Rantings of the disappointed believer

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I have recently been hanging out with a girl from my hometown. To be clear, she is not a girlfriend, but a girl who is a friend. People tend to make assumptions, and I like to be clear enough to avoid the gossip.

We took the opportunity to look at some houses today, as we are both in situations where we might consider buying our own homes. I love looking at new homes, and I think I have turned my friend on to a new hobby. Perhaps I should think of a career in real estate.

Time to address a new god-head. This one is Freya (or Freja, depending on dialect). She is the goddess of the household. Most people think she god-heads love (Balder, again) or fertility (Frigg, or Frikk, her brother, I think). Certainly Freya is the one for household.

It would seem that finding a place to have a home is increasingly more difficult. Real estate really took off in the past years, and finding a home is outragious. Needless to say, a lot of exploration is required.

Oh, yeah, my friend. I took her home this afternoon, and she proceeded to tell her grandmother about these houses we saw. I have never in my life heard such an argument, but that's a story I'm not telling here. The coolest part was watching my friend set her mind. She'll get a house, and I think it will be soon. The whole idea came over her like a crazed infection. Truly amazing.

I've seen people have religious experiences. I have seen the transformation when someone gets saved, or takes re-birthing. I have seen the life of a friend change as the power of a god or goddess consumes them. And I saw it again a few hours ago. Wow, I'm really pleased for her.

Monday, April 30, 2007

It is that time. Soon I will mark the passing of another year. I will be 38.

I don't think that 38 is all that old. It is not that I am bemoaning the passage of some rite which I have dreaded for many decades. I haven't been around for many decades. I still think of myself as young.

But, let's consider what time it is. What was I doing twenty years ago? What was the big deal in my life a mere two decades in my past? Graduation. From high school. Yep, it's THAT time. Class re-union.

In the past two or three days I have been honored by a couple of very old and dear friends who have called me, just to find out how I am doing (and to find out if I am going to the re-union).

I spent an hour on the phone this evening with a man I haven't heard from in twenty years. I spent probably the same amount of time on the phone with a woman I haven't seen for an equal amount of time. These were wonderful conversations, recounting what happened. I am deeply touched.

I think of these people I went to school with, from time to time. I often wonder how well thier lives have treated them. It is good to catch up with old friends.

Have no illusions here, my friends. I hated high school. Perhaps the only ordeal worse than high school for me was my second marriage. Those of you who knew me during that marriage can relate, but I really am wont to avoid the topic any further. I likely will not attend the re-union. No offense intended toward anyone, it's just that the whole idea makes me edgey. Besides, I am painfully aware that I fare better in smaller groups than in large crowds. Call it agoraphobia.

I spoke of Balder in an earlier posting, and I think of him often. Everyone loves Balder. I just wonder if Balder, like many other gods, might devise some test for a mortal such as me to pass, or fail. I also wonder if I have the ability to pass this test. Aah, such is the plight of the faithful, huh?

Whew. Just a small window into the clockwork of me.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

I work for a group which makes medical devices. It is not a giant like GE, but it was just bought by a giant, like GE.

I am an electronics technologist. I am, perhaps, not as fast as some technicians I know, but I am meticulous. I am ashamed if I miss a detail. I carefully dismember a situation until I find and permanently fix the cause of the problem. A lot of folks don't get it, but I hate having the same problem twice. It is pointless and boring to repeat a set of actions without changing the circumstances while expecting the results to change.

Isn't that insanity?

So, this place where I work, I am currently un-impressed with them, and I am seeking a replacement employer. This is one of those stories about how you never think it will happen to you.

Before I go much further, understand that I am a capitalist. I believe that the fool making the best product for the least money should get the fattest wallet. Also understand that I am a patriot, a Dad, and a firm believer that caring for one's community is caring for one's self.

How closely were you reading? Yeah. My job is being outsourced to Mexico. Right out from under me to a foriegn national.

I don't begrudge anyone a job, but I begrudge everyone my job. No offense intended, but I have to eat, too.

I am convinced that, although crowds of people are stupid, people are smart. To put it another way, there is a maximum IQ for any group of people, and the greater the number of people in a crowd, the lower the IQ per person. What was that definition for committee? Oh, yeah! A critter with four or more legs,...and no brain.

So, here's the rub. In order to make more money, the group of people in charge in a business environment believes it is better to take the jobs away from the people in the country where their business is based, and give those jobs to citizens in other countries. Countries I might have visited and enjoyed, had I a job which paid a decent wage. Since when does a burger flipper make more than a man with several years of college?

Did I tell you guys about dogs and bugs? It's very simple. The world is divided into two major groups; Dogs and bugs

Dogs have four legs, they are good natured, and you love them. You feed and care for them. You try to make the lives of Dogs better. Example? You and your significant other. Four legs. Warm fuzzies. Dog.

Bugs have six or more legs and you hate them. Nerve gas is available wholesale to help deal with the problem of bugs. Sounds good already, huh? If only....
A committe of three or more people is a bug. All three people you can't stand at work; that's a bug, too. The government, when they excersize their lack of skill and understanding in an arena which has been a hot topic for decades, is a bug.

Remember that technologist thing? Here it is. Identify a problem, plan a solution, put solution into effect to alleviate the problem.

American business owners, and employers of American people are shipping our jobs overseas.

1) Pass legislation encouraging companies to employ the American people. No special interest groups are allowed here, because I don't care what your religion, gender, color, ethnicity, or number of dependants is.
2) Pass levies on imported goods. Really high levies are good for our economy. Money paid by foriegn manufacturers could well be used to (fill in you favorite government SNAFU, here).
3) Fine companies which outsource to foriegn countries. Billions of dollars in fines could be collected from any (one) company not supportive of the American dream. If the company can't pay the fine, padlock the door. The Health Department does it, the IRS does it, why can't we have a government agency in charge of defending the interests of the American people.

Solution: HAH!

This isn't going to happen. It's like those medical devices I build at work. When the engineer gets done with the paperwork, at all looks great. In the real world, where I have to build a product, or the members of the legislature own stocks, this is an impossibility.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What I did This Week

So, I had the flu. At least, I think it was the flu. You know, achey, stuffy, generally cruddy feeling,.... I wanted to go dancing. For those of you who know me, I know this is really odd, but I'm taking square dancing. You should try it, and I won't defend myself further.

Anyway, it was Monday night, and I went to the hall where lessons are given, but I relly didn't feel up to dancing. Besides, there are elderly folks involved, and I didn't want to play "Typhoid Mary." So, I didn't dance. I tried to go home.

I got about halfway there, and pulled into a left turn lane behind a silver SUV. The SUV was continuing into the intersection, so I checked the lights and found that all three lights, both through traffic lanes, and the left turn signal, were green. So, I continued into the intersection behind the SUV.

I noticed a car stopped at the intersection in the turn lane to get onto the street the SUV and I were turning from, and the SUV came to a complete stop in the intersection. I thought the car might be blocking the lane.

I heard a horn blow, and the SUV was hit in the front by a black sports car, hard enough to turn the SUV about one hundred fifty or so degrees. I pulled around the SUV and off the road to see if I could offer some assistance.

Thankfully, there were no injuries. The story gets pretty strange, though. The driver of the SUV was a young man in his late teens. The other driver was older, maybe in his late twenties, but certainly not as old as me.

I approached the driver of the sports car first, as he was closest, and asked if there was anyone injured in the car. Then this guy throws a temper tantrum, right there on the side of the highway, complete with pounding on the telephone switch boxes. I went to find out if the other guy was okay.

I took some pictures of the scene, and talked a bit with the driver of the SUV, exchanging my telephone number for is e-mail address. I just had a funny feeling about the whole thing.

Later in the evening the driver of the SUV calls me. He wants to know if I can send copies of the pictures. I told him that I would send them straight away, but he didn't get them.

I sent them another time later inthe week, but still, my technology was not up to the task, and the pics did not go through.

I recounted the story, much as I have here, to the insurance company of the driver of the sports car, the insurance company of the driver of the SUV, and to the Florida Highway Patrol, the latter of whom had issued a citation to the driver of the SUV.

I guess that got my hackles up. I've recently been through a situation where parties who were supposed to be impartial really cost me dearly. I coudn't see that kind of thing happen to this young man, and I guess I took it upon myself to justly protect his interests.

This evening the young man called me. He still hadn't recieved the photos I'd tried to send to him. I printed the photos, and copied them to a disk, and put the whole shebang into an envelope, and drove about fifteen minutes to a local store to give the pictures to the man. I was glad to do it.

The young man thanked me several times. He told me how much help I had been. He helped me understand the Spanish expression, "De nada." It is for nothing I have done this. It is a beautiful thing to feel. I recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Here is that link I promised. Some of you might remeber, but if you don't, there is a reference back there, some where.


So, the question may come to mind: Why am I disappointed? Or: Why do I rant? Simple. As society progresses we are supposed to learn from mistakes we (as a species) have made in our past. It is the fashion by which real progress is made. I can give you a couple of examples

Doctors used to do surgery without washing thier hands between patients. A lot of people died due to "complications." Now there is a thing called Universal Sterile Procedure. Fewer infections are caused by cross contamination, and more people survive the trauma of surgery. Doctors learned from past mistakes.

Here's a clue: I have friends who pay $200 or $300 a month for cell phone service. These same friends complain that they are paid too little, have no money, and can't seem to "get ahead." Wouldn't it occur to a member of an evolved species that the wasting of money by talking endlessly on a contraption which, it is common knowledge, costs money to operate keeps them from attaining those goals? My question to these people, "Is what you have to say right now worth forty five cents a minute?" I often get a blank stare.

Here's where I started, again. I am disappointed by the lack of effort I see toward some actual progress, and the results keep coming from all directions. I don't just see the result of this lack of initiative in the behavioral patterns of folks with whom I am acquainted, or in the news, but I see it also in people with whom I have closer relationships.

Okay, I'm venting, but there's good stuff in here, because I tend to see things pretty clearly most of the time. For those of you who know me, this is a good time for jokes about eye surgery, however you can fit it in.

The reason for this post hits pretty close to home, for me. This is the jest of the whole situation. I was recently in a long term relationship with Godzilla. Or maybe she was Nessy. Either way, she was controlling, manipulative, mean, overly opinionated, conceated, coniving, backhanded (or underhanded, I'm not sure which applies better here), two faced, and generally difficult to live with. Needles to say, I've got some baggage which makes me a little edgy.

A really big button with me is games. You know, the games people play with one another's emotions to make themselves feel better, or someone else worse. Those really juvenile, backstabbing, stupid games that just hurt people's feelings are the big switch for me. I will not, under any circumstances, put up with games.

Now, understand that I am a technician. I have a technician's brain, and a technician's job, and a technician's outlook on life. As a tachnician, when I identify a problem, I fix it, quickly and permanently. There's no sense in having the same problem hang around, bothering you again and again, interrupting your TV time, harrassing the dogs, you get the idea.

So, I'm dating this girl, or I was, at least. I told her from the start that I do not play games, and I don't put up with games, either. She claimed she didn't play games either, and there was a ray of hope in my shriveled little heart. We dated for a few weeks.

Last week there comes this situation where she asks me a "trick" question.

Alright, listen here, ladies. Let me first tell you that I am sick of the inbred notion that men are stupid. We are, if stupid, equally as stupid as you. Don't get me wrong, I believe that a woman should be treated with respect and kindness. I believe that a man who has found a good woman should thank his maker, and the woman he is with, for the bounty of his luck. A woman in the same situation should make the same efforts, and if she cannot she should be removed from her good fortune. Just a little nudge toward equality, there.

I can't figure out any other place to put this part in here, but one of the things I can't figure out is why ahyone would want to ask a question which would make themselves angry.

Back to the story. She asks me this "trick" question. That was her choice of a word. Now, people play tricks, tricks are a kind of game. This particular trick was used in an effort to make me feel that I had done something wrong.

Let's examine the verbage here. She said "trick."
"Tricks" are "games."
This was a "game" about how I "feel."

I do not play games. I also do not date this particular girl, anymore.

The short morals to the story:
Ladies, when the man you are trying to build a relationship with says, "No games," don't play him. He could be the best thing ever for you. On the other hand, if he isn't so good for you, dump him, and save everyone a lot of trouble.

Men, do the right thing, and stick to your guns. You can't get more respect than if you respect the way you behave and treat others.

People, don't play games. It's like Miagi said about fighting. "Someone always get hurt."

Not that you should believe everything I say.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I knew Balder.Maybe I should explain before I go on.

Balder is the Norse god of good times. In the Norse traditions, the gods manifest through people(in this instance), or in other fashions I might have the pleasure of discussing later. I knew Balder, for a time, as he manifested through a girl I knew.

Down the highway, about a half of a mile from where I live is a convenience store. Now, you must understand the a convenience store out here is a gas station, drink shop, the beer counter (they can't sell liquor), the sandwich shop, it's part grocery store, and a place to hang out for a few minutes, if you are so inclined. The folks behind the counter are usually a bit unpolished, could be the educational level, could be the socio-economic background, I don't know. I do know that the people here are rednecks, and I am glad to call this place home.

All that brings me back to Balder. Actually, I'll call her Kelly, because I'm not comfortable using real names in a public forum.

Kelly wasn't from here. Kelly had tattoos, wore too tight clothes, her accent was different, and she threw attitude at whomever was close by. You could tell from the first moment you met her that this was no country girl, she was from Miami.

Everyone looked out for Kelly. I'm not sure anyone needed to, Kelly'd likely rip your arm off, but something about her made people check to see if she was ok. I was guilty, too, I would drive the extra half mile to go past the store on my way home from work at night to make sure Kelly got out of the store on time. She always did, but if she was at the store after hours, there were several people hanging out with her.

There was always someone hanging out with Kelly. There were several teenagers who would hang around the store, talking mostly amongst themselves, but occasionally to others. Everyone knew Kelly, though. And everyone seemed happier when she was there.

Kelly went back to Miami a couple of weeks ago, her mother was sick, and something about her brother. She was going home to take care of the really tough stuff life throws at you, and everyone wished her well. Some people offered advice, some people offered sympathy, everyone told her to hurry home.

I drove up to the store the other day, I needed smokes, or a drink, or something which I've forgotten by now. Of course, Kelly was not there. The other girl behind the counter is a nice girl, speaks cordially, tells funny jokes. She's not Kelly. She's not Balder.

Nobody hangs out at the store anymore. People drive in and make thier purchases, then drive away, just like this was a store in the city. I understand, now, that Balder is not a god who comes and goes as peoples lives traverse from the bad times to the good times and back. Balder is the glue which holds together our communities.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I've got a really great friend. Actually, I'm lucky enough to have several really great friends, but this particular friend has a blog you should read. With his permission, I will link to his site at a future time.

Adam, this friend, committed an act of vandalism several years ago. All of his close friends knew, some of us knew to wait and see.

On 34th street, in Gainesville, Florida, there is a wall of some notoriety. On this wall is a memorial celebrating the lives of several students who were the victims of a monster. Adam, and another friend, Paul, painted that memorial.

I waited. I watched. It is a habit my mother taught me, and it serves me well. I think what she said was, "It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people wonder whether you are a fool, than to open your mouth and let them know for sure." Should you employ this little bit of advice, be aware that all four conditions will, and do, exist.

In more current events, Danny Rolling was executed this past week. It took sixteen years. It is said that the wheels of justice grind slowly, and I would take this as a prime example, but there is finally closure for the families of our lost college students.

Where I work, there was a small, impromptu celebration, including people toasting with their drinks bought from the soda machine, and much volunteering to "Throw the switch."
I leaned against the railing of the steps, silently smoking, saying nothing. I wonderred if I should point out the barbary of the situation. The whole situation, not just this jubilant break time, but I did not.

Adam posted his experience about the execution, and the time after painting the wall. I spent about forty five very emotional minutes reading the blog entry and wondering why this struck me beyond even the level of my compassion for my friend, and all of the victims of this trajedy.

I reread Adam's posting. I reread Adam's posting several times. I finally got the message. Early on in the posting Adam makes reference to a rune reading revealing that Adam was put here to annoy the rest of us into doing what we should do. In my human arrogance, I seem to have missed that when Odhin said that, he meant that Adam would annoy me, too.

So, here I am starting the side lourney into doing what I should, and the immediate topics are as follows.

On the topic of the late Mr. Rolling, I have to say that I am not sorry he is dead, but there is much more to it than this short, dismissive statement. I am sorry for the loss suffered by the families of these students. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child, neither can I imagine carrying that agony for sixteen years. I have no problem with the notion that Mr. Rolling needed to be dead, but I do have a problem with the notion that we, the people of the state of Florida, had to kill him. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I am not wise enough to devise a better solution. Apparently none of us are.

I am sorry that the University of Florida will forever bear this black smudge. This is beautiful city and a great school, and I am happy to see that my home is slowly healing from the destructive actions of a monster. Go Gators!

Considering my experience with the "party" at work, I have to think that my solution was best. Thanking my mother for her well spoken advice seems a little slight, but that is a personal puzzle for me to solve. I will continue to wait, and to watch, because this is such an interesting world, I can't help myself. At least I can keep from opening my mouth, sometimes, but I can strive for the wisdom to know when to open my mouth (and fill it completely with my foot).

Adam: I have been poked in the side by you one too many times. I got the message, and I will begin to write, as we discussed before. But, be advised I will be calling you about the things I write, and how to relate the ideas better. I look forward to this endeavor.
Thank you.