Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't Make Resolutions; Make Realistic, Measurable Goals.

Don't make resolutions; make realistic, measurable goals. I can't stress that enough. Resolutions are just dreams or wishes. Realistic, measurable goals are an actual plan with trackable milestones. Don't just figure out what you want from 2014, figure out and stick to a real plan to make it happen.

Both in your personal life and professional, merely setting goals alone won't get you anywhere. They need to be realistic. They need to be measurable. And most importantly, you need to keep vigilant with it and see it through.

Write your goals down and keep them posted where you will always see them. Set deadlines and milestones to keep and track. Stay focus on the end result. Keep things realistic and achievable.

If your goal is to get your finances in order, I can not recommend reading The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. I read this book a few years ago and it really changed how I looked at handling my finances.

It took me a while to put it into practice, because like many, I shrugged off much of the advice in the book. Once I gave it an honest try, I saw real results. Now I live on a written budget that I write for each month and I am really seeing the results now.

Happy New Years, everyone! I wish you all a safe, healthy, and productive 2014. Good Luck with your realistic, measurable goals!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Don't Get What You Want for Christmas? Then Pull a Knife on the Old Man.

I saw this news story and got a little dizzy from shaking my head so hard.
Teen Pulls Knife on Dad for Failing to Get Him an iPhone, Cops Say

Is this really what we have become? So self centered and materialistic if we don't get what we want for Christmas we end up pulling a knife on our parents? I guess being able to raise kids with respect and values is becoming a lost art.

That's right. I put the blame squarely on the parents. Not rap or rock music. Not evil greedy corporations. Not mind numbing television and video games. It is parents raising spoiled sub-humans that will pull a knife on them if they don't buy them what they want.

The more we move away from having a strong work ethic and being thankful for what we have and more to this entitlement mindset of "I should have what others have because it's not fair otherwise" the more civilization declines.

We will complain about how poor the economy is and how nobody can find a decent paying job, but we are still willing to stand in line for the latest smart phone or video game. We fight over gadgets and other crap on black Friday the way a pack of wild dogs fight over the scraps of a carcass on the side of the road. And the wild dogs are actually a little better than us. At least they are fighting over something required for survival.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Budget in Your Politics

On a recent drive around the area, I was pleasantly surprised to see this sign at the Brant Pines Ski Area north of Grantsburg. The DNR are grooming the cross country ski trails this year.
Last year they suspended grooming due to budget cuts. Since the trails were not groomed last year there was no fee to use them. But, nobody used them since they were not groomed. It's nice to see this year that the DNR figured out that cutting programs that actually generate revenue is not a good idea.

The decision to not groom the trails appeared to be another example of politicians and bureaucrats making their budget fights public. You see this all the time. When schools are asked to cut their budget, they threaten the public that they will be forced to lay off teachers; but some how they still have the money to buy the football team new practice jerseys. When cities are asked to cut their budget, they threaten the public that firefighters and police officers will be let go; but on Saturday mornings you'll still see two city maintenance workers watering the flowers that hang in baskets from the light poles on main street. And that is the game the politicians and bureaucrats play; target something the public sees for budget cuts while ignoring the fat that could be trimmed.
If you want more examples, just look back at the recent Federal Government shutdown.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"I am your wasted life" Nope. You're Ungrateful

Last night I was spending some time on one of my favorite forums. Somebody made a post with the title of "I am your wasted life." Well that got me curious, so I opened it up and almost immediately was severely disappointed.

The message was:
"I work for a Ford/Lincoln dealer writing service. Hero if the recession yeah right! 10.00 a year is our bonus but our punishment is work till 3 tomorrow and back 7am the 26th.
This message isn't for you out there that want to respond quit if you don't like it. It is for all those that have to work Christmas/New Years. You are not alone."
Of course this little bit of Holiday whining opened up a flurry of comments. Normally I just sit back and enjoy the show, but I had to voice my opinion on the subject after this guy responded to many people suggesting "to suck it up, you don't have it so bad."
"I see a few of have taken the position of being the one to give a lecture. As I stated, nobody is complaining, just letting others out there they are not alone. But to those of you who must be the ones to give the buck up and what not, Merry Christmas."
After reading that, I had to attempt to put the little buttercup straight. My comment was as follows:
No. That was you complaining. If you just said "those of you working this Holiday, you're not alone" would be one thing. You started off complaining about working and getting a small bonus. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, no employer is required to give employees time off for holidays.
Think you have it bad, try being a farmer or a rancher who doesn't get days off. Try being nurse, EMT or firefighter who is on call for 72 hours straight. Or a member of our military who has to spend Christmas on the other side of the world. Or even worse: homeless, unemployed, cold and hungry. Your Christmas isn't too bad.
And I repeat that statement now to anyone who is complaining about working on Christmas. Especially a desk job. Be thankful you have what you have.

I feel we all take for granted how great our "miserable" lives really are. I know for sure I do at times. It is easy to forget how truly blessed we are as we keep striving for something better.

No Christmas Tree for Me

I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year. Not making a political statement or anything. Not really a time management thing either. I just never got around to doing it. 

It's not that am not in the spirit of the season either; I love Christmas. I simply didn't put up a tree. It didn't bother me until I started "wrapping" presents. 

Wrapping is in quotes since I usually just reuse gift bags that were given to me. Gift bags really are the way to go. Simple, cheap, nice looking, reuseable; and if you have my wrapping skills, a huge frustration eliminator.

Anyway, about the missing tree. I'm still not sure why I didn't put one up, but I wish I did. It really makes the atmosphere of the living room invitings in these long, dark, cold Wisconsin winter nights. Which after all, is the original reason for putting a tree in one's living room and decorating it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have Yourself a Crumbled Little Christmas.

Of all the things to get crunched in the mail, I wish it wasn't the Christmas card from my sister and her family. Especially since it included a great picture of the nieces.

When I opened the mailbox at the end if my driveway and saw the disfigured envelope with my sister's handwriting on it, I was less than happy. I wanted to drive into town and scream at someone, anyone at the post office. Even if it was just some unlucky person standing in line to buy stamps.

But I calmed down. The Post Office handles millions of pieces of mail. It actually impressive more mail doesn't look like someone made their first attempt at origami with it.

The card will eventually be thrown away. The picture of the nieces will be framed and the creases will just give it character.

There are more important things that deserve my rage's full attention. A crumbled piece of mail should be a distraction for it.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Only Have Two and a Half Hours

"2-1/2 hours, I only have 2-1/2 hours" is what I just told myself as I looked at my "to do" list and my clock. I have a ton of stuff to get done and in 2-1/2 hours, I have my next family Christmas gathering to attend.

I looked at my list and started crossing off things that need to be done without doing them, as I added the time it will take me to get dressed up, things put away, drive time, and any other excuse I could find to not be productive in the time between now and  my next appointment. I do this a lot.

We all do this. Around the house, around the office. "Well the department status meeting is in 20 minutes, no point in starting my next task." Sound familiar?

Next time you find yourself doing that, which if you're like me it will be very soon; try something different. Instead of looking over your task list looking for items to put off doing, look for small items that you can do to get them out of the way of the larger ones.

You may find that besides being over booked for time, you are looking for excuses not to do what needs to be done. You might even be putting up your own roadblocks in a subconscious effort to avoid items you fear you will fail at. Yes. I said that.

Look at this example. I could have spent the last fifteen minutes going over my list and adding items like driving to town to reduce the amount of time I have until I decided to just set on the couch and Facebook or watch YouTube videos until I had to go. Instead, I wrote this post that I will be able to post on at least two blogs. I was productive. I added content to my blogs, allowing you to be able to read this.

Granted it wasn't a life changing event for either of us. I had some fun writing and hopefully you were entertained or maybe inspired to quit stalling on one of your projects. I didn't move mountains, but it was better than "liking" status updates and watching videos of funny pets.

Now I have about two hours. I just might have enough time to take care of a load of laundry and mop the kitchen floor. Look out world: I'm not stopping myself with excuses today!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting Better at Getting Better

Everyone's life these days seem to be nothing but pure chaos. Well maybe not that bad but, chaos is a fun word to say and write. To say the very least my life has been very hectic the last year or so.

I work a fairly demanding full time job as a Project Engineer and Estimator for a defense industry machine shop, work part time for myself as a freelance designer, run a local outdoor news website, and try to keep a couple of other blogs (like this one) going. Outside of work, I'm going to school part time for an additional certificate in business, plus trying to keep up with my house, family and friends.

Now I'm not trying to brag about how busy I am. In this chaotic time we live in, my schedule is somewhat normal. In fact, if you're a stay at home parent with two kids in hockey playing on two different teams, you're three times as busy as I am right there. And yes, chaotic is just as fun for me as chaos.

Far as my schooling goes, I just finished a class in Payroll Accounting. No offense to accountants, but that was THE most mind numbing class I ever took. I did learn a lot and I'm glad I took it, but I don't agree how it was structured. It seemed to have been a 2 or 3 credit class that was stretched into a 4 credit class by heaping on piles of repetitive homework. I spent hours forcing myself to do the same tedious calculations over and over and over.

I did get a big benefit from that class, besides memorizing the 2012 tax rates. Which is great since the 2012 tax rates won't do much good. I've gotten back into some of my better time management habits that have been neglecting. I'm getting better at getting better I guess.

The new year is fast approaching and I am being proactive this time. I have my professional goals already posted at the day job and I am working on my personal goals as well. Since this is the third day in a row I have posted to my very neglected blog, this is a habit I plan to keep up.

Yesterday I wrote a quick little rant about the whole A&E vs. Phil Robertson blow up. I was pleasantly surprise to see comments from complete strangers on G+ regarding it. I keep forgetting that not just friends and acquaintances sometimes stubble across my ramblings.

To all of you, thank you for taking the time to read what I post here, I truly appreciate it. I will be putting much more effort into this from this point on.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Don't Give a Duck About What Phil Robertson Thinks and Neither Should You

To all of who are shocked and outraged by Phil Robertson's views on gays: Where have you been for the last 5 years? I mean seriously? I pretty much live under a rock and I had a pretty good idea how he felt. People are getting worked up over one man's beliefs that have no effect on them in any way.

I am really tired of the PC BS of claiming to be tolerant of other's views, then demanding a show you never watched be taken off the air because one man (who you never would have heard of if you didn't see a cardboard cutout of him at Walmart next to some t shirts) doesn't share the same beliefs as you. Do I agree with Phil Robertson 100% on this topic? Nope, and it doesn't matter. One's personal life and views are just that, one's personal life and views.

Now don't think for a second I am only calling people from the left end of the political / social spectrum hypocrites on their claims of tolerance and diversity. There is plenty of that from the other side too.

Now if Robertson was one of those A-holes protesting military funerals and high profile events holding signs like "God kills soldiers because of gays" or something like that; then you have a reason to be outraged. But Robertson was asked his views on the subject during an interview and he gives them straight up wit no chaser. You shouldn't be whining because you don't like it. They're his views, not yours.

Like I said, I don't entirely agree with what he said and how he said it. But I have to tell you, I really admire how he gave his honest opinion. I have a lot of respect for people who give an honest answer knowing many will disagree with them.

I posted most of the above on my Facebook page this morning. Many personal friends of mine from all different beliefs and view points gave it their "like" of approval. I'm sure many read it and shook their head in disagreement and moved on down their feed of status updates. I'm fine with all of that.

But one person sent me a PM calling me a homophobic. That I'm not fine with. At all. Change the subject from Phil Robertson's views on homosexuality to anyone else's view on another hot button topic and my rant would be pretty much the same. Calling me names because I say you really shouldn't give a shit of someone else doesn't approve of homosexuality doesn't change anything. It only shows me that you like to call people who disagree with you (or at least who you think disagree with you) names.

Bottom line: if you can't tolerate someone else's views, opinions or beliefs; then you can't tolerate diversity.

Side Note 1: I didn't bother arguing with the friend who sent me the PM. Just simply deleted the message. Not going to waste my time debating someone who starts off by calling me names. Why fight a battle that I couldn't care less if I won or loss against someone that bitter?

Side Note 2: ALL rights come with responsibilities and consequences for exercising those rights. Including Freedom of Speech. Robertson almost certainly signed a contract stating A&E can fired him if he says or does things that are against the policies of A&E. Pretty much anyone who represents any corporation or group must do that.

Nobody should be shocked or outraged that Robertson said what he said and nobody should be shocked or outraged A&E fired him. Personally I'm surprised the show has made it this long on A&E without something like this happening.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Thoughts As I Sat in the Dentist Chair

Yesterday afternoon I had my semi annual check up with the dentist. This six month  ritual started two weeks ago with an email reminder to myself to start flossing. That way when I'm asked "have you been flossing?" I can answer "Yes" without being a complete liar. I know, with that methodology I could run for political office  if I lost just a couple scruples. Not sure if that's the right use of the word "scruples," but you get my point.

While I sat it the chair, the following thoughts went through my head:

  • The dentist office really needs to replace their 1970's era false ceiling tiles.
  • Wouldn't you think a nice ceiling be a priority for a dentist office?
  • Why do they polish my teeth, then scrap the tater off? It's seems like waxing a car then washing it.
  • They should make flavored examination gloves.
  • Flavored gloves may be a bad idea, some people may subconsciously start sucking on the dentist's figures, that would be awkward.
  • Although scented gloves would be an improvement.
  • They should give the patient some type of handheld device with 3 buttons on it. One for "yes" one for "no" and a third for "take your hands out of my mouth so I can answer your question" so the patient can carry a conversion with the dentist without the risk of having gums stabbed or choking on the hand held mirror.
  • How does that hand held mirror keep from fogging up anyway?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Law enforcement veteran enters sheriff's race - Your local online newspaper: News

Law enforcement veteran enters sheriff's race - Your local online newspaper: News

I was the first person to sign the petition (or act least the sheet I was handed) to have Ron Wilhelm's name placed on the ballot. He is also the last LEO to give me a ticket, but that was over 18 years ago and I deserved it.

I like Ron both as a person and a LEO. He is level headed and fair. I believe he has the leadership skills to turn around the Burnett County Sheriff's Department. He is well liked by the Department members and the citizens of the County. He will make an excellent Sheriff in my opinion.