Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy Dies






Brittany Murphy Story

This young actress died overnight in LA. I remember watching a few of her movies with my kids. Her films included "Clueless", "Uptown Girls" and "Don't Say A Word.

Another life ended too soon in Hollywood.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's Boots Season!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joy

There is something missing in my life at the moment. It is something that no one can give you, nor is it something that someone should give you.
It is joy.
I'm not talking about love, or wedded bliss, or contentment. I'm talking about an abstract. This kind of joy is rarely expressed. It is entirely internal. It's not the kind of joy that you share in and of itself. It's not a mutual feeling. It's the kind of joy that motivates us to do things that bring joy to others. It's a feeling inside that comes back every morning with the opening of your eyes. That feeling of being, that feeling of not only being glad to be alive, but of being grateful for the gift of life. It's something that makes you get through rough times with the same resolve that helps you appreciate the good times.
It's such a simple concept. It's something that should be so easy to hold on to. Life is a gift that we're not always wise enough to appreciate while we are alive. Life is a source of so much regret when that joy is missing. Life is a treasure that we relish every minute of when that joy is with us.
Worry doesn't change things. Yet we worry a lot more than we care to admit. Things don't get better because we worry about them. Life gets better when we act in a strong, positive way. The ability to do as much, I believe, stems from having that joy.
It's so hard to get hold of something that when we have it, we don't know that we do. This joy I'm talking about isn't a tangible. When we look for it, we don't have it. When we have it, we don't do enough to nurture it, and we can lose it without trying.
I want it back. I know that this particular feeling can't be given back. Even by those who would wish it for us. I guess it's a natural process, much like breathing. It's not the only thing in life. But life is so different without it.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back Up!


A few years ago, I discovered a device called the T-Mobile Sidekick. I loved it immediately. It was a phone, PDA and camera. It had the usual features: calendar, address book, photo album, notebook and task list. While those were great features, an additional feature was online backup. Anything I entered into my Sidekick was immediately backed up to an Internet server, which eliminated the need to sync up the device to a computer. I could use a web interface if the device wasn't available; the interface was a mirror of everything on the device.

Another very attractive item was that this device was not Palm OS based, and more importantly, had no Microsoft-related software, functions or features. That meant a 1000% increase in reliability in my eyes.

No Microsoft? No Windows? Count me in!

I grew to heavily rely on the Sidekick. I never missed a birthday, an appointment, I had well over 1000 phone numbers, home addresses and email addy's in that device. The operating system was powered by Danger, Inc. and I loved the platform. I could count on one finger the amount of times I encountered any trouble with the OS. Microsoft Free, that's for me.

Well, unbeknownst to me, about a year ago, Danger Inc. sold out to Microsoft. It was a very quiet merger. And one that I didn't keep abreast of. That was a major mistake.

In the technology world, be it phones, smart phones or computers, the wisest advice is "back up your data!" I do that fairly religiously. And with the Sidekick, I had instant backup of every detail.

However, the largest (not to be confused with the best) software provider in the world, King Microsoft, seemed to not heed its own advice. As I mentioned, it took Danger in as a subsidiary.

Well, last Saturday evening, Danger/Microsoft encountered a major server failure. Suddenly, everyone who had a T-Mobile Sidekick had no data. No emails, address books, calendars. Over the course of the next few days, T-Mobile did its best to offer damage control and information regarding this catastrophic failure. Danger/Microsoft said nothing. There was not a single communication made, there was no mention of the failure on the Danger website. The behavior was quintessential Microsoft Business-As-Usual.

What the biggest mistake turned out to be was, Danger/Microsoft had no backup of its server that failed.

No backup. Imagine that.

Fast forward one week. T-Mobile (not Danger/Microsoft) issued a statement that basically said, what you have now is what you'll get. Most, if not all, of the data that was lost was permanently gone. Danger/Microsoft's failure was our loss.

And never a word from Danger/Microsoft. Not a peep, bit or byte. Why should they issue anything? They don't care about their customers. For every one they lose, there's another one lining up to take his place.

Danger/Microsoft committed an error that was on the same intellectual level as a builder forgetting to put cement in between the bricks.

It was a big problem for me personally. I had foolishly relied on a Microsoft product a lot more than I should have. Anyone with any real technology savvy will tell you that Microsoft is a disaster. That's why people in the know use Mac's, they run Linux systems for serious computer applications. iPods rule the music world, despite Apple's occasional Microsoft-like customer relations. The only reason I haven't gotten an iPhone for myself is that the provider here is AT&T, the only company I can think of that equals Microsoft in ineptitude and total disdain for its customers.

Had I known about the Microsoft involvement, I'd have dumped that Sidekick a year ago and would be writing something silly about me tonight instead of something stupid about Microsoft.

I thought I was smart choosing a product that provided backup, real-time, 24/7. I was dumb relying on a product that was powered by a Microsoft division.

I lose.

If you're thinking of choosing T-Mobile as a provider, consider this experience. It was an event that was exclusively related to the Sidekick devices...this time. There are a lot of products out there running on Windows Mobile. Microsoft has its fingers in a lot of pies these days, and we all know how messy that can become.

Buyer beware.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Although, I have to note, the data service is tied in with Microsoft, so I'm not surprised that an outage could last this ridiculously long.

I'm just curious how a tech company, in this day and age, does not have contingencies to avoid a multi-day outage. TMobile's data service has been down 2 days.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I forgot where this goes, lol. How's your day going, folks?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can Even Do This

I can even add photos. I'm soooo excited. Ok last silly post, I
promise.

Like this?

I hate not being able to keep a blog on a regular basis. I read when I
can, but writing is getting to be such a problem because of time
constraints. I'd love to do it like this.

Would it be very annoying if I kept my blog going on the fly by using mobile services to post?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Burgery


Ok so I might say something like, "I'll grab a burger at McDonald's. Ya want one?"

Some people don't like McDonald's. Fine.

Normal Response:

"No thanks, don't care for McDonald's."

Psychotic Response:

"McDonald's, are you kidding me? I wouldn't eat that crap with YOUR mouth. Do you know what kind of garbage they put in there? Cow hooves, chicken feet, are you kidding me? That stuff is poison! McDonald's is a Communist company!

Please.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

To Ponder or...

I was watching a commercial for an insurance company the other night. The woman said, "We help people save menny."

"Menny?"

She said it again: "I like helping people save menny."

I assume she was saying, "money," unless there is something new on earth to save.

And for that matter, when did "thank you" become "think you". Listen for it. Especially on TV. They say it all the time now.

I think too much.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Amend

I've really been trying so hard to change my life around. A year ago, it wasn't good at all, and today it's better, but not quite the way I want it to be. Too many reasons to not be doing what I want to do, you know what I mean?

so much time has been spent on the whole "self-improvement" theme. I have taken a good hard look once, then twice. The deeper I look, the less I like what I see. I had myself somewhat fooled into believing I was a lot better than I am.

This isn't some self-esteem issue. I am being realistic. I did a lot of things the last couple of years that just don't leave me feeling happy about myself.

So, excluding criminal behavior, which I am not guilty of, is there anything that is truly unforgivable? This doesn't pertain to the romantic domain because that hasn't been a busy enough area of my life to give me the chance to have been hurtful to anyone. I'm talking about life's little quarrels and big hurts. This also doesn't mean that it's only things that I've done to others; it includes things that I took offense at.

See I kidded myself. I figured if I just moved along and excluded someone completely from my life, then I wasn't "holding a grudge. No one wants to think they do that, do they?

But how do you change things? How do you approach people you've parted ways from, especially after a considerable length of time? Do you bring up the past? Do you do something as simple as just saying "hello" and watching where it takes you?

I'd sure like some advice. I want to make amends with some people and don't know how.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

It Becomes Clear


I have an almost psychotic aversion to the telephone. The advent of the cell phone didn't do much to assuage me.

But sometimes the answers to life's mysteries aren't deep and they aren't complex. They're just not always obvious.

I settled in for the first real night's sleep I've had in a very long time. I was probably out cold by 10 PM. At 10:30 PM or so, my cell phone rang. Normally, the phone is off at night for idiocy prevention, but I forgot to extinguish it, and an idiot from work made it through.

Now, two things here:

My co-workers are nearly all idiots, of that I'm convinced.

We are not doctors. There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that I can do for anyone in my business at 10:30 PM on a Friday night. Nor will I be doing anything business-wise, at 10:30 PM on a Friday night.

So I didn't answer it.

This morning I approached said Idiot to find out what was so urgent that it couldn't wait 10 hours or so, and he had a question so inane that I had to restrain myself from calling him an imbecile, since I've made it clear that he is an idiot, and two bad names could be too much for his brain.

But see, that's not it, though.

I went through my call list in the phone. I think the list holds 50 or so calls and as I scrolled through, I realized that almost every single time that number rings, it's someone calling about something they want from me or need from me. Favors, money, "gimme-gimme-I-want-I-want".

Program note:Now I know some people are very, very literal. I did say "almost every single time that number rings"

So who could blame me, really? Maybe if one of those people, once in a blue moon, called to just say hello, or offered to do something for me I might not spend so much time ignoring calls or wanting to smash the phone.

Dr. Phil Moment:I've actually smashed a few phones in my life,by the way. Cass can tell ya about that I think.

What do you think? Am I completely nuts? Or would this be justifiable phone-icide?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Views!

Ok there's a few ways to tell a story, right? Let's look at this made-up tale as an example:

"I woke up, went out to the front door to get the newspaper. I looked across the street and saw my neighbor's house in flames. I ran in and called 911, and the Fire Department got there in time to save everyone!"

OK. Now Version 2:

"I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was 7:30 AM. I figured I had a few minutes before I had to get ready for work, so I went down to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. I use Maxwell House coffee now because the Starbuck's coffee, which I used to drink and really liked, got so expensive.

Once the coffee was brewing, (I like to make sure the pot actually starts brewing, because sometimes I come back to find water all over the counter. You really don't want water running on the formica all the time, ya know?) I decided I would have my coffee while reading the newspaper. I prefer the Gazette now to the Examiner, because the delivery is so much earlier, and the paper is such a quick read. You can fold it a lot easier because they don't fill it with a lot of advertisments.

So I opened the front door, which I recently fixed because the hinges were all out of whack. I got the new hinges at Home Depot which had them on sale a lot cheaper than Lowe's, although Mary's husband works at Lowe's and tells me all the time that they carry stock so much cheaper. When I opened the door, I saw the newspaper exactly where I like it to be, which is why I give the paperboy a bigger tip these days. I thought for a minute that I smelled smoke, and was afraid that maybe my coffee maker had malfunctioned, because you can't always be sure with that stuff you buy in Walmart. But then I caught a flash from the corner of my eye, and for a second thought it just might be a glimmer of sunlight which wouldn't be unusual for that hour of the morning, being that it's summer and all.

Well it was then that I realized that Tom and Delores' house was on fire. They've been living there since 1975. I met them through Bill and Margaret who I knew from Church, and they're very nice people all around.

I didn't want to take a chance, being that so many people might have left for work already and might not see the flames, so I went back inside with the newspaper and set it down on the table. I wasn't sure if I should use the cell phone to make a 911 call, so I opted for the house phone, which of course, was nowhere to be found. Jane leaves the phone in the whackiest places, and since I've gone cordless, I haven't been able to keep track of where the darned thing is. Luckily there's a 'pager' function that you can use to locate the handset and it turned out it was in the living room. We're having that painted, so the phone was hidden under one of those blue tarps you see, which I'm not sure are better than the old canvas ones.

I dialed 911 and they picked up on the first ring, which really surprised me, since you hear so many bad stories about 911 mistakes these days. They ran a story like that on 'Dateline' this past weekend, which we watched off a recording instead of live because we were out on the boat with Phil and Louise, who are the best hosts in town when it comes to dinner parties.

I couldn't believe how quickly the fire department arrived. I could hear the sirens within a minute or two of making the call, and I was surprised I could hear them over the hum of the air conditioning system, which I have to have checked out before this summer is over.

Well I'm happy to say that the FD got the fire out pretty quickly, considering how intense the blaze was by the time they got there. The family got out in plenty of time, and I saw them all standing in their robes and pajamas, while the neighbors brought them drinks and blankets, which probably isn't necessary with it being summer and all.

Ok, you have to go now. Thank God for the Fire Department, huh?"

So...

Please tell me why, no matter what, I always end up with the Version 2 Tellers?

My ears bleed daily!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pretty Cool Idea

A Friend has her own business that I've mentioned before, but she's added a blog to help explain what her business is all about. Feel free to check it out!

Geezees Custom Canvas Art Blog

Things Are Normal

Certain things have to be in place in order for the Universe to feel right, ya know?

I logged on to Pogo.com a couple of times recently, and got soundly thrashed by my good friend Emily. Nice to know some things don't change.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today (or Yesterday, as the Case May Be)

Today I had the kind of day we always welcome. I spent time with my kids at a baseball game. Pure fun, pure joy. I love watching the faces of children who are having a good time. Those smiles are something no one can fake.

It was the kind of day that, were it my last, I could go with a smile on my face. And I don't think that's an awful thing at all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Someone Stuck a Happy Pill in My...

So, let's look at the whole trust thing...

So far this week I my Trust Resolution has resulted in me:

  • Being tarred and feathered

  • Being buried alive

  • Being shot out of a cannon

  • Having, not one, but two wallets stolen.


Ok maybe not.

The plumbing thing worked out to the tune of roughly S700,000 or $1250 in American currency. Did I get hosed? Not sure, but there is no more Great Lake in the yard, so...

But I did some more good stuff:


  • I went to McDonald's, ate, and trusted them not to poison me. I'm good.

  • Took a client's word on something he said he would do. Still pending.

  • Lent someone $20. Said he'll pay me Thursday. k


So it's not Earth shattering, but I'm working on it ALRIGHT?

Imagine how hard it wo uld be to read blogs if e very one wr ote like this?

Anyway I had to sit in the Doc's office a bit, and the great people in the Doc's office shared their WiFi with us lucky patients! So I started visiting blogs.

Yayyy!

Isn't it funny though? When you don't visit for a while, you're always afraid that your favorite blogs won't be there? So far, so good. I'm getting to you! I'll be there!

You are missed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sewerage

Well, here's a good start! In August of 2006 I happily discovered a large flood on the back left side of my property, just off the house. There had been a ridiculous amount of rain that year, so I attributed it to a slow drain and that rain. When it became clear that I was either going to have to act, or else name a new ocean, I called a company called Mr. Rooter (not Roto-Rooter) to alleviate the body of water that was quickly becoming swampy back there.

It was revealed to me that the PVC pipe running from the storm drain to the storm sewer out in front of the house had collapsed. As in cracked to hell, crushed, unworking. $1400 later the pipe had been replaced (part of the job involved going under the sidewalk out front). No more Lake Stupid.

Till July, 2009. I rediscovered Lake Stupid after the 289,304 days of rain this Spring. I called the company to inquire as to any warranties, etc. as I could not believe that a pipe could disintegrate in a mere three years. The phone rep did say it was possible if a truck drove on my property, (huh? Highway Stupid, too?) but that they would look into it and do the right thing.

As I know nothing about plumbing other than water in the wrong places is not a good thing, I'm putting my faith in this company to do the right thing. They'll be coming today. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's Play A Game

I watch a lot of episodes of House. The central character, Dr. Gregory House, is a brilliant diagnostician who is also a complete misanthrope. He is convinced that people lie and cannot be trusted.

Why talk about that?

I have seen that this character is a bit exaggerated, certainly, but I have seen something else in that character. I have seen traits that I have allowed to fester in my own life. I'm not so much a misanthropic geezer as I am cynical, beyond what I would like to allow any more.

So, what's the game?

I'm going to try something new; something that's been suggested to me on a number of occasions. I'm not going to lose my mind here, of course, but I am going to try trusting people as well as their words. I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to find a way to allow people to be true to their word. I'm going to put myself out there.

There is a certain amount of faith required here. I'm not going to put my life in people's hands by any means, and I'm not going to become a "Yes Man".

I'm going to treat this somewhat lightheartedly so that no one is in danger. But I'm going to start taking people at their word, allowing them to prove themselves to me simply by doing or saying what they say they will. In other words, I'll put the ball in motion and see where it bounces.

I'll have to be somewhat discreet with the names and such, because a lot of this experiment will take place in the course of doing business, naturally, both in my own business transactions, and in my day-to-day life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What You Don't See...

I've always maintained that the spoken word is the most powerful weapon, exceeding even the written word. I have no idea why I say that, but it's kinda looking good here right now.

I traveled with my own 3 kids, my oldest daughter's boyfriend, and 3 of my nieces. The ages range from 10 to 22 so the commentary was pretty varied. I became mindful of the little things I heard on my Florida visit, being conscious to write them down for later publication here. I heard some pretty funny stuff and thought I'd share my trip with y'all through those eavesdroppings. Here are a few:

  • "I can't believe I have to announce 'PLEASE DON'T TOUCH MY UNDERWEAR!'"

  • "If I eat 3 plates of this, I'll probably get sick"

  • "Oooh how did you guys know they had side orders of bacon?" "It's called READING THE MENU!"

  • "What State is Florida in?"

  • "Florida's not so far if you live there."

  • "Why isn't anyone texting me?" "Your phone's off"

  • "Don't say 'amazing', Dad hates that word"


That's it for now...don't want to over-do it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Public Service?

Hi there. I've completely lost my mind. All gone.

I decided (and not while under the influence), to go to Key West, FL. And I'm going to drive. With the kids, some of the nieces, a whole crowd.

For anyone who might be considering a similar venture at any point in the future, I offer the following as a service. I will Mobile Blog over at www.stupidontherun.com and let you know how it goes.

A Challenge?

Hi there. I found the following in a comment from a previous entry:

This nonsense is apparent everywhere. It sucks. But I have an assignment for you...should you decide to accept it.

Take a week...and only look for (take notice of) all the nice gestures. All that's good and right in the world (outside of your family). It might be hard, but I wonder what the results might be.

I'm not being sarcastic, or trite...I'm simply suggesting a task for my Lipster friend.

Do you accept this challenge?

I'm not sure what that was about. Anyone who knows me, knows that my act here is being silly and sarcastic when I make my observations on society. I like trying to be funny when I get in that mood because I think satire and idiotic humor make the bad things in life a little more palatable. Or at least not as bad. I don't write about the heinous crimes or other atrocities that take place in the world. I try to avoid politics and religion because those topics bring out the worst in people. There are a whole lot of people who believe in freedom of speech, as long as what you say is agreeable to them.

I fancy myself a social satirist. I also know I'm a wiseass.

I had the pleasure, once, of meeting George Carlin. The man was one of my favorite comedians, and he made a career of roasting society. He called people on their B.S. and had a hard time with the Self-Important, The Rude and the Inconsiderate. His humor, in my opinion, was peerless. But at the same time, meeting him was a great experience because he was a delightful, social man. He wasn't a sour monster, in fact, he was a very pleasant man.

Point is, when he was being humorous, he knew what to be funny about. How long would his comedy career have lasted if he spent his time pointing out how wonderful the world can be?

Now I in no way compare myself to George Carlin. I wouldn't be able to carry his microphone. But his style, along with some other satirists, inspires me. I don't think George would have been so gracious, however, had I deemed it necessary to offer advice on how to revamp his brand of silliness.

I am very well aware of all the good in the world. I've been the recipient of many acts of kindness, particularly in the more recent years. I love my children and take great joy from my doings with them. I love my friends, who have carried me through some tough times. I have shared some of the joys in my life in this very blog over the years.

But, it's all about creativity for me. Some of my favorite blogs have had themes: some tremendous photographers, people who paint or sculpt, people who produce crafts; Moms who share their kid stories, folks who share their career adventures. My creative muse wants me to be silly, and funny. "Write about what you know" is the advice I was always given.

Let's face it though, it's nice to be nice. The world is a good balance of good and evil. But, if I were trying to attract an audience by making fun of nice things, kind people and happy souls, it wouldn't be a long relationship. It's more fun to make light of the Self-Important, The Rude and The Inconsiderate. Kind of let them know that they're not as great as they would have you believe. I rarely name actual names, so I think I'm fairly harmless. I don't post photos of my targets, so I'm really not hurting anyone, right?

I don't consider what I do an "art", but it is something that I produce. I don't take myself too seriously, which is why I usually add the tags "Moral Outrage" or "My Personal Dumbness" to those particular articles.

Just as photography, or music, or painting doesn't define the person who creates it, my satire doesn't define me. I like being a people watcher, and that brings a lot of joy and happiness to my life, but it's also a great source for my idiotic humor. I like the World because I do believe people are inherently good, I just think we always have room for improvement. I wouldn't tell people what to change so much as I enjoy picking on them. I don't view the world through rose-colored lenses, but neither do I look through black glasses. I just like to have some fun.

Challenge met?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Driving Through Church

I wouldn't normally think of driving on the highway in the same frame as going to Church. Although with all the busy people out there leading such busy lives these days, can Drive-Thru Mass be next?

I digress.

I've come to realize that Sunday Mass and a Sunday Drive are opportunities to see a lot of what's gone wrong with us. Really!

First off, where is the hell is everyone going in such a friggin hurry? Speed limits are a thing of the past, I know that, but why the hell does everyone need to drive like they're escaping a tidal wave?

And if you want to see where courtesy has gone, just watch roadway etiquette these days. I've seen people who'd rather die than let someone merge in ahead of them. It might hold them up 15 seconds to let the guy in, but then what would one do to make up that lost quarter-minute. Good god no!

Used to be, if you were one of those idiots who insisted on latching on to the left lane like Bin Laden to a cave, you were open to tailgating and flashing lights. Now all you have to do is be on the road. HEY, GET OUT OF MY WAY! I'M A BUSY GUY YA KNOW!

Being a rude, idiot driver makes no logical sense. But yet...

And Church...Sitting through a service these days is a test of human endurance. I watched a woman come into Mass recently, carrying a Starbucks bag. She proceeded to unwrap a coffee and I what I believe was a blueberry muffin and eat it during the Mass. And seeing a moron on a cellphone during a Mass is so commonplace these days that it's barely worth mentioning.

People show up dressed in their Sunday Worst; they show up whenever they want. At Sunday's Mass, the priest was wrapping up after Communion and there were still nitwits showing up. My friend, the Future Criminal, was there today, tormenting his parents. I'm not sure what the fuss is, though, because he was no more disruptive than a typhoon. But people don't remove obnoxious children anymore because people assume it's their right to inflict their little Plagues on the rest of society unimpeded.

And I think nothing says it better than what I experience first-hand these days. While I'm hardly a helpless cripple, I am sufficiently handicapped to the point that I must walk a bit slowly, and with a cane. More than once, recently, I've been shoved past by someone on their way into Church. I can't walk too quickly, but I can still fight, and my handicaps provide me with a nice heavy weapon. But my Christian upbringing was at least good enough that I know it's not a good thing to club someone on the Church steps. Even ignorant morons who don't realize how lucky they are that we are, in fact, on hallowed ground.

Anyway, I'm finished with my amateur pyscho-babble.

What's your take?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Respect?

It's something I hear all the time: people demanding respect. Oh they want it, demand it, do everything but earn it.

Somehow, in this society we've been transformed into thinking that we can get pretty much anything we want if we yell loud enough, or are obnoxious enough or just plan anti-social, "Squeaky wheel gets the grease" type of thinking. But it's our own fault now, that we have to deal with these loud, annoying, half-witted morons. We've glorified them, made celebrities of imbeciles who should better be slapped and sent back home. We've allowed them to equate "attention" with "respect".

I think that's part of the reason we have so many people on medications. They're raised to believe they're entitled to anything they want, and when the real world catches up with that illusion, they need to medicate. It's not depression, or anxiety, it's "slap in the face". Let's face it folks, we have as many commercials encouraging self-medication as we do for laundry detergent.

And the same goes with the whole respect thing. There are so very few people I know who've actually earned my respect. There are a lot of people who have my attention, or get it; there are a lot of people I might even like, but not a whole lot on my list for those I respect.

I don't equate respect with power, either. Powerful people in this country seldom earn their positions anymore. Power is bought and sold (particularly in NJ) like a cheap commodity these days; respect is like platinum in my view. In fact, the people I respect the very most are not what we'd typically consider people of "power". They've gained respect by acting respectful and being respectable.

Being respectable: it's a pretty simple concept. It's the best way to earn respect.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Important?

Just some thoughts that passed through my head the last few days.

Should safe packaging be so safe that you injure yourself opening it? What do they make those seals out of, anyway?



I know that money is tight these days. In fact, they tell us here in NJ that there are so many things that there are "no money for", I wonder what they do spend it on besides graft. But isn't it a reasonable thing to expect that the roads in a US State at least be passable? These roads EAT cars now. Not just tires, axles, hubcaps, I mean entire cars. Friends of mine have disappeared forever on the Garden State Parkway and Jersey Turnpike. At least some gravel or something, ya know?



And I've come to understand that expiration dates are important on packaging. I get it. So if they are so important, could these people please MAKE THEM READABLE! And what about the occasional package that has no date whatsoever? Can we assume that the stuff in there is good forever?



Note to FOX-5 NY: I can no longer watch your news at 10. You guys have so many computer graphics spinning, circling and flashing on the screen that I seize up after mere seconds. Could we make the news about the news again someday and stop dressing it up like a Sesame Street skit?



And how sad is it that the news promos now feature stories that we used to only be able to read in such gems as The Star or The National Enquirer. I fully expect Maury Povich to move back into the Anchor desk any day now.



I still don't get these TV ads that feature people so close to the camera that we can see their nose-hairs. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SEE?

I got a message that said, "Your not gonna believe this, you're life will definately never be the same..."

That made my brain hurt.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Introspection

Hi folks. I've been working my tail off. It's still there (kinda still large too) so I need to keep working.

I'm not knocking the cover off the ball, so to speak, and part of my problem is that I'm part of an industry that doesn't always encourage honesty, or the benefit of the client. I'm really, really trying to do my business in an honest fashion, where I put the needs of the client first. But I'm fighting that less-than-stellar reputation on a daily basis.

When did American Business become all about exploitation? I think that paying people less than their efforts are worth encourages short-cuts, dishonesty and outright deception. The SubPrime mess speaks volumes in that area. Anything that makes the Company money is ok. No matter what.

I just keep wondering, is it possible for one to market products and services honestly, with the best interest of the client at heart, and be successful? For me, at this point, just winning people's trust feels like a major victory. I've met with people who've been scammed and lied to, so why should they trust me?

I've been told to remind my clients that the recommended amount of life insurance is 8 to 10 times their current income. See, I have a hard time with that because the recommendation comes from the Insurance Industry. To me it's like McDonalds telling people that the recommended amount of hamburgers is 2 a day.

Part of my training included what not to say to people. The "Not To Says" were things that I would just consider being honest.

My approach to my service business is identifying need and offering to fill that need in a means to the client's benefit. I do believe that people should carry life insurance. People need to pay for funerals, medical expenses, and provide income to help the survivors get through the difficult times after someone passes early and unexpectedly. The way I approach the situation is to go over what the financial needs would be, and design an insurance program to meet those needs, and nothing more. A young father with a wife, 3 kids, a mortgage and some extra debt needs more coverage than a woman in her 40's with a husband and an apartment and an 18 year old child. I want to match them to the right amount.

Same goes for retirement savings. People can't save more than they're comfortable putting aside. And not every financial instrument is a suitable investment for every client. Mutual funds are great. Individual stock investments can bear an enormous amount of risk (Enron, Lehman Bros. anyone?) and annuities are good for people who are looking for supplements to their retirement savings.

I believe I have the means to sit down with clients, analyze their needs and design programs and services to meet those needs in a way that benefits them, while also benefitting me by compensating me for my time and efforts. I think this can be a mutually beneficial situation and try to act accordingly.

But I get a lot of flack. If I meet clients who have adequate insurance coverage, I tell them so, and leave it alone. If they're saving enough for retirement, I back off.

I refuse to engage in subterfuge, and I refuse to pull out the smoke and mirrors. I try to deal honestly and fairly. If I can't improve one's situation, I don't do business. If I can, I show how I can and let the clients make up their minds. I refuse to be a door-to-door snake oil salesman.

I have a lot to learn I guess.

But wouldn't it be easier to offer products and services at a price people can afford and without trying to "sell" them? I have those means at my disposal. I just don't get a lot of encouragement to use them.

It's hard.

Monday, June 08, 2009

So How Come...

With all the potential, the incredible promise, offered by the new Information Age, it blows my mind that the only thing coming from the Internet is a major increase in national stupidity.

We can now exchange volumes of written information in seconds. Sentences, paragraphs, pages in mere micro-seconds. We could theoretically share our life stories with the world in moments.

Yet we have such things as "LOL". "BRB" We're in possession of the fastest communication devices in Human History, and we want to make it faster. We equate "incorrect" with "fast" so we get such moronic blurbs as "Your my hero".

Some moron was explaining the other day how we shouldn't be teaching our kids how to write (with a pen or pencil, numbskulls)anymore. This Genuis decided we won't have to write manually anymore, we can just type it up on a computer. Personal touch. Class. Integrity. Manners. None of that matters anymore, so yeah, maybe he's right.

We've just about destroyed the English Language because the so-called "Educators" in this country think it's more important for our students to learn other languages, or design curricula that don't require the lazy to bother learning English.

I think my own problem here is that we have been given access to something that could have raised the learning curve in this country immensely by giving equal access to incredible amounts of information that could have leveled the playing field.

Instead we spend hours watching Morons On Video taking stupidity to new heights. We encourage idiots to become stars, we applaud morons who break the law by calling it entertainment. We condone the most ridiculous behavior as long as we can watch. That's partly why we have Reality TV. This crap wouldn't have sold 20 years ago because people were to smart to waste time on stuff like this.

We have one of the most powerful learning tools ever, right here at our disposal, at what do we get? YouTube, PerezHilton and MySpace.

Do you think the guys who invented computers ever envisioned that?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Who's Who?

Hi guys, still me!

I'm really curious about something. When a "help" section of a website is designed, it's like anything else: "let's start at the very beginning...".

When these web companies design their help sections, they offer something called "FAQ's". What they forget to include is "NAQ's" (Never Answered Questions) where most of us would probably find the actual answers we're looking for.

I mean, if I were going to run a Cooking website, I'd have listings for such things as "How to bread cutlets" or "how to roast a chicken"; I'd be doing most people a favor by not including instructions for "how to change a motorcycle tire", ya know?

I was on a site called Linked-In today, and found my inbox stuffed with the usual SPAM messages, only there's no obvious way to report SPAM or violators and the like. So off I went to the HELP Section. I typed in SPAM REPORTING and SPAM VIOLATIONS and the closest thing I found to an answer to that was:

  • No. Only your group manager can contact all members at the same time. The Discussions feature was designed to specifically address and prevent spam from an unknown group member. Discussions in groups allows members to communicate with the group or privately with an individual group member without sharing email addresses of the individual members.

Maybe, again, it's a matter of expectations. Maybe these guys set out to design the HELP SECTION to specifically NOT be of any help. I mean, after all, In 15 years of computing experience, I have never, EVER gotten actual useful information from Microsoft's Help site.

And of course, those Web "Forums" where any idiot with a keyboard can deem himself an "expert" and clog up the space with completely useless, inaccurate information.

Or the morons who respond to a posted question with such gems as "I have no idea"

Then why offer a response, Imbecile?"

Anyway, I was just curious why HELP sections offer everything but help?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ad-on

I'm just curious about something.

We've all become too familiar with Internet advertising. In particular, the ads that pop "under" the page you're currently viewing, rather than pop "up". I see ads for Screen Savers and the like, whenever those pop "under".

What I'm curious is, has anyone ever actually made a purchase in response to an unsolicited ad that appeared on your screen? Not just screen savers, but any product at all?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stumble and Crash

Hi folks. I'm not dead. At least not at the moment.

I was gonna title this "Rambling", but I don't ramble. I stumble. And usually crash into something.

But I have been doing things. Some things here and there.

I've managed to stay out of prison. I've managed not to insult too many people. I did make a few people mad because I really have a hard time multi-tasking (when it involves juggling 23,456 different tasks).

I remembered that I like Hostess Cupcakes. The chocolate one. I don't care if you don't know what they are, or if you don't like them, or can't get them because that simply means more cupcakes for me.

I also eat a lot of fast food with this business I'm working on. You can't do too well eating a Quiznos if you're driving, unless you like sharing your food with your pants. White Castle burgers are pretty ok, but they do tend to leak ketchup when you bite 'em, which is something the pants aren't happy with. I went to a Boston Market for chicken. They didn't happen. That's like a pizzeria not having pizza, ya know?

I was kinda disappointed with American Idol this season. I didn't even keep up my Idol blog too well. Now they say the voting was rigged. I didn't care too much.

Ever hang around someone who is non-stop cynical? Everything is a government plot, or corporate corruption, or a rip-off...you know the type. You tend to non-talk around 'em, don't ya? One guy told me he won't use E-Z Pass. Says he doesn't want the government tracking him. I told him, "Dude, you're not that interesting. The government has better things to do than falling asleep tracking your progress."

I found a new way to deal with another kind of people...the ones who somehow find a reason to interrupt everyone else who might be talking because their stories are so much more interesting. I deal with them now by saying, "Shut up, so-and-so was talking you blithering ignoramus."

It works. Go figure.

I love those ever-decreasing minutes I have with my kids. They like me and I like them back. We have fun together.

I'm officially not a crutches user now. I have a very cool cane that my kids bought for my birthday. I'm hottt.

Someone told me I'm crazy not to have surgery. I asked him if he'd be willing to pay for it. End of conversation.

I've driven way too much lately. Not good. I promised not to rant and rave about all the bad drivers anymore. That puts a lot of pressure on me.

There's a good reason not to drink spoiled milk. It tastes yucky. And it makes you feel ungood. If it stinks, don't drink it.

Which reminds me of the best medical advice I've heard in years: A commercial on TV said, "If you're allergic to AstePro, don't use it." That's beyond awesome, right?

I'm on Twitter. It's over there on the right. Foller me! I'll foller ya back.

I'm determined to visit your blogs soon. Really soon. So write up! I'll need cool things to read.

Love you all.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Looking At The Map

Hi again. I was wondering if I could ask something.

Folks, my life is a friggin' disaster right now. It's worse than I thought, but that just means I have to be smarter than I thought.

I just realized that, for all intents and purposes, 30 years of my life are gone...gone as if they never happened. Essentially, I have nothing to show for the career I spent my adult life performing. I won't go into the details of why it's all gone. Most of you probably know anyway.

I have my kids. I have my brain.I have to work with my brain to take care of my kids.

What I'd like to do here is share the situation. It's pretty awful. But I want it here to look back on when things are good again. It might take months, it might take years. But it's going to get better. I'm just hoping I can contain the mess long enough that my kids don't have to feel it too badly.

I'm working two businesses. Network marketing is one option I have. I am working for an old friend, Danielle, whom I was partners with 15 years ago. She found me and extended a hand. We work for a company called Arbonne. I do it because she's smart, she has made it work for her and she wants me to do well with her. Remember that name Danielle. She has made a major, major difference in my life simply by thinking enough of me to find me and offer me a chance to join her in business again. My site is here for Arbonne, if you'd like to shop online or maybe learn more about the business opportunity.

I'm also still involved pretty heavily in the financial consulting business as well. That's a tough one because I'm trying to build client relationships in a time when there is little faith in the industry. It still works. It will get better in that part of the world. I want to do what's right for people. It takes a while to find people who are willing to trust me, and it takes a while to earn that trust. If there's one thing I do know, it's service. Hearing what people want, and filling their needs to the best of my abilities. It served me well for 30 years in my previous career. I like winning trust before anything else. And that takes time.

The smartest people I know wrote books that all had one message in common: to do well financially, you must have multiple streams of income.

And so it begins. I hope that you might take a minute now and then to come by and give me a little pat on the back or a kick in the ass, as the case may be. I'm so scared right now I can't tell you. But there isn't time for that. I have to do what's right. So I'm going to try my best.

I'd sure love to have you guys with me, and me with you because I know that there are a lot of folks out there in the same boat. Let's keep it afloat together, ok?

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Look at the Status

I often get teased by my friends about the silly and dumb things I do...I've been called "Skirt", "Loser", "Lippy", all very endearingly I might add.

It's no secret that I'll sit and watch a "chick flick" with ya. Really. No big.

One of those that I felt a connection to was "Pretty Woman." And that was really because of one scene in particular, where the lead guy takes his Lady on a really extravagant date: private jet, fancy clothes, jewels and a night at the opera. It was just a beautiful few minutes in a really enjoyable film.

There was a time where I had the means to share a date like that with someone. It's always been kind of a dream of mine to have moments like that, and be with someone special enough to enjoy them with me. Someone who would indulge my wish to just treat someone as beautifully as I can.

I had the means, yes, but I didn't have the "Lady". A few years back, some very close friends from around the country came to visit and sort of indulge my desire to do a little pampering and spoiling, to feel "like that guy", but it wasn't a romantic situation.

I've had a major change in my life, in my style of life, and in what I can do. Typically, one would meet someone who he could share that little dream with at the time when he can no longer do it.

I'm going to elaborate more later on, but no matter what happens, I am going to have that "Pretty Woman" moment one day soon. I know it's probably not something you're glad you spent time reading about, but anyone who knows me knows how important this is to me. I have so much to fix, to work out, but there's nothing wrong with a little extra incentive, right?

My heart kinda needs that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Co-Op: Redundancy

Here's a quick example of a conversation with Family Guy:

He broke his computer, for lack of a better word. He had more garbage on that hard drive than I'd seen in a major landfill. It was beyond "fixing" so he asked me to try and restore it. It was so bad that I basically had no choice other than to reformat the hard drive. I reinstalled Vista, got it running, but didn't have time to re-install Microsoft Office or his Verizon Suite. He came in the next day, and I gave him the report.

ME:"OK man, I got the system up and running, Vista is installed and everything is ok. I didn't have time to re-install Office or Verizon, but you can handle that."

FAMILY:"You didn't install Office?"

ME: "No, you can put that back in. Or leave it here and I put it in tonight and you can have it tomorrow."

FAMILY:"You didn't put the Verizon Suite in?"

ME:"Nah, didn't get that in either"

FAMILY:"So those programs aren't installed?"

ME:"Still no."

FAMILY:"So when I go home, I have to put them in?"

ME:"You like asking the same question a lot of times, huh?"

Makes every day interesting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughts On A Holiday

Typically, with the Easter holiday, "freedom" isn't the theme for the day. But I had an experience Sunday that really brought that to mind.

It was all seemingly unimportant, but when I thought about things, it really became significant.

Case in point: There was a couple seated in front of me in Church, probably in their early 30's. They had with them a little boy, my guess is about 3 or 4 years old. From the moment the three of them settled in the pew, the show began. The boy immediately cut loose. He grabbed at the songbooks, then the missals, each grab was met with some resistance by the parents. He was climbing up on the bench. then down under the bench. They would pick him up to restrain him, he'd squirm, they'd put him down, he'd continue. He got a good hold of one of the songbooks, and immediately began tearing the pages out; Mom grabbed the book, then Dad picked him up, he squirmed and cried. Dad put him down, he made for the aisle.

You get the point.

All I could think about was what life was like the rest of the week with this little Tyrant. From the minute his eyes open, he dominates the lives of everyone around him. This future criminal had no boundaries, no restraint. I could only see life with this kid, every waking moment of the parents' lives dedicated to either fulfilling his wants, or meekly resisting behavior they don't approve of. I know that throughout history, people have struggled, sometimes in vain, against tyranny. The worst of it had to be when the invaders reached the home front, which is what these people dealt with the entire 60 minutes of the Church service.

I'm not a perfect parent, but at least in my life, the hierarchy is established. That's the case, in part, because I know that the world requires some restraint and decorum, (although these days, good manners and behavior might be a detriment to them) but my brain would never allow a 4 year old to dictate my life to me.

Parenting is hard. That's an understatement. But it requires the proper efforts from day one of the child's life, or one can be prepared to battle it out for freedom for a long time to come.

Not exactly an Easter thought, but it did become very important to me.

And man, it was exhausting to watch.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Question

Apparently, a great number of people believe that what they need me to
do is far more important than what I'm currently doing. They believe
that, and I say that because they just feel free to interrupt without
even asking if I might be busy. It's assumed that I am there just
a'waitin for their next whim.

Tact hasn't always been my strong point. I do have a tendency to go with
the sharp reply when I feel like people just assume that I couldn't
possibly be doing anything nearly as urgent as what they want me to do.
Sarcasm is a great tool, but realistically, there's not always a place
for it.

My question, or rather my request, is, how would you tactfully inform
someone that what you're doing is quite possibly as important as what
they want you to do for them. I ask for tactful because let's face it,
we have to work together.

Pardon the formatting here. I sent this via a quick email rather than
logging on. It was pretty urgent, actually. HA! Please help. Send your
friends with suggestions too. You might save a life!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Co-Op: Pump Up the Volume

So we have a problem with volume in the Co-Op. Volume as in "too damned loud!" There is a huge need for some sort of soundproofing, or perhaps maybe for me to go deaf so I won't notice so much.

I think there is a certain amount of self control necessary when working in an office where there are a lot of people making phones calls at the same time. It's not a good thing to be shouting over each other, especially when the people on the other end of the phones have to listen to this too.

Family Guy. Ohhh Family Guy. Shut UP. If there was ever a human being who should have come equipped with a volume knob, it's this nob. Oh my God, we tell this guy regularly that the's busting windows with his ridiculous phone-bellowing. We've even gone so far as to print a "Speak Quietly Please" sign on an 8x10 sheet, framing it, and putting it on his desk. For real. He inspires thoughts of violence in his co-workers. We like it when he's away.

Gramps also has frequency issues. See, somehow he's gotten the idea that if he's calling someone in California, say, then he has to yell very loudly on the phone because they're so far away. And he doesn't work up to a crescendo-he goes full blast right out of the gate, like a jackhammer.

H. blows by our office. He has a problem. He can't speak on the phone at his desk. It's like a compulsion; he has to wander the halls as he speaks. You know if you're standing on the street and a police car flies past with the siren wailing? Same effect. But the hall smells after that. Oh yay.

None of them should work in a funeral home.

Ow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Co-Op

Well, I'm going to go ahead and get started with my new series. There's one small change, though. Since "The Office" is a pretty famous show, and this blog is not, I'm going to title my series, "The Co-Op". I don't think my characters are anywhere as famous, but they are somewhat comical, and I'm going to try and share some of the idiocy with you.

I think the most appropriate way to begin a series like this is to do a cast introduction, don't you? So let's get that out of the way.

First up, one of our Stars. We'll call him "Family Guy" because, well, that's who he most physically resembles. It's kind of nice working with a cartoon character some days. I was going to call him "The Irritant" because he's like pepper spray, I'm telling you. I've seen Priests walk away swearing from this guy. He has a great habit of asking you how to do something, and then telling you how he thinks it should be done. He's the type of guy, you ask him what time it is, he tells you how to build a clock. They took away my guns, so Family Guy lives on. You'll see what I mean.

Slick. Be careful saying hello to Slick. He'll sell you something. He's an intelligent guy, well-versed in business, but has just gotten a little too carried away with Sales. Sees anyone and everyone as a prospect. Will try to sell you life insurance even after you've died. Talks about little else. I'm not sure he's alive after business hours. But man, he sells words to Mirriam Webster.

Then there's "Talk Show". Talk is a great guy, but he just talks way too much. And not ordinary talk-too-much, this can can actually make your ears bleed. There isn't a single subject on earth for which he hasn't formed a very long, drawn out Monologue. I dream about the horrors of a conversation with Talk Show. It's like that feeling you get in that brief moment between tripping and actually hitting the pavement. You know what I mean.

Say hello to "H". I call him that for a number of reasons, one of which is his extreme case of Halitosis. When breath is visible, it's not good. He's actually a nice guy who just doesn't know enough to turn off the "Happy". (another reason he's called "H" by the way) You're standing in a burning building with a T-Rex closing in on you, and this guy's talking about what a great day it is. No it's not. But the good thing about a burning building is, the smoke covers his breath a little.

Then we have our Supporting Cast. These guys don't figure into the daily routine as much, but they do add some spice to the show.

The Artful Dodger. This guy produces very little in the way of actual revenue. But man, no one, and I mean NO one sidesteps and double-talks like this guy. He is a human Book of Excuses, and I do believe could talk himself out of the way of a speeding bullet. He drops stories like some people drop litter. It flies, baby. I just love how fast he can cook up an excuse to do nothing. If this guy redirected his energy into actually being productive, he'd conquer the financial world in 4 hours flat.

Gramps is actually a nice old codger who has been in business since 1537. He was around when money was invented. Harmless enough except he runs a close second to Talk Show in the Loquacious Department. Any question you ask is met with a complete family history. He talks for a very long time about things; he goes on so long, sometimes, that he forgets what the actual conversation started out about. He knew Christopher Columbus personally, by the way.

Carly. As in Carly Fiorina. Carly is actually a smart Lady, just gets a little carried away, is all. She's always offering the better way to do things, tends to take everything over, and has even tried teaching me how to make my screw-ups into total disasters. Thinks everyone on earth should be a client, including opposums. Ever try to design a portfolio for a possum? Not fun. She did once, however, get a rock to open an IRA account.

Ricky Ricardo is a charming man. We like him a lot, we just haven't figured out what it is that he does. He speaks English occasionally, and sometimes even speaks to us. But he is a good guy. Part of the show will be to figure out his function.


And then there are the Spectres. No, not Phil. These are people who occasionally appear in the office. I think they work there, but I can't be sure. They'll get names as I see them long enough to figure them out.

I hope this is enough to get your interest. I really want to share some fun with you from the Co-Op. So stay tuned. You never know when they'll cancel us.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Night Views

It's was a long week, but some good stuff did happen. I think.

I had a really nice experience this week at the Staples store in Brick, NJ. I needed a couple of customized ink stamps and went to the Print Center in the store. It was about $50 worth of merchandise, but the whole thing was handled with such care I couldn't help but be pleased.

It was kinda funny at the end when I hit the register. I'd picked up a few other items that came with warranties and when the lady there rang my order up she went to attach the receipts to the warranty cards. She was out of staples. Just thought I'd throw that in. I really do like that store though.



I sat in the living room doing some work. I had the TV on and I noticed something. Sunday night must be "Amazing" night. I heard people say it no less than 50 times. There's a lot of "Amazing" things out there.

To me, it's the same as people who use "like" too much, you know the ones, "And he was like, 'hello', and I was like 'what?'." That's how much "amazing" is overused, in my book. Amazing.



When you meet people who stand by their word, it's incredible.



I wonder how it feels to go through life moving from one drama moment to the next. It's so strange to me how much effort some people put into finding things to be annoyed about. You miss out on so much in life. And I think it makes you lonely because people get tired of it. It makes them mad when you don't let them affect you any more, too.


When the world stops being "all about you", it becomes so much more interesting, don't ya think?


I got a nice long ride in a Toyota Prius. That's a hybrid. I was very impressed. Roomy too.


Not sure why they call them "sleepovers". No one sleeps. My son passed out this afternoon after his buddies went home.


The Sunday evening Mass by me features a group of teenagers providing the music. There's nothing more uplifting than seeing kids singing their hearts out.


Ok, that's enough from me. Enjoy the week, ok?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Question About Questions...

Hey, if you have a minute, go check out the Male Advocate today. Click here

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nothing is the New No?

Is it just me or have manners gone completely the way of the wind...all gone. Is there no decorum anymore at all? I'm not talking about occasional bouts of rudeness, I'm talking about an entire segment of our population going without any kind of social mores at all anymore.

If my Grandmother asked me if I wanted any steak & kidney pie when I was a kid, I simply said, "No, thank you." I didn't go and hide and hope she would go away. If someone called to ask me a question, I answered the phone and answered the question. I assume it was the same way for most of you, too.

We've scheduled a number of interviews lately. We made the appointments on the phone, and confirmed the times and *poof*, they simply don't show up. No call, no contact. Any attempt to follow up is met with complete silence. Is it cowardice, maybe? Are we becoming a culture of spineless jellyfish? For all the bravado about how "we" don't take crap from anyone, "we" are not afraid of anything, I see a lot of gutless behavior these days.

A friend was having a charity dinner. She sent out invitations to a pretty large group of people, with the usual RSVP request. 80% of the people she invited simply said nothing. No response at all. What happened to simply saying, "Sorry, I can't make it,"?

I don't do anything important via email or text because people conveniently "don't get" those messages. I call or see the people face to face. But that also led me to learn that people lie. Why? No one is threatening them, coercing them.

But what happened to people to make them adopt this "I'll just hope everything goes away" posture? Where did integrity go?

Believe me, if someone asks me to do something I don't want to, or cannot do, I say so. I don't string people along, and I certainly don't just ignore their requests.

Have any of you seen this behavior?

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Search?

A few years ago, I wrote a running series about the self-important louts that I used to ride with on the commuter ferry. A couple of years ago, that series came to an end.

No, not because I sank the ferry or anything like that. It was just a change in jobs that ended my Ferry Nice Fun.

I do miss those clowns. I mean, how could you not get somehow attached to Yawn Talker, the Gargler, Slick, Burpee and the like? They would find new and innovative ways to make me wish I had psychotic powers that I could inflict on them (yes, psychotic, not psychic-we wanted to give them boo-boos, or worse)

I long for the days when one of the cellphoniacs would dial on and make all kinds of vomit with their friend. I liked thinking of the reactions of my friends when I would write about DeckWalker, the Politician and "Man, I Am So Hot" Guy.

I've been on the hunt. Believe me. I would go around with a little pad, writing about the many dum people I meet in my new venture. In some towns, you could just take a copy of the local phonebook to keep track of Dums. (Dum's aren't smart enough to be "dumb"; they don't qualify for the extra "b" on the end.)

I've got a pretty good list going now, and, since this is mostly related to the job I do, I'm going to call this series "The Office".

Very original. Shaddap.

The Male Advocate Is Alive...Still

I'd love to get some participation over on my other blog, The Male Advocate. Would you mind taking a look and answering a question? Click here for today's entry.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

When It Is True

For a lot of people, the most vivid memories are those that are associated with fear, times we were afraid, and often, times when those fears were unfounded. Part of what keeps us secure in life is knowing that there are means in place to protect us.

I remember, numerous times, finding sites or Blogs that asked what my greatest fears are. If I were asked at this moment, the answers would be the same; but those would be different than the ones I'd have given when I was 5 or 10 or 15 years old. At those ages, maybe it was monsters or bogeymen, evil things in the closet.

As intense as those fears were, maturity and experience teach us that those are completely unfounded. And if they aren't, they are at least things we can control or fight back against.

I have found that the worst fears I can imagine are those I have no control over, but that can, and do, have enormous effects on my life and of those I love. Fear of flying? Get on a plane. Fear of intimacy? Get into a satisfying relationship. But when I think about that plane crash in Buffalo, NY a few weeks back, I realize that fears aren't always about things we can control or battle against.

What does one do when one looks at that list of fears, and realizes that they have all begun to come true? And that quite a few are things that one can not actually do anything about, no matter how determined one is?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

10

Everyone has at least one weak spot, that one person, song, thing that absolutely melts your heart. One of those is my 9 year old, who turns 10 today...my Girl, my Baby.

Her name is Theresa, but since the moment she was born, she's always been "Baby". And even at 10 years old, she still indulges me calling her that. In fact, the first words I ever spoke to her were, "hello Baby."

This child touches my heart every single time I'm by her. She's either very genuine, or has mastered the "Daddy's Girl" script down to the letter. She has made me unashamedly cry tears of joy, and no one, not anyone else on Earth, gives a hug like this child; warms you to the heart.

I have three children who each touch me in their own special way, but today is her birthday, and she gets to steal the spotlight today.

She came along at a very, very difficult time in my life. Yet because of those troubles, I was able to be home with her the entire first month of her life. Imagine experiencing a love so strong that it makes the pain of the most horrible illness simply go away. That love, that bond is still as strong today as the day it first formed.

I love her so much, and being alive today to share that love with her is a gift I know I have to thank God for.

So thank you God. And thank you "Baby". Happy 10th birthday.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I NEED Spring

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Did You Know?

Photography!

A number of my Blog friends are photographers who love to share their work online. You're probably familiar with them, but there's someone else whose art I'd like to share here today. Her name is Brittany and her site is pretty terrific.

Take a look here at her Blogger site: Silent Stories
And her DeviantArt site here: LuckyB30

I think you'll like it as much as I do.

Oh The Winter's Almost OVER!

Boot season is almost (almost) behind us for another year. I'll gladly surrender just to get rid of Winter!

Friday, March 06, 2009

H E L P ! lol

A few weeks ago, I had written about having a new outlook on life, self-improvement and the like. Well, here's the thing...

A lotta people out here have been giving me a lotta crap! Help me! Who wants to kick some mean people's butts for me?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Collect

I thought about what I wrote yesterday with the whole "flying" thing and all. It brought to mind something else I wish was possible.

There's really no hope of a really quick fix for what ails us all in this country, and I'm sad to think of the hundreds, if not thousands, of us who probably haven't finished with the pain. We're expected to band together, suck it up and come out of this as a nation, yet so much of the trouble was created by people who don't identify, nor even care about what the many people who have been hurt by irresponsible, borderline stupid, behavior.

Wouldn't it be nice, if even for a few minutes, we could find a magic spring somewhere, and each and every one of us could just dive in for a minute or two, and wash away all the hurt? Just leave it behind for those few moments and feel good again.

Unfortunately, we all know there's no such remedy for this kind of pain. It's going to take a lot more work and sacrifice.

But it would be nice, right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Imagine

I always thought about being able to fly. I knew that it wasn't possible to do, at least not in the way I imagined (yes, we can board a plane, but it's not the same thing!), but I always thought about what it would be like to actually leave the ground and go aloft.

I can't put a word to the feeling you get when you have to accept some reality or another. It's a nice sentiment, "You can do anything you set your mind to," but in reality, there are some things you can't do, no matter how much brain power you apply.

I think about the way my life has changed, and how certain things left my control. You can't make someone love you, no matter what. You can't have a job that doesn't exist any more, and you can't make yourself love someone either.

For the most part, I try to look at those situations in order to find something positive in them. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, as the song goes.

I wouldn't so much say that I'm mournful for some of the things I've lost, because I did my best in one case, and I had no say in another instance. No regrets, right? Time for a new path.

But there are other things that I still imagine happpening, that I know won't happen, or shouldn't happen. I have no place taking the field in the NFL. There isn't a movie bad enough to have me in the starring role. But while I can't be the next Bill Gates, there are little compromises you can make and find happiness as a result.

I have some awesome, lifelong friendships with some wonderfully beautiful women because I was able to "just be friends" with them and not pursue anything more. That's hardly a compromise. I've become physically handicapped in the last couple of years; this brought my sports "careers" to and end. But, that has allowed me to experience some incredible kindess and consideration from others. Hardly something to be sad about, because kindness doesn't always come from the direction we assume.

There are a few things I really want in my life, but just can't have. It's that simple. But I put that aside and just enjoy imagining what it would be like. Besides, with my fear of heights, flying might not be so great.

Did this make sense?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Curiouser

I don't believe that people who do bad things are always consciously aware of what they are doing. I'm not talking about criminal behavior, I'm talking about the day-to-day not-niceties that people inflict on each other.

Part of my life's philosophy includes the notion, "You can't blame a dog for being a dog." Kids generally goof up until they're taught proper social behavior; a poorly timed burp might require some manners updates, and now the kid knows it's not acceptable to let fly at will.

We receive guidance from the day we're born, at home (at least if the parents have any sense at all, a huge assumption to make these days), in school, etc. But there isn't always a rulebook for adult social behavior. We take our cues from those we admire, or want to emulate.

There are a couple of people from whom I receive good tips for different aspects of my life. I've always been big on trying to be respectful, but there were a few things I did, ideas I had, that weren't exactly on target until I heard stories from these people in which something upset them. I would think to myself, "Wow, I did that once," or "Oh man, you mean that's wrong?" Behavior that I thought was very polite was in actuality quite the opposite.

In two instances, I've cited lessons I was "taught" by the words written by these people I consider role models, and was met with odd looks. The thing I'm curious about is this: Do any other grown-ups out there still have role models they look up to? I know I do, and I try to "behave" because I know these folks wouldn't approve if I didn't; in other words, I try to live up to the standards they set because I believe I'm a better person for it.

What's your take? Do you have role models still?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

True Friendship

We all need something to make us smile occasionally, don't we? I mean, yeah, I know, life gives us reasons to smile every day, but sometimes, someone really does something that matters. A person will step forward and do something for us without any agenda other than to make us feel good.

That's when you realize how great it is to have friends who care.

I was given an award last night. It was given to me by someone who has been so much more of a friend to me than I could ever be to her, but yet she took the time to say to me, "You are a good friend." How can you not smile after something like that?

People sometimes question the value of an "online" friendship. I won't debate it with anyone because it's an intensely personal matter to me, and I can honestly say that some of the very best friendships I have in my life have their roots in online initial contact.

Those friendships include people I have never actually met in person, yet they've brought so much value to my life. Suffice to say that I wouldn't trade those friendships for a million dollars. My life is so much better because I took the time to get to know those people. And that's a sincere statement.

So, while it was a difficult process for me to select only four people to share the award with, I decided, "my blog, my rules" and went ahead and passed this award to a few extra people.

I am sharing this award first with Cassie. Once in a while, we really get lucky in life. I say that because we sometimes encounter good fortune without doing anything to deserve it; it's like a reward for something we haven't done yet. I don't question good fortune, I simply express my gratitude and enjoy the benefit. My friendship with Cassie is something I will always consider a high point in my life. She has literally carried me through some of the worst times of my life, but has also shared some of the best times I've ever had. Her Blog is private at the moment, so I'm not sharing a link, but I am sharing the fact that my life would not be the same without her. She has been blogging with me since way back in the AOL Journals days, and I'm glad she's still writing, and still my friend.

Emily, or "Ms. Emily" as I love to call her, is another friend who has certainly been witness to a lot herself, but who also has always managed to be the kind of friend to me that a lot of other people can only hope for. Emily is another one whose friendship comes with no strings, she's just there all the time.Another fun thing about Ms. Emily is that she never gets tired of kicking my butt in card games. She's just great, it's as simple as that!

Her blog isn't private, although she needs to write more: One Step at a Time.

I think about people who lend a hand in other ways as well. I have a friend who has seen through to the spiritual emptiness that was plaguing me. Kristen is someone who had the wisdom to figure out part of the reason why I was hurting, and recognized that nothing would be right in my life if I didn't have peace with God. She has worked tirelessly to help my find my way back home. I'm almost there, and I'm so grateful to have this friend in my life. You have to realize that, since you know me, dealing with me isn't always easy. She's shown enormous patience and kindness to me. That's a gift that never gets worn out. Thank you, Kristen. I don't want to publish a link to her Blog without permission, but if that works out, I'll gladly share that with you all.

My friend, whom I affectionately call "Mamma" is another person who has helped light my spiritual trail. When I think about all the stories I've ever heard about people lending kindness simply for the sake of being kind, I realize how fortunate I am to have someone like her as a friend. Again, the patience required when dealing with me has to be enormous, and she exemplifies the pure spirit of human kindness with every word she shares with me. This is another case where I am truly blessed. Mamma's blog is located here

Some friends seem as though they have been a part of your life forever. Now I know that this is not the case with my online friends, but it feels good just the same. One of those people is my good friend Nancy, with whom I go way back. If you want to know of someone who really has enormous patience, this is the person to talk to. She has been there before, and I know she'll be there again and again. Her blog is wonderful, and she has an incredible talent for photography that she shares so willingly with us. Come look at the Blog here

I figure I've taken enough of your time for this. I tend to get a little bit gushy when I talk about those people who are so very important. I hope you'll indulge me for today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

About The Giving


My friend Mary has continued a tradition that began back in the AOL Journals days. It's a way for the community to show its heart to the world. The Blog is called "Give...a Hand Up" and it can be found here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And So It Goes...

I liked my life again. I came to grips with the fact that the life I had was gone, and lamenting it would simply stop me from enjoying the days I still had coming.

That sounds like it was an easy choice. It wasn't. There were a lot of lonely nights out there waiting for me, but they were nights during which I did a lot of learning. And a lot of missing. I realized how much better my life was with the kids in it. I was determined not to be the "fun" Dad, who made every weekend a party. I was determined to be the kind of parent that I'd seen in every single Mom I'd ever admired. Those women weren't living a crusade. Those women were molding good children. I wanted to live that way too.

I firmly resisted the invitations to date, to have relationships with anyone other than my kids. I didn't want to be a boyfriend, a date, a husband, to anyone else. I wanted to be Daddy. And I wanted to be good at it.

I didn't strive to be "perfect," mind you. Being a perfect parent is something I believe is impossible, and striving to be the "perfect" parent has the side effect of making one forget to actually be the parent because perfection takes up too much attention. Make sense?

Somewhere in late 2003 I was set free by the counselors. I was given a virtual gold star rating. But the rating wasn't for being a perfect Dad. The rating was for being someone who was just trying as hard as he could, and staying committed to being the best parent I could be. I could expect a lot of mistakes in my "career", and I could either keep trying, or drop the ball completely.

I was ready to find out what the world was going to do to me. I was also ready to find out what the world was ready to do for me. Single Dads do get a lot of help, ya know.

It's been a good ride so far, at least as far as my relationship with my kids goes. The older two are teenagers now, and, believe it or not, they still talk to me. They don't tell me everything, (I'm not that naive), but they still talk out problems with me. And my nine year old girl still wants to hang out with me. She cooked dinner with me Sunday.

It's not perfect. It's cool, though. It feels good not to be a bad guy. It feels better being a good guy.

I think I'll keep trying to just be a good guy and let the chips fall where they may.

And now back to my regularly scheduled program. I hope this helps anyone who might want the unenviable task of trying to figure out what makes me tick.

Thanks to anyone who took this little side trip with me and still wants to come back to talk to me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Sidestep...

I was thinking about being a kid. I had a sister and three brothers, and a host of playmates when I was growing up.

Inevitably, there would be arguments. It really was more like "bickering" than arguing; something silly would set off these little spats. And the funny thing, most of them were unwinnable, but that never stopped us. We'd battle it out until the frustration peaked. Sooner or later it would come to something like this:

Oh yeah...oh YEAH? Well..well you're just a STUPIDHEAD!

That got me thinking today.

There are unwinnable arguments and bickering that I still engage in. And I was thinking about how, despite being grownups, we still eventually get to those "Oh YEAH?!!" moments, right?

With grownups, though, it's at least a little more relevant...sometimes. "OH YEAH? Well your family is nothing but idiots anyway..." or "OH YEAH? Well, you're just like your FATHER!" You know what I mean.

So, what's your "OH YEAH? moment? Something irrational that you may have blurted out recently, something you knew was dumb the minute you let it fly? C'mon...'fess up. We're all guilty...