Monday, April 20, 2015

I Think I Work Too Hard

In an effort to increase my blogging and, by accident, my writing skills, I've decided not to think so hard about what I want to blog about.

It's actually kind of funny. I've never quite grasped the usage of the word ironic so I just don't use it. Is it ironic that the reason it's hard for me to come up with blogging ideas is because too many people read my blog? There are some people I don't want reading certain things about my life so I have to carefully pick and choose what I can write about and what I mustn't. So, I just don't write.

At what age is it too late to have a midlife crisis? I'm considering having my second one at the age of 48. Is it okay to have two midlife crisis's? How do you spell crisis's? It's actually crises. That's the word that went thru my head as I was writing, but it looked wrong. I had go look it up. All my life people have been telling me that your initial instincts are usually correct. The Internet has made my ability to double-check myself a debilitating curse. Add that to my list of crises. Check.

The other day I cruised the Durango blogs and realized he's removed the link to my humble page. This is good information. I realize now that 6+ months is too long to go without invoking the Nix of Durango. I'm a little sad. Ghost (Musings From the Lion City) still has me linked though. He's apparently more patient.

The problem with not having ideas is not knowing when to end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Poignant Ponderings (Ode to Allen)

I haven't written in this thing for so long no one reads it anymore. I still look at it as writing practice.

It's also a bit like a diary. A place to write down my thoughts and help me to get over some of my strange mental imaginative mitosis.

About 5 years ago, I told someone, "Man, if you had a vagina, I'd marry you!" It's a bit crude, but crude things happen when you hit the big four oh. I don't have a lot of friends. I have a rather large number of acquaintances through one means or another, but not many friends.

About 4.5 years ago, I met someone who made me feel as comfortable as the above referenced friend and she had a vagina! Really! We talk about everything. We're best friends. We have the same tastes in how to spend quiet evenings. We even listen to the same kind of music (mostly). We love the same vacation spots!

About 1.5 years ago, I married her. Which is probably why my blogging has become scarce. I don't need to write down my thoughts anymore. I finally have someone I can share them with on a daily basis.

Since I met Lisa, we've been talking about opening a bar: "GarLisa's" (I've already purchased the domain name so don't even bother). We always have excuses. A plethora of them: We have to wait for the kids to graduate high school, We have to wait for the kids to graduate college, We have to wait for the next solar eclipse, etc.

It's always something.

Durango first talked me into blogging. He writes a couple of the blogs referenced on the right of this page. Durango kind of "saved" me after my first divorce back in the early 2000 era. It's strange being a socially awkward geek and how certain people come into your life and do some freakishly psycho mumbo jumbo on your tender psyche (like convincing you to get your lovely locks trimmed back from their 80's magnificence). I believe it was from Durango's blog that I found a link to The Whited Sepulchre. I'm not 100% sure of that last fact, but it makes for a slightly more entertaining story (I can't lie -- even in prose).

It was also around this time that I joined the Libertarian Party. I literally paid monthly dues to have my voice in politics. I even ran in an election for a Texas Representative position from Northeast Tarrant County (I got 995 votes which was 5 away from my goal). I'm not cut out to be a politician. My ability to lie is non-existent and I don't even come close to agreeing with the majority of voters. Although I believe I'd do a swell job if given the chance.

It was at my first Libertarian meetup (at Rahr & Sons Brewery) that I met Allen Patterson. He was just one of those "approachable" people. That doesn't sound like much, but when you're as socially awkward and shy as yours truly, people like this are very few and far between. I can count the number I've met on one hand. They are a rare breed. Allen is a rare breed.

According to medical professionals this rare individual has about 18 months to live. If I believed in prayer, I'd pray it's not true. He wrote his "last blog" the other day and it was entitled, "Don't Be Safe". Maybe it's time to try "GarLisa's" on for size. Fuck being safe.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Legalize and Sterilize

When you make something illegal, you make it where people do it in secret because they don't want to get caught. I believe, oddly enough, that to handle a substance or item you believe should be illegal, you must legalize it.

Once it's legal, it can be controlled. A person addicted to meth is much more likely to buy from a local drug store where their product is guaranteed, than to get their addictions calmed by someone who overcharges, is shady, dangerous and can likely barely speak English.

It all started with the Tennessee mom for being the first charged with prenatal drug use.

I abhor parents who don't take care of themselves and therefore don't take care of their kids. But, there are a slew of things I don't like about this law.

Any law that is harder on one sex than the other is wrong in my book. I suppose they could have written it without mentioning gender, but we all know men can't get pregnant. It still takes two to tango. They should at least punish the sperm donor who managed to impregnate the addict.

Then I thought about abortion. Abortion has been debated for decades and we will never agree on it. It would be nice if everyone just agreed that we will never agree on it, but it'll never happen.

So you take a meth addict. She gets pregnant. She can't afford an abortion because it's so expensive and "frowned upon". She is addicted to meth. She didn't mean to get pregnant. She spends the next nine months waiting to give birth so she can be convicted.

You could argue more in favor of convicting the mom if you say she wanted to have the kid and did meth anyway. Kind of makes you nauseous, but there you go. I've certainly seen worse people in the world.

Anyway, in my keep it simple, political view of the world, I came up with an exciting new law. The Legalize and Sterilize law.

We legalize drugs, but regulate them with side effects. Drugs like meth will be available for purchase at your local drug store, but they have the side effect of sterilization. Problem solved. No more meth babies because we legalized and sterilized.

I used to blog regularly. Most of my writings are not entertaining to anyone but myself, but I look at it as practice. Unfortunately, after a few years of blogging I quickly ran out of quirky ideas to write about. Now, I'm out of practice because I blog irregularly. I wrote this one just because I thought the "Legalize and Sterilize" was a wonderful campaign slogan!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Top 5 Things I've Learned in the Last Three Months

In no particular order.

Pins are Cheaper Than Pens
Unless you are a bank giving out credit cards in America.

I travel to Europe quite often. When I'm there, they have the same "automatic" amenities as we do here in the states except I can't use them because they require a credit card with a pin.

We live in a modern world with old technology credit cards. At least in the good old capitalistic land of the free.

In Europe their credit cards have a chip on them. This chip contains all your pertinent information. Your account balance, your name, what you look like, the birthday of your firstborn child and your pin (I may have made some of that up). This is because, in some countries, the Internet/communications system isn't as vast as in the USA so when they can't validate the sale via the Internet they can just read the information off of the chip. But, the chip can't be accessed without the appropriate PIN (personal identification number).

When you go get gas at a 24/7 pay at the pump station in Europe, they don't ask for your zip code when you slide your card (in fact a lot of them don't have a magnetic strip reader). They ask for your PIN. In Europe there are a large majority of gas station attendants who don't speak English. So when I'm out of gas in Italy, I have to park my car, go into the station, find an attendant who can speak a bit of English, try to explain to them that I don't have a chip on my card and that I'll be requiring a pen because I have no pin.

When you go to a restaurant in Germany, they bring a little chip reading device to your table. You put your card in and then guess what? It asks for a PIN. This comes as some embarrassment to we technologically advanced Americans. You have to ask them pathetically if they have the dumb down credit card machines. Then, if they do and are able to run your card, they ask for your PIN. Then, we pathetic Americans have to ask for a PEN.

That's not entirely true, their credit card machine almost always have a magnetic strip reader, but they don't carry pens with them. And I can't write anyway.

Texting and Driving is Not Just Dangerous
It's also annoying as hell. I am starting to enjoy the people who say, "I only text when I'm at a stop light."

They are the ones who make me miss the green light because they are too busy playing with their phones to notice that the light changed.

Then there are the ones who "can safely text and drive". They are the ones you come up on driving 15 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone so that they can safely weave between the white lines without crossing them.

I saw a guy the other day texting at a four way stop -- because it wasn't his turn. Of course, when it was his turn, he had no clue. People get stupid at four way stop signs anyway. Texting at a four way stop is like stirring up the kettle of stupidity.

I've Only Got Two
I feel kind of guilty for leading you on.

You Can Plant Plants 
It's a good thing you don't pee peas. That would hurt!

Obamacare is Not That Bad
But only if you are intelligent. I wish Obama would have done away with health insurance all together. Sick people are not happy and we all should have a right to the pursuit of happiness. 

However, all the horror stories you've been hearing are just not true. If you have a  brain, read this.  You have a couple of more days to sign up. If I had had access to Obamacare when I graduated college, life would have been much different for me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Target's Botched Breach Apology

I shop at Target. Not because I'm a diehard Target fan, but because it is the most convenient store to go to on my way home from work.

Therefore, when Target's servers were hacked into near the end of 2013, I was one of the ones notified. Luckily, I was using my wife's credit card. Yay me!

They hacked like 40 million accounts or something of that nature, so I figure I have a better chance of winning the lottery than someone actually stealing my identity, but better safe than sorry and all of that kind of thing.

Anyway, they sent me an email today telling me I can get free ID Protection from Experian. In this "unsolicited" email sent to an address that is no longer used, they provided a link to get started...

I don't know if you can understand the subtlety of this, but let me see if I can come up with an analogy. It would be like Kellog's sending out samples of their peanut butter crackers after doing the salmonella recall because of possible peanut contamination.

Anyway, I looked at the link and it looked valid so I opened up a browser and typed in the link by hand. It was for those of you following along. Being that it ended in, I probably could have just clicked on the link.

The funny thing about this website (you can go there if you want) is on the right side it warns us to "be wary of calls or email scams that may appear to offer protection..."

Kind of like saying, "you're here so we know you didn't follow rule number one, but we'll point it out just in case". But, alas, being the adventurous soul that I am, I went ahead with the registration process which involves entering your name and email address to get instructions from Target (within 72 hours). It is super fast technology after all. It may take 72 hours for their super computers to look you up in their system and send you an email. Maybe they should have let their hackers take care of it?

I got the email within 30 minutes with further instructions. These instructions take you to an Experian page where you enter more personal information. After diligently entering all the information, Experian presents me with this:

Basically telling me I've wasted my time. It all seemed legit though. There was no bad grammar or English subtitles. I'd like to thank Target for trying and I am hoping they and their apparent Experian partners didn't join on the Obama bashing bandwagon about the Healthcare Website.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Explaining the Email

Yesterday I received an email from someone I know who read through my blog and had a few comments. It was an interesting read for several reasons. It was eye opening in that I can kind of see how someone who reads my blog perceives me to be.

Keep in mind when I write to my blog, 75% of the time it's when things are boiling to the surface so you're getting to see my steamy side. My actual life is not nearly entertaining enough to write about. I spend a large portion of my life sitting in front of a computer playing with the latest Netbeans IDE or writing Java code to keep my programming skills up. I spend an even larger portion of my life sitting in my recliner with a laptop in my lap playing computer games. I was one of those geeky people who were addicted to Evercrack and then graduated to World of Warcrack.

Anyway, I was just gong to answer the email and I thought to myself, "Where's the fun in that? If he's raising these issues and asking these questions how many more are?" I'm going to copy and paste the email here and then respond inline. I'll have to omit sections to protect the innocent and their intellectual property, but, for the most part, it's intact.
Thanks for sharing your blog...that took a bit more courage than I have. As is most often the case, you and I agree on a lot of things and disagree on others.
I've read back almost to the beginning of your blog and I have some questions that you're free to entertain or ignore:
It's in my nature that I can't ignore anything. Sometimes I wish I could. This might be one of those times. I don't feel courageous, but then again I don't get why everyone is so uptight about their privacy. I think I blogged about that somewhere. 
Is a tall slide a good analogy for life? 
It's only tall if you've got goals.
Children climb the ladder of growing and schooling and, when they start their careers and adult life, it's like sliding down twists and drops and slow stretches.  Doesn't drug addiction act like a gap in the slide, where the person falls through and lands with a thud in the gutter?  
I like your analogy. Now, if the government would give me the legal means to truly teach my kids about the gaps. I can teach my kids about alcohol, no problem. But, the illegal drugs? All I know is what I've read and they can both read. I can tell them, "I've never done it, so you shouldn't. You might get addicted, hit a gap and fall in the gutter." But, that doesn't really do any good. Everyone knows when you tell someone they can't do something, they're going to try it the first time it's presented in a semi safe environment.
Don't you think that legalizing addictive drugs is like allowing the drug pushers to get near the top rung so they can push the child down the slide before it's fully built? Isn't it better if we don't let the pushers anywhere near the ladder?
If you legalize drugs there will be no "drug pushers" so they won't be anywhere near the ladder. You seem to be looking at it all from an illegal point of view. Of course, I may have too much trust in humanity as well. But I believe the biggest problem with drugs today is the "War on Drugs". War is never good for anyone.
  How is legalizing drugs victimless?
Legalizing drugs is not hurting anyone.
Does correlation prove causation?  Could Clinton have gotten the benefit of history rather than deserving credit for all (or even any) of the budget surplus? Could the implosion of the USSR and the explosion of computers have had more effect? Or the .com bubble?  Isn't Obama a victim of China and other countries kicking our butts in manufacturing/import laws? Won't whoever is president if/when China implodes be a giant in your eyes, no matter what he does?  I grant that the president gets the credit/blame for their piece of history but is that any reason to believe that Clinton would do miracles if he were president now?
Good points. I've often said we give the President too much blame/praise. He's just not that powerful.
As an extreme example: If your (future) son-in-law gets some gambling/drug debts, do you want him to have the option of pimping your daughter?  Couldn't he talk her into saving his rear-end merely by going to the nearest bar and giving hummers to each of the guys on the bar stools?  And, while they're at it, why not make three times as much while she's leaning over anyway?  How is legalizing prostitution victimless?  I don't remember now why I thought you wanted to legalize prostitution, though.
Legalizing prostitution is victimless. Forcing someone to do something they don't want to do is wrong (and I think mostly illegal). When the government makes things illegal it drives them underground where there is no protection. As long as prostitution is illegal, the above scenario could happen to anyone because criminals control the environment. They are already committing felonies so what's one more gonna matter?
Should you applaud Clinton getting a hummer when there are so many victims?  What about his wife?  What about Lewinsky's parents?  What about the worries of the other parents of DC interns?  What about Lewinsky herself?
I think you may be overreacting. Taking all other factors out of the equation, getting a hummer in the oval office is awesome! Yeah, it would have been better coming from Hilary. I just left that sentence out. Omission is my right as an author. And maybe Hilary gave him more than that in the oval office.  We just don't know about it. I did mention that if I were Bill, I'd be embarrassed to talk about it. It was a mistake (getting it from an intern), but it was her choice. If Bill somehow forced her to do something she didn't want to do then he should have been arrested.

I certainly don't see any victims (unless I missed something in the news).
Could parents in the past have forced their children to act right-handed because, otherwise, they would be left-handed and turn into arrogant ego-maniacs?  Just kidding there, everyone should be proud of themselves (as long as they're not hurting anyone).
Not a fan of forcing kids to do anything. Unless you use forcing, educating and teaching synonymously. There's nothing wrong with left-handed ego-maniacs. Since 1974, there have been only two right-handed Presidents.
Do you think you don't have a drinking problem?
I know I don't. My liquor cabinet is completely full.
  Do you think you'd be better off if you copied your driver's license onto a note where you signed a statement giving your friend permission to tell the tender not to serve you once you've drunk to the point where you're, again, not going to remember what you did the next morning? 
That would be an interesting idea. Alas, I don't have any friends.
Would that help your hangover problem? 
I actually don't get hangovers.
Might that save you some money and maybe a drunk-driving ticket?  Of course, you never wrote that you drive drunk so you're apparently smart enough not to.  I'm worried about everybody but, right now, you especially.
I'm gonna have to ramble here for a second or two.

Up top, I said, only the steamy stuff tends to come out in my blog. Once or twice a year, I go nuts. Here's why:
About a month before my 12th birthday, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It's funny how things like that affect you. I remember losing a lot of weight my first semester of junior high. I think I was down around 70 pounds when the PE teacher finally convinced my mom that something was wrong. Up until then I had been quietly dropping pounds and peeing every 5 minutes.

I remember going into the doctor and peeing in a cup. When he came into the room he told my mom he thought I had diabetes. I didn't hear diabetes (didn't know what it was anyway). I heard the first syllable, "die...". For a brief moment, I thought he was about to tell my mom how long I had to live. It scared the hell out of me.

He gave my mom a bunch of pamphlets to read. I asked if I could have them. She gave them to me. I know more about diabetes than most doctors. I have to take medicine to eat. I've never really talked about this to anyone so it's hard to write down. I don't want anyone to worry about me or feel sorry for me. I've got the best rose colored glasses three months at a psychologist can buy.

To give you a really bad analogy, when you've got diabetes, it's like driving a sloppy four cylinder stick shift where the clutch doesn't engage the same all the time and one of your pistons is bent to hell. From the time I was 12 until the time I was 18, I was trying to keep from stalling and scared to do anything out of the ordinary. I counted my carbohydrates. I took my injections. I didn't play any sports, I didn't go to any parties. I went to school and I learned how to drive my sputtering manual transmission body.

Something changed when I graduated high school. Maybe it was just the act of graduating. I don't know. I don't have a drinking problem. I maybe drink 12 ounces of beer per day. But once or twice a year I want to forget about driving a stick shift and just pretend to be normal. I figure I"ll eventually grow out of it.
I'm a post-compatibilist atheist with agnostic sprinkles (don't bother researching the "post-" part, it's my own term) but I appreciate that religion is often greatly beneficial to adherents and sometimes beneficial to others; do you see no benefit to brainwashing children?
I see no benefit in brainwashing anyone.  I was going to blog about the 19 year old who was involved with the tragic Boston Marathon bombings (I decided it was too controversial). 19 year old kids don't do that. He was brainwashed. You want to find the person responsible, you're going to have to find his brainwasher.
Wouldn't your president just hang low until the 'one year tryout' had passed and then go ballistic for the rest of his 6 year term? 
Anything can happen. The point is that during the election they make promises. If a President makes promises and he doesn't get any traction in what he promised for the first year, then he's either a liar or not qualified. Anyone can go ballistic. Now, they can go ballistic for 4 years. I think there is something fundamentally flawed about the way we elect people. I don't know the answer. I just think something needs to change (kind of like healthcare).
Of course, they're not going to eliminate the electoral college (and shouldn't).  Doesn't a 3rd party candidate just split the votes from the one he's most like and thereby shoot himself in the foot?  Won't online voting get more opinions from uninformed, lazy people?
Currently, that is what a 3rd party candidate does. It would be much better to eliminate the party system. However, if there were multiple parties and they were all given equal footing then suddenly there is no such thing as a "third party". Similar to your drug position at the top, you are making your argument based on our currently flawed system.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mental Age

The previous blog was supposed to be my last one of the year, but this mental age test has been invading my thoughts after it invaded my Facebook.

My wife took the test and had me take the test. She scored a 22.

Several of my friends on Facebook have taken it and I've seen scores from 22 to 43.

My youngest daughter took it and she scored a 22 (she's 16).

The test is only six questions. There are no right answers. There were several questions (like the first one) where I wanted to answer, "All of the above", but that wasn't a choice.

I diligently go through each question over and over and just pick the "best" answer even though none of them are necessarily the "right" answer.

Every time I do it, I score a 10. According to this test, I've got the mental age of a 10 year old! What the hell does that mean? My wife says I act like a 12 year old so the damn thing must be off by at least 2 years!

Click the link and hit the green "START" button:
Mental Age Test