Insignificantly Significant

Dead ComputerThis may not be the most important post of the day, and in the greater scheme of things I realize that my computer issues are small potatoes. On the other hand, it’s important to me. The computer I had been using was a gift from my old boss, and it was a nice one. I could run anything at any speed and even games on high settings. That was the first thing to go. At first it was the ability to run anything graphically intense. It wouldn’t just stop working, it would shut the computer OFF. No BSOD, just off, as in hit the button and turn it back on again off. That was OK, I was spending too much time playing WoW anyhow.

Then it started getting harder to start – I had to use two keyboards to get it started, one an old PS2 keyboard, because the system wouldn’t recognize the USB keyboard until it was past the boot options. Now it won’t even do that.

computer repairSo, I have someone taking a look at it, and they’re having as much trouble as I was. Lovely. Now there is still some hope (I am an eternal optimist) that he will be able to get things up and running again. Or not.

In the meantime I am trying to work on this old computer we got for a few bucks off of Craigslist. This isn’t a complaint, but we got what we paid for – A 2.6ghz Celeron processor, and Windows XP. So, does anyone out there want to pitch in?

Olimometer 2.52

If you can…




Happy Birthday!

Tempus fugit — Most often we translate this as “time flies” but the literal translation is “time flees”. The idea is the same, our lives, and the events that mark them, go by quickly — often surprising us when we do take notice.

Kristy and me Thirty years ago today I received the greatest blessing of my life when my daughter Kristy was born. It is hard to believe that it has been that long (and that I am that old). I can sit here and bring back many memories in my mind — big, important events and small, seemingly insignificant moments. I can remember a little girl still in diapers helping me work on our old Volkswagen and the beautiful young woman walking across the stage to receive her high school diploma. I remember long trips, just the two of us, and the movie we wrote in our minds. I am so proud of her and feel so much love for her that I want to express it here.

Kristy,

I cannot think about you without feeling overwhelmed with joy and love. You are the brightest point in my life and I want you to know that I love you and think about you every day. I am so very proud of you. When I look at your life, the love you show your family and friends, the things that you’ve achieved, and the person you’ve become, it makes me happier than I deserve. I hope and pray that you are happy and that you know how much you are loved.

There is sadness, too. I have made too many mistakes and allowed too many missed opportunities. The blame for that is all on me. I hurts to think about the many things I could have done better, but today isn’t a day to dwell on those thoughts. I can only hope that you can forgive my many shortcomings.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie. I hope that you have as much joy, happiness, and love in your life that you’ve brought to mine. Cherish every moment of your life and let those you love know it. Take pride in who you are, but be humble and thankful for how God has blessed you. You might remember talking about what I call my philosophy of life — “Always be content, never be satisfied.” I hope you remember what that means; be happy where you are now, but always strive to be better. Know that I pray for you, think about you, but most of all love you more than anything.

All my love, Dad

Happy New Year (and goodbye 2013)

Good Bye 2013As you can see from the image accompanying this post, I am not particularly sad to see 2013 in the rear view mirror. Mostly that’s due to three months of being unemployed. But with 2013 behind us it is time to look forward. New Year’s Day is a great day for an optimist, and I am still that.

First, the Jim Lynch Theory of Time Relativity: Many people notice as they age that the years seem to go by more quickly as each one passes. I believe that I have figured out why that is. Follow along. When you are one year old a year takes an entire lifetime. When you’re ten a year only takes one tenth of a lifetime. A little over a month ago I turned 58. For me, a year only takes one 58th of a lifetime! Tempus Fugit!

Tampa Bay Times Forum #GOP2012It seems as if so little time has gone by since I posted about volunteering to work at the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa, while in reality we are closer to the 2014 mid-terms than we are to that event. As an optimist I’d like to say I’m looking forward to these elections, but there is a part of me that harbors two fears: 1) Are there enough voters left in America who understand the issues and the consequences and will get out and vote accordingly? 2) Are there enough good, solid, conservative candidates running who will communicate effectively and then stand by their principles once elected. I pray that the answer to both questions is, “yes”.

People of all ideologies are fed up with Washington, and rightly so. But change, if it is to happen, will only occur if people understand the importance of our republican (small “R”) form of government. As we enter 2014 let’s stop brushing off the actions of our elected officials as something “they” did in DC, or our state capital and insist to our representatives, the media, our neighbors, and our friends that the people we’ve put in office were elected by us, work for us, and answer to us.

Politics aside, there are many reasons to be optimistic on the first day of a new year. 2014 has no history at this moment. It will be what we, as individuals, make of it. I can only encourage you to make the most of it that you possibly can. But I, an individual created and blessed by God, can pray and work and strive to make this year a great one in my life. I remember hearing long ago that I can only control two things in my life – my attitude and my actions. Everything. EVERYTHING else is beyond my control. But man, what I can do with those two things.

I hope that you have a great, happy, and blessed new year. Take what you’ve been given and make the most of it.

Happy New Year!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It’s back to work I go!

After ninety days as an unemployment statistic I am back at work! In fact, I started with orientation on Tuesday. After being off yesterday my regular training starts today.

LEGOLAND EntranceI will be working in the call center for Merlin Entertainments at LEGOLAND® Florida. Our center, as I understand it so far, takes calls for all of the Merlin venues in the US.

I have a few observations regarding my time between jobs.

  • Most of all I have to say that looking for work is harder than working. One simple fact is that there are more people applying for the positions I was interested in then there are openings. I am very upbeat regarding my skills, work ethic, and qualifications for any position for which I applied. To submit the dozens of applications and inquiries that I did and not even get a response was very eye opening. I had to remind myself that many qualified people were also applying for these jobs.
  • Being unemployed is not a vacation. When I wasn’t scouring the internet for available positions I was building my contacts and networking. When I wasn’t doing something job hunt related I felt like I should be. It’s hard to relax when you are thinking that there may be a job out there that you could be missing by not finding it soon enough.
  • I wrote that being unemployed was going to make me a full-time blogger. Well, it didn’t. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on blog topics. I found it difficult to write or research, or even read what others were writing, mostly for the reasons mentioned above. I dreamed that having all that free time would allow me to post several times a day, but every time I tried to start, the job search demon came out to play with my mind.
  • My first job was working at the plant nursery of a family friend when I was about ten. We weeded, planted saplings, and tried to tell elephant and knock-knock jokes to the immigrant workers using a mix of English, pidgin Spanish, and hand gestures. I think they were laughing at our efforts, and not the jokes. In the nearly 50 years since that time I have rarely been out of work. I held jobs while I was in High School and College. I had a new job lined up before leaving an old one. I would estimate that I have been without a job less than twelve months since leaving college in 1977 until now. And that includes a stretch of seven months when I stayed home on purpose and the current three-month period. That’s around 10,000 days working even if you subtract days off, vacations, and unemployment!

    I take pride in my work ethic. I’ve rarely missed days (when I was employed) for any reason. That’s a hard habit to break. Sure, the first couple of days are great. You can sleep in (I still woke up around six), get projects done around the house (until guilt pulls you back to one more job search), and take some time to relax (see previous comment). In short, after the first week I was stir crazy. I can only hope that retirement, without the specter of, “I should be doing something,” will be more enjoyable.

One of the most exciting things about my new venture is that LEGOLAND was one of my top three employer choices.

I’ve followed the progress of the park since they announced in January of 2010 that they were coming to the former Cypress Gardens – twenty-two months before they opened. And while my job will involve all of the Merlin attractions in the US (did you know they run Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquariums, and three “Eyes” – you’ve seen the London Eye, I’m sure) I will go to work every day surrounded by millions of LEGO bricks. What kid, even a 58-year-old one, wouldn’t love that?

Writing this has been easier than any attempt of made in the last three months. I’d love to write more, but…I’VE GOT TO GET READY FOR WORK!!!

God Speed George Roper

The conservative blogosphere lost a truly good friend yesterday with the passing of George (GM) Roper. His wife and daughter posted this on his Facebook page.

To all of George’s Facebook friends:

This is a post by his daughter, Jennifer, and wife, Norma. We are sorry to have to say it this way and we are sure that some of you deserve a call, but we are unable.

George passed away this morning, shortly after 6 AM. We are devastated by the loss, but know that it was his time to go home to God.

Memorial services will be held at Kreidler Funeral Home in McAllen, Texas on Saturday, November 30th at 11:00 AM.

George had been battling leukemia in recent months after beating lung cancer previously (he was a non-smoker).

I never had the opportunity to meet George in person, but I did have many occasions to correspond with him by email or online. It was always a pleasure. I found him to be kind, helpful, and insightful with a great love for his family and his country.

My prayers go out to his family and his many online friends. God Speed.

Full Time Blogger

For the first time in almost seven years I’ve gone from Monday to Friday, and while I’m not sick, it’s not a holiday, and I’m not taking a vacation, I haven’t gone to work all week. I guess that means that, until something changes, I’m a full time blogger.

Over the past several months, since the last election actually, I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging regularly. Not because I’ve become any less passionate about the greatness of our country and the unlimited potential of our experiment. I have grown weary of the people, our fellow citizens, who have descended into a mindset of “What are you going to give me?” And to be honest, there is a part of me that questions whether there are enough people left who care about our country or if we’ve reached a critical mass of looters.

It’s not merely the economic looters, those wanting the government to provide their every need. What bothers me more are the social looters; those who feel entitled to offend but never be offended, to dictate to others but never be held accountable for their own actions. Are we too far gone?

Yes, this is rambling. I’ve got a lot on my mind. Perhaps I can put some more coherent thoughts down soon. After all, I am a full time blogger now.

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Does this pink slip make me look old?

If you’ve read this blog for any part of the eight years I’ve been doing this you probably don’t remember very many posts related to my day job. It’s not that I’m ashamed of what I do, or that I feel that my blogging would have a negative impact on my career. Truth be told, while I enjoy my job and I’ve never really had a day where getting out the door was a chore, most people would be bored to tears to find out about my typical day. Here’s the short version. Emails, phone calls, enter who’s not coming to work today, grant or deny time off, lather, rinse, repeat. The exciting part is the daily discussion of what we’re going to do for lunch. Not the stuff of great and interesting blog posts.

Well, that’s about to change.

pinkslipI’m about to be a statistic. The company that I’ve worked for since 2002 is moving our work (there are six of us in my department) off shore. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not bitter. From a business standpoint I understand what they’re doing. I think it’s a mistake, and I think they’ll be less than pleased with the results, but I do understand how it will impact the bottom line.

I’m not even all that concerned. I’ve always been a “the glass is half full and there’s another bottle in the fridge” kind of guy. Still, looking for work when I was looking at retirement in less than ten years isn’t the most exciting prospect. I do have a bit of a wish list that I posted on my Job Hunt Facebook page.

There are a few things that are on my job wish list. For seven of the eleven years I’ve been with ICT/Sykes it’s been a 30 minute commute each way. I really hope to find something closer, or at the very least no further than that.

Money. I’d like to find something that pays in the neighborhood of what I’m making now. The “good” news is that what I’m making now makes that a relatively easy hurdle to clear.

Secure. I know there are no guarantees with any company, especially in the current business and political climate. Still, it would be nice to find something that can sustain me until 2021. Is eight years really too much to ask?

Fun. I know, I’m supposed to be looking for work, but this is a wish list after all. Maybe enjoyable would be a better word. Just something where I don’t need a stick of dynamite to get myself out the door in the morning.

So, if any of you reading this are in the Polk County, Florida area, and you are looking for a great worker, I would love to hear from you. Everyone else – I’ll let you know how it’s going.