Monday, August 31, 2009


I am finally going to release something to the general public (those few who read this) something I wrote a number of years ago. I think it was 2006 when I wrote this. So the Iraq war was still in the media a lot, and people complaining about Iraq war protesters as being un-American, hating the troops, supporting terrorists, etc… I just found that really distasteful. I don’t think protesting policy means you want troops to die.  Its a little dated now, but I figure its time to release it to the world.

Plastic Patriotism
Its very ‘chic’ these days to display a flag on your car window, have a ribbon magnet that says ‘Support the Troops’, or buying little American flags that say ‘United We Stand’, or ‘We Remember’, or ‘September 11, 2001’ with an image of the Twin Towers on it. But what does this have to do with being patriotic or supporting the troops? Absolutely nothing.

Americans have been bamboozled, swindled and tricked into believing that buying these products makes you more of an American, makes you more Patriotic, and makes you believe that you actually support the troops. Almost every store carries an American flag something or other to sell to you, they’re usually at the cash register to grab your ‘impulse buying’ urge.

Of course many people will say that this is just an extension of the pride they feel, and they want to let people know how much they care for the United States. While there is nothing really wrong with that, should they be expressing their pride in such a way that hurts Americans? If you look at the packaging these things come in you’ll see they are made in Taiwan or China. Wouldn’t a better show of American patriotism be only buying these items if they were made in the US, or the profits going to actually support the troops? Isn’t patriotism a good enough reason to spend the few extra dollars it would take to give an American a job?

Why do I never see a sign next to these items saying ‘proceeds go to help buying soldiers Kevlar’, or ‘help support a military family’ or anything like that? The profits go to the store and the company that outsources its factory work. I fail to see how that supports the troops, or shows how patriotic you are. I suppose that is the beauty of marketing though, we see so many commercials and advertising that have American flags on them, we automatically believe that having an item with a flag on it means you are actually patriotic.

There are many other ways to be patriotic. Support organizations like ‘Operation Gratitude’ ( or ‘Books for Soldiers’ ( or some of the many other organizations out there. Donate time at a local VA hospital, search for military families whose spouse is deployed and cook them a meal, walk up to a soldier and thank them for serving their country. You don’t have to support the war to do any of these things. You can give your support to soldiers, and their families, who risk their lives because they felt called to put their lives on the line so you would not have to. Theirs is the greater patriotism, and buying a foreign-made American flag to mislead yourself into believing you’re actually supporting the troops is a sad second place.


So that’s what I wrote a number of years ago. What made me finally post it? A discussion with a friend of mine last night, that I’m going to go in to in a few days with another post. I’m actually separating it into two posts because I don’t want to make one massively long one.

I hope you liked this, please let me know if you did. Feedback is always nice.

Ignore me

Just testing Microsoft Live Writer for updating the blog.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pray for me

The lotto is 325 million friday night, which means its a take home, after taxes, of 204,600,000. (Yes, here in the US they tax you on lotto winnings) So pray that I get it, as I think, that might be just enough to help us on our way. lol

I've been asked to help moderate a forum I've been a member of for a number of years. This will actually be the second forum I help moderate. Both are centered on video games, but one of them is more concerned with Securom/DRM issues. Since I don't know that much about those issues I post jokes. (Thats my contribution) This new mod position is in a forum that is more all games, console and PC, I think I'm going to upkeep the industry news section of the forums. I've been pretty much lacking in motivation for the last week, which is why there hasn't been any blog posts, but being asked to help out on this forum has given me a new bit of energy. So thats a good thing.

Aside from that I'm still searching a number of sites daily for jobs, applying for what I can, hoping to hear back. I really wish that healthcare one had been closer, I'd be working now.

My back has been killing me this last week too. Yesterday it was hard to concentrate on anything, even just random internet crap. Thankfully it was gone by the time I went to bed, but that is very frustrating and a reason why I get lacking in motivation at times. Pain is no fun, as many people know.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Ok, so I've mentioned before that I have a disability, so I suppose its time to mention that. I was born with scoliosis, and if you haven't clicked that link to find out what this is, its curvature of the spine. I was also born with jaundice and had to have a few blood transfusions. I wasn't allowed to come home right away apparently and had to wait few weeks in an incubator. My mother tells me the day I came home from the hospital there was a huge storm. A sign of things to come I tell her.

Apparently a few weeks after I was home my mother started noticing somethng wrong, although she could not figure out what it was. So she took me to the doctors and they did some xrays that showed each one of my vertebrae were different, I had none that were a normal shape, and also a curve. The doctors told her I would never walk, never speak, and be severly mentally handicapped. They then put my mother through an inquisition trying to put all the blame on her. Mabye she smoked, or drank or did drugs while pregnant. None of that was the case. Its just one of those things that happen in life. I can't imagine how it must have been for my parents at this time.

I was eventually put into a brace, I believe it was at about 2 years old, but I'm not sure about that. My memories of that time are not too reliable. (as with most people I think) When we moved from the east coast of Canada to Winnipeg, MB I had a new doctor named Dr David McQueen. He was amazing. He was both stern and supportive, not only to me but my mother. One of my first visits with him ended up with me being on TV in a news report talking about scoliosis. I don't remember if I spoke, but I was the 'scoliosis model'. lol

By the time I was 12 my scoliosis had progressed to 115 degrees curvature. Extremely severe and Dr. McQueen recommended surgery soon. They wanted to wait until I had gone through puberty, but now that was no longer an option. I was progressing rapidly.

That was my spine (in brace) at age 12. In brace means I'm actually straighter than I would be out of brace. I had to highlight where my spine went because part of the xray is so dark. You can see how the vertebrae are not 'normal'.

I was sent down to the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center to see Dr. David Bradford, who was probably the best doctor in the world for this at the time, and is still very highly regarded today. In July and August of 1983 I had my surgeries. They had originally wanted to hold me at 115 degrees but the second surgery was going so well they decided to straighten me as well. I think they did an excelent job.

Pretty amazing stuff eh? He used the Luque method of using wires instead of the more common practice today of drilling screws into the vertebrae with eyeholes and winding a rod through the eyeholes. (if you're interested a youtube search will bring up videos of this type of surgery) I'm guessing my vertebrae could not hold up to that, so the wires had to be used.

So what is my problem today? Well below my rods my discs have been ground down to pretty much nothing. A year and a half ago I had to stop working because of shooting pain down my leg, that ended up being 24 hours a day. Its gotten so bad I can't walk too far, or stand for too long before it gets too much for me. Even sitting for too long causes problems. My wife gives me massages, but my back immediately goes back to having lots of very large knots. She says they are like rocks. I tell her I should go to a massage school and have them pratice on me, I'd be available every day cause the knots will be right back.

Anyway, thats my issue right now. Its also why I get frustrated as well. How can I find work with these problems? I don't 'look' like I have problems, but I do. So there are days when I'm upbeat and happy and other where I'm not.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Job Interview

Good news. Just as my Unemployment Insurance runs out I have a job interview today. Actually I have three extensions I can use for my UI, but it would be better to work than just sit on my butt. The interview also includes my wife who applied for the same thing, which is cool, maybe both of us will have work by the end of the night.

The job is to canvass for health care reform. The site we applied though is Fund for the Public Interest and they have another website the told us to check out as well, California Public Interest Research Group.

This is a low paying job, but its better than nothing, and its also in a good cause. Being Canadian and having grown up in the single payer system I really see a lot of waste in the current American system. For the most part the doctors are much like the doctors you find in Canada. Some are good, others, not so good. The problem I have found with American doctors is being able to spend enough time with them to get proper treatment. A friend of the family has a sister who is a doctor, and she says her hospital keeps tabs on how long they spend with patients, too long and they get in trouble. They are supposed to see as many patients a day they can. The doctors that spend the least amount of time with their patients are praised as good doctors. This is not healthcare that is good. Its definately not healthcare that is good for patients.

So I hope the wife & I get the job. We'll be able to sock away money for our escape, and when we go at least I won't have been out of work for so long. At the very least it would get us both out of the house and away from her mother, and we get to spend time working for a positive thing.

I'll update this later after we have come back from the interview.

Update: Well no go. We had to drive an hour and a half and its an $8 an hour job. Spending two hours of wages on gas to get there, each day, is not a great idea. We would have to work out of that office, start the day there, and end the day there, so its just too far to go. The cause is good, but the distance added to the low pay is just to big a hurdle to continue.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mother-in-Law Part II

In the sunday LA Times there was an Op-Ed by Candice Reed called: Dear California, I'm Dumping You that my mother-in-law put on my wife's desk for her to read. Its a good piece, humourous yet truthful, and showcases some of the problems facing the state. However thats not what was frustrating, what was frustrating was that my mother-in-law went on to tell my wife that were ever she found work that she should pick up and go. My wife's response was to ask what was going to happen to the house, her mom's reply was that she would do what she could and that my wife would also have to do what she could. Nothing was mentioned about having her brothers help out at all. This is what we need to get away from, the assumption that my wife is going to keep paying for things, even if we are not around, or even if we can't afford it. Who can afford to pay for mortgage and bills in one house, then rent and bills in another? And in this economy?

My brother-in-law called today and he annoyed me as well. Its kind of the 'I have to laugh' call because he told me that his sister is wasting her life away and her education. I told him that she enjoys what she does, even if its in a bit of a slump right now. He didn't seem to care he just went on about her education and that she should be using that. Again I said that she enjoys what she is doing now, and that she hated her education and she felt forced into it. Doesn't faze him, he just again repeated she is wasting her education. Usually I have no problems with her brother, but today I do.

I should explain. When my wife went into university her first year was the 'feeling out year', where she took a couple of different courses to find out where she wanted to continue on. Well by her second year her mother would have none of this and told her she had to pick a career that made a lot of money, her brothers also pushed this, and since she was a daughter who always did what her mother wanted she directed herself to law school. She got a law degree and graduated in the top 5%, however she hated it, right from day one. In the end it was working for a law firm that did her in too. Her ulnar nerve was so pinched that it was completely flat, three years after the surgery she still cannot write more than a paragraph, nor type for very long. So good luck finding work with that handicap. Although her family just thinks she can snap her fingers and get a job. They also deny any sort of pressure to push her in any direction.

What did my wife want to do? She wanted to become a siesmologist, studying earthquakes. Any time a show is on about earthquakes, and even volcanos I turn it to that channel for her, and she'll typically know 90% or more of what they talk about. Its a real passion for her. The good thing is that the University of Manitoba has a geology program and I am encouraging her to take it. Even if she does nothing with it, its her passion and she should follow it.

Encouragement is something very lacking in my wife's family, they have pretty much pushed her into what they wanted her to be, and now that she's not, they are upset. Which is why we need to get the hell away from here. I don't care if we end up just barely making bills for the rest of our lives, we need to get away from her family. I do hope we can leave on good terms with them, and that they don't flip out on us, but even if they do we are still leaving.

Have you ever been under a lot of stress? The kind that you can feel the weight just pushing on you? Thats what I've been feeling for 8 years now. Eight years of disapproval, eight years of complaining, eight years of seeing how her family pushes her, eight years of lack of encouragement. Its gone on far too long. I wish, I really wish we had considered this move back when I was whole and able to work a job. I would have started us saving back then.

Hindsight is a perfect science isn't it?

This week I should be starting to put up some stuff on ebay. Most likely starting with my video games, then comics and my wife's jewelry as well. And whatever else we can find that will get us out of here as quick as possible.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Overdraft fees total $38.5 billion!

Read the title again. And again. Feel anything at all? And that IS billion with a 'b'. So NOW do you feel anything? If you don't you're probably on the side of big business, if you do, you have a heart. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problems with companies making massive profits, none at all, my only issue is when they end up screwing people to get it. And this is one of those cases.

Read this article and see if you feel anything yet. Its only 10% of customers that are paying this $38.5 billion tab. The majority of those who are poor. Ya wonder why the poor stay poor? Well this may be one reason.

I don't know if you'll remember a US senator named John McCain, he ran for president against Obama. He lost, which is why you may not remember him. Well McCain is rich, well his wife is rich, and not just, oh they have a few million dollars and can retire comfortably, they are rich rich. Why does this matter? Well apparently they can run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills, but not pay any interest at all. So while the poor pay interest rates from 18%-30+% some rich don't pay any interest at all, they get free loans from private companies. So its more like the poor are really making up the interest the rich aren't paying.

Do all really wealthy people get these breaks? I don't know, but they do get better treatment with virtually every other avenue of life from tax breaks to tax shelters to better treatment in the justice system, so its not hard to imagine they get far better treatment than the poor do.

The poor are constantly beeing fleeced by companies all the time. Not only through payday loans, but through fees upon fees upon fees from banks and credit cards and utilities. You go to pay a bill and you can get charged for that, specially if its over the phone. We just paid $8 for the privilege of paying our trash bill by phone. Isn't that nice?

This even crosses into healthcare where in Michigan Blue Cross is going to raise rates by 22%, they wanted to raise rates by 56%, but regulators said no, but 22% was ok. Their reasoning? They needed to cover $133 million dollar loss (2008) in its individual health insurance policies. Yet it currently has a $2.4 billion surplus, so why are they raising rates? Cause they can, and really who is there to protect the poor and the small businesses this is going to effect? Apparently the regulators aren't there to help us. Or maybe Blue Cross is taking a page out of oil company's books and partying with regulators and plying them with alchohol, drugs and prostitutes.

Rates have been increasing for years, the healthcare industry saw profits rise 170% from 2003 to 2007. At the same time we saw more and more people without health insurance. How is this possible? By raising rates on the people that still have insurnace.

Back to banks. My wife & I used to be with Washington Mutual (now JP Morgan Chase), until our account was hacked and then we were treated horribly by Wamu. My wife logged onto our account one day to find all kinds of 'electronic checks' and lots of overdraft fees on top of it. I think we had about six 'electronic checks' that took money out, and about 9 overdraft charges. Well we called up and asked what these electronic checks were for, and when told we must have bought something we cried foul and said we dispute those and the overdraft charges. (not all, just the ones that would have been valid due to bill payments coming out) In the end we were over $1,000 in the hole because of the whole thing. Well Wamu treated us like criminals instead of victims. They finally did admit that our account was hacked (oddly enough the hacking occured just as they laid off thousands of workers, somehow I don't think this is coincidence), however they said some of the charges were valid (bullshit), and refused to pay back the overdraft charges that resulted until we cleared up the account. Even then they would not guarentee they would pay back the overdraft charges that were caused because our account was hacked. So now we are in a Credit Union and are a lot happier, even if they called us up to talk abotu what happened with Wamu, apparently Wamu let them know how horrible and evil we are. I love it how victims are now the guilty ones.

Like I said, I have no problems with companies making massive profits, but I do have a problem with companies making that off the backs of its customers. And in almost every aspect of finances this is what is happening, and its the poor that are paying the vast majority of this.

This is wrong.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jobs I've had

Well I figured it was time to tell you of my work experience, in general, I'll probably go into more detail on each job later, because I learned a lot from each one and rather than make one massive post covering them all I figured I would start off with a general job post. (which is still going to be kinda long.)

My very first job back in 1987 or '88 was McDonalds flipping burgers. It was a decent job, it is what it is, but McDonalds is a good first job as it teaches you about teamwork, working under pressure, making sure your on time, etc. I also had this really cute manager named Olivia, I had a huge crush of her. She was about 5' tall with a beautiful face and a wicked sense of humour. She made working for McDonalds fun, not just cause she was nice to look at, but because she made working there fun.

Fuddruckers was my next job. You can probably imagine how any other names we called it. Its a hamburger joint, but the meat is ground up there, there is a bakery for the buns and also a malt shoppe inside. I started at the place before it opened, they built the building and it needed cleaning from the consruction mess and I helped with that. I was hired as a dishwasher/busser. I was a bit slow on the pickup with this job, I'm not sure why, but a manager did take me into the office and tell me that I needed to pick up the pace or I would not have a job. So I did. When it first opened we were so busy it lasted right until closing time, then it took another 4-5 hours to clean up and close. This went on for a few months until it started to die down, except it still took forever to do the closing duties. It took me another month of nagging the managers to get them to listen to me on how to get closing done sooner. I took a 4-5 hour closing time down to half an hour. I organised each station in what they should do and when they should do it. I think the managers were a bit surprised about that. After quiting and being asked back I ended up cooking burgers again.

My next job was again as a dishwasher, but also as a prep person in a 'real' restaurant. My brother was the sous chef and they needed help so he brought me in. My main job was dishwashing but I also helped prep the kitchen. This is where I learned to hold a knife 'properly'. The chef used to watch me cutting stuff and if I was holding the knife wrong would rap my knuckles with the back of his knife. (This hurts) I learned a lot there and in fact outlasted 3 chefs and did everything in the kitchen, from dishwasher to salads to sandwiches to line cook to doing the gourmet take away foods. I went from there to working in other places with chefs. ALl in all I worked 5 years with chefs and learned from them all, so I'm a decent cook. My wife says she married me cause I can cook. lol

I went from cooking to testing software. I played video games for a living for about 2.5 years. I worked at EA sports in Vancouver, B.C., which is a beautiful city, in the summer, in the fall and winter its a gray haze and constantly raining. I hated it. The job was ok, I left because I was not happy having my name on a product I didn't feel should be released yet. When you still have bugs in a game it should not be forced out the door because Marketing says so. (marketing is the evil that walks the earth) Call it prideful, but if I do something I take ownership of it and I want it done right. Thats just me.

I moved back to Winnipeg at this point and got a job as a carpet installer. Having never done 'manual' labour like this is was quite different. My first day I got blisters just pushing a broom around. The crew just laughed at me. lol However within a few weeks I was holding my own and shortly after that the boss had me hiding the seams, which is detailed work and you have to have an eye for it. The boss's brother-in-law told me he hadn't been allowed to touch the seams for year after he started, so I felt pretty good that after only a few months I was doing that.

From there I went into retail and worked at a video game store, eventually becoming assistant manager. It was fun and I enjoyed it. My bosses were really nice and taught me that a good business works with the community. Students bringing in report cards and for each 'A' they got a free rental or an hour on the LAN. This was something the parents really appreciated and brought him more business. I still talk with them and my last trip back went visiting, it was good to see them again.

My last job was in construction here in the LA area. I worked for a cabinet company doing new home construction. With the housing boom that happened there was a lot of business. My job was Quality Control. I went in after the installers and fixed the poor installs or damage done by other trades. I really enjoyed the job and it felt really good to see something wrong, and then fix it to make it look right. I had a lot of job satisfaction. I finally found where I wanted to be after 20 years of job bouncing. Well except for the fact I have a bad back and I can't do that work anymore. The fickle finger of fate, having fucked, moves on.

Moving back to Winnipeg I'm going to be dealing with the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities to see if they can help find me work. My eventual goal is to get into the Construction Management course that is starting up next year at Red River College. They are just putting it together now and working with the industry to make the course the best it can be. It'll be only the 4th course like it in Canada. My goal is to take that, then take LEED certification and get a job with the government. Thats my plan anyway. Fate may point its finger my way again, but I at least have a plan for now.

Yes, another long post, sorry about that. As I said at the begining I'll write up about each of my jobs later as I learned different things from each of them.

Ta ta for now!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm bored

I'm having trouble trying to figure out what to write about. These last few days I've felt I should write something, but when I go to do it, nothing worth writing comes to mind. Well thats not true, I could write another 20 posts about my mother-in-law (and I probably will), I could write about the healthcare debate currently going on in the US, I could write about US politics in general, I could write about my neighbours and how cool they are, I could write about video games, I could write about my family and how my gramps has cancer and how worried I am about that, or my nephew that just decided not to take his scholarship to university, but the reality is I just can't seem to find the energy to get involved in writing. So I sit in front of my computer looking like I am doing anything but playing a video game, cause otherwise the mother-in-law will flip her lid. (again)

I know where its coming from though. I've been out of work for over a year and a half now, with no job prospects at all (I spend about 2 hours a day searching for work through multiple websites, and applying for whatever I can), we have about $30 to last us till I get my next unemployment cheque and we are running out of food staples. I put an ad in a few online places to sell some of my woodworking stuff and I didn't get one call about it. So right now I'm just frustrated that not much is going right in my world and I wonder how the hell we are going to afford to move in the spring if this keeps up. So I feel trapped and don't have any control over my life. Its not a good feeling.

The good news is my wife finally got a bite through her website and may have some money coming in next week. What she does is pay people to try out products through a web site. This used to be doing pretty well, but in the last half year its taken a nose dive, so its nice to see even one person come to her to do some work. I really hope it picks up again.

So thats me right now. Frustrated and bored.

Appologies for the downer post.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Well last night the wife said I could write about her mother if I chose to. So I guess I can go to town! Wooo hooo!

My mother-in-law. What can I say? I'd say she hates me, but that doesn't really cover it. I'll tone it down and say she just doesn't like me. From the day I came here to be with my wife she hasn't liked me. When we got married she wore all black to our wedding, she went behind our backs and had friends of hers sign as witnesses when I had told the priest who we wanted as witnesses. She invited people we didn't even know. My wife hated our wedding because of what her mother did. What a great way to start a marriage eh?

When I came to the US I didn't have a Green Card and it took a few years for that to go through, so I could not work. She was not happy about that either, and honestly I don't blame her for that. I understand the frustration and wanting her duaghter to be well taken care of. But, she complained pretty much every chance she got. It really hurt my wife the things her mother would say. (some pretty vile stuff too) However once I was able to work, and worked my ass off, she just changed what she complained about. We've been married going on 8 years and its been pure hell for me, and for my wife as she is caught in the middle.

One tactic she used to use on my wife was to stop talking to her if she didn't approve of something we did, or didn't do. This was something she had been doing to my wife for years before I came onto the scene. What would happen is she would not say a word to my wife, not even good morning, and my wife would feel so guilty she'd go appologise for whatever she did 'wrong'. Then I come along and see how manipulative that was and told her to stop going and appologising. It took awhile but finally she listened to me. It took her mother 5 days of not saying a word to either of us, and not having my wife going begging for mercy to her, until she figured out that tactic wasn't going to work any more. Score one for the good guys, and another reason her mom does not like me.

I don't do things around the house anymore, something else she doesn't like. But when I did do things around the house all I got were complaints from her about how what I was doing was wrong, or it would not turn out right, etc... An example is a tree stump was in the back yard, so I said I would remove it and I went out and bought a hand axe and a small pick and started in on this stump that had been there for years. From day one she complained. Said the roots were ten feet down, and I'd never get it out. I got it out. We filled in the hole and now a nice patch of grass is there. I did the same thing to a stump in the front, and guess what? She was saying exactly the same things when I did the stump in the back yard. You'd thnk she would have learned by now.

I learned to do things while she was away. So one year while she was away for 3 months visiting family I restained the kitchen cabinets, and put knobs and drawer handles on. I'd never done anything like this and it was a huge project. We also replaced the sink faucet, stove, dishwasher and hood. It turned out really nice. Yes she liked it, although I think she was more happy with the new stove than anything else. It took her over a year before she used the dishwasher, and when friends of hers had seen it for the first time and loved how I did the kitchen and that she was lucky I was her son-in-law, she told my wife that they didn't know me and that if they did they would not be saying that.

Two years ago (while her mother was away agan) I repainted the master bedroom, put up new blinds and added tile to the master bathroom. Her mother didn't like the colour. To her inside a house should be white, and thats it. Our room has an accent wall in a burnt orange, the other walls are a desert tan, almost a pinky colour, and trim is a brown colour. All three colours really work well together, but she didn't like it at all. But then she wanted the living room painted this last year and although she wanted white, she eventually did go with some colour. And actually two walls are the colour of brick (raw sienna I think), one is a maple colour and around the front door and down the hall is a cream colour. The colours are really nice, and I think she is really glad she went with colour rather than just white. However! She didn't go away while I did this. So the entire time I was prepping, taping off, installing new light switches and plugs and painting she did nothing but complain. I wasn't going to do a half assed job, if I do something I am going to do it correctly. She decided that she wanted the family room and kitchen painted right away too, but my back was killing me and I wanted to wait a few weeks so I could do a good job. Not good enough, she decided she would paint and painted AROUND furniture. So behind that stuff the wall is the old colour. She's frikken insane.

From all this you might be wondering how she is around so much, or that we are staying in her house. Well what happened was that 21 years ago her mother sold their house in LA and bought this place. However half the money from the sale of the old house was my wife's (when her parents divorced her father said his half of the house should go to his daughter), but her mother just decided they were going to move and with no dicussion with my wife moved them out of LA. Later on this would severely impact my wife in her job searching. While my wife was in school her mom paid the bills and mortgage, but for the last 14 years my wife, and I, have been paying the bills and mortgage. So its really my wife's and her mom's house, I consistantly say I want no part in it at all. Frankly a can of gasoline and a match would be of more use to me than this house.

One final thing before I stop this, for now, my wife was groomed by her family to care for her mother. That was it. Her brothers went off and did their own thing with no thought to helping their mother. My wife was basically supposed to care for their mother until she died. One reason the family, as a whole, doesn't like me much. I've thrown wrenches into that. And we are going to throw a big one when we move, cause they are going to have to help their mother out, and the mother is actually going to have to pay her own bills. We'll send money after we are settled and have figured out our budgets, but they don't know we are moving yet and will not until a few months before we leave. One of the main reasons for moving is to get my wife away from her family for awhile. All they do is put her down and offer zero support, not even encouragement. My family is exactly the opposite, in fact my grandmother has been saying for years we should just pick up and leave and let them figure it out. I can't do that, both my wife & I want to make sure her mother has enough to get by on. As much as I really want to get out of here, I can't leave her mom in a lurch. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Oh yeah, I invited my mother to come stay for a few days in September, well the mother-in-law didn't like that. Said to my wife that I should not have invited 'those people'. Nice eh?

Yeah we need to leave. Its no wonder my blood pressure has skyrocketed.

For those that have great mother-in-laws... I hate you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Orly Taitz

I'm not sure why I'm posting about this, but I am. I suppose because this irritates me. I don't know if you've heard of this woman (Orly Taitz), she's a lawyer/dentist/real estate agent and pretty much nuts. She is probably THE main person saying President Obama was not born in the US. Is there any proof of this? None that is credible. There is the fake birth certificate they are pushing, and continue to push, even though its been roundly debunked. Hell even Karl Rove thinks its a fake and he is not one to support Obama. Even Ann Coulter thinks Birthers are nuts.

Just for your education, this is the woman (video, linked cause I can't embed a video yet) that the majority of republicans (in the south) are following. You really have to see that to believe it. Now I qualified who believes he is not American because thats where the vast majority of these 'birthers' are. DailyKos did a poll about this, which can be seen here.

She was also behind US Army Maj Cook who filed a lawsuit with Orly Taitz against the DoD (Department of Defence), claiming he cannot be ordered to go to Afghanistan by Obama because he's not the president. Well it turns out he volunteered to go in the first place, then instead of changing his mind he filed a lawsuit. According to the DoD volunteers can decide not to go up until the day they leave, so no lawsuit needed to be filed. When the DoD canceled his orders to go, Taitz and the Birthers claimed it was a victory. Is the story over for Maj Cook? Not quite. You see Maj Cook works for a defence contractor (Simtech Inc) and the owner of the company was told that Maj Cook was not welcome on any DoD sites, and the owner not needing an employee that cannot work on job sites had to let him go. (It should be noted that Simtech was never threatened with losing contracts if they kept Cook on as an employee, just that he was not welcome on any DoD sites.) Cook is claiming this is retaliation. Good! The idiot deserves it! As a serving member of the Army he is not supposed to get involved in politics, yet he did. I hope they drum him out of the Army too. This kind of idiocy needs to stop. Apparently Taitz has been going around the country to round up vets to get behind her Birther crap. I fully believe that Taitz and Cook worked together to create a fake controversy, just to get publicity. Its Cook's fault for getting involved, but he's the one who got hurt the most, do you think Taitz will give him a job? I highly doubt it.

Is Taitz getting off scot free? Maybe not. The California State Bar is seeking her disbarment. A link of the official papers is in the link as well. So hopefully all her insane crap will come to an end soon. Taitz has a 'law' degree from an online university and California is the only state to allow people from a non-accredited American Bar Association (ABA) law school to take the Bar Exam. All this woman is after is publicity, and she's frikken crazy to boot. I fully expect her to be writing a book soon.

Ok. I got that off my chest a bit. Yeah I didn't rant or anything, I'm not that good at it, I'll let others (you know who you are) rant, they are much better at it than me. I'm going to try and keep politics out of my blogging as much as possible, but if something bothers me I'll probably post about it.

That is all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

California's economy

California's economy sucks. There is no way to sugar coat it, no way to say its ok and its going to get better. It sucks, and its getting worse. I'd like to say its going to get better, but its not. Not for a long time.

My wife took a test yesterday for an Appraiser job for LA County, they have 20 openings available and 10,000 people applied. The job required you to have a college degree too. The first culling process was you had to bring your diploma (not a copy) to a local office, then you would be told when and where you could take the test. Since 10,000 people were going to be taking the test, how many more applied without a degree? This is the problem in California right now, its why I can't find a job, its why in a year and a half I've had exactly one job interview.

California is screwed in a big way, specially since we need a 2/3'rds majority to pass any budget and that means a few people (republicans currently) can screw it up for everybody. Which is exactly what they have done. All kinds of services have been, or will be cut, from healthcare for children to state parks. All because they don't want to raise taxes one iota. They would rather millions of people suffer rather than increase state revenue by a small increase in taxes. It boggles the mind. Oh yeah, and Arnie says he's going to release 27,000 inmates. Uhmmm... Yay?

I'm not going to say that before the recall election to put Arnie in California didn't have problems, cause it did, but doing an immediate recall of a governor (Gray Davis) who was elected with no foul play, is just idiotic. The people of California spoke and they elected Davis, the republicans didn't like this so they started a recall and got Arnie in instead. Now look at where we are. Most of my neighbours are republican and they are sorry they were for the recall. Are the democrats saints and the savior of us all? No. But they are not responsible for the state California is in right now.

So thats one reason we are moving. And why we need help in getting the money for a move together. If I could get work all that money would be put aside for the move, but since I can't find work... Every dollar counts, so if you can, please help us move.

Thank you,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cruelty to animals?

So thats me, and my dog, Ares. Named after the Greek god of war, and not the astrological sign. He's a weimaraner. If you've seen William Wegman's pictures you've seen weimaraners. He's a great dog, and a great big goof, at times when he wants off the couch he doesn't actually get up like a normal dog, he'll just kind of edge his way off and let gravity do the work for him.

Wiemaraners are also puppies their whole lives, so we can expect his goofieness to continue. In one housing tract I worked in (I really should explain what I did for work one of these days), there was a homeowner with one, we had just gotten Ares and I had always meant to ask the homeowner what things to expect from the breed. I never did get a chance until I had to do some work in his house. Basically he told me they are forever puppies, forever loyal, and if you leave the house put away your valuables, cause they'll be destroyed. They have a severe seperation anxiety that can lead to destructive behaviour. Now you know why 'Ares' is a perfect name for the dog. :) He's destroyed a fair amount of stuff.

I currently live in a desert town in California, it gets to be about 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46C) at times during the summer, although typically its around 105F (40C). However I'm going to be taking him where 32C (89F) is considered hot and in the winter can get down to -40C (-40F). I have been told that this can be considered cruelty to animals, specially to a weimaraner which has short fur. Fear not though, my mother has a neighbour that has the same breed and he survives the cold. What will be interesting to see is how Ares deals with snow. I don't know if he'll even want to walk on it let alone have to go outside to go relieve himself. lol

In fairness my Californian born and bred wife has never lived in cold either. So it will be a learning experience for both of them. We aren't planning on leaving until next spring, so they'll both have the fall to get used to snow falling and colder weather by the time winter actually hits. Both will be fine I am sure. At least she won't have to go outside to go to the bathroom, well I'm going to discourage her from doing so.