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The Tattoo

Before I get into the whys and hows of getting my tattoo, let me start off by saying that if you live in the Tampa Bay area, or can get here, and are thinking about a custom tattoo, go see JD (John Dixon) at Psychotic Ink in St Petersburg, FL. JD has a relaxed, laid-back attitude, is a great artist and does phenomenal work. He is one of those rare people that are truly "about the work."

Now onto the story:

About 20 years ago, I had decided to get a tattoo. I just wanted one for no better reason than "because." At the time, I drew up a custom piece that was centered around my joining the Navy as a Nuclear Electronics Technician. The drawing was a skeleton of an American Bald Eagle perched on a typical "Navy" anchor ("USN Nuke" written on it) with a mushroom cloud in the background. I had planned on getting the tattoo on the left side of my chest; however, for reasons I won't get into, I never got the tattoo.

Continue reading "The Tattoo"

Oil and Water

Oil and water do not mix. It is just one of those chemical composition things. You can pour them both into the same container and the water will settle to the bottom with the oil floating on top of it. Shake the container up and after a few minutes they will revert back to layering; oil on top and water on the bottom. Separate entities in the same container.

Both compounds are needed in this world. Water quenches thirst and is needed to survive. Oil, among other things, lubricates the gears and joints for movement. Even once you have both in the same container you can still separate them back out again and they will fulfill these basic tasks just as well because they do not mix.

There are ways you can force the two to combine, to bond as it were, but in doing so you wind up with neither water nor oil. Instead you have something else. Something that neither quenches your thirst nor provides lubrication for movement. A bastardized compound.
Continue reading "Oil and Water"

Dead Power Supply

Following a loud pop that caused my heart to stop for a moment, my computer power supply decided to head on to greener pastures. Being who I am, I figured I would rip it apart to see the reparability of it all, thinking it was likely a blown capacitor or transformer. Capacitors that make that exploding sound usually show some outward sign of such action, where as transformers are generally more subtle. Worth a shot at the very least, right?

With no signs of capacitor damage and 16 transformers soldered into the circuitry, it was apparently a waste of my time. I suppose I could have started desoldering parts to test them individually, but even were I successful in locating the culprit (and hopefully the root cause); I would have to locate some oddball replacement component. Hardly worth the time for all of that.

Instead of jumping through all the self-repair hoops, I looked online for an aftermarket replacement... with no luck. It would seem this is a proprietary power supply specific to this model of Dell. And that just sucks. The good news is that everyone and their brother seem to carry this power supply as a refurbished unit, including Dell. That meant two things to me: first, this particular type of failure is likely a common problem with this power supply, and second, they are likely replacing the bad component with a better one. That last part is just a guess, but makes sense when you have a common source of failure.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that I am without my main computer until sometime Friday when my replacement power supply arrives. The big problem is that my life is on that computer, including all the pictures and notes for this here blog thingy of mine. I do have backups (and the hard drives are obviously still OK), but with under a weeks wait for repair time it hardly seems worth the effort to build out a computer just to restore a few files for a couple of days use. At least that is my thought.

While we wait for a real blog entry from yours truly, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the music. What? You can't hear that music? Sorry, the voices must be singing again. They really are getting pretty good you know. Just skip that last part about enjoying the music. I'll get something more entertaining up as soon as I can. Until then... Ciao.

Congratulations Phaide

This has been a bit of a hectic week for me. My first set of assignments and tests for Calculus are all due this week, along with the work from Intro. Chemistry. Two classes I can normally balance with my professional and personal life, but I have the addition of my mom visiting with me for the week. All and all it makes for a little more of a hectic week and unfortunately my blog suffers a bit as a result.

Should you be one of my handful of regular readers, I would like to suggest only checking once a week for the next month. I am certain I will find my professional, personal, and academic groove (again) before too long, but do not want to frustrate any of my readers with hopes of consistent updates. I have stopped reading several web comics in the past for that very same reason and do not want anyone to have to feel that level of loss. The image of the same exact comic showing up on my computer screen every day still haunts me at night. It was, and still is, a horrifying experience. Really.

In other news fronts, the reason for my mother's visit (and part of my week's schedule) is that my daughter is graduating from High School, with today being the actual ceremony. It is finally happening, and if her turning 18 did not make me feel old, her graduating from high school pushes me over that limit. I am an old man. I need a Porsche. Actually, a Tesla Roadster. Porsche are so last year's mid-life crisis. Anyway, everyone repeat after me...

Congratulations Phaide on your graduation from High School!

Back to School

About a month ago I received my notice from the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University that I was not to be accepted into the Master of Science in Information Technology program. With all the reasons I had given for wanting to attend CMU in my article, aptly entitled Carnegie Mellon, you might have guessed I was a little disappointed in being turned down. It had been a long shot though, so I wasn't completely heartbroken when I read the letter, and I would be lying if I said I did not breathe a sigh of relief over not having to figure out where I was going to come up with over $5K per class. I still think the price is worth it and the school is the best choice for this particular program, I just now know it is not the right school for me (or rather I am not the right student for the school).

The second choice on my list for Master Degree programs was, and still is, the Harvard Extension School. It is Harvard; need I really say more on that subject? UC Berkeley would actually be my true number two choice, but they do not have a distance learning program at this time and, despite some people's belief that I have liberal views, I am not enough of a hippy to step foot on the campus of Berkeley. I would probably pass out from the smell of patchouli and sweat. Anyway, as fortune would have it, I missed the last course startup at the Harvard Extension School while waiting for news from CMU and the next registration for courses does not open until August. Enter idle mind syndrome.

I have been aware of my need for an electronics refresher for a while now and I actually have a few books in my library for this purpose, but these books never get as in-depth into electronics as I would like. I thought about completing the MIT OpenCourseWare courses on Electronics, as I am certain these courses would cover all that I was looking to remember. The idle mind in me then figured that if I was to take actual electronics courses, I should get full credit for these courses this time around (little real credit for Nuke School courses). Thus I should enroll in electronics courses at one of the local colleges. Simple enough, except that idle mind of mine figured that if I am getting college credit for something like this, then I should put it to use and go after a second degree in Electrical Engineering.

One thing lead to another and it turns out that just about every EE program out there requires at least three semesters of Calculus, as well as Differential Equations. And you can't take Physics without taking Calculus I, either. So now I am spending the summer in classes at my local college in support of the possibility of enrolling in an Electrical Engineering program at some unknown time in the future; rather than taking a couple simple refresher electronics courses. And people wonder why I immerse myself in all sorts of projects to keep my brain busy. Idle mind... More like insane mind, but that is where I am at.

Information Systems Diagnostician

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, once said that it was easier to make a million dollars than to coin a catch phrase. I believe he was referring to the Where's the beef? campaign in the 1980s, but I can't remember all the details of the speech to be certain. I do not have a million dollars, but it would be nice to have. I also do not have a catch phrase that I could coin. What I do have is a job title, Information Systems Diagnostician, and I intend to popularize it.

Backing up a bit, during my discussion of the Fox TV show House I made the comment that I should change my title to diagnostician. In my typical smart ass manner, I did just that very thing in my About Me page. All fun and games so far. On a whim I performed a Google search for the phrase (including quotes) "Information Systems Diagnostician" and something amazing happened: I Am. When? was the only website to contain the phrase.

I was only partially shocked at these search result. On the one hand, I had never heard the title prior to bestowing it upon myself, but on the other hand, this is the Internet for FSM sake. It should have been there someplace; at least that was my thought. That is when the little voice spoke to me, "Andrew, you are a slacker. Your life is meaningless and you will never accomplish anything of importance."

"You are wrong," I replied in an even tone. "I will popularize the job title Information Systems Diagnostician and that shall be my legacy." Feeling overly dramatic at that point, I hung up the phone on my brother.

True story. Alright, maybe I didn't hang up on my brother Greg. And maybe I just thought about my reply, but didn't actual say anything. Fine, I made it all up. Except the Google search part. That's real. Deciding to popularize the title is real as well, I am just not entirely certain why.

It is a cool title. The title also fits with what I do. Not just now, but wherever I work. I might get hired as a Computer Technician, a Systems Engineer, a Network Architect or an Information Systems Manager, but before long I wind up handling all the I.T. stuff that no one else can handle. It has always been that way. Might as well have a title that fits that, right? Except that is still just a title. It still doesn't explain my desire to popularize it.

I am also not certain exactly how I plan on going about popularizing the title. Or, for that matter, how I will ensure the title fits the actual job performance that I have in my mind. That hasn't stopped me from starting my crusade though. Small things for now. Message forums. Yep, that's correct; I've changed my job title on the message forums I belong to. Granted it doesn't show up anywhere except my user profile, but it's there. Oh yes, it's there.

This blog entry is my obvious next step. Another small step, but it is still a step. I imagine a Wikipedia article at some point; they do have many job descriptions listed already. I guess that means I have to come up with a concrete job description first, which would help to fix the title fitting the job performance aspect I just mentioned.

See? Ideas are flowing and moving already. This is good. Vive La Revolution! And my brother said I wouldn't accomplish anything. Oh, right. He never actually said that. I made that whole part up. Sorry. Something I still haven't made up is the reason why I want to popularize this job title. And the only thing that comes to mind is "Why Not?" And there you have it.

My name is Andrew Maxim and I am an Information Systems Diagnostician.

Busy Weekend

Yes, I took a week off. I know. I've only been back at the blog station for a few months and already taking vacations. It's not my fault, my brain made me do it. Actually, my brain wanted me to go away for this entire weekend with only a good book designed to be read strictly for enjoyment. While I do have a new Raymond Feist book sitting on my bookshelf, I am not so sure my brain deserves that much of a vacation. Reading just for pleasure? Preposterous! Gaining knowledge is pleasure enough.

Incase you were wondering, I think I may have snapped a little bit. Mostly the whole Physics thing. I try to do any one thing and instead I am suddenly looking up how my hypothesis is supported by this proof of that theory. Two weeks ago I had never even heard of Frame-Dragging and now I know that it is a whole Relativity space-time distortion thing that was proven partially by Gravity Probe B. I also know how that same proof actually supports my hypothesis 100%. Fourteen million theories to fill in the gaps for one theory, or one hypothesis that doesn't need smoke and mirrors. Baffles my mind which way the science community has gone. Baffles it more that not one of my three readers knows someone who dated someone who knows someone who copied exam answers off a theoretical physicist. Six degrees of separation my ass.

Anyway, despite my brain's protests, I didn't give myself the weekend off. I have electricity producing algae to rotate, a Home Automation audio system to get working, and Herbert generations 4, 5 & 6 to build out. Hmmm. Ooops. Forgot to mention anything about Generations 5 and 6. I'll get a post up for that Monday at the normal time. Sorry. There is also the tutorial on the tactile sensors to post (need to crop the pictures down) and the two part mold making tutorial as well (one part poured mold has been posted incase you missed it). Then there is something about an HD100 in placeshifter mode that no longer wants to work right with my SageTV server. Also the solar air pump that needed a new connector rod to be lathed out and attached. And those are just the additional weekend projects beyond my normal weekend activities.

Busy weekend indeed, but that is precisely the way I like it.

I Bit My Tongue Off

I started this blog a year ago for a variety of little reasons, but mostly I started it to write. It was to be my outlet in a way that only yelling from the roof of a building at the top of your lungs could be. I get thoughts on my brain and I need to let them out, much in the same way that we all get cravings for a particular food and you just have got to have it.

Just like how other foods do not taste as good until that craving has been satisfied, writing about other topics while something is swirling in the back of my mind doesn't hit the spot. Only with a food craving we have to eat. We get hungry and, whether or not we can get that Lobster Bisque, we know we have to eat and so we do. Well, I don't have to write. There are no paid banners or advertisements that I have to think about keeping a readership coming back to the website for. There is only the time it takes me to put up an entry and the costs to maintain a web-space. Nothing to force me to write; except the outlet of thoughts and ideas. And that is what iamwhen is here for.

The problem is that this whole Internet fad (Trust me; it won't last more than a year or two. Really.) is open to the world. Everyone from everywhere can read what I write tonight or tomorrow or even what I wrote a year ago. That has been a problem for me because HR personnel and hiring managers have passed over people due to what they find with a simple Google search during the hiring process. The things they have found aren't "tear down the government, communism forever" or even "I like having sex on my desk at the office" kind of stuff, but rather a photo of the applicant in a bikini on their myspace page. Stupid things like that.

If a simple photo taken at the beach can mean the difference between "You're hired" and "Don't call us (and we won't call you)", what would my view that Creationism should not be taught in schools do for my chances at employment (especially working in the South)? What about all my other views on things that some might find even more controversial?

So when Georgia invaded the breakaway nation of South Ossetia and we (the United States and most of the world) condemned Russia for kicking their ass back across the border straight to the Georgian capital city (similar to what the U.S.A and U.N. did to Iraq when Iraq invaded the nation of Kuwait), I bit my tongue. When the Presidential race was underway and politics were on everyone mind, I bit my tongue. On and on I bit my tongue, until finally I became mute.

I couldn't get any words to come out except those things I worried about voicing, because somewhere, someone in HR or some manager will ignore 20 years of industry experience, world class training and certifications, miles of recommendations, and a mind accepted into MENSA; and instead decide that I should not get the job or the promotion or the raise because they disagree with my opinion. And that was the problem. Because we live in a world where that does happen.

Well, screw them. If someone is that much of a moron to see that their opinion is wrong (because it disagrees with mine) and thinks that a difference of opinions or a spoken point of view matters more than ability and experience, well then they are someone I do not want to work with, for, or around. That is my stance and we'll see if it works better than the previous "silence is golden" one.

A little crazy glue and my tongue has been reattached (I might need some duct tape until the glue dries); and I will once again be posting my mind. Regardless of what topic is on my mind. And hopefully voicing those thoughts that swirl around in the back of my head will once again allow me to write about topics that I feel passionate about (robotics) instead of opinionated on (Palin? Really? I mean, REALLY?).

Carnegie Mellon (or "Why I want to attend CMU")

I had made up my mind a long time ago that if I were to ever pursue an advanced degree in technology my first choice would be Carnegie Mellon University. Of course I have alternate choices and would choose a different school if I was looking at something like an MBA, but for technology CMU is the Holy Grail for me.

I am currently in the application process to attend the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University in the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program. Invariably when I talk to people about pursuing my Master Degree they ask about my school choices, which is immediately followed by the question "Why there?" My response has always been "Because it's Carnegie Mellon," and usually includes what I am certain is a dumb-founded look on my face.

I believe it is the dumb-founded look that stops people from asking further along that line of questioning, so they ask about my second choice for schools, which is the Harvard University Extension School. Now it is my turn to receive a dumb-founded look.

Yes, Harvard University is my second choice, but I have continuously had a difficult time expressing the reason CMU is my number one school. For those people who are familiar with CMU's Computer Science program it generally makes sense without explanation, but what I have taken for granted as something "Universally Known" appears to be pretty unknown to most people. It is the universally known aspect that has really been the reason I haven't verbalized concretely why CMU is my school of choice. With today being the eve of my first visit to Carnegie Mellon for their fall open house it seems like the appropriate time to put into words what I know deep down inside.

The name and reputation of CMU in most of the Information Technology industry is generally reason enough to attend the school, but there is far more to it than that for me. Obviously with the name and reputation comes a given level of quality of the professors and the curriculum. Perhaps not a complete "given" for such an assumption, but in this case it is definitely true. Still, that alone is not enough of a reason for me.

Enter the quality of the students. This is a big reason for my wishing to attend. CMU accepts the best and the brightest, and rejects students that could find a home on almost any other campus without problem. In an academic lifetime where I have found very little challenge, this caliber of student raises the bar; thus requiring more challenging courses, which in turn raises the bar higher.

That is what I want. A bar set so high, brought about because of the incredibly high quality of students who continuously strive to hurdle that bar and set a new standard. That challenge. That level of knowledge and interaction. A school full of students and professors who will accept nothing less than the very best from everyone around them, because anything less than a persons best will leave them looking on from a distance as the class races ahead. That is why I want to attend Carnegie Mellon University.

Educations

Today I will be taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. For the first time in quite a long while I am a little nervous about taking a test. For those who do not know, the examination is one of two primary tests used as part of admissions into a graduate level program (the other test being the GMAT). Basically, the test is similar to what I remember the SATs to be like: mathematics and vocabulary (although I understand the SATs have been changed since I took them 20 years ago). There are also two essay portions on the GRE.

Much like the SAT, if you had a year to study you could probably improve your score to some extent. Lacking that year's preparation, I have opted for very little studying as I either know the content or I do not. I have done a little refreshing on the mathematics portion, but mostly I see my preparation work as getting into the correct mindset to take the exam, as opposed to learning new things.

In the quantitative section (i.e. mathematics) I should do fairly well provided I avoid simple mistakes such as multiplying two numbers incorrectly. On the verbal section (i.e. vocabulary) I can only do so much. When it comes to the vocabulary section there are three levels of progression based on the type of person you are: 1) those who do not read books, 2) those who read books, and 3) those who know Latin. I do not know Latin.

While I am in the process of gearing up for acceptance into one of the most esteemed graduate schools within the technology field, Carnegie Mellon University; my daughter is looking at undergraduate programs in her chosen field. This coming Saturday we will be taking a field trip to North Miami to take a look at one of those schools, Johnson and Wales. And while I am nervous about applying to CMU, I am far more anxious and concerned about my daughter getting into the right school.

The worst part is that I have even less control over her future schooling than I do my own, and beyond that, her life as a whole. I only hope that the education I have given her throughout her young life has been enough to provide the guide and motivation she will need. I suppose in the end, whether it is formal or life-based, it all comes down to education. And on many levels, that is a reassuring thought.

The Best Day of the Year

I have never been one to celebrate holidays, whether it is Christmas, or Valentine's Day, or Easter, or Birthdays (including my own); to me, these days of the year are just that, another day of the year. I have been this way from an early age, just prior to hitting my teen years. There was no tragedy, religious experience or dramatic event that turned me off to these "special days", but rather a conscious decision on my own part.

The only holiday I have always enjoyed is Thanksgiving, as it is one of the few excuses my family has had to travel across the country, or down the road, and spend time with one another. And it is one of the few that has not, as of yet (knock on wood), been completely bastardized into a Hallmark buying frenzy. Even in that, I do not see myself as celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, but rather enjoying the reunion with family and friends. A distinction perhaps only to myself.

For me the holidays are generally a charade. A day or two a year that people celebrate the birth of a friend, the love for another, the joy of their religious beliefs, or any of a number of other things. I, we, should not have to be told to purchase a gift for a friend or a loved one simply because of the calendar date. We should not have to be reminded to remember our deity. For if these things only occur because they are marked upon a calendar, do they really matter?

To me, everyday should be a celebration of those things. Being a Christian (Pastafarian really), I try to enjoy the Christmas spirit year round, much to the annoyance of those who know me. Between January and November of each year, you will be hard pressed to find a day that I am not singing Christmas songs aloud and at random. Come December, in proper spirit, I switch to Easter songs. If I see a gift that someone I care about might like and I can afford, I buy it and give it as a gift. Now. Not when their birthday or another holiday rolls around. Perhaps I am just odd. Alright, I am just odd, but in this case I don't see my behavior as strange, only as doing what I see as right.

The major exception to all my bah-humbugness is my daughter. With her, and for her, I celebrate all of the holidays. Each and every year she is my valentine. On Christmas I try to provide a few gifts for her to unwrap and enjoy. The same for each holiday she has chosen to celebrate, but I still never lose sight of the everyday. Each day she has been and will be in my life is the most precious gift of all. And I cherish all of these days.

We might not get to spend the time together that we would if she lived with me, and we might not do all the things that others would expect of a weekend parent, but we do get the most out of our time; even if it is time spent apart from each other. She is my daughter and being a part of her life is the most important and wonderful thing I will ever do in my own life.

Despite the ups and downs, the gray hairs she has given me, and the many nights of worry; I have always been proud of the girl she has been and the woman she is growing up to be. And so I truly hope she enjoys this 17th birthday and 18th year of her life as much as I will continue to cherish each day that I have been blessed with her as a daughter.

Happy Birthday Phaide. You might be getting older, but you will always be my little girl.

It Is Time

All things in moderation. A pretty good slogan to live by; the only problem, determining what the correct level that qualifies as "moderate" is. Extremists tend to hate moderation, whether it is the political arena, sports fanaticism, consumption, or anything else. For example, people opposed to alcohol consumption generally refuse to acknowledge that a person who consumes one (and only one) alcoholic beverage per day lives a longer, healthier life. It is a stress reliever; and I am sorry to all the health nuts, physicians and medical journals who are trying to sell you something with their skewed statistics, but stress is the number one contributing factor of illness in the world, and the second leading cause of death (dying being number one, topping the charts at 100% of all deaths).

Skewed stats aside, I tend to do pretty well with moderation. I understand that the moderate quantity of hemlock is zero ("It's all natural, so you know its good for you." yea, right), while quantities of breathable air should be pretty high (too high is hyperventilating, which again becomes bad). The one thing I have a problem with is cigarette smoking. My name is Andrew Maxim and I am addicted to cigarettes, and yes I see the irony of following "breathable air" with "cigarettes".

Like most smokers, I really can not pin down the reason I first started smoking. Peer pressure, being young and stupid, the quick buzz that you get (up until the point that you are hooked). Who knows? I even retired from smoking a couple years back (retired as opposed to quitting, because no one likes a quitter), and could not tell you why I started back up a year later. What I can tell you is what I missed while I was in retirement.

There was a newspaper article I had read online some years back that discussed the social group of smokers, and the writer was dead on. I searched the Internet for the original article to share it, but unfortunately did not have any luck. So I will have to paraphrase. Basically, the article discussed how the group, collectively known as "smokers", was one of the only social groups worldwide that transcended all other biases, stereotypes, genders, races, religions, political affiliations, et al. It is one of the only groups you can walk up into, without knowing a single person, and have the feeling that you belong.

On my recent trip overseas, I spent four hours in the Miami airport smoking area chatting it up with two people I had nothing in common with besides smoking. Try that with another social group. It is also one of the most generous of social groups, in relations to the commonality that brings them together. Walk up to 10 people in a bar and ask them to give you a drink, unless they are attracted to you and hoping to score, you are not getting that drink. Walk up to a smoker and "bum a smoke", and you just made a friend.

That is what I missed when I had retired last time, and is what I will miss when I retire (quitters never win, and winners never quit) this time around. It is something I know I need to do, and something I know I am able to accomplish. Whoa onto the people around me for the first four days or so as I bring my cigarette smoking down to the moderate level of none, but it is time. Wish me (and those around me) luck.

My Honey

It's Valentine's Day, so I figured I would talk a little about my honey. It actually is probably more of a rant to be totally honest. You see, my girlfriend, Catherine, and I were recently on a trip overseas and one of our stops was in New Zealand. While we were there we had been told that we have to try, and likely purchase, Manuka Honey.

Now, I hate honey. Always have. I suppose I am one of the few people in the world that does, at least I have met no other people with such distaste for the sugary "treat". Oddly enough, I do really enjoy Mead, which, if you are not aware, is made from fermented honey. I also have a sweet spot for Baklava, along with a few other honey baked goods and candies. Very odd I know, but I have never been known for being normal. The point is I really do not like honey itself, so I was a bit dubious over trying this Manuka Honey. But what is the point of visiting foreign lands if you are not going to try new things, right?

Well, let me just tell you, I loved the stuff. Its color is much darker than typical US honey, with a thick rich flow and what can only be described as an almost graininess. It was fabulous. So we bought three very expensive jars of this wonderful, tantalizing oasis of oral refreshment.

One jar was opened and enjoyed throughout the trip, and was promptly confiscated by customs during out international flight. Knowing my friend Liz's love for honey, I insisted we give one jar to her as a gift from our travels. Leaving one jar for the homestead. Not really much for two people who just dig in with a spoon whenever they pass by it sitting idly upon the counter.

Not wishing to ever be without this new found treat, Catherine managed to find the same name brand Manuka Honey on the web and ordered three more jars of this delicacy, paying a hefty premium for international shipping and such. Only it is not the same. It is Manuka Honey, it is produced by the same company, but it has that horrible flavor that has made me despise honey all these years. I even compared a spoonful to the remaining jar we had brought back with us. There is no difference between the look and texture of the two separate jars of honey, but the flavor, and particularly the after taste definitely tells a different story.

That really is it for me with honey, trying that taste test between the two; it is the after taste of US honey that bothers my palate so. And here is this gem of a honey that I grew fond of so quickly, which contains that same after taste. Tonight I found out why. On the very edge of the label is a small block of words explaining everything so clearly as if there never should have been a question in my mind. "US FANCY GRADE".

So why is it that we must ruin something as simple as honey from a foreign land? Is it that our US honey is so inferior in taste and quality? Or does the FDA require some hidden ingredient in all honey bought or sold within the US borders? There is only "Honey" listed for ingredients after all. Or perhaps there is some sort of pasteurizing process that taints the pure taste of honey? I doubt I will ever know the reasons, but for me my honey will always be untouched New Zealand Manuka Honey.

And you thought I was going to talk about something romantic, didn't you?