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10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! BLASTOFFF

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I love waking up only to open Facebook and find I have been:

1-the last thing on someone mind before they hit the sheets.
2-the first thing they thought of when they awaken.
3-the one they dream of all night long.

It’s astounding that I; an overweight, ( I hate the word “OBESE” it sounds like a mythological animal that passes OBOES, which I also hate,) aging, pedantic curmudgeon has such a profound impact on people.

Really the whole curmudgeon bit is an affectation that I adopted for self protection since I am now too old to beat up 65% of the neighborhood!

So all I have to say is:

GOOD MORNING, PLEASE HAVE A CUPCAKE, CUPCAKE,

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Forget what I said, I’m suing the realtor…

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Dateline April 2011 – I have to admit it, I was wrong and I spoke two soon. Every realtor I’ve ever had in the last 30 years has basically turned out to be a dufus, or a inept clown or at worst a fraud.

How in the world do we allow these people to take 5 or 6 percent of right off the top of the most expensive items we own. Think about it, if you have a house that you spent 20 years paying off you’ve ended up working a year for somebody with access to the Multiple Listing Service, a cell phone and a lock box.

They don’t sell your house, at least most of them. Typically it seems they just sit around waiting to see if somebody finds your house and has a mortgage approval.

First there was BC, my realtor in CT, convinced me to list my house at 30% below the appraised value and then spent 10 months telling me the house was only worth 60% of the listing price…. Thank God he finally found me a renter who can at least cover the costs even thought he took 10% of the rent……

Take may house in Missouri, PLEASE! My realtor, will call him Bud, told me about all the work he was going to do to market my house, photos, videos, premier listings and if I was willing to take a small loss he would sell it in 90 to 100 days… Seeing as I needed to move for a new job I was willing to. Expedite the deal.

The net result 210 days and counting and only one totally unacceptable offer.

Then there’s my wonderful agent in Colorado, the guy who was going to reimburse me for repairs caused when his scumbag brother failed to honor the purchase contract on my new home in Colorado. Poor guy, after he got the invoices, pre approved mind you, all of a sudden don’t you know he made a mistake on his taxes and the IRS suddenly emptied his bank account. Poor realtor, bad IRS.

Boy what kind of schmuck does he think I am, the IRS doesn’t just decide to empty your bank account!

Yes I do know the market is bad, but the problem is that there are very, very few people who can qualify for mortgages, and why is that?

Basically it the net result of years of permissiveness and dishonesty, dishonest brokers, secured lier’s loans from dishonest financiers, who bundled the bad paper and sold notes hyped by dishonest bond raters.

There’s no skill, little truth and no values in the industry from my perspective at this time.

Now I need to find a good honest shyster, I mean lawyer to straighten this all out……

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Update April 2012

Well frankly I didn’t post the original rant, perhaps I was embarrassed to admit that I was too casual and not cynical enough to have prevented the troubles. But I am doggedly determined, I did sue in small claims and recovered the maximum allowed under Colorado State Law! Score one for the Good Guy!

Categories: Change, Life, Ramblings, Society

The Need to be Indispensable and Irreplaceable.

February 21, 2012 1 comment

I was fortunate to have some hard-working role models in my early life.

Most notably my step-father.  He was an enlisted man in the Air Force, a Staff Sargent or E5 whose earnings peaked in 1965 at $244.80 a month pay and a family allowance of $105.00 for my Mother, two brothers and sister.  So Woody, that’s what my brother Walter and I called our step-father, took as many as outside jobs as he could find; cleaning bowling alleys and doing the window dressing at the local Sears at night.  Picking up what ever odd job he could.

It was the financial pressures that finally forced him to leave the Air Force, with I think about 16 years service.  Now as a civilian life was a bit better; but we never had a new car, we never had our own house, the most upscale store was Sears, and the best vacation was when Uncle Bill Meyer lent us his cabin on the beach in Clinton.

He was my primary role model; as I result by age 10 I was taking farm work picking peas and mowing lawns outside Greenleaf, Idaho.  By the way I went to a two room schoolhouse and the lawn I mowed was my closet neighbor’s 1 acre lawn for $3 a pop.  Did I mention he didn’t have a mower and his house was a 1.4 mile away? Thank God the out house didn’t stink.

We eventually moved to denser population centers.  Wall, South Dakota for example, where  I got better jobs.  I  clean windshields, pumped gas and checked your oil at the local Sinclair station for awhile until I got the position of town paper boy.  The only one; seven days a week; sun, rain or snow.  I visited more houses than the post office.

By the time I turned 16 farm work, but not paper routes, were set aside.  By the time I entered the Navy in 1972 I had worked at McDonald’s, my morning motor paper route was 200 houses, cleaned a bowling alley with the old man and delivered auto parts; all at the same time.  Ok so I exaggerate a bit, I did give up the bowling alley and only delivered auto parts on school vacations and eventually the wear and tear on my pink 1960 Dodge Pheonix caused me to give up the paper route.  However, until I graduated from College at the ripe young age of 33 in 1986 I never had less than 2 jobs.

A college degree changed everything; not only did I make more Ca Ching! but I only had to work one job!

But that’s the crux of my current dilemma, the monkey on my now curving back.  I only work one job, and while the work isn’t physical labor, I don’t work any less or fewer hours, in fact I work more. See I am free to work any time, all the time, even in my sleep. I dream work.  I’ve recently realised I rarely dream about my darling 5 year old daughter, my wife, my car, my dream friends. No,  I dream of solutions that will allow me to use eForms in new creative ways, how to resolve business problems with creative implementations of business process management and how to use analytics to create out-of-the box solutions.  I am driven to make the work of others, more productive, more easy, more, more, more, more….

Whenever someone else stumbles I try to be there to catch them, even if that means working any time of the day or night.  Mentor someone in India at 11PM I’m there, talk to a project team across three continents at 5 AM I’ll be there.  Why not, I’m dreaming about work anyway right?

Why?  I mean why do I do this, why? 

For one thing, I have developed a neurosis.  I heard on the TV recently that a new neurosis has been submitted for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  I think it was called “nocellphoneanosis” or something like that found in  younger members of our society.  Some of these people live in constant fear that their smart phones are going to be lost or stop working and they no longer have the ability to interact except via SMS, Twitter and the occasional obligatory call to Mom.

I now believe that shortly after Y2K. when suddenly all those thousands of off-shore technology workers and “consulting” firms suddenly had to, and I might add very successfully, change into real consulting and staffing firmsl there has been constant competitive pressure on my job, not from the bottom up, but from the top down and either side.

Second, certain former manager’s have found this to be a marvelous motivational tool.  Yes, I one time had a manager say to me, in public, “I don’t like you and if I could I would get rid of you“, it became an innate neurotic need to ensure my talents were indispensable and irreplaceable. Now in his defense I do have to add I am not the most loveable person who ever walked God’s Green Earth, I accept that and I work very hard at being personally acceptable; I’ve resigned myself to possessing a limited LQ or Loveabilty Quotient.

I want to interject a little thank you to my wife who has an LQ of “adorable” , so when we got married my LQ increased from “cretin” to “average guy“.

So I’ve been much more fortunate than many of my peers, lost over the intervening years to the great off shore body snatch.  First of all I didn’t get married and start a family until I was 53 freeing me to work 26×8 (consultants do double book,) and I fell into a niche with lots of demand, where I seemed to posses a modicrum of talent.  With very little  competition and comparatively good opportunities for self-study and work I’ve continued to do well.   I have  been able to leverage my work ethic, these opportunities and my skills to be that critical need person.

I was doubly fortunate to secure my current position.  I’ve likened it to the Elephant’s Graveyard for the IT professional.  Here to my chagrin most of my peers had anywhere from 15 to 35 years employment  in many respects I was mid career not end career. OH JOY OH JOY!

But the one thing I don’t know about the Elephant’s Graveyard is this, once and awhile an elephant is cut from the herd and is forced out to die a cold and lonely death.  If the King of the Elephant’s decides Dumbo’s peaked and he’s hogging the hay, well say la vie Dumbo.  It doesn’t happen often and there are earmarks when it will, but it’s happened here and it will happen again.  I am determined to be Jumbo not Dumbo.

So even though I really haven’t cut back on my work, my laborious dreams,  I’ve been happy these last 18 months.  But after some of the herd disappeared I sense the neurosis returning, becoming more impatient, more infected with my own personal neurosis: “ICANDOIT“!

I have to confess I am scared, scared how this neurosis will affect my LQ and even a realization and expectation of what happens if I don’t disappear from the herd too soon, I can deal with that I still have mad skills. But what if I make it to retirement. How the hell can I turn this thing off and how much worse can it get?

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By the way if this story bores you, look up the history of elephant’s like Hanno, Pope Leo the X’s pet white elephant and Muderous Mary.   I would rather be Dumbo!

Ok so here’s a RANT about a Memorial Company….

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

If you’re not aware, I lost my Mom this past January. My Brother Bill,  friends Pat, and Ginette and all our wive’s friends were a great help; especially hosting us and helping us grieve.

But the logistics of it all was my obligation. The service was grand and Father Ray held a beautiful Mass, but the cherry on top is really marking my Mom’s resting site with something appropriate, meaningful, but oh ever so short.

Trying to solve that issue from 1300 miles away was not easy and of course I rely on the internet to locate, select and acquire many things. First you find the monument companies, I started in Eastern CT; you call them up, you ask questions and try to learn, make an informed decision.   You kiw I couldn’t believe some of the pitches and utter BS I heard.  When I mentioned to one company I found them over the internet the guy went off on me about “Grout Granite” and “Memorial Granite” etc. etc.   I thought I was visiting a used car lot, the BS was that bad.  Of course I could honor my Mother with a plain piece of his “Memorial Granite” for $2,000 plus installatiion.  Common, 2K for a 12″x24″x4″ piece of rock ?

So back to the web; lo and behold there are web based monument companies.   After review of services, trying to check with things like the BBB I selected, drumroll please,

Burleson Monument Design & Mfg., Inc. of 216 East Ellison St. Burleson, Texas 76028

They had the appropriate designs, specified Grade A Granite and they described a very well run process; art generation, approval, cemetery approval, delivery, and would arrange the installation.  I was to be engaged of every step. Everything a dutiful son 1300 miles from home needed and for much less than Mr Memorial Granite too!

So I paid, this was last May, the entire process was to be completed no later than August at the very latest.

So starting in the late summer, when there was no stone or no word, I started to call; first weekly, but nothing happened but empty promises. Only when I finally started making daily calls and intimated that I was preparing to take action to recover the payment did I even get the artwork for approval and an assurance of delivery by “early” September.

In the mean time I take a new job and move to Denver, where I am immediatley swept up in my new work, finding a house, etc. etc. when I get word from my Brother on Oct 23rd that there’s still no stone.

So I call the installers, out of Bloomfield, CT it’s late there and leave a message, but  Burleson is still open.  Burleson swears they delivered it and they’ll get right back to me with the details, tomorrow morning.

The next day the installed calls me back and informs me that they have had the stone; for three days.  They feel bad about the delays and they promise to have it installed by Friday.  Yesterday, Thursday I get a picture of the stone installed.

Thank you Daley Connerton Memorials of Bloomfield, CT for your courtesy, and service. If I had known of you and how you work I would have done everything through you.  If you find yourself needing their services in Connecticut I would heartily recommend you.

To anyone considering Burleson Monuments, I urge you to think twice, three time before siging a contract.  While the material and workmanship is great, but the service is horrible , the emotional cost is just too damn high and their vaunted “garuantee” is nothing but empty words. 

I am still waiting for them to call me back.

…and there’s no you.

Everyone has heard the cliché  There’s no ‘i’ in team…”  although sometime later Michael Jordan pointed out “…there is an ‘i’ in WIN.”   Earlier this year I was struck by similar truism, “There’s no U in teamwork.” 

Feel free to use it…

Categories: Ramblings, Society

The Legend of Qwe Chuāking, Nèijiù Shuòshì

Have you heard the legend of the young Moanin Monk, Qwuit Chuākāng ?  Many westerners have not, but recently millions of digitized scrolls were uncovered in China that are bringing his story to light.  We endeavor here to share with you, The Legend of Qwe Chuāking, Nèijiù Shuòshì *.
 
Born to Jewish Missionarys  in 1898, Absolm Chaim was orphaned  in 1900 when his parents were killed at a Chinese Take Away during the Boxer Rebellion.  A Blind Moanin Monk, Master Po Thien, a noodle consultant to the original Panda Express, rescued  young Absolam and returned with him to the Moanastary in Shanghai soon after.
 
Master Po Thien renamed Absolam Qwe Chuāking, in honor of the Swallows that frequented the Moanastary’s outdoor Food Court and Massage Chair emporium.   Although entirely unfamiliar with the Hebrew concept of Teshuva or repentance, it wasn’t long before Master Po Thien recognized Qwe’s natural and innate ability to easily engender quilt in others.  Along with Moanin Master Kan Plain, Master Po Thien started Qwe on a path that would culminate in greatest guilt trip  known to man, The Green Movement.
 
Their relationship was the stuff of Moanin Legend as evidenced from a Moanastary scree written in 1910.
Master Po Thien: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Tom: I hear the sigh of the water, I hear the harping of the crows.
Po: Do you hear your own guilty conscience?
Caine: No, Master.
Po:  Dung Beetle, do you see the lamp and the matches ?
Caine: Yes Master, do you wish me to light it?
Po:  No, I will just sit in the dark.
More than 1,234,567.12 Moanin records were recently handed over to WikiLeeks.  These were extensively reviewed and indexed using Giggle Content Search technologies, well at least 3 have.   Our staff has been pouring over  these records, using mostly beer to do so,  and we’ve translated the text from the native Hakka Pu dialect indigenous to Shanghai to English.  What follows are a few of the translated Moanin proverbs.

“All can know guilt as guilt only because there is innocence.” Master Po Thien
“Be nothing, and you will have everything to gain from others.” –  Master Po Thien
Sigh rather than moan. Whine rather than Cry.  Look aside rather than glare,  for guilt is precious and cannot be replaced.”Master Kan Plain
“To utter a guilty truth is to give it force beyond endurance.”Master Kan Plain **
“Yet it is sighs which blind the man.”Master Po Thien
“When a man can’t see squat, he does no thing.”Master Po Thien

Needless to say, the translation of these ancient tombs is a labor of love.  We hope to publish more shortly, at least before we sober up.  We’ve learned that after Master Po Thien was murdered by jealous scion of the Chinese Court, Khan Tem Peht, Qwe abandoned the Moanastary on a quest to achieve remorseless enlightenment and to seek out his mishpokhe vortsl ***.   The records seem to end when in 1929  Qwe finally locates his long-lost brother Chuck  in the West Hollywood Convent of Guilty Pleasures where he had been imprisoned  by the infamous Sisters of Nunjitsu and  the Penitents of Contrition.

Remember too, it hurts when we do this, but we do it so you don’t have to.

* Nèijiù Shuòshì translates as “Guilt Master” in English or האשמה הורים in Hebrew.
** Some have suggested that early translations of these proverbs appear to have been given over to Rush Limbuagh, Chris Mattews and Anne Coulter.
*** Loosely translated from Yiddish to Family Roots…

Categories: Humor, Parody, Rants, Society, Technology

and they’re OFF!

South Carolina, a state I consider as somewhat serene, cultured and quiet, where people play golf in pastel polo shirts and white-linen chinos, eat crab pots, and enjoy a refreshing toddy on the porch, was one of the more interesting topics this week. 

First, my pal Dan retold a story about a discussion on a Tour of Charleston he and his wife took in  a few years ago.  The guide was relating how a person had to be able to trace their local ancestry back at least 5 generations to be considered a “South Carolinian”.   When asked what you would be considered if you say could only trace your South Carolinian roots back to say 4 generations, the guide replied…”Why you would be “OFF!”,a was anyone who didn’t meet the accepted criteria; anyone OFF wouldn’t be taken seriously and when described, native South Carolinians would describe them as, “well you know, he’s just OFF!”

 Then came the news results and stories regarding the State’s Democratic Primary and the winning candidate, one Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed and frankly, rather bizarre individual.  Alvin won the primary over a much more  mature well-considered and some say well-known judge and former state legislator, Vic Rawl. 

The losing candidate had campaigned vigorously according to all accounts and while his campaign funds only amassed a bit over 55 of incumbent conservative Senator DeMint’s 3.5 million dollar campaign budget, he was expected to win at least the Democratic nomination.

Alvin Greene won without campaigning, speaking, without staff, without a web site.  In fact he only checks his email once a week or so at the library and doesn’t own a cell phone.

He was also been arrested this past November and felony charges are pending for ” showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm.”

This whole store thing is simply mind numbing, stultifying, and bizarre!  So, given the nature of this campaign, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting  Mr. Greene’s acceptance speech, in a manner that native South Carolinians should appreciate.

“First off, to the Democratic Party of South Carolina,  I ‘m not gonna back off just cause you got that far off look.   Ok, maybe I bit more off then I can chew with that sweet young thing and we got off on the wrong foot, but once she see’s I’m a bonafide US Senator she might not tell me to eff off. 

It’s not like I won Scot Free or got off on Vic’s loss.  So just ease-off and take a load off while I sit on the porch just a chip off the old block, where I might even nod off.  And maybe I’ll just take tomorrow off, I got no boss to tell me off, and  won’t be no skin off your back if I tell you off the cuff just where to get off. 

So I’m not calling this off, and you can call the dogs off.  Don’t try to the bite my head off,  there’s no need to fly off the handle. You’re getting off easy, maybe just off lightly South Carolina, you can;t just write me off!  

It could be worse, you could be Louisiana.”

The lastest new is that Mr. Greene has been certified by the Great OFF State of South Carolina as the OFFicial democratic candidate for the US Senate.  You guys scare the pants off of me!

Much Love,

Tom

Categories: Political, Rants, Society