29 September 2014

You've got to try

I'm starting something today. Because "someday" isn't a day of the week, as a FB post so recently reminded me. And because I'm languishing again - on the downward slope of my career's many ups-and-downs. I had a somewhat sustained uptick on that front this year, with promises from management, encouragement from co-workers, and productivity increases on my own. But alas 'things fall apart'. What do we do when things fall apart? We pick up the pieces and build something new. As too often in my life, I let things happen to me because I have a hard time making a choice on what I want to happen. As a web developer by trade, I'm expected to move along with the challenges of the digital ecosystem - tacking on new skills and knowledge as fast as I can. Meanwhile, I'm asked to maintain antiquated systems and fulfill orders even while my expertise, skills and knowledge is ignored. My fault as much as theirs. I'm not a dynamic personality. I can become one - but have been unable to sustain it for long in this environment. Either it's just not me, it's just not the right place, or I'm just not up to the challenge. So I think - what do I really want to be doing? I've told myself over the years - on college, after, when I became a father, when I was let go at my last job, and now - that I should be a writer. I love words. I love to create. I love the feeling of sculpting words, fashioning their sounds and meaning into something more than the words themselves. It's poetry, really, that I loved. I wrote tonnes of it in college. Fueled by my LDR and my loneliness. Then I seized on novel writing - as so many do - as a way to make something out of something that seemed otherwise so disregarded by the world. I've yet to complete a novel. I grow tired of sustaining the action. I was close - by NANOWRIMO standards - one year and then the month ended and I lost steam. I have stumps of others, protruding from the vacant fields of my mind and I wonder - should I let them grow and then either flourish into something grand or even just coppiced for other things, or should I pulled them out roots and all and let the land die? To be used for something else, to be sure, as that landscape represents so much time dedicated to these dead things... Well today I'm choosing life. To be a writer means to write. And I must therefore write. More than ever before - or at least more regularly. I'd like to do it twice - 2 hours a day. Lunch and post-bedtime, I think. Then the fears creep in - what about the time I should spend on health, spouse, kids, home, pets, family, career? Well - solving the last one now. Because I'm choosing this career. I chose another one because it was something and I feared my abilities. And I made something out of it - 14 years of something, damn it. Now I have more than 40 left... I should make the work of my life as important as the rest of my life. I'm a writer. I shall write.

23 March 2009

Feingold, Ryan promote line item veto plan - JSOnline

"The Congressional Accountability and Line-item Veto Act would allow the president to propose removing earmarks from legislation that lands on his desk and send them back to Congress in one package for quick votes. The House and Senate would have 12 days to bring the package of line item vetoes for a vote with a simple majority voting in favor of keeping them in or deleting them from the budget."


Feingold's plan sounds great to me. Except that it says: "Congress can't do it's job, so maybe the President can do it for them".

It's Congress' job to legislate, but they can't control the destructive behavior of earmarks. There was a lot of talk about it in the last year, but nothing's been done. It's understandable why not. It's the MoC's bread-and-butter. They get and maintain their support at home by slipping in payouts to pet constituent's projects. They get other MoC's to accept it because they'll trade votes for their bills and amendments.

"It's the way things get done," they say. One of my own state's reps, Obey, has said that nothing can be done about it. At least Feingold and Ryan are trying (even if it's just symbolic, 'cause, let's face it, how many MoC's really want to give legislative power away to the President?).

Until people get pissed enough to vote out their own representatives and Senators for this crap, we're stuck with it. Thanks to Feingold and Ryan for pointing out that our lawmakers aren't doing their job.

16 March 2009

Suck it up, conservatives!

A lot of conservatives and business-minded folks are loudly claiming that Obama and the Democrats are trying to kill American capitalism. Quite frankly, I'm worried about the debt and the dependence on the government that the stimulus and other initiatives could create. And at the same time, I'm a little happy that the folks who have been trying to game the system for the past 20 years and been the driving force behind the outrageous consumption and the creation of non-productive industries (like the mortgage market and futures market) are the ones being hardest hit. Cry all you want bankers and brokers, but you generated the wealth of the past 20 years on a foundation of myth and lies. If you want to play by laissez-faire rules, adopt one rule better: "Don't be a dick". Stop trying to screw the other guy out of a dollar or game the system. If you can't be honest, then screw you and bring on the regulation.

And I'd like my 401K money back, please. Hope you had a fun time with it.

11 March 2009

Twitter / SenJohnMcCain and earmarks

Senator John McCain twittered last night: "did you know in 1991 there were 546 earmarks in appropriations bills - today, nearly 9,000"

The last couple of years saw the height of anti-earmark rhetoric in the public and the press, and it seemed with both sides arguing for reform in the 2008 elections that we might see some changes.

While I support many of the programs that would be funded by federal earmarks, I'm quite sure there would be a better way to fund them than this process.

It seems like bills should be voted on according to a defined set of initiatives and principles, rather than a hodgepodge of tacked-on amendments to specific pet projects of MoCs and their constituents. Then a MoC could be held accountable for their vote on a bill that allowed, say, tens of thousands to a gang-prevention program in South Carolina, rather than being able to have the excuse that it was part of a larger bill and that's what they felt they were voting on.

Also, it would seem more efficient if the State or Local authority could tax and spend on some projects that are primarily local in scope, rather than funneling money to the federal government and then back out to local needs.

There's a lot more to be said on this, and I hope Obama and others who pledged a reformation of the federal processes holds true to their promises and works with MoCs like McCain to make the system work better.

06 January 2009

Reed makes another miscalculation

Reed and the Senate Democrats have made a mistake in inserting themselves in a problem that has too be worked out at the state level. Instead of publicly announcing they were going to do this, they should have worked behind the scenes to streamline the appointment. The Feds have succeeded not only in taking down Blagojevich (though it's an awfully slow take-down, it will happen eventually), but also in damaging the Senate Dems and, to a smaller extent, the Obama administration.

CNN says "Burris denied entry to Senate":

Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, rejected Burris\' appointment on Monday because Burris\' certificate of appointment was missing the signature of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, an aide to the secretary said.

Rule 2 of the Standing Rules of the Senate states that the secretary of state must sign the certificate of election along with the governor.

White has declined to sign the certificate, siding with some Senate Democrats who say Burris should not be seated because of the cloud over Blagojevich.

13 October 2008

Buy! Sell! Stay the course!

Wall Street soars as government pledges bank aid: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

What the hell am I supposed to do? My retirement account is down thousands, but we're supposed to stay the course because they are long term investments that will surely rise back up by the time I retire in 30 or 40 years. Early last week, I was looking at stock prices thinking that if I had a couple of thousand dollars, I should really grab some Google or Apple or something else while the price is down this low. But then they went lower.

Now today, the dow has risen about 400 points. So I could have already made money... but then I'm worried about not just this week but what about this next year? They say it could be a couple of years before we're back to pre-crash levels of production and a solid economy.

I regret not finding money to invest in the 90s. Now that I have a little money, I'm letting the brokers handle everything according to what they know as experts. But aren't they the guys who got us into this mess?

I don't want to be regretting doing nothing 5 or 10 years from now. But my resources are still limited, so $1000 or $2000 really means a lot to my here-and-now. I guess that's my answer. It's not like I'm sitting on a stockpile to invest. Let the market settle and maybe save a little and in the next few months reassess.

I just want my get-rich-quick scheme like everyone else got in 1995 (and then half of them lost in 2000/2001).

12 October 2008

Growing up? Or just older?

Back from wedding weekend and seeing old friends. Though instead of staying up until 2 am watching movies or gaming, we went to a park and watched our kids play.

I Don't communicate as often as I should with people I care about, especially friends. And I have too few friends close by to share new experiences with. I love that we built these bonds in high school (or earlier) and college that have lasted this long, but sometimes it's almost a curse.

Oh well. Had fun. And will have again. And it was great to see the kids playing together.

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