29 April 2014

Nice work, Georgia

     So this is what happens when Georgia decides that everyone should carry a gun because "Freedumb" " 'Murika"

28 April 2014

A Day of Waiting

     Monday is one of those days that we all tend to dread. The weekend is still so close that it hurts to think about what we have lost, and the next weekend just seems too far away. Monday is a day of waiting for things to get better. Sadly, that consists most of the time of just making it through this worst ofn days.
    I can say that I am keeping an eye on the weather. It is amazing how accurate the forecasting has become. The terrible storms that ravaged Arkansas are slowly moving towards us here in the DC area. I hope that everyone can stay safe in the meantime wherever the strong and deadly storms are at.
    I am also waiting for my new printer to arrive via Amazon. I will spend the evening setting that up and ensuring that the wireless features are utilized properly. I also began preparing a roast yesterday afternoon, and that will be ready for dinner when I get home this afternoon. Unless Hal wants to visit any apartment communities this afternoon, I am planning to be at home for the night.
    i am sure that tomorrow will be a better day, except for the weather. It is just part of the routine of getting through Monday.

April 27

     I woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I deliberately went to bed early last night in the hopes that I would get a good night of sleep and I was not disappointed. It feels great to be here at the office and not already feel exhausted by 0800.
     The weekend was pleasant and I spent most of yesterday outdoors. I went into DC to have brunch with friends and that was followed by just strolling around town and taking in the sights together. Everything was done at a leisurely pace and the conversation was outstanding. In fact, one of the things that we all talked about was the lack of everyone checking their cell phones the entire time. This has always been a pet peeve of mine because I choose to spend time with friends, and not with friends' cell phones. Thankfully that was not an issue yesterday.
     Ironically, the worst thing that happened yesterday was that I was so caught up conversation with friends that I completely forgot the name of the place where we had brunch! I consider that a small price to pay for a good time. Eventually I will get around to asking what the name of the place was, but I will still be basking in the friendship that made the day so wonderful.     

23 April 2014

The Illusion of Prosperity

     I was at the client's office earlier today and found myself fascinated by some of the conversations that went on around me prior to the weekly meeting getting started. I should start by saying that the client's office of full of RWNJ, so I am constantly subjected to their insane ramblings whenever I have to visit their location.
    I will focus on a broad subject, and that is the Illusion of Prosperity. I mean the seeming comfort level that RWNJ will resort to in order to justify their beliefs. The subject this morning was home ownership and investments. It is not a trait unique to RWNJ to take pride in one's home. It does gravitate to RWNJ slant when the main focus on everyone's mind is the "value" of their homes and the frills that they put into them.
    Most of the people in the conversation live to the south of DC in Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia, once outside the Beltway tends to be more RWNJ than the DC area itself. This was evident judging from the number of coworkers who live proudly in gated communities. My first thought was why are these gated communities even needed. These exburbs of DC are predominantly white, and affluent. The idea of living in a gated community within the city has some element of understandability due to crime. I just cannot fathom the necessity for these gated communities so far away from the city.
    I have never been a fan of these communities that are so clearly focused on excluding anyone who does not "need to be there". This is the new phenomenon of virtual racism (my term) being utilized. While these communities might give those living there a sense of being somehow special, I cannot find any justification for those feelings beyond greed, selfishness and fear of those who don't participate in that lifestyle.
    One of the other aspects of the conversation turned to how much these people hated the President. Somehow they should be entitled to acquire as much trivial shit as possible. The mindless chatter about leaf blowers, riding mowers, swimming pools, kitchen and bath remodeling projects and assorted other stuff made me grateful that I am not caught up in that rat race to stay acceptable.

22 April 2014

A Productive Afternoon


    After work this afternoon, Hal and I went to look at a few more apartments. The amazing thing is that we looked at some places that we checked on the last time we moved 2 years ago. Things have improved at several of these communities. Places that we walked away from before have been improved, and are now rather reasonable options for us. The timing remains the main obstacle that we cannot overcome, since availabilities are unknown at this time. If nothing else, we have acquired a few more options to keep our eyes on.
     One factor that can never be overstated is the agent that shows the property. The last place we visited had an agent that was extremely interested in what Hal and I were looking for. She took the time to answer all of our questions, and by the time we finished the tour, we felt as if we could easily live in that community. I know that all agents are trained to behave in this manner, but Brenda pulled it ofrf without any visible effort at all.
     Hal and I will be going back to see a few more models in the community on Friday. This community has an outstanding chance to move up our list of consideration rapidly. The best thing is that we are compiling a nice list of options to choose from when the time is right. That almost guarantees us of finding a place that we will want to live in at the right time.

The Time of Waiting

     Hal and I are looking for a new apartment. We plan to move in mid to late July this year. The last month or so has been full of trips to various apartment communities to see what we actually like and what we can afford. The trips have given us several places to keep under careful consideration. The real issue is that no apartment community can give us any realistic availabilities for the month of July at this time. This does not come as a surprise to us, it simply allows us to focus on the places that we really like, and to make sure that our interest is known to those communities.
    I learned a long time ago to not worry about things that were out of my control. The timing of apartment availabilities falls into this category. All we can do is wait until sometime next month when the communities will begin to get notifications from residents whose leases will expire during July. The waiting is something that I can handle now, because I know that things will work out in the long-term for us.
     So far, only 1 apartment community has offered any type of waiting list for us to put our names on. We have done so, and indicated the particular units that we are interested in. Even with that process complete, it will still be roughly the same time before we know anything. For the first time in years, we have the ability to get a place that we truly would like to live in, rather than settling based on budgetary constraints. Our focused search has allowed us to look for apartments with certain amenities and facilities that we will no longer compromise on, plus a few that would definitely be enticements for us to move there.
     The primary consideration is we will no longer live in an older building that does not allow for us to control our own heating and air conditioning. The last 2 years have been difficult. There are periods during the year when the apartment becomes unbearably hot even with no heat turned on by us. We found a gorgeous apartment, but sadly, it was run on the same type of centrally-controlled system and we indicated that we would not be interested in it. Luckily, the vast majority of places do not have this limitation.
     The second item that we have looked very closely at is covered/secured parking. After this Winter, I am personally tired of having to clear snow off the car, or having to de-ice it before I can leave in the morning. While the parking is not non-negotiable like the HVAC issue mentioned above, a place that offers covered and secure parking at a reasonable rate will definitely be near the top of our list.
     Having a washer/dryer in the apartment is another of the nice-to-have features. Currently we use a laundry room in our apartment building. We are prepared to do so at the next place if it is necessary, but having the units in the apartment would be a bonus. 
     Location is another factor. We both want something that is not too far from our jobs. Luckily, this is not a problem and we like the area we live in now. The prices are much lower than if we looked closer to downtown and DC. Right now we are about 5 miles from work, and we don't want to go much further away than that because of traffic and commuting.
     Something that we want will materialize. We just have to be patient for now. 

SIgns of Spring

After a miserable Winter, it seems that Spring has finally arrived here. I am sure of this because my allergies have begun to act up due to all of the pollen in the air around here. It is the only thing about Spring that I find unwelcome, but I know that it will pass in a few weeks and I will feel much better about things. I will gladly endure the sniffles in order to bring the warm weather here for good.

21 April 2014

Monday, April 21

  I am avoiding the news today. I have no interest in over-coverage of the Boston Marathon story. I am tired of the flag-waving crap that really serves no other purpose than to divert the attention of the nation away from everything else. It is a sad commentary that the alleged media in this country is focused on something that happened in the past and can be re-packaged as "human interest" rather than pursue any other news.
    What happened in Boston last year was a tragedy, but it is in the past. I am amazed at the amount of resources the media will allocate to this old story. It seems that the media want to convey the message that everything is fine and that there is nothing happening worth knowing in the world today.

20 April 2014

Sunday, April 20

This is a test to see how well the LibreOffice Writer program fills my needs as I write. I suspect that things will work rather well. Once I get the hang of this program. I suppose that some people really know how to make the best of a weekend, I am probably not one of them, because I am here trying out software. I think of it as being frugal and not spending money that I don't really need to spend in the in the first place.
At least this is a beautiful afternoon and I am sitting by the open window and enjoying the breeze along with the pollen that it is carrying with it at this time of the year. There will be many more weekends just like this as the weather gets warmer.
So far, the LibreOffice software is working just fine. There are little tricks and shortcuts that I will adjust to as time goes by, but I am satisfied with it for my Linux machine for the time being.
As the early evening settles in, it is time to mentally prepare myself for the workday that looms tomorrow. I already have a good idea what awaits me at the office in the morning, it is just a matter of being ready to dive in and get started first thing in the morning. The real question is whether or not the coworkers will bother to show up at all tomorrow. That is their decision, and not mine.

18 April 2014

Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

     I have the unpleasant task of working around RWNJ and at times, I have to actually go to their location and sit with them in order to get my own work done. This exposes me to all sorts of bullshit that they constantly talk about. The vast majority of them absolutely HATE the President, and of course, there are the fringe elements that can barely contain their racism at the best of times. It is safe to say that if President Obama cured cancer that these RWNJ lunatics would twist things into making cancer the victim of Obama!
    Speaking of Health Care and the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", they are all adamantly opposed to it. The most common response is that it will cost too much money and why should they pay for other peoples' well-being. This is the traditional RWNJ excuse for anything that does not directly benefit them, of course.
    This brings me to the story of one of the RWNJ. He recently retired from the United States Navy after serving honorably for more than 20 years. I am a veteran myself, and I know how tough that life can be on an individual and their family. I was forced to hold my tongue when he began complaining about Obamacare again the other day. Less than a week earlier, he had gone to the VA to petition them for disabilities that he MIGHT suffer from later in life due to his military service. His comments were along the lines of "I am entitled to this and I should NOT have to pay for the medical care", or "Insurance is too damned expensive and I cannot afford it, so I am making sure that the Government takes care of me".
    I wanted to get into that discussion so badly, but my own employment could be at risk if I am seen as the non-team player type (which I am). As the roars of agreement with this person erupted from his RWNJ friends, I realized that I was witnessing what is wrong with this country. The very people who complain about others being "takers" or "moochers" or "lazy" are themselves the worst examples of that type of behavior!
    I am already known to them as the token Progressive or Liberal. Before long, I was figuratively cornered and asked what I thought about Obamacare. This was unavoidable, although I had tried to delay the inevitable. I decided that the time had come to make my own position known.  Rather than attack their point of view as they attack mine on a regular basis, I thought for a second and finally answered them.
    "I have no problem at all with Obamacare. It is a huge step forward for this country and everyone in it" I said. "I personally do not have a problem with the government helping those in need, and sadly these days that is quite a lot of people." I then decided to press the attack and said "I know that you disagree with me and would settle for a system in which you could somehow magically choose what your tax dollars paid for and what you would not pay for based on principle. Imagine if others had that same right that you want for yourself?" 
    At this point there was not turning back, so I pressed on "What would you say if someone told you that you benefited from a government paycheck for more than 20 years with medical care not being a problem because the government provided it to you?" "Would you agree that if a majority of people said that once you retire from the military that all those benefits should go away since you have moved on to another job and are making money from it as well?" "That is a very real possibility that you have to consider." I was watching their expressions grow angrier before I concluded "I don't want to take away the benefits that you have, but I disagree that there are people in this country to whom you would deny the very benefits that you take for granted and want to protect when you feel are threatened. In short, I think that EVERYONE should have those same benefits."
    The uproar began almost immediately. They cannot understand the concept of caring for each other, to them life itself is a total win or lose proposition. I believe that when we help each other to succeed and prosper that society moves forward. If we make the choice to move in that direction, it won't be easy, and it won't be free, but it does indicate our priorities as a country and a society. When this country can find so much money to spend on wars and weapons and environmentally destructive policies, then we get what we deserve. But be prepared to pay that price in the long term as well. As our education falters, as pollution increases, and as non-renewable energy resources are exhausted there will be a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. This will not be sustainable either politically or morally.
    If we choose to help each other, then we move forward. If we take the path that helps the vast majority, we all will succeed. If we care about all of the children, and not just our own families, then we will move ahead. If we care about fighting injustice, justice will prevail. I want to be on the right side of history and humanity, and NOT on the right wing of politics.

15 April 2014

The Promise of Sleep

     As I sit here at the office, barely awake, I am hopeful that the expected cold weather tonight will finally allow me to get a decent night of sleep for a change. I have been experiencing sleepless nights for a while now. These are not the product of insomnia, but rather of the completely ridiculous lack of proper ventilation (AC) in the apartment.
    With colder weather forecast for tonight, I am hoping that I will be able to get some quality sleep tonight. The latest news from the apartment management company is that it will be sometime in early May that the AC will finally be turned on throughout the building. This is simply ridiculous in my opinion, but complaining won't change anything.
    This is the reason that Hal and I are looking for a new place to live once our lease expires at the end of July. The most important concern we have is that we will NOT live in another building that controls the HVAC system rather than giving us the ability to do so.

14 April 2014

Exhausted

     I am completely exhausted this morning. Last night I got no sleep at all since the apartment could not be cooled below 80 degrees! This is an annual problem since the older building we live in has a centrally controlled HVAC unit. This means that for approximately 6 months of the year that the HEAT is turned on throughout the building and the only thing we can do is to turn off the unit in the apartment. Since we are on the 17th floor, all the heat from the floors below just rises and settles near the top floors. We are currently looking for a new place to live, but the lease is not up until the end of July.
    Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the building will switch over to AC earlier than expected this year. If not, then we will have another month to go through nights like last night. July cannot get here fast enough!
    Hal and I have been looking at other apartments, but there is nothing definite because availability for July won't be known until at least the end of this month, or sometime in early May. We cannot afford to break the lease we are in right now, so there isn't a good solution to this problem until the AC gets turned on. This will be the last time we go through this!

08 April 2014

UK's season is over. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

  • The Good
         I was very pleasantly surprised by the run that UK put together in the NCAA Tournament. After a regular season marked by inconsistencies, the team finally got things together during the SEC Tournament and that carried over into the NCAA. Everyone talks about the "Tweak" that Coach Cal put into the offense, and I am sure that helped. I think that the main reason for the turnaround was the realization that this year was on the verge of being completely wasted, and that only coming together would make things better.
     Coach stressed to this team all year long about playing as a unit, but old habits are hard to break for a team full of star players who never had to rely upon others to get things done. The individual talent was there, but the combined effort took a long time to come about. I give Coach Cal all the credit in the world for staying patient and believing in his players until they finally understood what he was talking about.

  • The Bad
    Monday night's game was what happens when a team finally runs into another team that also believes that they have what it takes to be a champion. UConn did the things that were necessary to beat UK. UConn barely out-rebounded UK, and that was the first time that UK had that happen to them in the tournament. UConn accomplished this due to their players and coaches putting them in a position to win the game.
    The other thing that sealed UK's fate was free-throw shooting, or more accurately, the lack of it. While UConn was absolute money at the stripe, UK floundered badly. This was not the referee's fault, and those who blame the officials need to just shut up. Giving a team an opportunity to make a point at the line and then having the team fail to take advantage of it if the responsibility of the coach and players for not taking that advantage. Would the game have been different had UK made more of their free throws? I think so, but that is not a guarantee that the outcome would have been different.
    Coach Cal has teams that historically have a tough time at the charity stripe. This is not a surprise to those who watch the team. I wish that I knew what it would take to make those players more reliable at the line.

  • The Ugly
     This is the hard part of the post to write. I have held my tongue all year long about this. I find it obscene when so-called fans will use the anonymity of the internet and talk radio to take personal shots at 18-19 year old kids over a game or a season. Since the vast majority of these character assassins could never hope to play college athletics, they feel that they must justify their sad little lives by ripping on other people. I am guilty of criticizing the team at times, but not individuals. I see a big difference between the two. I also tried to express my support to the team even when I was upset with them, but so many just took advantage to take shots without justification.
    Most people have the basic understanding of what it takes to play college basketball at a high level. The UK program only exaggerates that problem. A UK player will have their every move over-analyzed and criticized by people with no qualifications at all to judge. Yet these people always want to proudly associate themselves with the program and proclaim their loyalty and "true fan" status. I call this trying to have things both ways. You can support the team and players and still be critical, but not at a personal level because that is grossly unfair to those players. UK has some of the best fans in the world, but alas, they also have some of the very worst as well.
    This brings me to the subject of Rex Chapman. I have never met Chapman. He arrived at UK as I was nearing the end of my time there. He was the Great White Hope back in the day, the Owensboro kid who wanted to play at UK. I do not understand his motivations behind tweeting something stupid right at the beginning of last night's Championship game like this:

Was messin' 'round on Sat nite re: Cal. But word is - win or lose 2nite - it's a  ...Cal 2 La-La-Land 2 coach Mamba's Lakers. 
I don't know what prompted Chapman to say this. I could not care less. I do have a problem with something like this being said when it was said. If Chapman is such a "UK Insider" then he seems to have an odd agenda. Regardless if this is true or not, it seems like nothing more than a desperate plea for attention from a middle-aged former player. I find it pathetic. 

I will spend the Summer and Fall waiting for next basketball season and another UK team to make their own memories. Until then, GO BIG BLUE!!!!!