Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, how we love dirty laundry. Really?

I have been noticing a growing trend in the social network arena.  It, as of recently, has become rather disturbing.  Not to say that I have not been guilty of such things in the past, but I have overcome the need of such things.  I think more people should.

I have put in my status for the day a reminder of how I feel about his issue.  And,  I am sure there will be people who may want further insight into my comment.  So I thought it best to put it down here.

The title of this installment, I think, says it all.  But, there may be some that don't get it.  And for you, I will spell it out.  What I notice is this: people all over the internet seem to be plastering items in their statuses as a "take that" and "so there" to people they have chosen to jab at.  I think it is a crying shame that people need to air their dirty laundry in a public forum.  Some things are better left unsaid or if they really need to be spoken, put your big boy pants on and say what you have to say to the person.

 I think that putting something out there on facebook for the world to see is still, in my book, backbiting.  Why go behind someones back and air that stuff?  Why not just go to whom you have the problem with and deal with it?  We have become a society of slanderers and are obsessed with making libelous comments about people we once cared about.  Even if you never cared about them, you just had to show some form of respect due to their position.  Continue in that air of respect and think before you speak or type.  It may just save a life.  Now, with all the cyber-bullying, individuals are killing themselves over things like this.

I have to admit I used to be one of those who really enjoyed a good rumor.  That was a long time ago, and even while ingesting that bit, I never let that morsel make my mind up as to how I felt about the person.  I later came to feel sorry for the one spreading it around.  I have since, refused to hear these things about people and have chosen to make up my own mind as to how I feel and not let the opinions of others shape my thoughts.

Some of you may be thinking that I have just recently been wronged in this fashion, and to be honest with you, I have not.  This is just something that has been on my heart.  What's more, I had just read something a friend had posted and I was a little surprised to see it.  I will not mention any more about it, because I would then be contributing to the thing I detest.

Remember to love one another and be the example of how you would like to be treated.  I could go on and on with all sorts of quotes and cliche's, but alas, I will not.

In the mean time, thats just the way I see it and how it is...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Update

I have to start by saying I'm sorry for my lack of thought provoking (or any) posts at all as of recently.  I really thought I would be be better at this than I am.  I have come to the realization that I am not the best at journaling.  But of course you knew that from the start of this blog.  I suppose when I had more to complain about I was far better at blogging.  I may have to take a different approach to this and see how it goes.

I would like to bring you all up to speed as to where I am in life since August.  I started the semester at the Oakland Campus of the University of Pittsburgh with much apprehension.  Something just didn't feel right about the whole thing.  I knew parking was going to be a problem from the start, but I did not think it would be half as bad as it actually was.  Blatantly obvious point number one: Parking is expensive in any city.  I should have known this and for the life of me, I can't imagine why I convinced myself it would not be a problem.  The Friday before classes I found myself at the parking office to find there were no more parking passes for commuter students.  Honestly, that was fine, as when I found out how much they charge I nearly puked on the lady.  She explained that parking was $350 per semester, and that I would be placed in a lot quite a ways off campus.  To beat that, on days where there are "special events" sports events, etc. I would not be permitted to park in the lot I had paid for!?  I did manage to find some on street parking but, there were restrictions and drawbacks to this as well.

The way I see it, if a student is shelling out $16,000 a year for school they should be able to provide cheaper parking than an additional $700 for that said year.

Like I said, I was uneasy about the semester and all this garbage just kept pilling up making it worse.  As I got into my classes for the week I started hearing a word I have never been to fond of.  What's that word you ask?  Math is that word.  I have never been a fan of math.  I have done well at it post high school but I have never liked math.  Sitting in my Networking class, that I didn't feel I needed to take anyway, the instructor says the class will heavily rely on trig and calculus.  Two math courses I have never taken.  Then in my Java programming class the instructor hands out a math test and says (not to add pressure or anything) "if you do not know trig inside and out you will FAIL this class!".  He also proceeds to tell us that this class is not a "weeding out" class.  Hmm, I beg to differ.  I spent the better part of my summer learning Java so I would be more prepared for this class in particular.  Not once did my online tutorials speak of trig.

After a week of dread and contemplation, I came to the place I didn't think I would ever show up at.  I had made the decision to drop out for the semester.  You can fail at many things, but the moment it starts costing you, say, 16 Grand you have to review your priorities.  I feel I made the right choice.

In the mean time I am going to attend a local community college and brush up on my math skills so that I may be better equipped for the coming Baccalaureate degree.  My goal is to finish my degree at the school I love, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.  I was most comfortable there and I got the personal attention I need.

So as the leaves change and our region turns cold I will be caring for our sick chickens and working to buy into our first business venture as a married couple.  My wife has not let this out of the bag yet, so I suppose I should not either.  Some of you may already know this information, as there are a select few who were made aware.  For the rest of you, you will have to wait.

Until next time, that's just the way I see it and how it is...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time Flies... But sometimes, I wish it wouldn't.

               I can't believe it has been over 2 months since my last post.  There has been nothing short of a whirlwind of activity here.  The sad thing is, I can't seem to recall what all the business was exactly.  I have seen summers fly by and years crawl by with the insane drudgery of life, but I do not ever recall a summer to go by so fast.  Like I said, I have been remarkable busy.  But doing what?

A portion of my summer was set to the unfruitful task of finding an internship.  The market was very dry and the excuses were abound as to why no one was hiring interns.  Another chunk of time was set the daunting and terrible upsetting labor of dealing with my grandmothers death and settling her estate.  I would've never dreamed the family that I held so dear could be so truly evil.  I pray for them, oh how I pray for them.

The day in and day out grind of just daily house and home stuff.  Not to mention the farm work.  Mind you the chickens and rabbits are by no means a heavy chore, nonetheless they are work.  I also had set about to get a new vehicle before school started.  Now. those of us who have taken on this great misery know how un-fun this can be!

The vehicle purchase went a little something like this: My Ford Explorer was slowly working its way to it's end.  It was decided that I would get a new vehicle.  I set out to find one through internet search and by stealthily perusing dealership lots.  I did find a really nice Toyota FJ Cruiser with low miles.  The sale went as could be expected but I did not have to go through the customary stomping, yelling, and fighting for the "best deal".  Instead our salesman was really pretty descent.  Not that we didn't have to haggle, the sale just went smoothly.

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

After signing on the dotted line and taking home my wonderful vehicle, I got a chance to really look it over.  I found a few flaws that the dealership graciously took care of.  I though to myself that this is unreal. I have never seen a dealership be so good to a customer in my years.  After getting it back I notice that a few things were not taken care of as they should have been.  Thus, my many returns to the dealership had begun. I have been back to them to redo and fix what they broke while fixing other things around 5 times.  I find this a bit excessive and outrageous that they couldn't just fix it right the first time.

After owning the FJ for about two weeks we thought it may be a good idea to re-evaluate insurance.  In sitting down with an agent we happened to notice the dealership screwed up our loan.  We were promised a price and payment that matched our budget for 48 months.  Somehow they managed to sneak in another year of financing.  Suffice it to say, a screaming match with the sales manager resulted in NOTHING!  They would do nothing for us and this is their mistake.  We foolishly did not go over the contract with a fine tooth comb before signing it and now we are stuck.  Interestingly enough the insurance agent we spoke to has the same thing happen to her with the same dealer, ending with the same result as ours.  If any of you want to know who this dealership is I will tell you but not on here.  I do not want to irritate the issue any further.

Now hear we are two weeks and classes start and where did my summer go?  Poof!  Gone!  History!  And I do not like it one bit.  I did not get any of the reading and prepping done for a couple of my classes.  I am going to have to cram some of that in this week.

On a good note, Rachael and I did get the opportunity to Bless her Mom and Dad by helping them seal their home.  They have a cedar sided home that needs to be sealed every so often.  We were compelled to help them and get this rather difficult task done in the small window the weather left us.  See, you need to let the sealer soak in for 2 to 3 day without rain.  As you all are aware for the past could of weeks it has rained inconsistently and hampered many a plans I'm sure.  We did get it done.  Her parents are ecstatic that ti is complete and it looks great.  I am so fortunate that I have wonderful in-laws and so blessed that we had this opportunity to help them.

As the school year nears I do not know how much time I will have to devote to the Blog, but I will do my best to keep you all up to date.

For now, thats the way I see it...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Awakening...

It's kind of strange where one has epiphanies.  Rachael and I were out the other day at one of our favorite stores (REI), and stumbled across a t-shirt.  I have always been one of those suckers for a good bumper sticker, so why not put it on a t-shirt?  Well this shirt in particular had something rather profound written on it.

In the late 1800's, early 1900's there was a Cree Indian Prophetess by the name of Eyes of Fire that had made a prophesy a company by the name of Green Label saw fit to put on a t-shirt.  I would like you to really think about what you read as you take this in.  While ingesting these words please think about what you can do to change your ways.

The Cree Indian Prophesy says: "Only after the last tree has been cut down;
                                                     Only after the last fish has been caught;
                                                     Only after the last river has been poisoned;
                                                     Only then will you realize
                                                     that money cannot be eaten."

After reading this profound statement I came to realize that I am not doing enough to be kind to Mother Earth.  We recycle, limit the amount of trash we put in the landfill, almost never use plastic bags from the store, composting, raising some of our own food, and just overall trying to be more "green".  Some would say we are doing more than enough.  I don't think we are.

When will we as a people stand up to big industry and big brother and say NO!?  They need to stop destroying the world.  I suppose I need to say this now, as it may have come across your mind.  I do not believe in global warming for a whole host of reasons.  But that is for another rant at another time.  I do however, believe in green living and reducing our footprint.  Our world is changing rapidly every day.  Most may not notice as the change is gradual.   Our highly consumeristic society is tragically running this world right into oblivion.  I would be willing to bet that most children think that food comes from the store, where in reality food comes from the ground, through farmers hands.

I say buy local.  I say buy fresh from farmers markets.  Support your local farmers who are struggling to survive.  Buy in season, which means only buy food that will naturally grow in the US for that time of year.  Produce from other countries is not treated to the same standards as ours is.  It may have chemicals on it that are far beyond toxic to your family.

I recommend that you unplug the the electronics in your house that you are not using.  You would be surprised at your next electric bill if you do.  Electric rates are about to go through the roof as the caps come off just in time for winter.  So the time to change is now.  Go gradual.  You can't do it all over night.  But try to make some changes in your life that will help sustain you for the future.  Here is a great idea - get outside and grow a small garden with you children.  Teach them about the land and let them play in the dirt and have fun in the earth.

There are many websites out there that would be good resources for safe gardening.  Don't use chemicals on the food you grow.  Use manure for fertilizer, and food grade diatomaceous earth to kill the bugs on the plants.  We would be defeating our purposes if we planted and ate chemically ridden vegetables.  A good magazine to read is called Mother Earth News.  It can be found at your local book seller, or you can subscribe to them online.  Rachael has been reading it for a few years now and we have gotten many great ideas from them.

Please, I beg you, do you, your family and the world a favor and do something, one thing toward being kinder to the planet today.  Try to change one thing at a time.  Pace yourself to a new way of living.  Thats just the way I see it...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wah I find most jaggin and laughable abaht picksburg...

I have lived in Pittsburgh on and off for over 10 years.  I have taken the time to learn the loved dialect known as Pittsburghese.  Mind you I do not speak it as is done here, I just have a learned understanding of the language.  With so many people who speak it, it would behoove one to learn it to prevent yourself from feeling like a stranger in a strange place.  I have also found if you say "Huh?" all the time you will be the one who sounds like the goof.

I go into supermarkets and here the announcements over the intercom done in this thick accent.  I have to ask myself, "Did they always sound like this, or are they trying to sound like a dummy?".  I'm sure this post will ruffle some feathers, but quite frankly, I don't care.  I feel it needs to be pointed out that one can embrace the culture here and not have to sound or talk like one of the dialectically challenged.  I mean, you guys sound ridiculous.

The Brooklyn accent is almost as bad, but at least the people are understandable.  Pittsburghers have created their own language.  While some may say that it's just the creative nature of the place.  Well I say, it makes you all sound like a bunch of dopes!  There I said it.

I will have to admit that it does make me laugh, how you have to raise your tone several decibels just to sound like a "true" Pittsburgher.  I certainly do get a kick out of this city and it's wild and wonderful people.

I realize that their language is very embraced here, and I am not saying the language should die, just evolve a little so the place doesn't feel so uneducated.  Sure, use the terms you grew up with, embrace the language that you love, just try for a moment to speak with some accentuation and without all the slurring of words.  I was listening to the radio the other day, and a fellow from Pittsburgh called in, his accent was so strong I could hardly understand him.  He was definitely a "South Side Johnny".  That is my term for people who speak with a thick Pittsburghese accent.

For those of you who want a taste of Pittsburgh, the website has some very interesting features.  They have a translator that I used for the title of this post. They also have an extensive listing of the words used here, split up into nouns, verbs, adjectives, phrases, people, places, sports, and then some.  Feel free to humor yourself.

In closing I feel it should be said that I do really like this town.  I love its rich culture and diversity.  I even love its goofy language.  I may be contradicting myself a little in saying that, but you guys can really have an effect on people.  Today was just one of those day where I had to spout it off the way I see it...

Also, for those of you looking for a translation of the Title, it is: "What I find most annoying and laughable about Pittsburgh...
After yinz read this and in yinzes spare time hauscome don't yinz alls go on over and check aht da website and see wah being a picksburger is all abaht.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chris the Alpaca Wrangler...

I spent the day with my wife and our friends at Highland Alpaca in Grove City, PA.  They have a fantastically beautiful farm with over 100 Alpaca.  It is quite an operation.  The main reason for our trip today was to help out with shearing.  Let me tell you this was more of an endeavor that I imagined it to be.  They had arranged for a Shearer to be there and shear 32 Alpaca and we were the assistants (with others who were also there to help).

As some of you know my wife and I have the dream of having Alpaca of our own one day.  So, we are taking every chance we get to gobble up all the experience we can and glean all the knowledge possible to ready ourselves for our next big adventure.

Pictured above is me and one of the Alpaca just after being shorn.  This can be rather stressful for them, as they have to be tied and drawn on the ground so they don't struggle and get hurt, or hurt the people shearing them.  And so, after shearing they usually have to take a minute to get their faculties before being returned to the herd.

The guys that were doing the shearing were very good and rather efficient.  They travel the country for 3 months solid shearing these wonderful creatures.  It can occasionally get messy and the Alpaca, when stressed, tend to spit, which really is just half digested grass and alfalfa.  But nonetheless, it stinks.  The fact of life is, if you have Alpaca you have spit.

One mess that happened to me occurred while I was holding one of the Sires and he decided it was time to pee.  And so he went, all over my leg, which happened to be under him at the time.  You can laugh I did.  It could have been worse.  Spit could've been added to the mix.

Here you can see one of the Alpaca stretched out on the ground during the shearing process.  This does not hurt them in the slightest.  In fact they submit quite nicely and don't really struggle at all.  Minus some of the fussy noises they make and spit they produce.  Spitting and noise is not a constant either.  Some do, some don't.

Rachael and I feel very fortunate to have been included today.  We have learned so much and are very eager to learn more.  And, can't wait to tend to our own herd one day.  There is plenty of information out there on Alpaca for those that are interested.  Also, if inclined, one could browse over to Highland Alpaca's website and take a look at all they have to offer.

I do believe I will sleep like a baby tonight.  I am already sore from all the activity today and know I will sleep great.  There is nothing like putting in a hard day and resting really good because of it.