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Monday, March 31, 2008

It's winter in the middle of a falling spring

Tomorrow is April 1st.

We've had 60 degree weather lately....followed by snow.

Today it was cold and rainy and it felt like a somber fall day.

What is going on these days and who do I need to talk to about it?

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Worse Than Jehovah's Witnesses

What a busy week last week. I worked my regular job all week with my independent gigs happening during the evenings. Then there was an emergency that started late Friday morning that then bought me 10 hours of overtime that I worked this weekend.

The working overtime didn't bother me as I knew that I would be getting paid for my work. The real kick in the nuts came when I finally had some down time with my family on Saturday night. We had just been sitting down for a short time around 8PM when there was a knock at the door. My wife answered it and I heard her talking for a few minutes. Then I heard things get a little more quiet and then I heard her call for me.

I got up and went to the door to find her standing there with the door open and no one outside that I could see. She was also holding a candle that she had just received. The next thing I know, I see two younger kids heading back up to the house from what looked like a truck outside and one of them had a big box like the one seen in the picture above and to the right.

The guys came in and the younger one of the two BS'd his way through a very brief conversation stating that he knew my name. Well, when I told him my name and he said that he lives in Omaha apparently that made some kind of connection for him...beans that I yoosta live there for a while and all. Whatever. He was 10 years younger than I am. Anywhooooo......

They claim that they are just going around getting "opinions" about this vacuum cleaner that they are lugging around. AHHHH!!!!! I'll just cut to the chase-

These kids were out selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. I told them right up front that we had just bought a new vacuum not too long ago so we weren't in the market. They went ahead and did their demo and it really did seem like a nice machine. They wanted us to buy one that night, but when I pressed them to find out how I could purchase one at a later time I found out that I can't. I told them that we did not make purchases like that without giving it thought or time to do our research. They wanted to try and get us into some financing and I told them that we only pay cash.

The showman then called his "manager" who was really just an even-more-twinky-like dope than I ever expected. He wanted to find out from his manager what kind of a deal we could get. HA! Pardon me while I vomit.

The initial price that we were told for the machine was $2069. That's a lot of bones for a vacuum. When we resisted the notion of paying that much he said that they could take our vacuum that we just bought for a trade worth $350, then take off another $100 as part of the "Kirby Sales Challenge Weekend" and so the price was now down somewhere around $1600-1700 range.

The "manager" then showed up not too long after we told him again that we would not be making a purchase that night. Now, the manager was maybe 22 or 23. Very dull on customer service skills- he answered his cell phone immediately after asking me a question. When he was done with his call I told him once again that if we did make a purchase that it would not be tonight because we do not make purchases on the fly like that.

So as a last ditch effort, while I was then on the phone in the other room, the "manager" told my wife that for $1700 he'd give us not just 1 but 2 vacuums. WOW!!! What would we do with a 2nd vacuum? Then as a very last ditch effort, when I returned from my phone call he handed me a slip of paper and said "this is what I can give it to you for tonight." The paper said $700.

WOW! All the way from $2069 down to $700. So it really wasn't worth that much to begin with?

These shisters aren't even smooth with their style. You can't buy a vacuum unless you do it right then and there.

I am so glad that we got rid of them. Later on that night I read several stories online from about all of the other crap that they've pulled with some of their other sales reps on customers.

Kirby- I once loved you as you were our family vacuum. Now you suck even more than you are supposed to.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wrapping Up The Passion

Today marked the end of the Passion Week.

The festivities begin with the glorious Palm Sunday where pastors and preachers proclaim the "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus into Jerusalem. This serves as part one of the two week drama/tragedy.

I've never understood why it was called a "triumphal entry" since the same crowd that welcomed Jesus [according to the narratives] was the same one that crucified him. That doesn't sound like much of a triumph but rather a "crawfish" as they used to say back in the old west. [that's where you agree to one thing and then go back on your word....for all y'all that don't speak old west]

Next in the procession is Maundy Thursday. This is the day that is commemorated as the day that the Last Supper [or last Passover] was held with Jesus and his followers. It also remembers the prayer in the Garden of Gethsamane before Jesus was arrested and handed over to the Elders and Judas Priest.

Good Friday then follows with the remembrance of the awful torture and crucifixion of Christ. The problem with this day of remembrance though is that if you follow a real calender of events you'll find that in order for Jesus to rise from the dead after 3 days and still have it come out on a Sunday....then he would have had to have been crucified on a Wednesday before he had his Last Supper.....but I'm no math expert.

Saturday is then all quiet so that we can catch all of the basketball games on TV.

Sunday is then the main event. The day that you get up earlier than normal so that you can scoot off to church in time to catch the sunrise breakfast and all that follow. If the kids are lucky then the Jesus Bunny would have left them jolly chocolates in either various places around the house or in a nice wicker basket on the dining room table.

What I observed today at our church was a strange mix of all that made me feel weird. I saw many people who normally just wear jeans and t-shirts show up on dresses and suits. What's the difference? Why dress up more today than any other day? I really started wondering if maybe there was a funeral following the service or something.

Our pastor's sermon seemed to lack the luster that you'd typically imagine for such a day. He can always deliver a good message but for some reason today just seemed a bit out of touch for his normal presentation. To top all of that I just felt kind of bad that I generally just wanted to stay in bed all day.

We had company this weekend. We went to bed at a somewhat reasonable time last night. Well, we usually find the sack somewhere between 11pm-2am. This morning though we needed to be in the van and off to church by 7:30am in order to be there with our food for breakfast at the time that they told us.....we needed to be there by 8:00am. What time did we get there? 8:20. Nobody seemed to make a big deal out of it though so that was OK.

It was hard enough to get up, let alone get up and get 3 adults and 5 children ready to go in a short amount of time. We got there though and had our breakfast. When breakfast was done it was then Sunday School hour- something that we are never really there for. So the wife and her friend decide that would be a good time to head over to Wal-Fart and pick up some goods while I hang out in the adult Sunday School class and listen to them brainstorm about better ways to try and get good with folks before they try and sell them Jesus. I stayed around until they broke up into small groups and then that's when I found a comfy chair.

I normally get upset with people who don't have the common courtesy to pay attention to speakers in public but today during the service I lost it several times. What would otherwise pass for my deep meditation on the themes of transcendent nature ended up only being me dozing off by accident. The first time was during the offering. The other 3 or 4 times were during the sermon. Man did I feel bushed.

So much to do and keep up with today that my afternoon nap just couldn't come soon enough. I feel refreshed a bit now and I feel even better about finally spending some more time with my kids today. I haven't had a whole lot of time with them lately. I need more of it though.

Another Easter in the books. Did I miss anything?

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cleaning Up

This is not an advertisement. My wife and I have finally had it with our current water situation. We live in a small town that has its own water treatment so we have "city" water but it is sooooo bad.

Whenever the kids take a bath the water has a blue-ish tint to it and it smells like a swimming pool. We probably spend more each year on Brita water filters than we would ever spend on the money that it would cost to buy salt or potassium pellets for a water softener.

So we are finally taking the plunge. Today we will be heading off to the hardware store to buy a new water softener. We have lived in this house for 6 years now and the original water softener that was here when we moved in has never worked so we've never had good water.

A few years ago we were having issues with our water heater. The heating element kept blowing on it and so my dad and I decided to open it up and take a look. After a few hours we had removed about 10 gallons of calcium and lime sediment. No wonder we didn't seem to be able to take very long showers before it got cold. I am thinking that we might be due for the new water heater next year but we'll just have to see.

I will be installing this puppy myself so I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that I can get.

Update- Saturday night: We didn't get this today. We didn't plan our time well enough and the store closed before we got there. Hopefully they still have some left when we try again tomorrow and the sale is still on.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's DST Again- Spring Forward!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Rock On!

Heavy Metal Cello Badass cellists, Apocalyptica, perform Metallica`s ``Enter Sandman`` at Rock im Park festival in Germany.

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No Vote For You!!!

This happy couple to the left is the product of an Iowa judge who, in the heat of the moment, decided to legalize gay marriage in the state of Iowa for about 1 day before he realized what a HUGE decision he made. At the end of the day he then decided to put a stay on his own decision making it not legal again.

The state of Iowa is now trying really really hard to enforce the Defence Of Marriage Act [DOMA] but they are having a tough time with it. Correction- The people of the state of Iowa are having a hard time getting anywhere with it. Why? Because the State Legislature will apparently neither open this topic up for further debate, nor put this out for the people of the state to vote on.

I am not going to use this post to talk about my views on the issue. I am going to use this post to talk about how the state is, once again, taking the final decisions out of the voter's hands and making its own decision. My opinion on the matter isn't as important as my outrage that the voters will not have any say in this. What ever happened to the phrase "by the people, for the people?" Since when does the state have the right to take away the voter's voices?

It is my understanding that most likely the majority of Iowa voters would be against the legalization of gay marriage. If that is the case then the majority vote should speak loud enough to voice that it should not be legalized. If this is then the case, then why would the minority voice of those in charge see ANY permission whatsoever to pass legislation that is completely contrary to the people's wishes?

To me this is no longer an issue of whether or not we should allow gay marriage in the state of Iowa, this is a question of liberty. "Give me liberty or give me.....oh, you don't have any more of that? Then I'll take whatever's left."

When the people start to lose their voice then it's time to start cleaning house. Will anyone be willing to do what is necessary to reclaim their freedoms and responsibilities?

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Puff, Puff, Pass

I feel like I've been doing what this post is entitled. Puff, Puff, Pass. The smoke fills the room, you get that feeling in your body that lets you know that your senses have been dulled a bit and you've got the effects of what you've inhaled yourself directly as well as the additional contact high.

I say all of that tongue-in-cheek because I need something to smooth the insides of my cheeks back out from all of the gnawing on them that I've done watching this 2008 election madness. At this point I am really starting to feel like we might be best off to just go to the zoo and let the animals have a poo flingin' contest. Whoever of them wins then gets a new seat in the oval office.

Let's take a gander shall we?

On the Democratic side we have Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. I am bothered by both of them.

I am bothered by Hillary because of all of the darkness that the Clinton family has behind them. And currently there is a lot of speculation as to whether or not she herself is truly a married lesbian. Let's face it- Bill has even been on record as to what her sexual habits are, and yet no one seems to bring that up, ever. I am not saying that she should be disqualified from the race because of that but with it being such a hot-button issue these days you'd think that it might be a more highly discussed topic.

I am bothered by Barak because no one really seems to know what he stands for. He is assumed to have similar positions to his other Democratic counter parts but no one knows for sure. Here's an example- if you watch the news or opinion poles and people are asked why they support him the general answers are either "because he believes in hope" or "because he is committed to change." Well, what I want to know is what hope and change mean to him. Can anyone tell us that?

So on the Democratic side we'd be looking at two possible "firsts." We'd either be looking at our first Black or Woman/Lesbian president. I personally don't think that Obama's race matters. America can handle it...but what about a woman? I'm not saying that it's too much....neither of them have any military experience either.

Now over to the Republican party.

John McCain is said to possibly be even more liberal than Hillary is. Is this the case? He does seem softer on border policy [he is from a border state] than what the majority of conservatives would like to see. He also wants to continue to fight the "War On Terror." This seems to be a common desire among Republicans. "We started it and we should end it," so goes the chant. He is for gun control, which is not very Republican of him. He is pro-life. Well, I guess there is a lot that goes into this man. He is really what should be called a Moderate. Basically many Republicans don't seem to care for him because he's too close to the left for them than what they would prefer. How then did Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee lose so much support? Perhaps Romney was too polished. Ron Paul may have lacked the experience? Maybe the country is past the point of wanting to mix religion and politics with Huckabee.

McCain seems like he would be a better candidate for an actual third party. Perhaps before it is over he will have a third party following. For right now though he just seems to be rubbing many the wrong direction. Or maybe the Republican party is finally starting to fall apart.

Last, but not least, is Ralph Nader.

This guy always seems to come up out of the woodwork at close to the last minute. I have never really been for him but I have come to expect him to throw in his bid in each election. It seems like the guy has now been a candidate at one level or another in every election since the 70's.

I was checking him out the other night and just wasn't sure what to think. He is pro gay-marriage, pro-choice and pro-socialization of many things. He is anti-corporation, anti-NAFTA, anti-outsourcing, anti-war, anti-overinflated military, anti-gun and many other things.

I felt really conflicted as I read about him because it seemed like for every one thing about him that I liked there was something there to match with a negative mark. I really wanted to believe that even though this guy never made it in the past that possibly this election he would bring something to the table worth feasting on. I was hoping that we might finally have some reasonable alternative to the bland and sinking two-party system that we've been tied to for so long.

So now here I sit feeling a little discouraged. Up until now I have kind of written off the political process as something that just didn't interest me. This year something is different. This year I was really hoping that there would be a candidate to get excited about. I really wanted to have someone to rally around but I don't know if that's going to be an option. We'll just have to roll with the punches and get our rations as they are given.

Something about this point in our nation's life just feels so much like it was 1984.

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Concrete Garages

Today I stumbled on a UK website that offers Concrete Sheds and Garages.

I have to admit that sitting here looking out my windows now, as I survey my own garage that is old and pretty much falling apart, that I wouldn't mind having one of these on my lot. In fact, I'd take both the garage and shed. They are made of concrete so the maintenance would be low. No painting, staining, or siding needed. All you would have to do is occasionally give them a power wash and they'd be good as new.

I currently have a two-story garage that I am often afraid to put things in because they are either harder to retrieve later or the layout just isn't conducive to what I want to use it for. And did I mention that it is close to falling apart? Sorry, I guess I did. I wouldn't be so worried if it were made of concrete and uPVC. One of the reasons why it is falling apart is that over time moisture has gotten in either through the roof that needs replaced or through the cracks in the wood siding that is ready to fall off. With materials that are weather resistant I wouldn't need to worry about how long it was going to last me.

Anyways, go on over to the website and check them out.

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