Commercials stress me out...

and insult my intelligence.



I wouldn't say it was a goal of mine but I did attempt something in early spring and just finished this past weekend. I read an entire book in the bathroom. Not one of those bathroom readers or chicken soup for the soul ones but an actual book - a non-fiction book on a current political figure. Come to think of it, the bathroom was a pretty good place to read this one. I may have finished sooner if Laura didn't hide the book everytime guests came over. She would put my book under the sink and I'd forget about it. I have to figure out a way to test my reading comprehension to see if it was worth it. I don't have any plans to start a new one. I'll keep everyone posted.



Due to limited computer time my posts are few are far between to say the least. I just started a new job in NYC. I have about a 2 hour door to door commute in both the morning and evening. I take the train so I get to do a lot of reading and that has actually been refreshing. One of my subtle joys is watching people run for the train at the different stops. And at the end of the day you should see people "book it" through Penn Station. My first day on the train a guy talked my ear off the whole way. Now I know why people don't make eye contact with you.


Solis Foundation...

The Solis Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on ending poverty and creating economic sustainability in developing communities in foreign countries and the US. I am excited about what they are doing and am glad to make donations toward their efforts.

Please check out their website when you have a chance.

Good Quote...

Most of Kid Rock's music is too crude for me but some of his songs are awesome. He has a great voice and his sound is memorable. A couple of his songs require a shower after listening to them but I just delete them.

On the inside of one of his albums he makes this quote:

"If it looks good, you'll see it; if it sounds good, you'll hear it, if it is marketed right, you'll buy it; but...if it's real, you'll feel it."

Okay, enough Kid.


World Premiere...

Laura and I saw Superman last night. We had free tickets so what the heck right? Well if you are teetering on the fence to see it or not I suggest you save your 10 bucks. Some of the special effects were cool and I enjoyed watching Kevin Spacey play Lex Luther. Other than that I'd say its a snoozer.

Hollywood wasted my time - a whole 2.5 hours on this one. Good-bye Lois.


Searching for my lost shaker of salt...

Thank God I didn't discover margaritas until after college.

The wisdom of Jimmy Buffet


ipod nation...

I treated myself to an ipod for my birthday. It is awesome. The design is so cool, especially the wheel.

Right now I have 574 songs on my ipod or two days worth of music. I also can watch videos and I love the podcasts.

June 30th is my last day of work at my current job. I resigned for "personal" reasons. On the 5th I start a new job in NYC. I have an hour train ride from our apartment. The ipod is going to be crucial.

Let me know if you have any book suggestions. I just finished The Da Vinci Code, in time to see the movie, thus completing one of my life goals of reading a book before watching the movie. And like everyone always said, the book is better...much better.


Life's Too Short to...

Be miserable

Drink bad coffee

Drink bad beer

Drink bad wine




Rock on...

I tried to access my blog at work the other day and I was blocked by our "Surf Control".

They have tightened things up so I can't really view anything not related to work. Even some work related sites get blocked. I think someone downloaded a virus.

I think that since we are in the year 2006, internet access at work should be one of the perks. If someone cannot "police" themselves from wasting time or doing inappropriate things than police them. Not me.

I pay bills online, communicate with family and simply enjoy a five minutue break from work via the internet. I am not outraged over this but I am disappointed.



By the gov't.

"The media sounded the alarm last year when the largest U.S. oil company, ExxonMobil Corp, announced profits of $36 billion. But according to the Tax Foundation, the biggest price gouging profiteer was the U.S. government, cashing in to the tune of $54 billion in oil and gas taxes. The think tank, the Tax Foundation, said, 'Tax collections on the production and the import of gasoline by state and federal governments are already near historic highs.' In fact, in recent decades governments have collected far more revenue from gasoline taxes than the largest US oil companies have collectively earned in domestic profits."


New York State of Mind...

New York taxes are out of control. The sales tax is 8.625%

And look at the taxes on my cell phone bill. It is 17% of the bill. We need to revolt. Vote all incumbents out this election cycle.

New York State of Mind....

Walter E. Williams says this,

The founders of our nation would be horrified by today's level of American servitude to their government. From 1787 to the Roaring '20s, federal government spending, as a percentage of GDP, never exceeded 4 percent, except in wartime, compared to today's 20 percent.

The average taxpayer, depending on the state in which he lives, works from Jan. 1 to May 3 to pay federal, state and local taxes. That means someone else decides how four months' worth of the fruits of the average taxpayer's labor will be spent. The taxpayer is forcibly used to serve the purposes of others -- whether it's farm or business handouts, food stamps or other government programs where the earnings of one American are taken and given to another.

This situation differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery. After all, a working description of slavery is the process where one person is forcibly used to serve the purposes of another. The difference is a slave has no rights to what he produces each year, instead of just four months.


Is Quality Going Down?

Recently I've experienced poor customer service and incompetence from my bank, cell phone provider, my credit card company and computer company.

Are you experiencing it too?

I blogged about my computer hard drive burning up. It just quit one night when I was working on it. It is a Dell and less than a year old. Dell sent me a new hard drive but it was refurbished. Shouldn't I get a new one if it is under warranty. I would complain but I'd have to spend half my day on the phone like Laura did trying to install the hard drive and the lost programs. It is ridiculous.

Dell was a really good company but I think they got too big too fast. I wouldn't recommend buying a computer from them. I can't say anything about their other products.

My next beef is with my cell phone company Sprint. I have been trying to cancel my automatic payment from my checking account for a year. Every time I call they say they cancel it but I keep getting the bill deducted from my account. The worst part is I don't use that checking account anymore so I do not deposit into it as of a month ago. I don't recommend Sprint either.

Onto my bank. When Laura and I set up the account here in New York I wasn't able to be on it because I didn't have any paperwork with my name and address on it. So we just put it in Laura's name. We had a wonderful experience with the staff member who helped us. Last month we went back to get my name on the account. Again the woman was excellent. I asked if I could sign the checks even if my name wasn't on the check itself. She said now that my name was on the account it didn't matter. Well I had to call Citibank the other day to ask a question and I couldn't because my name isn't on the account. Incompetence.

Now here's the deal with my credit card. It kept getting declined. So I called them. The bill was returned to them when they tried to mail it. I just moved. I changed my address with company before that. It must not have happened. You would think they would call me if my bill was sent back?

I called up the company to change my address again. The woman I spoke with didn't know how to do that. As she fumbled around, I was disconnected. I couldn't call back because I was on my lunch break and didn't have time to call back and wait on hold. I am cancelling the card.

These aren't complaints, just realities. Realities that waste time. We all shell out a lot of money for these services (which we really don't need). We should call out companies that have poor quality and service and patron those that excel in it.

One company that went above and beyond for us is DHL, a shipping company. So there's a shout for DHL.


Is health care a right?

I recently signed up for my company's healthcare plan. It basically costs me 100 bucks for medical and dental care. Within that coverage I have a copay and certain procedures are split 80/20.

The 100 bucks a month ($1200 a year) seems fairly reasonable with the high costs of medical care in the event that I may need it. In reality I believe it is costing me more because my employer is paying whatever else it costs to insure me as a perk for working there.

I'm not someone who requires a lot of medical care at this point in my life. In fact I do not remember the last time I went to a doctor. So that money I pay each month is "just in case" something happens which I am sure I will be greatful to have in case something happens.

I look at all the money that is spent on me "just in case" and I cringe. There's gotta be a better way to do it. fI looked into a health savings account but unless my employer pays me the money that they are spending on my health care it wouldn't be worth it.

Massachusetts recently passed a bill that will insure nearly all of its citizens. Very interesting.



I want to see how this plays out.

Post at light giver...



Lil sis...

My sister Candace has a blog called Running Reflections. Thought I'd give her a shout.



My hard drive burned up so I've been out of commission. Not that I would have been blogging anyway! We haven't even had the computer for a year and it already went bad. It is a Dell Inspiron 600m. The customer service was pretty much a bad experience. I don't know how many hours we spent with the phone to our ear trying to get things fixed. I think that I will look into Macs for our next one.


Don't thank me for not smoking...

Famous words a football coach of mine uttered when he saw one of these signs. Always makes me laugh. He was an ornery guy.

Laura and I saw "Thank You for Smoking" this weekend. Nick Naylor is a smooth talking lobbyist for "big tobacco" who is on a mission to get more people smoking. It's a good movie. Probably better to rent it than shell out cash at the theater.


My Lives...

Billy Joel played his 10th show in Madison Square Garden Saturday night, March 4th. Laura surprised me with tickets for our anniversary. He is one of my favorites.

Our seats were not very good, all the way at the top of the Garden. As we circled our way around to our seats a guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we wanted to sit in the 2nd row - all we had to do was trade him our tickets for the 2nd row seats. Yeah right. He had an all access pass around his neck and said he worked with Billy Joel and that Billy himself reserved seats in the front rows for fans with not so great seats to show his appreciation. Only being in New York for a couple weeks we couldn't help but think we were getting scammed but how did he get in? We bantered with him for a minute or two and decided to go for it. We immediately found the nearest usher and asked if our tickets were legit. Sure enough they were! So that's were we watched the show, from the 2nd row. It was amazing.


Light Giver...

I post on another blog called lightgiver. It is hosted by kairos.la


It has been three weeks at my new job. I like my work and the people are nice. To sum it up in non-descriptive terms, it's going well.

However there is one thing I am not used to yet...the community bathroom. Now I'm one of those people who do not mind using a public restroom. In fact I kind of enjoy it. Maybe because it appeals to the animal instinct of "leaving my mark". The same feeling doesn't ring true when the possibility of running into my manager or even the president of the company resonates in the back of my mind while I'm taking care of business.

The community bathroom in the work place. Is it some employee building technique thought up by some crazy consultant or just a way to save a buck?


Armed with new tools...

So I just finished ironing my shirt for work. It has become a daily ritual. The dress code at my job is a shirt and tie (pants are optional). Personally I choose to wear the pants and I wear shoes too. My new favorite tool to put my shoes on is the shoehorn. I just have a simple one but you can choose from a large variety of shapes and sizes. Who knew? There are even shoehorns for women!

Take a moment and collect yourself.

Excuse me while I go tie my tie.


Now we are cooking with gas...

A coworker of mine, Eddie, used to say that a lot. I get the jist of it, but not until now have I experienced it. Our apartment has a gas stove and man is it nice. My scrammbled eggs are done in less than two minutes. I burned the butter yesterday not paying attention! Our heat is gas too. Funny how they allow open flames in the house and how people don't really think twice about it. Not me, its always in the back of my head that I could get blown through the wall while making my eggs in the morning. That's why I never cook in my skivvies.

Other Ramblings...

My lastest obession, next to my wife:

Oops...wrong picture

The Aston Martin Vantage

New York politics are a little different than in North Carolina, to say the least. I'm looking forward to this election year even though I still find the current political climate nausiating. Anyways, I am an avid listener of talk radio. My latest find is Air America 1190 WLIB, Progressive Talk. It is liberals answer to Rush Limbaugh.

More and more people these days seem to have a problem with capitalism. I can understand their beef in some ways. As of right now I don't have a problem with it, but I will continue to allow my thoughts to be shaped. A book Laura and I are reading is by Ron Sider called, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. We haven't read enough to comment on. Just speaking out of my you know what for right now, I'd say the problem is more with marketing and Hollywood.

I would like to pose a question that nobody else (to my knowledge) has. Is Kanye West overrated? I really don't know anything about him other than his song "Gold-digger" which I think is clever. Oh and that he criticized the President on national television during a Hurricane Katrina fund-raiser. I think that is his claim to fame. Nothing is more popular right now than hating the President.

I saw Brokeback Mountain. I wonder how many people comment on it (positively or otherwise) without even seeing it? It wasn't what I expected.

And finally one complaint about New York living. People do not put their shopping carts in the shopping cart return cage. They just leave them in the parking lot strued about haphazardly obstructing reasonable peoples like myself ability to park. It's not just one or two but dozens!


They have a lot to answer for...

Evangelicals Join Global Warming Initiative read the headline.

All those tv preachers with the excessive use of the hair spray probably has a lot to do with it.


Back to the Blog...

For the past five weeks Laura and I have been in the process of moving from Greensboro, NC to Long Island, NY. Laura started a new job on January 3rd so she moved to NY while I continued working in NC. I stayed with friends (thanks Ray and Tere!) after we moved all of our furniture out of the apartment. I officially moved to LI on Sunday, driving the 10 hours on Super Bowl Sunday, because I started a new job myself with LKB, Inc.

I packed up our stuff myself instead of hiring movers. It was quite a job. It took me over a week. I figured I saved about 3000 bucks doing it that way. I rented a truck and drove the 600+ miles. It was a haul and the truck was a hoss (a 22 footer). I left at midnight and made it to NY at 2pm the next day. A couple extra hours longer then I expected because I was lost in Brooklyn, after I smashed the passenger's side mirror at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll booth. It was a circus there for a little while as I passed back and forth JFK International airport trying to find my way. The Van Wyck saved me and I finally made it to our apartment.

Special thanks to Ray, Lou, Vick, Jonathan, Mom, Dad, Bri, Corrie, Cand and Josh for helping us move. We couldn't have done it without you!




My lovely wife has joined the blog world lovetolaughoutloud. Check it out when you get a chance. She is an excellent writer. Warning: high drama.

And speaking of my lovely wife, we are currently in a battle over the thermostat in our apartment. She tried to make a truce but I am refusing. It is more like a cease-fire on my part.

Laura has the heat jacked up to 78-79 degrees! She wanted to call a truce at 75! Yeah, that's what I'm saying. The heat is so intense I can smell the paint burning. I can handle 70, maybe 72. I don't know what to do. I need some help on this one.

What is a reasonable temperature to heat your home to? And keep in mind that my Laura as wonderful as she is, is not reasonable.



Since we moved to Long Island, I've been doing the job search. Simplyhired.com is an awesome site that pulls from careerbuilder, monster, and many other job search engines. Thought I would pass it along in case anyone else is looking. It is my favorite site so far.

Monster and Careerbuilder are good for posting resume's. I have had success with people looking at my info and even got an interview this way. But I find them lacking when doing specific job searches.

If you know of any other sites please comment below.



My grandfather-in-law who is in his 80's started a blog: revdandugan.blogspot.com He is a cancer survior and he wanted to encourage others who are fighting it and have survived it.

He is a pastor of a church in West Paterson, NJ. He is also a phenominal cook. Oh the manicotti!

Check it out and pass it on to those you think it may help who are suffering with an illness or disease



Who invented it and why. Do you really want onion breath all morning??? A mouth wash or gum company probably thought this one up to boost sales.


What's compatibility have to do with it???

This came up in our Bible study group last Tuesday night. I can't take credit for it, Carrie is to thank for that. I will share what we discussed.

Somehow we were talking about the differences between my wife Laura and myself. When it comes to personality we are extreme opposites. Most of the couples in our group would consider themselves opposites on many aspects, not just personality. EHarmony boasts more matches that become marriages than any other service. You can get a free compatiblity report right on their website! One of their commercials has a couple all starry eyed saying how they find more and more in common with each other every day.

I think Laura and I find more that's different than the same! I'm not saying that one way is better than the other, but I would like to know if more marriages are two people of "compatibility" or "opposabiltiy" (if that is even a word).

Maybe EHarmony factors this into their "compatibility" tests but I would venture to say that they do not.

Anyways we all thought this to be odd. Can anyone help me out?


Keeping the New Year's Rez...

My car needed new brakes so I took it to the Toyota dealership. I figured I'd continue reading a book I got for Christmas as I waited. The title is called Overdosed America The Broken Promise of American Medicine. It is a book written by a family doctor who through personal research discovers that many of the new drugs heavily marketed do little to help the medical condition they were invented for and even cause more harm to the patient. Sometimes simply exercising will be more effective than taking a drug!

From what I've read so far it seems that the health industry is just as interested if not more in your money than your well-being. It is a good lesson for us to stay informed as to what is happening out there and pay careful attention to what we are putting into our bodies.

I just read this article today about over-the-counter cough medicine being ineffective.


Happy New Year...

I'm a little slow starting the new year. As for resolutions, no specific ones. Only that I want to be more creative and the I want to read more. I did a personal inventory and found that I only read two books (cover to cover) in '05. There were a lot of books I rummaged through but didn't completely read.