Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm Out

I've come to terms with my need to do more. I let Liz know that I will be looking for other opportunities in 2006. I am doing all I can to prepare the team so that they can work without me. For the most part, they do a great job. There are some things that I do that they don't. I want to fix that. I also have some ideas that I wish to implement before leaving the store.

This was a tough decision for me. I like working with everybody at the store. That's what made it so tough. I want to do other things, and I wish I could take them with me. I can't. I don't anticipate how long it will take me to find the right place to work. I don't want to just jump from one place to another. I want to take my time. So, it may possibly take me months to get out. The point was to let Liz know that I am looking and may find something so that everybody is prepared when it does happen.

It's a way of quitting without quitting. The reason for giving such advanced notice is that so long as I put off making the decision of seeking other opportunities, I was effectively deciding to stay. By telling Liz, I've decided I'm getting out and now I must find somewhere else to succeed. I don't know if that makes sense.

So, if you need a nerdy guy who is a kind of jack of all trades, give me a call. Maybe we can work together. If I don't have anything by this Summer, I will focus on school.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Listen to today's audio post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Things are getting better

You know, sometimes it's tough to see what is important when you are being pulled in a thousand directions at once. You lose sight of where you want to go and wind up getting sidetracked. There are basic demands that a person has that must be met before delving into side ventures. You need to decide what is important and do that. If there is time left, you can do other non-essential work. This applies to your time and your money.

This realization and simplification of life came about when I realized what the financial books were talking about when they say you need to save a part of your money for you and use what is left over for necessities. We have chosen what is important to us in spending our money. If we can, we will cashflow our essentials before delving into our savings. Now we have savings, by the way. So, we distinguish between spending money and our money. Spending money goes to pay for our wants and needs. Our money consists of our savings. We decided we will only spend our money on healthcare; auto repairs not covered by our cashflow; housing, if we can't find another means; electricity, again, if all else fails; and food, if there is no other option. If we have not met our needs, bill collectors can wait. We won't be pressured into using our savings for non-essentials. It's no longer an option.

So, my wife and I are excited to be on the same page, financially, and to actually be accumulating savings. Of course, we still have to increase our incomes and pay off some debts that we have, but things are looking good in that direction. She has good prospects and I have decided to finish school. Unfortunately, we may have to leave the Valley in order to make decent livings. I have not yet decided whether to finish my finance degree or to study auto repair at STC. I am seriously considering auto repair because cars are getting more and more complex. Certification in different types of autos is now a must. ASE is not enough any more. If I am certified, I will always have work. Combined with my business experience, it would not be an issue to open a repair shop. Auto repair is a service that everybody needs. Everybody needs healthcare, everybody needs a funeral, and everybody needs a car. I want to sell something people need rather than guess what they want. Not everybody needs a finance major.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It took a while to learn

I recently came to a realization that took more than 6 years. This has to do with personal finance. I had read a book titled The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. This book is a classic amongst the personal finance books. There is one lesson in there that has eluded me. The lesson is that a part of what you earn is yours to keep. It's a simple lesson. I understood the idea very well when I read it years ago. It is only recently that it not only makes sense. It actually means something to me. I don't know how you do it. I learn things the hard way, usually. Here is what I mean.

Typically, I would cash my meager paycheck and separate 10% into savings. For a while, I stashed cash in a safe deposit box. The stash was basically meant to cover emergencies. And it often did. I would have to pull out money from savings to cover a big bill, or to avoid overdrafting. The net result would be that I would have spent all the money I had worked so hard to earn. So, when an emergency cropped up, I'd be penniless.

I have learned that I must define what an emergency is. From now on, emergencies are health, housing and food, and car repairs. An overdue bill, or other payment is not an emergency. I have discussed this with Alma, and it made sense to her too. She's onboard with the plan. Life is good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I figured out my problem

I figured out my problem, lately. I was just reading the latest issue of Entrepreneur. It's an article called Close Quarters, which is about twentysomethings. The article is a plug for a book about the Quarterlife crisis. This crisis is about some of the following issues:

student loans
uncertain job market
insane housing costs
search for meaning and direction
Although I am past the twenties, I identify with the issues. The quarterlife crisis is different from the midlife crisis in that in the latter, you feel like you're running out of options. In the former, you're paralyzed from all the options from which to choose. That's me right there.

I feel like I can do more, and I get offers from people who want me to join their teams. I just don't know where to go. So I don't go anywhere.

I'm tired of the safe, secure job route. It sucks for me. I want to work where I can go out, find a job, do it, and move on. This is why I was thinking about doing the door-to-door tech work. I want to go out, hunt for prey, kill it, and drag it home. I don't want to sit and wait for it to come to me.

Here are my options:

computer work, networking and other crap. I'd do it door-to-door. As an employee, I could only do networking. There're power tools involved with that.
construction, I've framed, roofed, drywalled, painted, done plumbing, and electricity. Some of the people involved are ... crude. But that's part of the game.
finance. Nah, forget finance. I'd be stuck in a bank or an office somewhere. I love the concept but the job prospects are not enticing.
So, I think 2006 will be about transitioning into a more challenging and meaningful career for me. I remember the days of coming home dog tired from heavy work. It was satisfying because I knew I accomplished something. I could also point to the work I did. I've had odd jobs building and installing stuff where I could do the same in the past three years.

I've known what I have to do. I've just been reluctant. Thanks for listening to my nonsense.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Changes

I read all kinds of books about business, leadership, and money. You
could say I am a voracious reader of these kinds of books. I usually
learn from and use the information I read. Some books are worthless.
I've rarely had a book speak directly to me. I finished reading "Who
Took My Money?" by Robert Kiyosaki. Some of it is a repeat of old
stuff, which is expected. There is one page that reached up and
smacked me in the face. Here are excerpts from it.

-----------------------
Poor people and lazy peple use the word can't more often than
successful people. They use the word can't because its easier than
saying can. If you say you can't do something, you don't have to do
it... even if you can.

It's easy to work hard and go nowhere. It's easy to stick to a job
and blame your boss for not giving you a bigger raise. It's easy to
say 'I can't afford it.' It's easy to say 'I can't do that.' It's
easy to blame your husband, your wife, or your children for your
financial problems.

There are many lazy people who work hard. They continue to work hard
because it is easier to keep working hard than to change.
-----------------------

There is more to the book than that. This sounds harsh out of
context. As much as I try to fight it, fear of change has been
holding me back. I know I can do better. My problem is that I put
myself in a routine, get comfortable, and then expect life to remain
exciting. I need to change.

I posted the above information on the Class of 93 Yahoo Group. I decided to blog this and add to the entry.

In the past three years, I have focused on others' business (minding their business). I need to start changing things around and mind my own business. I have to start looking at my own bottom line so that I can come out ahead. It doesn't mean that I have to stop working for others. It just means that my focus should be my own best interest.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Listen to today's audio post.

Up Late Last Night

I was up late last night working on the China Wok and Quick Wok online menus. You can check out the menus at http://www.thewoks.com and at http://wap.thewoks.com. The first is for regular online browsing. The second is for wireless web browsing. There was a lot of copy and paste involved. Finally, I'm done.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Quick Wok in Mission after work to put letters on the drive-thru window to tell our customers about the site. Hope it makes things easier for them. Last night after closing, I put letters on the Edinburg Quick Wok door too. I just need to do the same for China Wok later. Maybe I'll do that after work today.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

Everybody is sick

This was not a good weekend for our household. We have all got something. I have a headcold. Alma has a viral gastroenteritis. Magnus had vomiting and fever. All except Tien. She has escaped any illness thus far. She'll get hers. She was boasting about hour good fortune today. We all know that this will bring heaps of bad luck upon her. We are not well yet, although we are close to it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Small Victory

Today I learned something that is really useful. I've had a cell phone for a while now. I only started text messaging when I worked at T-Mobile (I had practically unlimited sms). Most phones have a feature called T9 or Predictive Text. If you've ever used it, or tried using it, it freaks you out. This happens if you try to use it the same way that you use the normal text entry. Once you learn T9, which I did today, text messaging is SO MUCH EASIER! In fact, it was so easy that I taught Alma, my wife, how to do it in less than one minute. Now, she is doing it too. You can learn T9 by visiting http://www.t9.com and using the demo.

There are many advantages to T9. First, it's faster. Second, it learns words that you use. And, third, it's really easy to learn once you understand the concept. So, visit the site and learn T9. If you use SMS often, you'll be glad you learned.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

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Search for Financial Peace

Alma and I are on a quest to find Financial Peace. I've read Dave Ramsey's book, Total Money Makeover. I've joined us up at MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com. We made our first budget this weekend for the month of November. We are at Baby Step #1. We need to have a stash of $1000.

Here are my challenges. I want to go to school in the Spring. It seems I will have to put that off until Summer or later. I've been cutting monthly expenses, especially the automatic payments. Those, in conjunction with dining out and other impulse buys, break our budget every month. Of course, I always get the dirty look, "where did you spend our money?" I don't know, I just paid the bills and got gas.

Anyway, by eliminating these little auto payments, I am preventing some of the problems that result in bouncy checking. I should eliminate Paytrust too. I'll just have to be more careful not to lose bills. The extra checking account can go too. We are being nickel and dimed to debt.

One thing that we have done to help us "disappear" and work in our favor during tight budgets is using prepaid phones. Alma has a prepaid T-Mobile and I have a prepaid Virgin mobile. Our spending isn't any more than it was when we had regular post-paid accounts. What is best is that if we have tough times, we don't have to worry about making payments per our contracts. If we use less, we pay less. If we use more, we pay more. If we are broke, we don't use. Most prepaid services have a period of inactivity that they will allow if you run out of money on your account. Usually, it is 90 days.

I'm looking for more places to cut the budget.

Monday, October 24, 2005

RGV Life Work

RGV Life

I did some work for RGVlife tonight. It's late. Going to bed. Have to work tomorrow morning at Confetti.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Working the Confetti Website

I've been busy working the Confetti website. I added a blog to the site. This is to make us more human to the public. I think a lot of businesses are considered to be cold and impersonal places where only business happens. Confetti is more than that. We're people. We have repeat customers who frequently visit. They don't go there for the prices. Many people know that they can go to Wal-Mart for the EDLP (Every Day Low Price). Then, why do they keep coming back? We should ask that. We hope it's because we are friendlier than the other stores and because we do more.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lazy Sunday

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Woke up late. Had oatmeal and eggs for breakfast. Going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Alma has a headache. Lazy day. Watching movies.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Today was a good day

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On the way to Edinburg. Went bike riding with Liz this morning. Details on the route we took. Family breakfast. Chatted with Alma. Napped. Went to work. We had good business today because of new banner. Phone call came in.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Got books at BN. Guerrilla Marketing for Free. What I learned from Sam Walton. Enjoyed Sam's book as much as Jack Welch's book. Going for kids.

Tuesday. Going to Edinburg. Late customer. Late to do the rounds. Morning, dropped off kids. Spent some time with Magnus. Wanted me to stick around and watch superman with him. Gave my Virgin Mobile phone to my mother-in-law. Went home, posted blog. Washed dishes. Have fire ants. Put amdro. Went to work. Unique merchandise. Working tomorrow morning. Trained Erica. Read paper this morning. Monitor put Edinburg news on Mission Monitor. Going to QE. McAllen may be closed. Tomorrow, will get meat grinder, take to CW. Need to take cash to CW anyways. Pick up kids from Madero. Alma is waiting for me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Review for Oct 3, 2005

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Woke up late. Went to work. Got new nokia phone, activated. Had dinner. Did rounds. Ran into Eddie at QM. Reflections over money.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Woke up late, went to Madero for menudo. Had lunch with Cindy de Leon at Peter Piper Pizza. Came home, posted on rgv blog. Helped Alma with laundry.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

11th Anniversary

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Today was our 11th Wedding Anniversary. We had a pretty ok day. I got Alma a copy of The Phantom of the Opera dvd. Not a pirated copy of the DVD, a store-bought copy. I bought some roses too, but I really only wanted to give her one with the gift. The others are bonuses. She really liked her gift.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tien was sick last night

Alma told me this morning that Tien had a fever last night. Alma decided against sending Tien to school. I'll drop her and Magnus off at Madero.

I have a podcast address

I have a podcast address if you'd like to hear the crap I call in.

http://shainelee.audioblog.com/rss/shaine_mata_uncut.xml

New Employee

We just got a new employee at the store, Erica. She is friendly, easy to talk to, and seems able to get right to work on whatever needs doing. I let her do a twinkle candy bouquet after showing her to do one, and she did well. She needs to work on her bows a little, but that comes with practice. Today was just a long orientation. Tomorrow, we'll get into the serious business.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Multiple entry for Sept 26

New hire at work. I'll need to train. Entry for Mission. And, end of day review.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Aggregate entry for Sept 25, 2005

Here are three entries I made for today. I am testing out the playlist feature for Audioblog.com.

Summary: woke up late, posted to blog, went on a date, went to UTPA, and fixed computer.

A Disturbing Dream

The other morning, I awoke at 5:30 in the morning. Normally, the alarm wakes me up to get my daughter up for school. What awoke me was the need to go to the bathroom, but I could not sleep afterwards. What kept me awake was the dream I had prior to waking up. In my dream, my life was different.

Alma and I were divorced. In the dream, it was already a done deal. We had long separated and worked out our issues. There was no going back. We had separate homes. She had remarried. Tien was staying with me and Magnus was staying with his mom. Alma also had a stepson with her new husband, about Tien's age. In my dream, we lived within walking distance of each other, which probably served to shorten th length of the dream.

What was really disturbing was the emotion of the situation. I felt happiness for Alma, that she was able to move on with her life and find happiness without me. I did, however, feel a sense of loss. This was similar to the loss you feel when somebody dies. It was a longing for something you'll never have again. A longing for the intimate conversations, the sharing a bed, and the common sense of purpose. Being married, it's nice to have somebody who shares your goals and sense of direction. I no longer had that connection with Alma. It was just me against the world. Alma had that connection with somebody else. She had different goals and a different direction.

In this dream, there was no bitterness or hatred. We had simply grown apart and could not see ourselves in the same relationship as we had for so many years. What kept me awake was what I was missing in my dream. It carried over into my waking mind from the dream.

It leads me to question. Am I doing everything I can to stay connected with Alma? We hardly get to see each other except on Sundays due to our schedules. If we ever did grow apart, would I accept the change and move on, or would I linger on the loss? Conversely, am I getting what I need out of the relationship? What could I do different to continue the marriage? Did I have the dream as a warning against what might be? Or was it a premonition of what is to come?

I do have a plan in case it all falls apart. I'll never seek companionship from another woman again. If I'm lonely, I'll get a dog. I believe that Alma and I will be family forever because we have children together. I would have the respect and love for her as a family member should things not work out as a married couple. Seeking companionship with another would complicate life with jealousies, Holiday scheduling, and all the nonsense that divorced couples heap upon themselves when they remarry. I'd rather live alone and focus on work and doing those things that I would not be able to do as a married person.

In the meantime, I will do what I can to stay married to this woman. I'll need to be more focused on the family and less on helping others who don't appreciate it and who don't really need my help. I should let go and become the great person inside me who I keep suppressing.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Review of Sept 22, 2005

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Plan for Sept 22nd, 2005

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http://calendar.yahoo.com/shainelee

Learning Playlists

I was just learning how to use playlists over at http://audioblog.com. Using playlists, I can call in a post without publishing. Then, at the end of the day, make one playlist of calls and make one single post. I'll use them later. I don't have a use at this moment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Filling up on gas

this is an audio post - click to play


I filled up on gas before the price gets jacked up again. Also discussing hurricane Rita.

2nd Test Post

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My first entry did not post until I recorded this. I tried a second test recording and both posted.

Test Blog using Audioblog.com

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This is my first test post using the new service through Audioblog.com. I got it going as a journal entry.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Just waiting

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Up late at night waiting. Alma is in pain. I need to wake up early for a bike ride.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Late Entry

this is an audio post - click to play

Late night entry before going to bed. Changed phone plan. Reading Made In America by Sam Walton.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

Good to go

I am good to go insofar as being caught up with my student loans goes, except for an emergency loan at UTPA, which I will be paying at the cashier's office. Costep is happy; Conserve is happy. I am happy. I just need to make Pan Am happy. My admission application is in. I await an admission letter. Things are looking up for school. I will absolutely take my classes seriously. I am living the consequences of not finishing school. Not cool. Once I graduate, I will be shooting for the stars.

No luck

I didn't have an luck finding the lost sales. I have a suspicion of what happened, but no proof. Jason still had me do the rounds last night, so I suppose he generally trusts me to do the job. We have not had a chance to speak yet. I wanted to quit doing the rounds. Alma suggested it would be a good idea. I'll deal with it tonight. I wouldn't mind spending time with the family, although we could use the income. I'm iffy right now. I have debts to pay off so that I can get into school and to achieve some other goals. The extra income, although meager, is steady and allows some planning. For sure, my doing the rounds will have to stop in January. All I would be doing is moving up the schedule.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Aw, crap

I lost last yesterday's sales for Mission. I feel really bad as it is the second time this happens. I remember picking up the money after wrapping it with the rubber band and putting on the summary. I assume I put it in the money bag. I don't know for certain. Usually when I leave the money on the counter, it is next to the register where I put the sales temporarily to leave change. I did not open the bag until Edinburg when I put in yesterday's sales there. That's when I realized, "where's Mission?" I even checked my truck even though I did not open the bag in between locations, just in case.

I don't know what to do. Perhaps I shouldn't close anymore.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Finally, trouble with the bank

I opened up an account with Texas Commerce Bank back in 1999. Soon after, they merged with Chase Manhattan. A couple years later, JP Morgan joined up and the bank became JP Morgan Chase. Now, my bank has merged with Bank One. In all these years, I have not had a problem with my bank. Everything has been straighforward. I deposit, the money goes in, I spend it. No problem. Yesterday, I deposited and nothing happened this morning. So, I went over to my nearest branch and asked. They are sorting it out. In the meantime, they allowed some direct debits from my checking to go through and take me negative. I checked online a while ago and it looks like they found my deposit. When it clears tomorrow, I need to go back and ask for the NSF fee refunded. Overall, I am happy with my JP Morgan Chase & Co. account. This one problem in so many years. Actually, make it two problems. They just changed the automated system so that whenever I call, I get routed to a rep instead of getting my balance from the computer. They are nice, but I don't want to talk to them unless it's something the computer can't handle. I hope that it's the last of my problems for another few years.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Spoke too soon

Having said that, last night we went to Buffalo Wild Wings where I had beer with my dinner. We had an alright time. Alma tried a berry margarita. We both played the trivia game. We wound up coming in 3rd place. What threw us off is that they changed Countdown from general trivia to sports. We are not sports fans, so we blew it, he he. Oh well. There was no prize anyway. Afterwards, we took the kids to Barnes and Noble. I got a Men's Health magazine. They got books and the boy got a train.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

So much, so little

So much is going on in the U.S., the Rio Grande Valley, in Mission, Texas, and in my life. So little of it has direct impact on my life. I am starting to focus my attention on some of the more important things. I am now narrowing down my attention to getting into UTPA and now getting into the ROTC. In order to get into the ROTC, I need to qualify for the National Guard. In order to do that, I must be able to do some of the following:

Run 2 miles in 17 minutes ( 8 minute miles)
do a minimum of 40 push-ups
do a minimum of 45 sit-ups
walk 3.11 miles (5 km)


3' Wall
Lane Guide
Ladder on Ground
Cement Culvert
Cargo Net
Low Crawl Wire
3' Across Jump Box
30" Balance Log
Culver
40" Deep Trench
Horizontal Ladder
Over and Under
Hurdles
Night Trench High Crawl
Window Wall
40" Wall
High Stepper
5' Jump

and I am learning more.

There will be a 10 km march and a 15 km march

It seems I have a lot of work ahead of me to be able to successfully get through basic training. My biggest challenge, for now, is finding out if my injuries will prevent me from completing some of these obstacles. I do need to work on running the miles and on the long-distance marches. I am doing alrigh, as far as the sit-ups and push-ups go. I have the push-up part down. I need to improve on the push-ups. I also need to find out how I am doing on the running part. I should test that tomorrow morning.

I have a lot of work ahead of me. I need to qualify in order to get into the National Guard. I need to be in especially good shape to pull off a medical waiver. This means that I should be in near body builder shape to show the docs that my injury has had no effect on my conditioning. But, with just a few months to go, maybe less, I don't know. I was just looking in the mirror. The beer gut has to go. No more beer or alcoholic beverages other than at special occasions. We don't have many of those, so I should be ok. More news as it comes available.

Leftist Showboat

Here is a story of leftist grandstanding. It's pathetic how artists and other celebrities use a disaster to try to give themselves free PR. Kanye West is another example of an artist moron. These people need to stick to what they do best, entertain. Nobody expects any serious opinions from them because art is generally divorced from practical experience and logic. These are things that traditional people use to shape their thoughts. It's fine to question tradition and the status quo, as artists often do. However, questioning and practical use are often completely different propositions. It is incumbent upon Americans to realize that celebrity has no claim to knowledge and wisdom.

Wishful Thinking

Here is evidence of the left wanting to hurt President Bush for his ineffectiveness in the Katrina disaster relief. Nevermind that most of the crisis management for New York on Sept. 11 was by Rudy Giuliani. The New Orleans Mayor seems unable to do anything or to command any authority. This is a deliberate effort by the media to smear the president with something to fight his great job on Sept. 11.

Ungrateful Punks

Kanye West decided to inject some racial friction into the Katrina Reliefe effort with his recent comment in which he voices some of the nonsense that other black artists like Martin Lawrence say for humor. If you saw Boomerang, you know the comments. How come the black olives come in a can and the green olives are in a jar? The can is another word for jail. Why is it that in pool, the last ball in is the black ball? Why is it that the white ball hits all the others? Martin Lawrence says these absurd things because they are funny. Kanye West shows his level of thinking by muttering similar absurdities. What is really funny, is that you get liberal writers like Robert Hillburn from the LA Times supporting such out of place comments in the middle of a disaster recovery.

The president could not go to New Orleans for very practical and technical reasons. First, where would the president land if he is on Air Force One? Our relief efforts would be much faster if we could fly supplies in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding affected areas. We'd fly supplies in and people out. Immediately after the hurricane and flooding, the only way in or out was driving.

Let's say the President chose to use Marine One to visit New Orleans. It is known that some of the people of New Orleans were shooting at relief helicoptors. Why would a President go where his security cannot be assured? The secret service and other agencies are responsible for his safety. As President, GW is not his own person. He belongs to us, the American people. He and his bodyguards are responsible for his safety. Usually, the Secret Service can make arrangements in advance of a presidential visit with local authorities. How would that happen when the local mayor is afraid to go outside?

The third reason is related to the last one. If the president did go to New Orleans, he would require the police and other services. By being in New Orleans so soon after the disaster, he would have been more harmful to the effort.

Now, referring to the speed with which the relief effort took place. Refer back to the knowledge that airports around the area are out of commission. The only way in or out for supplies is by road. That takes time to load up, deliver, and distribute. If you recall, all helicopters, which don't require an airport, were busy rescuing people from atop their roofs. If they took time out to pick up supplies, many more people could have died. Besides, how many places stock millions of bottles of water, thousands of bags of MREs, thousands of blankets, and other suppplies? It takes time to gather these things and to arrange to transport. Furthermore, once you load things up, you have to arrange to fuel the trucks to get the stuff to the site. With no power, you can't stop at a gas station to refuel. These things take time to arrange to get the job done right.

The fact is, rescue efforts are like emergency room triage. You take care of the more serious cases first and then progressively attend to the less serious issues. For example, first priority is to prevent more immediate deaths. You go out and find survivors and bring them to safety. Once you are satisfied that you have found as many people as you can, you attend to their needs. You bring water, food, and bedding.

As for the difference between looking for food and looting, it's simple. When you look for food, you enter a store or other place and get food then run off to take it to your family. In the case of looting, you enter a store or other place, get some sneakers, jewelry, or some other non-essential item and run off to pawn them. It all depends on what you take and from what store. Grocery store pillaging is looking for food. Sporting goods, shoe store, or other places don't have food, so that is looting.

So, yes, we have troops on site to restore order to the area and authorized to shoot lawless citizens. So far, we have witnessed ingrattitude over what we have been able to do in so little time, complaining about cold food, complaining about the lack of portable toilets, we have seen shooting, looting, and some really base behavior out of some of the residents. I am going to help because it's the right thing to do. However, I am really disappointed by the attitudes of the victims who feel entitled to more. Nevermind that they are alive and have a damn good chance of remaining alive because of our efforts. You people critical of the effort, shut up and do something.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wonder Store on 23rd and Dove

this is an audio post - click to play

If you want to pump gas fast, stop here. Pumps are quick.

Today's Financial Lessons

I was just over at Investopedia.com to read up on some information. One of the current stories is The Indiana Jones Guide to Getting Ahead. I like getting ahead and I like Indiana Jones. This made the article a good read.

In the trading simulator at Investopedia, I am at a $101,243.97; which includes $23,469.97 in cash. I made a good chunk on shorting BIDU. The rest of the gains, despite my capital loss, is from interest and dividends. $271 in interest and dividends last month. My interest and dividends for September, so far, is about $75.

In my real purchases, over at sharebuilder.com, I had three purchases pay dividends last month. That account is not big yet. I'll start working on it later as more cash comes in.

On the retirement front, I am expecting to get another share from dividend reinvestment. I wasted the first few years of the IRA going for growth. Growth is good, but unreliable. I need reliability for planning ahead. So, recently, I exchanged funds from growth to income. So, now I consistently gain value on my IRA every month whether I have cash to invest or not. Income funds have a tendency to trade within a tight price range.

My overall concern, and goal, is to prepare for the coming baby boom retirement. For now, many of the baby boomers arein growth and beginning to exchange. Once they retire, I imaging that growth funds will have people pulling out in droves and income funds will be bringing the droves in. Obviously, growth funds should decline in value and income funds should increase in value with such a massive change. I still have 30 or 40 years before retirement, so I am buying income cheap now.

That last sentence just struck a cord. Buying income. I hadn't thought of the strategy in such simple terms. I like the concept.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Late night

It's late at night. I am listening to today's archived Dave Ramsey show. It replaces the Phil Hendrie Show on KURV. It's been on for about a week. I think I've seen his book at Barnes & Noble. I may buy one. After listening, and knowing that my financial position is undesireable, I am tempted to try some of his advice.

For now, I want to get myself back into UTPA to finish my degree in Finance (ironic, isn't it?). Then, I want to start making money to pay back my debts.

I had been in a funk the past couple days. I came to a realization after speaking to God for a while. I realized that people behave in the way that is natural to them. That is such a relief and disappointment at the same time. What I do is reflective of my nature, except that I can choose t change my nature. Anybody else can do the same. However, in general, most people don't pay attention to their natural behaviour and end up acting it out.

My despair was short-lived. This week is not as stressful as last week. I have been thinking about my need to go back to school in the Spring. I need money. I need to pay back my emergency loan from UTPA. I am willing to give up my two days off from work. I am even willing to put in time in the restaurants to make up some cash. I think that with Alma's raise and my extra effort, we can pay off the loan and maybe even save up some cash. Once I am in school, things kind of build upon themselves. After school, I will have a tough decision to make. How will I help Liz and Jason while I am working elsewhere? Will it be possible?

For now, I can work more hours or I can do some computer work on the side. I have Kathy Masso, who needs some computer work. Marina needs some computer work too. As far as doing more hours, I can let Liz give me more hours at work. If that's not possible, I can work at the Quick Woks doing stuff to earn more income. Good thing about the restaurants is that I can work for cash. This can be great with the time separation between my doing the rounds and the payroll schedule. I would end up with a paycheck every week. Since Confetti and the restaurants alternate weeks, I would have a paycheck each week. On top of that, I'd have the money from doing the rounds every 1st and 15th of the month.

Obviously, I'd be doing stuff to improve the businesses. I wouldn't just clock in and hang out to "kill time". Let's see how I can make this work.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Long Day

this is an audio post - click to play


Long day. Helped World Market Liquor & Imports move out. Learned some things. Alma's upset. Don't want to go home. Nobody to talk to.

Low Spirits

this is an audio post - click to play


Feeling a bit down.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lousy Morning

this is an audio post - click to play



Despite my optimism for the near end of my misery, I managed to have a lousy morning. I spent most of the morning putting out fires.

On the bright side, I had the opportunity to order business cards for http://MissionTexas.net. I made them really simple to emphasize the site and not me. I got the cards with Annette Chavez over at PostNet by Quick Wok at Stewart Plaza. I ordered 1000 for good measure. I still have a ton of the Missionhsreunion.com cards remaining. I think the http://MissionTexas.net business cards should be easier to give away.

I'll be working all day tomorrow and I have a morning delivery. After this post, I am going to bed. I've been working on the new http://thewoks.com website for the restaurants. It's going to take a considerable amount of hours to finish. Once that is done, I want to buy vinyl letters to advertise the site on the doors of the restaurants.

Good night.

Almost over

The crappy work is almost over for the week. Liz and Jason will be back by Wednesday evening. Due to my schedule, I'm screwed all day Wednesday. I need to drop off the kids, get change and deposit, and work the lunch rush at QM. Afterwards, I need to go to work at 3 PM. I'm really getting tired of this shit. It's like they rub my face in it. Here I am, doing everything in my power to keep the operations going. When you total up all the time I put into my work, I get less than minimum wage. My truck is falling apart. I can't afford to get somebody to watch my kids. I can't afford to quit. I'm screwed all around. I have to keep working. I'm glad that they are able to enjoy life. It's my turn. I'm not an employee. I can make a better living elsewhere. I'm with them to help them out and I get a big "fuck you" in return. Every once in a while, I get special treatment. That doesn't pay the bills.

Definitely, I will go back to school and finish my degree. No business venture is going to distract me this time. My first distraction was Handtech. They went under. I tried to keep things going with no success. I tried eBay and fucking Juan Martinez decided to scam me. I had already built up over 100 in feeback. My account was shut down and I still owe money.

That brings me to a realization that ever since I signed on to Confetti, I've been screwed, fucked, cheated, taken for granted, and underappreciated. Now that I add it all up, it's not worth all the crap I've been through. Jason and Liz are nice people, but they have really used me. I'm out.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Andromeda

I was up last night catching up on Andromeda. It appears that there won't be a season 6 of the show. They are sticking with 5 seasons, which is sufficient to go into sydication 5 days a week. Lucky for me there are episode synopses on the website that allow me to figure out what the whole show was about. I figured out that the first part of the show was about putting the Commonwealth back together. In later episodes, when they are in the Vedran system, I didn't really follow. I still don't know what's going on, but thanks to the site, I can figure it out.

It only gets worse

Liz and Jason decided to skip town and head for Dallas. This last minute escapade has left me holding a lot of loose strings. On top of that, I have my own crap to take care of. Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. This morning, I registered Tien at school, took the boy to grandma's, hauled ass home to pick up some stuff, went to PostNet for my mail, went and dropped off a check for Joe to pay the shrimp guy, picked up the change bag at Jason's, went to pay the sales tax, picked up the plumbing snake, gave Adrian (my brother-in-law) a ride home from school, then went back to McAllen to find a payroll processing program, and then I had to go to work where I took some time to calculate the payroll hours. I made some time to call Mission and Edinburg to call McAllen early with their list. When I get to McAllen to pick up the supplies, the bastards didn't have anything ready. So, I got out of there late, which made me late to leave Mission and Edinburg during the rounds. I got back to McAllen without change for tomorrow, which means that I'm screwed out of sleep tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, I'll drop off the girl at school and the boy at Grandma's. I need to finish payroll. I totally must go to the bank to get change because I didn't have any to leave in McAllen. I also have to deposit all the checks. I have to stop by Mission to get ice for McAllen, which I'll have to load by myself. Joe is off tomorrow. All this has to be done before 10 AM so that I can open McAllen on time and be at work on time. On top of that, Sysco and the other company won't leave any supplies without a check to pay them first. Jason only left me enough checks for payroll. On top of that, I doubt that there are enough funds to cover the order.

Wednesday is also going to be a pain in the butt. One of the guys from Mission has to go to a funeral on Wednesday and Thursday, which will leave them shorthanded or without workers at all. So, I may end up having to fill in before heading to work.

I'm beginning to suspect that I am being taken advantage of. I'm too tired to work around the whole preposition problem. I can never get anything done because both Liz and Jason never ante up the money for improvements. They'd rather "hack it" than fix the damn problem. I'm going to ask for a raise and an expense account. This way I can buy what is needed to do what needs doing without having to beg or ask for permission. The biggest problem right now is the problem of supplies. We can't afford to run out of crap as often as we do.

Another idea I have is to ask them both to let me have QM to run on my own. Let me worry about keeping it in good shape and then do the rounds in the evening for Edinburg and McAllen. I can then do odd jobs for the store as needed.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Can't get a break

this is an audio post - click to play

What was going to be a good night goes bad. I just can't get a break tonight. All kinds of stuff is going wrong.

Looking forward to a fun night

this is an audio post - click to play

While heading out to do the rounds, I call in a journal entry with good news and some optimism. Things are going good and I look forward to having a fun evening with my family.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Great News!

The great news is that I will be going back to school to finish my degree. I imagined it would be so difficult for me to get current and go back in. All I had to do was go to CoSTEP, consolidate my student loans, which would bring my account current and defer payments. Now, all I need to do is get ready for the Spring Semester and go to school. I never thought I would be so happy to go back to school.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Long Day Ahead

Today, I've got to do:
  • Drop off kids
  • Cash check
  • Renew License
  • Call mom, wish her happy birthday
  • Deposit
  • Visit CoSTEP, get deferrment
I have until 3 PM, then I have to go into work. I could do plenty of this tomorrow on my day off, but then it wouldn't be a day off. I'll get as much done as I can today. I have a big list of stuff to do in case I finish early, but these are the more important items.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Just Losing It!

I just read an article by a Liberal bastard. What a stupid *$*, !%#@*^%$#%! Who the hell ever said that Saddam Hussein ordered 9/11? NOBODY.

Here is the analogy. You live in a neighborhood. EVERYBODY in town knows that you provide shelter for thieves and killers. You don't tell them what to do. You simply help them with food, shelter, and help them out when they are sick. You don't tell them to steal, but they do. You don't tell them to kill, but they do. Does that mean we don't invade your house and bust your ass? NO! You're just as bad as they are for helping them.

The same goes for Saddam. He did not order 9/11. I agree he had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks. He did provide the terrorists safe haven. He provided them with money. He provided them with health care. So, when the cops (our armed forces) show up to break things up, the whole community (the friggin' planet) is safer.

My sister went to Iraq. She did not want to go. Since she did have to go, she has yet to speak badly of the President or her orders to go. She was with me on the truck when we were going to UT-Pan American as the terrorist attacks happened. She knows what is at stake. It's insulting when liberals claim that our soldiers are brainwashed. Or even worse, claiming that those people in the military have no other way of making it. My sister was already in college. She didn't need more opportunity than that. Her biggest complaint was not the daily mortars or other bombings. That was just routine. Her biggest complaint was the heat and the cold on winter nights.

Sorry, I just lose my patience with these people. Especially when they give the faux concern about our troops. Man, that just makes my blood boil. Fake sympathy is cruel. They don't care about our troops. The more dead troops the happier they feel because it furthers their cause to oppose the war. Normal people would want the mission accomplished with the least amount of casualties. To leftists, forget the mission. If we are committed, the more casualties the better so that we can forget the mission sooner. Thank God that Democrats are losing ground (Conservatives still believe in God and prayer, mind you).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Juan Martinez's License Plate

this is an audio post - click to play

ZHK-76C is the license plate number of Juan Eduardo Martinez, a fellow classmate from the Mission High School Class of 1993 who scammed me out of money when I was down and out, the bastard. I found out later that he scammed a lady out of $40k and another friend of mine out of several thousand dollars. The way my friend put it, he's waiting for Juan to keep searching for the rope that will hang him. I'm going to give this info to the other scam victims.

About my future

I got the ball rolling tonight. I told Jason about my intent to leave Confetti. Tomorrow I will tell Liz. I like the people. Liz and Jason have been good to me. I really like working with Amanda and Krystal. They are probably the reason why I have toughed it out this long. Krystal, by the way, has informed us that she is pregnant. I'm sure she will be a great mommy.

Anyway, I will tell Liz about my decision to move on tomorrow. I don't intend to split right away. I think I can hang in there until December. That will give us the chance to hire somebody and train him or her. Of course, whomever gets hired will definitely not be up to par with what I offer. I think both Amanda and Krystal together can fill in. The new hire will be extra help for them.

Letting Jason know my intent has given me peace. I don't have the anxiety I have been feeling lately. In fact, after this entry, I will go to bed for a peaceful night's rest.

What will I do? I don't know. Anything. I would, however, very much like to get my old life back with the Masons and towards becoming a leader of the community in Mission. I also want to go back to school.

Alma needs to borrow money to pay for her summer classes. Then Head Start will reimburse her. I asked Jason tonight. This was an excellent opportunity to test the waters. It seems like I will have to get my ass back into school on my own. I think I will need a couple thousand. Jason balked at my request for $700. I knew in the back of my mind that I was being used. I think that's why I feel at peace.

Day of Frustration

If I had a dollar for every time I said "shit", "dammit", "son-of-a...", or the f word today, I'd have a good lump some to set aside for retirement. I spent the night and most of today getting the work computers fixed. On the bright side, I recovered the main sales database and will be able to restore it. On the minus side, I lost all the other files. That's not so bad because we have a paper trail that we can use to rebuild those records.

So, here I am, finishing up a complete reinstall of Windows XP and the point of sale system. I've got the XP part done. I am finishing up on the Norton Anti-virus install on one computer. The other computer is already done. I will have to wait until tomorrow to finish because I need to install a Quickbooks POS upgrade that's on a disk at work. I still have to network the computers and get them set up like they were.

I will definitely make these computers non-Internet terminals. The crap I had to go through these past couple days is not worth the temporary joy of surfing the web at work.

I'm going to try to convince Liz to let me buy a network storage system or at least a zip drive or something similar. This would have been much simpler if I had daily backups. It's a bitch trying to get people to understand that the peace of mind is worth the cost.

Right now I am enjoying a bump up in bandwidth. Since I knew that I'd be installing anti-virus updates, I called Rioplex Wireless to have them increase the speed to my modem. I am at 512/128 kbps. It's gonna cost me. I'm going to take advantage of it while I have it, I'll reduce the speed next month.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Freaking out

this is an audio post - click to play

After trying overnight to fix a BSOD (Blue screen of death) on the point of sale server, I'm at my wits end. Patience my ass, I'm gonna kill something!

Mission High School Class of 1993 Reunion Kickoff

Today I announced the 15th year reunion for my class. Here is the message:

I want to announce the kickoff of the Mission High School Class of 1993's
15th Year Reunion. All members of the Class of '93 should visit the Forum
Topic
to participate in the planning.It is extremely important that you get
the word out to as many of our classmates as possible. We want to start early
and make this as good or better than the last one.Let's get the ball rolling!
Link:

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Went to see Stealth

We went to see Stealth at The Border Theatre today. It was an OK movie. I reviewed it on Yahoo!. In the morning, I opened the restaurant and picked up the computers for some maintenance. I screwed up the computers at work. I have to get them restored tonight for production tomorrow. Gonna require some beer, I think.

Still in a funk over my future. Don't feel motivated to do anything lately, except maybe write. Even so, my heart isn't into it. It's more automatic than anything.

Long Day and Angst

this is an audio post - click to play


It was late and I didn't want to start up the computer, log in, and write an entry. I congratulate Alma, talk about work, and go over my desire for more out of life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ow! That hurts!

Last night I totally disregarded cash management advice while doing a trade. The currency market spanked me for that. I lost about $300. Note to self: always use cash management techniques.

I'm working to gain it back. Last night, before bed, I bought one of each currency and set a sell 5 point up. This morning, half sold, the other half went negative by a lot. So, I bought some more at the low price and will leave them alone until prices go back to something of a profit. Due to dollar cost averaging, my sell point will be lower than the high at which I bought.

Latest Currency Trading

In a series of currency pair trades, I made $213.16. That brings my margin balance up to $2826.16 overall. I started with $2000. That's a roughly 41% gain. This includes my losses while I learned the ropes.

Of course, I'm not an expert and could easily lose a great deal if I don't practice good money management. I am satisfied with my work tonight. I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 08, 2005

My last trade

In my last trade, I made $102.

Right now, I am working on GBP/USD and USD/CAD. I don't want to risk my hard-earned profits, so I'm going to scalp these positions.

Today's Forex Play

I made over $100 on a USD/CAD trade. When I started, prices were at 1.2139/44. They kept dropping into the 30s and then the 20s. I kept buying with each new low. I was sweating it a while as my unrealized losses went up over $200. The price just kept dropping lower and lower. I thought, "Oh, crap! I should have shorted." But, according to the charts, things were on an upward trend. Eventually, the price came back up and the gains from the lows overcame the losses from my high purchases. I cashed out when I got over $100. I could have waited until all my buys were profitable, but I'd rather lock in a sure win. This is dollar cost averaging on speed.

My position now is $2188.00
Realized gains are $323.74

I have a position open right now with EUR/USD. It's not going anywhere. Trading has been flat since I started. My unrealized losses on the EUR/USD have been between $20 and $40 with $100,000 riding on the price swing. Once things get moving, the gain or loss will be huge, but nobody is trading much.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Working the Currency Markets Again

I am working the currency markets again on a practice account at forex.com. Today, I am up $96. I took a really big gamble on a short. I shouldn't do that. I shorted and the price kept going up on the GBP/USD. I was sweating, thinking that I had made a bad move. But the analysis pointed to a decrease in price, so I bought as the price climbed. All of a sudden, the price plummeted and triggered my limit order. Oh geez! That was a close one. I got lucky, I think.

I decided to ride on the way back up. Now, I'm up to $104. Not much, as I am playing it safe. Still, any profit is a good profit.

Update: 11:57
I am up to $137.26 on a USD/JPY trade. I could have made more; but, again, even a small profit is a good profit. I'd rather make a small, sure profit than a risky big profit. As the prices went up, I raised the limit a couple points for extra profit. As for losses, smaller losses are better. I'll put in a stop if I'm going to bed. When I am awake, I don't put them in because I have a general idea where the prices are going. I don't know exactly, but I know the general direction. I don't want to trip stop losses too early. Last week, I had a stop loss that triggered on a sudden low price. I lost $60 on that. So, I've made up my losses plus a little more.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

No Internet Audio Blog

this is an audio post - click to play

My Internet connection wasn't working this morning, so I called in my entry. Woke up alone. No web. Full day of work. Not much to look forward to.

Wow, Dos Centavos

I was trolling around for information when I ran across a post by Dos Centavos, and I must say "wow". DC is to be commended for quoting these people. From previous posts and comments on this post, I get the impression that he is a Dem. It takes guts to post info about the loss of Hispanics and Mexican Americans from the Democratic party.

In my opinion, our people are becoming more educated than in the past. We can actually question the status quo, believe it or not. With the Dems, it's "what have you done for us lately"? Government programs only helped us survive. Except for student loans and financial aid, government programs haven't got anybody ahead. Our success is based on hard work and foresight. I think that those of us who are trying to make something of ourselves are seeing that and leaning towards Republicans to help us preserve what we have struggled to achieve.

Before you say, "oh, you just want to preserve your wealth now that you got it and forget the rest of your people". You know something, screw you. It's much more than that. We have struggled to overcome racism, poverty, poor education, and struggled to live a good Christian life. We have come far. We no longer feel inferior or allow others to treat us as second class citizens. We have plenty of opportunity to leave poverty when we choose to do so. We have access to education and those of us who value it make damn sure our kids get it too. And we definitely do not want to compromise our faith.

I have long known that our culture is conservative. For a while, it was a toss-up. Conservative Hispanics could have been Democrat or Republican. As long as there were conservative Dems, we Mexican Americans could have the goverment programs and preserve our conservative ways. More and more, the dems have been moving to the left, which has alienated those conservative Hispanics who would have happily voted dem without question. It doesn't help that networks like Univision totally support the Democrats. You never hear reports about how Dems want to take God out of government or want to legalize gay marriage. You DO hear reports on Spanish media about how Republicans want to cut social security, cut food stamps, cut school lunch programs, cut this or that. Obviously, those Hispanics who get the major part of their education from novelas eat that stuff up. The rest of us who can navigate the media in English are able to find the truth, should we choose to look for it.

Lately, dems stand for a handful of things: abortion, gay rights, the environment, and bigger government (as in more taxes). They say that they stand for other stuff, but they're politicians. Actions speak louder than words. Dems are more vociferous about those few issues than helping "the little guy". Dems only want to sound good, but never do anything that truly helps. They keep giving us the damn fish rather than teaching us to fish. Be true to yourself and your heritage if you are Hispanic. How Catholic are abortion and gay rights? If you busted your ass trying to live a comfortable life, how important is the environment? Is it important enough to sacrifice your principles on the first two issues? And who in their right mind would willingly want to PAY MORE TAXES?

If you watched the Fiddler on the Roof, Hispanics are in the same situation as Rev Tevya. He was willing to bend; but he could only bend so far without breaking. The Dems have asked us to bend too far! Something has to give. By going so far left, the Dems are not giving conservative Democrats much wiggle room. They are increasingly hard pressed to defend the party. Those who are trying their damnedest to stay loyal to the Democrat party will definitely break. They are compromising some very core Hispanic beliefs in order to remain Democrat. Yet they dare call those who succeed "sell outs". Riiight. Who's selling out their culture and giving up their faith?

In the end, Rev Tevya did not disown his daughter. He was willing to overlook something very painful for the sake of the rest of his family. If there is one thing that is at the center of Hispanic lives, it is family. We love our families. Our lives center around the family. I'm afraid that the Democratic party, by embracing leftist ideals, is alienating us by attacking faith, family institutions like marriage, and by fighting tooth and nail for abortion. We can deal with the environmentalism and other ideals. However, by Dems supporting causes that are anti-family, Hispanics have no choice than to seek fellow conseratives, the Republicans. Learning to fish isn't easy; but once we can do it on our own, we only need to pray that God makes more fish. Hispanics are now getting to the point where we can tell the Dems to keep their damn fish because we are independent. Our eyes are opening and we are seeing that the Democratic Party of today does NOT look like us!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Phil Hendrie Has a Blog

One of my favorite radio hosts, Phil Hendrie, has a blog at http://www.georgewbushisgod.com, where he will write his political views to keep them off of his radio show.

Valley Reps Vote for CAFTA

According to Tompaine.com, some of the RGV Reps voted for CAFTA. In the article, it is expected that organized labor will "retaliate" against defecting Democrats. Ha! Fat chance of that happening in the Rio Grande Valley. As is well known, the only political party in the RGV is the Democrat party despite the populace being socially conservative. It's an unexplainable phenomenon.

Amongts the CAFTA 15, as the defecting Dems are called, are Henry Cuellar (D) from Laredo, Rubén Hinojosa (D) from Mercedes, and Solomon P. Ortiz (D), from Corpus Christi.

My Rep is Lloyd Doggett (D), Austin, not one of the dissenting Dems.

Notice that the Democrat Reps voting for CAFTA are along the border. Lloyd is an Austin boy, he doesn't get it and doesn't get us. Our districts stand to make some serious cash with more trade. Much of the goods made in Central America have to pass through the Rio Grande Valley. It will trickle down. First, the customs brokers make money. The truckers passing by will spend money. The increased traffic will also increase drug trade, which improves OUR economy. I don't think that voting for CAFTA will affect our dissenting reps negatively. After all, they are improving our economic future. It is fortunate that Texas is not a Union state and our reps can vote according to what is best for their districts rather than be beholden to organized labor.

Urquhart vs Hatch

Utah House Majority Whip Steve Urquhart (R) wants to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for the latter's seat. Urquhart is in for an uphill battle. Not only is Hatch a strong incumbent, he also has the support of Sean Hannity as mentioned earlier this week on his radio show. The only thing better than cheap press is free press. Orrin Hatch is a known quantity amongst conservatives. It is unlikely that one conservative will be discarded in favor of another. We shall have to wait and see how this turns out. I predict it won't be pretty for Urquhart.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Looking for a New Job

this is an audio post - click to play

This post is about finding a new job. I am interested in an outdoor job. It could be carpentry, park service, landscaping, or land surveying. I just want to do a job where I can be outside doing something with my hands. I am tired of being indoors all the time.

I would appreciate any help you can give me in finding a job. Pay is not the issue, although it's not frowned upon, either.

Illegal Immigration and Social Security

this is an audio post - click to play

Audio entry: I had been listening to Sean Hannity on the radio. He had asserted, with a Democrat agreeing, that the next big issue is illegal immigration. If the Dems were to take up this issue as a cause, they would be able to pierce GW's soft underbelly. The Republicans talk tough, but don't actually do anything about illegal immigration. They don't want to offend.

In any case, my point is that former President Bill Clinton recently mentioned that our solution to the insolvency of Social Security is to bring in more immigrants. By doing this, the country increases its tax base. This in turn would bolster the Social Security system, which is about to have more retirees than workers paying in. Immigrants could help delay or avert this problem.

The idea is this. We already have millions of illegal immigrants in our midst. GW Bush has proposed setting up a guest worker program, which would serve as a segue for them to apply for citizenship. Since they are here, basically, let's legalize them and capture the tax revenue that would otherwise be forfeited. Of course, we do need to seal the border first. Once these workers are legal, they can demand better wages. Then, new illegals can undercut them, which is not fair. This idea would kill two birds with one stone.

To recap, we should seal the border, legalize the current crop of illegal workers to some extent, and keep them working to bolster our retirements in the future. Otherwise, our only option is to have each Gen X or younger support 5 baby boomers. Since illegals don't pay income tax, they wouldn't have that burden. Hell No! How about we say, "tough luck" to the baby boomers? They wouldn't like that, but they do want to stick it to us.

My Yahoo Avatar


I found out that I could download my avatar from Yahoo, so I did. Here is my virtual self. It looks kind of like me. I could lose a couple pounds here and there. In all, it's not that far off. It's pretty neat that people can do this.

Today was theoretically my day off. I am using the time to package some books I sold on eBay and I was going to go for a bike ride. Looks like I'll just do some exercise at home; it's really hot and humid outside. I need to take the kids to the swimming pool later, so I don't want to be wiped out from a bike ride.

I'm going to McAllen in a little while to drop off last night's sales and drop off the books at the post office. Then back to Mission to pick up the kids and take them to the pool. I need to get sunscreen.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Currency Exchange Waiting Game

I've been waiting for a swing trade to happen today. I put a limit order to sell Yen at 112.24 after buying at different prices from .12 to .23 earlier. It's slowly getting up to the sell price. It just drives you nuts to sit and watch. The order will go through if I shut down and go to bed, but I want to see it happen. So far, I've made $239 in the practice account using the $2000 they give you. I'll put in a stop before I go to bed as added insurance. Just need to be careful not to put the stop too tight. I'll go 2 pips below the low to prevent the stop loss from being triggered by trading noise.

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UPDATE
The Yen went the way I thought it would and yielded $36.53. I've opened a new position on the Euro this morning. We'll see how that goes.

Atkins Nutritionals Goes Bankrupt

I was just reading that Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection. It's sad that they have fallen on hard times. They should have seen it coming, they couldn't maintain the low-carb craze that long. People want variety. I feel sorry for those people who went out and bought low-carb franchises with companies riding the Atkins coat tails.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Quote from Ronald Reagan

I was just visiting Hannity.com and saw this quote:

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it."
--Ronald Reagan


It's so funny. He's right, which is what make it so hilarious.

Bolton Talking Point Memo

I can't believe the Dems are crying about the President's recess appointment of John Bolton as the UN Ambassador. They want to play dirty, but when the prez has a card up his sleeve they cry foul. From the sounds of it, they like the status quo with the UN and don't want to change anything. Nevermind the Oil for Food scandal that resulted on a couple slaps on the wrists. We need somebody who can kick some ass and not even bother to take names at the UN to clean up the place. It's well known that the UN is a conglomerate of US-hating diplomats that want to stick it to us every chance they get. We need to send somebody who will stick it back to them with gusto.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Exchange rate vs price of gas

this is an audio post - click to play

It just occurred to me a while ago that the price of oil, and therefore gasoline, is higher as a result of the devaluation of the dollar on top of higher demand. I need to look for information to support this idea.

Minuteman Setbacks

The Minutemen have a setback in the effort to guard the border here in the Rio Grande Valley. According to Cari Hammerstrom, and other writers, there is a divide amongst the members who were forming the Minuteman group here in Texas. Apparently, there are some interested in simply protecting the border for the security of our country and there are those motivated by racist tendencies. Chris Simcox, the national organizer of the Minutemen has been VERY careful not to allow gun crazy wackos and racists into the organization. He knows that such members can be counterproductive to gaining acceptance by the rest of the country. In this article, there is the following section:
Hidalgo County Democratic Party chairman Juan Maldonado said the party does not
condone the actions of the Brown Berets; however, because the group asked him
for a platform, he agreed to let them speak at the press conference.
Riiigght. Saddam Hussein didn't tell terrorists to attack the U.S., but he did provide them safe haven and healthcare. Juan Maldonado wants to give them a place to operate but doesn't want to be associated with them. Come on, get real.

Then there is this

At the end of the press conference, Maldonado was the first to sign a
petition denouncing the border watchers. The Democratic Party plans to send the
petition to Gov. Rick Perry to get him to do the same.


Hmmm.. He doesn't support them or condone their actions, but he will take their signatures for their petition.

And then, Ernesto Herrera says "It isn’t in the scope of the private citizen to do the job of the government." So, what is the government doing? The Minutemen are doing this because the goverment isn't doing its job.

The dumbest thing is "When will they begin patrolling the Canadian border?" asked Juanita Valdez-Cox, state director of La Union del Pueblo Entero. Geez, what a question. There is no question that Texas is a big state. Juanita, I hate to point this out, but we don't have a Texas-Canada border. Why would a Texas chapter recruit to keep our state Canadian free?


This is the sort of thing that is making the Democrats go down in Texas and nationwide. They keep catering to the vociferous fringe groups. The Dems are beholden to a conglomeration of special interests that don't have too much money, not much in common, besides a hate of traditional values, and have a sympathetic ear of the press to blackmail any dissenter with bad press. The Dems need to develop some backbone and not cowtow to these people unless they are aiming to lose more and more elections.



UPDATE

Juan Maldonado refused to defend his actions on O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs. See this article. Andale chiquito!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mission to McAllen Bike Ride

I rode from Mayberry Road in Mission to Confetti and China Wok in McAllen and back, today. I departed at 4:16 and made it to Confetti for some papers and then dropped them off at China Wok by 5:50. It took so long because I chose to ride cross country through abandoned roads and fields. I was also riding into the wind. That was tough. I almost gave up on Nolana halfway between Ware and 29th St in McAllen. Then, I got a taste of riding on the pavement. That just lifted my spirits and I hauled butt to Confetti, where I refilled my camelback with water. I got ice at the restaurant. I left China Wok at 5:50 and arrived at my apartment at 6:45. On the way back, I stuck to the pavement. That made all the difference. It also helped to have the wind to my back.

Next trip, I will be headed from Mayberry to the Mission bike trail on Conway. I will see if anybody wants to tag along.

Now what?

So, I've started another blog. Now what? I was thinking about doing something like a web directory, but there aren't enough Mission sites to make it useful. I thought about writing news, but I'm not really a journalist in any shape or form. I suppose I could write reviews or highlights about businesses and attractions in Mission. That seems like a useful thing to do. I could be a one-man Mission promoter. I think that's what I'll do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Added RSS Calendar

I added an RSS calendar to the reunion sites. It will keep track of events in the Valley. This should keep members visiting for information. It will also keep me informed of dates.

Virgin Mobile vs T-Mobile

I have decided to switch from T-Mobile prepaid phone service to Virgin Mobile. I use about 300 minutes per month on personal calls. I have a work phone that gets free pcs to pcs. I try not to use it for personal calls because I don't like to have personal numbers on the bill, which my boss sees and because we have a combined minute pool.

T-Mobile To Go Prepaid Rates
$10 card @ 50 minutes = 20 cents/minute
$25 card @ 150 minutes = 17 cents/minute
$50 card @ 460 minutes = 11 cents/minute
$100 card @ 1000 minutes = 10 cents/minute
At 300 minutes, I am spending about $51/month using $25 refills.
At 300 minutes, I would spend about $33/month using the $50 refills.

Virgin Mobile Rates
Plan 1: 25 cents/minute for first 10 minutes each day. 10 cents/minute after that.
Plan 2: 35 cents/day and 10 cents/minute.
Plan 3: $29.99 for 150 anytime/150 nights and weekends (nw). Add $10 for 100 more anytime/350 nw. Add $10 for 100 more anytime/500 nw.
At 300 minutes, I would spend about $30/month + $10 in the daily 35 cent fee for a total of $40/month.

When I reload my T-Mobile, I usually get the $25 refill or the $10 refill. Cashflow wise, it is probably better to get the $50 refill as your rate goes down significantly from 17 cents to 11 cents. The $100 refill doesn't decrease your cost enough to justify tying up that much cash. As you can see, I would save more money buying the $50 T-Mobile refills, but I rarely have $50 at once. With Virgin, my refills have gone down from $25 to $20. On top of that, I immediately get the 10 cent rate versus T-Mobile's $100 refill requirement to get that rate.

Friend Network Sites

There are several sites to which I belong where you can meet people and network. I am adding the links to all of them here. These sites are important for me to be "findable" so that I can get info for the reunion sites, MissionHSReunion and RGVReunions.

shainemata.multiply.com
Hi5.com
Yahoo 360
myspace.com/slmtek
Friendzy.com
shaine.friendcircles.com

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bike Riding

I went bike riding today. We went from Nikki Rowe to the City of Mission water reservoir on the North side and back. Both Amanda and I haven't biked in a while, so we took it easy. We will probably feel sore tomorrow. I will take a ride from home to Confetti tomorrow to see how long the ride takes. Perhaps I can bike to work daily.

The path we took from McAllen to Mission was along a canal. The double track is lined by trees on both sides, so you can sort of make the illusion of being on a country dirt road. The whole time, we were running parallel to FM 495 by about a quarter mile.

There are no mountains in the RGV, but we do have dirt roads where cars hardly travel. This makes for good biking trails.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Legislation the Passed and Failed

Here is a list of the legislation that passed and failed during the first Texas Legislature special session. The governor immediately called a second special session in hopes that the legislature would finish the work that was in progress.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Saturday, July 16, 2005

After Midnight at Barnes and Noble

this is an audio post - click to play
Report right after Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince goes on sale. We did not leave the store until 1:24 AM. We had a fun time. Tomorrow, Tien will not be visible all day. Alma already started reading. She was complaining earlier about being awake since 6 AM.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Half an Hour Before Midnight

this is an audio post - click to play
A quick report half an hour before midnight while standing in line at McAllen Barnes and Noble's Starbucks.

Arrival at Barnes and Noble

this is an audio post - click to play
After doing the rounds, I arrive at Barnes and Noble to meet Alma, Tien, and Magnus at the Harry Potter Midnight release celebration.

Driving in the Storm

this is an audio post - click to play
Tonight, I saw something I'd never seen before while doing the rounds. We finally got some good rain.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

First Audioblog

this is an audio post - click to play

I was just testing out the audioblogger and have made my first audioblog. Sounds clearer than I thought it would.

I'm a Pundit





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Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Who Represents Me?

The Texas State Capitol has a website that can tell you who your representatives in Congress are. Simply click on the link that says "Whow represents me?" In the next page, enter your physical address. Then, the next page will give you a list of your reps.

Here is who represents me:
Hidalgo County-Precinct 0101

Texas U.S. Representative

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 25
CONGRESSMAN LLOYD DOGGETT
Address: 201 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUIDLING
WASHINGTON, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4865
State District Offices


Texas State Senator

SENATE DISTRICT 20
SENATOR JUAN "CHUY" HINOJOSA
Capitol Office: CAP 3S.3
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0120
District Address: 612 Nolana, Suite 410 B
McAllen, TX 78504
District Phone: (956) 972-1841
State District Offices


Texas State Representative

HOUSE DISTRICT 41
REPRESENTATIVE VERONICA GONZALES
Capitol Office: EXT E2.302
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0578
District Address: P.O. BOx 1416
McAllen, TX 78504
District Phone: (956) 686-5501


Texas State Board of Education Members

SBOE DISTRICT 2
MS. MARY HELEN BERLANGA
District Address:
2727 MORGAN AVENUE
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78405