Crossing America

I left Minot on the fourth of January 2018 after having lived there for a year. My car was packed full of everything I could manage to fit into it. I then made my way to Southfield (MI) with the intention of staying with a cousin for a week or two. That didn’t work out as madam went rogue, so I checked into an AirBnB with a young couple. They had a couple of cats who mostly lived in their room. The bigger one was several years and wouldn’t give you the time of day. The young one was about 6 months or so and would make a dash for the couple’s room if you so much as looked at it. The apartment had two rooms and the room I stayed in was the AirBnB room and the single bathroom was shared. They gave me the run of the whole place which was nice. The only thing that was of concern (for their health) was that they smoked way too much – fortunately not inside the apartment – but even in the January “freeze” they made the trip to the balcony several times to go smoke when they were home.

After 10 days, I packed up once again and headed south to Indianapolis where I stayed with another cousin and his family. I slept on the couch in the living room throughout which suited me perfectly as it meant I could watch TV as much as I wanted. Of course I paid for my late nights when the kids boisterously get ready for school in the mornings. All these while, I kept churning out job applications like a mill. I finally got an invite for a job at HPE in Aplharetta (GA). After another 10 days or so I was back on the road. Checked into an AirBnB that had a curious set up. It was a fairly large house with three rooms upstairs. Two rooms including the one I stayed in shared a bath and the master had a bath en-suite. The ground floor had a kitchen and a fairly open area which was the living room. This had about 4 beds as it seems they were also had low-paying short staying tenants. There was a very young couple (late teens or so) that had sectioned off a part of the living room with a hanging sheet, and a couple of other guys also staying on the ground floor. I guess the AirBnB guests stayed upstairs. There was a lady as well as the person running the place on behalf of the actual host listed on the AirBnB website – he lived in the master bedroom. The house was in a quiet middle-upper class area and I understand people actually lease some of these vacant homes and then run them as AirBnB guest houses.

I thought the interview went well and after not getting any feedback from HPE after another week or so, I was back on the road to my big cousin’s place in North Carolina. It was while I was staying with my uncle that I got the invite for a video interview for the job with Oracle. I was interviewed by the lady (Ericka) who would be my manager and a colleague (John). The interview possibly lasted 15 to 20 mins but the questions were not particularly difficult. I got a job offer some days afterwards. Most days I drove to my aunt’s place in Charlotte (about 20 miles away) and spent the day with her.

After a couple of weeks, I set out across the country to Corona (CA) where I stayed another couple of weeks with another cousin. It was one of those new luxurious housing complexes with a swimming pool in the center of the courtyard. I never did make it into the swimming pool – I mostly watched TV all day with the intention of getting into the pool at least once before I left California – didn’t happen. Finally it was time for the last leg of my journey to Lehi (UT) where I resumed work. Excluding the local journey within each city where I had stayed, I had covered at least 5,300 miles and possibly closer to 6,000 miles all side trips factored in.

I have since then gone by air to New York (passport renewal) and Florida (on the job training), but to truly “cover” the country I need to (at least) get to Seattle or Portland at one end and maybe Maine at the other.


Don’t change

Don’t Change

I was talking to a friend on the phone as we walked into the “Ivie juice bar” in Orem. The lady behind the counter took our orders and I sat down to wait.
A lady walks out from the backroom to deliver a completed order to another sitting customer.
I got up once she returned with our order and engaged her in conversation. Something I wouldn’t have done in another life.
She laughed and noted that I cut off my friend in order to hand her my phone. She could see his picture on the screen. I said this was more important and he can always call me back. She appeared eager enough to give me her number. As she handed back my phone, my left hand which had been in my pocket up until that moment came out. Her eyes flashed very briefly at the hand and I saw her expression change ever so slightly.
I know that look and I know that smile that is a mixture of guilt and regret. May be it is 5% in my head, but I am certain it is 95% true.
I said I will call her as she walked away to which she nodded.
I sent a text the next day. No response.
I called two days after and let it ring until it went to voice mail. I didn’t leave any messages. There was no point.
You are different, you are special, why would you want to be normal when you were born to standout?
Don’t get me wrong, I subscribe to not being “normal”: be creative; be idiosyncratic; be colorful, be flowery; but be deformed (in any way) is not one of those normal you shouldn’t be. If I had the power, I would grow a normal hand with normal fingers. You would think at my age I would be used to it and sometimes I almost convince myself that I am, but events such as these are there to remind me that I am indeed different – not necessarily in a positive way.

Time proceeds without stopping and so must I – after all nothing is certain except death and taxes.

Dual-Booting Mac OSX and Windows on MacBookPro

NOTE: Thanks to @TGIK on the thread who came up with the solution.

System: MackBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011), Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 3000, SuperDrive


  • Purpose of this guide: Due to poor EFI support on the earlier MACs (think 2012 and earlier?), when Windows is installed in EFI mode, the audio card does not work (EFI boot mode exposes devices in a different way, which effectively leads to audio not working). This guide uses registry DSDT override in Windows to enable the audio card without using any third party bootloader so your Mac OSX is more or less still vanilla 🙂
  • I first tried to install Windows with BootCamp but got the “GPT/MBR wont install” issue after EFIbooting the Windows 8.1 USB.
  • I then converted the Hybrid GPT/MBR partition scheme the BootCamp had created to GPT with protected MBR by:
    (1) disabling SIP – boot the MAC while holding down command+R to get to OSX Recovery, start Terminal from the Utilities menu, run “crsutil disable”, restart the MAC.
    (2) download gdisk and install gdisk ( ), determine your disk device name (e.g., from Disk Utilities), update the partition by running gdisk against the disk, selecting x for advanced, type n, then type w to write, Y to accept changes.
    sudo gdisk /dev/disk0
    x (ENTER key)
    n (ENTER key)
    w (ENTER key)
    Y (ENTER key)
    (3) run gdisk again and check the output that the partition scheme is now listed as GPT with protected MR; quit gdisk
    (4) You may want to re-enable SIP (boot while holding Command+R to get into OSX Recovery, start Terminal from the Utilities menu, run “crsutil enable”, restart the MAC.
  • I installed Windows from the prepared USB (press Option key when booting and select the EFIboot – it should have a USB icon). I chose to reformat the partition I had created in Mac OSX for Windows in the installation wizard.
  • In Windows, I installed the BootCamp Drivers (The BootCamp Assistant should have copied it to the USB for you, otherwise download them from the Apple website). This enables enabled WiFi and everything else but with no audio and the audio device in device manager had the error “This device cannot start. (Code 10)”
  • I then found @TGIK’s solution thread on Apple’s Support Forum after which I did the following to get the audio to work:
  1. Boot into Mac OSX and use MaciASL software to dump your DSDT in OSX :
    Install and run MaciASL. From the MaciASL menu chose the save as disassembled DSL option e.g., with filename DSDT (MaciASL will tag on extension DSL once you choose the right file type in the “save as” dialog box)
  2. Copy the DSDT.DSL to a USB or put it online (e.g., your email or google drive)
  3. Re-boot the MAC into Windows

The remaining steps are extracted from the guide:

4. Download and install the required tools:

  • Windows Binary Tools (WBT – Dec 2016) extracted to c:\dsdt directory. [ ]
  • Windows Driver Kit (WDK), which contains the Windows ASL Compiler (asl.exe) [ ]
  • Notepad++ text editor
  • Copy WDK’s ASL compiler into the c:\dsdt directory. Do this by opening Command Prompt (run as administrator) and then copy-and-paste the commands below: mkdir c:\dsdt
    c: & cd \dsdt
    set 64bit_OS_asl=”C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Tools\x64\ACPIVerify\asl.exe”
    set 32bit_OS_asl=”C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Tools\x86\ACPIVerify\asl.exe”
    copy /y %32bit_OS_asl% c:\dsdt > nul & copy /y %64bit_OS_asl% c:\dsdt > nul
    if not exist c:\dsdt\asl.exe echo ERROR: Failed to copy asl.exe to c:\dsdt

5. Copy the DSDT.DSL into the c:\dsdt folder

6. Edit the DSL as described and add the QWordMemory section (I used the “Intel method” as recommended in the guide). See (iii) under section “OPTION 1: Use the Intel method” i.e.:
… With Notepad++, open the resultant c:\dsdt\dsdt.dsl file and search for ResourceProducer. Beneath it will be a series of “DWordMemory” resource entries. Under the last DWordMemory entry in that area, typically above the _CRS method, add a ‘QWordMemory’ (64-bit) entry as shown in red below. …

(NOTE: the lines starting with “QWordMemory” to the line ending with ” TypeStatic)” are the lines introduced into the DSDT.DSL file)

DWordMemory (ResourceProducer, PosDecode, MinFixed, MaxFixed, Cacheable, ReadWrite,
   0x00000000,         // Granularity
   0x000A0000,         // Range Minimum
   0x000BFFFF,         // Range Maximum
   0x00000000,         // Translation Offset
   0x00020000,         // Length
   ,, , AddressRangeMemory, TypeStatic)
QWordMemory (ResourceProducer, PosDecode, MinFixed, MaxFixed, Cacheable, ReadWrite,
   0x0000000000000000, // Granularity
   0x0000000C20000000, // Range Minimum,  set it to 48.5GB
   0x0000000E0FFFFFFF, // Range Maximum,  set it to 56.25GB
   0x0000000000000000, // Translation Offset
   0x00000001F0000000, // Length calculated by Range Max - Range Min.
   ,, , AddressRangeMemory, TypeStatic)
   Method (_CRS, 0, Serialized)  // _CRS: Current Resource Settings

7. Create an updated dsdt.aml file from the update DSDT.DSL file (using the commands):
c: & cd \dsdt
iasl -ve DSDT.DSL

Note: the iasl actually creates a file called iASLcnnPCo.aml. Just rename it to anything you want e.g., DSDT.AML

8. Load the updated/modified AML using registry DSDT override:
cd c:\dsdt
asl /loadtable DSDT.aml
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

9. Reboot Windows and you should have audio working when it comes back up.
(I noticed two devices in the “Sound, video and game controllers” section in Device manager: “Cirrus Logic CS4206B(AB 28)” and “High Definition Audio Device” (with the error “This device cannot start. (Code 10)”).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

** If your MAC is equipped with a DVD drive (e.g., SuperDrive), you can avoid this long guide by installing Windows in legacy MBR boot mode. Write the Windows ISO to a DVD-R media (or if you have the Windows install DVD already even better). After creating a suitable partition for Windows within Mac OSX, just boot the MAC while holding the Option key, choose to boot from the DVD drive (not EFIboot !), and install Windows into the target partition. Install BootCamp Drivers within Windows and you are done! Everything should just work.

*The Windows USB can be created with unetbootbin, Rufus, or the Windows 7 USB/DVD creator tool.


The Border Collie

Did you read about me?
Indestructible, or so I thought
Did you hear of me?
Inexhaustible, the tales I wrought

The open road is where I live
The wind in my face
A hard man with no give
Every stop is a new base

I used to wear full body armour
Over my Under Armour
The heat and the tight fit
My excuse for no extra kit

Left to my discretion
I ditched the protection
Forth, I sally
The law is my ally

Gas and oil and grease – my blend
Coming around the bend
The breaks didn’t save me
The road broke me

Doing sixty in a forty
Ahead of my party
It was a Border Collie
It ended my folly


The Joshua Tree

Meet me at the Joshua tree
When the autumn is in full bloom
When you have been set free
In the dark of night – in the gloom

Meet me at the Joshua tree
The stars will be our witness
They did not flee
A light in the blackness

Meet me at the Joshua tree
In my dreams and yours
Beside the inland sea
Away from these shores

Meet me at the Joshua tree
But only if you are truly free

Scorez I

Big guy: Hey bro. Where are you from?
Me: Nigeria. You?
BG: Guess
Me: Not sure but definitely Polynesian
BG: Samoa. What’s your name?
Me: A-Y. Yours?
BG: Tau
BG: Do you play rugby?
Me: No
BG: Why not?
Me: I am too small (he’s probably 6 5” with the rock solid “Polynesian build”)
BG: What are you reading? (He opens the book). I had my hand between the pages.
Brief pause. Uncomfortable silence
BG: Oh. Sorry I didn’t notice the hand.
Me: No probs at all
BG: What happened?
Me: That’s how I was born. Congenital.
BG: Ok. What do you drink?
Me: Anything
BG: Well have a beer and a shot on me!


Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels

I decided to volunteer for Meals on Wheels (a government program that provides meals to home-bound senior citizens).
I would join the thousands of volunteers that on any given day deliver lunch to senior citizens all over the country. For me that would be delivering lunch to about 9 people every other Monday. The food is prepared with the help of inmates at a correctional facility, then shipped to some center where volunteers like myself pick them up (already packed in a heater for the meal and a cooler for the milk, fruits, etc). I will then drive to each house on a list (“route”) and drop off the food. Some of the recipients have instructions on what to drop off (some don’t receive milk or bread) and what to do at the house (go right in; knock and wait; there’s a dog but it is harmless; etc).

I didn’t expect it to be as exhausting as it turned out to be. My first drop off was at a managed apartment complex for senior citizens, spent some time looking for the right building before making it to the right floor then the right apartment.
My second drop off almost had me in tears – a very old stooped lady seated by herself in this quaint house. I knocked and went in. She asked me to put the food on a little table right in front of her – I really can’t tell exactly why I was emotional for a few minutes after I got back to my car – maybe a combination of remembering my father; the fact that ultimately we are all alone; and the lady’s condition.

The rest got better. I dropped off a couple of food packages in a house where the 86-year old lady was still as feisty as ever. When I handed the trays over to her, I asked if she could manage, to which she responded with a twinkle in her eyes: “Do you know how old I am? I am 86 years and I can still whoop the world’s arse!”

From typing in the wrong address in Google Maps, to hunting down house addresses, it was quite interesting.

I did go to the house with the dog. It was this very tiny Chihuahua which was very aggressive – but like that meme that goes “Not all Australian animals will kill you. Don’t get me wrong … he wants to. He just can’t” – the dog’s size made it hilarious – but that level of aggression would have made it very dangerous if it wasn’t “size-challenged”. I knocked on the door, and a young boy opened it and I handed over the food. Almost immediately the dog went on a barking and growling spree which was loud enough to get the attention of the next door neighbors. The boy tried to call it to heel but it would have none of it. It followed me out with the boy in tow. Every few steps I took it would charge at my feet but stop just short of actually nipping at my trouser legs.

By the time I was done 1.5 hours later, I was exhausted. I got back to the senior center where I had picked up the packages from to return the heater and cooler.
I could see it was basically run by other senior citizens who were packing the food and so on. The old lady that attended to me earlier asked how it went and I told her a little difficult but since it was my first time, to be expected. An old gentleman that also worked there said “Thank you for doing this.”

Note: they have chapters all over the country if you are interested in volunteering.

Near-death is not a valid source of after-life facts

A disjointed argument against near-death experience as a source of facts about the after-life (for want of a better title)

So some people who have died medically and been resuscitated claim there is nothing after death.
“We” agree that they died medically, but the fact that they are “here” to tell about it means they did not die finally.
And if they did not die finally, how can we then be sure of where they were during that period when to all intents and purposes they were dead?
People who have a concussion or lose consciousness may wake up and not remember a thing. We do not know where their minds or souls were during that period. We have come up with all sorts of explanation – purgatory; some tunnel with a light at the end; etc. But it is all just conjecture.
I understand when people are “put under” (general anesthesia) some have a near-death experience.
I had mine. I was in some sort of a really small box, that was in a box, within a box, to no end. The boxes were shiny and dark at the same time. How I came to know the boxes were stacked like a Matryoshka doll I could not tell for sure. But it was as if I was trapped inside but able to see the whole thing from outside at the same time. But no matter how hard I struggled I could not get out.
There was some sort of very regular booming sound, like a thunder clap. At some point I gave up struggling, I thought maybe this was hell and I was dead and my sins had found me out. I thought this was no way to spend eternity. I despaired. But then I woke up once the anesthetics wore off.
Now some people will say those who medically died and got resuscitated is the closest thing we have to dying fully. That is all fine and good. But being close is not the same as being exact or the real thing. Death is final. From my limited recollection of calculus math, no one knows what the biggest number is or we accept it is infinite or infinitely big.
For all intent and purposes, we say “sufficiently big” is an approximation of infinity. But who knows what would happen if we could indeed discover that biggest number? Would our minds implode? If we could build a computer that could handle it, would the computer become self-aware – a sentient being? Or since only God is truly infinite, would such a number be the number of God? If our mind could grasp it, would we achieve enlightenment and be as God or gods?
Again, all these is just conjecture. People who “died” and “returned” cannot be our source of truth about life after death. Obviously as a believer myself, this excludes Jesus.

5/27/2019 (1:44AM)

Nessie’s keep

Nessie’s keep (March-04-2019)

Call it what you wish but not Nessie
Or Bessie
Not even Jessie

Could you pat its head?
Hug its long neck?
Or ride its arched back?

It ate children and adults alike
Sheep and cattle when it liked
Fear what beneath the surface lurks
Pay attention to what roils the murk

It is the kraken of the deep
It is leviathan of the keep
Watch your footing lest you slip

Today in church

Service over, I joined the throng of people in the aisle heading for the exit. This lady smiled at me and I smiled back. She looks familiar which is not saying anything since we all come here once a week. I made to go on but then she beckoned to me to come back.
“This is my daughter. She is so excited to see you.” Then sort of conspiratorially, she said “You know you are in a special class of people.” I am not so sure about the “special” bit, my hand has brought me nothing but heartbreak. Her daughter had several deformed fingers on both hands. She must be about 8 or so. I shook her hand and asked for her name which she shyly told me. She’s obviously Asian and from the name likely Chinese. The mum is Caucasian so I am assuming she was adopted. I said I hoped to see them again.
And as I walked out of the church, I noted for the umpteenth time that my left hand was one of the main reasons why at my age I still sat alone in church “…. he set the lonely in families …”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
At some point in my hazy past, I became aware I was different and not in a way I liked. Mean comments and mixed meaning comments from ids such as “Mummy look at his hand. It’s like baby feet.” Comments made while laughing to other kids, or made while peeking out fearfully from behind their mother’s dress, or while shrinking away in terror soon turned me into a recluse. I stuck the hand in my pocket always. I started to avoid people. I became my own company of one.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I remember one of those messages when her no was definite, she made one random statement that went something like “…. my friend said when you finally get comfortable, you will tell me about your hand …”. In the midst of other statements such as “I never felt anything for you” and “I have friends leading guys on but I can’t do it to you any longer” that statement was completely out of place but gave me some comfort in a weird sort of way – after all if the rejection had to do with my deformity then I can say it was beyond my control – but that wouldn’t be the whole truth or even close.
I wanted to tell her I have never been comfortable. I have always hid the hand. Hid myself. The period of life most people spend socializing with their peers and learning how to interact with the opposite sex, I spent hiding. I hid in front of the TV; I hid in the vast library my dad had due to his love of books; I hid in magazines; I hid in my actively created daydreams; I hid in my room; I hid in my class; I hid everywhere; I hid in the corner of the room at the few parties I attended; I hid in plain site. My parents did their best of course. Being alone so long at such a time in my life made me secretive, a little spiteful, a little envious, a little jealous, a little selfish, a little manipulative, a little mean, a hodge podge of the seven deadly sins because I thought the world was unfair and that it owned me something when in fact it owed me nothing. I became a little fearful of everything that required interaction or a response. After all TVs don’t talk back and neither do books. I took time to read the books I find interesting … I might pause on a page and insert myself into the time period or place or circumstance and daydream a complete scenario – of sweeping in and saving the day. I dreamed of flying – of being a superhero. In high school I got myself a catapult for a while. I hit a pigeon once but it was only slightly grazed and it got away while a classmate held it gingerly (good for it). Then I went though my stone throwing period. I got good at it. I could hit even relatively small targets at vast distances. Activities to fill the void and the loneliness – activities that required no interaction.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The only thing that forced me to take a peak at the world was the death of my father. Even though I had been living away from home for over  a decade, I had been content to hop on buses or into taxis to get around. Bu then there was lots to do including visiting my mother so I needed to be able to get around on my own schedule. It was then I got my first car. It was then I learned to drive. In my mid 30s. I remember taking out the car only on Sundays when the roads in my neighborhood were relatively free of traffic and the trepidation when any vehicle approached from the opposite direction.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I keep trying to prove her wrong when she said “it’s too late for you, you can’t change.” But as the school’s guidance counselor said, “you have to be patient with yourself. You can’t expect to undo what you have spent 30-something years creating in a single year.” I know it is wrong but I am a creature of the past, because the past, even though is full of heartaches and heartbreaks, is safe – it can’t bite because it has no teeth. Its wounds itch and sometimes sting badly, but you know it’s just the scars playing up. If I come knocking on the door of your heart (a miracle in itself) you have to accept me as I am or give me plenty of time to change.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The sermon was about King Jehoshaphat who gave thanks when going to war confronted by a coalition of three of Judah’s historical enemies and how the Lord turn his enemies against each other and Judah didn’t even need to fight at all. We should count our blessings and give thanks in all situations. I try.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I wanted to tell the mum: “Throw her in at the deep end; Force her out there; She’s going to hear other children say hurtful things; She’s going to want to hide, but don’t allow it. She will thank you for it later.” Maybe I still will.