Monday, November 09, 2009

Peace beyond understanding

Tab is really unhappy with her job right now, and it is putting strain on things. She warned me when we where dating that when things got rough, she tended to bolt.

In fact, it was a point of amazement for her when we had our fight and she treated it as a speed bump in a longer road.

Yesterday, we had a tense conversation that dealt with Tab's frustrations, as detailed here.

However, this morning, in spite of all the issues, I found myself amazed that I am her husband, and loving her for who she is.

No resolution to her stress, or the issues surrounding it.

We haven't yet addressed the issue that brought this out.


Friday, September 18, 2009

The Health Care issue..

Once again, an online dispute has forced me to put into words how I feel about the current debate.

This time, it's health care.

To provide setup, the first claim was that Michael Moore's movie Sicko, claimed Cuba has wonderful health care. My response:

It's propaganda. It's well documented. When the U.S. visits Cuba, they go to the clinic that Michael Moore showed. The average Cuban citizen has a much more dismal health care experience:

Then we got into a debate on health care in general:

It's not the government's job to met out health insurance any more than they should be handing out candy on corners for all kids...

All it takes is someone being competitive and offering a better solution.

When the government runs a place from stem to stern, this is what happens:...

The government should not be assisting anyone out of anything, save breaking up monopolies preventing barrier of entry for new businesses.

Health care is not a basic need. Air is a basic need. Food is a basic need. Water is a basic need.

Health insurance is a luxury. It's exactly what the name implies: insurance in the event of a health issue.

Life insurance is not mandatory, renters insurance is not mandatory, car insurance is only mandatory if you elect to drive....

In any case, the government, when left to run things, does not do a very good job. The Post Office, DMV, etc. should be enough proof.

Depending on the government for any aspect of your well-being or happiness is a recipe for disaster. The only thing the government has proved time and again that it can do well is blow things up, and waste money. And even then, it needs help to blow things up. I should know, I have worked as both a Federal Employee, and now as a Defense Contractor.

This person then brought up the familiar "Health Care should be as basic a right as firefighters, police, libraries, etc.", which is a common argument. Here's how it went down:

All those programs were sold to the American people, then left to rot. As a former Federal employee, I can tell you with absolute certainty that your money is being wasted.

What seems to be not understood is that the money for these programs was taken from the people that may or may not use it.

If you were earning twice what you are earning now, would you invest in health care for yourself and your family, or would you simply say, " car is getting kind of old..."

People choose to invest in Health care for themselves or not.

There are low-cost clinics available in almost every town.

Emergency services are available everywhere.

Health care is available for those that choose to invest in it.

As for the other list of "necessities", they could all be improved by forcing them to compete with rival companies.

Do you think the cops would be beating people indifferently if they were paid by the number of convictions of the people they brought in?

All the examples you have given me are for "services" that are supposedly "free", but in actuality have been paid for by people who dare to try to excel and further themselves.

My friend has a saying, "Americans are born free, but taxed to death". (Ed.  Thanks, Paul!)

As for the drug companies, if people cannot afford their products, they would be forced to lower the rates at which they sell it.

Ironically enough, the massive amounts of money that people pay into health insurance artificially props up the market so they can sell pharmaceuticals and emergency services at massively inflated prices.

And once again, I can say this with definity. I used to work at [A major US Health Care insurance provider]. Only 10% of the company is for dealing with medical issues. The other 90% is dealing with how to invest the truckloads of money that businesses and people pay them every month.

If people abandoned Health Care as an insurance, and dealt with it on a case by case basis, the price of health care would go down massively.

But we have been sold a bill of goods that health care is something we need to be making monthly investments in.

We are screaming to be taxed further, which is simply insane.

Think about this...what if, everyone could simply elect at tax time whether or not they wanted to fund things, and how much.

("Do you want to fund firefighters? police? Military? libraries? Pell Grants?")

No, nobody would volunteer. Why? Because it is YOUR MONEY. You earned it.

People are screaming for the government to save them as a substitute for taking care of the issue themselves.

If you feel strongly that you want to fund something on a monthly basis, set up a co-op with a doctor's office and your neighbors. Start the change now, but don't complain when EVERYBODY ELSE isn't funding something YOU want.

It really boils down to two schools of thought:

Should the federal government's role in the lives of Americans be to simply maintain the basics? (Military, Roads, and Business Regulation) This would allow people to venture out on their own, earn, and keep what they make. It puts the economic decisions of what to fund back into the hands of the people, and makes for a strong middle class that people can easily get into.

Or should the government be a "nanny" and provide for people from cradle to grave, punishing its most productive citizens to pay for services to the underperforming ones. At that point, the question becomes, "why work?" Everything is being handed to you simply by being in the US and breathing. California has had a long history of doing just that, and is paying for it, with businesses finding it is just too expensive to be in California, and moving to Nevada, Texas, and Arizona.

As for being in France and Norway, that's nice, but, last time I checked, they haven't had nearly the high innovation rate of the U.S., precisely because there is no increased incentive to be an entrepreneur.

In those two countries, the company is forced to pay massive amounts of taxes and benefits for the employees (health and otherwise).  This, combined with the fact that if you employ anybody, it is EXCEEDINGLY difficult to fire them if they underperform, results in virtually no motivation for your employees to work hard or be clever.

When there is the possibility of massive reward, you will be more inclined to take more risk. If nothing is certain in terms of job, you will work hard to make sure you stand out and are rewarded for hard work. Increased taxing on those that work hard only leads to a nation of slackers, regardless of the perceived benefit for "all".

Then there was the "I'm a Christian, it's all God's money, we should give it all to a government-run communal pot that claims it will help the poor" argument:

I am a Christian, but I take comfort in the parable of the ten talents. God did not end the story with the last person getting bailed out. He called the lack of financial gain "wicked and lazy".

It is the job of CHRISTIANS to provide for the poor, the downtrodden, etc. It is not the job of governments. As we are not a country that has corporately put themselves in line with Christ, it is not right for us to demand Christian motivations out of the government. Remember the two heathens who tried to call out the demons in Christ's name? The demons laughed and beat them savagely.

It is up to us as individuals to do what Christ would do. If we demand it from our government, we have replaced government for God.

I accidentally didn't complete a thought that I will put down here:

The sheer amount of new technologies that we have put forth from our efforts as entrepreneurs due to decreased taxing allows us the medical breakthroughs that we have today.

I agree there needs to be change. But, like I said before, it should take the form of business regulation, not taxing the productive members of society.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Environmentalism and Africa

I'm having a good-spirited debate with a friend of mine on facebook regarding the role of environmentalism in Africa.  He has taken the side that we must do all we can to ensure that nothing the developing countries do will impact Africa, and that we must do all we can to ensure that we don't impact Africa with our environmental emissions.

He even brought "white guilt" into the equation with the line, "However, we also can't ignore the centuries of colonialism that has been a major contributor to African countries being in the position they are in now."

I don't think he is talking about setting up wind farms in our country because England took over large portions of Africa 130 years ago.  I'm going to take a guess that he is thinking we should impose modern Environmental standards on today's Africa.

I take the tack that with Africa being largely free since the '60s, the best thing to do is offer goods and services, but withdraw from telling them how and where they should conduct their affairs.  Let them use DDT to combat Malaria.  Let them drill for oil using the methods they want.  To do otherwise is to revert back to a "convert the heathen" approach used by colonialists years back.

It's not often I find an article that nails it on the head, but I found one here:
(The Independent Review, v. VIII, n.1, Summer 2003, ISSN 1086-1653, Copyright © 2003, pp. 65– 86.)
(See mom!  I can do references!)

Yet much of the crusading energy of current environmentalism derives from a much different source. For many of its followers today, environmentalism has been a substitute for fading mainline Christian and progressive faiths—its religious quality obvious to any close observer of its workings. Its language is often overtly religious: “saving” the earth from rape and pillage; building “cathedrals” in the wilderness; creating a new “Noah’s Ark” with laws such as the Endangered Species Act; pursuing a new “calling” to preserve the remaining wild areas; and taking steps to protect what is left of “the Creation” on earth. At the heart of the environmental message is a new story of the fall of mankind from a previous, happier, and more natural and innocent time—a secular vision of the biblical fall from the Garden of Eden.

Before the corrupting influence of modern civilization (and perhaps the true date of the fall can be traced as far back as the rise of agriculture, almost ten thousand years ago), human beings lived in genuine harmony with nature. Since the fall, the rise of acquisitive urges and the destructive powers of modern science and industrial production have defiled the innocence of nature almost everywhere. Environmentalism therefore seeks to protect the vestiges of the original natural order and perhaps in some places to restore a “true” nature—the original Creation, as it is in effect regarded within the movement—that has been lost.
One of the issues often overlooked is that Africa in its current state cannot afford to have environmentally friendly solutions to power needs.  For the price of solar cells, they can get, at a minimum, 3 times the electricity using gas or coal-burning methods, and can have electricity during the night (imagine!).  Not to mention the environmental damage done from the production of solar cells.  (ethylene-vinyl acetate lining and heavy metals in water, not to mention the electricity draw necessary to heat and dope the silicon itself)

Later on, he talks about massive displacements of the indigenous people to make way for conservation parks.  Ironically, most of these are on some of the most fertile ground that Africa has to offer.  This is done to preserve these areas to bring in tourist dollars.  People come in to experience "primeval Africa".  Mostly westerners. 

Turns out that the needs of the people are being marginalized due to the massive lobbying efforts from outside.  By environmental groups.  Western environmental groups.

The western world is starving Africa with its environmentalism practices, then making ourselves feel better by arranging aid. But hey, we get to feel better in the process.  And isn't that the important part?

Monday, July 06, 2009

We're in (gross) sync...

So apparently, Tab has filled you all in on my poo-ems.

For a touch more background, Sev, Matt, and I have been texting for some time about our sit-down activities when on the john, not in graphic terms at all, but in very flowery, poetic language that gives a valid description without being crass. 

The humor of using delicate language to depict something so base is part of the humor, really.

Kind of like when Shakespeare made a sex/drinking joke in the middle of Macbeth, really. (look up the role of the gatekeeper if you have any doubts).

One of the side effects of this is that I have utilized (and invented) all of the delicate ways to describe such stall-based antics.

With that in mind, this past Sunday happened to be a communion Sunday. Pastor Dan Hicks gave a message about freedom, and was trying to make the point that you should leave your concerns and cares at the table.

However, the exact phrase started out as: "leave a deposit on this table..."

I stifled my laughter. I looked at Tab, and she had an equally devious grin on her face. If memory serves, the conversation went like this:

Tab: "Don't you dare..."
Me: "Honey, the pastor said to..."

We are going to have sooo much fun in life...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pressure to perform...

Note:  This was made WAAAAAAAAAAY back in February, but I never felt I got it "just right".  So, in lieu of anything else, I'm just going to hit "publish post" and call it a day.  Enjoy.

Sooo, my girlfriend was happy Valetine's day. I got the opportunity to lie to her, and claim (genuine) exhaustion as a reason to not go out and do anything. And she loves me for it. :)

Unfortunately, for me, the memories are not quite so fond for this holiday...

Christmas was bittersweet with Carrie. She was so detached from investment into the relationship that it was as if she were not apart of it. I felt like a showpiece, almost "the flavor of the month".

Being a first Girlfriend, I went along with puppy-love abandon. Rather like Niles and Maris Crane on Frasier, I lacked a spine. By the time Valentine's Day rolled around, she had called a break to the relationship, from which it never recovered.

My second girlfriend, however, was so insecure about herself that by even Christmas, I didn't want to be with her.

In this year, however, things have changed. My last relationship was in 2000-2001. Since then, I have had a chance to grow and reflect on who I am both inside and outside of a relationship.

I've had opportunities with several young ladies since then, and have turned them down, recognizing the issues that would make the relationship unhealthy.

It was (unfortunately) a point of realized maturity (hate that word) when I turned a girl down, postulating that I would rather be in a healthy relationship then have someone to hug during V-Day.

Point being is that both relationships had major detractants when Valentine's Day came around.

This year, however, things were different. I finally had something of worth to give her. The best part was it took effort, not cash. And I knew it was going to be good.

Which is the weirdness. I've never had something I knew would be spot-on for someone without them telling me so, or finding out through someone else.

It made me really happy to do it.

It also gave me the confidence that I might have the ability to surprise her throughout her life. It's interesting to be happy to make someone happy, and look forward to doing it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Fire again!

So, as I start my 4th year here, I also am in the middle of my 4th fire.

We've had the Zaca Fire, Gap Fire (Which was the closest so far), and the Tea Fire.

So, as we start the Jesusita Fire, I've got to say, the rising panic is just not there anymore.  I'm tapped.  I've gotten everything that means anything to me.  I'm going to go back down to LA.  I'm not worried, upset, anxious, or mad. 

It was a bit interesting leaving my place.  To quote Han Solo:  "I dunno.  I just have this feeling I'm not going to see her again." 

It's also interesting how much of your stuff is just...stuff.  I realized that, while it would suck, if I lost everything, assuming that the condo and fire insurance handled the financial aspect of it, there is nothing left in the condo that I would be grief-stricken to lose.

My Gaming rig is out. (priorities, people!)

My Laptop and camera are out.
My Firearm is out.
The Wedding band/wrap is out.
My Important Clothes are out.

It would not be the worst thing in the world for Tab and I to start from scratch in a new place.  So either way, I'm content to be where God places me.

Weird, huh?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pre-marrieds is preventing communication in our relationship?

So, Tabitha and I have been in pre-married class at Church On The Way.  It's a good course, intended to shake out the details that most married couples hit as roadblocks only after many years in. 

However, as part of the class, there are homework assignments, CDs, and classes.  The homework assignments, when taken seriously, take a long time to complete, as it gives each person a chance to talk about themselves, their backgrounds, their viewpoints, etc. 

The CDs are a 10-part series put together by Jack Hayford, talking about Marriage in a Christian context, and have been very illuminating.

The problem is that the only time we have to listen to the CDs is on our way back and forth from LA every weekend.

So, for the past 12 weeks, our drive times have been quiet, listening to taped sermons. 

It was kind of weird being in a small enclosed space with someone you wanted to talk with and not able to talk with them. 

It started causing problems when we would schedule something else that would infringe on our small "together" time.  I found myself upset, as it seemed that any of the "alone" time we had was taken up with either quietly listening to the CDs in a car, or doing homework.  There was never any time spent to just talk with Tab and enjoy her company.  Between the CDs, homework, classes, gym, work, going back home, planning a wedding, it seems like there was never any time to "just be".

We finally finished the CDs this past weekend, and can now talk on our drives.'s like I get to spend time with Tab again after not seeing her for so long. 

And yup, I still love her. 

144 days, six hours, 44 minutes and 15 seconds...14...13...12...11...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should these go together?

Sometimes, Google News can put together very unfortunate pictures with a news article.  Here is one I saw that made me smile:

That's good eats!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


What is it about a second look? When someone changes themselves only slightly, and you see them again and rediscover something you've known, but had completely forgotten?

The familiar suddenly becomes exciting again. Things you accepted at face value suddenly gain a dimension to them. Whether a passage of Scripture that you've read time and time again gaining a new freshness due to personal circumstances, or seeing someone in a different light because of a seemingly small change in yourself or them.

All this to say: Tab wore a skirt today. Wow.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Memory triggers...

While going through looking at the new Starcraft II (Which looks like it is going to be so very much full of win), I came across a recording of the zealot from Starcraft...

Let me back Starcraft, when you click on a unit, it will utter one of a handful of phrases. I think it is to allow you to use hearing to confirm that you have selected the unit you wanted to, which can be difficult in a crowded screen. for instance, the dropship confirms that he's ok, and ready to fly with "In the pipe, 5 by 5", SCVs respond with a cheerful, "SCV Here! Where do you need me?", etc.

So, getting back to the present, while reading up on it, I found a new video. Amongst the sayings was one from the Protoss Zealot. One of his "phrases" was, "My Life for Aiur" (pronounced "Aye-er"). Aiur being the home planet of this fictitious character.

It took me back.

You see, back in the day, I used to have LAN parties regularly. We would crash someone's house (Typically my parents, Paul's Parents, and later, Paul's), bring our computers, and enjoy each other's company while we blew things away late into the night (leading to mornings and afternoons again), until we just couldn't physically keep our eyes open.

Well, while in a caffeine-fueled fragging session at 2AM, pretty much anything is silly. So, when playing starcraft, the zealot uttered his usual catchphrase: "My Life for Aiur". John, ever the thoughtful one, said, "Wow, it sounds like he said, 'My Wife for Hire'".

We broke out in a fit of giggles.

Hearing it again, it got me many memories.

I remember fitting seven people in my room and John's "annex".

This was before flat-panels.

We had monitor precariously perched on every spot on the desk we could find space. The heat in the room was overwhelming. John didn't have it too bad because he had stone floor, and could open a window. But my room, the 1 air vent with no return from my room, calibrated to a thermostat set in the living room, and two small doors with no airflow, usually got the room to a temperature reserved for saunas and heat lamp interrogations.

While playing Counterstrike (the original, mind you), Alvin, who was getting shafted, turned to Matt and said, "How sad is this? It's a Friday night, and we're playing video games with a bunch of guys?"

Of course, this is the same Alvin that, at another LAN party, this time at Pauls Parent's house, realized that Todd Afshar was nearby. After inviting him down, Alvin hung up the phone and said, "Todd says 'lube up, I'm coming over'". IIRC, that was the LAN party that had Paul, John, Sheasby, Dereck, Alvin, Todd, and myself, all at the Laufer's place.

I also remember Steven Harriton (aka "munchiebutt"), playing us at Starcraft. You see, we were recreational gamers with all games. Steven was ok at Counterstrike, but when it came to Starcraft, he was just sick.

At one time, he took on all three of us (Paul, John, and myself), and humiliated, nay, violated us. He even came down to my parent's place to play the night he proposed to Amy because, "I knew that if I stayed there, bad things could happen".

I remember when we had high speed internet in the dorms, and set up the IKYN Counterstrike Clan (IKYN stands for "I KILLS YOU NOW!!!!!!"). John (aka [IKYN]Phantom), unfortunately, was trying to play on a 33.6 modem. He tried, but usually was just too laggy to compete on our server. EXCEPT for the one time he got a headshot on [IKYN]Uranus during a practice session. Nobody except Paul and I knew what an absolutely awesome thing it was. I was soooo proud of my little brother...

Life moves on I suppose. I'm even more of a casual gamer than I used to be. I've gotten into other things. Friends, girls (or, more accurately, "girl"), VHDL, Phone re-flashing, etc.

But it is amazing how quickly a simple phrase can take you back.

"My Life for Aiur"


Monday, January 19, 2009

Love and all the scariness it entails...

Today I had a rather important lesson in the difference between knowledge and realization.

As with anyone who has been single for awhile, I've gotten into a rhythm of dating. It's almost imperceptible how it creeps up on someone: cautiously, almost mechanically, trying to find out if any of the dealbreakers in previous relationships can be found in your current interest.

As has not happened in quite some time, when a certain level of comfort and interest is attained, you begin to have thoughts that this is the one, so you start to entertain that idea, going about the relationship, evaluating your interaction at a deeper level, thinking, "this is cool now, but can I deal with this the rest of my life?"

Not to say that emotions and feelings aren't there, but previous dating disasters have taught you not to get hopeful. Years of dating have diminished the expectations of this relationship to the point that that the initial response is to dread the other foot dropping, something horrible to be discovered, and for it to all come unraveled. (Hey, I have a sense of pattern recognition, after all)

So, up to about two months ago, it's been a period of me keeping myself in reserve, waiting to see what will or will not happen, knowing that, on paper, Tab holds all the qualities I'm looking forward to.

I was reflecting on this yesterday in the middle of a BORING meeting (seriously...hold a staff meeting only if there is something to go over with ALL the staff.)

Something broke. I am looking forward to being with Tab. The thought of being married, not just in general, but specifically to her, is one that excites me. I finally realize just how much I have based my happiness on her well-being.

And it wasn't anything overnight. No big "Ok! I Care a lot now!" moment. Only the realization that that point had been reached.

I don't know how long that has been the case, only that I am there now.

It's amazing how you can harden your heart for years and not realize how calloused you have become. It's also weird to realize the extent to which one person can become so emotionally ingrained without you being entirely aware of the process. You women are weird.

After a lifetime of being either alone or unsure about the girls I've dated, I've finally met a girl that I can put all of my effort into. She inspires me with her drive, perplexes me with her whimsical nature, challenges me with her point of view, and shows me, without telling me, where I need to grow.

We both do realize that nothing is set in stone, and things could end at any given moment for any reason, but right now I feel happy and cautiously optimistic.