Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On My first stripper and Robbing the Old Lady

For those who think my work is dull I offer the above catchy headline.

I receive a call today from a customer who tells me that she works in the entertainment business and gets paid only in cash, which is part of why she didn't file taxes... Well yes, I would imagine that line of work doesn't exactly come with a W2 and a health plan. Needless to say it was an educational experience to say the least.

The second part of the story is less amusing but still interesting. A 79 year old lady called me and I spent over thirty minutes trying to convence her that if she would simply pay the user fee to get into a monthly payment plan that she could send us $25 per month as opposed to the $157 she was sending in via her SS check. When we finally succeeded in bridging the communication gap she was practically turning cartwheels for joy. Nice to know it's the lady as a gender I struggle to communicate clearly with. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wearing a Cloak of Water

So today I had lunch with my mother, Tom Ellis (the King of the Shigga Dig), and Rick- a.k.a. the Bald God. After this delightful meal (good food and company make for good times after all) Rick and I went to a spa to try a sensory dep tank. I found the experience truly unique, like sky diving in os far as you can't really say what it's like unless the other person's experienced the same thing. The feeling was something like wearing a cloak of water, as the water around my head felt like a cowl, and I could feel the water along my back and legs.

Overall a most interesting experience. Don't think it will replace the steak and stress relief program I currently have running, but I am very glad to have had the experience.

On Sleep, Saturday, and Eyore

I had the delight of waking up this morning at 11am, and was struck by the thought that this time would in the days of my youth, have been far too late for the truly important part of Saturday- i.e. cartoons. I am amused by the fact that when I was younger I would happily wake up at 7 or 8am to watch favorites, and when I was a bit older WWE, where as now I long for nothing more then a few extra hours worshiping Somnus.

I was also amused to be called Eeyoreish by a friend this week. Although I think of myself as being more Tiggerish, or perhaps Owlish, I fear that now and again Eeyore does indeed describe me well. (On a side note I have been having heated arguments with family and friends for the last few years about Eyore's coloring. Imagine my delight when I found the wiki linked above proving that victory is mine. Glooting? Me?)

Work continues a pace. Making it through in a fairly good way, and starting to get a handle on the job. Looking at hosting a New Year's Eve party at my place and of course prepping for the annual holiday known as the date of my birth. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On Sick Leave

As I contemplate sick leave the below poem came to mind, for some strange reason. I recommend it to all, young and young at heart.

Sick - Shel Silverstein


'I cannot go to school today, '
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more-that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue-
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On Sudo Justice

I found the murdering scum being hit on only one count out of hundreds yesterday as a example of sudo justice, and shows (if such is needed) why it is so important to treat terrorists like the enemy combatants they are, rather then sudo American citizens. From the article linked in the title...

"If this insane policy of appeasing terrorists and granting them American constitutional rights to be tried as quasi American citizens continues, the cost
of this failure will pale in comparison to the cost of the failure that will undoubtedly yet occur as a result of this ruling," he said in a written statement.
"Terrorists now have incontrovertible evidence that they can exploit the American justice system and they will use this knowledge to train new terrorist
recruits and manipulate their cases if and when they are caught."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A History Lesson

My friend and colleague Jonathan posted the below on his Facebook page, and as it contains great truth I thought I would post it here as well.

Alas I appear to have some liberal tendencies- i.e. sushi and imported beer, but am comforted by the red meat.

Hope you find this as entertaining as I did.

For those that don't know about history ... Here is a condensed version:

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deerin the mountainsduring the summer and would go to the
coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beerand the invention of the wheel.The
wheel was invented to get man to the beer.These were the foundations of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity
into two distinct subgroups:1. Liberals 2. Conservatives.Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture.Neither
the glass bottlenor aluminum canwere invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close
to their brewery.That's how villages were formed.Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This
was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement...Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives
by showing up for the nightly BBQ's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal
men eventually evolved into women. They became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention
of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democraticvoting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided. Over the years
conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass for obvious
reasons.Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef
well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone
levels than their men.Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented
the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Budor Miller. They eat red meat
and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big game hunters,rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police
officers,engineers, corporate executives, athletes,members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives
who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide
what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when
conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.Here ends today's
lesson in world history!

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it.

A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers
and to more liberals just to piss them off.And there you have it. Let your next action reveal your true self..... I'm going to have another beer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Thought on American Literature

I have recently finished The Coming of Conan, a collection of Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard. I began the series with the desire to kill a few hours, but was quickly drawn in to the overarching story and well written characters and plot points. Having been addicted through this initial reading I was struck that in the realm of literature that which I love, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Tom Clancy are all distinctly American. When I hear rantings about how American literature has provided nothing to culture, and how we are decaying as a culture, I simply look at the immense contributions provided by those mentioned above, combined with Ayn Rand and the classic American authors to believe that we as a people have and are increasing and deepening culture from a literary viewpoint.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lunch and other random things

I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with some colleagues at Slebies today, and it was a treat to say the least. A *fantastic* sandwich (the Denver Zoo) and better company made for a most outstanding experience. I feel better about my job as I look at my colleagues and the possibilities for the future. Although I feel as if I know little about my job (which has been increased by the recent changes in the IRM) I believe these may be overcome. I certainly hope so, as I am coming to enjoy my work more and more. If nothing else it provides me with an endless source of humor as I listen to customers rant about the unfairness of the IRS, while not paying their taxes.

Victory will be mine, but I question if it will be so for the country as I interact daily with people who don't want to pay their taxes. We will see I suppose. In the meantime there is Gin, iced coffee, and beautiful women to fill the void.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saint Matthew

Considering my profession I think I will make Saint Matthew my patron saint.

Although some days in the service I feel like I am beaten up and drained of all life I am glad to be working, and am happy to have the opportunity to work. I trust that with time I will get better at my job of tax collector, and pray that in the end it might glorify Christ.

We will see how it all goes, but it is nice to at least have the chance to work.

THoughts on my employer

Had a colleague send me the below, and I thought I'd share.
A little boy wanted $100.00 very badly and prayed for weeks, but nothing happened. Then, he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100.00. When the postal authorities received the letter to "God, USA," they decided to send it to the President. The President was so amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5.00 bill. The President thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy.

The little boy was delighted with the $5.00 bill and sat down to write a thank you note to God, which read:

Dear God,

Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that
for some reason you sent it through Washington DC...And those jerks took $95.00 in taxes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Irresponsible in Action

I just read the linked article and find it extremely unfortunate that some are attempting to defend the irresponsible behavior of former home owners. The concept that because these people bought more home then they could afford subsequently puts them on the same level as the person on the street is simply absurd. This family thought they could afford the home they got a loan on. They were wrong. As opposed to accepting their error and trying to get on with their life they try and ruin it for a family who has been wiser with their finances.

The fact that this behavior is defended at all disgusts me. Let the irresponsible rant and moan all they like about mean things like the interest rate and requirements to follow through on their commitments, but they should have enough respect for others, and more importantly for themselves, to not try and destroy what they cannot have.

This shows, if indeed more proof is needed, of the need for the thought of Ayn Rand in modern America.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Joy and the Pain

So I am disappointed by the Colorado governors race, but have hope for the US Senate race. Victory will be ours!

Overall, I think the national mood is for fiscal sense, and I look forward to that being put forth in future laws.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Rush

Very much looking forward to what the election holds tomorrow. Hoping for alot of new bosses after tomorrow. If you haven't considered it before, please consider getting out to vote tomorrow.

I will be posting updates on Twitter, Facebook, and here throughout election day. Please consider voting Republican as I view the GOP as the best hope for fiscal sanity.

Looking forward to what the polls yield. Here's to the constitution and core American values.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The IRS Isn't Scary

Got this at work and had to share. Amusing while still being true.

Do you remember trick-or-treating on Halloween when you were 5 years old and some high school kids jumped out in scary costumes? No doubt you screamed,
sent your candy flying and ran home.  

Taxpayers sometimes experience similar feelings when they’re notified the IRS is auditing their taxes. Truth is, we don’t wear scary masks; we don’t jump
out and say, “Boo!” In fact, we’re doing our very best to make the audit process (and customer service in general) professional and not frightening.  

In a new series of educational videos, “
Your Guide to an IRS Audit
,” a string of vignettes explains the examination process. The videos walk taxpayers through a typical audit from start to finish. They can see firsthand
the experience is very straightforward. SB/SE is at work creating a similar series to explain the collection process. 

But we can’t rely on videos alone. We are each accountable to our own customers. We must explain the actions we are taking and ensure our customers are
treated with respect and understanding.  

If you know someone who has been contacted by the IRS for an audit, send them the video links on IRS.gov. While they still may consider an audit unsettling
– maybe a little scary, even – they’ll find out who we really are: skilled, dedicated employees who take pride in delivering the best customer service
we can. 


SB/SE Commissioner 

My Thanks to the Dems

I have to offer thanks to the Dems as I was thinking about skipping voting on Tuesday. As I was listening to the Broncos game however I heard one of the most snarky illogical political ads I've ever heard- sponsored by the Dems. This ad reminded me of my duty, not only to vote, but also to attempt to improve our culture, in so far as I can do so. With this in mind I plan to start donating on a monthly basis to the Heritage Foundation, as I view Heritage as one of the groups that is working towards improving and maintaining our culture.

So I thank the Dems for giving me, not only a reason to vote on Tuesday and not be lazy, but a reason to be engaged in the improvement of our culture.

Looking forward to Tuesday. Plan to have a couple of beers and some pizza as I listen to the results on the Hughniverse. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Braille Readers Are Leaders

The time for the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is quickly approaching, and once again I will be involved. The adult contest is a really cool fature that I am glad they are continuing this year. Anyone interested in joining me for a team should e-mail me.

Work continues a pace. On my new schedule, which is okay time wise, but is kicking me from here to next week with the actual being on the floor part. Thank God for the holy brew and gin in the evening. I trust this will get better, and in the meantime I have this ginormous Braille display to use while at work. Got a flu shot today, so am hoping it might leave me with a little more sick leave then otherwise. Here's hoping.

Trying to learn all the ins and outs of my Alva BC640 before the start of the contest, as I'd like to use it. Really a great display, but I very much look forward to the day when electronic Braille is more affordable. Hoping the Braille Wizard by NBP will be a solid step towards affordable electronic Braille, just like the Perkins Braille displays have been.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

White Cane Safety Day Proclamation

As those who speak with me for more then two minutes about politics knows I have huge disagreements with Obama about everything from economics to civil rights matters. Having said this I have always been most impressed by his White Cane Day proclamations, and felt it important to reprint it here.

The focus on the white cane as a symbol of freedom and independence, as well as the mention of the importance of Braille as literacy, are major points and should not be overlooked. Regardless of whether a given day is a travel easy day or one where I am veering all over the place, the fact that I can navigate independently is so important, and can be overlooked when not compared with the fairly recent past.

Additionally, the ability to read is extremely important. Although I don't read as quickly as I would like, the ability to use Braille, no matter how slowly, is a blessing. I know of those who can make it with just sound, but I question if their life is really enhanced by this lack.

October 15, 2010

The white cane, in addition to being a practical mobility tool, serves as a symbol of dignity, freedom, and independence for individuals who are blind or
visually impaired. On White Cane Safety Day, our Nation celebrates the immeasurable contributions the Americans who use canes have made as valued members
of our diverse country. We also examine our progress and recommit to full integration, equality, education, and opportunity for Americans with visual impairments.

Today, students with disabilities are reaching achievements considered unattainable just a few decades ago. Many gains have been realized throughout our
educational system, but we must accomplish more so that America's technological advances and assistive tools are available for the benefit of all students.
My Administration is committed to ensuring that electronic readers and other electronic equipment used by schools, including postsecondary institutions,
are accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. We are also providing guidance and technical assistance to help colleges and universities
fully comply with the legal requirements to use emerging technology that is accessible to all students in the classroom. Blindness and visual impairments
are not impediments to obtaining knowledge, and we must highlight the availability of existing tools to facilitate communication and work to improve access
to them. Additionally, the Braille code opens doors of literacy and learning to countless individuals with visual impairments across our country and around
the world, and we must work with advocates and leaders throughout our society to promote and improve Braille literacy among our students.

Americans with disabilities are Americans first and foremost, entitled to both full participation in our society and full opportunity in our economy. My
Administration is working to increase information access so Americans who are blind or visually impaired can fully participate in our increasingly interconnected
world. To expand career options for people with disabilities in the Federal Government, I signed an Executive Order directing executive departments and
agencies to design strategies to increase recruitment and hiring of these valued public servants. I was also pleased to sign the Twenty-First Century Communications
and Video Accessibility Act into law earlier this month to ensure that the jobs of the future are accessible to all. This legislation will make it easier
for people who are deaf, blind, or live with a visual impairment to use the technology our 21st-century economy depends on, from navigating digital menus
on a television to sending emails on a smart phone.

As we observe the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this year, my Administration reaffirms our national commitment to creating access
to employment, education, and social, political, and economic opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Together with individuals who are blind or
visually impaired, service providers, educators, and employers, we will uphold our country as an inclusive, welcoming place for blind or visually impaired
people to work, learn, play, and live.

By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress designated October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day
to recognize the contributions of Americans who are blind or have low vision.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2010, as White Cane Safety Day. I call upon all
public officials, business and community leaders, educators, librarians, and Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of October, in the year of our two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dracula and work

Yesterday evening I went to see Dracula at the theater, and it was amazing. The acting was excellent (particularly that of the Count and Van Helsing) and the stage effects were well done. The adaptation of the book was almost word for word, and it blended humor and seriousness in such a way as I haven't seen on the stage in a long time.

My only regret is that they cut out the character of Quincy, the brash American from Texas. I have always loved Quincy's character, as it symbolizes for me the American character and the impact it had on the world, even at that time.

Nevertheless, the play was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. I strongly suggest seeing it if you have the time and are near to Denver.

After the play Soren, Lora, and I went to a new bar for me, Fresh Craft. The food was excellent (almost as good as the company), and the beer was better. The service was friendly and prompt. I plan to go back as soon as possible, as it looks like an excellent place to huddle oneself in for a few hours. The music was good but not too loud, which is so unique in downtown IMO.

On other fronts the job is rather shaky. Unfortunately, the work I am doing is just not inspiring (unlike the work I did for the CCB, but I don't feel I can afford to resign before next June. Every morning getting out of bed is a struggle, and every night I go to sleep tired and emotionally drained. Perhaps I shall resign anyway, but we will see. I have a new schedule and new manager come Monday, so I am waiting to see how that turns out before making a final call.

Regardless of what happens I intend to stay in Denver. Even with $35 a month for RTD passage the freedom granted by being able to move about the city is wonderful. Colorado Springs, while a beautiful city, simply can't offer the same freedom of movement. THis freedom helps me understand why sighted people love their cars so. Truly the ability to move where ever one wishes is a blessing and freedom I think is taken for granted too often.

I follow with the iced coffee...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Hare Awakens

Alas as with the tortoise and the hare this hare took a week long nap in the matter of reading the Bible. I have awakened, however, and am now on day 19. I hope to catch up to where I need to be via double readings over the course of the week. I find reading the Bible in the morning tends to help me through the rest of the day. Certainly between it and my coffee I am vaguely awake by the time I hit my desk at 8am.

The rest of life goes fairly well. Still trying to maintain my social life, and still getting a handle on the job. The latter at least seems to be getting easier somewhat, and I am very much looking forward to getting out on the floor on 10-25.

I have been listening to this over the past week and thought I'd share it.

I follow with the iced coffee...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Humor at work and Shopping at the Temple

Work today was quite the roller coaster- I began the day getting an earful for joking with the customer about the quality of my equipment. I felt this was a simple statement of fact, and the appreciation of the humorous element of this fact would be fine to share with the customer (as that is part of the reason said customer is stuck for such a long period on the phone). Alas this is *not* the case. Considering my employer I wasn't expecting to have customers falling on the floor in laughter, but I found the talking to nonetheless unfortunate. Better to know now, then to have "issues" in the future I suppose.

Calls went fairly well today. My superior was pleased with them. The last one unfortunately involved a grumpy individual who sucked the life out of me over the phone, and then hung up before I could even assist him. *sigh*

So I did what any respectable individual would do- I went to the Temple of Capitalism and bought some Red Bull and chewy chocolate chip cookies. The latter I heated up in the microwave, and the former I made into a Jagerbomb. I also broke down and bought Wal-Mart's version of icyhot, in hopes it will help with the neck. We'll see how it goes.

Looking forward to a quiet evening consisting of books, a hot tub, and watching my favorite actress.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall and the Gauntlet

I am very pleased the the weather has finally started to cool, and I can start to believe that I live in a city and not an oven. The smell of smoke in the air, the cool breeze, and the excellent weather always fill me with a sense of expectancy. Never sure what I expect exactly, but every fall it is there.

Social life goes well. Went to Rock Bottom with my dear friend Deanna and her boyfriend Andrew yesterday evening. Great time, between the company and the food.

Started properly on the phones at work yesterday. All in all a pretty good start; although I had forgotten some things since it's been a couple of weeks since I've been on the phones. If yesterday was any indication the days should be tiring but fly by.

The gauntlet also goes well. Although this hare is tempted to take a nap now and again I have thus far been able to maintain my lead (I am as of this writing on day sixteen of the reading plan). The regular reading is helpful for me, as it makes for a good way to wake up in the morning and sustain me during breaks etc. at work.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life and the Gauntlet

I just attended Tap Dogs this evening with a group from Pathways Church. Good times- the food beforehand was excellent (a mojito, wine, trout, and outstanding coffee and dessert), as was the show itself. Didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, considering it was tap dancing; however, the energy displayed was most entertaining.

Apart from the great evening this evening I have had some great times in Denver both within and without the salt mines. I have attended a couple of Rockies games with excellent company, and the experience was always most enjoyable. Looking to hit up one more game to celebrate a friend's birthday next Tuesday- should be a blast.

The Gauntlet also goes well. Have stayed on target thus far this week, and am actually mildly ahead of my friend. Alas this will be more a matter of the tortoise winning in the end, rather then the hare. Nevertheless, it is good to be reading the good book again- makes for good reading on the train in the morning.

Also looking forward to the elections in November. I was thrilled when I found out that I could still register to vote with my address change. If you haven't registered to vote yet you can do so here. I encourage you to vote, and to vote for those who believe in fiscal responsibility. I'd kind of like the dollar to be worth more then Monopoly money ten years down the road. Of course a gold standard would help in that regard, but I shall refrain from getting on that soap box.

Still enjoying my iced coffee, and rather enjoying cold mint tea as well. Hoping to have a large glass of it in celebration in November.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let the Gauntlet Begin...

So today began my Bible reading contest with my friend. Began by reading Gen. 1, Josh 1, Psalms 1, Prov. 1, Is. 1, Matt 1, Rom 1, Acts 1, Job 1, and 1 Thes 1. Obviously a interesting reading schedule, but the goal is to get through the Bible within 269 days. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

As for the rest of life things go well. Still hammering away at the job, attempting to maintain a social life, and ensure I don't burn down my apartment. Looking to start back at church now that I'm settled up here, though not sure where exactly to land on that front. Must be orthodox for sure.

Still enjoying the iced coffee...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

A friend of mine recently wrote to me that she is attempting to read through the Bible in 249 days. As it has been some time since I read the Bible, and having a sense of competition, my friend and I now have a wager over who will stick with it longest, and who will finish off the good book first.

We are using a system which looks ambitious but doable. If anyone wishes to join us please e mail me.

I shall note my progress here in order to hopefully keep me on track. I have armmed myself with my Stream and a couple of iPhone apps to aid me in my battle. As ever victory shall be mine! :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Coffee Drinker's Prayer

Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal™:
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of The Starbucks:
Thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over.
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the House of Mochas forever.
~Author Unknown

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Surviving the Week and Dancing Through Life

To ctach everyone up who might come across this blog I have recently over the course of the past month been hooked on Red Bull, Fan Fiction, and Jager Mister. I am very pleased to note that I made it through a long week. Training goes well at work and I will yet call down fire and lightning from the sky on the customer; nevertheless, still working on getting a handle on things.

Life overall goes well. This week I was hooked on fan fiction, particularly that of Harry Potter as provided by the Lady of Darkness. I was also joined by her for coffee at Mile High, which was a highlight of the week. My Bald God stopped by as well, and he and I had the most amusing conversation I have ever had with him. Unfortunately the details of said conversation are sealed in the confessional, but it along with Ms. Todd helped me through a rough week.

Looking forward to the rest of the month. In addition to keeping the social life alive a good friend is returning from her travels (yay), and another is leaving for home (:(). My loyalty to the iPhone continues, but I think it will be awhile until I acquire a Mac- particularly as long as Serotek continues to be the dynamic company it has been up to this point. I am also taking up writing- just a bit here and there, but I hope it will improve my overall skill and perhaps provide some entertainment (at my expense or otherwise) to those with whom i share it.

Finally I find it interesting how my life has willingly been given to Google. I use gmail, Google Voice, and even this blog is written on a Google platform. Now if only their phones would involve built in accessibility Apple might have a run for its money.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts from the Tech God on Humanware and the Alva BC640

During the last few weeks of getting settled in Denver, getting a handle on my new job, and attempting to start up/maintain a social life here I have not had lots of time or energy to write on this blog.

However, with the announcement by Humanware about their most recent product the VoiceNote Apex and the interesting announcements I believe will no doubt be coming forth this week at National Convention, I simply had to add in my two cents.

I believe the product by Humanware is a step backward from the strides they have been making towards transforming themselves from an outdated company producing overpriced products to a modern one providing goods that the blind population can afford without a personal loan and their first born being sacrificed. Why do we need another notetaker when a netbook/laptop and a Braille display would work just as well? Why spend time, energy, and resources developing yet another blind ghetto product and then tease us about it? I find it rather like a date who teases you all night and then chops off your personals. Great surprise.

As I gaze about the AT landscape the only bright and shining star I see is Serotek. Freedom Scientific did a good thing by knocking down the price of it's Focus 40 Blue, but they did a far worse thing by locking down their drivers. I appreciate Freedom's seeming support for Braille in its products, but question how supportive they can really be when they force Braille display manufacturers to annually pay to play in their sand box.

A bright note for me personally is the obtaining of the Alva BC640. This will allow me portable Braille access through System Access which will be wonderful.

Can't wait to get to Nationals next year in Florida. Wishing all my friends at Nationals a very good time. Have one for me.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail clips

My favorite comedy movie of all time is Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail, so I was thrilled when I found some of my favorite clips from it on You Tube. I have posted some of them below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day

Over the last several months I have attempted to lead a greener lifestyle (I particularly like the ideas of the bright green movement), noting the usefulness of conserving resources, and have done so with some success. Baby steps seems to be the name of the game for me; an CFL here, a way of saving water there, etc.

As Earth Day is today I ahve celebrated by Planting a Tree with Dell, ordered The Year of the Flood from Audible, and signed up with the declaration of energy independence. All in all not to bad. Looking forward to next year and seeing where I stand. I hope you too are leading a greener lifestyle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Are We the Same Because We're Blind?

A good article from Fred's Head which asks the question of the title. The points made are valid ones IMO, particularly the point about how the public in general views us. As a blind person you are likely to be the only blind person John Q Public ever meets. This is why being polite (no matter how vexing the person) is so important. This is not always a success- there have been many times where I have simply not been in an educator mode and ripped someone's head off. I always regret this, as I know my behavior directly reflects on my blind brothers and sisters. Diplomacy has become easier for me since being involved with the NFB, but there is always room to learn.

On a side note Through Our Eyes is an outstanding podcast on blindness. During their next show (4-21 8pm EST) they will be discussing the International Braille and Technology Center (IBTC) the place I would live if only they would let me set up a cot. If you don't know about the IBTC, or simply wish to hear the discussion I suggest tuning in.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some Thoughts on Low Vision Aids

I am scheduled to begin training students during the summer program at the Colorado Center for the Blind in a month and a half. From previous experience I always find at least two or three (if not more) students who absolutely insist on not useing their sleep shades. I even recall one student indignantly insisting to me that he was not blind. When I asked him exactly what he was doing at a blind summer camp he had no rejoinder.

This attitude reflecting the hierarchy of sight (the idea that a blind person's success and happiness are directly related to how much or little vision they have) seems to me to be most unfortunate as it poorly serves those who proclaim it. I myself used to do so, and I recall nothing but worry that I might loss what "blessed sight" I had left. This made, in my opinion, what was already a stressful and unpleasant situation into a emotionally damaging one. I can see the use of remaining vision, but only after one has come to accept emotionally and mentally the concept of blindness and the fact that it is respectable to be blind. (For excellent reading on this front I recommend Freedom for the Blind by James Omvig.)

I subsequently came across an article on what a low vision person could do in order to ensure his safety. I thought to myself that one could do this or one could simply be cautious and recognize that their vision is going, and act accordingly.

The more I see individuals going to amazing lengths to avoid the dreaded "b word" and having it applied to them, the more I am convinced that a defined positive philosophy on blindness is needed in every school, organization, and service provider who claims to serve the blind. As I visit my old high school as a part of the alum group the philosophy put forward by the school is obvious, and it is neither defined or positive. I hope to have some impact on that.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On Colorado's Internet Tax

I found Colorado's recent adoption of the "Amazon Tax" to be both foolish and bad for business. I just found the below from the Colorado Business Magazine. The report is before the tax was passed. I hope that with the next round of elections here in the state we can get some leaders who don't wish to tax us to death.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Full Page Display in Wired

For those of you who share my longing for a full page refreshable Braille display the day may indeed soon be near, as sited in this Wired magazine article.

The work referenced is one of the projects of the Center for Braille Innovation, which I contribute to on a monthly basis. I believe the advent of affordable electronic Braille for the common blind person will be revolutionary when it comes to real literacy. I wish the researchers of this project great and swift success.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Full Page Braille Display?

I found this article extremely exciting and thought I'd share. Hope you enjoy. For more information please go here.

Imagine if your computer only allowed you to see one line at a time, no matter what you were doing—reading e-mail, looking at a Web site, doing research. That's the challenge facing blind computer users today. But new research from North Carolina State University is moving us closer to the development of a display system that would allow the blind to take full advantage of the Web and other computer applications.

"Right now, electronic Braille displays typically only show one line of text at a time. And they're very expensive," says Dr. Neil Di Spigna, a research assistant professor at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. In order to develop a more functional, and affordable, tool that would allow the blind to interface with their computers, Di Spigna and his colleagues are working to develop a full-page, refreshable Braille display. Braille uses a series of raised dots to represent letters and numbers, allowing blind people to read.

Such a display would also translate images into tactile displays, effectively mapping pixels in an image and allowing the full-page Braille display to represent the images as raised dots.

The researchers have developed a concept called a "hydraulic and latching mechanism," which would allow the development of such a display system. The mechanism would be made of an electroactive polymer that is very resilient and inexpensive, when compared to current Braille display technologies. "This material will allow us to raise dots to the correct height, so they can be read," says Dr. Peichun Yang, a postdoctoral research associate at NC State and co-author of the paper. "Once the dots are raised, a latching mechanism would support the weight being applied by a person's fingers as the dots are read. The material also responds quickly, allowing a reader to scroll through a document or Web site quickly."

Earlier this month, the researchers presented their findings on the hydraulic component of the mechanism, showing that it is a viable technology. The next step is to demonstrate a proof-of-concept model of the latching mechanism. "We hope to have a fully functioning prototype of the mechanism within a year," Di Spigna says, "and that could serve as the functional building block of a full-screen refreshable display."

"Reading Braille is essential to allowing blind people to find employment," says Yang, who is blind. "We're optimistic that this technology will give the blind additional opportunities in this area."

"The last 20 years of computer technology have been relatively inaccessible—and today's common mobile computing devices, from smart-phones to digital navigators and iPads, have been completely nonexistent—to blind people, because the display technology for the blind has not kept pace," says David Winick, a researcher at NC State and co-author of the paper. "We hope to enable the development of applications that will give the blind more complete access to the internet and other computer resources, such as e-books."

The research, "The integration of novel EAP-based Braille cells for use in a refreshable tactile display," was presented March 8 at the 12th International Conference on Electroactive Polymer Actuators And Devices in San Diego. The work was funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. The work was co-authored by Di Spigna, Yang, Winick, Parthasarathi Chakraborti, an NC State graduate student, Dr. Tushar Ghosh, a professor of textile engineering chemistry and science, and Dr. Paul Franzon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Friday, March 26, 2010

Enslaved to Google

I just made an interesting and rather disturbing discovery. I use a *TON* of Google's products. Now when I write that perhaps you're thinking my e mail and blog, and you would be right, but then there's all the additional apps. The calendar, docs (if I figure out how they work), Google Voice, Wave, and all the rest. Perhaps it's something they put in their programming- an addictive substance?

Regardless I am quite hooked, and I must admit that Google's recent stance in China only helps matters. Now if they could only get their phone to be useful in business... The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A moment on the soap box

Although I find politics castly interesting and enjoy a good debate I have tried to keep my political views confined to posting articles on Twitter. I figure those who wish a greater idea of where I'm coming from on a given issue can easily read the articles I post. Those who disagree can obviously skip them, but regardless despite frequent tweets on the topic of politics I think they are not overwhelming (would my followers please correct this impression if it is mistaken?)

With the passage of health care however I feel I need to make two points. The first is that I believe it will result in economic disaster (see Cafe Hayek for good thoughts on this) and that it will not provide greater health care to Americans but rather increase prices. Additionally, the idea that the government can tell us to buy a private product of any type is unconstitutional. If they can tell us buy health insurance they can tell us to buy spinach, or computers, or government bonds- regardless of whether we want them or not. A dangerous road IMO.

Second I am extremely vexed with my progressive friends ravidly praising this and claiming that those who disagree are idiots or less charitable terms. The debate is over and all that needs to be said has been said (so says George R.R. Martin). I believe however that the debate has just begun, and to claim that those who are argueing for alternitives are simply cruel, greedy, and/or idiotic simply shows the weakness of the promoters of health care. If health care is so great why then all the parlamentary mumbo jumbo? If this was so greatly supported by millions of Americans then why it is only supported by 30% is the polls? Why should we take on blind faith that we will like the bill once we see what it contains?

George R.R. Martin is a great author- I am looking forward to his next Song of Ice and Fire novel, and he has a right to his opinion. I am however dismayed at his taking up the cry of no more debate and basically calling those who watch Fox News brain washed. The fact he mentioned ABC and CNN as unslanted sources was quite amusing. I wish my progressive friends would also drop a bit of their hubrous and agree that good patriotic Americans can disagree with them. Then again considering the illogical nature of most hard core progressives I have met I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that ad hominim attacks instead of logic is the name of the game. One cannot create facts, so it amazes me that many progressives actually believe that Congress, which has never done so in the past, would actually follow through on the cuts it preposes in this bill. Similarly the facts that individuals would be mandated to buy a product from the government doesn't seem to bother them. Must be nice to be able to spend other people's money with such ease. Just because one is willing to pay more for something doesn't mean he should force his neighbor to do so. I like recycling and renewable energy, and am happy to pay a bit more to use these services- but I believe it immoral to force everyone to do so, just because I think it worthwhile. I grow tired of my progressive friends and their arrogance, but when the facts of health care roll in I suppose we will be able to fix matters- hopefully

I am now stepping down from my soap box, and hope that great news in the areas of adaptive technology and life will outweigh the need for another post like this.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My visit to the Apple store- A slice of Paradise

Last night as we were waiting for what would turn out to be an excellent meal at Red Lobster (I got the Lobster Lover's Feast), I had the chance to pop into an Apple store. The overall experience was something I will not soon forget. The customer service was fantastic, and the 25 minutes I spent useing VoiceOver were both edifying and enjoyable. A slice of paradise seems indeed the best way to describe the feeling I had knowing that I could walk up to any computer in that store and use it without loading anything or paying an additional charge in order to make it accessible. I used an iMac, and the incorperation of the monitor into the tower simply reiterated to me the innovation that is standard for Apple products. Leaving the store without a Mac was quite difficult (the fact the store was closing combined with my wife's strong no were helpful however) and I left without one. When it comes time to updrade however I think a Mac has a better then 75% chance of becoming my primary computer. The iPhone is a great gateway drug in this regard, and I think Apple must put some addictive drug on all its products. *smile*

In regards to this discussion I found this video most interesting. On all Apple products the label indicates that although the product was assembled in China it was made in the US. This is an important point, as what really matters with most products is not where they are put together but where the idea and means of putting them together comes from.

I follow with the iced coffee...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reading Material

I just realized that I have read some excellent fantasy novels of late, and have made no comment on them (my Amazon.com reading list on Linked In being a pain to update). I would be remiss if I didn't note these gems which have enriched my reading life.

Terry Goodkind did an absolutely spectacular job with his book the Law of Nines. I must admit that I had tought something else might be in the works for this novel, but it was very good and most riviting.

Terry Brooks' Shanara series has entertained me for years, but I have also enjoyed his Landover series. I am now reading A Princess of Landover and am enjoying it immensely.

Piers Anthony's Xanth series is as humorous and entertaining as ever, now reading Air Apparent.

George R.R. Martin has had his hooks in me since I first cracked the cover of A Game of Thrones, and this continues as I delve into his short stories and collected fiction. I longingly await A Dance With Dragons to come out, but in the interum I am enjoying Dream Songs Vol. 1 and 2, as well as Legends 2.

Although my loudest praise will always be reserved for J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George R.R. Martin, these authors above come in as close contenders.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Serotek Ultimatum

For those unaware this post from the Serotek Blog is really fantastic, calling on all blind people to throw off the AT chains of the blind ghetto. Can't wait until Braille for Everyone comes to pass. The comments afterward are also workth reading IMO.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cockatrice sends KFC, Subway, Driftwood Inc, and the nation into a Panic

Once again the wit and culture of the folks on the Entombed Google Group comes forth. Had to post with and share the laughter.

Cockatrice sends KFC, Subway, Driftwood Inc, and the nation into a Panic

This is late breaking news from the green onion. America's leading news source.
3 weeks ago, a man named Allan Thompson walked into his local KFC and
demanded a 12 peace cockatrice meal. KFC, in a desperate attempt to
get ahead in the fast food competition of today, decided without
asking any questions to start making what they claimed to be
cockatrice. However, an employee from subway purchased a Pease of
cockatrice and had it examined and subway was able to confirm their
suspicion that What KFC was serving did not even contain 1 bit of
cockatrice! "I thought it tasted just like chicken," said a man in
KFC while licking his fingers. "we've been suspecting that KFC isn't
even serving real chicken for years," Said a subway representative.
"its too bad we haven't been able to prove that yet, but when they
tried to claim they were serving cockatrice, we wanted to put a stop to it before it gets out of hand!"
Subway also announced that customers who are disappointed that they
had fake cockatrice do not have to worry, because they can now visit
Subway for a 100% healthy all natural cockatrice sandwich. "Remember
the commercial with the man who walked to Subway every day and lost weight?"
asked the same Subway representative. "Well, with our all new
freshly made cockatrice club with the works, you will lose even more
weight since you'll want to run to Subway to get it!"
Unfortunately, not only that people didn't lose weight, but they
gained more weight than they imagined, because within seconds of
eating these new cockatrice clubs, all who dare try it were
petrified! To make things worse, Subway tried to cover things up and
as a result the news wasn't out fast enough. Therefore, many still
bought and ate the cockatrice club and they were also petrified.
In the attempt to fix this stone cold problem, Jason Allen, President
of Driftwood Inc. started to manufacture cure petrification potions.
However, the average price was 300 and not 300 dollars, pounds, or
any such currency. For some strange reason Allen insisted that all
must pay in gold coins. In a desperation attempt to raise the money
to get the gold coins, family members of the victims threatened to
sue Subway for false advertisement. "Subway said that the new
cockatrice club would help people lose weight, but my husband who was
already putting a dent in our couch is now heavy enough to crush the
couch!" said an angry wife of one of the victims. "I don't know
about you, but that sounds like false advertising to me." Subway
promised to buy the petrification potions if all charges would be dropped.
Unfortunately, before any deals were made, some who had the means to
purchase the potions on their own found out that when they poured the
content down their beloved one's throats, it did not work at all.
Jason Allen had to then apologize and explained that the potions seem
to only work if it was taken between the time the sandwiches were
eaten and before petrification took place. "If my little princess
knew that she would be petrified if she ate this cockatrice club, why would she even eat it in the first place?" asked
a wealthy father of a victim. "since its a matter of seconds between
eating them and being petrified, how in the hell is anyone supposed
to get a potion in time?" Allen apologized and promised to work on a
solution as soon as possible. He also encouraged people to try his
reincarnation drafts, but those who tried it said it didn't work.
Allen then realized that the problem is the draft only worked with dead bodies and not stone.
As soon as we get more news on this situation, we will update you
with the latest development on this story. Meanwhile, KFC Is
reselling their fake
cockatrice meals. "This is exactly why we didn't use real
cockatrice in the first place," said a KFC representative. "You
should really give our imitation
cockatrice a try." "even if you don't think its finger licking good,
at least you will still be able to lick your fingers."

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Might be an Entombed Addict If...

For those of you unaware Entombed is a wonderful blind friendly version of hack developed by Jason Alan. The development period is soon to end, but if you wish you can purchase an early order through the link above. At $40 it's a steal.

On the Entombed Goodle Group the below, which I found most amusing, was posted and I wished to repost it here. Regarding number six- I will never think of or eat at a KFC, Chick-fli-a, or have chicken nuggets without grinning broadly.

You know you are an entombed addict when...

1. You shatter all the mirrors in your house...just in case

2. You list all your possessions as crude, poor, dubious, decent, good, great and legendary.

3. You made the mistake of labelling your spouse, "Dubious" outloud.

4. While waiting at the doctors office, you decide to check the "battle time line" in the clipboard sitting on the secretary's desk

5. You send a letter of correction to National Geographic telling them that the ambusher snake is actually the most poisonous.

6. At Kentucky fried chicken, you insist on getting the 12 piece "cockatrice" meal.

7. You just leave garbage laying around the house because you are sure the scavengers will pick it up after you leave.

8. You have a heated argument with your spouse about whether their mother is a hobgoblin or a bugbear.

9. You have trouble cutting up your steak with a knife and fork because your "dual wield" ability isn't high enough.

10. You end everything you say with the dramatic speaking of the word "...entombed"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thoughts on the Green Movement verses Conservationism

As I have attempted to live a bit of a greener lifestyle I have been dismayed at the incessant leak of politics into the attempt to be a conservationist. My friends on the right think I am going left wing nutbar on them, and those I talk to in the green movement seem to think I believe global warming is both a scientific fact and man made.

I find it unfortunate that if we are dealing with scientific fact there needs to be such partisanship surronding matters, but I do not think we are when it comes to global warming. Do greens really think conservatives and businesses are so "greedy" that they would ignore such a problem if the science behind it were truly confirmed? Well perhaps they do, but I don't believe so. Additionally, I am always put on guard when disagreement is met with ad honomin attacks and appeals to authority. We are after all discussing facts about our environment and the Earth, not some religious belief. If the facts are as strong as the global warming disciples believe then why is there such appeal to emotionalism, degrading of their opponents, and appeal to half baked or disputed science?

I am happy to call myself a conservationist. Saving energy and materials, and developing technologies to provide for more less expensive energy in the future makes sense to me. Screaming about the sky falling and the world needing to don a green hair shirt in the name of green holiness does not. Particularly troubling is the lack of belief that even if such is needed the choice should be a colentary one. If I wish to donate to A Real Tree, or recycle, or use CFLs then I may pay the extra and do so. Forcing me, or anyone, to do so, and on half baked scientific fact at that, is dictatorial and irrational.

I hope as I strive to conserve what I enjoy from Mother Nature that I can find fellow workers who are more interested in helping out the environment, rather then blindly following the latest green fad or trying to convert me to the way of the green hair shirt.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Colorado Springs Chapter hosts Transit Meeting

Independent Travel and Transit in Colorado Springs

When: Tuesday February 23rd, 2010 6-7:30pm
Where Penrose Library Adult Meeting Room
Why: To discuss the current state of the transit system in Colorado Springs, determine how the blind and sighted can advocate for a better system, and discuss means of maintaining independent travel as blind individuals

Although hosted by the Colorado Springs Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind this is a non partisan event and multiple viewpoints are welcome. The chapter will be providing pizza and soft drinks to attendees. If transportation assistance is needed please contact either Kevan Worley (719-527-0488) or George McDermith (719-358-7487 nfbsprings@gmail.com).

Friday, January 29, 2010

On Wind Power, the Green Movement, and the NFB Springs Chapter

Yesterday I agreed to purchase wind power through CSU when/if they are able to get a wind farm going locally. This is a small volentary way for me to help out with promoting renewable energy, and if you are interested in seeing renewables continue to grow please consider joining me in agreeing to this program. You don't have to supplament all your electricity, and agreeing to 100mws will only add $2-4 to your monthly bill. Thank you for your consideration.

Additionally I have been doing some reading in the green movement. Some of the things I have found are helpful- writings on nature's beauty, how to practically live a greener lifestyle without wearing a green hair shirt, and how to invest in green companies. Basically spokespeople who don't want to go back to the dark ages before the idustrial revolution or who think profits are evil. The second type, and far more the prodominant type, consist of these latter individuals. People who think that the earth is on par with human life, who think profits and capitalism are evil, and who wish to make a totalitarian society where far from being volentary people are forced to be green for their and the planet's own "good". Needless to say I find these thoughts most disturbing and illogical. They seem to miss the point that volentary partisipation is far more effective, as is capitalism for protecting the environment. Communism was absolutely horrible for the environment because people had no buy in to their economy or their environment. Additionally the industrial revolution has brought millions and millions of people out of poverty. To simply throw all that away seems unreasonable to me without strong and solidly proven facts. Also having a discussion on the matter of climate change and having ad hononim attacks flung about instead of a reasonable discussion puts me on edge as to the reality and reasonableness of the climate change position. Even granted the issue it is not at all clear to me that involving the government to fix the problem is the best way- they do such a great job with everything else.

Alas these ideas seem to go over most greens' heads. Hopefully a colentary capitalistic method of being more green will continue to develop. I look at companies like Whole Foods, Starbucks," Apple, and Coca-cola and am given hope.

Finally our local chapter of the NFB here in the Springs continues to grow. We recently joined the Green Cities Coalition in order to have a greater involvement in the community and have a positive impact on the local environment. Our coffee fundraiser program has started up again, and this time we are selling fair trade coffee from Pike's Perk. In addition to these steps I am looking at ways we can purchase renewable energy to cover our meetings and other activities so we can be as green a group as possible.

Along with this our work continues. We are developing a web site for our chapter, involving our members in the work of the NFB, and we are hosting a transit meeting at the Penrose library in downtown Colorado Springs on Tuesday 2-23 from 6-7:30pm. The meeting will focus on where the transit system in Colorado Springs currently stands, how we as blind people can be activly involved in advocating for a better system, and how we can best independently travel with the system as is. Please feel free to join us at this meeting, or any of our monthly chapter meetings.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I have a dream

In honor of the day I listened to the I have a dream speech, and found it as moving as when I first heard it. I am amazed at how outstanding speeches can still move one. I hope you enjoy it as I did.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My New Year Resolutions

Although I don't normally do new year resolutions it might come as a surprise that I am starting down that path. The basic idea is to resolve to do things that will make a difference, but not be so amazingly difficult that there is no way I will actually accomplish them (e.g. lose 30% of my body fat by March, donate $5,000 to the National Federation of the Blind, or plant a forest in my backyard). I believe the following to be both practical and hopefully helpful for myself and those around me.

*- I will have $5,000 in savings by the end of next year.

This is obvious considering my past posts on finances- this safety net will be most helpful and should be a good foundation for additional growth. This does not include investments in I Bonds or Munies btw, just solid cash to call upon if needed.

*- I will continue to grow the Colorado Springs Chapter of the NFB.

Again an obvious one, yet one that can be overlooked. Although Sueanne and I put in time here I believe there is more room to grow, much more, and I am eager to see 2010 be the year the chapter gets its feet back under it properly. If you are itnerested we can be found on Facebook, just search for us.

*- Green my lifestyle by planting a tree, conserving energy wherever possible, and by drinking shade grown or fair trade coffee.

Although no green nut (I am a solid global warming sceptic and think State of Fear describes well the nuttiness in the green movement) I do believe conserving energy and taking care of the environment are worthy goals. Saving energy is good for the pocketbook and preserving what we have allows us to enjoy it later. I have already started on this goal to a certain extent with the coffee and the energy. More left to do however.

*- I will update this blog at least twice a month.

As many know my blog is my primary way of letting friends know what's happening with me when I am going insane- busy or otherwise. Thus I will update this twice a month to let folks know I ma still alive and with it. As you may of noticed I have taken to posting interesting articles and random thoughts to my Twitter account so if you find my articles interesting you may wish to follow me there.

I hope this new year is prosperous for you and yours.