Saturday, September 19, 2015

Why I support Burnie Sanders for President.

Every few years in the USA we have elections.  We are given a few men and women to choose from to become our next leaders.  But what is seldom acknowledged is that before we are allowed to look at these people they have been working hard making calls and kissing butts to raise money from the wealthiest people in our nation.  Only the ones able to get enough funding can run.

So, the wealthiest Americans get to choose the ones the rest of us can choose from.  Does anyone believe that these rich people are going to allow anyone that may interfere in their business to become President?  This is the illusion of choice.  None of us average folks really have a say about anything.

Burnie Sanders seems to be outside of all this.  His funding has come from average people and labor unions.  Mostly in small donations of under $100.  I believe he is our best hope for equality and a future for our children.

The only question is; if elected, can he be effective if everyone else is on the side of the wealthy?

Burnie Sanders for President.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Time to Make Some Radical Changes America

Things aren't going well.  It's getting hotter and dryer and it is the responsibility of everyone to make changes in our lifestyles to slow down what's going on. We cannot rely on science and technology to get us out of this mess and allow us to keep up what we're doing.

Think about it for a second and you'll see the insanity of the American lifestyle.  We pump oil in Saudi Arabia, ship it you Yemen for precessing, then put in in tankers and send it to China where it's turned into plastic toys that are then shipped to America where we give them to children to play with for a week, until they break and finally end up in a landfill.

America is about fear, selfishness and greed.  We want our cars and big houses and land to keep us separated from each other.  We want our energy and fatty food.  We want our drugs and booze. And we want others to accept us for how we are without doing any work to earn to their affection.  We want it all, we want it now and we want it for free.  This madness must end.

It must start with the people.  The people must change and then demand change from the government.

We start by moving out of the suburbs and into the cities.  Cities are more efficient.  Everyone shares resources.  We have to give up backyards and big, energy sucking houses and learn to live closer together in small apartments stacked on top of each other.  But we also need better designed cities.  Cities that give us easy access to the things we need like food, water and companionship.

Imagine a town square with a park at it's center where children play.  Around this are small businesses.  Grocers, barbers and hair stylists, bakers and butchers as well nightclubs and dance halls.  Small restaurants that all share tables in a big space.  Places where friends can meet and talk and have a coffee or a drink.  Sort of like a huge shopping mall, but with apartments on top.  Of course there will be spaces nearby for sports stadiums, swimming pools, bowling allies, music, entertainment and arts.  All maintained by well paid workers.

These apartments will be necessarily smaller than what we're used to.  But, they'll have everything we need to be comfortable.  For example, do you really need a four burner range?  I can't remember using more than two burners at the same time my whole life.  And if you have a dishwasher, why do you need a big, double sink?  If you could stop into the market on the ground floor on your way home each evening why do you need a huge refrigerator?

Now that everything is within a short walk let's get rid of our cars.  Think about what a pain owning a car really is.  You have to find a place to park it.  You have spend money to maintain it.  You have to spend even more money to insure it and buy gas for it and what does it really do for you?  It spends probably 85% of the time parked outside your home or workplace, taking up space.  Space that could be put to a better use.  If you need to go someplace far you take a cab, bus or train.  Yes, that is inconvenient.  But it also forces us to plan our days better.  No more jumping in the car to run around the corner for a pint on ice cream in the middle of the night.  Better to buy enough to last for a week next time you go shopping.

Another reason to move to cities is because the land will be needed to grow the food to feed us.  If you own a large chunk of land and aren't farming on it you are wasting a valuable resource.  Move to the city and let someone take advantage of it if you're not going to.

Of course there are disadvantages to so many living so close together.  A big one is diseases could spread fast.  So we'd all have a civic duty to maintain our health.

Another problem is pests.  Everyone must work to keep their homes pest free because they spread quickly and are difficult to get rid of once they have established themselves.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  You don't like the idea of living so close to your neighbors.  You think you'll be giving up your privacy.  That the people next door or upstairs will make so much noise you won't be able to sleep.  I have a solution for that.  If your next door neighbor plays music all night talk with your other neighbors and everyone chip in to buy the noise maker some wireless headphones.  Deliver it with a friendly note; "we understand the love of music and don't want to stop you enjoying it. But please use these because the rest of us need sleep."  I think saying no to people that asked nicely and offered a gift are hard.

But the hardest part may be learning to accept one another.  So what if someone wears different clothes or chooses to worship in a different way than you?  It has no effect on your life if someone else has different ideas about sexuality or has a different skin color.  We have to give up these petty prejudices and give others the same freedoms we demand for ourselves.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro Review

So, it's been a very long time I've posted to this blog.  This is because I didn't have anything interesting to say.  But it occurred to me, as a truck driver, I may have a unique perspective on  number of products that others may find useful or interesting.  So I'm going to offer a few thoughts on products I use and some I've had bad luck with

My newest gadget is a Microsoft Surface Pro.  The first thing I want to point out is I think this device is outrageously expensive.  I paid over $1800 for a tablet, keyboard and case.  It also came with a pen tool for writing and drawing that I've yet to find a use for.

The simultaneously best and worst thing about it is the small size.  I like the smallness of it in that it's easy to store when not in use.  However, using it to play Second Life (the only game I indulge in these days) the screen is simply too small.  Windows that once covered on a small portion of my laptop screen now cover close to half because I've had to enlarge the font to a size I can read.  For watching Netflix, it's okay.  But I'd still rather have a larger screen.

The minimal keyboard is surprisingly good.  I especially like that it lights up when in use.  This is handy when I'm parked at night and want to leave my lights off in the truck as I'm not a good typist and need to see my keys while typing.

I have found the touch screen works very well.  But I have no use for it.  I simply don't use things that having a touch screen enhances.

I'm sure this is why I also do not like windows 8.1.  I think it's New Coke.  Yes, I've heard all the tech guys saying that Microsoft does this every few years to force everyone into the future.  But that doesn't hold any water for me.  I've been using Windows for over 20 years and I've never had to learn this much to do simply things like check my Gmail account or open a classic game program like solitaire.  If Tesla can build the car of the future and I don't need classes to learn to drive it why can't Microsoft give me an interface I can understand as easily?

Overall, I do not like this product.  Although I will continue using it because I cannot return it and it cost me so damn much.  I think this is a poor replacement for my laptop and I am sorry I bought it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

More About The Van Plan

My plan of eventually retiring into a full time, living in a van, lifestyle is moving forward at the pace of a stone making it's way up a beach.  In other words, it's not progressing in the least.  But, this is not all bad.  It's giving me plenty of time to figure out exactly how I want to do it.

At first I simply wanted to live in a tiny apartment.  Then I saw the tiny trailer homes built by The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and started thinking about the advantages of living in a trailer.  I could park it just about anywhere.  I have a number of friends that would allow me to park in their back yard for a small fee.  But, then I realized that I'd have to have some kind of large vehicle to pull it.  If I was going to need a big truck anyway, why not just get a one I could live in?

Then I started looking at used box trucks and step vans.  But I soon realized that these wouldn't suit my needs.  I need something small enough to fit into a common parking space so that when I'm away on my job I can leave it in the company lot where it'll be safe and it won't cost me anything.

A van seems to be the best option.  Large enough to live in, but still small enough to park easily.  Sure, it gets lousy mileage, but I won't be paying any rent or utilities and that should be more than enough to make up for it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Most Boring Man in the World?

I've been neglecting this blog for quite some time and I don't feel bad about that because no one reads it anyway.  But, today I'm stuck in a motel room, in Laredo, Texas while my truck is in the shop for repairs.  So, I thought I'd spend a little time attempting to write something I thought was interesting enough to post.

This has proven more difficult than I thought it would.  This is because I lead such a dull life.  I drive a truck all day and sleep in that same truck at night.  I only get out for a few minutes to give someone some papers, get some papers from someone or take a shower.  I cannot tell you how uneventful my days are.  The funny thing is, I actually like it this way.  I am wallowing in this abyss of nothingness.  I find it strangely comforting, the silence and confined space.  I've found a way to be happy in my nutshell and I don't like leaving it.  When I do leave it for a few days, I just want to be still and quiet.  I want to be mostly left alone and not bothered with the troubles of the world.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  But, I don't really like having to go out to crowded places to stand in line to hang out in a loud place and eat food that I could cook better for myself at home.  Yes, I've become boring.  Dull even.  But, I'm okay with that.  At least for now.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Addiction to Consumption

I've never been the type of person that buys things simply to have things.  The vast majority of things I've bought served some purpose in my life be it survival or to increase my overall happiness/sanity level.  Yes, there have been some exceptions.  But, as a rule, I'd buy what I needed and use it until it's worn out.  I've never felt a need to have the latest, greatest gadgets unless it would actually simplify my life and reduce stress.

But it's hard.  Everywhere you go there are people trying to sell you crap you don't need.  I have to stop and ask myself "will this actually fulfill some need and make my life better or am I buying it simply because I'm bored?  If I buy this thing, how often will I use it?"

Obviously there are things I need that I may never use.  I have a first aid kit, flashlight and an umbrella.  All things I seldom need, but when I do need one of them, having it does make my life easier.

I also try to buy things that serve more than one purpose.  My phone is a perfect example of this.  Phones have become so much more than when I was growing up.  It's become my alarm clock, notepad, radio, camera, calendar, guitar tuner, map and internet connection.  I use it to read emails, get weather reports, follow the news as well as keep in touch with family and friends via calls, texts and social networking.  I don't think I'd be lost without it, but it does make my life a good deal easier.

Recently I almost convinced myself that I needed a new one.  At first I thought the blue tooth had stopped functioning and if that had been the case I would have had to replace it because my occupation is required by law to use a hands free device while driving.  But, it turns out that I need a new ear piece, not a phone.  It didn't matter.  I found myself looking for ways to justify buying a new phone.  The battery cover latch is broken and the cover doesn't stay on of it's accord anymore and the battery sometimes falls out.  So, I started looking at new phones.

I came pretty close to plopping down a couple of hundred bucks for a phone that would actually not work as well for me as my current phone does.  I was racking my brain about how I'd have to shift my finances around to cover paying for it when I stopped myself.

My problem could be temporarily fixed with a piece of tape and permanently with a cover.  What was I doing?  I wanted to kick myself.  We all have material needs.  But, a new smart phone simply doesn't meet my criteria if the only reason I'm buying it is so I'll have a new gadget.

The truth is I probably do need a second phone as a back up in case this one does break in some repairable way.  But, there is just no good reason it has to be the newest thing Android has to offer.

Consumerism is an addiction and I'm am hooked.  I have to be vigilant and watch myself every day, all the time the same way a drug addict does or I'll just keep buying crap I don't need and don't really want.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sometimes it's Hard NOT Buying Stuff

For a long time I've been trying to limit the things I own.  I've sold or given away most of my possessions.  I like this non-materialistic  lifestyle.  It's much less trouble.  I can now put everything I own in a single carload.

But, everywhere I go there are things jumping out at me screaming "BUY ME!  BUY ME!"  And I'm often tempted.  I have to stop and ask myself; do I really need that?  Will buying that really make me happier than I am now?  The answer is usually no and I pass it by.

Recently I did spend some money on something many would consider extravagant.  I bought a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.  $200.00.  But, I absolutely love them.  I use them every day and not only do they do an outstanding job of clearing up my vision, but they have an cool factor (at least to me) that cannot be beat.  So yeah, they have made me happier.