Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Procrastination, Priorities, and Pickles

Yes, I am still alive.
Yes, Amy is still alive.
No, we have not had any sudden tragedy resulting in me not posting here.

Thought I'd get that out of the way right off the top. I know I've been ignoring the blog and I could give all sorts of reasons, but it would sound like whining for the most part so why bother?

I have been busy trying to get some things accomplished in our "business life" and when I sit a the computer I really can't justify procrastinating on those matters by blogging, as much as I'd like to...and believe me I'm pretty good at rationalizing. The things I want to do need to get done, and I have to get over and around some learning curves along the way.

However the "Are you alive?" emails do start to pile up, so I figured I'd better let the 3 or 4 people who still visit here to find the answer to that question know that we're not below room temperature.

There's been no "sudden" major change in our basic life situation. No one's in jail, rehab, or the rubber Ramada - although we're keeping all of those options open. I'm still employed. We're still happily married. We do have someone in our "Upper Room Ministry" but I don't have time to go there today. Amy's health could still use your prayers. We are struggling in some areas, like everyone else, but we have food, shelter, God and each other...our blessings are too often taken for granted.

So onto other matters lest the whine reaper wrest control of the keyboard.

Oddity: I was at a stop light the other morning and noticed a "bandit sign" - one of those little professionally made signs that are illegally stuck in high traffic areas to advertise everything from phone services, to diet aids. This one was offering to "Fix Your Credit!"

First off, if your credit repair options have fallen to the point where the best counsel you can find is from an illegally placed sign at an intersection, I think you've ignored too many signs and traveled the wrong road for too long - I'm just sayin'...

However it was the next portion of the sign that intrigued me. It read: "80 Percent Guaranteed!"

What's that mean? Can this company fix 80 percent of your poor credit record? That seems unlikely. Does it mean they have a record of fixing the credit of 80 percent of the people who use their service? Maybe it means if they fail to fix your credit they'll give you back 80 percent of the money you gave them so you'll only have 20 percent less cash to pay off your bills.

I don't know. My credit is fine and even if it weren't I'd be hesitant to use some outfit that uses illegal signs on street corners they don't have to pay for to fix it. I sort of think the sign's true meaning is more along the lines of, "There's a 20 percent chance we could make your credit rating even worse!"

Who knows, the light changed and I moved onto the highway where I was calculating the odds of being hit by a drunk driver. I seem to have developed a habit I once abhorred of hitting the snooze alarm and as a result, since I don't factor in this habit when actually setting my alarm, I'm usually in a hurry to get out the door in the morning as I'm running a little late. "A little late" was a key factor in my mental mathematics that particular morning. I usually drive to work with the intent of being in the office by 2 a.m. at the latest. When I run late, which is not yet a ritual but I may have to get an alarm clock without the snooze option to prevent it from becoming one, I find myself still on the highway on 2 a.m.

There is a big difference in the traffic at 2 a.m. which changed my death by drunk algorithm significantly. 2 a.m. is closing time for bars in Texas and I've taken notice that there is a vast increase in the number of cars on the road. I don't really even know if I could define the word algorithm if I had to and I don't want to ever envision being in a position where I would, but I can do basic math. As much as I'd like to think there are an abundance of other people suffering with snooze alarm disorder who also have to be at work before roosters are even required to warm up their cockle-doodle-doos, the way I add it up is more like: 2 a.m. + more cars + bars throwing out everyone who ordered a double at "last call" = a bunch of drunks all around me on the freeway.

I'm going to have to get a new alarm clock.

In the not too distant future though I might not have to worry about such things at all. No, I'm not making a career move , at least to my knowledge, but I have taken note of the amazing work being done in developing cars that can drive themselves.

Really. It's astounding stuff and researchers world-wide are a lot closer than you might think to actually making it a reality. I'm fairly certain any of those researchers could not only spell and define algorithm, but they might actually enjoy doing it. Some of the advances are being produced by a team in San Antonio at the Southwest Research Institute. This week they unveiled a prototype...I'm not talking a little Mattel© matchbox-size prototype...They've done some self-propelled "pimping" to a full sized SUV...look for yourself.

I wonder if they'll make them with a snooze-bar option.


Completely off topic, some months ago I wrote about the "Pickle Sickle" and gloated about how I had to push for a news story to be run on the then small town phenomena.

Now it's a national phenomena with recent mentions in numerous publications including the Fort Worth paper, and today in Newsday...the newspaper where my father worked when I was a boy.

Yeah, I'm still gloating...

See? Everything's fine.