Welcome to Retroman40's World!

Welcome

Greeting from Kissimmee, Florida USA!  I know that a lot of material on this site is really out of date and I am finally starting to bring it all up to date.  As of today - June 27, 2017, I have updated my "Project 300K" material.  Next up is to review all my "Telling It Like It Is" material.  Of course I need to get some pictures of our place here in Florida.  I'll also be adding some Disney material. In the end, I will leave a lot of material up in a bit of an "archive" mode.  Thanks for your patience and enjoy!


Welcome to my site - Retroman40's World.  If you haven't visited in a while, I have really done a lot of work lately, both adding new content, especially Coast Guard stuff, as well as getting rid of and cleaning up some old stuff.  As I type this update on June 27, 2017 it seems like just yesterday that we moved into our new home in Kissimmee, FL.  We bought a foreclosure and knew that there was certainly some work to be done.  As an aside, unless you have a very high tolerance for pain, don't buy a foreclosure and absolutely avoid short sales.  The process was nothing short of a nightmare. Of course, the good thing is that in the end you will have a home worth tens of thousands of dollars more than you paid.  While we were living in an extended stay hotel while the process dragged on, all I kept thinking was when it's over and there's meat on the grill and I am sipping a cold one in the pool it will just be a stinking memory.  I was right but the memories of the move are not good.  We've taken care of the major things but still have a lot of little things we want to do to the house.  I promise that there will be pictures and updates as we get things in the shape we want them, I think that overall the site is in pretty good shape.  Let me summarize some of what I have been doing.  

I've expanded my Top Ten Rules section to 50 Rules for Life.  If I think of more I'll probably expand the list.  I've actually thought about expanding them all and trying to publish a book!   It's still part of my USCG Fun Stuff since I originally wrote it to be Coast Guard specific and honestly a couple of the rules are very USCG specific.  I think these rules would make Lee Roy Jethro Gibbs proud.  Check them out HERE.
 
I've recently expanded my "We Know Jack" (Jack Daniels that is) section.  The updated section includes photos from family visits to the distillery as well as my Jack Daniel's collection.  Check it out by clicking HERE.  If you've never been to the distillery in Lynchburg, TN (Population 361) and any interest in this sort of thing you need to get there.  It's certainly worth it to make the trip.

I've added a lot of new content in my Who's Guarding the Coast Section?, particularly regarding the USCGC Ironwood. I hope to continue adding to this section as I love sharing Coast Guard stories.

Before going any further - let me make something clear - this is a 100% non-commercial site - I am not now nor will I ever be trying to sell you anything on this site.  If I want to sell something, I will put it on eBay or Craigslist.  This site is all about entertainment, information and sharing of fond memories.  While I like how it looks right now, my mind is always working and I plan some big changes in the near future to better reflect my current interests.

As I've said repeatedly, this site will always be a "Work In Progress".  The last update was on June 27, 2017.  I try to indicate on each page the last time it was updated or reviewed.  Let's face it, some pages really don't need much periodic updating while others do.  I do try to focus on those particular pages.  While the site is continuously evolving, it is in pretty good shape and certainly ready for the reader's viewing pleasure.  I am listing the status in each section below describing each section.  I remain committed to really making this a decent site and am adding dozens of new sections and pages.  I presently have over 360 unique "pages" on the site and honestly can see that number going even higher as I go forward.  I am not so much creating any new content as much as I am reviewing, organizing and uploading existing information that I have compiled over the years.  I have plenty of ideas for pages that I am also presently developing off line. If you get "Under Development" or just encounter a blank screen when you visit a page please accept my apologies and check back a little later.  If something doesn't work or you get strange navigation buttons, remember that I am not a web developer. I'll figure it out eventually!  I'm certainly interested in any comments so please feel free to leave them in my guestbook or email me.

Before going too much farther, I guess a fair question a visitor who doesn't already know me may ask is “who is Retroman40”?  My name is Jim Michalowski.  I am a retired United States Coast Guard Officer currently living in central Florida.  I am originally from upstate New York (I was raised in Greece which is a town north east of Rochester).  I welcome you to my personal web page.  For the record, I am a real person and I am proud of everything posted on this site.  My "mission" here is to entertain, enlighten, educate and maybe even irritate the reader a bit.  Why Retroman40?  Well, I've always been kind of a retro person and the number 40 holds some special meaning to me.  This is not some anonymously produced website - I accept all responsibility for the content as I am the only one who holds the keys to the site (unless of course someone sees fit to hack into it without my knowledge and for some reason I just don't think I'm that important).  Just like in real life, I won't say anything about anyone here that I wouldn't say straight to their face.  A long time ago I read in a magazine their policy was if you want to use someone else's name you better be willing to sign yours.  That's how I roll on the internet.  I have little use for cowardly people who are quick to blast off their opinions but too chicken to sign their name.  I guess they are called "trolls" for a reason.  The bottom line here is that if you don't like something just ask yourself one simple question - it is somehow false, you know, a lie.  If the answer is no, then too bad.  If the answer is yes, then let me know and I will correct it.

Please keep in mind that I have developed this website to serve many purposes.  I initially wanted to focus entirely on my "Malt World' but decided that it would be fun to share other activities and thoughts.  Also keep in mind that this is a hobby, not a full time job for me.  I add/edit material as I have the time (or if someone advises me of a gross error).  I would much rather be on the golf course or at Disney with my wife or doing something with my family than pecking away at a keyboard.  Typically I work on this when the weather is bad and I can't do anything outside.  I also like to work on it either early in the day before anyone is up or late in the evening.  I periodically review all the material so if you find a typo please forgive me as I will find and correct it eventually!

If you searched by name I might not be the Jim Michalowski you are looking for.  I know of a couple others that are on the net; one is a photo journalist from Florida (we have to meet sometime!) and the other ironically works at my Alma mater, The University at Buffalo.   There may be others as the name is not quite as uncommon as some dopey debt collector tried to tell me a number of years ago.  If you're looking for these guys keep looking as you are in the wrong place.  Of course you are welcome to stick around as long as you wish!

A little more about me:  As I stated above, I am a retired United States Coast Guard Officer.  I proudly served all of you for nearly 26 years prior to my retirement at the rank of Commander in July 2009.  I enjoy sharing memories of my time in the service.  After retiring, I made my home near Taylorsville, KY (located in Spencer County, a little southeast of Louisville).  The decision was based on a couple things.  First, the real estate market here wasn't exactly booming (in fact, it pretty much "tanked" in 2008-09).  Since we had a nice home in a really nice area we made the decision to delay any final move until both the kids are done with school.  After our daughter graduated in May 2014, we put the house up for sale and a mere six months later sold it.  My career choice forced my family to move often and there is no way I would make daughter move in the middle of high school unless it was absolutely unavoidable.  As an aside, the move to Florida has been a challenge at every step of the way.  Once we are completely transitioned I will be expanding my thoughts in a new section.

A quick disclaimer here - As I alluded to above, this site is intended primarily for entertainment purposes.  Most (in fact pretty much all) of the content is based on my personal experiences and is for the most part my opinion.  None of the content is peer-reviewed research quality material although I always strive to get my facts correct.  I have not watermarked any photos because I really don't mind people using them, particularly for non-commercial enterprises (although I would appreciate credit).  As I stated earlier - my mission is to entertain, enlighten, educate and perhaps even irritate.  If something is way off and it bothers you, by all means contact me as I know I'm not perfect and will gladly correct any facts that I have wrong (my opinions are another story).

Please use the buttons in the upper right to check out some of my other content.  I think you may find it interesting.  Again, please always keep in mind that this website project is now and will always be "a work in progress" and will never really be finished.  Here's a quick summary of what each button will take you to.

I recently added a new section called "Random Thoughts".  I needed somewhere to put things that aren't really my opinion (Telling It Like It Is) but at the same time don't qualify as "Fun Stuff".  The first thing I am putting there is my thoughts on the old Hojack Bridge in my hometown of Rochester, NY.  I expect to adding a number of items here as I go forward.

Fore! will take you to my pages regarding golf.  In case you don't know, I am a very serious amateur golfer.  I have some very strong opinions about the game.  You can check out where I play, my opinion on improving the game as well as my thoughts on both the men's and women's professional tours.  This will be an ongoing project.  Right now this section frankly sucks and need a lot of work.  

You Made The List is a compilation of some of my top favorites in movies, music and other areas.  It's just my opinion so please don't get worked up if you disagree. This will be an ongoing project and I will add lists as they come to mind.  As of now I have posted several lists that visitors may find interesting.  I am working on some additional items. I have also started producing lists about movies as a member of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) of course under the name Retroman40.  I think they are worth a look.

Click on Vehicle Projects to check out Project RS92 (formerly "The 92 Camaro Project") - ongoing attempt to bring a beaten down 1992 Camaro RS back to life - and a good life at that!.  Project 300K which chronicles my efforts to squeeze 300,000 miles out of my 2004 Subaru Forester and Project C3500 - my experiences with our 2004 Silverado C3500 4x4 Crew Cab Dually.  In addition to my love for golf, I am also a bit of a vehicle enthusiast.  While I am in no way a professional automotive technician, I have found out a bunch of things first hand (often the hard way) about vehicles that I hope the reader may find useful or at least amusing or enjoyable to read.  I have ended both Project 300K  and Project RS92.  I have kept the pages up for historical reference.  I have really expanded the Project C3500 pages and will continue to add information but it is well worth a look.  I have done a major "mid life extension" to our C3500 and hope to have it around another 10 years!

Who's Guarding the Coast chronicles some of my nearly 26 years in the United States Coast Guard with pictures, stories and a few tributes that I hope a visitor finds interesting.  I already have quite of bit of info here, particularly on my 1985-1987 USCGC Ironwood tour as well as a couple of tributes that hold a lot of meaning to me.  As I said earlier, I really enjoy sharing my experiences and hope the reader will find them both informative and entertaining.  I can't repeat this enough - I am not some veteran with a chip on my shoulder and if you are looking for someone who enjoys bashing the service (and they are out there) keep looking - just not here.  I am extremely proud of my service and can honestly state that while we may have a few "issues" the good outstrips the bad by 100 to 1 easily.  I don't think this section will ever by "complete" but it is certainly worth a look.

My Old Kentucky Home (or should I say former Kentucky home?)  I've left the information about tours of Bourbon Country and Kentucky Wineries up since they are still somewhat fresh.  I will pull them down as they become outdated. 

Of course, Telling It Like It Is is my opinion on a variety of topics a visitor my find interesting.   This is the section that could bring "irritate" the reader to the forefront.  I have some pretty strong opinions on a bunch of topics that I don't mind sharing.  If you disagree that's your right.  Feel free to let me have it if you don't agree but remember that I get a rebuttal!  My main objective here is to perhaps get the reader to think.  In our "10 second sound bite world", I would ask that people perhaps take just a minute or two and actually think rather than just repeat what they hear.  My goal is to be able to present any point in under three minutes in a convincing manner.  Even with people who agree with me I still like to know why.  This will forever be a work in progress.  I also reserve the right to change my mind should I become aware of additional information.  Unlike a lot of people today, I will freely admit that I am not perfect and do make mistakes from time to time.
 
Fun Stuff is just that - a place where I put things that don't seem to fit into one of my other categories.  Check it out if you're looking for a laugh.

Hitting The Track is a little about our past racing (automobile, not horse) experiences, some thoughts on the state of professional racing and a little about the future.  I have added a lot of info, especially photos.  I do have some additional pictures and need to add some text to better document the photos.  It is certainly worth a look right now.

Finally, Retroman's Malt World is just that - everything dealing with malt beverages from my collection to home brewing experiences to my opinion and impressions (I don't do "reviews" (although I have in the past) - I'll leave that to the know-it-all beer snobs who in reality generally don't know &*#!) about malt beverages.  This is by far the largest section and will take the most effort to make into a decent section that is both informative and entertaining.  Bear with me as I am working on this section as time allows.  Right now (June 2017) it is fairly well populated and worth a peek.  I have been working on my breweriana collection and will be adding updates as time allows.  If you come across something that you have questions about please let me know and I'll do my best to answer your question.  I don't claim to be any sort of "expert" but I do have a fair knowledge of my collection.

If you are an old friend I would love to hear from you.  You can email me at n2oman@aol.com

You can find me and a lot of additional content on the internet in a couple places:

I review beers and comment on other beer related topics under the name Retroman40 on Beer Advocate.  The site's motto is "Respect Beer" and they pretty much stick to it.  I am new to the site (December 2013) but already can see it will most likely be a long term relationship.  If you're into beer you need to check it out.  The link here goes to my list of reviewed and rated beers.

You can find me on YouTube as Retroman40.  I have a YouTube Channel - Inside Retroman40's World.  While it has several videos dating back a few years, I've been a little lax at times with new materials.  I have posted a number of malt beverage reviews as well as some other stuff including book reviews and opinions you may find interesting.  I keep saying I am going to be more active but somehow it never seems to happen.  Still, I have left the site up as a bit of an informative archive.

You can find me on Twitter as Retroman40. I'm not much of a "tweeter"; I use the service mostly to follow people I am interested in.  I don't think that many people are interested in me enough that I have to update my status instantaneously!

Naturally I am on Facebook as Jim Michalowski.  Again, I don't do that much posting, but I do read through most everything my FF's (Facebook Friends) post.  I am sincerely interested in what people post and enjoy keeping up with people.  Just a side note about Facebook; I do not monitor it 24/7 and as such I might miss some posts if there is a lot of activity between your posting and when I do check in.  If this happens I am sorry but I still do care about what you post.

I also have Flickr account as Retroman40 where I 've posted a lot of photos.  I like the flickr service as it really is a great way to share photos and memories.  It is a ongoing project of mine to annotate photos the best I can including dates and locations.  I invite anyone to check out my online photo collection.  If you see in a comment that I've misrepresented anything, please feel free to straighten me out.

Speaking of pictures - here's one of the family at Halloween in 2011 and again last year (2013).  It's hard to believe that the kids are now 18 and 21.  The costume I am wearing on the left is the same jersey I wore to a Halloween party in 1978.  I am actually quite proud that I can still wear it.  I threw the 78 costume together in about five minutes to go to a dorm party where it was free if you came in a costume.  Yes, the legal drinking age in those days was 18 (as it should still be but you can read my full opinion on the matter under "Telling It Like It Is").  I wasn't sure what I was going to do for 2013 until I saw the "BP" (Bad Planning) costume at a Halloween store.  It's no secret how I feel about the whole BP - Deepwater Horizon - Gulf of Mexico Incident. The 2013 picture isn't as sharp as I like but you get the idea!  Our 2016 Halloween picture is coming soon!


  
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