Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Terrible Day

It started around three AM. I couldn't sleep. I was alternating between too hot and too cold. A fever. My throat was sore and my sinus cavities felt swollen and enflamed. I had a splitting headache. If I stood up, I felt dizzy.

I lay in bed until my alarm went off at ten after six this morning. I got dressed for work, brushed my teeth, made my lunch, and then headed out. Traffic wasn't as bad as usual. It's funny the difference five minutes makes on my morning commute.

I was the first one at work. No big deal. Kind of nice, in fact.

The first job of the day is a simple one. Add a plug above a woman's fireplace for her new flat screen television. We got the job through Kelvin, an audio visual guy who sends us business. I spent most of the next three hours crawling under this woman's house. It was covered in spider webs when I went in. I was covered in spider webs when I came out. Did I mention that I'm terrified of spiders?

The next job was just installing some fixtures and plugs on the exterior of a house that just had a huge remodel. The problem was that the company that originally wired the house is nothing but a bunch of idiotic crackheads. So a couple of hours worked turned into two hours of overtime.

By the time we got back to the shop it was after five PM. The bank I use at one time kept their drive through open until five-thirty. Not anymore. So I couldn't deposit my check. That means the five dollar transaction from this morning will probably turn into a twenty dollar transaction.

I went to WalMart, where I used to work, because they do payroll check cashing for a three dollar fee. I would have waited until tomorrow, but I was completely out of gas and wanted to get something quick to eat.

I stood in long line for fifteen minutes, only to be told, "We don't case hand written checks." But it's a payroll check. "Sorry, we don't cash handwritten checks."

That led to me having to borrow ten dollars from a co-worker, and good friend, so that I would have enough gas to make it to work in the morning. I almost ran out of gas just getting to his house.

Now I'm home. I'm tired, I don't feel good, and I'm hungry. So I'm going to eat while watching A Fist Full of Dollars, then I'm going to shower, and then I am going to bed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Follow the Link!

There is and exceptionally good post from another blog at the end of this link, so follow the link:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Robert's Picks

Right now I'm reading:

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force (Fury) by Aaron Allston (good)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (very good)

Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanebko (good)

I'm watching:

Tombstone (excellent)
I'm listening to:
Black Snake Moan (Music from the Motion Picture) (good)

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Halloween Costume

My friend is throwing his annual Halloween party, and I've been having a lot of trouble coming up with a costume idea. I wanted to be a crazy Scotsman, but finding a decent kilt at a reasonable price is a bit difficult. So I had to go in another direction.
On a whim, I decided to go as a tin star sheriff from the days of cowboys and indians. Then a lightbulb went off, and I thought...why not go as The Man With No Name (or Blondie, in one movie)?
And so I dusted off my hat, scuffed up my boots, borrowed a Mexican blanket, and found a black bandana to wear around my neck. I'm going to look for a shirt and pants that match what Clint Eastwood wears in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but if I can't, any old jeans and shirt will do.
I'll probably buy a cap gun and spray paint it black or something for a six shooter. I might have to rig myself a holster and gun belt, but we'll see. This is going to be a fun Halloween.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Little Trip

I spent last weekend in a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN. It was a great trip. I really enjoyed my time up that and wish I could have stayed longer. The whether was not as nice as it could have been. It had rained the first day and was wet when we got there. It was cloudy and overcast the second day. But the final day (Sunday) it cleared up a lot. Here are a few pictures:

Friday we arrived kind of late so we stayed in the cabin. It was a nice night.
Saturday we did some sight seeing around Gatlinburg and drove along a motor trail that went through a part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Saturday night we had dinner at the Hardrock Cafe, which I really enjoyed.
Sunday we had to be out of the cabin by 11 am. That wasn't so bad, but the fact that Sunday was the first clear day where we could really enjoy the great view we had was kind of depressing. We did go into the Park again before driving home and managed to take some great pictures of the amazing scenery.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking A Little Vacation

This Friday I'm taking a trip to Gatlingburg, TN with a lady friend of mine. I love the mountains and plan on spending some time in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I could use a little vacation with all of the stress I've been under lately with everything going on in my life. I'm really looking forward to the trip.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures when I get back, and I'll try to share them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: A Review

Just so you can't scream I didn't tell you, this is a review intended for those who have seen the movie.

I just finished watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I did not have the opportunity to see it in theaters and after an assortment of mixed reviews I had my doubts as to whether or not I would enjoy it. I rented it today and I have to say that after watching it...I LOVED IT!

The story was something completely new...yet a subject I've always thought would make an interesting movie/story/book/whatever so I can't say I was disappointed. I enjoyed the play between the characters Mutt and Indy. I thought the change in Indiana's attitude toward Mutt after he finds out that they are father and son was hilarious. And this movie had one of the best endings I have ever seen. It made me laugh and ask, "When will the next one be out?!"

Now, I won't lie and say they're not some disappointments in this movie. I don't think the Soviets made a very convincing enemy. They just were not as menacing as the Nazis. I can't quite put my finger on why, but they weren't. I guess they just never came close enough in the movie to winning to make them seem like a real threat. I also think that there was a lot of stuff thrown in that just wasn't necessary (the natives towards the end of the movie should have been left our...OR when they were slaughtered by the Soviets it should have been in such a way that made you feel some real horror instead of the muted way in which it was done).

Watching some of the special features I learned that Mutt's character was originally going to be a girl. That is, a daughter instead of a son. Personally, I think that would have been a better way to go. And I think the main villain should have been a male character, or at least a much more menacing female (that could have been portrayed against a strong female heroine!).

Anyway, to sum up, there were some really great lines in the movie and some funny scenes that fit the whole Indiana Jones series very well. Overall, I liked it a lot and I'll buy it sometime. I've got my complaints, but I enjoyed it. I wish I had seen it in theaters. And I sincerely hope there are more to come because it can be done.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've been in a very bad mood the last couple of days. I can't really explain it. Things just aren't quite working out the way I need them to in order to be in a good mood. I feel like I need to make some serious changes in my life, but I don't really know where to begin or how.

I'll be getting most of my debt paid off in the next four or five months (with any luck) and that will certainly make life a little easier. I'm going to be able to put some money into savings and live comfortably, I hope. I should also (with a little luck) be back in school in January. I don't know it for sure, but that may help improve my overall outlook.

I spent a long time feeling like I was just treading water and getting no where in life. I was working a night job that was causing me to fall behind in school, the bills just seemed to get bigger and bigger no matter what I did to save money, and my personal life was falling apart in every way.

Every time something would happen to make me think things were looking up so that I could feel some relief and relax a little bit something would fuck that up. And honestly, usually what fucked it up was me breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing a little bit. As soon as I did relax things fell apart, leading me to believe maybe they weren't so good from the start.
Some things have improved, and I won't deny it. I've a got a new job that is great. It's working out really well so far and I'm happy with it. It's not near as stressful as my last job. So that's a good thing.

And like I mentioned, hopefully in the next few months I'll have most of my debt paid off and that will help relieve a lot of stress too. In the meantime, however, I've still got to deal with it, and I've also got to cope with the fact that it may not get paid off as soon as I want.

The thing that is bothering me the most is probably my personal life. What's new, right? I'm spending time with friends that I have not spent time with in couple of years. I like that, but the fact remains that, for me anyway, there is still some discomfort that kept me away so long in the first place.

I also feel like there are a lot of friends I have that I keep in touch with via phone, IM, etc., but who I would like to actually be doing things with and we never seem to find the time to do anything. I mean, damn, I'd love to just get lunch or see a movie or somthing. Maybe go check out a special exhibit at the museum or go for a walk in a park. But no. It never happens.

And then there is my romantic life. Ha. Who the fuck am I kidding? That's always been one of the hardest areas for me to have any success in, and that hasn't changed even today. I really don't know what the fuck I'm doing wrong. It seems like every time things are going good, it's just a sign for me to prepare for them to go bad. I'm sick of that, but I don't know what to do about it.

Anyway, in sum fucking total things kind of suck right now. There has been improvement, but, frankly, as good as that improvement is, it's not nearly been enough to overcome this giant pile of shit that is my life.

And, yeah, in most areas I can see that things are getting better and it seems like they will continue to get better. But I'm coming to realize that 'some' things being good doesn't matter. It's got to be all good. If it's not all good then it's all tainted by the bad.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not searching for perfection. I don't want a perfect job. I want a good job. And I've got it.

All I'm saying is that I want a good job, a good financial outlook, a good education (or to be on the path to one), a good all around personal life. I don't think that is too much to desire, and I don't think it's an impossible goal to want all of that. Too many fucking people I know, or know of, have it.

And no, it's NOT perfect. But it is good. And I'm feeling a little fucking left out at the moment.
So. I want to work on that. I'm trying to work on that. And I'm trying new strategies. For instance, I'm trying to feel my way through some things. I've always relied on my head, my ability to reason, but that hasn't always led me to a satisfactory conclusion/solution. Logic dictates that I try something else, and see if that works. Identify what I WANT, not simply what my reasoning tells me I NEED or SHOULD HAVE. Then I'm going to to go after those wants. I've already outlined them above.

Now I just have to figure out what is going to be the best way to go after them. Some are easy. Other's are not. And most unfortunately, some depend on other people. I hate depending on other people. But hey, I'm a human being and we are social creatures.

Robert's Picks

I'm reading:

Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey (excellant)

The Last Centurion by John Ringo (disappointing)

To Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein (good)

Leviticus (dry)

On dvd I watched:

Ironman (one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.)

The AMA's Proposal for fixing the health care system

Just finished reading the AMA's proposal for fixing the health care system at Voice For the Uninsured.

I could support it if some changes where made. One thing that would have to go would be this:

People who are uninsured despite being able to afford coverage should face tax implications.

What the fuck? Here is my problem with this...they want to give a tax break to anyone who gets insurance (I think currently you can only get it if you have insurance through an employer). I like that idea. But what about those of us who don't want insurance? Why should we (I'm one of them, currently...had it...didn't use...couldn't have used it if I was sick why pay for something I won't and can't use, right?) be punished? Shouldn't we get a tax break? No, no...I'll do you one better. Shouldn't we get a tax refund? You know, shouldn't we get that money back in our fucking pockets since we aren't going to be using it for the purpose the government took it from us for? I think so.

The AMA doesn't. They want to do this with it:"1. Subsidies for those who most need financial assistance obtaining health insurance.This assistance could take the form of tax credits or vouchers, should be more generous at lower income levels, and should be earmarked for health insurance coverage. It is important to note that the government already gives people financial assistance to buy private health insurance—well over $125 billion each year—with an employee income tax break on job-based insurance that is hidden from public view. This tax break gives more assistance to those in higher tax brackets, and gives no assistance to those without employee health benefits. Shifting some or all of this assistance to tax credits or vouchers for lower-income people would reduce the number of uninsured and improve fairness in the health care system."

Now, that doesn't sound so bad. Why should people in higher tax brackets get a bigger break? It couldn't be that they are paying more in taxes, could it? It couldn't be that they probably pay higher premiums because they BOUGHT more coverage, could it? Oh, and if instead of buying insurance and taking this big tax break if you are in a higher tax bracket and choosing instead to just pay for your health care needs out of pocket, what happens?

People who are uninsured despite being able to afford coverage should face tax implications.

Sounds like you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. You make good money; therefore, you are in a higher tax bracket. Currently, if you bought job based insurance you get a tax break. The more taxes you pay, the bigger the break you get. The proposed plan would change this so that tax break is shifted to people who 'need' your money more than you. Currently, if you choose to opt out of job based insurance you still pay higher fucking taxes but you don't get a tax break.

Hmm. Okay, so the what would the new plan do to you if you choose not to be covered by insurance when you can pay out of pocket for coverage?

People who are uninsured despite being able to afford coverage should face tax implications.

If you have not figured that statement out, it means if you can afford insurance but don't have it, you are going to get hit with higher taxes. Guess what? That is going to fuck people with less money more than it's going to fuck people with a lot of money.

If you have a lot of money, you're fucked and paying high ass taxes either way, currently or under the new plan...unless you get job based coverage and then you get a tax break.
Now, if you are just a cunt hair away from being broke, if you have just twenty bucks a week to spend on whatever you want you could, depending on where you work, put that money into getting health care coverage. You would be able to afford just enough so that you would be covered fairly well. But you wouldn't have that extra twenty bucks anymore. And guess what? When you get sick, you get to pay a deductible, and then you get to pay, probably, about 20% of your medical expenses on top of that. If you're lucky. Oh, and if you don't feel like fucking doing that, under the current plan you get to keep your twenty bucks...maybe put some of it, or all of it, in a rainy day fund for bad times...or maybe you spend it on a few luxury items like cheap chinese food, a new cd, a date with a nice girl or guy. Really, it doesn't matter what you do with it. You fucking earned. You can get insurance or use the money for something else. It's your choice.

Under the AMA's proposal....

People who are uninsured despite being able to afford coverage should face tax implications.

As fucked as it is, and I admit it's fucked, under the current system you can get health care coverage and pray you never get sick because your medical bills are still going to be crippling if you don't make a lot of money. (If you do make a lot of money, you're fucked pretty much either way when it comes to taxes, but you can still afford to pay the docs without it causing you to lose your house or your car whatever the system is.) Under the new system, you have no choice. If you don't buy health care coverage you are punished with 'tax implications.' If you do buy insurance you are basically paying for something you hope you will never have to use because you're still going to have to pay co-pays and deductibles you can't afford even in the lowest tier of coverage.

I like having a choice. I don't like having no choice. One way I can keep my money and take my chances. If I get sick, I'm fucked by medical bills. If I don't get sick I've got some extra money, that I earned through my labors, that I can use for what small pleasures I can find to use it for (savings, CDs, Chinese food, ammo, dates, whatever). The other way I can pay, and STILL get fucked by the medical bills if I do get sick, or I can choose not to pay and get fucked with taxes...oh, and if I choose to pay and don't get sick then I'm just broke.
Fuck the AMA and their plan. Why don't we pass a law that says all the members of the AMA must work 1000 hours a year in free clinics, pay for all medical supplies they use and prescriptions they write, and take a tax break for 50% of what they spend? I like that idea better.