The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Just. Get. Up

This isn't a "normal" posting for Blog of helios. Sometimes, there are important things to share with you, and in this case, I think this side trip is merited. I would feel negligent for not posting this. This could potentially be important to many.

I was looking forward to it. Going home that was.

I was stationed at Fort Polk Louisiana as an assistant squad leader with 2nd platoon. 1st squad of Bravo Company, 5th Engineer Battalion. My job? I blew stuff up and I did it with maths and C4 explosives. There were worse places for a soldier to be stationed in 1976 than Fort Polk, but I can’t bring any to mind...ever.

Having received orders for my 1st overseas deployment to Europe, I was due a 30 day leave. While I was looking forward to the Land of Beer and Bratwurst, I had a longing for home, and specifically, seeing my mom. Two weeks prior to leaving for Phoenix, I got a letter from my kid brother, and in part it was a warning:

“Bro, I need to tell you, mama isn’t well. She’s been in a severe depression for months and none of us know what to do. I hope seeing you brings her out of it.”

Depression? I knew about it in the abstract, something I had been trained to recognize. As a non commissioned officer, recognizing and acting upon depression within your command has become a topic talked about more and more with emphasis. We were only a few years out of Vietnam, and the senior non commissioned officer corps were said to be ate up with it. The on base NCO clubs had never seen such early-in-the-week traffic. Copious amounts of alcohol seemed to be the most popular means of self-medication. But personally, I had never encountered depression in real life and I had no idea of just how devastating this condition was, and still is.

That would change in a couple of weeks.

At first, I didn’t see anything other than what I had known of my mom for decades. A quiet demeanor with a slashing wit and a mind prone to thought before she spoke. She had worked her way up to the civilian rank of G-12 within the IRS within 16 years. She was Senior Corporate Auditing Agent for the Phoenix office but she took early retirement. She could no longer justify working for, what she considered, a soul-less renegade organization. Even with that, initially she had seemed fine when I got home.  

But as I settled into the second week of my stay, it was obvious that she was all but detached from everything around her.

I spent a few days with an old girlfriend and when I came home, she sat at her dining room table, wearing the same clothes she had worn prior to me leaving. Her ashtrays over flowed and there were over a dozen Miller Lite beer cans strewn across the table. She was immersed in one of the hundreds of romance novels that lay around the house. I finally put my hand gently on her shoulder and she jumped as if I had set off a cherry bomb.

“You OK Mama?”

She looked at me through pale, watery blue eyes and smiled softly.

“I’m fine honey. There’s a ham in the fridge if you’re hungry.”

With that she poured the remainder of her beer into her glass, lit a cigarette and returned to her book.

As the last week of my leave approached, I decided I would take a more active roll in at least getting her to talk to me. She slept on the couch down stairs and rarely, if ever; changed her clothes. My brother Mark told me that he didn’t think she had showered in weeks. I spoke with her throughout the day, mentioning that we might take a drive out to South Mountain or go out for lunch and maybe a shopping trip. At best, she would look up at me and nod absently. By the end of the day, I had lost my patience and I sat down next to her at 6 that evening.

“When’s the last time you were out of the house mom?”

She glanced up at me and then back to her book without an answer.

“Do you want me to fix you something to eat? Can I get you a bath ready? Have you talked to Grandma lately?”

With that, she carefully dog-eared her page and closed her book.

“I’m going to bed early tonight honey. You and Mark go out for a while. There's some money in the box on the shelf over the microwave. Take my car and have a good time.”

She re-opened her book and thus, excused herself from all other conversation. I took the book out of her hands and sat it across the table, and in a manner that I regret to this very moment, I said to her.

“Mama...Just. Get. Up."

She looked up at me as I stood over her offering my hand and she didn’t say a word, but in the way that some women can, she began crying. Silently...without gulps of air or attempts to speak. Without one sound. She kept eye contact the whole time. Tears flowed down her face, onto her chin and then onto her lap. They didn’t stop. She looked at me as if tying to ask me…

“Don’t you understand? Can’t you understand?”

I pulled a chair in front of her and held her close, She smelled of stale cigarettes, beer, and the musk of dry, unwashed skin,

and complete dispair.

Then she wept, in great, sobbing, gulps of air. Wailing and rocking with the pain of a woman too long in her own head and without the ability to ask for help, or to even understand why she needed it.

I held her for over 15 minutes, rocking her from time to time. She talked of losing her husband at the age of 57, of a job that sucked the very soul from her, she thought often of her youngest daughter, lost in a crack cocaine nightmare, and mostly she spoke of just not wanting to wake up the next morning.

When her tears subsided, I got her some water and one of the “tranks” I got for flying the long miles to come. I washed her face with a cool cloth and I kissed her on the forehead. She slept for 11 hours that night. About 9 hours longer than my brother told me she ever slept. He thanked me for whatever I had done. Something he could never figure out how to do and something I had no idea what I had done.

Even before she had her coffee that next morning, she had showered and fixed both of us boys poached eggs and fresh orange juice. She then announced she was going to the store, “for some things” and arrived back two hours later. It took us 20 minutes to shuttle those "things" into the house. She was humming.

I took the credit for something I neither understood nor felt comfortable claiming. It ate at me for the rest of my time at home, that I would have to leave her again. For three years. She eventually fell back into her disease and it took hospitalization to bring her back to half of the person she was. But even that...that was a win,

Will The Circle Be Unbroken...

The light switch snapped on, and when I squinted toward the door; Diane was standing in the doorway of our bedroom. She stared at me for an uncomfortable moment before she spoke.

“Is there something we need to talk about?” She looked around the room, taking into account the half full glasses of stale grapefruit juice, cereal bowls, pop tart wrappers and the dirty clothes strewn throughout the room. From her expression, I assumed it didn’t smell pleasant at all.

“You’ve been in here for days Kenny. What did I do to make you angry with me?”

Again I shrugged and returned my attention to my monitor and the best extinct friend a guy could ever have. To my mind, the Triceratops should still be roaming the plains with the bison and wild mustangs and I opened my mouth to tell her so. She moved sharply to turn the monitor off and sat next to me on the bed. The clock radio face told me it was 11:09 but I had no idea whether it was AM or PM. The blackout blinds I installed did a good job of blocking all evidence of life outside that 12x12 room.

With obvious impatience, she looked me in the eye. “Now, tell me. What’s going on with you?”

It’s not that I didn’t want to talk to Diane. I simply didn’t know what to say, where to start. So many things had arrived at a central point of focus at the same time. Another thing that wore on me deeply...wore on me when I didn't even realize it. This freak show chunk of plastic that jutted from my throat.
The monstrosity that made both kids and adults stare muvh longer than what could be considered slightly impolite.. I was under the impression that things like this were accepted, even common in our not-so-polite society.
Wrong. I began ripping the damned thing out of my throat and just leaving the raw hole covered by an bandanna. It's taken me a while to make those adjustments but to this day, I still get the urge to ditch the prosthetic and pretend that I am normal, well, at least until I key the mic to speak.

But with Diane, I didn’t know where to begin, basically because I didn’t know when to begin. Over the next 2 days, I did my best to tell her how I felt, and more importantly, how I didn’t feel. The most important thing in my life, the project that had fueled my energy and sense of purpose for 12 years….it just seemed like a burden now.  I felt like a fraud for even thinking that I had done one bit of good for anyone... Ever.

Had it not been for great friends and director Pete Salas, Reglue would have suffered. Pete, single handedly; took the reigns of Reglue every few days, days that I could not be there; and only contacted me when he needed money, parts or to check in on me.

It started exactly a year ago this month. In a relatively short amount of time, it became increasingly difficult to turn the key to open our shop. Every little task seemed insurmountable. I became exceedingly uncomfortable talking to people with my Darth Vader device and went out of my way to answer emails only when they demanded it.

One of the major tasks we face is the maintenance or replacement of machines already deployed with our Reglue Kids. In a 4 month period, maintenance or replacement of just over 200 machines became necessary. Remember the thing we say we live by?

“Once a Reglue Kid, always a Reglue Kid.” Yeah, that ain’t happenin’ any more.

That promise was in turn, depleting our bank account at an alarming rate, year after year. A video card replacement here, a blown power supply there...stuff we did not have on the shelves, we had to buy and in 2016 alone, $4200.00 of our budget was keeping student-deployed computers up and running.

The first half of 2017 alone promised to eclipse that figure by 26%. Aside from and with eternal gratitude for those donors who supported us with steady donations over a year’s time, other donations dwindled and they have almost come to a complete stop. Money was no longer an issue, but the lack of it, became the focal point of my life, and as frankly as I can be, It became easier to hide from the fact rather than attack it. Donations for Reglue have dropped from a comfortable 10k a year, to less than 2.5K and it troubled me to the point where I just didn’t want to turn the key in the Reglue door any longer. You can love something completely, but if you cannot nourish it,

It Will Die.

With Diane’s love and constant support, I began to seek help with, what I should have long ago recognized, as clinical depression. Doctors were quick to evaluate and agree with my self-diagnosis and were more than happy to treat me. The fact that it was in my family history fairly well firmed up treatment plans and medications and their focus never left that diagnosis.

So began the twisting, winding and sometimes circular quest to find the correct pharmaceutical combination that would set the ship right again, as it were. It was a series of glee and hopefulness...almost giddiness, followed by bitter disappointment that the meds that seemingly “fixed” me, would ultimately fail. I would drop as hard as a 1958 straight eight Pontiac.





It’s a hard way to live your life, over the period of a year, knowing that on any given morning, you would awaken, only to close your bedroom door and hide from the world. For days at a time. All the while knowing that people were counting on you to, without hyperbole, to change the course of their lives for the better. The wonder drug that had you on top of the world suddenly became a boat anchor around your soul.

Hard-edged insomnia, whip-like mood swings and hermit-like behavior was having a devastating affect on our relationship, but Diane didn’t give up on me. She prodded me to change General Practitioners, and made an appointment for me to see her doctor. She swore by him, as opposed to at him, which she practiced with abandon with her previous providers.

I sat in the office of this new doctor, telling him to cancel lunch because this was going to take a while. Which to my surprise, he did. We talked for 45 minutes and at the end, he ordered a head to toe physical exam and a number of blood panels that would almost necessitate the hiring of new personnel. I arrived the next morning to fill that requirement, and that evening I collapsed on the floor at home, I was transported to the Emergency room for treatment of arrhythmia. For those keeping score at home, this was a couple of months ago.

So when both blood tests came back, the panels from my doctor and those taken from the ER, one thing stood out. One thing that was so dire and so in need of correction, it was amazing that this had not been discovered before. I was terribly ill. My doctors had been so focused on treating me for depression, that they failed to look for physiological reasons for it.

It wasn't just the past year. Even before depression, I had zero energy. I was lucky to put in 4 hours at work and then slept the next four just to recuperate. This had been going on for years. It was explained that chemo and radiation treatments often leave individuals much less active than they had been prior. I simply accepted it.

Except that wasn't the problem. It wasn't even close.

Now some may feel the need to snigger because it's become a steady presence on every television, radio and magazine for a number of years. It's become somewhat of a joke. Unfortunately, this "joke" came close to killing me.

My blood work came back with a testosterone level of 83. A man my age should have a baseline testosterone level of 245. It was clear from the tests that this had been the case, and probably even lower for a number of years. My doctor began me immediately, in his office that day, on testosterone replacement therapy.

It's taken a couple of months, but for the first time in 5 years, I am able to get out of bed at 6:30, stay awake and functional for 12-14 hours and I have not felt this good in a long, long time.

Not that I am not grateful, but I am angry that I spent 5 years incapacitated by "depression", when it was a hormonal imbalance in my body. This is for life, and if I have to jab a 2.5 inch needle into my thigh weekly, for the rest of my life, so be it.

I loaded the car today with 9 computers that will become an after school center for latchkey kids. I'll complete that tomorrow and Friday I will be making a salvage run with a friend's pickup truck. That Friday afternoon, I'll start cleaning and organizing the shop. Again. Saturday I will be hosting a "Welcome to Linux" talk with over a dozen computer science students from the local high school.

So, in all....this isn't about me. It's not. This is about every man over 50 that thinks he's just getting older and it's just part of the game to ache over every little thing and spend more time sleeping than being productive.
this is about every woman that is completely grounded by inertia and it brings her to tears, the inability to do the simplest things

It isn't about me at all. It's about a generation of men who might be facing this same problem. A problem that can be relatively cheap to fix. And it's no shame to meet this condition head on. Now yeah, some of you will warn me of the possible dire circumstances of TRT. I've carefully weighed the risks. I will in return in warning you of spending days and sometimes weeks, frozen by fear and not knowing what day it is.

So this depression thing...?

Sometimes, it's not all in your head. At all.

All-Righty Then.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Just so you know.....

Some of you know that I've not felt well in the past few months. No energy, no motivation...just didn't want to do anything. I sleep for 15 hours straight and my appetite is all but gone. That being said, the loss of my larynx caused some major changes in the way I swallow and eat. It takes me 4 times as long to finish eating as it does anyone else at the table, so this wasn't really a big deal, to me at least.

During my bi-annual CAT scan and checkup last week, my oncologist found "some potentially serious concerns" on the left side of my chest. Really Fate...? Really? Frickin' breast cancer? Like I have the emotional strength to deal with the snide jokes. You gotta be kidding me.

She wasn't. Go figure.

I'll be taking the day off this coming Tuesday to undergo a series of tests and a mammogram manogram to discern what this mass is. It's not large, but it is painful so there's that. I'll let you know when I know something more substantial. Could be just a fat nodule. I'm counting on that being the case.


Life, at least for the present; does go on and we have stuff to do.

When Time Warner sold out to Spectrum, I wasn't expecting much in the way of changes, institutionally that is. ISPs suck. It's their nature to suck and I write it off to being the nature of the beast. Oops.

Spectrum has agreed with us that low income people should get at least some sort of help in getting them into the information age. I approached them in February, asking them to assist Reglue in getting some reduced pricing for the folks here in Taylor that sincerely needed it. It's pretty much the same deal that Time Warner agreed to and then backed out on. I wasn't expecting any kind of response.


We can get them hooked up for 40.00, all charges included and they'll receive 20Mbps down and 5Mbps up. We'll pay for their first 40.00 fee and Spectrum will write their second month off. As in gratis.

I've got 11 families that we've deemed to be in honest need of Internet service and all have agreed to do whatever they need to do, to assure they keep their 40.00 monthly charge paid up. They understand that there will be no further assistance from us. These 11 families all have kids in school and would benefit greatly from having a computer and Internet service in the home.

We have the the computers covered, of course. However we could use some assistance in getting their first month's fees paid. Should you want to get these kids up and running, you can donate by clicking the button at the top of this page, on the left hand side.

I'm not much for chat these days, so if you email me, I will do my best to answer you in a timely manner...

All Righty then.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

And the hits just keep on comin'.....

Great news in the mail box last week.

The city of Taylor has decided that they can no longer pay the utilities for the Reglue shop, so effective this month, we have an additional $260.00 to tack onto the monthly outgoing ledger.

That comes on the tail of the abysmal response to our annual fund raiser. We started it a month and a half ago, thinking that 60 days would be plenty of time to raise the money we need for the next year.

That's what I get for thinking when I ain't used to it.

Don't get me wrong. We absolutely love the folks that have supported us. I can never tell you how much I appreciate what you have done for us.

So here's where we stand. Grants that offer cash to use for day to day operational costs just do not exist any longer. Not in the amounts that are needed to keep Reglue afloat. $100.00 here, $300.00 there...and even those come with some substantially thick strings, such as money not to be used to reimburse volunteer's gasoline costs. So, except for the first couple of years, when I ran my organization from an injury claim, The Linux and Greater Free Software communities have supported us, and to this point, you folks have carried us through and allowed us to do the work we set out to do. And to this point, we have given you huge returns on your investments, having placed well over 1600 computers to disadvantaged kids in the past decade.

I've always been driven by the philosophy to find what I love to do and do it to the best of my ability and nothing but my very best is acceptable. I've lived up to that philosophy for 40 years, but now, this love affair with Reglue has hit rocky shores. So much that I've begun the mechanisms to close our non profit down. It will happen in stages over the next 16 months, but it will happen and I cannot justify putting my heart and soul into something that looks as if it might be on life support. Obviously there are more important things than providing computers to financially-disadvantaged kids. Obviously.

With this new monthly addition in outgoing funds, I don't see us lasting for more than 24 months as of now. Our Indiegogo campaign has 11 days to go and we've only reached just over 20% of the money we'll need, so to my mind, things are looking bleak. And as a reminder, we still have $400.00 left that will be matched by a generous donor. So the next $400.00 in donations will be matched.

For those who wish to donate with means other than Indiegogo, you can click on That will open a tab so you can make a donation directly to our paypal account.

You folks have been a great support system and it hurts me that we have to exit in this manner, but as one of my most hated phrases go, "It is what it is".


Monday, February 20, 2017

It's 1AM Bub, We're Three In A Tub...

I heard it from somewhere deep. That place where Sleep begins to demand just who in the Hell is important enough to interrupt it at this hour. As the fog cleared, I recognized the imminent dangerous weather alarm on my phone and it was persistent. Normally, for a thunderstorm warning or the such, it goes off once or twice and you can pretty much ignore it.

But this wasn't going to be ignored.

I fumbled for the phone in its cradle by the bed and smashed into dressers and end tables until I cleared the doorway from the bedroom into the hallway. That's where I met Diane and Malachi. I pushed Diane back toward the living room and sat on the couch, trying to clear the fog from my eyes and see the phone screen in front of me.

Tornado WARNING in your area.

I found the remote and turned it to the weather channel and sure enough, there was the tell tale hook echo, signifying that a tornado is forming or it is in progress. I got back to the bedroom and ripped the blankets and sheets from our bed then went back out to the living room and jerked my head toward the main bath. Diane understood immediately. She took Malachi and I let her go in front of me until I could get her settled. Once she was in the enclosure, I got the queen-sized mattress and drug it into the bathroom and over the top of us. Diane hugged a shivering Malachi close and quietly told him everything was going to be alright.

In less than 30 seconds it was as if someone had viciously cuffed my ears. The barometric pressure dropped so quickly that my eyes and ears did more than pop, they felt as if they had ruptured. Later, I would find blood had ran as droplets and streaked down my cheeks where tears would normally form. Diane grabbed me preparing for the world to tumble out of control.

And then it didn't. That whole Tumble Out Of Control thing.

In a way that can only be described as violent, the atmospheric pressure slammed us back into normalcy and the three of us gagged as if we were going to vomit, fortunately that didn't happen in such close quarters; or in any quarters for that matter.

The power had been knocked out momentarily so I reset the cable box. There wasn't much left to see. Nasty rain was slamming us but the storm that would indeed produce at least one tornado was now toward our East. As pictured above, the F1 or F-2 tornado laid into Thrall and Rockdale at about 1:20. That puts it over our house at 1AM. Just about the time we felt the air pressure drop like a bomb. What was that? That was the rapid circulation overhead announcing its presence. From there, it stuck East into Thrall and Rockdale...about 8 miles East of us.

So, as far as the storm goes, the shop has a broken window and some shingles have been ripped from the roof, but other than that, we are good. At least physically. Otherwise, we have some real problems. I'll get to that as soon as I can get the window replaced. The guy from Floyd's Glass should be here shortly. We'll talk then.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Clock Ticks...Even The Silence Has An Echo.....

The good news, and there's been a shortage of that lately around Reglue; is that a good friend of ours has pledged to match the next $1000.00 donated to us via our annual Indiegogo fund raiser. We ran the campaign for the extended period of 60 days instead of 30, in order to give our annual donors the chance to donate, without a pressing timeline.

Not sure what's the past, when we've reached this point in our annual effort, we're well on our way to our goal. I suppose what makes us all uncomfortable around our organization is that we've got the chance to help a whole new level of folks within the next 3 months, and we don't have the means to do it.

Sleep comes at a premium lately.

So, I am preparing to place a number of lower priced perks for the campaign, to see if that brings in any support. It's difficult to get some of the mid-range items up, like a System76 Lemur3 laptop. Sure it's got some age on it but it's in perfect working order. We were going to offer it up at Indiegogo as soon as we ordered a battery for it. That's not gonna happen it turns out.

They did get back to me fairly fast and I was looking forward to getting this machine up on the campaign. For the price I was going to list it, there's not much chance that it would last long as a perk. That was until I clicked the link provided to me so I could order the battery.

Uh, really folks...? You're going to charge me $125.00 to get a laptop up and running when said laptop wouldn't even bring that amount on the Ebay market?

I suppose System76 has to make money on their addons, but holy frickin' cow. I'm not posting this to rage against System76, although they make it extremely easy to do so. I'm just showing you one of the many hangups we've had in getting enough money to operate for the next year.

So listen. I would sure be more than thankful if you would take some time and drop by the indiegogo site and donate what you can. There's not much reason to stay open and operating if we can't get through this next year. While I'll probably be accused of soliciting sympathy, I assure you the last thing I need is sympathy.

That's just the way it is.

All Righty Then

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When You See A Chance....

It's been a tough ride for us the past 18 months. All of which has been mentioned here previously, so I won't take up your time repeating it. Suffice it to say I've decided to pull-start the machine that will begin winding us down as an organization. As unpleasant health issues approach with the surety of time itself, it's the only responsible thing for me to do. I need to pass the torch, so to speak, while I still can remember which end to hold as I do so. I don't want to talk about those issues in detail. Not now. As medical tests continue come in, I may share those here. And I might not, depending on how they it all shakes out. I don't want to cause any unnecessary worry when it all might be just fine.

We'll see.

But even with our passing the Reglue mission and banner to a group of like-minded men and women in the next two to three years, we've literally stumbled over an opportunity to do some extremely good things. Extraordinarily Great things.

And for this one possibly last and grand opportunity, I'm going to ask you to come along for the ride. Come on. It'll be fun. Pinky promise.

Most of you know that Reglue serves a financially-depressed segment of Eastern Williamson County here in Texas. That's why we came to Taylor. While the "Dellionaires" in and around the Dell International Headquarters in Round Rock buoy the overall financial numbers for the people within said county, the truth is, there is a glaringly under-served segment of this area and many of them are falling by the wayside. Even worse, they're not being seen at all. Or no one is looking hard enough. Imagine that. Seems there isn't enough money at the end of the rope to tie off those that need rescued the most.

Like that's never happened. Politics at it's worst.

Every year in Texas, thousands of foster kids "age out" of their foster homes and families.

Once they turn 18 years of age, they can either submit paperwork to the foster care system, proving they will be enrolled full time in an accredited college or trade school, which extends their eligibility for foster care; or they are handed a box with bedding, toiletries and a check for 250.00 and shown the door and wished the best of luck.

Two of those latter young men ended up at our door a 3 weeks ago, seeking assistance.

Some might remember that we were highlighted in a few of the larger city newspapers in 2010 and 2011, as we took on the challenge of helping some of these kids get the computers and training they will need to enter college or a trade school. We were able to build these guys extremely nice machines. Back then, we had the resources to do this. Well, you had the resources. You made those efforts come to fruition. Unfortunately, at this time, we just cannot pull it off. That is, we don't have the equipment on hand, nor the money to build the machines these young adults will need for their academic challenges ahead. With grant funding for cash completely dried up, we've had to come back to this community to ask your help. The Linux and Open Source Communities.

Our Indiegogo campaign is off to a slow start, but we listed this year's effort to run a full 60 days. We did so, banking that it might allow our donors the chance to get this next year funded. That's the plan anyway.

As well, you can always do a one-time donation or set up a recurring donation via paypal via your online Paypal account. Email or message me and I can show you how to get it done. My thanks to Anita for showing me how to do it.

We'll be following up this post with another, showing people how they can donate hardware to help us along as well. That is almost as important as money itself, so watch here for that article. I'll post it on Google + and Facebook when I get it posted.

And as always...thanks for helping us do what we do. You've been the only reason we've done as well as we have for the past 11 years.

All-Righty Then

Monday, January 09, 2017

Maybe It's Time For Some Change.

It was a small box. You know, one of those USPS send anywhere for X amount of money...? The kind that you could fit a sandwich in it if you were so inclined? Yeah, that's the kind of box that I fished out of our mail box this morning. It was sent from St. Charles Louisiana. It was packed tight because it didn't even leave 1/4 of an inch in space of which to tattle anything by shaking it.

Hmmmmm. I tossed it on the front seat and slammed the mail box door shut then continued on to get Diane's Rx stuff.

So I got my errands done and when I walked into the house, I fished out my handy dandy Kershaw cut-rebar-in-half pocket knife and slit the tape away from the creases. I stuck my thumb into the space and slid it down to open it.

Bubble wrap. Something fairly heavy, wrapped in some overly-sufficient bubble wrap. Man after my own heart. When I got down to the bottom of the bubble wrap, I extracted a large ziplock bag.

It was full of money.

Not like 20's and 100's but in change. A lot of change. Along with the note.

"My family has a Reglue jar and when it's full, now and from now on, we are sending it to Reglue". He seemed to be reading my mind as I read his note. "And no", he said. "I have no idea how much money is in here".

I smiled broadly. What a great idea. So what if.....?

So what if I asked our supporters to do the same. And yeah, it's a pain in the butt. And yeah, it takes time and someone's gotta tend to it. But maybe, just maybe; if I asked a bunch of people (You are about 20K strong at this time) to help Reglue out by doing this, just maybe people will help.

Maybe. So I just thought I'd through it out there.

 ̶A̶l̶l̶ ̶R̶i̶g̶h̶t̶y̶ ̶T̶h̶e̶n̶

Oh wait...That's right.

The box? It held $71.00

All Righty Then

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Well, It's One For The Money, Two For The Show....

After over a dozen email exchanges with those that work with or for and the people at, we've finally managed to get our annual Reglue fund raiser out of the blocks. Not to seem ungrateful, but those folks can make it damned near tear-inducing, hair-pulling madness to get a fund raiser off the ground. But, despite their dreadful inability to communicate with one another, we are up and we are live.

Our campaign is up and running.

So let me tell you a bit about what we will be doing for the coming year and just a bit about our background.

Here's how your contributions will be used.

First and always foremost, we will attempt to insure that every financially-disadvantaged student in our sphere of influence will have a Linux-based computer in their home. Some have come to question the whole Linux-only thing for our organization and the computers that go into Reglue Kid's homes.

Oh, it wasn't like that at first. We did begin our efforts back in 2005, by placing Windows on our outgoing machines. One of our first supporters donated 15 legitimate Windows XP licensed installation disks. We had those first 15 computers in the hands that needed them in less than a month.

Within weeks, our lives became waking nightmares. Being the only person to handle support for these computers, I traveled from computer to computer, cleaning out malware and viruses. Not from just one or a few, I am talking every fracking one of them.

From stacked-up toolbar extravaganzas and home page hijacking, to complete remote control of some computers, I worked the average of 59 hours a week, attempting to fix these problems. It seemed that my decision to use the Microsoft Windows on these first computers, or any subsequent computers was ill-advised. As well, so was depending upon Windows Defender as the primary antivirus/malware tool.

OK, sidebar...gather around and I'll fill in the blanks and try to head off questions for now.

I was already a Linux user. My business and my home computers were both running Linux. So why did I bother to deploy these 15 XP machines? I did so on the advice of someone I respect greatly, and still do. His argument was, since the world ran on Microsoft Windows, I would be doing these kids a great disservice by putting Linux on their computers. They would have to fight with teachers and other students because the various formats and applications within Linux would not meld in with the Windows World.

While some of that was indeed true back in the early aughts, it's almost laughable to believe so now. With Microsoft's Office's "cloud" product being hyped and people being herded away from the on-board software version, Using the current Libre-Office and Open Source formats is a no-brainer. And, as it has been for quite some time, Microsoft is having fits trying to make their cloud product compatible with their own formats for on-board Office products. But that's old news.

However, we are aware that a computer with Microsoft Windows can, in some cases, be necessary for a few of our kids. For those who do need Windows, we install a Windows system via VirtualBox. Should a problem present itself, it's easily fixed by deleting the old image and dropping in the backup.

What is important to know is that the computers which are being given to Reglue Kids today are powered by the sheer will of a Global Community. The Linux and Open Source Communities drive these machines. The machines that will guide today's kids into tomorrow's Chemical, nuclear and  aerospace engineering and physics positions. These kids will bring back the Thorium-based nuclear power plants. They will not only fuel our nation's energy needs at a fraction of today's cost, they will push us farther out into space, and at speeds that seem almost impossible today.

The kids that are in middle and high schools right now will be those that change the history of mankind for the better. Either on Earth or off-world, either in the classrooms or laboratories, they will make unimaginable progress in both protecting and propelling mankind into a better world. These are the kids that Reglue targets. Those that will make a better word for all of mankind.

That is how your donation money will be spent. As well, we will bring back the summer programs that invite kids to learn about computers, inside and out. We will reinstate our girl's technology mentoring program as well as reconnecting seniors with their families who live far away. We have already helped over a dozen grandparents talk and laugh with their grandkids using Google Hangouts.

But all of this takes money and it's money we need to make this new year possible. Along with our Indiegogo campaign, we also offer the alternative of donating via PayPal. Many of you have asked if they can make monthly automatic payments via PayPal. Well, yes you can but not with  the ease I would hope.

PayPal has removed the ability to sign up for monthly automatic payments from the Donate buttons like found on this page, top left. However, if you have a PayPal account, you can go to your PayPal page and do it from there. Our PayPal email addy is ken at reglue dott organism. Of course you will have to be a PayPal account holder to do so. Those who sign up for a $10.00 monthly contribution or more will receive one of our Reglue CinaMint 16 gig thumb drives. These are made to be persistent up to 4gb. Just make sure that the address on your PayPal account is current or I'll be sending your drives to the wrong address.

For reasons that I may make clear later, this fund raiser is probably the most important one we've ever held. We have assigned 90 days to raise $9200.00 and given that amount of time, we should be able to make that easily, and possibly more. If you have any questions, you can email me, ken at reglue dott org. I look forward to hearing from you, and please, your help is needed this year more than most.

All-Righty Then

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Our Annual Reglue Fundraiser - Some Things You Need To Know

Well, here we are again. Gee. it seems like it was only a  year ago. Oh was (about) a year ago. While we are posting our fund raiser a bit late this year, we think that This might be a good time of year to do it. We've had a tough couple of years, physically and financially, so this fund raiser is important to us.

More important than any in our past. We are (I) may be closing in on the finish line.

Taylor was sandwiched between two nasty floods. The Memorial Day Flood of 2015 killed 12 people in and around Taylor and the Eastern Williamson County area. 19.6 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours. While still rebuilding from that disaster in February of 2016, another round of heavy rain slapped those rebuilding efforts back, and some had to start all over. Again. We helped a dozen people with replacing lost computers.

Floods. A nasty bit of business that.

Fortunately, our entire neighborhood was spared the heaviest damages from the rains. We're built on high ground and with a huge retention area and a paralleling railroad easement, those build-ups and gullies were responsible for saving our backsides here at home. Others were not so lucky.

It was me.

We got hammered with requests from those who lost almost everything. Hook that up with a severe hardware shortage and we found ourselves in an untenable position.

We're out of stuff and money. Or money and stuff. It's all the same.

We've done good work in the past couple of years here in Taylor. The city has graciously repaired our roof and will repair the ceiling in good time so we are dry and safe. Now we need to get back to work.

We need to raise $9200.00 to get us through the next 12 months. And from there, I will begin training the people that state they are interested in resuming Reglue's day to day activity. Here's the truth of the matter. We've had a wonderful relationship with the greater Linux and Free and Open Source Software community for almost a decade. 90% of our funding has come from you folks and for that I am grateful beyond expression.

However as the years go by, it is getting harder and harder to raise the money we need, and to be more honest with you than I should be, it's taken a toll on my health. I've rolled over two battles with cancer, deepening depression and problems with Diane's worsening health. Constant stress caused by money worries and my already reduced immune system are killing me and I cannot allow that to happen. Regardless of how much I dearly love this project I've built, it's time to take close stock of what is most important. I have grand daughters to help grow, I have my youngest daughter getting married in a year and I would give away everything to see my grandchild from her. Even Reglue.

After that, I'm ready to go any time The Universe says it's time to go.

So here's the deal. Get me through the next year and we'll see how things are then. That $9200.00 mark is high, but with 60 days to do it, it should be an easy amount to reach.

"It Should Be."

Famous last words.

Let's hope not. Now help me get 125 computers set into the homes that need them most. We will be offering some pretty nice perks with the Indiegogo fund raiser, bit we are waiting for our bank to get us some information needed. BUT... we also have a donate button on top left of this page. Here's the deal. Those who set up a persistent 10.00 or 20.00 monthly donation will receive a 32GB Cinaglue Linux Mint based flash drive. In the mail the next day.

But that's not all. At the 6 month mark of your 12 month pledge, you will have your choice of a number of goodies. Stuff like 1GB USB3 portable drives (think Passport). Or, a number of things, depending on our current inventory. Nothing less than 200.00 dollar value and it's all computer-related stuff.

I cannot mention this on our Indiegogo drive so pass it around and let's see how much we can get pledged annually. I don't know if you know it or not, but you folks are the heart and soul of Reglue and Reglue is the reason I get out of bed every morning. The reason I told cancer to go PUAR. The reason I turn the key in that door every day.

We could use your help.

All Righty Then

Monday, November 28, 2016

What Time Do You Have?

This is something I wrote over a year ago and I am going to re-publish a segment of it. Being the holiday season, it's a good time for self-reflection and remembering what is really important to all of us.

 Someone asked me what it was like to be diagnosed as terminal and told that only months separated me from The Thin, Dark Veil. So this is what was on my mind and I want to share it with you. Maybe it helps someone else facing the same thing. Maybe.

Let me tell you what being diagnosed with terminal cancer taught me. it's deceptively simple.

There is not an asset or physical object in the universe that is more valuable than time. You cannot purchase it. You cannot steal it. You cannot manufacture it.

When you can see the finish line rushing to meet you...There's nothing you can do to stop it. That boring conversation with my baby brother that seemed to go on forever?

Let me have those moments again and let me really hear him instead of contriving a way to get away. His death strikes the very center of my being and at times, I anguish over the things that should have been. Let me put my hand upon his shoulder and meet his gaze. Let him know that I am listening. Let me laugh with him at his terrible jokes. Let me put my arm around him and pull him close when he tells me that he just lost his job. Let me weep with him. Tears are powerful if they join and flow with others. Together they form resolve. This is what I considered to be important, seconds after being told I had 8 months to live.

My failings came in a rush. Things that I had an opportunity to do but chose not to...things I did do that hurt others terribly, deeply....things that I cannot believe The Universe could forgive, or would. It was those things that battered my psyche almost to the point of screaming out in agony. So many things...

So. Many. Things.

Just one more hour to finish my childhood scrapbook I was working on to give my daughters. Just 15 more minutes to help my wife find her glasses. Just 10 more minutes to give my friend a ride after I made the excuse that I was "too busy". Just 9 more seconds to backtrack and duck my head back into the kitchen and say "I love you too honey", as I made my way to work.

I wish I had lowered my fat backside down and sat on the floor to spend more time with my best friend.

I want time to be with him on his level. To let him know how much I love him. He was painfully bonded to me and even me going on a trip to the store sent him into anxiety and then depression. Diane said he would go to his bed and pout. But then, he's at the door to greet me, his hearing is tuned to the sound of my car door closing. For the next 45 seconds he is a puppy again. He crouches with his hind end up in the air, as if ready to pounce. He loses his little mind as I come through the door. I kneel to hold his head and massage his ears. And I kiss his cold, wet nose. I needed to hold him and love him more. He was an old sick guy like me and he had a bad heart. He wasn't with me near as long as I needed him to be. It was my duty to do these things and I wish I had done it more. When you can see the end taking dead aim at you, it becomes clear that you get none of this back.

Not one hour...

Not one minute...




The Universe is an inexorable time keeper. Your life's race ends for you when The Universe says your life's race ends for you. This is what being diagnosed with terminal cancer taught me.

Through my despair I was reminded that it's never too late to search for and regain hope. Being diagnosed as "terminal" by one doctor prompted a 70/30 survival prognosis by another. The brutal treatment regimen I chose saved me but made me horribly ill for months. It forced me to question my choice for this particular treatment and I thought of quitting. It reduced me to a pile of skin and bone...a lump of nausea, fear and disconsolation within my sweat-stained bed sheets. It took me just over 19 months to struggle up the sidewalk and turn the key in the Reglue shop door.

But through it all, here I am.

Here I am, telling you what is important. Not to me precisely, but to a generation of kids who will go through the most important years of school without a computer. Or a Mom. Or a place (s)he can lay their heads without fear of dying by a stray bullet of a drive-by shooting. Here I am, telling you that the life which promised a coughing, gasping, bulging-eyed choking end, was revived by hope. By people who care enough to look past your bank account. By those who told me that hope would keep me alive, if I allowed it do do so.

Make no mistake here. Not many people with late stage cancer survive this level of treatment. And if they do opt for it, most often they quit 30% through the regimen. It can and often does cause cancer in the same parts of your body a scant few years later. It comes back, enraged that you chose to stand up to it then. Doubling its efforts to wipe you from the living face of the earth. But it kills the cancer for Now.

So it's Now, in which I live. It's Now that I share this with you.

Take stock of all around you allow yourself to see things through my eyes, or the clear, bright eyes of any cancer survivor. Then and only then may you think about the unknown time ahead of you. Use it wisely and to the love and understanding of others. Because you'll never get that opportunity again.


All-Righty Then...

This Holiday Season, Don't Recycle....Reglue.

As we begin to enter the different stages of our annual fund raiser, at this point, we don't want your money. Not now at least.

The past 19 months have been brutal for us, equipment-wise. Between 2 floods-of-the-century less than a year apart, and an unprecedented demand for computers, our inventory has dipped lower than it has ever been. For the first time in our history, we are out of machines while 17 Taylor Texas kids are still in need of computers. Diane and I dug into our savings and donated Reglue 2K in order to get on track, but the more kids we helped, the more requests came in. We are both living on extremely limited incomes. We cannot do that again.

And it wasn't anywhere near the holiday season when this happened. But it is now and all we have is a handful of woefully under-powered computers left in our make-ready shelves. Unfortunately, about half of those just are not up to the demands of today's high school students. And while many will suggest that we simply use a lighter distro, that's not going to help. Sure I can make a computer work, but in cases like this, even a light distro cannot make it useful. You can go as "light" as you want but when you find the need to use LibreOffice or The Gimp, all of those miserly intentions crash around your feet.

So here's the deal. We're asking for those computers that are sitting in your closets and under your company's tech support benches. Ideally, we are asking for machines that are six years old, maybe seven. It's not only computers we need. The last flood completely filled a plastic bin with 2 dozen laptops that were ready to go. Your hard drives, speakers, mice and keyboards can be put to work immediately...

If not sooner.

And while it seems that we were taking right hooks to the side of the head, both left and right; we recently received a donation of 49 extremely useable flat screen monitors, of the 17, 19 and 21 inch variety. We're good on monitors, for now anyway. And that donation came from one of you. Holy frickin' cow. I'm afraid to ask what the shipping costs were. They came in via the back of a Yellow Freight truck on pallets, so it was probably less than the everyday carriers, but not by much.

Should you have any of the things we need, we will try to scrape up the money to help you with shipping. We'll do our best to offset those costs the best we can. If you are in Travis or Williamson county, I can arrange to come to you. I'll buy us lunch while we're at it.

We want to get this campaign underway before we start the main fund raiser. This way, we'll know a bit more about how we are going to address the 17 student's needs from a hardware point of view.

The greater Linux community has been the driving force behind our efforts. From our beginning, you people are directly responsible for over 1600 computers being placed into the homes of kids that needed our help the most, and we never forget the people who help us.


You can contact me personally ken at reglue dott orggg or go to and click the "contact us" button. That will go to my or Pete's inbox. As I try to do as often as I can, I want to personally thank you for helping us do what we do. We could have never done it without you.

All Righty Then...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Being The Holidays and All...

For over 2 decades, Diane has made holiday wreaths for friends and family. There are never two made the same. She works with what the wreath tells her. Yeah, I know...I thought it was a bit odd as well, but the end result is gorgeous.

Diane works with color sets. The one pictured here is a red and gold color set. But just because it's the same color set, doesn't mean it will be identical to other red and gold color sets made later on. She's pretty fussy about the materials she uses and flammable stuff won't make the cut with her wreaths. When possible, she uses only made in the USA materials, although that is getting harder to do these days. She does blue and silver, turquoise and silver, red and silver, and gold and silver. If the colors are available, she will do special orders.

She ducked her head in the office a while ago and asked me when the fund raiser would begin. I've put it off due to medical reasons but it should be ready to publish in the next couple of days. She wants to extend her talents in helping Reglue raise a bit of money with her work. Now that's a good idea, but she will only be making 6 of them this year and they will all go to the Reglue cause.

Folks, we've had a harsh couple of years and we're going to need a lot of help in getting operating funds for the next year. Diane has been generous with her offer and I agree, six of them should be all she does. Her arthritic hands won't let her do more than that.

So the bottom line? 75.00 packaged and shipped. And yeah, you can probably buy holiday wreaths a lot cheaper elsewhere, but you know the person, at least by proxy; that made your wreath and you are guaranteed there will never be another one like it. This is a donation item but paypal can get crappy about items selling as donations. You'll probably be better off by marking it a donation item and that will keep us all out of trouble.

It don't take much for Paypal to pull the rug out from under you. They are truly evil incarnate, but their the only real game in town, so there's that. is our paypal address. For those who rather deal with check or money order, let me know and I'll send you the shipping address.

We didn't use these as holiday perks on Indiegogo because we rather work with you folks face to face, as it were. You have made Reglue a known entity in the Linux World and without you, there would be no "Us".

Regardless of your religious or political beliefs, you can always purchase one and give it to another family that might enjoy it. Diane wanted me to tell you that she enjoys making them for our community.

And if you know Diane, that's saying a lot.

All-Righty then...