Well now… take two. I had a big post all written up, my browser apparently hiccuped, and I lost the entire post. GGGGRRRRRRR!!
To catch everyone up…
I was called by 3 different temp agencies the beginning of June, and started work over in Hillsboro. (VERY FAR away.) On my 3rd day there, I get a phone call from another temp agency, they had a job for me over in East Vancouver. (MUCH closer.) After begging off out of the Hillsboro job, I started working in East Vancouver. Much better. Once there, I discovered they are absolutely swamped. I have been working over there 6 days a week since then. This weekend is the first 2 day weekend I have had since June.
On the home front, we are now living in an apartment. And I am having a surprisingly hard time adjusting. One of our neighbors appears to be unable to listen to the radio, or watch TV, without a HUGE amount of Bass. Driving us crazy. It has gotten so bad, that I have complained to the apartment management twice. So far anyway, it seems to have worked. The other issue is not no easily fixed. There is an unpleasantly high level of roadnoise here. I am one of those people who needs peace and quiet in order to relax, and sleep. Needless to say, I am not able to relax or sleep very well. Only way to really fix that, is to move. But, of course, we are locked in a one year lease. As an alternative, I have been checking out noise canceling headsets. The only problem there though, good ones (ones that work) are expensive. Funny thing is, Veronica, and my mother in law are not having any issues. Weird.
Now for something interesting…
The first of ‘The Hobbit’ movies will be out this December. The first one, The Hobbit: An unexpected journey already has movie posters out. The second movie of this trilogy, called ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again.’ will be out Next December. Time to go adventuring back to Middle Earth. I for one, can’t wait!
… another 6 months older, another 6 months wiser. Just a quick followup to the previous post. We have now lost our house, and are now living in an apartment. I am STILL unemployed, which is driving me crazy. We having to pay an obscene amount to have internet here. Unbelievable! And in order for me to find a job, and for the rest of my family to stay in contact with the Philippines, we HAVE to have it.
I have been been having issues with WordPress and have been unable to log in to my account. Which kept me from posting, and normal housekeeping with the comments. BUT, it is working now, and that’s what counts.
At this point there isn’t much to say.
The Solar Ring eclipse yesterday (05-20-2012) was a non event for over here in the Western Pacific Northwest. We were clouded out. But it did get a bit darker though.
A couple days ago was the 32 year anniversary of the big Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. Time flies!
I will leave it at this for now. I promise to post more frequently, now that those issues are gone.
I don’t usually write things like this, but I am getting tired of seeing and experiencing this. So here is description of the problem, and some possible solutions.
Today I was at our local grocery store. I get into the checkout line behind two Hispanic people. When it was their time to be helped, this lady, who did NOT speak ANY English, pulled out 5 (five) WIC checks (Women, Infants & Children). The problem I have with all this, is that this woman was unable to speak any English at all, and her partner was only barely able to speak it. The cashier had to call for a translator. It was very obvious that neither one of them were US Citizens. Now, it’s a good thing to offer help to the needy if they can’t feed their kids.
The issue I have, is that neither one of them were US Citizens. This economy is very though on lots of people. But since when can non citizens get onto assistance programs when citizens who need assistance also, can’t get assistance? I speak from experience. I am unemployed, and have been for quite a while. I am working very hard to find a job. But, I suspect because of my age (I know, I know, prove it) I am still unemployed. Meanwhile, due to a stupid loophole in the unemployment laws, I am not even getting unemployment
We are losing our home, because we don’t have the income to pay the mortgage. We are slowly falling behind on all our bills, because we can’t just pay the bills, we have to pay food also. I have applied for assistance, but, because my wife is working, and supposedly ‘earning to much’, we don’t qualify for assistance. And when we get kicked out of our house, we will end up ON THE STREET, because we don’t have enough income to take care of both rent and living expenses. Meanwhile, non citizens are getting assistance.
Giving assistance to needy families is admirable. BUT, take care of those in your house first, before you go outside! ANY AND ALL ASSISTANCE SHOULD GO TO CITIZENS FIRST, then, anything that is left, could go to help non-citizens. This is not a discriminatory thing. It just makes sense. The United States, and the individual states, do not have enough money to take care of everyone in the world.
And while I am on this soapbox, the assistance should be temporary, and come with requirements. Being a citizen, and being able to speak, read and write understandable English has to be one. English is the language of this country. Any non English speaking person separates themselves from our culture. And if you do that, why live here? Adopt to our culture, and you enable yourself to become a US citizen. Or be unable to claim ANY assistance, other then from good Samaritans. Another requirement would be to give assistance finding a job. (ALL companies MUST participate in the job placement program. Call it a requirement of doing business in the United States) The assistance would last however long it would take to locate a job, and includes a unemployment payment. Once a permanent job is found, you can’t use the service for 3 years. If the unemployed person does not want to participate, or stops participating, the assistance stops, including ALL other unemployment services. If the person is laid off within that 3 year period, the company doing the laying off, is fully responsible to either continue paying the wage until the 3 years are up, assist the soon to be former employee to find another permanent job, and which assistance will continue until successful. Or doing both at the same time, depending on which one the company would want to do. Food assistance would also be temporary. No more semi-permanent pregnant women. The assistance would last only as long as the condition exists, no longer. Not from infant to age 18. Perhaps from infant to toddler. After that, the parent HAS to work, and would be disqualified from food assistance for 2 or 3 years, BUT, would qualify for job locating assistance. Maybe a good time to learn family and financial planning. Because you wouldn’t be able to rely on the government to give you more food assistance until the 2 or 3 years waiting period is over.
On the issue of the obscene numbers of Home foreclosures and Short-Sales… ALL mortgage companies MUST honor a good will Short-Sale attempt. Even if the house doesn’t sell right of way. If the attempt is being made, they should NOT start foreclosure procedures, but, the mortgage companies should be allowed to notify the current home owners that they will be required to move out if the house sells, and the house has to be in good condition. And they would be allowed to occasionally send an inspector to the house, to insure the home remains in good condition. (Please note the word Occasionally, NOT Frequently) In case of a foreclosure, it doesn’t really make sense to evict the current home owner except under extreme situations. If a home is lived in, people will do what it takes to keep the house up. If the house is sitting empty, weather, erosion, insects, rodents, thieves, and home squatters can, and after some time, will move in. Foreclosures should be switched to Short-Sales. But having said that, those buying a Short-Sale home, should be doing it only for their primary, or second home. No investors. Mainly because if an investor purchases the house, you still end up ‘evicting’ the previous homeowner, and after some potential construction or yard-work, the home will sit empty, again, until someone else buys it. And that would be defeating the purpose.
And why kick a person while they are down? Stop people undergoing foreclosures and Short-Sales from getting a huge credit hit. Some hit, OK. But as big as it is currently? That’s extreme! Especially is this day and age, when credit makes or breaks people. And most people having this issue, are already having issues, like losing their job, or having large medical expenses. Just because the system was set up the way it is, doesn’t mean it is right for current and future situations. Life is not static. Things change, and so rules and regulations need to change with the times.
Time to get off my Soapbox. Thanks for reading.
Wow, time flies. Christmas is almost here. The weather is kind of boring around here in the Pacific Northwest, nothing exiting happening except fog, cold nights, and some occasional rain. No real sign of snow in the forecast, at least for the holidays. No volcanic crises currently in progress anywhere in the world. As of this writing, one seismic one, down in New Zealand… again. Isn’t that the second big one they have had this year? Not good!!
I have been observing the process of one of my favorite books, Enders Game, by Orson Scott Card, being made into a movie. Fascinating to watch. It has taken many years before it finally took off. But finally it is in process. It will have a couple big stars in it; Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley. Also some teenagers not so quite well known, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Jimmy Pinchak, Aramis Knight, Brendan Meyer, and more. Even though all those teenagers are in there, the book has some very violent situations in it. Because of that, I suspect the movie, if it stays true to the book, may end up being rated ‘R’ . Another thing I have discovered, much to my chagrin, is that the Author, Orson Scott Card, is considered to be a ‘extreme Homophobe’. Funny that. He doesn’t write that way in Enders Game. I hope that won’t detract from how good this movie could be.
Well, as the title on this post says…Tis the Season. I will leave you with this wonderful version of Silent Night. Tis is the reason for the season, after all. Merry Christmas Everyone!
The December Solstice will occur on December 21 at 09:30 PM PST. It is also known as the Winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences. Its date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.
The December Solstice Explained
The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.
On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.
The December solstice in the calendar
December 20 and December 23 solstices occur less frequently than December 21 or December 22 solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23 solstice occurred in 1903 and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20 solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080.
Seasons, Equinoxes and Solstices
As with the June solstice, the December solstice’s varying dates are mainly due to the calendar system. The Gregorian calendar, which is used in most western countries, has 365 days in a year and 366 days in a leap year. However, the tropical year, which is the length of time the sun takes to return to the same position in the seasons cycle (as seen from earth), is different to the calendar year. The tropical year is approximately 365.242199 days but varies from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the earth, such as the “wobble” in the earth’s axis (precession), also contributes to the changing solstice dates.
Over the course of history, many different schemes have been devised to determine the start of the year. Some are astronomical, beginning at the September or March equinox, or at the June or December solstice. Solstices are more readily observable either by observing when the midday shadow of a gnomon is longest (winter solstice in the northern hemisphere) or shortest (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere). The solstices can also be observed by noting the point of time when the sun rises or sets as far south as it does during the course of the year (winter in the northern hemisphere) or maximally north (summer in the northern hemisphere).
December solstice in relation to seasons
It is important to note that earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, to the autumnal equinox, to the winter solstice, and back to the vernal equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively. The consolation in the northern hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter (when the December solstice occurs).
The relative position of the earth’s axis to the sun changes during the cycle of seasons. This phenomenon is the reason why the sun’s height above the horizon changes throughout the year. It is also responsible for the seasons through controlling the intensity and duration of sunlight received at various locations around the planet.
Solstice’s influence on cultures
The December solstice has played an important role the lives of many people in ancient times. To this day, the world is still influenced by various traditions linked to the observance of the December solstice.
Yes, It’s time to remember our Veterans. For all you have done for us… for all you are doing for us… And for all you will do for us… THANK YOU! Can’t say much more then that. Except…
Here is a great speech about…
The speech begins with a moment of silence.
It’s not very often that a speaker begins with silence. It’s uncomfortable. It’s forced, and we often don’t know what to do with silence.
World War I, the Great War, the War to End all Wars, shook the nations of the world for four years, claiming 20 million lives. The Armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and since then nations commemorate that event with a moment of silence.
This day is observed around the world and has many names – Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, and the Day of Peace. It once was a celebration of the silencing of the cannons of World War I and is now a day when nations around the world pause in a moment of silence with solemn pride in the remembrance of the heroism of those who have served, those who are currently serving and those who died in our country’s service.
We don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, as proud of that victory as we are. We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible. It’s a day we keep in our minds the brave men and women of this young nation – generations of them – who, above all else, believed in and fought for a set of ideals.
They chose to serve the cause that is greater than self; many even after they knew they’d be sent into harm’s way. And in this time of persistent conflict, for the better part of a decade, they have endured tour after tour in distant and difficult places; they have protected us from danger; and they have given others the opportunity for a better life.
So to all of them – to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families – there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice. We can offer this humble moment of silence.
Silence does not come naturally to America. We are loud and busy – constantly moving. We celebrate with fireworks, concerts, parties, picnics, songs and parades. It is not in our nature to be still or to be silent. You see, silence is something we struggle with.
Our world is not a silent world. It is not a peaceful world, either. Just as we struggle to be silent, to be still, for a moment, our world struggles with war, strife, injustice, hunger, disease and destruction, and it cries out in need. Our service members heeded the call, the cries of world. They did not sit back in silence, but stood against a chaotic world to bring peace.
A life of service is anything but peaceful. From the sound of reveille to the blowing of “taps,” their lives are in constant motion. The days are filled with the sounds of a drill sergeant’s voice, rifles at the training range, trucks, ships, submarines, helicopters, jets, tanks, mortars and cadences. It is also filled with the sounds of their children laughing, their spouses and their friends. When they deploy, the day could be filled with other sounds that linger long after the soldier returns. No, a life of service is not silent.
Their lives are busy and noisy, but no one knows silence like a military family. They know a silence like no other – the silence that remains when a son or daughter goes off to boot camp, or the lingering silence when a father or mother deploys, or the deafening silence when the flag is handed to a grieving loved one. Their silence is profound and is a living testament to their service to their loved ones.
Silence today is rare. Like soldiers on a battlefield, we are bombarded from all directions with noise. Some people avoid the emptiness of silence and seek to fill its void with voices and sound. Some see silence as inaction, but this silence today is a silence full of meaning, message and purpose.
Silence, like sleep, has a way of healing our spirits. This silence gives us pause from our hectic lives to remember and to find a healing peace in our remembrance of the soldiers of the past. In this silence, we open our spirits to feel the depth of their service and sacrifice, and we honor them by silencing our own personal cannons to give them the full measure of our respect.
We call this a holiday. But for many veterans, it’s another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day the best they possibly can. For our troops, it is another day in harm’s way. For their families, it is another day to feel the absence of a loved one, and the concern for their safety. For our wounded warriors, it is another day of slow and arduous recovery. And for others, it is another day when the grief of loss remains fresh.
The resilience of our soldiers and their families never fails to amaze me. We are working to help the soldiers and families who face the physical and psychological struggles of multiple deployments to become and remain balanced, healthy and self-confident. They represent the best of America. Our Army family is strong, and the Army is seeking to adapt its institutions, modernize the force and build resilience to maintain our combat edge as the strongest fighting force the world knows. This is the best way the Army honors their service.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you for a brief moment of silence to honor all the moments, days and years that our veterans and their families have served and sacrificed for our nation.
Veterans, both past and current, I ask you to stand.
We remember the brave men and women who have served in places such as Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let us remember those who are deployed in service to their country. Let us remember those who, because they paid the ultimate sacrifice, cannot be with us today.
In our moment of silence, we lift our thoughts, gratitude and prayers to our veterans. Lift your spirits to their families, and speak with your silence.
Ladies and gentlemen, please stand with our veterans.
So while it is important and proper that we mark this day with a humble silence, it is far more important we spend all our days rejoicing in their service and reminding ourselves that because of our veterans our country still stands; our founding principles still shine; nations around the world that once knew nothing but fear now know the blessings of freedom.
To you, veterans, we say, “Thank you.”
“Freedom is never free.” -Author Unknown
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” -Maya Angelou
“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?” -George Canning
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” -G.K. Chesterton
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis
“But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye.” -Thomas Dunn English
“I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot.” -Gary Hart
“Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease; Fold the whole earth in peace.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to just utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.” -Arthur Koestler
“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’” -Eve Merriam
“Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” -Michel de Montaigne
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” -Jose Narosky
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” -Cynthia Ozick
“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” -Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
It’s that time of the year again. Daylight Savings is a public menace. I’ll set my clock back in the fall (I think) and forward in the spring. But I won’t like it. And I won’t like you if you do.
‘Ben Franklin thought daylight saving time was a good idea!’ People say, ‘it’s for farmers.’
Ben Franklin also thought that it was a good idea to make the turkey the national bird! Ben Franklin gave advice in something called Poor Richard’s Almanack. Why would you take advice from a guy who advertised how poor he was in the title? Especially if that advice consisted of things like ‘A Cat in Gloves Catches No Mice.’ Who puts gloves on a cat?
But wait! It doesn’t stop there…
‘This saves energy and conserves light bulbs!’
We don’t work for light bulbs! They work for us! Now I have to leave work under the cover of darkness so that my light bulbs can sit at home living the high life? Just for that I intend to leave all the lamps blazing all night. ‘Daylight saving time, eh?’ I will snarl. ‘LOOK AT ALL THE ENERGY I’M CONSERVING! WORK HARDER, LIGHT BULBS! WORK!’
‘Daylight saving time was popular during World War I,’ people say. ‘And we brought it back during World War II’
Do you know what else was popular during World War I? Racism. And I don’t see anyone rushing around demanding we re-institute that.
My only reason for supporting daylight saving time is that it makes keeping a work-life balance more difficult for vampires.
It would be one thing if people defended this abomination on the grounds that they hated waking up in the dark because it felt like being in a Dickensian workhouse. But they don’t.
And it’s not that I mind leaving work under cover of darkness. It gives me the illusion that I am a dedicated workaholic who ought to be awarded some sort of plaque. Sure, this leaves me more vulnerable to attack by vampires. But I’ll cope.
Once I tried neither springing forward nor falling back. It didn’t work very well. Perhaps don’t schedule your wedding during this time.
So sure, fall forward. Or backward. Spring ahead. But don’t try to tell me I have to like it.
After seeing the news of the winter weather in Wyoming and Colorado, it feels like it’s getting that time for cooler temperatures to start impacting your life outside of shelter. One of the biggest things that affect you is the Wind Chill. In a nutshell, that is how cold it feels on bare skin. If there is no wind, even though it maybe very cold, you may not feel that cold. But, add some wind, or your subjective outdoor temperature drops. That is becuase the wind efficiently removes heat from your skin. The more wind, the faster heat is removed, the colder it feels. Even though the actual air temperature is not changing, when you add wind to it, the air temperature SEEMS to drop.
When it’s 40 degrees outside, and a 60 miles per hour storm blows through, it feels like it’s 25 degrees, even a 15 miles per hour wind will make it feel like it’s 32 degrees. Amazing! The National Weather Service several years ago came out with a handy dandy chart, to show you exactly how cold you are feeling. Check it out…
In my travels over the Internet, I run into all kinds of good, and bad, videos. I picked two that I felt were worth seeing.
The first one, is called ‘Leave Me’. It is a short video about a man who is grieving for his recently deceased wife. When his father, or his wife’s father, can’t tell which, takes a picture of him, using his wife’s camera. The grieving man discovers he suddenly is in the pictures stored on the camera. After he realizes what is going on, he tells the father, by pointing, to scroll the the next picture. After a few pictures, he finds one where his wife is. He writes on his hand ‘Leave Me’, to tell the father to turn the camera off, and leave him with his wife. Quite sad, but interesting.
This next video is almost opposite of the previous one. It is called’ First Love’. It is the story of an attrative lady who meets an guys she falls for. She’s willing to do anything for him. But… is she able to stop eating baked beans, so she won’t pass gas so much? Nuff said, ROLL EM!
Mt Rainier in the US Pacific Northwest suffered several quakes in the past week. This caused the news media to report it both on TV, and in text. The thing about this, is that some people feel that the whole thing is a not worth a news story. Now here are some facts about Mt Rainier: It is a 14.440 foot high stratovolcano in the Cascade Mountain range. It last erupted in the 18th century. Since then, other then an occasional lahar (landslide) and some earthquakes, it has been quiet. The quakes in question were small, a M3.4 and a M2.9. (M = Magnitude) These quakes are larger then the usual quakes, and occurred over a short period of time. So in that respect, they were worthy of note. Nothing really special, but interesting none-the-less.
I can see the local media covering the quakes, volcanoes are fascinating, can ruin your day. Plus the Cascade volcanoes dominate the skyline, so they are kind of hard to ignore. The local media did not really go overboard reporting it. BUT, the national, and yes, international media, did. It was a minor local event, and did not warrant the headlines it received. Yes, if Mt. Rainier would erupt, it could possibly become the most expensive natural disaster in US history. But next time, let the scientists decide if it was time to take note, or run for the hills.
- Spate of quakes around Mount Rainier (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Growing tension along Cascadia subduction zone: Washington rattled by series of tremors (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- 50 Years Ago (bendbulletin.com)
- When is a volcano going to erupt again (wiki.answers.com)