PhilM
Location: Salinas, CA
Age: 40
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"Only two things are infinite--the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

"I'm not as think as you confused I am." Someone, somewhere, at some time

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Such a day

Recently, my cell phone has been having issues. It randomly decides to turn off. Initially, I thought that it my fault . . . not paying attention to the battery level and forgetting to charge it. But yesterday it up and turned off, even while saying it had half a charge. I plugged it in anyway, and let it fully charge. Within five minutes after turning it back on, it died again. After being off (and unplugged) all night long, this morning it showed 3/4 charge. I need to take the thing in, because I think it's got a short somewhere.

When I got home from work today I had two other lovely surprises. The first being that a family of feral cats has taken up residence under my deck. I know this because when I opened my back door to let some fresh air in, one of them (who had been sunning itself on my deck) darted underneath. Then I noticed something furry in Duncan's doghouse. Since it was gray, I knew it wasn't him. Plus, he's living at my parents' house now since I'm working & going to school. As I approached, a second cat darted out of the house & under the deck. It was a youngling . . . not quite sure I'd call it a "kitten" but definitely not old enough to be an adult. Which means it's probably got brothers & sisters. Oh joy.

As I approached the doghouse to make sure there were no additional furballs in there, I happened to notice wet ground. Right outside the area where my water heater is. Upon further inspection I discovered (you guessed it) that my water heater has sprung a rather serious leak. Water was gushing out. So, I will have to be taking a cold shower in the morning, and hope the plumber is able to replace it tomorrow afternoon as indicated.

Theoretically, bad things happen in threes. So I'm hopefully good for a while. But I really don't need this kind of shit right now, what with a major research paper due on Tuesday & finals in less than 2 weeks.

Friday, July 03, 2009
Random parable

A man owned a piece of property with a good sized garden. In the garden was a variety of plants--trees, flowers, bushes. All the plants were arranged in such a way to complement each other . . . plants that flowered in the Spring were intermixed with some that bloomed in Summer and others in Fall, so that the garden had color all year long. Plants which required shade were near the trees, and so on. The garden was too large for the man to tend by himself, so he had gardeners do it for him. But the gardeners were under strict instructions that their purpose was merely to "maintain" the garden--water & feed the plants, prune them when needed, pull weeds, etc. One day, one of the gardeners came to the man asking permission to remove one of the bushes in the center of the garden.

"This bush is sick. I have tried several remedies, but none seem to work. If the bush is not removed, the sickness will spread to other plants as well," said the gardener.

"Nonsense," said the man. "If you remove the bush, then there will be a gap in my lovely garden. It will not look right. And I can not afford to put another plant in its place now. Try pruning it, and use the treatments again to see if the sickness goes away."

"But I have already tried the treatments more than once. They do no good. At least let me move the bush to the corner of the garden. If I swap it with another bush, then there will be no gap in the garden. The new location may help ease the sickness, but if it does not then at least the sickness will not spread to as many other plants."

"Oh, but that will not solve the problem, will it?" said the man. "That will merely move the problem. No, it is better to try to deal with the problem as it is. Try the treatments again--that is much easier than moving other plants around. If that does not work, we will talk again later."

So the gardener tried the treatments again, and pruned the bush, and spent many extra hours trying to care for it. But the sickness persisted, and it spread to nearby plants. Several bushes and flowers died, and even a tree fell. With several plants gone, the soil in the garden began to erode with the rains, and even more plants suffered and perished. Eventually, the man looked upon his once beautiful garden and wept, crying "What has happened to my garden? How did this come to be?" And the gardener shook his head, and packed his equipment, and said "If you had let me move the sickness, this would not have happened. But now, you have no garden, just a patch of dirt. And there is no work for me to do here, so I will not return."

Sometimes you have to be willing to tear a diseased or problem plant out of the garden, and accept/deal with the gap it creates. Otherwise, the whole garden will suffer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009
Happy Father's Day

Once again, I realize I have been terribly remiss in my posting here. I don't really have any new excuses, just the same old tired ones . . . work + school = lack of time, plus nothing terribly interesting to post about. But today is special. Today is the day we give recognition to those wonderful men who inspire us all. Those men without whom we would not be here. Those who made time for us, taught us, guided us, loved us. And who still do. So I figured I'd better take a moment or two to stop on by and update things here in order to wish all you fathers out there a very happy Father's Day. May your children show you their appreciation and love, and I hope the ties they get you aren't too God-awful.

And more personally: To my own father I just want to say thank you for all the good times and the patience (which I know wasn't easy at times), the understanding, the support, and all that you have done. I love you.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Relief

Final grades finally arrived today. I was genuinely scared--wasn't sure I passed at all. Such a relief to see the pleasantly surprising scores. Now I just need to get my arse in gear for the current classes!

Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wii Wii Wii all the way home

In years past, I would often use video games as a bit of a stress reliever. But currently I do not have a working game computer. Since I've had a lot of stress lately, I've been contemplating getting a gaming system/console. But, of course, the last thing I wanted was another distraction to keep me from my studies. But recently I had an opportunity to get a Wii at a really good deal. So I jumped on the Wii bandwagon yesterday. While it may turn out to be a distraction, I figure it will at least be productive, in that I can limit my gaming to those which get me up & moving & burning calories. That aspect will also help limit my time on the thing, since I'll get tired. And the physical exertion should help alleviate the stress more effectively. So far, the boxing seems to be doing a good job at that (not surprisingly).

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