Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Better Therapy

As far as my wife and I are concerned, 2010 was not a very good year. We had hoped it would be great, but life threw us more than one curve ball, and then the economy tanked, which made our jobs more stressful, etc, etc, etc.

By the end of the year, we both just needed to get away. So in late October I started looking for a year end get-a-way. Someplace we could go to forget about the maelstrom that swirled around us at home. The logical place is a small Mexican seaside town about 5 hours south of us on the Sea of Cortez. It is called Puerto Penasco on the map, but most folks around here refer to it as Rocky Point.

It is one of the better bargains in the area, since you can rent a rather large, custom home on the beach for the price of a round-trip airline ticket across the country. So last October, I booked 4 nights in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house, that depending on the level of the tide, was usually only 50 feet from the ocean. We would be there from December 23rd through December 27th. Just me, the wife, and one of our dogs. Well, that changed, to two of our dogs.......and at the last minute we added a cat.

From Best Therapy

Two people, two dogs and a cat took off for Rocky Point on Thursday afternoon. By the time we finally made it to the outskirts of the big city, we were exhausted from the packing and the driving. We drove down to Mexico in silence as we each reflected on the year that we had just been through.

There are a lot of things going on in Mexico right now. Mostly, this whole drug war / drug cartel thing with all the murders and violence. This is more hype than anything else, with most of the violence centered around a few small border towns. But hype is hype, and along with the bad economy, the little seaside town of Rocky Point was really hurting. They depend on a lot of tourist dollars there and there aren’t many tourists these days. Those that don’t have jobs can’t go and those that do have jobs are afraid of roaming drug lords.

From Best Therapy

This all made for a very smooth and quick drive down to Mexico. Heavily traveled roads were deserted this time around and we made it to Rocky Point in under 5 hours.

We picked up the key to the house from the rental agency. The house is called Casa Zillori and it didn’t take us long to find it, since this wasn’t our first trip down to the Sea of Cortez. The two dogs we brought with us were our 8 year old 125lb Great Dane, Chella, and our 2 year old, 55lb terrier / beagle / boxer / retriever mix, named Maximus (Max for short). Chella had been down to Rocky Point on many occasions, but Max had never seen the ocean. We knew he liked water, but had no idea what he would think of endless sea and sand.

From Best Therapy

We unpacked the truck and took the dogs down to the beach. It was high tide and the surf was moderate. There was no one else on the beach for as far as the eye could see, so we let Max off leash to see what he would do.

To no one’s surprise he leaped forward and starting running down the shore as fast as he could, and we both assumed that would be the last we saw of him, possibly forever. But a funny thing happened. After running through the surf at full gallop, he stopped after about 100 yards and dove into the ocean. He then swam back to shore and ran back toward us at full speed, passed us, and continued running for another 100 yards in the opposite direction. All the while he was leaping through the surf and diving head first into the waves that dared to cross his path.

From Best Therapy

Max continued up and down the 200 yards of beach for about 20 minutes, non-stop. Max was in Heaven. It was a child’s first trip to Disneyland, your first solo car ride and first time making love all rolled into one. Sue and I just stood there with Chella as Max did his best to wear out that beach. The look of sheer joy on his face was mesmerizing.

So much so, that we forgot. We forgot all about our lives back in Phoenix, Arizona. We forgot all about 2010. The look on Max’s face as he plowed through the surf was more than worth the house rental, and the gas and the time to drive down to the ocean.

From Best Therapy

Most folks that are depressed, find comfort in a bottle, or at a therapist’s office or in a pharmasutical. But let me tell you. The best therapy ever devised is a dog on an empty beach. Max made us realize more than anything is short, dive in.

For more of my thoughts on what Max has taught us, click here.

(All pictures taken in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with a Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera, 12/23/2010 - 12/27/2010)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cruising Altitude

Peace and Quiet at 20,000 Feet

It seems that I do one of these ever year around this time. I suppose it is some sort of year end therapy. At least it feels like it.

A 2 minute 30 secont Terragen Raytracing created on my office computer over the Christmas Holiday. Comprised of 4,000 sepeate images, they were sequenced using Quicktime 7 and edited in iMove, with the soundtrack added from GarageBand.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worst Phishing Ever


I got this in my e-mail last weekend. While I have to assume that most internet users are savy enough to realize that this is utter bullshit, I am sure that there are some folks that will fall for it. Even though it has no logos or graphics, or even good grammer.

I am still waiting for the 3.5 million dollars from the Nigerian bank account that I sent my social security number I sort of doubt that 'Google' is telling the truth here. (my comments in blue)


Dear Google Mail User,

We hereby want to let you know that your Google Mail Account needs Verification.

Due to the recent problems encountered by our Google Mailing system.

Google Team will be deleting some in active accounts so as to reduce the number of registered Account on the New Affiliated Google Web Browser. (WTF does this mean?) Please Provide the following affiliation process (what the hell is 'affiliation process?) by filling out the details below so as to make a correspondence (their command of the English language is astounding) with the saved data on our system.

Present Country:

Warning !!!Failure to fill in the details above,we will believe your account is not active anymore and it will be deleted within 48hours and shutdown. (are you threatening me? ? ?)
Gmail Registration Services®.


Evidently, anyone that is actually fooled by this e-mail needs to have their internet access taken away.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Droid Dump


I take a lot of pictures that most folks never see. If a black & white negative comes out a little to over-exposed, or the first attempt at a digital sunset isn't right, it gets filed away on some disk for future generations.

Recently, a lot of friends and co-workers have lost cellphones, or forgot to back up their digital cameras and lost EVERYTHING. So I am going to 'try' and start backing up stuff.

Since the concept of storage has moved 'way' beyond floppy disks and CD-ROMs, I have scavenged all the old digital media I have and posted it to a safe keeping place on the web. Specifically, my Apple Mobile.Me account. Most of these pictures are not great images, however, some of them aren't bad and have made it onto the pages of Flickr and this blog. Keep in mind, that all of this is 'digital' media. Which means it is NOT film. That is reserved for Flickr or specific blog posts. I mean, after all....I have to have some content standards.

Many of these images are from my Droid Smartphone, but some of them go back as far as my Zire 100 Palm Pilot and my LG5600 cellphone.

I will be updating the contents a few times a year as I dump memory cards and hard drives into it. So if you want to look through my shoe box of recent photos, click on the blog title above or just click "here" and you can browse them at your leisure.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010



I find myself frustrated a lot these days.

Frustration isn’t a good feeling. It leads to health problems, irritability, lack of sleep and a host of other bad things.

It appears that the majority of my frustration comes about due to the fact that I can’t get a lot of things done. It is an inability to complete a task, or at the very least, the task takes much more time to complete than it should.

Now I realize that I am partly to blame for this. I give myself more things to do than I can probably realistically get done. Every year or so, the wife and I have to ‘clean house’. Which is another way of saying, we go through our home and throw away all the old projects that we realize aren’t going to ever be completed or that have just fallen off the radar.

However, there are some tasks that we just can’t do this with. They are usually the tasks forced on us by others. Usually our employers or our families.

There are two primary frustration creators in this vein. One is the expectation that others will do things for you and our refusal or inability to tell these people ‘No’. By being charitable and helping others, we, in effect, enable them to fail and they return to us over and over again seeking help, support, advice or problem solving skills.

The other primary source of outside frustration is lack of resources. This is another way of saying that you are spreading the workers too thin. The catch phrase back in the 1990s was ‘multi-tasking’. This came from the use of computers, which could do more than one thing at a time. Such as, you could work on a spreadsheet AND print out a Word document. You didn’t need to wait for one process to end before you started the next one. Pretty cool, when you talk about computer....not so cool when you talk about people.

It became a boastful statement when workers would state that they could ‘multi-task’. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this. Not everyone can do it and not everyone should do it. It depends on the tasks.

As resources have been cut back over the years (i.e. less staff to do the work), management has seen multi-tasking as a way of keeping the same production level with fewer workers. You, as a worker, no longer have a JOB, you now have several JOBS, depending on who calls in sick or who gets laid off or who is on vacation.

I often explain it this way. If you are an accountant and you are hired by Ford Motor Company to create financial spreadsheets, you are hoping to really flex your muscle with Excel and create some killer workbooks. But what if after 3 months on the job, your supervisor comes to you and says, “Hey Bob, production just called, and they are really short staffed on the Pinto production line today, could hop on down there and install windshields for a few hours? It would REALLY help us out.”

Since Bob wants to be seen as a ‘team’ player he agrees. But the danger here is, once Bob knows how to work on the production line, Bob is going to be seen as a production line ‘resource’. So the next time half the Pinto builders all call in sick because Ford cuts back on their coffee breaks, who do you think they are going to call? Thats right...Bob.

The end result is obvious. Splitting Bob’s resources between creating Excel spreadsheets and building Ford Pintos means you won’t get good spreadsheets and you won’t get good Pintos. And Bob is going to get a little ….. frustrated, because this isn’t what he signed up for, nor is it what he wants to do. He didn't go to accounting school to learn how to build long lasting highway safety flares.

You wouldn’t want your heart surgeon splitting his time between operating room prep and working in the hospital pharmacy now would you? Some would say that being a surgeon is much to important and skilled a job to multi-task, but you would be wrong. Almost ANY job in the United States these days is extremely complex.

I work in an office where I have to track in excess of 10,000 children, there welfare and their well being, but I am also tasked with answering the phones for my division several times a month. In essence, I am their statistician and their front desk receptionist. So, in addition to worrying about missing 500 children that have medical needs that aren’t being addressed on a multipule sheet Excel workbook, I also have to worry about placing multiple people on hold and losing them when I try and transfer them.

But such is the way of the Western World today. With professionals from India and China willing to work for minimum wage, for 60 hours a week, it is either multi-task or or stand in line at the soup kitchen.

As I have stated before, I hope to be able to make it to retirement, where I can focus on ONE task at a time, until they are all done. However, I think I am in for a whole boatload of frustration between now and then.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The End Is Near


What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail that I got recently. It is all true. But I am a little concerned about the tone of it all. As if most of this were a 'bad' thing. See below, with my comments attached, and leave me any of your musings in the comments section.




There is nothing political about this email. It simply points out very probable changes that are in our future.


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

All I get is junk mail and I really won't miss this that much

2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

Every time I am in the checkout line (espeically the express one) and some moron tries to pay with a check, I am so glad that I don't have a hand gun with me to blow their brains out.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

I read the newspaper ever morning on my Sony eReader (like a Kindle). It is delivered automatically to the device via 3G networking and saves them all for me. Imagine trying to carry around 25 Wall Street Journals, I do. And they are all indexed with no advertising....pretty sweet.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

(See my comment on #3 above)

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

We have these in our home, but they are more of a curiosity for our grand kids, sort of like having a Model-T for in the garage....they are cool.

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

Music is changing. It is global and free to anyone that wants to post it. The only value in music anymore is its live performance, which is sort of the way it should be in my opinion.

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

This is all true. See my last post on "The Future Of Television" to see my comments on this.

8. The "Things" That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.

In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

I learned long ago, that there are only TWO things that are worth keeping. Photographs and written correspondence. Because those are memories. Everything else will end up in a landfill someday. Who needs it?

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

I wrote a web log on this ages ago. It is all coming true. Which just goes to show that I am way ahead of my time.

It is going to be a brave new world......get ready for it. Pay attention to mother nature......change is inevitable.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Future Channels


I Can Hardly Wait

As I have stated numerous times before. The wife and I don't watch broadcast television anymore. We don’t' see the commercials or the political ads or know what the current malady / pharmaceutical the health care industry is pushing. We don't have to be at a certain place at a certain time to be force fed content that is marketed as entertainment. I am soooo happy I don't have a clue about Bristol Palin and Dancing with the Stars.

Yet, there are times when we can't avoid it. The last one was Thanksgiving Dinner at a relatives house. As we shovelled turkey and stuffing into our mouths, the HDTV was on in the background with some football game, interspersed with commercials and retired football has-beens talking about their glory days.

If you haven't seen television for along time, it is a strange beast to behold once again. Almost alien.

Which got me thinking about the types of content that we are eventually headed for. I mean it is obvious. Look at the time line:

Milton Berle
Ozzie & Harriet
Pettycoat Junction
Gilligan's Island
The Huntley / Brinkley Report
The Love Boat
Charlies Angels
Saturday Night Live
The Bachelor / Bachelorette
The Apprentice / Celebrity Apprentice
Dancing with the Stars
American Idol.............................

Projecting these trends into the future, I come up with:

The Future Channels

The Anxiety Channel
(nothing but stories about death and disease)
The Voyeur Channel
(watching other people do things you wish you could do, i.e.-reality television)
The Low Self Esteem Channel
(nothing but infomercials for exercise equipment)
The Bitch Channel
(newscasters and pundents griping about how badly people do things)
The Happy Channel
(Disney and TV Land, I wish they would show old commericals as well)
The Statistics Channel
(nothing but numbers...I wish this would come true)
The Shopping Channel
(background noise for women's coffee clicks)
The Big Story Channel
(the current anxiety story of the week, Swine Flu, Pirates, Earthquakes, Oil Spills)
The Stupid Foreigner Channel
(bitching about how other countries don't play fair and are doing better than us)
The Future Channel
(Guessing at how strange and warped our society will be down the road)
The Man Channel
(nothing but war documentaries and shows about machines)
The Romance Channel
(where lonely woman can have their dreams crushed even more)
The Video Game Channel
(where geeks talk about their on-line fantasy lives and trade hacks and secrets) (this actually already exists, it is called G4)

This is sort of why I collect LaserDiscs. Eventually, when I retire, I want to be 'entertained' by good television, not be brainwashed by media saturation

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Days Of Correspondence - Wrap-up

From 30 Days

Thirty Days of Letters:

Well, this exercise is over and it was a little harder than I thought it would be. Some of the themes were a bit perplexing, but the joy in it was finding some way to interpret it in a letter format.

Thanks for all that read and commented and my apologies for not reading and commenting on the stuff that you have been writing about. I will have a lot of reading to catch up on during the first few weeks of December.

For those that are curious, this is the list of themes that each of the letters is based on. Some were fictional and others were not.

If anyone else wants to try this, I would be curious to see what sort of correspondence you can come up with.

The Topics:
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you badly.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

30 Days Of Correspondence - Wrap-up

From 30 Days

Thirty Days of Letters:

Well, this exercise is over and it was a little harder than I thought it would be. Some of the themes were a bit perplexing, but the joy in it was finding some way to interpret it in a letter format.

Thanks for all that read and commented and my apologies for not reading and commenting on the stuff that you have been writing about. I will have a lot of reading to catch up on during the first few weeks of December.

For those that are curious, this is the list of themes that each of the letters is based on. Some were fictional and others were not.

If anyone else wants to try this, I would be curious to see what sort of correspondence you can come up with.

The Topics:
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you badly.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Final Letter To Self

From 30 Days

Dear Self,

I can see the world for what it is. The longer I live, the more I understand each day.

That is the gift I suppose. Just to keep your eyes, ears, mind and heart open and don’t be afraid.

Oh,.....and don’t always believe what others tell you. Just believe in yourself.

Good Luck,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Letter To Self

From 30 Days

Dear Self,

I have a hope, that if we can just hold out a bit longer, everything will change.

No more pressure, no more stress, no more overweight, no more fatigue.

Just blue skies and a westerly breeze to care us forward.

That is my hope at least. We’ll find out in about 2 years.

Keep the faith,


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Letter To A Lover

From 30 Days

Dear Alice,

I am still reeling over the news.

This sort of changes everything. I mean everything. This is a crossroads in our lives and what happens from here on out will never be the same.

Sorry I did this to you, but at this point the ball is in your court.

I will support you in what ever decision you make, but I have to ad this one thought.

It is hard to build a life around something that wasn’t planned. Accidents offer great opportunity, but also wash away all the planning up to that point.

Let me know if you want to talk about this.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Letter To My Co-Workers

From 30 Days

Dear Co-Workers

I know that things haven’t been that great in the office of late.

I mean lets face it. Resource cutbacks, hiring freezes, extreme case loads, and the never ending budget crisis have been taking their toll on all of us.

But at least we have one good thing going for us. Well, at least I have one good thing going for me. I am only about a year away from retirement. After 20 years in the salt mines, I finally get to head for the beach....permanently.

I don’t know if the system will be around long enough that will allow you to retire, but I hope it is. It makes all the years of frustration worth it in the end.

Now I just have to hold my breath and hope that the business doesn't collapse before I can finally check out.

The ‘Short Timer’


Friday, November 26, 2010

Letter to My Shrink

From 30 Days

Dear Dr. Freud,

You asked at our last session if I ever considered pulling the plug. You know, checking out....turning off the lights.

After some thought about it, I would have to say yes, I have. I mean, I think we all have at one time or another. Whether or not we act on those thoughts is the issue here.

I believe that part of the human experience, is dealing with depression, loss and a sense of hopelessness that we all have to face sooner or later.

Mine was near the tail end of college, with a bleak economic future and most of my friends having left to pursue other goals, I found myself at a dead end, at the ripe old age of 24. I didn’t see the future as holding much promise for me back then.

But hope springs eternal, and I held to the concept that we really can’t know what the next sunrise will bring. The thought of ending it all with the possibility that everything could change tomorrow just didn’t make a lot of sense.

Some of us see the glass half empty and others the glass half full. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones that see the more optimistic side of things.

My life since has had its ups and downs, and it probably hasn’t been everything I had hoped it would be. But it has been an interesting ride.

But as for giving up.....I think the chances are, I will probably out-live you.

Your Patient,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Letter To My Doctor

From 30 Days

Dear Doctor,

You indicated at my last physical and checkup that you were surprised that I am still alive based on my past experience and lifestyle.

I have a theory on this.

In the science fiction classic “Ringworld” by Larry Niven, there is a character named Teela Brown. Teela was a woman of no real importance in life, but she was drafted by aliens to be a part of a team that explored this strange new world that had been discovered. The Ringworld.

Now the rest of this rag-tag band of recruits couldn’t quite figure out why Teela had been selected. After some observation, she appeared to be a total ditz....bordering on stupid. So they couldn't see how she was supposed to be a benefit to the mission.

After a series of mishaps and narrow escapes that usually involved Teela in some way, it started to dawn on the rest of the explorers what the aliens reasoning was. The aliens that had assembled the recruits (actually they were kidnapped) had been observing the human race for milenia and had also been manipulating a few things. One of them was Teela and her ancestors.

Her blood line had been genetically manipulated over the generations to make her …....lucky. If she got into a jam, she would, by dumb luck, usually get out of it. Not a bad person to have along while exploring a strange new world.

So why am I still alive? Talk to the alien puppeteers. They might have an answer for you.

Mr. Lucky.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Letter To My Band-Mates

From 30 Days

Dear ‘Slag-Train’

Attached is the list of the numbers I want to run down for our next gig. You guys all lost at poker last weekend, and the pot was letting the winner chose the songs we are going to play. Which means it is going to be ‘Slag-Train’ Unplugged night. Better dust off your acoustic axes.

1. Man In The Moon (R.E.M.)
2. Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)
3. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob Dylan)
4. Across The Universe (The Beatles)
5. Norwegian Wood (The Beatles)
6. Hey, Hey, My, My (Neil Young)
7. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)
8. Dumb (Nirvana)
9. Heart Shaped Box (Nirvana)
10. Still, You Turn Me On (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
11. Blackbird (The Beatles)
12. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot)
13. Seven Days (Sting)
14. If I Ever Loose My Faith In You (Sting)

I’ll bring the bandaids....since we are all going to have blisters on our fingers.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Letter to Self

From 30 Days

Dear Self

Looking back, you were a pretty introverted kid. You weren’t very sociable as a toddler.

Then, your shyness sort of morphed into being the class clown. You wanted people to like you and would often go farther that you should have to get in their good graces.

In your early teens, you delved into the ‘work’ ethic. That deep pit of the male psyche where your value was based on your job and earning potential.

Finally, you have ended up at mid-life, where you have come to realize, that many of the people that you tried to impress, were not really worth impressing.

In fact, most of them now see you as the person that they most want to impress and be friends with because they see you as the only person that can get things done for them

It has been an odd cycle. In the end, it has taught me that my only value is my own self worth, not the value that others place on me.

Hence, my current mantra.....”No, I am not a resource for you.”

Mr. Grumpy Hardass


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Letter of Apology

From 30 Days

Hey Bob,

I am pinning this to your hospital gown, so that you will hopefully see it when you wake.

Do me and big favor and wake up, will ya!

The last time we talked, we both had a few too many beers and the conversation obviously got a bit heated. I could have sworn you hadn’t returned that power drill, since I looked all over for it, and you were the last one I know that used it.

Suffice to say, the wife had placed it under the sink when you brought it back and never told me. So those things I said about your mother, and your dog and Mexican prostitutes were a little bit out of line....obviously.

But the last thing I expected you to do was roll your Dodge RAM Super Duty on the way home.

Do you have any idea what a jerk I feel like at this point?

So....suffice to say you won’t have to worry about mowing your lawn for the next few months.....if ever.

Your Jerk Drink’in Buddy,


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Letter to the Stoners

From 30 Days


Put down the dobbie. It isn’t doing you any good. In fact it is stealing from you. Your life, your health, you ability to pretty much do anything.

I used to be one of you. While in college I really majored in horticulture more than anything else, even though my degree says Business. It was a fun time, but looking back it was pretty much a waste in many aspects.

There is this ongoing debate about whether or not to legalized certain drugs and de-criminalize their use. I don’t see where that is going to make a difference. Regardless if they do or not, they are always going to be available. Making them legal or illegal isn’t the issue.

The solution is to make them less enjoyable. Which is to say, give the folks that use them something better to do. This is the part where you are getting robbed.

You could surf, sky-dive, repeal, ski, paint, play music, any number of things, but those require commitment and a certain amount of capital. Instead of investing millions in the ‘War on Drugs’, invest that money in youth and social development.

Anybody that is involved in organized sports, plays in a band, and rock climbs three times a week isn’t going to have a lot of time, or desire, to be toking on a big fat one and giggling at re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.

I grew out of that whole getting high phase. Mainly because, it was getting in the way of doing all the things that I really wanted to do.

There is some fascinating shit out there dude, don’t take the easy way out. Your screwing yourself when you do.

Your drink’in buddy,


Friday, November 19, 2010

Letter To The Pope

From 30 Days

Dear Holy See,

I wanted to drop you a line in hopes of giving you a little perspective on some things. I know you are a man of letters and probably much more worldly and well educated than I am; however, I think the rigidness of your thinking has given you a slight narrow minded view of the world these days.

I appreciate what you and your immediate predecessors have tried to do, but I believe that the dogma of the house that Peter built isn't really doing you a lot of good these days.

While of the faithful still cling to your infallibility, the past mistakes, both recent and ancient are starting to catch up with you. If the pedophile priest thing weren’t bad enough, there are all those religious wars, persecution, not to mention all the false Popes in the past that were basically politicans parading around in the name of the Christ.

Thanks to modern technology, the world has started to talk a lot more and they are asking questions. No longer is religion and dogma confined to national borders. If they all want to get to heaven, then which ones are going to make it? The Catholics?, the Lutherans?, the Mormons? I mean really, heaven can’t just be an exclusive club for the one group that worships the right way. And if it is, then, is heaven segregated? I mean the questions are endless.

Education and free thought are your enemy. An educated congregation is going to start questioning the concept that God just talks to a select few (the clergy) and that select few interprets what God wants us all to know. The image of the Wizard of Oz comes to mind, with the priest admonishing us to, “Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!”. I mean really.

Your counterparts aren’t doing anyone any favors (except for themselves) when they build these mega-churches that are the size of a college campus, to administer to their flock. I don’t recall Christ giving sermons to go out and build Crystal Cathedrals and build sports complexes. I thought that Christ told us that God is in ever man and that ‘we’ were the temple. He didn’t say “Build it and they will come....ow, and build it bigger and better each time.”

My life has taught me that God speaks to all of us.....just learn to listen. He doesn't speak through a book that was written 500 years after his death, that has been edited and redacted four different times through the ages.

I suggest that you give up the dogma and stop living in a museum. Go Unitarian and just concentrate of doing good for mankind, and drop all that contraception, make more babies and eat fish on Friday crap.....and for God’s sake, let those priests marry.

The black sheep.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letter To My Neighbors

From 30 Days

Dear Neighbors,

I really don’t get this whole hoopla over the gay issue.

When I used to watch the news (and I no longer bother), this was one of those hot-button issues that was always on. Should gays be allowed to do this, should they be allowed to do that, should they get benefits, should they get married, blah, blah, blah.

I mean really, who cares? Many of you are gay. In fact, the historic downtown area where we all live seems to be a mecca for the gay and lesbian life style.

From what I have seen, you are pretty friendly, keep your houses in meticulous shape, mow your lawns, plant flowers, wash your cars, you rarely have snotty nose little brats that run amok in the ‘hood’, and you usually earn a pretty decent dual earner salary. If it weren’t for the fact that you don’t have the ‘heterosexual’ thing going on, most of the blue-nose right wing religious church goers would just love you.

I have learned that there are proactive people in this world and there are inactive people. The inactive ones block change and are afraid of the future. The proactive ones know change is coming and try to manage it. Hopefully, the inactive ones will die out soon and you won’t be so repressed.

As for me, if I am ever looking for another place to live. I am going to find out where the gays and the lesbians live. They tend to have the nicer homes and the nicer neighborhoods.

….....Somewhere over the rainbow......


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letter To R. Buckmunster Fuller

From 30 Days

Hey Bucky,

I don’t recall how I stumbled on to you. It must have been sometime back in college when I was in my ‘life discovery’ phase. I recall having a copy of “Synergetics”, which I could never fathom, along with a copy of “Grunch of Giants”.

‘Grunch’ was probably the first adult book I ever read. It took me out of the rigid thinking that I had grown up with and stated, “Hey, there is a different way to do things.”.

Just because we have done this all through history doesn't mean that it is the best way to do things. Sometimes, we as humans, get it wrong and don’t realize it.

This opened up a whole new world for me. It also set me on a course that I would otherwise have probably never found.

Sometimes, I don’t know how you could have put up with all the inefficiency and chaos around you. However, you realized that it was better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. You planted the seeds and assumed that others would notices the sprouts and the flowers. You were right.

You were a beacon, and a bright one at that.

Thanks a lot ‘Trimtab’. We are all changing the course, ...... slowly.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letter To The News Anchors

From 30 Days

Dear Talking Heads,

I am happy to say, I don’t miss you. Not one bit. In fact, life has actually been much better without you around.

About a year ago, the standard operating procedure was for the wife and I to get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and turn on the local morning news before we went to work.

Only problem is, over time, it became less and less news and more and more gossip and advertising parading around as news.

Eventually, we just couldn’t stand it. Too many anxiety stories about murder and death and taxes and too much fluff about where we could get a ‘great’ deal on an ice cream cone or a Starbucks, if we rushed off somewhere.

Eventually, we found ourselves wading through 20 minutes of this crap just to hear the weather report. We finally had enough and pulled the plug. Literally, I yanked the cable out of the television and you were gone.

And you know what? We don’t miss you a bit. In fact, life is wonderful these days. There are homicides, and riots and roll-over accidents that have happened in this town that we have no knowledge of and life is still good. In fact, it is actually better.

Hope you are doing well, and that your viewership hasn’t declined to much. Well, truthfully, I hope it has. Because like the architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Television is like chewing gum for the eyes.”


Monday, November 15, 2010

Letter To My Parents

From 30 Days

Dear Mom & Dad,

It has been a while since you both left. It hasn't been easy not having you around anymore.

You weren’t dotting parents and you never stuck your nose in my business or told me what to do. You always figured that it was my life, and I was supposed to figure it out on my own.

You led by example and you set some pretty high standards. You two were that base, that foundation that I could always rely on.

Now that foundation is gone. I thought it would always be there, but now all that is left of you is packed away in cardboard boxes in the garage. You didn’t horde a lot of stuff, but what you left behind was precious.

You gave me the mortor and bricks to build my own foundation. But I have my doubts that it will be as solid and long lasting as yours.

You gave me a compass and pointed toward the horizon. Yet, no matter how far I traveled, I could always look back and see you. I thought you would always be there. Now I look back and you are gone and I lament that fact that I will never see you again.

Thanks for setting me on the journey. You gave me the tools and the directions. I can’t wait to see where it all leads.

Thanks.....thanks a bunch.

Miss You.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Letter To The CEOs

From 30 Days

Dear Captains of Industry

You blew it.

You let me down. Suffice to say, you let us all down. Capitalism was supposed to be good for everyone. Not just the rich stockholder that you serve these days.

In your greed and short sightedness, you let us all down and in the end, shot yourself in the foot. You grabbed for the brass ring one to many times and finally fell off the carousal. The real problem is, that made the rest of us fall off with you. Thanks a bunch.

At GM, you built a swell electric car back in the late 90s, then scrapped them all and turned the plant space over to Hummer production. Swift move. We could have used that electric car (EV-1) when gas hit $4 a gallon 3 years later. Now Hummer is owned by a forigen country and we still don’t have an electric car.

Bank of America, you approved all those homeowner loans for WAY more than the consumer could ever hope to pay back in the early 2000s, and now you are foreclosing on all that property and getting your loans refunded by Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, again, at our expense. You got all the money back for your bad investments and now get to sell the houses all over again, for more profit. I don’t suppose there is a lot of conscious or empathy in those ivory towers, if there ever was any.

Exxon, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, I won’t even go there. You run the world, everyone suspects it, the oil soaked pelicans and petroleum fires are just a bonus I suppose.

My father always told me to work hard and get a good job with a big company, because that was were the best and the brightest in society worked. I am glad he isn’t around anymore to see just how much you have screwed up the system.

Enjoy that year end bonus, and I will just keep paying my taxes to clean up your mistakes.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Letter To Beethoven

From 30 Days

Dear Ludwig,

Thanks for that 9th Symphony.

As a young man in my early 20s, you taught me all there was to know about time travel. Through your vision and commitment, you were able to transport the very essence of emotion and thought through the ages in a way that is much more powerful than the spoken word.

Through all your trails and pain and handicaps, you were able to see the world for what it is and find god all at the same time. You summed it up. For all of us.

Like Synergy, the sum of the parts you created add up to much more than the whole. You lifted me up to a height that I never knew existed. To sit atop a mountain, or on a beach and listen to what you made transcends everything. You created one of the pieces to life's puzzle and gave it to all of us.

You taught me something that no one else could....even though you have been gone for over 200 years.

Good job old man, and many thanks.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Letter To The Younger Generation

From 30 Days

Dear Younger Generation,

There is something I do, that many of you don’t seem able to do. Something that used to be pretty standard. Something that used to be the back bone of the ‘American Ethic’.

I haven’t seen this much in recent memory. I don’t know if it is still there, or if it has been drummed out of our heads.

It is the ability to stick with a task until it is done. Giving yourself a hard goal, and finishing it all the way through, even if it takes years or decades. Even if the end result isn’t what you expected, you still stick it out....until the end.

Marriages were supposed to be like that, so were jobs and educational goals. Trusting in a political ideal and investing for the long term were other examples. They all appear to have gone by the wayside.

I suppose that we want health, wealth, gratification and happiness in the short term these days. They are no longer things to be worked at and worked for.

I look back over my life, and the most gratifying things I have done are the ones I struggled for. And some of those things took a lot of struggling.

Faster isn’t always better. Faster isn’t always possible. Faster seldom breeds character.

Slow down.....stay the course. In the long run, it is more than worth it.

Back to the coal mine......


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Letter To My Friends

From 30 Days

Dear Friends,

You seem to be constantly amazed by some of the odd and quirky stuff that Sue and I do. I have often wondered why. Why, that is, that everyone doesn't do it.

Life is full of challenges and the only thing that really defines who we are when we are gone is how we met those challenges and changed the world in our wake.

I learned a long time ago that my job is not my life. My life is my work, and I needed to work at it as much as possible. Making money for someone else while sitting behind a desk or in a cube isn’t the road to happiness. It is called prison.

Do me a favor. Do something that I can be amazed at. Sail around the world. Raise three children and send them all off to medical school. Have the biggest flower garden on the block. Do something to impress me. Because when you do, it challenges me to come up with something better.

It seems that most folks are afraid to fail. Lose that fear and start failing. It is often times the only way we learn.

Come on....I dare you!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letter To A 'Chat' Buddy

From 30 Days

Dear Melinda

I have a funny feeling it is too late for any of this. But if this falls on deaf ears, then so be it.

I never really knew you. While we ‘instant messaged’ for about 8 years, we never really met. But we did exchange a lot of views.

Time and tide has taught me that many people use the internet as a mask to hide behind and conceal who they really are. So how much of you is fact and and how much of you is fiction, I will never really know.

You claimed to be 41, but stated you looked 24. You claimed to be a nurse and well paid. You were shallow. I mean really shallow. You hated people that weren’t ‘perfect’, you didn’t like poor people and hated the idea of having to pay taxes to support losers.

You bitched and bitched about the way the world was and how the only things that mattered to you were being with beautiful people and looking young forever. To you, all the poor minorities were just vermin to be exterminated.

You horded money and were always looking for a way to hide it from the government.

Yet despite all your opinions, you didn’t seem to know much about how the world ticked. You only seemed to seek attention and desire.

Despite me pointing this out to you over the years, in numerous messenger exchanges, you kept coming back. I think you valued the honest feedback I gave you, since not many others probably wanted to have a conversation with you (listen to you bitch that is).

The last I heard from you, you were going into the hospital with cancer. Something tells me you did not beat it. I haven’t heard from you in ages and doubt I ever will again. You may have met your end, in the same way as all those people you despised. Alone, undesirable, with all that money that did you no good.

Somewhere along the line, you got broken, and it was long before you got cancer. I don’t know if society corrupted you, or if it was just the way you were raised. I don’t think I gleaned much from our friendship(?), except that there are a lot of really pretty, shallow people in this world that are self centered bigots.

Sorry you never figured that out.

Your Chat Buddy,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter To A Lost Friend

From 30 Days

To Carla Keith,

Of all the folks that were lost in the river of my life, I would like to find out where you landed the most.

I have found most of the rest, scattered by time and tide all over the globe. But I don’t know what happened to you.

That is a shame, since you were the first 'woman' I ever knew. You taught me more standing at the school bus stop every morning than any other girl before you. You were mature, and I was fascinated.

I don’t know if I would call it first love, but it certainly was the beginning where I realized there was a lot more to women that I had realized.

The last time I saw you was 1975. I fellow classmate recently e-mailed me a picture of you. It was the first time I had seen you in 35 years. It really made me wonder where you ended up.

Hope all is well and you survived like the rest of us.

So if you ever google you name on the Internet, hopefully might find this. From way back in the day, in South Dakota, near Rapid City, on Ellsworth Air Force Base. It seems like such a long time.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Letter To My Ex-Boss

From 30 Days

Dear Susan,

You probably don’t remember me. I used to work for you. Back in the early 1990, when you were director of the Agency I worked in.

I never really got a chance to have a sit down talk with you before you were flushed out the door by the new incoming governor‘s administration and went to work as a corporate lobbyist.

So I hope this finds you well and things are going your way these days. Your tenure at the Agency was, shall we say, difficult.

You really weren’t a people person during your time at the agency, and some would say you were a bit of a micro-manager. Spending all your weekends in your office reading every bit of correspondence that was sent out by your employees was a bit much. Showing that you had to proof everything everyone did was a little over the top and didn’t really promote that ‘team spirit’ concept that directors are so fond of using.

You taught me a lot about how government and bureaucracy work, and I have to say that none of it was very good. The impression I was left with was that government is full of a lot of power-players that trade favors and delve into a lot of graft.

Your insistence that the Agency aid all consumers regardless of the nature of their complaint was a bit of an abuse of power in my opinion. But such is the nature of those that serve the electorate I suppose. Making the higher-ups look good is more important than serving the consumers.

Back then, you were a pretty ‘driven’ individual, and I don’t know if that served you well in the long run. For some of us that trait is genetic. I know that during my lifetime, it hasn't always driven us in the right direction. Hope ya found some happiness at the end of your road.

A Past Employee


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter To My Wife

From 30 Days

Dear Sue,

I need to remind you of something.

You have taught me a lot over the years, least of which is how much of a jerk I can be at times and how you don’t let it affect you so much. You tolerate a lot....and in the process, have have taught me a lot of tolerance. But more than anything else, you reminded me about the value of child-like dreaming.

You want to do new things and get all excited about the possibility of doing them. Most folks lose that when they get older, you don’t.

Sometimes you nurture too much. The three dogs and six cats that we have in our house are a testament to that. You have a hard time saying no or turning someone away that needs a favor. But these are really things that I can fault you for. You can’t fault Mother Teresa for being too kind.

You are a pretty messy person, although you hate clutter. You are disorganized in the extreme, never knowing where anything is placed, but you make up for it by making the best diners out of virtually nothing in the kitchen.

You complain about how difficult the audio-video system is to operate in the house, but for some reason, when push comes to shove, you were always able to figure out how to pull up ‘As The World Turns’ when you wanted to watch it.

But mostly, I have come to realize that you are the only person that is willing to put up with me and for that I am pretty blessed. Truly blessed. So while I might be a moody, brooding, S.O.B. sometimes, don’t ever think for a moment that you are the gosh-darn best thing that will ever happen to me in my lifetime.

Your Husband,


Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter To My Step Children

From 30 Days

Hey Kids,

I know you are going to all be grown up by the time you read this, but I will still be older than you, so I can still call you kids.

I wanted to pass this little note on to you after I am gone to give you a little heads up about some stuff.

Since I never had children of my own, you are going to be the closest thing I have to family when I leave this earth, so I wanted to pass something on to you now that I am gone. Now, don’t get your hopes up. It isn’t a wade of cash, or a yacht or a fancy sports car. Its knowledge. Something that I have learned is really hard to come by in this day and age.

The one thing I have learned in this lifetime, is that no one under that age of 30 wants to hear their elders tell them how things are, or what to do, or how to live their lives. I was young once too, and I remember those days when I was 20 and thought I knew everything. It is genetic, trust me on this, you will outgrow it.

Eventually, you will come to the realization that you DON’T know everything, but by then, your elders will probably be gone, or won’t care to explain it to you anymore. Hence, I am jotting down this letter.

During my time on this rock I learned a lot of things. No one can know everything, but I learned my fair share. So much so, that there is no way that I can write it all down in a meaningful way for you to understand. Somethings have to be learned first hand. That is life.

But I did manage to document a majority of what I learned in two different ways. I blogged a lot and I am going to make efforts to make sure it is all preserved for you. You might find it interesting and you might find it boring, and dare I say stupid and funny, but it was all me. All the important stuff that I could remember. The funny, creepy, sad, frustrating and enlightening stuff. If you take the time to rummage through it, you might find a few things that will either strike a cord in you, or at least give you a heads up regarding what to expect in your future.

The other thing I left you was a bunch of photographs. Thousands of them to be exact. Because I have often sermized that if we forget the past, it disappears. And to lose who and what we are is the greatest loss of all. So hopefully, you will cast an eye over the images from time to time on your screen saver or your digital picture frame and pause once in a while.

Because, now that I am gone, this is all that is left of me, and I don’t think that it should be forgotten. I had some pretty good times, and learned some interesting shit. This is my legacy, hope you enjoy it.



P.S. if you scan the text and images closely, you might be able to tell where I buried all my money.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letter To Self

From 30 Days

Hey Buddy,

How is it going? Despite what you might think, it is probably going better than you realize. I know that on a daily basis you and I struggle with our inability to make a difference in the world that surrounds us. I remember when Mom and Dad challenged us to be the ‘movers and shakers’ in the world. Encouraged us to make it a better place. Prodded us to become leaders and managers of the golden American future.

But don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t climbed that corporate ladder. Enron and GM would have still gone belly up even if you had gotten the corner office. We really can’t change the world. We can only nudge it a bit in one direction or another. And even if we do, we sometimes nudge it in the wrong direction.

It isn’t all about success or being in command. Remember, while the quarterback gets all the glory, he also takes the most hits. Our life wasn’t supposed to be a game that we had to struggle to win. It is a journey that we have to struggle to understand.

What was that old saying we read in college? There are those that follow the lead of others, and then there of those of us that blaze our own trail. We should be happy we turned out to be blazers and not followers.

The more we look back at our failures, the more we realize that they weren’t failures at all. They were just a different path. As it turns out, they all seemed to be the right path.

Keep on blazing those trails.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Letter To Self

From 30 Days

Dear Self,

I wanted to jot down a little note to remind you to lighten up once in a while. It isn’t your fault that the world you grew up in gave you unrealistic expectations.

You have to remember that those halcyon days of the 1950s, when Ike was president, Elvis was king and Wally and the Beaver got warm cookies after school are gone. I know they imprinted in your mind that the future would bountiful, non-gay, Anglo-Saxon controlled and orderly, but that was a lie. Get over it.

Things change, and often times we can’t do anything about it. The expectations that you had of competency in government, your co-workers, your neighbors and society in general were unrealistic. Things got muddled, compromised, liberalized and averaged.

Our parents taught us to have high expectations. Growing up taught us to expect competency. Reality has made us realize that we are luck to find plumber or electrician that can read and write.

Deal with it. The world isn’t what we were told to expect. You can’t do anything about it and it isn’t going to change. So it isn’t worth getting all upset and pissed off about on a daily basis.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What A Mess.....


This is a 'guest' blog from a friend of mine. He originally posted this on his Facebook page and it is reprinted here with his permission.

Gene is a great guy. He is a divorced father that cares for his handicapped daughter and throws exceptional Super Bowl Parties at his home as well as heading down to Mexico with us once in a while. He is the sort of guy you want to have as your neighbor.

Over the past several months, I have been somewhat mystified at the number of people I know who were looking to buy a home, usually the homes are in the process of a short sale or about to be foreclosured on by the bank. Most of these home buyers have exceptional credit and hefty down payments for the property, yet almost all of the sales fall through and the homes go into foreclosure anyway. It made no sense at all since the banks are losing tons of money on these forclosures.....or so you might think, until I read Gene's story about loosing his home. It is lengthy, but I highly recommend you read it.

Read on and find out the real story of just how screwed up our society really is.....

Losing a House, not a Home

by Gene HXXXXXXX on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10:31pm

A lot of friends have picked up on several comments I've made over the last few weeks - and more have questions....and as it turns out, we're losing our house through foreclosure - it's scheduled to be sold next week at auction.

Which surprises a lot of people - knowing that I've had a great job since February of this year. And it all happened so fast. Turns out, it's happening to a lot of people, and although it's a tad embarrassing personally, I think this says much about what is happening to our country right now - thus this note.

I mean, really, how can someone make six figures and have the house go into foreclosure?

Here's how.

2009 was a disaster in my industry - businesses worried about the cost of rising taxes, employee health costs under Obamacare, who would be pilloried next for political purposes - and everyone just held back on any spending on software.

As such, entire divisions of companies were downsized - I got caught in that, and was unemployed for 11 months.

I fell behind in everything, including mortgage payments. I was working with all of my creditors, and kept most bills either current or was a month or at most 60 days behind. Eventually, a guy I knew from the past called me up and offered a job with a major company in an area where I'd done exceptionally well in the past.

I was catching up...and along came HAMP - Home Affordable Mortgage Program - or some such rot. My mortgage company contacted me and said that I could qualify for this program and they could rewrite my loan at a lower interest rate. I was interested.

While they went through the paperwork, they told me that my payments would drop - but they couldn't tell me exactly how much. Three weeks seemed to be the magic time period. As in, "We don't know what your payment will be, but in three weeks, we'll have the paperwork done and you can make your payments starting then."

I'd call back in three weeks and they'd have lost the paperwork and I'd resubmit. I finally learned to FedEx what they'd asked me to fax, and when they claimed they hadn't received everything, I'd have a tracking receipt and who signed for it. Weeks turned into months.

Then Wilshire Mortgage went out of business and sold their loans to Countrywide. OK. Start over, new paperwork. FedEx'd this time from the beginning. Three weeks til I'd start paying the mortgage again.

In the meantime, I'd paid off every debt, every credit card - I was left with a car payment and $100 student loan from the MBA - call back in three weeks. But despite numerous attempts to make a payment on the mortgage, I was repeatedly told “just wait three weeks”.

Then the loan was sold to BoA - Bank of A**holes - I mean Bank of America (they should be sued for soiling that name). Start over with the paperwork. Talking to endless groups. I could call one person, get hung up on trying to transfer to another division, call back and be told that the division I was transferring to hadn't existed for months - it was maddening. But as of October 4th, we were working on modifying the loan. I was told to call back on Oct 6 - when I did, I was told my home was being sold in a foreclosure sale October 15 - 9 days notice.

Here's what I found out. Congress passed a bill that would give homeowners additional tools to avoid foreclosure - that happened the first week in Oct - Obama was expected to sign it, but decided to pocket-veto the bill - BoA brass (and other banks) issued the order to foreclose everything they could before that bill became law. All the banks pulled the plug on hundreds of thousands of loan modifications. Except now politics really come into play - Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) was leading the charge of foreclosures. Majority ownership of Ally Bank is the US Government. Obama was faced with hundreds of thousands of foreclosures three weeks before a major election. This would not do. In a political stroke of genius, they came up with the 'robo-signing' controversy and instituted the foreclosure moratorium you may have heard about in the news.

It bought us two weeks.

Our foreclosure was moved from Oct 15 to Nov 5 (just after the Nov 2 elections).

But it still didn't make sense.

I was trying to modify the loan and pay for a $370K loan. At short sale, the house would bring $230K for BoA. In foreclosure sale, they'd get about $150K.

And talking to the Real Estate Attorney, BoA was turning down HUNDREDS of short sales to go to foreclosure.

Today I learned about the Barney Frank/Chris Dodd "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act". You'll remember Chris Dodd as the congressman who got those no-money down low interest loans from Countrywide. And Barney Frank campaigned to stop oversight of the Fannie/Freddie organizations that led to the housing bubble – and surprise, banks are the major contributors to his re-election campaign.

But as it turns out, BoA has insured the loans through Fannie and Freddie. When they foreclose, your tax dollars pay BoA the full amount of the mortgage - in other words, instead of modifying my mortgage and having it paid back over thirty years, BoA can foreclose today, and get the entire $370K from your tax dollars RIGHT NOW. Profits soar. Bank executives make millions in bonuses.

So if you're still with me on this, people have asked - do you blame Obama and the Dems for losing your house? Answer, No - I really don't. For one, if I blamed Obama, he'd only blame Bush and that would help nothing. Secondly, if a pollster asked if I was disappointed in Obama's performance as President, I'd have to say, No - he's just about what you'd expect from someone who's never accomplished anything save writing two books (on himself) and running campaigns for political office.

So who do I blame? Mostly me for believing what the banks said. But if I had to blame anyone other than my own dumb self, I'd pretty much have to blame my dear friends who voted for Obama. I've talked to several of them about it. They can't really tell you why they voted for the anointed one, other than Republicans are evil, full of hate, racist, etc. They know this because the media (Democrat operatives) told them so. They can't show a single example of where Obama's socialist policies have succeeded, nor give you any reason why they think he will succeed other than they hate Repubs. But of course the Repubs are the party of hate and intolerance. And that won't be tolerated.

What I tell them is this, I lost my 401K last year when I was unemployed. I lost my home this year when I was 'helped' by liberal lawmaking. I got nothing left - but I tell them, If YOU have anything left, you might want to protect it and actually vote like an adult who examines the facts for themselves instead of buying spoon fed propaganda from a media with an agenda.

I'm just saying.

As for me, I'm doing just fine. We found a great rental house at a lower cost. (Turns out there's thousands of empty houses once you get those middle class Repubs foreclosed the heck out of ‘em). And I have the faith thing going on - - as powerful as the statist government is, God is more in control than you could know - and He has a much better place for us - and I'd rather be right with Him in a tent than miserable in a castle without Him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

30 Days Of Correspondence


This is a heads up for something that is coming down the pike.

I am going to be experimenting with a writing exercise during the month of November. I am going to be writing 30 letters, which will be posted on this blog. One letter a day for the month of November.

They won’t be terribly lengthy and their recipients will vary. Some will be to myself and others will be to people I know or have known in the past. Each letter will have a theme, but I won’t be posting what all the themes are until the exercise is over.

This will be a lot of writing and some of the letters will be written in advance and set to post on specific days due to holidays and weekends.

It is bound to be interesting, if not somewhat entertaining.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Its The Little Things....

...You Remember

Was reading a blog posting by my fellow blogger buddy Slyde over at Slydesblog. He is reminiscing about his grandfather that he lost two years ago. They were close. Really close. Slyde relates a little story about time spent with his grandfather that initially probably meant nothing. But after his passing, those little stores make up a lifetime of memories that make the departed live forever in our hearts.

Five years ago, after my father passed away, the rest of the family was sitting around the living room reminiscing and shedding a tear or two as we all realized that the man we had all loved and depended on for so long would never be coming home again. This is a healing process. All families do it when they morn a loved one.

It was during this gathering that a story was told by my nephew Korby. When he was a young child in his early teens, my brother and sister-in-law would hand off one of their children to my parents for the summer. My parents would structure Korby’s summer with swimming lessons and tennis lessons and trips to the mall, etc. This is a long running tradition in our family. The summer with the grandparents.

It seems that during one summer, my father took Korby to the local swap meet to sift through the junk to see if anything was worth buying. After wandering around for a while, my father came upon a set of hubcaps that looked like they would fit his Honda Civic that he loved to drive so much. He paid for them and Korby helped him carry the hubcaps back to the car.

There in the parking lot, they tried to pound the hubcaps onto the steel wheels of the Honda. They actually seemed to fit and my father was pretty pleased with his find.

Korby and my father got back into the Honda and proceeded to drive home. After driving several miles my father approached a “T” intersection where he had to make a right hand turn. He stepped on the brakes and the Honda quickly came to a stop.....but the hubcaps didn’t. The hubcaps proceeded to roll forward off into the desert.

“Grandpa, aren’t those the hubcaps you just bought?”, Korby asked?

“Nope”, replied my dad.

He made a right turn and proceeded home.

My father never made mistakes.....or at least never admitted to them.

If you ask my wife, my father lives on in me. The similarities are unmistakable.

I sure miss him.