Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Goals for 2018

I'm not a big goals guy.  In fact I used to get into big arguments about goal setting as a waste of time when I was younger with one of my first bosses (who is a great guy, his opinion was just different then mine).  In life up to now I usually had maybe a vague inkling of where my life was currently headed and where I kind of wanted it to go.  I NEVER used to sit down and map it all out like many people (probably many people more successful then myself).  My uncle had a great saying, "You only have one oar in the water anyway."  I pretty much felt that God was guiding my life, and I still do.  When in my 30ies I did try goal setting, it always ended with my goals being hallow and never achieved.

Well, let's speed things up to life in my mid 40ies.  Married, just adopted a son, and somewhat 10+ year stable job...things are kinda, well set.  And that is IMHO BAD.  In the past when things seem set is when things get gnarly.  Also when I was younger my life was a swirl of possibilities, many presenting themselves when I needed them and they always seeming available.  I used to talk about work as "Ships sail on many seas."  I never wanted to get too attached to a job or a place, but be flexible so I could move with opportunities and circumstance. 

But as I said things are a little less fluid now.  I am feeling a bit stagnant, so I'm going to do what I swore off before, set a few goals for myself.  Why I'm posting them on a public blog I do not know, but here goes.  Due to past failures setting goals, my goals we be more guidelines of where to put effort and concentration, rather than specific milestones.

  1. Get my son caught up or even advanced beyond his age level.  He is coming from an orphanage and is behind, plus he has a whole new language to learn.  This has to be priority one for me, or at least priority two (God should always be priority one, but let's not pretend that He is often even though He absolutely should be).  Without getting into that all my desires and whatever plans or distractions I have I must put him first.
  2. Drop down to my next weight level.  With a whole year I should have more than enough time to lose all the weight I need to, but I won't.  I've dropped 45 and then gained about 20 of that back, and seem to be stabilizing there.  I'm down a pant and a shirt size, I'd like to drop one more of each and hold my gains for the year.  More would be great, but if I can do this I will consider things a success.
  3. Go to church.  Not just to check off a box, but to become an active member of a body of believers.  This is hard for me.  As to why is a whole other post.  
  4. Clean up my perverted mind.  It just hit me hard the other day that my thought life is almost unregenerate.  I hadn't been paying attention too much and oh my gosh is it getting bad.  On the outside I'm a nice moral guy but on the inside I'm something else.  I need (and I can't really do it, I need to constantly be petitioning God to do it) clean up my mind and make it Holy and not a dumpster.  
  5. Work on my marriage.  My wife and I are partners, but the whole romance thing is kind of gone by the way side.  We need to bring that back, so that needs to be a priority as well.
  6. Start generating other revenue streams with the idea of retiring from corporate work long before I'm 65.  Or at least be able to ride out a storm easier if there is a job loss. Also part of this is to do some creative things that are probably harder than I think they are but still within my capability to do...before my mind gets too hardened with age.  It already is to a degree, I can feel it.
  7. Be better about time management.
I think those are some good "goals" or points to be "intentional" about.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Riding the Storm

Just a quick rant mostly too myself.  Typically in life when you have too many balls in the air at once you are almost sure to drop one of them, so I don't like the live life that way even though I do all the time.  God always pulls me through somehow though.  I must learn to have faith and stand in the storm else sink like Peter.  This latest round of craziness will subside and I and my family will get through.

Dealing with-

  • Have to move out of the one bedroom efficiency apartment into a three bedroom house this weekend.
  • Have to pack up my old house 2.5 hours away by the end of the month.
  • Wife is leaving for job training for three weeks, so packing and cleaning of the homes I'm on my own for.
  • We are adopting a toddler and we are waiting the last word on when we can go overseas to get him.  I will have to let me job know I will need additional time off when I get back, they may not like that.
  • Just found out my Father who has a self inflicted condition, almost died again last night.  He just flat out is going to die soon and no one can or will stop it.  I'm far away and it pains me that I am not there and no one else other than my Mom who is overwhelmed is.  I am going to try to visit him in the next few weeks and spend as much time with him as I can.  I'm eight hours away with a semi-functioning vehicle so it is hard.
  • Work crunch is on, big project due in a few weeks, I'm just not carrying my weight as much as I would like to.
  • Wife and I, most likely do to stress, arguing a bit.
  • I'm in such a remote area now my internet access is through my 4G phone and although it is working better than expected it isn't 100% reliable which is causing me more grief.
  • Recovering from a nose surgery and breathing at night is difficult.  Sometimes I get 6 hours of sleep, sometimes a whole lot less.  
  • Taking care of three pets without a yard (minor annoyance but when I got two hours of sleep walking them till they poop is a pain).
Just a lot of "balls" to be juggling at once.  Important ones too, like getting my son settled in his new life and my father saved if possible (Jesus has to do the work, but I need to tell him more) before he passes.  Maybe when He gets saved God in his mercy will grant him more life.  If he does this if and when something happens my tears will be of joy that I will see my Father, who is a great man who gave so much to all of us and got so little back, again instead of tears of bitter sorrow.  I love you Dad. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back in Amerika

Firstly, let me just say that I love my country.  I'm on social media calling out the corruption and decline I see going on with America not because I get off on that, but because I hate it.  I want my country and it's people to be as strong, moral, and prosperous as possible...and I see us collectively continuously making choices that take us in directions far from those three things.  I try to wake people up, and people are waking up (not due to me but due to a lot of factors, like the internet being mostly free of interference at the moment).  I perhaps play a micro part in this larger macro movement.  Yet even though I'm glad people are "waking up" I fear what form that "waking up" will take.  More on that another time.

But sometimes I need a break from the slime I read and share daily (and I hope you take many breaks as well...and balance the slime with positive things...sanity is a good thing).  I had a long break for two weeks.  I was in Bulgaria with my wife trying to work out an adoption of a little boy with special needs.  In the end it was a heart breaking trip as the adoption did not work out...but amidst the heart ache it was really good for me to get into another part of the world and gain some perspective.

We are so blessed in this country.  Europe has been ripped apart for centuries as little tribes and ethnicities duke it out for land and glory.  Our own country has a dark history with slavery and the treatment of native peoples, but despite that we mostly get along and those with the will to succeed mostly can...though crony capitalism and the outsourcing of our economy threaten that.  Again more thoughts on that another time.

All I can say is it is kind of a bummer to be back.  I met some great people in Bulgaria.  The food was inexpensive, healthy, and better tasting than what we eat here in America.  I have some health issues and NONE of them affected me when I was in Bulgaria...but literally the day I got back to the States they hit me.  Part of that might have been some grace from God just so I could enjoy the trip more...but I have a feeling it was also related the the crap food I eat.  In Bulgaria you don't have to go out of your way to farmer's markets or trendy expensive specialty grocery stores to eat healthy because (at least for now) most of their food is organic by default.  We here in America are essentially eating bio-engineered dog food...and obesity and health problem are skyrocketing because of it. I LOST weight in Bulgaria even though I ate like a pig because the food was so good and cheap.

Part of that weight loss is the cities in Bulgaria tend to be more designed to foster community.  You walk to the city centers and walk to the grocery stores or whatever you need.  Sure they have cars but you need them a lot less.  I dug going to city centers where people of all ages congregated for people watching, meeting up, letting their kids play, and eating some good food.  There are a lot of cities/towns in the USA that are like this, but there are so many (usually the more modern ones) that are not.  I miss that already even though the smaller town I live in has this to a degree...but not to the degree that I observed in the towns I saw in Bulgaria.

Lastly dealing with US regulations and bureaucracies is a bummer.  The amount of hoops we had to jump through and the expense of our adoption attempt has been staggering.  Dealing with security at the airport and filling out the little custom declarations were minor announces but it could be so simplified.  And then I got home to some random IRS audit triggered by me being honest on some health care spending that triggered some auditor to declare all my health care spending from my HSA as "income" and hitting me up with a huge bill and penalty.  And of course I was gone so I have a very small window to correct this. So I have to deal with documenting all my HSA spending today.  Fun times.  Welcome back to Amerika, here is a little reminder of how our bureaucracies and corporations are tending to treat us like serfs and revenue streams rather than sovereign citizens.  Fill out your little forms and pay your fines.

Of course my stay in Bulgaria had only a limited view.  I'm sure daily living and dealing with bureaucracies there might even be worse...but I keep reading how expats that have been away from America for ten years don't even recognize the country when they come back as it is changing (generally for the worse) so fast.

I'm proud of what my ancestors have done here in America.  I'm proud of my country's mainly positive impact on the world (despite some dark chapters and the recent wars we screwed up in the Middle East...more on that another time).   But in life I'm always about looking for another adventure...looking to hike over another hill hoping that what is on the other side is different than what I just left.  My wife and I stood on a hill and looked down into a valley with a lot of possibilities, challenges, and most of all...different.  I think that will affect us and possibly lead us to living overseas for a few years very soon.  If I can continue to work as I do now my income is high enough to support us both in Bulgaria in a lifestyle that is greater than what my income alone can afford here.  If my wife can find something online or in Bulgaria (which will be a pain because of EU and Bulgarian rules) we might find ourselves there in a year or two.

I love my country but maybe I need a break.  I acknowledge that Americans even in our decline are still blessed more than any other people in the world.  But individual millage might very in the new world order...and I'm mobile so I can test the waters.  I think we will test those waters, and have an adventure, leaving our current set of troubles behind for a new more interesting set, all things remaining equal.

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Thoughts on the Unfolding Turkish Coup

I think I can shed some light on what is going on in Turkey, so I will.
1) The country's government was secularized by Mustafa Kermal who is known as the Father of Turkey, or "Ataturk", in the earlier part of the 20th century. Since then the secularist, or "Kermalist" have generally held power in Turkey and the military there is taughtsecular principles.
2) The secularist are corrupt, and people get tired of them. So they vote for the islamic parties as a protest vote, knowing if the islamist take things too far the military will step in and kick them out. This has happened (four?) times recently in Turkish history.
3) Turkey is obsessed with becoming part of the EU. For this reason the military has shown great restraint and not thrown any coups lately. This has enabled islamist to take things farther than previously would have been allowed.
4) US policy in the region (i.e. invasion of Iraq) has pissed a lot of people off in Turkey, and has strengthened islamist support more than in the past.
5) Ergodan, the islamist current president of Turkey, has used points 3 & 4 above to really push Turkey in a more islamic direction. Ergodan recently rewrote the Turkish Constitution and replaced mentions of secular Ataturk with the term "the founder" and basically removed some of the secular controls in the old version. Ergodan has also recently consolidated power by firing and forcing out / replacing many of his more secular leading opponents both in government AND in the Turkish military, which is kind of unprecedented. Ergodan has been removing strong secularist generals in the military, and snubbed a potential coup a few years ago successfully and tried a lot of senior military leaders for treason.
I guess the secularist have finally had enough. Due to the attitude changes I'm not sure how this coup will play out. I hope things settle down with the minimal amount of life and property loss as possible. I'm more of a Kermalist so I'm not sorry to see Ergodan ousted, but I'd really, really hate for this to get ugly.
Turkey is an interesting country full of beauty and history. The people there are mostly nice to foreigners. I'd hate to see it be ripped apart by civil war. Hopefully this will end soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

10 Thoughts on the #Brexit

Here are my quick thoughts on the UK's referendum to leave the EU.
  1. I figured the referendum had popular support, but I thought it would be close enough so the usual powers that be could use voter fraud to make the referendum fail.  This didn't happen.
  2. It was strange to me that the EU didn't really try (at least from my limited knowledge) to keep the UK in the EU.  No big pushes to try to negotiate a compromise that would keep the UK in the EU.  Elites and EU backers grumbled and threatened, but not really that much.  Some like George Soros even publicly denounced UK's efforts to leave while at the same time he was arranging his financial assets to make money off of a UK exit.
  3. The  bodes well for a Trump presidency. It shows the leftist globalist order weakening...everywhere. At least it appears this way, it may not be.
  4. It will be interesting to see how this affects NATO. I'm worried it's affects will be negative, and a weaker NATO is bad for Balkan nations bordering on a resurgent Russia.
  5. is a destabilizing event. There will be ripples. The British Pound took an immediate hit, but I don't expect that to last. Other financial and political problems will arise from this globally. As to how big those ripples will be I'm not sure.
  6. More EU states will seek to withdraw. Not sure 3 years from now what left in the EU other than Germany and a few others.
  7. Scotland and other parts of the UK might try to stay in the EU or do a which will be interesting to watch. Other areas outside of the EU might look at the UK's exit out of the EU as a role model for their own separatist aspirations. Heck even in the US the Texas secession movement got a boost from the Brexit.
  8. In the end all of this is the EU's fault. The EU got too undemocratic and Brits got tired of taking orders from un-elected bureaucrats and they did something about this. There is a lesson to be learned here by all parties.
  9. The British Parliament has to ratify this referendum (likely) and there is also a two year time table for with drawl. I have a feeling this won't be a clean break and a lot of forces will try to negotiate a lot of side deals between the EU and the UK (like the UK still adhering to many business and medical standards devised by the EU). So I'm not sure this will even be a clean break from the EU for the UK. Just more autonomy.
  10. This could be taken as a big setback for Globalism and it's supporters.  As [THIS] article points out that may not be the case at all.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Predictions for 2016

Normally I like to make predictions for the upcoming year, but I gotta tell ya.  This year I'm kind of stumped.  I mean I could make a bunch, but my confidence level in any of them is pretty low.  But I'll try to come up with 10 of them, not setting my sites too high.

  1. Fed will have the interest rate back up to at least .5% if not .75% by the end of the year.
  2. The Trans Pacific Partnership will pass.
  3. Trump will get the republican nomination and will be the next president (my confidence level in this one is low...but out of all the scenarios I see this as the most likely).
  4. There will be legitimate Congressional blow back to Obama's lawlessness on immigration.  Some of his executive orders will be reversed.
  5. Nothing will happen to Hillary for all her illegal activities at the State Department and with the Clinton Foundation.
  6. Fighting will continue in Ukraine for most of the year but stabilize towards the end of the year.
  7. Ebola will make a big come back in Africa, and you could see more cases in the West, but it will not be a pandemic, yet.
  8. Assad will still be in power in 2017.
  9. Middle class will start becoming a real voice of power in America.  The middle class will make it harder for the party of DC to get it's way, though they still will but with substantial more push back.
  10.  Private companies will begin censorship on their own on a much greater degree in 2016 to comply with the regimes expressed or hinted at's wishes.
  11. There will be at least two islamic militant attacks on US soil...unfortunately.
Well, there is 10 predictions plus a bonus.  Write yours in the comments.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Seven Quick Indicators of Disinformation

This list is a rough approximation of "Signs of Disinformation" from Russ Dizdar's podcast from 2014-07-07 (yes a year ago not a mistype). I think we all need to look at this list and think real hard on the various "fringe" conspiracy sites that dribble (mis)information as a self check. I know I do.
  1. Seems like info is a secret or semi secret
  2. Details but not enough to nail anything down
  3. Comes in pieces
  4. Leads to looking in wrong direction
  5. Leads to old/uncollaborated info
  6. Keeps you running in circles
  7. Leads you to a trap to set you up (discrediting, using you as a dupe, worse)

I won't name names of sites or "ministries", but I've been into the conspiracy game since I was 18. I've seen a lot during that time. Some popular sites / people immediately came to mind when reading this.

BTW, the picture above comes from the book, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism