Category Archives: Personal

Where Would You Go In A Disaster?

Today I got a CPAP machine, and that will be a story for another time once I start using the thing. Instead, I want to talk about one of the questions that I was asked that came from left field.

The question was “where would you go in a disaster?” I found the question stunning, so much so that I was lost for words for about 15 seconds, which doesn’t happen often for me. I said it was an intriguing question, and asked why they would ask me that. She said because the CPAP machine needs electricity, and that many people, once they start using it, find they never want to sleep without it again, and thus if the power went out where would they go to still be able to use their machine.

Of course, me being me, my mind had gone elsewhere. I’ve always had the scenario in my mind that if I heard about something happening like we were being targeted by a nuclear bomb that I would just hop in the car and drive as far west as I possibly could to try to outrun it, since we’d have some notice that something was coming. And I live within 35 miles of a nuclear plant, but it’s recommended to be safe trying to be 45 miles away, so I always figured I’d hop in the car and head south if I knew something had happened there.

Yet, when all is said and done, how many of us have thought long term about where we’d go if a disaster struck? For that matter, wouldn’t your believe be like mine, that it would depend on what the disaster was? For instance, since my house is a mixture of gas and electricity, if the electricity went out I could stay in the house, keep warm, and eat just fine. But if it was a flood obviously I’d have to get away, but where?

Have you given this one much thought? By the way, I answered eventually that I would probably go to one of the local hotels about 2 miles away, hope they had power, and get a Jacuzzi room and just chill for a few nights if I needed to. That made them happy, and all was right with the world. Weird, right?

Luxury Car Booster Carrier Seat Belt Safety For Pet






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10 Truths About Health Clubs

By this time some of you know that I joined a health club. My story about my experience with the hot tub was one of my most read posts of June.

I have to say that I went into all of this with some preconceived notions, which seemed to be justified. After all, I did belong to a health club, this same one in fact, from 1988 to 1992. The thing is, that’s about the age of most kids getting ready to go to college, 18 years, and obviously a few things stayed the same, but many things have changed. And some thoughts I had going in aren’t the same as they were when I joined either. So, I figured I would share my 10 truths about health clubs to see if people agree, disagree, or whatever emotion it garners.

1. It does take more than just exercising to start seeing real changes. This means that even if I did 1,000 stomach crunches a day and ran 10 miles a day that there probably wouldn’t be all that much difference in my body if I didn’t change how I ate; that stinks! Yeah, I know we already read about this concept of diet and exercise, but if you weren’t doing either one wouldn’t you think that just adding one of these would still be a pretty significant change? We first visited the health club on May 7th, signed up for the free 7 day trial on May 9th and started working out on that day; that’s 59 days ago. I went in with two main goals; lose weight and bring glucose down. To date, I’ve not lost any weight except for the 9 pounds I gained within weeks after starting. My glucose hasn’t come down one bit. However, I have lost an inch off my stomach and hips. I also gained 3 1/2 inches on my left thigh and an inch on my right; that wasn’t supposed to happen. So I’ve backed off weights for my legs, kicked up stomach crunches because a smaller stomach isn’t a bad thing, work on reaching my cardio heart rate goal, and modified my eating habits a bit.

2. Once you get used to a routine, you’re supposed to change it up so you start hurting again. Okay, soreness, since that’s what they prefer you to say, but so be it. This means always increasing either the weight or the number of reps. They say if you’re not feeling any discomfort after awhile then you’re not really doing anything. Bah!

3. Guys are bigger than they used to be. You know, I’m not a small guy. When I used to go to the health club, I was never a big muscle guy. But the guys who were big muscle guys were pretty much my size, just more muscular. These days, young people are bigger and taller than we were, and thus when they work out they’re absolutely huge. I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed that kind of size difference in guys until I joined the health club; that’s somewhat intimidating, and I’m not used to that. I have to keep reminding myself when I’m alone that there’s no way I can get that big, so don’t even try.

4. Women are still hot. I’m glad that didn’t change, but something you see more these days are these really tall ladies who get on the treadmills and run like the wind. When I was originally going it was always the short ladies who ran on treadmills, so that’s another change.

5. Men don’t wear socks anymore; they wear “socklets”. When did this happen? I don’t pay any attention to fashion, but my wife tried talking me out of wearing my regular athletic socks the one day I decided to show up in shorts. I wore them anyway, then found that only myself and one man probably in his 70’s were wearing them like that. I always thought ankle socks were for little girls; I am still freaking out about this one. I now only wear sweats so my long socks stay hidden; the socklets just feel, well, weird. Maybe one day I’ll get used to it; maybe not.

6. You just can’t look cool while working out. Okay, this one I think I already knew, because I certainly didn’t look all that cool when I used to work out. But I’m coming to grips with some things that I just can’t do; my wife hasn’t really learned this one, though. For instance, I used to participate in a high impact aerobics class; that’s not happening for me. My wife has not only tried going into one of those, but she also went into one of those weight classes and then a yoga/pilates class and injured herself badly enough to need medical treatment and a week or rest. I have to fight all the time walking over and yanking the heaviest weights like I see the younger folks doing. I know I can get it up; heck, until I realized I wanted my thighs getting smaller I was pushing 300 pounds. But that’s not me, so for me, it’s lower weights, more reps, and not looking cool but not hurting myself either.

7. At a certain point in one’s life, they just learned not to care what others think. I admit it, I have some body issues. One on one, I can suppress them, since I like massage. In public, though, it’s just not happening with me. In the hot tub story I talked about men with no behinds. Well, you see all sorts of stuff in a health club that equals or comes close to that; almost nothing will surpass it. You find yourself often wanting to say “cover that up”, but it is what it is.

8. People are nasty. Okay, this is a different direction, and maybe my wife and I are just fastidious people. At the end of using a piece of equipment, we wipe stuff down. There’s a sign asking people to do that. However, almost no one does it, and that’s just nasty. Some machines I actually wipe down before I use them. If there’s head sweat involved I wipe them down. If there’s the potential that I might have followed a heavy back sweating person, I wipe that piece of equipment down first. It can’t be an only child thing since my wife is one of 7, but she’s also in health care and knows sterilization processes, and she’s not having it. I’m not either; ick!

9. There’s a fine line between knowing your limits and suddenly being beyond them. The people at the health club are always saying to step it up. Well, I’ve seen some people stepping it up to the point where suddenly there’s a “pop” and, uh-oh, we won’t be seeing you for a few weeks. Frankly, one of the gripes I have about the health club is that the only training you’re going to get at all is if you pay for it after your first complimentary session. I’ve seen people doing things that my mind has said “someone should show that person how to use that thing”. Heck, the first week that “person” was myself and my wife, the supposed health club expert. When I was younger, I’d just do a machine I didn’t know how to use and risk the consequences; these days, I look and study, and if I can’t figure it out, I’m not using it. I think there should be a trainer on hand at least during peak periods, walking around and making sure people are using the equipment properly.

10. Smoothies are refreshing; are they healthy? Seems it depends on who you ask and who’s making them. This young lady who I get mine from, and only if she’s working, has learned that I won’t drink it if there’s not enough chocolate in it. She’s also stopped adding yogurt to mine and makes it only with ice; tastes good to me. She says it’s saving me at least 150 calories, and she’s adding something in it called “burn”, which is supposed to keep my metabolic system burning more calories throughout the day. I have no clue, and I’m not going to worry about it. Taste, especially chocolate, rules my life.

There you go; long post, but that’s what it takes to get through 10 points. If you belong to a health club, do you see any of these things yourself?


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When Things Get Personal On Blogs

This is a rant post, and I’m naming names. I’m going to try to be fair, but if I’m not, part of me doesn’t care, but the other part almost apologizes up front; almost, that is.

black-man-rant

There is a post on a blog called Growmap that’s ranting against Akismet. Okay, Akismet might not be perfect, but I’ve been a major supporter of the program for almost 4 years, and I’m not going against them now. The writer, Gail, has done some testing and supposedly she has seen that some comments end up being killed by Akismet. Not moved to the spam folder, but killed overall.

Or so she says; one never really knows if a post was accidentally deleted by someone when they emptied their spam folder or if a post was deemed as being spam by the reviewer. I know many bloggers who say they never check their spam filter; that’s not good, but it’s their blog so life is what it is. I will say that in reading other posts of Gail’s that she tends to be very thorough, as much as one can be.

Anyway, she and a few other people have gone on a crusade against Akismet, even though Gail states that she doesn’t hate it. Okay, that’s fine. I put a comment on her post saying I support Akismet and was a major fan. It wasn’t all that long a comment, and it wasn’t the first (update 6/2015; she updated the post & removed all those previous comments, including mine).

However, the response I got was way out of proportion to my original comment, and other people were skipped; to me, that was intentional and personal, and I didn’t like it one bit. And me being me, well, I don’t demure from certain things, so I commented back, trying to temper my language (I don’t curse, but I can be kind of mean spirited at times when pushed), and I think my response was okay.

Next thing I know, I receive responses on this blog from two of her supporters, one writing from a place called Linda Christas, which is supposed to be an online training organization of some sort (no, I’m not linking to them). They’re supporting Gail, which is fine, but they wrote these long comments on a post of mine that has nothing to do with the subject matter I wrote about.

In my mind, that’s spam, and I don’t appreciate it, and I went to Gail’s blog and said as much. There’s a point at which things cross the line and get truly personal, and I don’t take that kind of mess kindly, especially when the people saying stuff are trying to hide, in their own way, who they are.

One of the people, a woman named Leone, wrote with the email address of this Linda Christas. There’s this woman who either really works there or is a scam of some sort who calls herself Dr. Ann. This person has posted comments on my blog and other blogs.

At first the comments seem to match up to the content. Then they go off topic and start this rant against Akismet. It seems Linda Christas is on a crusade against Akismet, and they’re trying hard to pull other people into the process.

If you think I’m the only one who sees this and is calling it out, check out this post on TechPatio titled Comment Spam, She’s Back: Dr. Ann Voisin From Linda Christas College. And if you want to see his first post on this person and this college, which was only days earlier, check this one out as well, titled Akismet Blocking Your Blog? No Way, Just a SPAM Trick!.

Of course my respect for this college is gone, especially since I just saw a post on their site, unordinarily long, ranting against Akismet, and frankly it parrots the same type of tripe I’ve seen coming from a few other places. At least Gail did a study of some sort, which I applaud her for (see, I’m trying to be fair here).

Gail also called me out on her blog asking if she’d ever written anything that I considered as spam on this blog and I had to tell her yes, the last time she visited, which was June 2009. So, this could color her idea in some way of what spam just might be. Her last response to me, before I got mad because of the other people who came from her blog to post their “threats” about not visiting this blog again, was not in attack mode, and I appreciate that as well.

I need to say this. I have gone on attack mode on other people’s blogs, so I’m not totally innocent here. However, if I do that, I do it for one of two reasons.

One, you don’t get to go after any of my friends without a confrontation from me; that’s what loyalty is all about, and if my friends don’t breach the rules of proper decorum in another place, I’ve got their back.

Two, you don’t get to get away with racist or misogynist or any other type of hateful speech and think I’m going to let it go. Too many people decide to turn the other way and let that kind of thing go by, and that’s why we end up with some of the problems we have in this world.

Sure, I don’t expect the majority to always step in to help fight these things because it’s not in their interest; they have nothing to gain by speaking out for those who they indirectly believe are less than themselves, even if they don’t express it. So, if anyone goes to Gail’s blog and reads my initial post and thinks I attacked her in any way, please explain to me how I did it.

So, I have no respect for Linda Christas and the type of people it seems to put out; yes, that’s an attack. If people representing them believe they can come into my house and spit on my rug, it’s not happening.

I left the other comment on my previous post, even though it had nothing to do with the topic; believe me, that won’t happen again, and if someone wants to cry censorship, tough. I pay for this space, and there are comment rules; don’t follow them, don’t expect anything extra-special coming your way on my part because you feel you have the right. That mess won’t be tolerated.

If it happens on this post, it might be tolerated, since I’m in attack mode, so to speak. But we’ll see. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue using Akismet, and I don’t care who likes it or doesn’t like it. People who use Disqus or Intense Debate know I don’t like those things, and yet they continue using it. Because it’s their right to use it, just as it’s my right to use Akismet. We can debate the merits of it; no problem. But when it goes further, when it gets personal… I’ll stop there.
 

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Are Americans Stupid, Or Do We Just Not Care?

There was a strange story on CNN that analyzed President Obama’s speech to the nation on Tuesday night. However, this analysis was different than the norm. Instead of looking at the content or determining if it was effective or not, instead it concentrated on whether it was too “professorial” for most people to understand.

Once again, it’s the “dumbing down of America” conversation, and in truth there seems to be a lot of proof that it’s true in some fashion. Many of us have seen Jay Leno asking people on the street questions to things that should be obvious and heard the stupid answers that come from them. One time he interviewed recent college graduates and it was shocking to hear some of the answers they were giving.

You want to know how entrenched the idea is? Many of you know I’m a health care finance consultant. Well, one of the directives from Medicare is that any information we give to Medicare patients must be written at a 3rd grade level. That’s right, we have to try to find a way to write complicated stuff so an 8-year old can understand it. Trust me, that’s not easy to do, and hospitals get called on it all the time.

So, are we Americans dumb? Is our educational system failing us? The popular answer is “yes”. However, when you think about it, you’d have to say it’s not even close. What has happened is that people, including children, have locked onto what they believe is important to them, and on that specific thing they’re geniuses. Think back to your youth for a moment. How much do you remember from your history lessons? Then how many song lyrics do you remember from music you loved at the time?

Think about spelling. Man, do I see a lot of spelling mistakes everywhere. Even words people use all the time get spelled incorrectly. As a former employer, it used to amaze me that I’d get resumes where people would misspell the name of the school they went to; those immediately went into the trash.

Still, are we dumb? I’ll use myself as an example. I like to think I’m pretty smart. I know a lot about a lot of things. Yet, I have no concept of geography, which was highlighted again a couple of nights ago when our friend Ching Ya mentioned she lived in Malaysia, and I had absolutely no idea where it was. Then I looked it up on Google and I still wasn’t sure where it was; that’s a shame.

I also know nothing about cars except how to drive them and put gas in. I had a car years ago that I kept putting oil in, thinking it was leaking oil, only to learn that I’d been looking at something other than oil; I can’t even think of what it was at this juncture.

Why don’t I know these things? Because I don’t care. I can pay someone else to fix my car. I don’t see myself leaving the country any time soon (well, maybe a trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls again some day), so I have no interest in knowing where most countries are specifically, since I do have a general idea of where places are. Does this make me dumb or just uninterested? And if this is how I am, could most people be the same way?

I really don’t know; I’m just putting it out there. However, there’s a program called WebCEO that will analyze your website and give you a lot of information about it, and one time when I ran it against my main business website it said it was written at a high school level and that maybe I should change some of the language of the site. Frankly, I think telling someone that their content is too intelligent is an insult to others, and I’m not doing it.

Then again, I once wrote a song with the word “recalcitrant” in it, and my friend Scott said he wanted to hit me. I wonder if he remembers that. 🙂 Anyway, what are your thoughts on the intellect of either Americans, or the people in whatever country you live in? I’m betting we’re not alone in believing that our populations are less intelligent than in the past.

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Jeanni, R.I.P.

When I met the woman on the right, I also met the woman on the left. Only the woman on the left was 12 years old, and now… well, I speculate she’s got to be close to 40, if not so. That’s how long I’ve known Jeanni and Amy. For years, you didn’t see one without seeing the other. Then Jeanni married, had other kids, and Amy grew up and moved on with her own life.

This is my brief story about Jeanni. She wasn’t like almost anyone else I knew. She was loud, boisterous, and very ballsy. She was a bowler, and a very good one as well. She came across sometimes as direct and in your face, but it was a mask for the good person she really was. I could tell that in her daughter, who was the most adult kid I’ve ever met, and whom I finally got to tell that to about two weeks ago.

Jeanni, as it turns out, was very well known around town. A few years ago, she developed diabetes. In the past year, we all learned she had cancer. On Sunday, there was a fundraiser for her and her family to try to help with both bills and possible further cancer treatments. Yes, she smoked for most of her life, but she did quit about 6 or 7 years ago; sometimes, it’s just too late at a certain point. She ended up getting cervical cancer.

However, at this fundraiser, which was held at a local bowling alley, I don’t believe I’m exaggerating if I said that almost 400 people, if not more, came out. We all paid $20 to come in and enjoy the festivities, and then there were many other things we could do in contributing more money to the cause. They had raffles for gifts that were donated from a variety of sources, including a 32″ flat screen HD television; I mean, how many people are liked enough to have someone donate a gift like that? For that matter, how many of us believe nearly 400 or 500 people would come out for us if something like this were held for us?

I was amazed, not necessarily at the number of people but at some of the people who showed up. Turns out she knew a lot more people that I knew, and none of us knew that we all knew her. Turns out she bowled with a lot of both men and women all over the city, helped run adult and children’s league, and bowled in many tournaments. Turns out she volunteered a lot of her time to others; who knew? And on Sunday, all those people came together, along with 3 bands, lots of food, free drinks of sorts (no free diet soda, which is what I drink; what’s up with that?), and lots of bowling and laughter.

Her kids were there; she wasn’t. She had taken a turn for the worse. On Monday, she lost her battle. I thought about it because I believed if she had been well enough to attend that she would have been emotionally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love to her and her legacy. I think most of us would be astonished to have that kind of showing for anything we did.

So, once again, I have to hope that another friend rest in peace. Man, I hate getting older.

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