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

Listen to today's audio post.

Plan for Sept 22nd, 2005

Listen to today's audio post.



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

Listen to today's audio post.



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

Test Blog using Audioblog.com

Listen to today's audio post.



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

this is an audio post - click to play


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.