only guess. On the whole though, it is worth noting, he appears to have avoided any sex offender registry I've so far checked.
This James W. Ricketts came into my (our) life following the very disorganized period following my mother's divorce during those years. My mother had outreached to the Big Brother, Big Sisters program and tried to match us. It was an honorable and no doubt a fruitful move for millions of kids in equal situations, but in this case, it took a pretty dark and horrific turn.
The organization could not match us immediately, so there was a waiting list. Someone representing the program came to our home and interviewed each of us (meaning, my brother and my sister). I remember being walked around the block by this person being asked and answering all types of questions designed to help the matching process. Then he left and that was it.
While on the waiting list, however, the organization apparently ran intermediate outings and get-togethers such as cookouts and the like, and they sent invitations to myself and my siblings. On the day "of" one of the people who was not "exactly" a participating "Big Brother" per se, but, was apparently helping to chaperone everyone, was James W. Ricketts. We called him Jim.
Jim handled the day's events, but after, kept in touch. Keeping in touch led to him developing a relationship further, that included taking me out on weekends. That keeping in touch led to him getting physical, ever gradually, until all that keeping in touch led to touch, touch, touch.
It was awkward, weird, uncomfortable, and I took evasive action every Saturday to avoid it. He would try to schedule our outings or sleepovers together on that day of each week, but if I successfully managed to avoid doing that somehow, I might just as easily come home any given Saturday evening and find his car idling in our driveway, waiting ambush-style.
Uck. And as a 12-year-old (maybe 11) kid with the cordial blessing of the friendly interactions he had with my mother through his open car window, naive and blind to such audacious evil herself, I would go.
No I did not "tell" anyone then. And through most of my early to mid adulthood I did not tell anyone in authority. It was not until 2006 that I tried a round of calls starting with FDLE (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), the Ft. Lauderdale Police, and the Broward County Sherriff's Office. I was inspired to finally act because at the time there was a political scandal involving a Senator I believe, and the details were jostling enough to make me realize how overdue for something so serious, and so potentially lethal to the well-being of another child, was.
And, probably part more true-crime-story fantasy than pertinent, James W. Ricketts once showed me a pair of little boy underwear belonging to someone much younger than me at the time. The thought crossed my mind while making these calls that this guy could be the Adam Walsh killer. Same era, same place, same sick behavior, and apparently off anyone's radar, so, maybe. Of course today they believe they have that guy, but, in 2006 I suggested it to one of the parties I had called.
I sounded a little over the top to myself at the time, so I didn't press that angle, but I did want to let police know this guy existed. I was a little over the top in suspecting an Adam Walsh tie-in, granted, but here's the thing: I remember the last day he picked me up from the hotel my family had temporarily moved into, just before we moved to Houston, Texas.
He picked me up and he just drove. None of the usual pedo-warmth, none of the engagement, just me sitting in the passenger's seat and him driving around the city to no place in particular. He was thinking, and, looking back, to me, it seems clear about what: It was the last time he would have access to and control over me. Could he live the rest of his life knowing I was out there with the truth, or could something else happen to prevent that?
So for me, the Adam Walsh potential connection wasn't entirely crazy, but I didn't want to eclipse the more actual and certain report I was making with a fantastical add-on. What I know is this guy likes to play with kids, and only maybe thinks about murdering them.
The problem with action turned out to be that I would have to prove locations and times etc., and properly report to the right jurisdiction. One particular deputy officer who I seemed to have noted as "Nitello" in my notes, invited me to call him back if I wasn't getting anywhere, and I am ashamed to say for all the time and focus it would have taken to do anything with, I did not accept that invitation when as it would prove to be, I didn't get anywhere.
And so, while freely discussing it to my friends and family since that limp report effort, I decided it was otherwise best to avoid the work of it, the legal trouble, and the risk of retribution that some upper middle class rich guy might decide to launch.
I still must feel that way because I am not waging a "campaign" against James W. Ricketts, even now in making this post. Rather, I am taking note that a man of his age must be ready to check out soon. At last check, yes, the guy is pushing his early-80s. There's data lag of course, he might even be dead today for all I know, having checked out before the "BeenVerifieds" of the web have had a chance to update their records.
I am taking note and just letting him know, or his legacy, that he didn't get away with it for all eternity, to the ignorance of everyone. In his final years on earth let him deal with the potential for people to match this post specifically to him. I might have just kept the lid on this, I am certainly not angry, and I don't feel "scarred" or permanently destroyed by him. Not sure what's up with that, I always feel like I should have been shooting up with drugs of the heroin sort by now, or having long since committed suicide because something bad happened to me of such scale, but I don't.
In making this post, I guess I just agree that I can't share the ambivalence to his favor. Doing that somehow marginalizes me and makes me impotent for the real things we have to stand up against in this world, in the time we have. I have to face the rest of my life knowing I matter and his crime selfish, and I have to advance the charge, risk and all. Should I fall back and live blissfully shrugging as I have, or should I do my part to re-balance the universe, possibly even to my darkest peril.
Decisions, decisions. *click*
By Dave for Personal Blog.
I'm on vacation this week but it's a pretty dry one. I've not arranged any trips, and I certainly wouldn't have the cash for anything too exotic in the first place.
I go into this peeved because a presentation at work I was responsible for blew up just before I left. I had spent weeks preparing for it, complete with redundancies, but in the end the technical gods had their say. The key bomb was that the presentation computer rebooted on its own (peeling back this onion, I learned that the computer was inadvertently classified as one that should reboot, versus what I specifically coded it not to do because, hey, presentation machine), sending everything else careening. There was a last minute requirement change that fell outside the recovery dry-runs as well that exasperated the situation, though fortunately there was enough of said dry runs that in fact I could recover and at least the presentation could continue in a general sense. But, it was clumsy and we lost our remote audience. Argh! There were subsequent presentations which went smoothly but I didn't want to go into these days off grumbling over any of them, but here we are. Grumble grumble.
I'm on day 2 of the "days off" and so far I've spent most of the non-roosting time (read: sleeping, lounging, drinking coffee), coding improvements to how my One Minute Webcams refresh.
Previously, my camera self-refreshing pop-out pages did a complete reload about once a minute. I literally mean the whole box and its content refreshed. That's fine but kind of cheap. I wanted a cleaner more professional way.
I'm not a professional coder and the new process initially did not work. I tested and proved that, mechanically insofar as the code was behaving, it was doing its thing. But the image itself was not changing from the current to the new. And there was nothing to explain it.
The hunch was spot on and the trick worked. You can see the results yourself by opening the Allen Street and Delaware Avenue One Minute Webcam pop-up refresh box at Buffcam, (or my own Live Webcam). The process is much cleaner now.
If this were a popular commenting forum with real exposure, chances are a lot of coders would jump in and try to point out a better, smarter, way. I get it. But the fact is I gotta make do on the limited smarts I got, and this solution worked.
Other than that gratifying evolution of one of my coding projects, I hit the bar downstairs for some social roosting. I am "practicing", and with success, trying to moderate my behavior in bars while drinking. This is to say, I am actually moderating any drinking that I do because what I have a tendency to do is to pick up drinking, or "binge drinking", the buzzier and more intoxicated that I get. This leads to so many problems, starting with I hate being "that guy" in the bar, the spending that gets out of control, and a few other tawdry things which I am not compelled to willfully confess to a public blog, but yeah.
Moderation is key because I so firmly believe in bar and "night life " culture, and it is something I deeply enjoy. It fits with my social worldview and, no, the fact that I am an unappealing 55-year-old dude who traverses alone, usually, does not dissuade me in the least. I enjoy the process as a tourist mining for serendipitous contact with people and bar-side friends. It can be risky, but that risk can also be managed, and I know that I can, and seem to be proving it.
I'm also using the time to tighten up some organizational issues, personally, financially, household, and with Dave the Web Guy Innovations, LLC. Organizing is also a cheap soothing fun it turns out, I just never get the real opportunity to do it. Me organizing things with the sun beaming in and smooth jazz in the background is pretty nice.
And then, finally, I think there is the blogging. I relaunched Wilkes-Barre Rail about two weeks ago and it, as well as Tampa Rail, need some serious updating. Both websites deal with transit rail evolutions in the regions they cover, and there have been a lot of developments in wake of Biden's infrastructure plan, as well with private high speed rail connecting to Tampa via Brightline. I suspect there have to be people in both areas wondering where I am with all those incredible developments, but unfortunately the challenge of not only monitoring all that stuff, simply finding the energy to write about any of it, is daunting. I have picked up too much with too much youthful optimism regarding my ability to contribute to the "feed", and it's forcing me to either consider giving it up or doing it more efficiently and doing it.
If you know me, one of my driving mantras is, I'm always the programmer, never the programmed. In the end I will not be dictated by conventional weights. If they exist, I will refactor them to my time advantage. That being said then, which do you think I will do? ;)
By Dave for Personal Blog.
I have a couple major fronts in my life I can talk about: Work (largely talk-constrained because it's a corporation, but if I were free to, would dominate the blog with chatter about my daily strife, as just about anyone would); my love life, in which I celebrate my singledom as victory, and otherwise tend to spend a lot of "fantasy time", mixed with indecision about the rightness of having destroyed my previous relationship; and finally, my various "projects" which are more like little periods of episodic obsessions that quickly dissipate.
I am also very interested in the story leading up to me being here and now, and there are many aspects of that to share. One would need a blog to do it, so... ;)
By Dave for Personal Blog.
Fake news - I am not a crook.
For those who have followed me on social media or through this personal website, through my many iterations of accounts, de-friend sweeps, and feed resets, you know that each year I post a statement of identity correction in an effort to assuage concerns of incidents and criminal history that have attached to my name thanks to a persistent imposter in Florida.
Since many employers and dating candidates, and landlords, first bee-line to things like Facebook to check out a prospect (an understandable universal practice, especially among you ladies, but, which for some bizarre reason can turn a guy into a creep if he confesses to doing the same), I see this tactic as a last line of defense in people erroneously harboring those concerns.
If this practice of mine is not actually helping, at least it psychologically puts me at ease. If people continue to believe or suspect negative search findings despite the clear case and evidence of judicial correction, chances are it's probably an irreversible political position meaning that it's "important that I be bad" -- not a genuine one based on a tangible relationship. No public disclosure is going to clear that up, but I feel I've done the best I can to put them into a position of clinging to a fallacy, which does make me feel better.
I usually post/circulate that disclaimer in January of each year, but today I am posting a variant of this before then, for two reasons. One, I completely re-did this personal website and have not yet concocted a disclaimer page. It's kind of low priority and is a bit of work, though I will eventually do it. Posting it as an entry here at my blog and on my Facebook's reset feed will do the trick until then.
Second, I realize that even that disclaimer fails to take into account the phenomenon of the "records echo" that rings through services like MyLife and PeopleFinders like, forever.
My records have been successfully tackled and eliminated in the courts, sadly after too much damage, but better late than never. But they STILL exist in all the little background check services any employer or person cares to utilize. Even after all the work to mop up that mess, the slow burning disaster continues on. Gads.
So, ahead of January, I am posting this now. If you see crap like the above screenshot (an actual run of my name in PeopleFinders), none of it is real. It's fake news. Yes, it's true that if you follow me around with a camera and notebook you won't prove I'm a saint, which is true of anyone - and god knows I've stoked many an investigatory trajectory by nature of my unique wonderful being and saber rattling against strong institutions (particularly in Florida), which I would never trade away to be someone different. BUT I have never been arrested nor have I ever even approached such an event horizon in the crimes listed in the example.
I'll post my disclaimer in January which discusses and "proves" what I'm typing, but for now, here is the nonsense in background check services you may use that is not actually me that will tell you it is me.
By Dave for Personal Blog.
My car has this awesome advanced feature. It just about self-changes the oil by automatically draining it over the course of a few months thereby allowing me to fill it with new oil without going under it to loosen a pan or paying for an oil-change place to do it!
By Dave for Personal Blog.
So now that I have my shiny new blogging platform at hand I find myself thirsty for unique me-oriented content. Noting a lack of anything too special between watching bad sitcoms and chowing down on boxes of Lucky Charms, it occurs to me maybe now is time to update my explanation of this odd behavior, frequently caught on my webcam, and elsewhere:
Seriously, da F is that?
That is me "flapping". It's technically not "flapping", it's more like a soothing tickling of the back of my neck. I call it flapping because when I did this as a kid I did it full hand-hands-to-the-front which was by definition flapping. I literally flapped my hands.
Over time, this behavior was naturally admonished by my mom and dads, and subject to some degree of mocking from my dear siblings. The resulting pressure between the compulsion to do it and the shame and ridicule to not, gradually morphed the act into the somewhat compact and concealable act of "neck tickling". The vernacular of it as "flapping" nonetheless survived, as did the behavior itself, into modern adulthood.
I mostly do it while under stress, but I also do it while thinking rapidly about matters. It's like a mental tell I suppose. You can harmlessly refer to it as a "tic" if you like although I tend to think of tics as being more involuntary. This is not involuntary by my standard of the word, I crave doing it! I can get frustrated over time if I can't.
The medical genesis of this behavior is a wild card matter. Sure, it's the stuff of autism if you turn down the squelch on the meaning of that word (and sure, my mother claims a doctor made just such that suggestion, just as that and "Asperger" were coming to the fore).
My philosophy on the over-diagnosis of what is in my opinion, at some point of high functionality, a personality type, leads me to dismiss that. I'd sooner blame chomping on lead paint chips and messing up the wiring somewhere during my neurological developmental years.
I mean, okay, I happen to be great with computers and sure, there is that train thing I have going on, and maybe a few oddball obsessive fascinations here and there -- but, hey, like I said personality type.
Some dudes get high jumping from bridges while strapped to rubber bands and we don't say they have a contemporary buzzword affliction, do we? They're just adrenaline junkies! And for some reason, without a care for trains in the world, they are even admired.
So if you see me flapping on the webcam, or maybe roundabout at work or in the streets, do not be concerned. It just means I'm letting off mental steam if not processing an internal algorithm of some sort.
Now if you'll excuse me, I notice the second of my thirteen spoons (from the bottom of the stack) is slightly shifted to the left in the utensil drawer, and I absolutely have to correct it or there's gonna be a lot of flappin' going on!
By Dave for Personal Blog.
If a time traveler in 2010 had handed me a picture of 2020 me toting a shopping bag on my way TO the store ... while wearing a medical mask, I'd marvel LESS over the fact he was a time traveler!
And while I'm griping...
How horrifying is the "interviewer visit" that the prospect of one is wielded like some kind of threat? I mean, are they gonna show up with baseball bats?
By Dave for Personal Blog.
By Dave for Personal Blog.