Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Christmas in October?

I was walking thru a local hardware store the other day and they had taken out all the hunting apparel and replaced the display with Christmas decorations; particularly Christmas trees. Now, like most folks, I thought to myself that this is ridiculas. Christmas before Halloween?

But is it really a bad thing? I know they are trying to get the jump start on Christmas shoppers but in the process, they are putting Christ's name out there two months early. I mean, how bad can it be to have everyone thinking or saying Christ when they say "Christmas tree".

That's why I don't mind seeing Christmas trees up early anymore. Kind of a lemon-aid out of the lemons mind set. Heck, they should sell Christmas trees year around; nothing like seeing a symbol that reminds everyone of "the reason for the season". Later.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Jeep called Hank

So I picked up this little beauty a few months back. The previous owner told me that they called it Hank. I am not much for naming a vehicle but Hank the Tank does have a nice ring to it. I have done some minor upgrades so far and still have a few more to do.

New tires. Dick Cepek Crushers!

I also added a two inch suspension lift to go with the previous owner's three inch body lift (which I don't care for but don't plan on taking off). Also added a Warn winch.

I had to relocate the fog lamps due to the winch. I have also added a pair of LED windshield mounted spot lights this past week which are not in the photo above. One of the first things I changed was the hood latches. I replaced the original ones with locking hood latches. Never did care for the fact that someone could open the hood and snoop around. The hood and windshield wiper metal cover clear coat were peeling so I found a place that sold custom spray paint to match your vehicle. Medium Fern Green was not a popular color and touch up paint was hard to find. I really like the color but they only painted Jeeps for a couple of years in this color from what I read. Ordered the paint via paint code on the vehicle and it was a spot on match. Body shop wanted over $500 just to paint the hood. I did all the work myself for under $100. I drive this thing through the woods; I have no intentions of waxing to a mirror finish so I sure as hell wasn't paying close to a grand to paint a couple pieces of metal. Later.

Big boy seat adjustment for a Wrangler

So I picked up a TJ Wrangler awhile back when I finally had enough with repairing the K5 Blazer. One of the things with the Wrangler is that there is not much leg room behind the steering wheel. After doing a little research, I found a site that sold some brackets that moved the seat back 3 inches.

I was about to purchase them when I realized that the $80 on was for one seat. $80 for both seats seemed fair to me but not for two little ole pieces of metal. So instead, I spent about an hour total with R&D, fabrication, and install on my "free" kit. Scrap metal laying around, a little cutting, a little drilling, and bad-a-bing bad-a-boom, I now have room to get in and out easily without hitting me knees on the dashboard.

Below is a photo of the parts you can buy; worth it if you can't fab up some for yourself.

Call me cheap, call me frugal, but I prefer resourceful. But I am cheap also. Later.

Friday, February 20, 2015

It's been awhile

Last post was made waiting on my snow that never came. Here are a few updates some may not know:

1- I have done pretty good at maintaining my weight. When I lost the weight, I was only after losing the pounds and due to that, I lost a lot of muscle. When I got below 200, I decided to put some weight back on due to "you look sick" comments. I planned on holding in the 210-220 range but have got as high as 236. I hover around the 230 mark currently and have been adding muscle at the gym. It's not all muscle weight I promise; I still want to lose some more around my abdomen. It will always be a work in progress it seems. I can easily slide back into my old ways. I was hoping that once I lost the weight it would be gone and I would feel great and have all this energy. Not so. I feel better about myself but no energy. I don't get that part. I still do not like exercising. I always thought that once I got slimmer I would get into it; not yet anyway.

2- Most of you know I am not a people person. Shy, introvert, anti-social; I have many labels. I started participating in church a couple of years ago to help get me out of the back pew and up front and center. I was 39 when I became an altar boy. Most folks do this in junior high. Better late than never.

3- In addition to being more active in the church, I also started teaching night classes at the local community college. I teach Intro to Motor Controls Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is my second semester and it is not as bad as I figured it would have been. The class is one of many that are credits to an associates degree. Not too shabby for some one who always hated getting up in front of people.

4- Got rid of the last several motorcycles and got a Corvette t replace them. It sure is safer than a motorcycle and Cheryl don't mind riding in it with me. She hated being on the back of the motorcycle.

Thats about it. Nice and quite over here...just the way I like it. Later.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Great Sneaux Day of 2014

Yep. Off work today, sitting at home with the wife cause she is off the next two days, waiting on my snow to arrive. It is sleeting now but the snow is on the way...they claim. Some reports say 1-3 inches of the white stuff. I will believe it when  I see it.

Snow is a rare thing around here. But this is the second snow day in the past week. Last Friday they shut down the roads due to snow/ice accumulation. I am patiently waiting for it to arrive then I am going to fire up the Rhino and due some snow donuts for the first time in my life. May even make my first snow angel if enough accumulates in the driveway.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

How to buy a new or used car

Recently, the wife and I found ourselves in the new vehicle market. New for me is a used vehicle. New for her is brand new. Either way, dealing with a car salesman can be tricky, frustrating, and downright fun if you arm yourself with the proper knowledge. I will be describing our recent experience in detail below followed by some helpful tips that you may or may not know. Please add any helpful ideas you have in the comments so that we can educate the consumer and stop them from being consumed.

Car #1 2013 Turbo Beetle. Found a vehicle the wife just had to have. Internet price was a good one and it offered 0% for 60 months. Thing is, unbeknown to us, this was an either or special. First off, the offer way less on trade in than it was worth. Second, they threw out a price on the car that didn’t match what we read on the internet. “That price is without 0% interest financing.” From my calculations, there was a $4,500 difference between what they were offering and what we were willing to accept. I told him the price I was willing to pay and how I calculated hold back and showed him NADA trade in on my car. They realized that they didn’t have a sucker on their showroom floor. He went to run the numbers again and came back with a lower price on the car and more money on the trade in. He closed that $4,500 gap by over $4,100 dollars. That’s right. If we would have said “OK, we’ll take it” they would have made over $4,000 more profit off of us.

Phase two, financing. I went in this fellow’s office with a paper containing all the prices we figured in the showroom and exactly what the monthly note would be. There are four ways to get over on you at a dealership-trade in, sale, financing, and the insurance policy. They failed on the first two, 0% was the financing rate, so they only had one more chance to get over on us; the insurance. When we got to his office, he went through his whole sales pitch on dent protection, towing, repair costs, etc... When he was done, he just implied that we were going to get the insurance and started typing away. I said I did not want it. He tried talking me into it and I stood my ground. “Well, I have to get authorization to get this taken off the note.” They had already attached it on thinking I was just going to give in.

Here comes the financing manager. He starts in on why we should get this insurance and I am still not budging. He starts getting mad and pounding the key board fiercely. I have never been so pressured into buying anything in my life. This guy was unbelievable. He looked just like Principle Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and about as mad. He was telling me all sorts of baloney about how my insurance wouldn’t cover damages and the cost of service to the vehicle. Ridicules I tell you.

I could see how an uninformed shopper would be taken advantage of. They will get you any way they can. Another note about the financing guy, he mentioned that the insurance was only $30 more a month which would put the note at such-n-such a month. That was about $70 more than what it should be. How is $30 a month insurance adding $70 a month to the note? I told him what the note would be and he just kept typing away saying something about the new program or what not. They had inflated the price per month from the show room to the financing room. I tell you, if I hadn’t enjoyed getting over on them so much, I would have walked out just on principal. These cats were trying to screw us every time we turned around!

Car #2 2000 Corvette. I have always wanted a Corvette and decided to finally get one. I had a 2003 Tahoe Z71 that I wanted to sell before getting the car though. I had no use for both. I use NADA and KBB to establish the value of my vehicle. It came in at around $11,000 retail and about $9,500 private party. I was offered $3,500-$5,000 on trade in at multiple locations. Trade in was at about $9,000 according to my sources. I refused to take that big of a hit so I decided to sell it out right. After a couple of months of using several free internet websites posting the Tahoe for sale, I finally sold it in my front yard for $7,200. I started off at $9,500 and worked my way down slowly to $7,500 asking price and settled on $7,200. After looking around at what other comparable vehicles were going for, this price was not that bad. The local market was that much lower than the sources I was using. No matter what any site says something is worth, it is only worth what someone is willing to pay you for it.

Used cars are a lot simpler to buy. It is pretty cut and dry. You can’t access their invoice before going to the lot to know what they paid for it. They have an asking price and you negotiate from there. Do your homework and find out what it is worth, how much they are selling for in the area, how much individuals are selling them for versus dealerships, etc… I was looking for a unique vehicle with a criterion of low miles. I only found three vehicles in a 200 mile radius that met my requirements of miles and price cap. I drove to West Houston, 150 miles or so, to get it. With no trade in, it was a fairly simple transaction. I did get the internet special price which knocked off a couple of hundred dollars.


The dealerships go off of what they could get for it at auction for your trade. They pull the sales records of the last month and see what that particular vehicle was getting at auction and then offer you less. Depending on how hard up they are for sales will determine this price below auction prices.

Hold back. A dealership buys a car from the manufacture. The manufacture marks up the cost of the vehicle by a certain percentage (hold back) and sells to the dealership at this new price (this is above and beyond their profit. Hold back is just a way for the dealership to make MORE money in a back door deal with the manufacture). When the vehicle is sold, the manufacture cuts a check for the holdback to the dealership, usually quarterly. That is hold back in a nutshell. There are lot more facets but that is basically how it works. That means that you pay the dealership the hold back amount plus they get the hold back amount from the manufacture. Double dipping in my book; those rat bastards!  Each manufacture has its own percentage for hold back. You can find this info on the internet. Also, each manufacture figures the hold back differently. For example, Toyota may figure the hold back at 3% from invoice price. This is prior to any add-ons, destination charges, etc… Others work off of the MSRP. You have to get all this info prior to walking into the dealership. For the last two new vehicles I was involved in buying, I got the car for invoice minus hold back. A substantial discount from the asking price or the MSRP. Do yourself a HUGE favor and read up more on hold back.

Shop at the end of the month. Everyone has a quota to meet. From the salesman on the floor to the manager of the dealership, they have a certain number they must meet. If sales are slow, they will deal more in your favor. They would rather the sale and smaller profit than no sale at all.

Always get a second opinion when it comes to your trade and the price of a new car. Shop the internet and find “internet special pricing”.

Shop at the right time of the year. Right before or after the new models role out. Nothing worse than selling 2013 models when the lot is full of 2014 models. They know this and want those units gone.

Always remember that you are in control. You didn’t walk to that dealership and you won’t be walking home. You prefer to drive home in a new car but your old one will do just fine. The “deal of the day” may be gone tomorrow. Oh well, do not buy on impulse or emotion. Always do your homework and know what it is worth.

There are basically four ways the dealership can make money off of you-trade in, sale, interest rates, and protective insurance. Don’t let them take advantage of you because they will.

Resources to better arm yourself with.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You can keep your gold

Oh, the troubled times we are a living in? With talk of doomsday around the corner, presidential elections in November, the current economic situation, and the Mayan calendar supposedly ending on December 21, 2012, it is no wonder that folks are starting to get a little antsy. So, what are we supposed to do?

Aaron: I remember some time back my brother and I were talking about folks of today, primarily workers joining the workforce and their mentality…their work ethic. My brother said: “Things are different now days. When shit got broke; we fixed it. Now these people don’t want to do anything and don’t know how to do anything.” And this is so true. It is all about the attitude of just getting down there and getting it done. Instead of waiting for someone else to solve YOUR problem.

John: Good point there…waiting for someone else to solve YOUR problem. No one takes responsibility now days for their actions. Sad thing is that is how WE raised them. But enough of that. Let’s get to the true topic at hand: current domestic issues. I was just reading an article about gold and other precious metals. And how the prices have escalated recently but it is not too late to “get in on it” and purchase some precious metal before the collapse of the American dollar. But what exactly will the gold do for you?

Aaron: Let’s look at a scenario. The economy has collapsed. Paper money that you buried in the back yard or kept safely in a bank is only useful to start a fire with or wipe your ass. What is that gold really going to be good for? After the “bad times”, I agree that precious metals will be the foundation of the new economical building. But for those years prior when things are really ruff, that gold will only get your ass killed. That is it. Let’s say right now you have $500 extra money you want to spend in preparation for your SHTF Plan. (SHIT HITS THE FAN) One guy buys $500 worth of gold and the other guy buys a used, untraceable Glock (legally) and 200 rounds of ammo. When riots are in the streets and your family is running low on food and water, as most others will be, what would you rather have in your hand during negotiations? That tiny little gold nugget or a semi-auto pistol?

John: This is a no brainer here folks. For the long term, yes gold/other precious metals would be a good investment. But who do you think will end up with the gold? The guy with the gold or the guy with the gun?

Aaron: It will be worse for those in the big cities. Country folks won’t turn on each other as quick as they will in the city and will likely help one another. This goes to the story I mentioned earlier. Country folks will take care of themselves and not wait for the government to come in on its white horse and save the day. Think about this; on November 7, 2012, someone will lose. And they are going to be upset. No matter which side it is, they are going to be pissed. Add on the 12-21-2012 end of time, loss of jobs, etc… and that pressure cooker is going to erupt big time.

John: Now I don’t know if it will get that bad or not…

Aaron: Damn sure it will!

John: I am not so sure, but, why not be prepared?

Aaron: Now you’re thinking right!

John: It is kind of like hurricane preparedness. We have fuel, water, food, batteries, etc… ready for when it hits. But nothing will go to waste. The fuel will go into vehicles and lawnmowers, the water has a long shelf life and we drink a lot of it, and the food and water can be used at home and when camping.

Aaron: I refuse to buy crap that will go to waste if “it” doesn’t happen. Be “it” is a hurricane, dooms day, whatever. Everything I have will be used if not for the original purpose for which it was purchased.

John: With that being said, here are some ideas to thing about in the upcoming months. Things that may be wise to acquire while you still can. AMMO: You can never have enough ammo. It has a long shelf life if stored properly. I have ammo stamped 1943 and it still fires. FIREARMS: You can never have too many firearms. You can get a lot more in trade for a pistol and 100 rounds of ammo than you can with a fist full of $100 bills. Guns are like land when it comes to prices; they only go up. WATER PURIFICATION SUPPLIES, etc…

Aaron: But that list is common sense stuff. You will need to think outside the box to survive. I would rather have a dozen snares than a shotgun and two boxes of shells when it comes time to feed the family. Get some snares and learn how to use them now. All those manuals on survival stored on your hard drive won’t be worth squat when the battery runs out will they? Better learn that shit now!

John: Getting kind of radical there huh hoss? Haven’t even loss cable signal yet and you are ready to get in the bunker for survival.

Aaron: May be, but there is not a damn thing wrong with being prepared. Skills learned today that will aid in survival tomorrow are a good investment brother.

John: Touche’

Aaron: Better safe than sorry. So stop talking about what you need to do and get to doing it…now. The clock is ticking folks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Darwin and the problems of today

I had to do a write up for class this semester and chose the chapter on evolution. The following is a group effort by both John and Aaron. John did the bulk of the writing to keep us from getting us kicked out of class and Aaron put in just enough to piss off the liberals and democraps. I wished I could have went more in detail tying all the points I hit on together but I was limited on space. Here is a portion of my forum post:

I believe in some of what Darwin wrote about. I don’t think he is a genius for his theories though. For example, he discusses that a champion female body builder will not give birth to a muscle-bound baby. This is something that the person achieved on their own; an acquired characteristic that cannot be passed on. I agree. 

Take a look at giraffes for examples. Giraffes with the longest necks could reach more food than that of the shorter necked giraffes. Sooner or later, only the longest necked giraffes will survive and give birth to other long neck giraffes. This to me is just common sense. “Only the strong will survive” or “natural selection”, whatever you want to call it, is just one of his theories.

But here is a thought that ties this “line of thinking” into today’s times and troubles. Take a look back a few generations ago. The WWII generation for this example. How many died for this country? 416,800 military deaths. For the most part, as a whole, 416,800 men and women died that were unable to come back home and have families, raise kids, and have those kids raise kids. 

Those characteristics and traits that made those men and women brave, strong, and self-less were lost. SOME of those that were left to procreate the next generation were not as strong willed as those that perished. Another generation to lose great folks was those that fought in the Vietnam War. 58,138 perished. Again, those that stayed behind were able to procreate while those who died also had their strengths die with them. 

So now, we have a portion of a generation being raised by draft dodging, drug induced living, tree hugging hippies who were raised by those who escaped the previous war. Not only are the strengths lost with the perished soldiers, but the lifestyles and “mentalities” of the weak are pushed on others and their offspring.

Thus, you have the politically correct, no score keeping soccer games, bed wetting, laziness we see today running this once great country into the ground with every poor decision they make. I really think that if those brave men and women lost in wars past were able to procreate then we would not be in the mess we are in currently. But who knows, maybe we would be in worse conditions. That is why it is called a theory. Just remember, about eighty percent of Darwin’s theories have been squashed by modern day scientists. I can write 1000 quotes and at least some of them can be proven true or will be correct. Even the blind squirrel finds an acorn from time to time. And a broken clock is correct twice a day.

Don’t believe everything you read, see, or hear. Believe only what you know is true and not someone else’s opinion.Later.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

There is more than one way to skin a hog!

John: I have seen a lot of folks process wild game a lot of different ways. It seems like everybody with a pocket knife and a video camera has made a video on how to do it. 

Aaron: Yep. I agree. When it comes to opinions on how to clean wild game it is a like assholes; everyone’s got one. From what I have seen in the “how to” videos, they should have labeled them as “what not to do” videos. That’s where we come in. 

John: Damn straight. We’ve cleaned a good bit of hogs, deer, squirrels, rabbits, nutria, beaver, otter, coon, duck, chicken, etc… I am no expert, but I have learned a few things along the way.

Aaron: And one thing I have learned is to not depend on anyone being there to help. So all these instructions we are about to lay out are for when you are by yourself and don’t have or want any help. On a deer hunt in Brady, Texas, the guides were “helping” me by gutting the deer and splitting the pelvis while on the ground…in the dirt…with the hide still on. No sir. I informed them that I can do it on my on and waited till everyone else was finished before I started.

I have learned to do most things on my own not because I have to but because I want to; sex not included. I just don’t like people. Heck, if John didn’t hold my pecker when I took a piss I wouldn’t like him neither. LOL

John: Watch it smartass. It’s my junk too. Any way, we are going to do a step by step on how to process/clean/butcher a hog. I decided on a hog because that is the only thing in season right now in Louisiana worth hunting. You can hunt a hog 24 hours a day right now in Louisiana using infrared, night vision, laser sights, whatever you want. Between hunting and trapping, you should never run out of fresh pork in the freezer. So let’s get started.

1-It is extremely important to get the hog processed quickly due to the heat. If hunting at night you have more time to do it. But during the summer months, if you catch several hogs in a trap, you have got to get them on ice pretty quick or your loose the meat. I prefer to process only a few at a time; again I am doing this by myself. Remember, once you kill the animal the clock starts. If possible, kill them as you clean them. If it is long trip from where you hunt to where you process/clean, then field dress them by removing the guts and put in a bag of ice or two. It all depends on time and heat. I have never field dressed an animal and I have never lost any meat. But I don’t play around; I get it done. Field dressing allows for dirt and hair to get in the body cavity and it is a pain removing it later on.

2-So now you have a hog on the trailer or slab, not in the dirt, ready to start cleaning. Make sure you have all the necessary tools to do it. My arsenal includes a way to hang it, hand saw, razor knife with hooked end, regular razor knife,  skinning knife with gut hook, a small knife used for rectal removal, gambrel, water hose, ice chest, gut bucket, rubber gloves and pliers if you want them, and tree trimming loppers. Start with removing its head as close to the skull as possible as to leave behind more neck meat. Using your largest knife, ring the neck down to the bone. After this, I just twist its head a few turns and the head comes right off. Next, use the loppers to cut off the front legs behind the first joint above its hoof.

3-Now it’s time to hang em up. I use a chain gambrel I made that slips over the rear hoof and cinches itself down with the weight of the hog. Put the chain between the hoof and the first joint above the hoof. With other types of gambrels, you have to cut the rear leg and insert the gambrel to hook it. Use what you got but be aware if you cut too deep using this type of gambrel, you hog is going to fall down. Also, a deer gambrel will work on larger hogs, but you need a smaller one for normal size pigs. Their legs are shorter and don’t spread near as far apart.

4-Next, I hose it down. I wet the hair really good and in the process get a lot of the dirt and mud off of the hide. It is just less that will get on the meat later.

5-Using the hooked razor knife, start at the end of the rear legs just below the last joint behind the hoof and run down toward its middle following the center of the leg. If it is a boar hog, the point should end in front of its manly part. Do this on both sides making a “V”. Continue the “V” down with one cut all the way to where the head was. Now cut those same lines on the front legs like you did on the rear legs. Next, ring around the rear legs at the point where you started cutting.

WARNING: With all animals, you do not want to spill any contained fluids that are in the animal, i.e. bladders, stomachs, etc… But with a boar hog, it is really important not to open up the bladder or any fluid filled pouches around the genitalia area. Another thing to remember, any knife that touches the feces needs to be thoroughly cleaned before cutting any meat. I use a small knife to do this cutting and then set it aside not to be used to cut anything else.

6-At the bottom or point of the “V”, pull with one hand and using your skinning knife, skin with the other pulling the “V” shaped skin upward and then over to the back side making sure not to cut anything containing fluid. Sows are easier, but boars you want to make sure to cut between his junk and abdomen, keeping it attached to the skin you are removing and folding it over to the back side of the hog. I work the skin back over to the other side and with the small knife, I cut around the rectal area detaching it from the hide but leaving it attached to the animal. You do not want to just cut the intestine having it drop inside the body cavity. You can also open up the stomach at the top between the rear legs now and this can help to see what all is going on. Sounds worse than it is. Once you do it the first time, it is easier to understand. The main thing is to keep the edible meat away from the non-edible bacteria infested feces.

7-Starting at its rear legs, continue to skin the critter working your way down pulling with one hand and working the knife with the other. I trim as much fat as I can off with the skin. The fat is where the gamey flavor is and I don’t care for it. But you don’t want to lose meat on the hide either. Use the pliers if you want to. I never use them. I just grab with my hands.

8-Now you have a skinned animal missing its head and front hooves. Now is a good time to put the gut bucket under the animal if you have not already. At the top between the back legs, open the abdomen up careful not to cut or puncture anything inside the cavity. Using the gut hook on the skinning knife, cut downward till you hit the rib cage exposing all its entrails while letting them fall into the gut bucket on their own. I use a muck bucket that is used for feeding horses. It has an opening of about two foot and handles. It works great.

9-Using the loppers cut open the pelvis. Using the rectal knife, cut away the rectum and pull between the hind legs keeping constant control of it as to not spill or touch the meat on its way to the gut bucket. Open up the rib cage down the middle allowing the remaining intestines and organs to empty into the gut bucket.

10-Remove the blackstrap and tender loins using a good, sharp knife and put them in the cooler.

11-At this point, it depends on the situation as to which direction I go. Normally, I finish processing at a later time so I cut the hog in half-length ways with the hand saw. I then cut the back legs with the loppers and place both halves into the cooler and cover with ice.

I have also gone straight into deboning while it is hanging up, leaving the entire skeleton of the animal intact minus the rib cage. 

Just remember that hogs have glands that need to be removed. In the neck, front, and rear legs tucked inside the meat. It resembles hardened fat and is white in color. When deboning they are easy to spot.

John: And that is pretty much it. The best procedure to use is the one that works best for you. If you have any input, please add them in the comments. That is one thing about hunters; they usually are willing to help each other out any way they can.

Aaron: And if some dickweed talks down to you or shows you how to do it “right”, just remember the famous words that Robert Downy Jr. once said: “Smile, Listen, Agree, and then do whatever the fuck you wanted to do anyway.” Later.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Waiting to hear from you

I have decided to give the ole blog a face lift as you have noticed. I got really busy awhile back with work, school, and family and kind of quit posting on a regular basis. And I noticed something. It seemed that all I ever posted about was complaints and grips: all negative.

I have tried and succeeded in changing my attitude and outlook on life in these last few years. I try not to spread “negativity” anymore; even though it is a lot more comical than the alternative most times. But nonetheless, it just isn’t healthy…or helpful; thus bringing me to my next chapter in my life and on this blog.

I am going to leave the name the same but that is about the only thing that is going to stay the same. I am turning this blog into; get this, a help column. Okay. Now that you have stopped laughing clean your drink off the floor and wall.

But there is going to be a twist. I will have help in answer your questions and solving life’s biggest problems. There will be two of us responding to every question and situation. As some of you know, Aaron is my middle name and he is my alter ego, a split personality if you will. Oh, it is not as bad as it seems. Just think of it as a two-for-one bargain.

I do not live to blog. I get to it when I get to it but I promise I will answer life’s toughest questions for you without ANY sugar coating. And when times are slow, I’ll just pick something from the news and give you our opinions. But I would love to hear from you. But I will warn you up front. Do not ask a question you do not want to know the answer to. You can put your name or leave it anonymous. Just leave the question in the comments or e-mail me.

Let the games begin.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Something worth reading

Read this and wanted to pass it on.

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out- ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective. This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after " must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the "reality of today" rather than holding out for the "promise of tomorrow." You realize that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

how you should look and how much you should weigh
what you should wear and where you should shop
where you should live or what type of car you should drive
who you should sleep with and how you should behave
who you should marry and why you should stay
the importance of having children or what you owe your family
Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that’s OK... they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a "perfect 10" Or a perfect human being for that matter. So you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in giving that we receive and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of "creating" & "contributing" rather than "obtaining " & "accumulating."

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with; things that millions of people upon the face of the earth can only dream about a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed and the freedom to pursue your own dreams.

And then you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships, how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally and that not everyone will always come through and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns; anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say I was wrong and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet "your " standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that "alone" does not mean "lonely" and you begin to discover the joy of spending time "with yourself" and "on yourself." Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know. Self Love. And so, it comes to pass that through understanding your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So, you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead. You set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God... but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. Then a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you FAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed not for the answers to my prayers or for material things but for my "God" to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this: "You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you." My "God" has never failed me.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Triple Digits!

I have now lost over 100 pounds! Actually, I have lost more than this, but I started keeping records on MyFitnessPal at 300lbs. I lost 15 or so before we started the biggest loser contest at work. I got down to 215 and Steve at work asked "why don't you get below 200?" So I figured I was this close I might as well. I tell you, the last five pounds have been the hardest. Later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Material Success

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat
with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "only a little while."

The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said that he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little,
play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, señor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your
catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. "You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, señor?" The American laughed and said that's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.

"Millions, señor? Then what?" The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

I found the above and it made me stop and think. What do I/you consider to be success? At what point in our lives do we "have enough stuff"? At what point do we enjoy what we have and not want what we don't have? Something to think about. Later.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Purging-it is not just for crawfish before you boil them

Over the holidays, my wife made me watch more fluff/reality shows than any man should have to endure. But one of them stood out as actually educational. Not sure what the name of it was but it consisted of frugal/cheapskates and how they live life by spending less money than most. A lot of the ideas were just ridicules, some were undo able due to living outside the city, but one idea in particular got me to thinking. So Cheryl and I talked and decided to give it try.

One fellow on the show talked about how his family does a "financial purge" from time to time. Basically, for one week the whole family does not spend any money. No going out to eat, no movies, no spending. So we did it. After this holiday's spending spree, it was the perfect time to stop spending; especially on the extras that we really didn't need. So, starting at noon last Friday, I quit spending money. We usually go shopping on Sunday after church for groceries but we passed on it last week. The point was to eat and use what we already had but usually passed on because we had other things we preferred. Cheryl cooked several nights and surprisingly we survived just fine without our weeks supply of groceries and other items.

There were several items I would have just picked up on the way home but didn't. I figured if I still needed it Friday, then I would go and get it. It was a good learning experience. I plan on doing this more often in the future. Maybe even a week every month. But even if you spend money on groceries, that is not the point. It is the extras that I wanted to cut back on and I did. Imagine, still having your paycheck in the account when you get the next paycheck. It was nice. I had a note due so I paid extra on it with the money I saved. It was a win-win for me.

So do yourself a favor and perform a financial purge yourself. You may just get something out of it that you can use all year long. Later.