"When will it END?" cried a mother, for a TV news crew.

"When will it END?" cried a mother, for a TV news crew. "When will the government take the guns off the streets?"

What a GREAT soundbite and video clip that was for the local TV news station. A impoverished woman of color, with a quietly sobbing child on her hip gave the camera her all. Really superb opportunity to get that personal community touch. But how about some truth?

Item 1. That mother on the TV was crying over the loss of her teenaged ( 20 years old is teenaged?) son.
Item 2. That same son was shot by police.
Item 3. That same son shot and killed a 16 year old (white) girl who was (allegedly) pregnant with his child.
Item 4. Before killing the girlfriend, that same son shot and killed the girl's father who was trying to keep them apart.
Item 5. Earlier the same day that same son was bonded out of the local lock up for rape charges. She was only 15 when they had sex, at a party, where he provided her with drugs and alcohol.
Item 6. That same son was a 'good boy' and did not deserve to be 'shot down like a dog' by police.
Item 7. Police fired upon that same son, after he shot at them while running out the door of the house where he murdered the father and girl. The responding officers were men of color.
Item 8. The gun that same 'good boy' son used was reported stolen from a house 4 months prior. That same 'good boy' was a questioned suspect in the burglary.

OK, so here we have a scum bag, getting a 15 year old girl drunk/drugged. Having sex with her. Creating a child. Accused of raping her. Arrested. Bonded out. Retrieves a stolen weapon. Kills the protective father. Kills the pregnant girl. Shoots at police while trying to avoid arrest. And is finally shot down by the police.

Yet he was a 'good boy'?

Yet the government needs to take guns off the streets? Stolen guns, no less.

I think someone is in for a rude awakening. Provided she has the intellect to actually, you know, UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF CONSEQUENCES FOR ONE'S ACTIONS!


Obama Called a Liar

During the President's presentation, tonight, he was called a liar by South Carolina's Joe Wilson. (http://www.examiner.com/x-15870-Populist-Examiner~y2009m9d10-Joe-Wilsons-apology-is-meaningless) Mr. Wilson's outburst came while President Obama was stating that the Health Care Reform would not insure illegal aliens.

Mr. Wilson's political career is probably over. And this is a shame. He has apologized for his emotional outburst to Obama and to the joint House and Congress. This, also, is a shame.

Even if this was just an emotional outburst, it still took a spine to call out the President in such a fashion. And being called out in such a fashion, emotionally, loudly and publicly should happen to them all, MUCH more often.

I've made no bones about it, I disagree with this healthcare bill. Yes, I agree healthcare IS too expensive. And I agree that there are many who don't have healthcare and need it. I do not, in ANY WAY consider good health or healthcare a RIGHT. That is like saying a good salary or income or college degree is a RIGHT. People need to EARN what they have and what the get. Healthcare is a business. A very lucrative one, at that, as shown by the balance sheets and shareholder reports of insurance companies.

The healthcare I have is paid for by me and my employer. It is something I have EARNED and becuase I have earned it, I respect it. I don't abuse it. I don't go to the ER for splinter in my finger or because I have a flu bug with a fever. Instead I see a doctor. Those that use the ER's as their primary care physicians are a very large part of WHY healthcare IS so high. Those same ER's have to be resupplied and continually staffed but not everyone that goes there pay for their services received. So, when you or I go, we end up paying for them as well as the services we need.

This evening I was asked WHY those people are not paying and I suggested a list of possible (probable) causes. They ranged from the homeless who have no other means of getting medical care to those people who CHOOSE not to work and live off the goverment's hand-outs, instead. This is just another symptom of the entitlement generations that have been created in our society in the last 50 or so years. More and more people, every year want more and more for 'free'. It is free to them, because they believe they are entitled to it. It is not free to me, because I have to work to pay for their freebies.

And Joe Wilson had the strength of character, if only for a moment to call it as it he saw it. Granted, it would have been MUCH better if he had run down front with the pages of the bill the proved Obama was a liar. Healthcare reform would then be dead. But unfortunately, he caved, he apologized and fell back into lock step with the regime. He was re-educated. He was corrected for his errors in a swift and very Orwellian manner.


There are times I DO enjoy a good fight!

3 months ago (June 12th, 2009), there was an explosion in the laundry facility of my apartment complex. This explosion, caused by a faulty, coin operated, gas drier, damaged the building and the centralized water heaters That provided water to entire complex for all tenants. Electric water heaters have been installed and are not functioning, correctly (they were not designed for this type of load!). Electric water heaters are being put in, because the gas company will not turn the gas back on, until the building as a whole is fixed! Also, the boiler system for the entire complex is in this same building. And it runs off of gas, as well.

Because of this, I have been taking my daily showers at a truck stop at the cost of $10.00 each and a 20 mile round trip.

So $10/day + (20 miles/day at $0.55/mile) is $21.00 a day it costs me for personal hygiene. At 30 days a month, I am paying $630.00 for access to a service required by the Oklahoma State Tenant and Landlord laws as being available at all times in reasonable volumes. My rent is only $610 and month!

So, tomorrow I deliver the below message to the office manager as well as put a copy in the post, signature receipt required. I have pulled the names out to keep the guilty from getting spammed and slammed. I want them to be able to continue conducting business.


I have thought long and hard on what to say in this message. And everything I have come up with is so negative, so harsh that I have continually decided to not deliver it, until today. Today I have had my fill, and it is time to deliver this information to you. I will provide a copy to the local office manager, and also send a copy, via USPS mail to the corporate offices. These are the actions an attorney friend agreed as reasonable and qualify as good faith efforts as I attempt to rectify these issues. Sending a letter with my grievances and proposed resolutions, before engaging in legal recourse is a sign of positive cooperation.

Item one: I have been accused of owing back rent. I have one payment to make of approximately $400.00. As I have told the local office person, I am uncomfortable paying on any supposedly owed rent from before the first of the year because of a lack of evidence. I have been informed of several issues with the 'books' of CDV, and their lack of accuracy because of misuse or mis-management. With this level of mis-management of funds, I'm not even certain, beyond all doubt, that I owed the back rent I have agreed to pay for the year 2009. At the time I spoke with the local office manager, I agreed I had probably missed a few payments and agreed to pay the reported back rent of 2009. Discussion of any fees and charges due for 2008 was had, but no unquestionable proof has ever been provided, just changing numbers.

Item two: For the last THREE MONTHS we have not had hot water.

Item three: For the last THREE MONTHS we have not had an on site Laundry Facility

Item four: For the last THREE MONTHS, the only information about the situation has been rumor and word of mouth between the tenants. Management is NOT keeping us informed about what is going on. To management this may be just another property, it may be just a a job they are at for less than banker hours every week. To me, this is my HOME. I LIVE here.

Item five: For the last THREE MONTHS, I have been driving 20 miles round trip and paying $10.00, every day so I can take a shower at the truck stops west of town. I have not asked CDV or Vanguard to cover these costs, because I have tried to be patient. That patience has now expired.

Item six: For the last THREE MONTHS, I have had to have laundry done elsewhere. The on-site laundry was an amenity that permitted me to still do other things while the laundry was being done. Now I'm paying considerably more to use a laundromat facility AND get nothing else done, during the process.

Item seven: From the Oklahoma Bar Association Web Site (http://www.okbar.org/public/brochures/tenbroc.htm)
Q: What services am I entitled to?
A: (1) Except in the case of a single family residence, your landlord must keep all common areas used by more than one tenant safe and clean.
(2) Your landlord must keep your premises in a safe, liveable condition.
(3) Your landlord must keep all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances in good and safe working order, unless otherwise agreed to by a "conspicuous" writing independent of your rental agreement.
(4) Your landlord must, if your dwelling is other than a one or two-family residence, provide trash receptacles and frequent removal, unless this is provided by a government entity.
(5)Your landlord must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, and reasonable heat, unless you live in a single-family dwelling or have a separate metered utility connection for these services.
(Italic emphasis is mine)

Item eight: Again from the from the Oklahoma Bar Association Web Site (http://www.okbar.org/public/brochures/tenbroc.htm)
Q: What do I do if my landlord does not make necessary repairs or provide necessary services?
A: You must give your landlord written notice of any needed repairs to keep your living quarters safe and healthy (It is recommended that written notice be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, when possible).
Your choices (if the defect affects safety or health):
(1) You may tell your landlord in the notice that if repairs are not made in 14 days you will move out in 30 days after the notice and your lease will be over.
(2) If the repair costs less than $100, you may tell the landlord that you will have the repair made yourself and subtract the cost or value from your rent if the landlord does not repair in 14 days.
(3) If an essential service fails due to the landlord's fault or willful act, you can, at your option, by giving written notice:
(a) End your lease and move immediately.
(b) Move somewhere else temporarily. You will not owe the landlord rent while you are living in substitute housing.
(c) Sue the landlord for damages based on the difference between what the apartment or house is worth without the essential service and what you are required to pay under the lease.
(d) Make your own arrangements for the service and deduct the cost from your rent.
(4) If the conditions are so bad that there is an imminent threat to health or safety which is not remedied as soon as conditions require, you may give written notice of the problem and end your lease immediately.
(5) If a fire or other emergency makes your living place unsafe, you may end your lease by moving out and giving written notice within one week.
None of these rights are yours if the damage is caused by you or your family or pet, or a person or animal on the premises with your consent.
(Again, italic emphasis is mine)

For the last three months, I have tried to be patient. There has been no formal communications regarding the 'missing' services. There have been no formal, proactive communications on when the services will be restored.
Given these options, through lack of action and communication, I here by, formally, exercise my rights as listed above.

June saw 18 days without hot water.
July saw 31 days without hot water.
August, another 31 days without hot water.
For September we are at 9 days and counting. At the current expectation, as set by historic precedent, neither hot water nor lease covered amenities will be returned and functional by the end of the month. The same calculations will be used at the end of September to determine rent payment due for October.

18 + 31 + 31 is days. That is $800.00 for showers, alone.
80 trips to the truck stops at 20 miles, round trip, chargeable at 55 cents per mile (http://www.hrblock.com/taxes/tax_calculators/rate_tables/standard_mileage_rates.html) is 80 trips times 20 miles times $0.55 per mile is another $880.00.
This brings a to date total expense to me of $1680.00.
I have no way of quantifying the expenses related to not having hot water in the kitchen for the purposes of cooking and cleaning. This has driven me to eating out more, rather than purchasing food at the grocery and cooking for myself.
Rents paid for June, July and August were paid in good faith that the services would be restored quickly. I now call those rents due for return to me as caused by breach of contract. As demonstrated above, the costs to me, excluding inconvenience, is $20.00 a day ($10 for the shower rental plus mileage). With a rent of $610.00 per month, I should owe no rent for the months of July or August and a pro-rated refund for rent of June.

My proposal is
a) All 'back rents', prior to the loss of services and other monies due are nullified and considered paid in full.
b) Rents paid in good faith for June, July and August of 2009 are refunded to me, immediately ($1830.00).
c) Reimbursement of the above documented out of pocket expenses related to the lack of hot water in the complex. ($1680.00)
d) Rents for September and months going forward will be considered paid in full, until such time as services are restored, because of the daily expenses I incur due to the lack of this critical service.
e) Amenities such as a working and viable laundry facility on property, as well as properly functioning dishwashers (which require hot water to work effectively) must also be restored to full functionality as they represent components of our contracted agreement and have been functional through precedent.

From my perspective, there is no room for negotiation on this. This is a breech of the leasing contract. I appreciate all patience that has been extended to me, during my time as a tenant at multiple Vanguard properties. I have been patient, and I am providing a reasonable response to an otherwise untenable situation. I have neither the funds nor interest in moving. If these services are not fully restored by the end of September and the property brought back up to the same level of service as when I contracted to living here, I will have no choice but to seek another location to live, and seek additional legal recourse for the relocation and related expenses. I will have to consider this an action forced upon me by Vanguard's inaction and seek legal redress of all related funds.

To summarize, any outstanding 'debt' CDV/Vanguard state I owe is considered paid in full. Rents paid for June, July and August are to be refunded, in full. Reimbursement is to be made of the above calculated expenses incurred. Rent for September and months going forward will be waived, in consideration of the daily expense of alternative solutions required for personal hygiene.

Should you determine CDV and Vanguard no longer desire my business, all above mentioned funds become due upon notification of such desire. This refund will be required to secure other living arrangements and cover deposits and other relocation expenses. Failure to provide this refund while attempting to force me out will result in my seeking legal recourse as the only avenue available to me.

The situation with the lack of required services must be addressed. The tenants and governmental agencies providing for the residents on assistance should receive weekly updates as to the progress and expected return of required services (hot water) and the previously provided on site laundry.

If you have any questions or need to speak with me regarding this, please leave a message at (phone number removed to protect ME). I will return your call to schedule a meeting at the Vanguard offices with members of Vanguard management that fits my availability.



I sincerely doubt I will ever see that $3510.00 I have demonstrated they owe me, but I WILL fight for it. I will fight VERY hard for it!


Family comes first, but keeping a job makes it A LOT easier to do!

While on vacation, I visited family. Primarily my Dad. His best friend, came over that evening and we had a great visit. Discussing politics, society and computers. I really love that type of visit. The next day, Dad and I went to his parent's house. While he was doing other things I sat chatting with my grand parents. Both are in their 80's and having issues. My living so far away, I don't see the gradual progression, I get the big shocks when I visit. This was one of those times. My Grandfather was telling me that I should stop by his sister's place in Kentucky. I had not seen her for over 20 years so I was a bit uncertain. But my Grandmother, whom I can not disobey, told me to go there. Then she started telling me how to find it. We sat there and visited, discussed the placed in Kentucky and so on for a good while. Then she turned and asked me who I was. This devastated me. It took me a few moments to understand her question. When I did, I realized it was the Alzheimer's. As GrandDad was telling her who I was, and I listened to them talk about me, my lineage and history, it dawned on me, I no longer knew these people. And they knew more of me, than they actually knew me. And it was too late to change that. However, what I could do was to be there and learn who they are. Speak with them, support them and so on.

As I continued my vacation, I did stop in to see my GrandDad's older sister. Myrtle. Myrtle is a little spit fire rolled up in live TNT sticks. She lives mostly alone. Her daughter lives downstairs in her own apartment of the house. And we spoke of her baby brother (GrandDad) and what was going on with him. His Alzheimer's is not as advanced as Grandmother's. But he also has Senile Dementia. The things Myrtle was telling me about their last visit just had my heart and mind spinning.

After this short visit I continued on my way, enjoying the roads and the sites of the Cumberland Lake area, and then on down into Tennessee and the Daniel Boone National Forest. But I could not get away from the thoughts of my Grandparents. Neither of them is really able to care for themselves, anymore. That is why they are going to move in with my Dad. And he is not really doing much better. He's not got that 'old people's disease' as Grandad calls it. But instead, he's got very bad asthma due to a victory over lung cancer. He's also got a busted up back. He get's along just fine, for himself. But I'm worried about him and his parents. I'm also worried about losing some of that history they have been through. I'm also worried, probably most worried, about my Dad and I not knowing each other.

As a teen ager, I put my Dad through hell and back. As a young adult, I often just cut off ties with family as I tried to figure things out for myself, and only called when I wanted something. Now, I'm in my 40's and Dad and I talk usually at least once a week. He sends me e-mails, almost daily.

As I rode I came to the realization, there is really only ONE WAY to improve this situation. I need to move back to the Indianapolis area. A tall order, given the state of the economy and the employment market. Tomorrow, I speak with my manager to try to start making arrangements to work remotely, at least 3 weeks of the month from Indy. That will put me nearer to family and able to help my Dad with the variety of things he needs help with. Dad and I discussed this. He was adamant that I not do this unless it is for me. This is for ME.

I realized that, on the road, somewhere between Nashville and Memphis. More than once I started to turn north, to 'head home'. I thought long and hard about my responsibilities. Not just to my family and my friends, but also to myself and my employer. Once past Memphis, I started putting pieces of the puzzle together. What would I need to do to make this happen, etc.

The biggest obstacle is employment. I can't rent my own place and have gas money to do the things I need to do without a job. I've looked at the Indianapolis area market, and well, for high tech jobs such as I do, they have VERY few openings. So my plan is to meet with my manager, tomorrow for a regularly scheduled meeting and open a dialogue on performing my job remotely. All the tools and technologies are in place. I've got the equipment I need to do the work out of my home. All I really need is a good, reliable high-speed internet link. And his permission.

Here is hoping I can sell myself and my ideas, well enough to make a very important change. I don't want to leave this job, but I don't see that I have any option, but to get back to Indianapolis. And at this point, maybe working 3rd shift, night auditor for a hotel again will get me there. I'm hoping it will not come to that.

Share a warm thought if you can. This might get a bit rough.




Selling myself

For almost two decades I have worked in the IT industry. I have enjoyed a wide variety of jobs where I started building machines for the a neighborhood white box vendor to becoming the IT resource for multiple dot-com start-ups in Silicon Valley. And now I answer phones, providing tech support for Enterprise customers. I spend my 9 hour shifts fixing what other people own. Every day I am repairing something that another 'paper qualified' person put in place. Rarely am I engaged to repair something that is broken after it has been correctly installed and maintained. I am doing their jobs for them. And the ones I really enjoy are the consultants that call us to fix what they installed and are being paid many more dollars per hour for than I am. Yet I am his resource to maintain his customers.

What is the difference between those people and my self?

A good question that I spent a heavy part of my vacation trying to figure out. Here is what I came up with: I'm too experienced and not flexible enough in this market. I have worked myself into a niche market that is all but closed up. For years I have been paying a portion of my taxes to help ensure that the off-shore outsourcing is profitable to employers because of the federal tax kickbacks the employers get. Now I'm competing with persons who have degrees that I never made the time to get. They have papers that suggest they have the skills an employer wants and needs. I have the experience to actually do the work.

So, again, what am I missing?

In a word: Salesmanship. I am not a salesman. I have a hard time with salesmen. I call a vendor for something I need, I ask for their website. I then bargain hunt. HARD! Then I call back, armed with those details. If they will not provide me the item I am looking for (or like item) within 5%, I move on. 5% of the price is what I consider a reasonable difference for having it NOW, rather than ordering one in. Their S&H charges are spread out across several items in an order, not a single item.

Example: I recently replaced my failing motorcycle. I had cash for the dealership that had the bike I wanted. I sat down with the sales guy, and started the haggle process. He quoted a price and I countered. He excused himself to speak with his supervisor. I told him, then, to get the very bottom dollar the supervisor would go for, because I don't have all day. He came back with a different number. I again countered. He said he had to ask, again. I left. He did not follow instructions of me, the customer. He was prepared to waste my time. I understand the process. Get the customer so wrapped up and invested in the purchase they will finally commit to a price the dealership wants, rather than what is in budget.

I, honestly, could never do the other side of that job. I don't sell, well. I'm not into marketing. I don't trust it. Marketing has proven, to me, to be a series of lies, mistruths and hype that usually over sells an item or service. And leaves a company with unhappy customers, but a dollar today, rather than being honest, selling a reasonable and quality product at a righteous price and earning 20 dollars tomorrow. That is what marketing means to me.

So, how does a person such as myself sell himself into a different job? Especially one across state lines where he has no business contacts, but needs to find employment there for family reasons?