The tube is off!

After the game tonight I left my grandparents’ house and headed home as usual. I needed to stop off to get some bleach and laundry soap at Meijer, because it was on sale and I hate going to Walmart on any evening. Nothing unusual yet.

I put my headphones on and turned up the iPhone and headed into the store. A little podcast listening while I walked the store was amazing! I didn’t hear the annoying overhead loud speaker asking so-and-so to call such-and-such. Just my podcasts and a little music. I headed up to check out and took out the earbuds long enough to pay. No one said anything and I didn’t notice any weird looks really.  After I paid, I drove home to the sounds of the new Starbucks Free iTunes songs. Not bad really.

Once I got home and had everything put away, I cleaned the bathtub quickly with my newly purchased Comet. A little bleach in the toilet and a quick scrub finished off the chores for the evening.

Now it was “my time.” I could do what I normally do and turn on the TV and just sit here numb and watch whatever the Tivo caught over the last few hours or I could do what I’ve been really meaning to do and start reading again. Books. Not blogs, not weird websites, not Wikipedia. Books. With pages. I went through my bookshelf the other day and moved all the books I own but haven’t read to one side of one shelf. There are about 12 that need to be taken care of. Some fiction, mostly non-fiction. I also realized that I ordered 3 books last week that were going to have to be read. I find that I keep buying books and never read them. Gotta change that, I’m going to start reading again. Books. Tonight I read about 50 pages in a book I’ve been working on for months about the origins of Freemasonry. Its dry admittedly, but I started it, made it 100 pages in and now I am going to finish it. I’ll probably try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, much like I do with Netflix, a documentary, an Office disc, then some random movie, and back around again.

Changing my choices like that keeps it fresh for me. Sometimes I can be analytical considering the consequences of the actual decisions of others, and other times I can let my imagination run wild, thinking of what the characters and scenes actually look like and hearing them saying their lines.

As usual I’m changing things in life for the sake of change mostly. But honestly I haven’t even wanted to turn the TV on tonight and it’s been kind of nice just sitting here in the quiet calm of the late fall evening, just me and my thoughts. Peace, of the mind and of the world, is greatly under appreciated.

Lots going on

Its been a while while since my last post, this seems to be a recurring thing lately doesn’t it? There have been some huge things lately in my life so I feel I should update you:

  • I’m moving! Not this site, me personally. I finally got my act together and found an apartment, it’s smallish but suitable for me. I found a place about half the distance to work as I drive now (25 minutes vs. 60+ minutes) its in a small town which was a big thing for me. I just don’t think I’m ready for living in Indy yet. The rent is reasonable, and more importantly the neighbors are quiet. I know that I don’t want to live somewhere where there is a huge party every night during the weekend. I’ve spent the last two weeks finding all the stuff I will need to move, dishes, pans, furniture, etc. Tonight I got the down to single digits, not counting a huge Walmart trip for groceries and cleaning junk. By the first of August, I’ll be on my own. I’m ready.
  • The other cool thing that has happened recently is that I got an iPhone! This thing is amazing! I’m actually typing this on my phone right now. The keyboard is growing on me actually the lack of tactility on it isn’t so bad and the glass doesn’t get any dirtier than my other phones have, just a quick wipe now and then. Battery life is good, just charge it at night. The functionality is perfect for what I need, EDGE isn’t so slow really compared to my SLVR and RAZR from before. Wi-Fi is amazing of course. Syncing works well enough, I’m not an Outlook centric person though. The iPod functionality is cool, using the enclosed headset is awesome with the little thingy on the cord for mic/iPod control. All in all this is the best phone I’ve ever owned. I was just stopped by the waitress to demo it for her, she was floored along with the rest of the gathered crowd. That’s honestly my only concern with this thing, noticability and theft. This phone is a bit large and the huge screen doesn’t help make it any less noticable. Coolness trumps danger though in this case.

I’m sure there have been more things going on lately, mostly just work and hanging out though. My life just hasn’t been that eventful lately at least not incredibly anyway. I’ll try to do better but no promises
as the move nears, stay tuned.

I can’t imagine being an immigrant now

I have been working on this post for quite some time, I just can’t seem to get it finished. But on the week that we celebrate being Americans and all that it stands for, I am releasing it anyways. I hope that it makes you think about those around you who may not be natural born citizens or even those that are but are of a different race than you are.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an immigrant now, whether from Mexico, South America or even Europe and the Far East. Lets ignore the huge problem that America seems to have with people of the Muslim faith and those from Arab countries for now.

I was at a store the other day where a Latino couple and their two children were purchasing some things, home products, toothpaste, toilet paper and the like, trivial things really. The couple were discussing their purchases, I can only assume that’s what they were talking about, they were speaking Spanish and my Spanish is not so good. They were still a few people back in line so their conversation wasn’t holding anyone up or slowing things down in the least. I noticed the people around me.

The stares that these people were receiving were cutting, like the wind on a January morning. The lack of respect that others had for them, they were lesser people, they weren’t good enough to be in that line. They didn’t deserve to buy the things we were all buying at that store. I was ashamed of my countrymen. I was ashamed to say that I was American in that small moment.

I love America, the things we take for granted in this country are amazing, the things we do cherish are even more breathtaking. I can sit here and write this without the fear of someone coming to attack me or my words. I can travel about the country without regard for where I’m from. The women of this country are (at least in principle) treated on the same level as men, I realize there are still disparities here, but for the sake of argument they are at least similar. We can freely choose our leaders and in fact, have the right and privilege to question them both in their personal character and in their ability to make smart decisions on behalf of and for the entire country. There has been a saying in my head the last few days, “You don’t even know what you don’t know.”

People in this country have their problems, most of it is centered around money and other resources to make our lives a little better or easier. What I think most people don’t know is that in places all over the world, money or other material things aren’t even a thought. Getting through the next day with enough food, water and other basic necessities is more critical than having the latest X-Box game. “You don’t even know what you don’t know.” We have things that others cannot even fathom while they have problems that we cannot being to comprehend.

People who come to this country, either legally or illegally are trying to attain a life that we don’t realize we have. A man once shared a story with me about why he came here. He was well educated at a top Latin American University in computers. He was working for a large computer company and making decent money, not rich, but at least comfortable. He had a friend who was here, no education and no real training who made 5 times as much doing simple labor. This was an easy choice, coming here would allow him to support his family much better and give his children the opportunity for an education that he could only dream of growing up. Why wouldn’t you want to come here?

Sure the immigration system in this country is completely messed up. No matter what side of the aisle you come from, its clear that things need to change. Reforms must be made and the process must be streamlined, immigration costs money and we as taxpayers will ultimately pay for a sloppy system. I will keep my explicit opinions about immigration silent for now, but I think we should all take a stand and demand reforms.

Seeing a person of different race, particularly those who do not speak English well should not make you think that they are lesser than you. In the movie A Time to Kill, Matthew McConaughey tells the horrific story of a child being sexually assaulted and at the end he says, “Now imagine if she were white.” The jury is visibly moved by the story and when he speaks those words it’s clear that all of them were picturing an African-American girl being attacked. A clear insight to our prejudices I think.

I ask all of my readers to consider that anecdote when they consider people around them who may or may not speak English well. What if the person beside you who looks like they could be from Piedmont, North Dakota suddenly starts speaking in French, German, or Gaelic? Would you think less of them, would you think they were not good enough to purchase toilet paper and shampoo at Wal-Mart on a Saturday evening? Of course not, they why do many of us think that a Mexican-American speaking Spanish should not be allowed to do the same?

Many people believe that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans who want to work, I think otherwise. The welfare system is packed full of people who would rather collect checks and benefits each month than find a job that they consider beneath them. If I were unemployed and had a family to take care of, I would be out everyday working as hard as possible at any job that I could find, from cleaning toilets to flipping burgers. No job is beneath you when you have no job at all. Collecting benefits and complaining that you can’t find a job that is at your level is a cop out, sure some jobs may not pay glamorous wages, I’m sure some can’t even support a family, get two jobs. Make the sacrifice to make yourself better. Take the assistance if you need it, that’s why it’s there but don’t sit around all day doing nothing, collecting welfare and then complain that someone from another country took your job away. Most likely, you wouldn’t do that job anyway.

Farming is hard work. Lots of sweat and muscle power go into a good crop. You must prepare, plant and harvest a field efficiently in order to make a living at it. Harvesting is extremely critical to fetching top dollar for your crops, too early and it won’t ripen properly, too late and it’ll rot, either in the field or before it gets to market. Many Mexican workers work the fields of this country diligently providing the food we eat, they work long, incredibly strenuous hours for what we would consider not much pay. They do this not because they want to feed their WASP neighbors well, but because they want to provide a better life for their families. Isn’t that why we all work, to provide for our families and give them more than we had?

This is a very dear subject to me, I know people and have heard many of their stories. While they may seem tragic to some, I see them as heroic. These men and women are risking their lives and maybe even that of their families all for a small chance at living a better life than those who came before them.

I can’t imagine seeing someone like that and thinking they are less than me. I wish others around me would do the same. What do you think of immigration, not just the policies on immigration but how has it affected you?

A house made entirely of prime numbers

I’m basically just going to do a brain dump for you form the past three or four days since I’ve totlaly neglected my blog this week. The end of the school year is fast approachign and all that stuff is coming due of course. I’m happy to say that now I’m down to one last presentation to give before finals. I only have 3 of those so I feel pretty good about school right now.

Thursday was an interesting day, no one was at school basically and we had our huge paper due. The presentation went well no major foul-ups except that I said Vincennes was in the northern part of the state. Oh well. Thursday we all went out for TNH of course, Kyle joined us too. Softball was a bust, we headed to Jen’s instead. After the “1 block” walk to Blockbuster turned into 6 blocks and a stop at McD’s we started watching Three Amigos. Why? I don’t know. No one watched the movie and we all broke off into little groups and just chatted for a while basically. Brooke, Kyle, and Brittany provided ample discussion although I think Kyle was focusing more on the Yankees than our convo. Nothing else major really….

Friday was work. What a day, a huge new, 30,000 lb machine was delievered. Some adjustments had to be made to the buidling to get it in the door, namely, trimming the posts near the doors so that the machine would fit, did I mention these posts were cement and steel.. Yeah, it was kinda cool. The machine is there now, smells like a new car for some reason btw. Friday night Erin went with her cousin to the ballet and Orion and I headed out for some golf. Actually I taught him how to play golf, or at least attempted too. We hit a bucket at Rice’s and then tried out the par 3 course. The course was in horrid shape, greens were covered in weeds basically. I did OK, better than I thought I’d do after taking all of last year off basically. O did so so, mainly because he’s never hit a golf ball before. We went to Pancho’s got some great food and talked to Martin for a bit. That man is hilarious, a great waiter like him is hard to come by. I’m glad that I have people in places to help me out like Martin and Kevin (my hair guy). A quick trip to Walmart followed. The best part of the night though was a long drive through the country with the radio blaring, I mean loud and proud blaring. I had some country going and I just cranked it up and sang my heart out. I needed a night like that, I just drove around aimlessly and had a great time honesly. Finally though I figured I should head in and get some rest, I got in a little before 12.

Satuday I got up, washed the car (like with a bucket and sponge) and cleaned the whole thing out. Its looking pretty good still I must say. Needs a good wax job and no rain for a bit though. I actually havent’ washed the car very well lately, usually a quick run through the cheap place and that was it, no Mike’s since winter probably and no sponge jobs since before winter. I need to take better care of that thing really. Saturday night, Erin made lasagne and had some friends over. Great food, interesting convos, all in all a good time really.

Today, Sunday, I got up and relaxed. It was so nice outside I didn’t want to do anything but be outside soaking up some sun. We got a new grill so I put that together, seasoned it a bit and helped gma with some stuff. I cooked dinner (hamburgers and hot dogs with grilled onions) and ate too much. After dinner Kyle, Orion and I headed out to the park for some catch, that didn’t last long and we headed to Rice’s for another bucket. I gotta get my swing back, my slice is killing me! A quick stop at Jake’s closed out the night.

Now I’m home, it’s way too late, but I have most of the paper written, I should have been working on it all day but it was way too nice to be inside on the computer. Tomorrow I can finish the PowerPoint and be ready to go for 7pm. I gotta get some sleep.

News of the day…

So I’m cruising the ‘net today, working on nothign as usual… Some interesting stories came up today though, here’s a quick peek:

Curious George co-editor found dead: MSNBC

I think it’s a bit odd that just days before the release of the movie this man who helped write several books and many of the short films about Curious George is found dead in trash bags at his Florida home… Something is up here.
Related note:
The Jack Johnson Curious George soundtrack is pretty good, give it a listen.

Walmart to open over 1,500 new stores in the coming years: MSNBC

They opened 341 last year and are expecting more than that this year. When will it end. I seriously cannot stand to see Walmart in every community. Millions of square feet of empty Walmarts are vacant useless to so many communities around the country because Walmart left for a better deal. Millions of people are without adequate, affordable health-care because of Walmart. When will it end?

New Muncie curfew to hold parents responsible WTHR

Muncie isn’t a large town, but its a college town with plenty of mischief to be caused. For the youth of the city that isn’t yet in college a new law will make parents know a little more about what their children are doing. I know that if I was faced with a fine of up to $2,500 I would know exactly where my child was and when he was in the house. Exceptions have been made to allow for school and religious events. But I think it’s about time that cities got more strict about parents being responsible for their children.

Blogger thinks of starting new category Here

I think I’ll call it “Get off my lawn.” After the supposed stereotype of old men who yell at those “damn kids” to get off my lawn. My soapbox if you will… Any thoughts?

Closing Snippets
Apple unveils new iPod Nano, drops price on Shuffle

Isn’t this thing dead yet, the shuffle is so low-tech.

Alabama church fires

Find them and hang them

Coretta Scott King Funeral

A bit overdone, but she was worth it

Google to pay Dell $1B to put software on new machines

Stop putting extra crap on my computer!

MOVIE REVIEW: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

OK I’m changing the format of these movie reviews a bit. No more artwork, no more ready-made synopses, just my thoughts on the flick.

This movie I thought would be in the spirit of Super-Size Me, hard hitting and full of facts. It was full of facts, but I just didn’t seem to be too moved by it. The movie focuses on the Wal-Mart as a huge monster that is taking over America one small town at a time. A good story, but the facts seem to be a bit odd, video of Lee Scott is definitely poor quality, I just feel like this movie could been better. Super-Size Me was a wonderful movie full of demonstratable facts, the guy almost died in the process of making the movie! This movie wasn’t the same, I didn’t feel sick to my stomach after hearing about what Wal-Mart is doing, I just felt like they were huge and there was really nothing I could do.
Yes I believe that Wal-Mart ultimately will lead to the demise of most of the people in this country. Either through low paying jobs, lack of good benefits or just through lose of jobs due to overseas manufacturing brought on by the low price crazy Wal-Martians. I know, I know, I always talk about how we aren’t a manufacturing economy anymore, but producing something in Chine for $0.18 and sellling it here for $9.96 just doesn’t seem right when workers are not making enough to pay for adequate healthcare for their families. I know quite a few people whose livelyhoods depend on Wal-Mart, I mean no disrespect to them whatsoever. But clearly something has to change with the economy of Wal-Mart, people cannot be paid low wages, expected to pay for their own healthcare and take care of their families. Using the welfare system to make up the difference that Wal-Mart isn’t meeting is not a solution to not paying your workers enough. Being deceptive about overtime, advancement, and benefits is not the way to run a business.

I can’t say that this movie necessarily changed the way I feel about Wal-Mart, I still loathe shopping there most of the time, but it does make me appreciate the hardships that employees put up with while working there.

One last thing: Walmart’s net income was $2.3 Billion dollars in the quarter ending October 31, 2005.

I miss Hills

Hills LogoDo you remember Hills department stores? I know I do and honestly I miss it. Imagine something between Walmart and KMart I guess. Not white trash really, but definitely not a fine department store. I remember going there as a child with my grandma many times. It always seemed that I could find something there that I wanted to buy with what little allowance money I had. I even remember one time (in their prime) we found a Power Rangers Megazord! Now I’m not talking about the new Power Rangers, I’m talking about the original ones, , the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the ones that had the toys that everyone wanted but no one could find. I found it and I got it! I was never more happy about a toy than getting that Megazord. Anyways. Hills was never a hugely popular store, they had decent prices from what I can remember but nothing extremely low or high. They had a small snack shop in the entry way where we would almost always get popcorn and frozen cokes.

Hills closed in Kokomo around the middle of 2000 from what I can remember and I found out on the ‘net that it was aquired by Ames Stores and eventually all Hills stores closed.

How sad, another part of my childhood ripped away from me. I miss you Hills, and your semi-low prices, salty popcorn, and brain-freeze inducing frozen cokes. Thanks for the memories…