Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Great Day today

Wow...  got to sleep in late, the Mrs. took our daughter to school so I didn't have to, had the day off from work since I had to work this past weekend, excellent pancake breakfast, lounged around & watched a funny movie, got a good haircut (always a crapshoot-you never know what you'll get!), got to hang out with the Mrs. all day, dinner from my favorite Hot Dog stand and to top it all off, pineapple-upside-down cake for dessert!

Who says getting older has to suck!?!  This was a great day!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I recently encountered something that has really stuck in my craw, so to speak, and feel I must rant a little... 

There is a house that I pass by quite often on my walks to work that underwent a 16-18 month full-on remodel/enlargement.  I'm very picky about workmanship and even though I thought the style of the house was ugly and nothing I would ever pick for myself, the quality of the workmanship was first rate - from what I could see from the outside walking by that is.  Anyhow, the work went on forever it seemed and finally when everything looked done they slapped up a For Sale sign.  Out of curiosity I stopped and picked up one of the fliers for the house.  The interior pics looked fantastic - every bit as well done as the outside of the home.  Asking price $1.45 million.  Not an uncommon price in my area (and actually quite low compared to some, which is why I've been renting a tiny apartment for the last 6 years!) and within maybe 45 days the house was sold.  Honestly I was kinda shocked it went so fast, and I don't know what it sold for, but you can bet it was at least $1.2 million, if not more.  So much for our failing economy, right?

So why am I irritated?  It's because I just walked past there the other day and discovered at least half of the home had been leveled so it could be made even BIGGER!!    The house after it's first renovation was 2,800 square feet and it wasn't BIG ENOUGH?  Are you freakin' kidding me!?!  I mean, what kind of asshole spends over a million bucks on an already ridiculously large and completely rebuilt, never lived in house only to tear half of it down to rebuild AGAIN?  That kind of crap just pisses me off.  I'm pissed for the craftsmen that spent over a year doing the last rebuild.  What an insult.  It's like a slap in the face.  I'm pissed about the mulitple 40 cubic yard dumpsters of building materials (lumber, drywall, plumbing, etc. all NEW) that have been shipped off to the landfill.  I'm pissed that they'll use even more building materials to rebuild again.  I'm pissed that even that much more of our "dirt" is being covered up - this is in a typical suburban setting, not some 2-3 acre lot.  These pricks will have about 150 square feet of backyard left when the mostrosity is completed.  I'm pissed that it will take even MORE energy to heat and cool this beast.  The whole thing is just a big goddamn waste on every front. 

When I was a kid, everyone I knew lived in small tract houses.  Most houses in my neighborhood were 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom on 1/4 acre lots.  All those houses had kids - my home with only 2 children was an anomaly - 3 and 4 kids was much more common.  And you know what?  We all survived!!  And now, families are getting smaller and smaller. but homes are getting bigger and bigger.  Unless you've got a HUGE family, why on earth do you need a HUGE house?   Do you need His and Hers matching walk-in closets?  If so, then you have to much CRAP clogging up your life.  Who really needs their own room for a home-gym?  Go for a walk, work in the garden, mow your own freakin' lawn for cryin' out loud and get some exercise that way!  Why must you have have a living room and a media/family room?  You can't live in the same room that you watch TV?  Is it so you can front to your friends that the TV in the other room is for the KIDS and you must be kept seperate from it?  You can't just BBQ in the back yard, you need an entire outdoor kitchen?  What, your kitchen inside doesn't work for foods eaten on the patio?  Do you really need an extra bedroom for the one time a year Aunt Edna comes in from Tallahassee?  When I was a kid, when visitors came, they slept in the kids' rooms and the kids slept in sleeping bags on the floor.  Even better, if the weather was nice we'd set up a tent in the backyard and turn it into an adventure.  Of course now with shrinking lots and growing square footage, most new homes don't even have enough room in their yards to set up a tent!  All these EXTRA rooms take RESOURCES which are in limited supply.  More lumber, more copper for wires and pipes, more petroleum based products like roof shingles, more concrete plus all the resources of the people doing the work - the trucks to get the workers there, the delivery trucks for materials, gas for generators, et cetera.  Then when you've wasted all those resources just building the thing you've got to HEAT it and COOL it and CLEAN it and MAINTAIN it.  All those things cost time, money and resources.  And for what?  An ego boost?  Even if you are multi-millionaire and you're living with your wife/husband and one or two kids and can afford all the EXTRA stuff, in my book you are still an asshole for being so wasteful.  Don't get me wrong, if you and your spouse have 5 or 6 kids, the in-laws are living with you since they lost all their retirement funds in a Ponzi-scheme and your no-account brother is living with you "just until he gets on his feet" then by all means, you NEED some space and I've got no beef with you.   It's wasteful, show-off pricks that make we want to puke.

I think it's high time we as a nation stop measuring ourselves by how much we consume, by how much square feet we have to fill with worthless crap.  I may not know much, but I do know this:
Bigger isn't always better.

OK, rant/off.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Taking the Leap!

“It is never too late to become what you might have been”

~George Eliot

So, here I go.  Why on Earth would I want to start this blogging stuff?  I'm not a Writer by any stretch of the imagination.  There is nothing "special" about me...  I have a lot of interests, a lot of ideas, but no real STATEMENT to make.  I'm not even sure what the central theme of my blog is...  Nevertheless I feel like it's something I should try.  Maybe touch someone by the simple fact of writing about something someone else can relate to?  Maybe the suggestion of an idea will open the floodgates allowing someone else to run with it?  Who knows? 

I don't suspect I'll post very often, but I just might.  I get weird whims sometimes and I just have to run with them. 

So, a little bit about me:  I'm a middle aged guy, born and raised in Northern California.  In fact I've lived within 30 miles of where I was born my entire life.  It was a great place to grow up but now I can't wait to get out of here.  I've been married for 20 years and have a daughter in high school.    Both my parents are still alive for which I'm thankful.  I have one younger sister that lives out of state.  She and I have never been close, nor do I expcet we ever will be.  I have some college eduaction and some vocational training but I've never earned a degree or become certified in anything.  It hasn't kept me from being "successful" - I've attained managerial and Director status at my last few jobs - but I still wish I had a college degree.  I'm planning to re-enroll in the fall and start over, but my plans have a way of getting thrown out the window so we'll see...

My passions include music, books and DIY stuff.   I was a semi-professional musician for many, many years.  By "semi-pro" I mean I did in fact make money as a musician, just never enough to make a living at it so I've always had to have a "real" job.  I work with the elderly now and I'm constantly shocked by how often they act like children.  I don't hate my job but I don't really like it either.  I like the "Do It Yourself" stuff because a) I'm a cheap bastard and if I can do something rather than pay someone else to do it I will, and b) I get a sense of satisfaction out of it.  I've learned a LOT by just diving in and fixing something.  It's a good skill to have.

The quote I used at the top of the page is something that I ran across about a year ago and it had a profound impact on me.  I'm at that stage of my life where I'm thinking "What's next?"  I had been feeling that the professional musician ship had sailed, that I had "aged out", and therefor was destined to spend the rest of my life in some crap job, doing things I didn't want to do and keep chasing the American Dream.  Well my friends, that's B.S.  I figure I've got at least another 20 years left to live, if not more, and that is no way to go through life.  Sure, there is a 99.999% chance that I'll never make a living as a musician, that I'll never be wealthy, that I'll never be just like The Jones' next door with the flashy cars, the fancy toys, the private schools, et cetera, but that doesn't mean I can't be happy.  That doesn't mean I can't express myself.  That doesn't mean I can't live life on my own terms and make things happen for me and my family.  I've spent too much time worrying about the cant's, being jealous of what others have and not being thankful for what I have, but those days are done.  I've thrown that way of thinking out into the cold, dark night.

I've always marched to the beat of a Different Drummer and will continue to do so. 

Thanks for reading!