29 September 2014

Can this be any more Blatant?

     When we read about the 1% and their efforts to manipulate everything in order to protect their interests, most of us shrug and move along with our day. However, this headline caught my eye this morning.

     How much more blatant can this be? The 1% would rather place profits over the prospect of democracy. The "Wall Street" reaction is carefully designed to cause everyone to feel that their own well-bring is threatened by the concept of democracy. Let alone the fact that 99% of us will see no benefit from any course of action that Wall Street would take, but we will see our earnings and savings decrease as Wall Street decides one way or another about how to manipulate this event.
    It is appalling to me that these people so callously disregard something that we are all supposed to aspire to, and that is a representative democracy. Obviously, this is an impediment to both the Chinese Communist Party and Wall Street. Democracy is bad for political control to one group, and bad for economic control to the other. Isn't it interesting how democracy threatens both of these groups?
One is left to wonder what the real difference between the Chinese Communist Party and Wall Street really is. I see both groups trying to maintain control from different directions. The similarity that they both resist the tide of democracy speaks louder than any damage-control speak they will try to use.     

iPhone 6

     I have been following the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6+ recently. I am an Android user for my personal phone, but I do have an iPhone that is for company use. I am due to upgrade my personal phone around the end of this year and I have been somewhat captivated by the new iPhones. This doesn't mean that I am switching, if I could upgrade today, I would say that the odds are at least 80% for getting another Android phone.
    I suppose that one reason I have any interest in the new iPhone is the fact that this product launch was the most anticipated in some time for Apple. After years of people saying that they wanted a bigger screen, Apple finally relented and gave them what they wanted. Of course, it would not be Apple if the new product was not packaged and hyped as the "thing that you cannot live without". I do not recall the hype being as great for the last several versions of the iPhone. You have to hand it to Apple, they are the masters at market manipulation.
    Experience has taught me to never buy something when it is first available. There are bound to be flaws that are uncovered, and it makes more sense to wait. Will I break down and get a new iPhone at the end of the year? Most likely not, but it is fun to see what all the hype is about this time.

The Cost of Working

  I am finally done working off-site. The month of September was basically wasted by the efforts I put in. That is not factually true, my work did result in the project being completed, but I am feeling the financial hurt of the extra costs incurred right now. I had to spend the money for commuting to and from the alternate worksite and am now waiting for reimbursement on that expense. Even though I just got paid last week, I am already riding on the edge until next payday and will probably have to dip into Savings to make it through. I hate doing this, but it will become necessary before next payday.
    My main goal now is to save whatever I can. I have a bill that is due and I want to have the money set aside from this paycheck, or at least as much of it as possible. Even though the bill itself won't hit until the day after next payday, I prefer to budget for it now rather than have to mess up the next pay cycle and have to start the process all over again. Luckily, this is one of the last bills that I will have to allot money to. The amount will be paid off in December.
    I think that both Hal and I are feeling the after-effects of the move and the purchases that were made as part of that effort. Hal spent more than I did because he wanted the new place to look outstanding, and it does. However, this effort also put him in the hole and I am helping out as best I can for the time being. I only made 1 purchase as part of the move to the new place and am paying that down as quickly as I can. My payment for that will also conclude in December.
    It seems that the job has almost ended up costing me more than I make this last month. I did not count on the extra travel and meal costs that I am making up for right now. Sadly, the company will not reimburse for meals, but as mentioned earlier, I am hoping that the commuting costs will be reimbursed soon.
    I am building up leave time as well thanks to all the work I put in during September. I had not chance to take any days off during the month and at least I will notice a plus in my PTO column as the month ends here. Actually, this is the last 40-hour week I will work for a while due to some upcoming time off. Next week I have Monday off for some medical appointments that I had to postpone from September. The week after that will be Columbus Day, and I am already scheduled to take the Tuesday off after that.
    In the big picture I am doing fine financially. It is just this unexpected set of events that has temporarily upset my plans. The best thing that I can do is to work through this and get back on track as soon as possible.

25 September 2014

Fall has arrived

Today is my first day back at the office in nearly a month. It seems somehow appropriate that the weather also marks the first real indication of Fall today. It is raining and in the low 60s here today, although it feels much cooler than that. For the first time in months, a hoodie or light jacket seems to be in order. I really don't mind at all, it gave me a chance to wear some jeans for the first time in months.
    I am sure that we will have several more summer-like days before long. Today is just a taste of what is to come as Fall finally eases its way in around here.

Could this be the Day?

 Wednesday has started off rather roughly. I didn't sleep well through the night. I have been suffering with back spasms for several weeks as I have been working on a project that has kept me away from the office. Due to the schedule, I have not been able to make my monthly Chiropractic appointment.
     With any luck, today will be the LAST day that I have to work this schedule. All of the time and effort could pay off later today when yet another review meeting will be held to determine exactly how close we are to finishing. My estimate from yesterday showed us at 98%. Based on that, and with things going well this morning, I am hoping that Victory is declared today!
     If this is indeed the case, I am leaving the alternate worksite as soon as possible today and making my way back to the regular office for only the second time this month! That is how badly my daily routine has been affected by all of this.
     Of course, this experience has brought out my pessimistic nature. It won't surprise me, although it will disappoint me, if things do not go as planned and this warped routine continues. I have lost any real enthusiasm for this project simply because it never seems to end. It is for this reason that I am also seeking a new opportunity elsewhere. Since I seem to be the only person involved who has had their normal routine wrecked in such a way, I have to consider the very real possibility that something like this will happen again in the future. I fully expect that at the end of this that I will receive nothing more than a verbal pat on the back and a short speech detailing what a terrific team player I have been throughout this effort. I have zero expectation that there will be any financial compensation for helping the company through this situation.
     At any rate, I will know more about things later today. This extra effort will be a part of my updated resume'. I am hoping that, in the end, this will pay off for me.
     I am almost to the alternate worksite. I am hoping for good news later today.

    It turned out that yesterday was the last day that I had to work off-site! Today I am at the regular office once again, although it feels like my first day here.

07 September 2014

That sinking feeling

    As Sunday evening rolls in, I am beginning to feel the sense of dread that tomorrow morning is getting closer. This week promises to be especially onerous since I will spend at least 3 more days working at the alternate work-site. This guarantees that my regular work will continue to pile up since no one else can do it. Why am I so special that I am the only one trusted to perform these special tasks, yet not authorized to delegate my normal responsibilities in my absence? This is becoming an all-too-regular occurrence as the boss continues to want to play in the sandbox of data granularity. While a challenge is nice from time to time, this is getting out of hand very quickly and I am getting very tired of it.
     I have been at this job for nearly 9 years and have acquired a great deal of rather specified knowledge as a result. I am sure that this is the underlying reason I get picked for these projects, and I am somewhat proud that I am relied upon for things. The frequency of these tasks is becoming the unbearable problem. If I can finally get this off my plate it will probably be Wednesday at the earliest. This means that I have not been at the office to perform my regular work since the Friday before Labor Day!
    The absence of my work on regular issues has already been noted. There is nothing I can do about this. After the last of these episodes in August, I worked nearly 50 extra hours in less than 2 weeks and was never able to recover that time. OT is not authorized on the contract that I support, and I made it quite clear that I was NOT going to put in any extra time that could not be recouped again. Hence, my regular workload keeps growing. It will eventually get under control, but only in the course of a normal 40-hour week, if I ever have another one of those.
    Those are the reasons that I dread tomorrow morning. Until a better opportunity comes along. Honestly, I am too tired over the weekend to conduct a proper job search. I am going to have an early dinner and try to get as much rest as I can this evening and hope that I can return to a normal routine by Thursday.

A Little Bit of Everything

     As the first NFL weekend begins here, I am not sure how I will occupy my time. I am saving money, and payday isn't until the end of next week so I am probably staying at home rather than going out other than necessary trips like the grocery store. I am still adjusting my budget for the new expenses here at the new apartment. It has made the finances tighter than before, but I haven't run out of money yet, so I am learning as I go. I have made my trips this weekend to get groceries and household supplies and I am still financially afloat, for which I am happy. I just need to get through until next payday and set the budget again.
     I had thought about some things that I want but rapidly came to the conclusion that these are things that I really don't need, at least not yet. First and foremost will be a new pair of shoes or boots for the cooler weather which will be here before we know it. I think that I can safely go until next payday at least until I have to worry about that. In fact, the weather this week has been some of the most uncomfortably hot weather that we have had all summer here in the DC region. The weather did finally change and Sunday has started out much cooler than we have had in well over a week. It is a nice change from the appressive heat and humidity that started around Labor Day. I don’t know if that was Summer’s last stand or not.
     I am going to spend Sunday making sure that I have enough food to prepare lunches for the upcoming week at work. Since I am still handling a project at the offsite location at least through Wednesday, I don’t want to be held hostage by the available food and their outrageous prices. In all fairness, I should simply make it a habit to cook on the weekends and take my lunch with me regardless of where I will be working in order to help with the budget stuff mentioned earlier. I have had to turn down a few requests to get together with friends for lunch out in town today in order to save some money. I enjoy getting together with friends, but does it always have to involve eating out and spending money? I don’t know how they do it, I learned long ago ythat trying to impress people by what you can spend is a waste of time and money. Not judging my friends, just looking out for myself.
     I am going to spend the afternoon and evening here at home. Cooking and football will occupy my time for the rest of the day. Another disjointed and unfocused blog post, but I write from the heart.

02 September 2014

Another predictable tragedy and response

    Sadly, another tragedy has occurred today. A journalist has been murdered by the ISIS militants. My heart foes out to the victim and his family, and my anger is directed at those who participate in such barbaric acts. I can go no further than this without having to take the discussion into other areas.
    The USA cannot fight a misguided religious band of extremists with military force alone. Any attempt to bring these criminals to Justice has to include diplomatic efforts around the world to build a consensus. Blanket condemnation does not fill the requirement. Someone is behind this ISIS movement, and that person or persons need to be identified and held accountable as well. ISIS is nothing more than a distraction for someone, a means of focusing attention away from themselves by offering the glare of publicity to those stupid enough to want it by acting like animals. I have theories about who these persons/people might be:The house of Saud.
     This isn't as far-fetched as one might think. For half a century, Saudi Arabia has played the West, and in particular, the USA as pawns in order to protect themselves and their interests. Don't forget that Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi. Saudi Arabia has invested money in Sunni fundamentalists around the world. One has to wonder if Saudi Arabia doesn't encourage these types of actions in order to shore up their support from the USA and the West by portraying themselves as the potential victims of aggression. Never mind that Saudi Arabis is one of the most conservative countries in the world.Never mind that Saudi Arabis is a state that exploits religion in order to maintain its control on their population. Never mind that whenever a large percentage of these terrorists are identified that they are Saudi citizens.
    As long as the US and the rest of the world line up to suck at the petroleum teat of Saudi Arabia, they will get by with this. Produce a threat against which they pretend to stand, while being responsible for it the entire time.