31 December 2008
Over the past six months at AOL, one topic of personal reflection is upon my online skills. I'll be the first to tell you that I'm a "rick-of-all-trades...master-of-none" in the skills department.
I don't consider myself a Graphic Artist, although I know my way around Photoshop and can create a variety of online graphics. I don't consider myself a Web Designer, although I can lay out a site the way I'd like it to appear and function. I don't consider myself a Web Programmer, although I know my way around several web languages.
For my family, 2008 marked our 3rd year of living in a townhouse in Maryland. Our search for homes began shortly after I moved in with my in laws in June '04. Then, the housing market was a seller's market. As time dragged on, I began to wonder "am I really supposed to be here?" Sure, I knew God had provided the opportunity, He had answered my prayers of allowing Kim to stay at home with a newly born Georgia, and He had shown me that it's not who you know but Who you know that can open job doors.
27 December 2008
In the end of this Dickens' classic, Scrooge is a reformed, changed man, with a promise for doing good with his life and money. Yet, when someone is called a Scrooge, there's only one of several meanings: nasty, stingy, joyless, dismal, heartless...what Ebenezer was for over 2/3 of the the tale.
Granted, this is merely an ageless fictional story (although some of the best stories spring forth from the truth of reality) but how often do we always remember a person for what they did much of their life or for one moment in their life?
24 December 2008
I've personally never had aspirations of being the lead character, Clark Griswold, from the National Lampoon's Vacation movies. Having seen the others years ago, "Christmas Vacation" seems a bit tamer and developed a bit of a "cult following" of sorts. It became an annual tradition for Kim and I several years ago, and it can stand on its own from the others. Great chuckles 19 years later...wow, has it been that long?)
18 December 2008
As any of my Twitter or Facebook followers know, I've had a long bout with bronchitis. Seemingly, it's been clinging to me for a month and I thought my bout was almost over. And it may have been so, until I do the one thing we men tend to do so well: outpace ourselves.
It's this little seed of pride/rebellion/foolishness that's inside all of us (although men seem to have an extra dose) that says, "You'll be fine...ride it out...you don't need any help...you're a man's man...you can find your own way."
09 December 2008
Next, came the MySpace page. At the time, I was also collecting hundreds of friends for the WUSA MySpace page. My problem with MySpace is it's become such a haven for mindless applications, cheap profile skins, and peeps tryin' to hook up. I try to keep the page updated but only at a minimal effort.
12 November 2008
Why is sexual orientation a topic in kindergarten?! In today's society, it's possible that there's so little discipline or love in a home that hateful words and attitudes are byproducts. Thus, the classroom becomes the only place for a child to learn why being kind to one another is important. However, kindergartners aren't concerned with sexual orientation. Basic kindness doesn't require acknowledgement of sexuality. At best, boys think girls have cooties and vice-versa. Otherwise, their focus is on everything else. That's how it should be. It's about fun. Yet, we try and grow up our children too fast because we want them to be well-rounded and open-minded.
05 November 2008
31 October 2008
Reporter Darren Dedo, Photojournalist Rob Ruffin, Production Manager Ed Mazzone and I had produced the previous year a 4-part series called "Ghost Hunt" where we explored several local properties rumored to be haunted. The series was a blast to produce and we received an Associated Press award.
When we decided to do the series on a monthly basis, my first stop was the Civil War battlefield of Raymond, MS. It was a warm April evening and dusk had set in. I brought along a tape recorder and my digital camera. While recording, I began asking questions and snapping digital pics of my surroundings after each question: "Is anyone here?" "What's your name?" "How do you feel?"
After taking several more pics, I packed up and heading back to WJTV to review the recordings and images. Also, broadcast video cameras were recording various rooms in the Raymond Courthouse which had been used as a hospital during the war.
The audio tape yielded nothing more obvious than loud bugs and many of the pics had little to offer...until I came across one. In the video below, you'll see a reenactment of my technique and what I found.
23 October 2008
For us, the financial squeeze came into play in August when we had to pay for both Georgia's then daycare at USDA and start paying tuition for her school at First Baptist School of Laurel. To add to the equation, I took a pay cut to work at AOL with the knowledge that at bonus and raise was in the future. However, instead of end of year, the bonus isn't coming until late February.
God always provides for your needs and even some of your wants. In our 11 years of marriage, Kim and I have never gone without. Maybe we've had to delay paying a bill, stop eating out, "brown bagging" lunch, or holding off on trips...but we've never gone without.
We make sacrifices for our families. For us, sacrificing a couple thousand dollars was worth a job change that has vastly improved our family life. Cutting back on things so Georgia can have a Christian education was also paramount. Like too many young couples, we have some debt to eliminate. It's a slow process but it is progressing.
The deadly snare is when some families refuse to change their lifestyle and sink deeper into debt because they have to have the trips, the entertainment, and more. I'm not boasting, since Kim and I have been a bit unyielding at times. But the blessing is how God continues to mold and shape and nurture us into what we need to become.
So, I'll enjoy my soups for lunch and anything else low carb as we press on towards better financial and physical health.
08 October 2008
Coupled with her love to dance and the splendor of a ball, Georgia loves to put one of her "dress-up gowns" and go to the Ball. It's here, dads, that we can be amerce ourselves in the roll or skim through it. I've been there...you want to be a good dad and show her attention...you want to play the roll one more time. Maybe you even want to avoid the drama, so you half-heartily perform your duties and breathe a sigh of satisfaction when you can return to your agenda.
There's no doubt you'll be in that place, again. But I pray it's not too often. I've learned to cherish that request to dance with her. To realize that being her Prince is so temporary before she's off to other activities...other games...other friends. Before she has no time for me until I must give her away at her wedding...when she really will have her Prince.
Even as odd as it sounds, I've also learned how special it is when G talks about marrying me. It doesn't do much good to explain to her that Mommy and I are married and she can't me. In her mind, it's a great reason to wear a dress and do something really special with her daddy. It's the sweetest of innocent requests which validates where one is as a father with their daughter.
Enjoy the Steven Curtis Chapman video below and keep watching his explanation of the inspiration of the song which follows the video. Remember, dads, we only have so many dances.
05 October 2008
Never before has our country seen its morals so decomposed. After all, our focus today is completely on satisfying our selfish needs while never offending anyone. Women should have the right to terminate their pregnancy whenever they want. After all, Senator Obama thinks that when life begins is "above his pay grade" and House of Rep. Speaker Pelosi thinks this debate has been going on for years in the Catholic church.
Life begins at conception. Period.
On the same course, let's advance stem-cell research. Never mind that adult stem-cells are fine and don't end life. No, let's push for embryonic stem-cell research and continue to kill human life in the same of science.
Embryos are life.
Also, let's push for gays to have the rights to marry. Forget the fact that they already have civil unions and other partner rights offered by businesses. No, men should marry men and women should marry women. Last time I checked, a marriage is composed of a husband and wife. So, who's the husband and the wife in a gay marriage?
What's funny here is anyone feeling this way is dubbed insensitive, discriminative, or hateful. Because this opinion is different? Because I don't share your views? Because the Bible defines marriage as between one man and one woman? What folks seem to forget is that one can still love another person but disagree with their opinions, views and even their lifestyle.
That's right, being a mature selfless person means you can love and care for someone while disagreeing with their views, opinions, or lifestyle. You love the person not their choices.
Ah, but then we hit the real nail: gays didn't choose to be gay, they were born that way. I believe people are born with disabilities that either kill them or mature them into the people God designed them to be. So, can one be born gay? No. I believe this is a choice that grows out of one's surroundings: environment, experiences, experiments, faith, and conditions of their heart. Any one one of us could be gay but our surroundings helped define who we are.
Love is a choice.
Now, let's get back to how selfish we are as a country. Freedom means that everyone should have the right to do what they want, when they want, and how they want to, right? Sounds like an existence without discipline. Ever been to a restaurant or a store where children are running around wild doing whatever they want? There's a time and place for fun. That example shows the parents aren't exercising discipline. Now, imagine a country full of whiny, needy, and loud adults. Sounds like we're already there, aye?
Whether you share my views, morals, my disinterest in politics, or easily surpass me with your tenacity in these areas, I hope these words will inspire you to "think" instead of "change."
The reason everyone is so fired up about "change" is because many feel the Bush administration has led this country down the wrong path. Senator Obama is the anti-Bush. Young, handsome, eloquent speaker, intelligent, and black. Not only is he everything President Bush is not, this is also a chance to get a black man into the White House.
Meanwhile, Senator McCain represents the last 8 years only because he is Republican and is much older. Adding Governor Palin to his ticket really shook things up because now you have a vibrant young woman (another political salivating point) who can not only take on Senator Biden but also has more experience than Senator Obama. But if you support the McCain-Palin ticket, you are dubbed a racist, ignorant, or part of the Christian Right.
Oh, yeah, I have a different opinion than the alleged "majority" or the "entire country."
But the low, that really inspired this post came with finding the link of children singing about Senator Obama as nearly this Christ-like savior of the world who will bring about change for America and make this country respected in the world makes my stomach churn. That's a tall order for any one man. Especially for a man with no experience who can't even speak well without advisers or prepared speeches.
Senator Obama is an abomination. He is absolutely the worst possible choice for this country as a leader. I'm sure there are just as many who would say the same about McCain. However, I'll take someone with experience and who was a POW over a slick-suited, hot-aired windbag any day.
Let's face it, in the political realm youth will support a young candidate and rhetoric of change...women will support a woman...and blacks will support a black. I would support whomever matches my morals, regardless of the party, sex, or skin color.
So, in this election season, I would charge you to vote your morals and beliefs. Don't buy into the rhetoric and the polls and the other voices. Pray about discernment in this area and vote for the person who matches your values.
Other resources to consider:
Saddleback Civil Forum
28 September 2008
The plot is simple. Captain Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is a well-trained firefighter and knows how to quickly respond to an emergency. However, he doesn't know how to communicate with his wife and doesn't know his marriage is in serious trouble until it's too late. Caleb seeks a quick fix to his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) and their marriage by seeking some fatherly wisdom. His dad, however, offers him a challenge that will shake Caleb to his very core.
"Fireproof" goes beyond tackling how to better one's marriage by touching on internet pornography and seemingly innocent flirting...something that's touched everyone on one degree or another.
My general rule of thumb with movie prices around $10 these days: it's gotta be a blockbuster full of eye candy for me to see it in the theater. "Fireproof" is an exception because it's a rare chance to support such a rare film and a ministry. Too often Hollywood forgets that people no matter their faith will go see wholesome films. I always enjoy a movie experience where the theater applauds loudly at the end.
My advice to you is to see this movie. If you're married or thinking about ever getting married, see this movie. And see it with friends and couples you care about. Additionally, the book featured in the film is worth at least a husband going through but it's written so that a either a husband or wife can go through it.
Never leave your partner behind.
23 September 2008
14 September 2008
Sight & Sound has several theaters producing professional, amazing performances which focus on sharing the Gospel on the magnitude of a full-Broadway production. Dozens of actors, elaborate sets, incredible lighting, and much more make these shows very memorable.
In today's society of needing to be entertained, productions which focus on bringing the Gospel to life are few to none. Sight & Sound brings to life everything from the Garden of Eden to the birth of Christ and more. My family and in-laws saw "In The Beginning" along with a packed house and left truly amazed. Click here for more about the show.
There's also something really special about Amish Country. The Intercourse/Strasburg/Lancaster, PA area is a wonderful contrast from the complex city life. Huge farms, roadside stands, horses, sheep, and the frequent horse-drawn buggies. It's simplicity with enough city-life mixed in to keep it real.
I enjoyed an Amish man in one store responding to a customer's inquiry about if his store carried a specific product. "That's only made in China, so we don't carry that." Good for him! Really. How often could someone get away with in the city with only carrying products that either you, your family, community, or country made?
We stayed at Hershey Farm. It's definitely worth staying at once. The Inn reminded me of a college dorm and the rooms felt a bit outdated. Most B&B's in the area only accept older children, otherwise I'd recommend staying in one of them. However, you cannot beat the food at the phenomenal Hershey Farm restaurant. We had dinner and breakfast there and both were wonderful presentations of country food: good, plenty, healthy and not so healthy. Speaking of, possibly the most delightful sweet creation of which I've tasted is the whoopie pie. Think of two chocolate or red velvet cake cookies with the most amazing icing in between. There's also chocolate-chip and oatmeal-raisin cookies with the whoopie icing. Click here to find out more about Hershey Farms and the whoopies .
In case you missed it, yes the perfect line is "I had a whoopie in Intercourse." Ba-da-dum.
01 September 2008
So, in both cases, resources are needed. Bodies need to occupy chairs. My last four Labor Days have hardly been laborless. Labor Day '04 was spent in the office and the next three were spent focusing on where content was originating for WUSA9.com or some other needs/issues requiring a phone call and or email disrupt my holiday.
Today was amazing. No calls. No emails. A true holiday with the family. Every line of work needs to understand that a break is good for workers to unplug, unwind, and powerdown. Those projects can sit for another day and the morale that is built can't be bought anywhere.
28 August 2008
Funny where the mind goes with thoughts like these. Such as the pic above. My widdle mind wandered to my first lunch box...maybe not literally my first since I think that was Battlestar Gallactica...but I definitely remember ole Luke kickin it swamp style with Yoda and the red thermos with the yellow lid. That was a schweet lunch box.
So, G has her choice of two. One is a fabulous gift from the Rials boys in Mississippi...all monogrammed and fun with a lady bug on it. Havin a total brain cramp right now on what the other one is. Hmmm. Oh well.
What fun! She's been waiting for it like a hungry monkey for two months. "Do I go to my new school next week?" inquires the child who likes to know her schedule and what's next. Of course when she first started asking that I was responding, "No, sweetie, you've got quite a while. It's like two months away." She's solid on today and tomorrow...so, since it wasn't tomorrow she was either off to something else or frustrated that it wasn't time. Girls. :)
19 August 2008
Perhaps you missed the story. Roseanne in a post to her website expressed her opinions about how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie use their money and thinks that Angelina should make a choice on who to endorse in the Presidential race.
Roseanne writes, "Also Miss Jolie says she likes McCain too and hasn't decided who to endorse....huh? Aren't you supposed to be somewhat enlightened, or do you not know that the African daughter you hold in every picture had parents who suffered and died because of the Republican party's worldwide economic assault on Africa over the last few decades since Reagan?" she adds.
The only reason I'd even spend time on this post is to applaud this A-List Hollywood couple for at least being open to another candidates views. Typically, Hollywood clings to liberal issues and Democrat candidates. So, for major figures in Tinseltown to go on record and even consider a Republican candidate to me is nearly unheard of.
In case you are wondering, I feel that Senator Obama is little more than great spoken words in slick clothes. So many are ready for "change" and something "different" that they seem to be focused on a candidate who is young and African-American. Dismiss how wrong he'd be for the Oval Office.
Senator McCain wouldn't be my first choice for President either. However, given the choice, I'd rather have him than Obama.
Thanks Brad and Angelina for being open-minded. Roseanne, you've faded into oblivion ever since your horrible grabbing rendition of the National Anthem. Perhaps you should grab and gab less and focus more on helping those around you.
Check out the article here
13 August 2008
While walking Maddy tonight, I noticed the moon looking very similar to the image on left. My thoughts instantly went to what's around the corner: my favorite time of year!
I love Fall...the temps, the smell on the winds, the color of leaves, and Halloween. Mmmmmm, time for some shut-eye with the windows open. :)
02 August 2008
So, to our vacationing members of Congress, thanks for continuing to ignore the people's desires to drill offshore and find LOCAL means of energy. If you're not around to vote, maybe people will forget? Maybe the energy concern will go away, right? Grrrrr.
On April 19, 2006, the then Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated, "Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices…join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now.”
Since Democrats have been in power with promises of lower gas prices, $4+/gallon gas prices have become common place.
Yesterday, the lights and mics were turned off and the House had stopped TV feeds to C-Span after the pre-noon vote to adjourn Congress for the August recess. Republicans, however, demanded that Congress stay in session until it did something about high gas prices.
"Madame Speaker, where art thou?" shouted out Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, in a glancing rhetorical shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Where oh where has Congress gone?"
Democrats blocked Republicans from a vote on allowing more offshore oil drilling and increasing domestic oil supplies. Meanwhile, Democrats argued Republicans blocked their efforts to stop market speculation, press oil companies to develop the leases they have and force the president to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.
The result is that Congress is leaving town without a comprehensive energy bill.
Yet, the Democrats had a plan in 2006 to lower gas prices. It take two years to put the plan in place?!
I say it's time we fire our representatives (okay, NOT re-elect them) who have gotten too accustomed to always doing what they've always done...which gets us what we've always gotten.
01 August 2008
This post will have nothing to do with my adventures in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Yet, it still reflects on me today.
I served in the Contemporary Christian music field for nearly 10 years at WHJT and WYJS in Jackson, MS. It was here that I learned CCM was years behind the mainstream music scene. Lyrics at the time weren't strong, music was weaker, and CCM had a growing following that could be so much larger if the music was closer in quality to mainstream tunes.
Flash forward to today and the clip I've posted from Superchick. Glorious. Artists today can go toe-to-toe with their mainstream counterparts in lyrics, sound, and music videos.
Additionally, there's something to be said for making Christian radio a habit. You know the ole phrase "garbage in, garbage out"? If we listen to and watch garbage on a daily basis, we become immune to it and our spirit is grinded down each time. However, the positive messages of Christian lyrics coupled with whatever your flavor of music is very uplifting. That's right, whether it's pop, rock, country, metal, jazz, or hiphop...there's a Christian message for you.
If you're in the DC Metro area, check out WRBS 95.1 for some great examples. Otherwise, visit Lifeway or Family Bookstores for some great selections.
25 July 2008
No, today I'd like to focus on how blessings seem to always "plop in your lap." Have you noticed this? There's no such thing as microwaveable blessings. They seem to come out of no where and require only our faithful prayer, obedience, and patience.
For example, my new job at AOL. For over two years, I searched for a new job using email search agents and submitting my resume online. At best, a few nibbles and an occasional phone or in-person interview came about...but none led to anything serious.
Next came emails and calls from technical recruiters from all across the DC Metro area. I highly recommend recruiters but you MUST know: they get paid by the companies with the jobs you seek. So, they're working for companies, they are not working for you. Bringing to the company the best possible candidate is their objective. Going in knowing that will make life easier.
I chatted with several recruiters on the phone who wanted to categorize me and see with which positions my skills could best align. I spoke with three different recruiters on the phone and visited their offices. These were six interviews...but not with a company doing the hiring...with recruiters. Which would mean I'd still have to interview with a company they were recommending. Nothing panned out of these experiences. I was increasingly becoming discouraged.
Discouragement is usually the product of trying to do too much on your own. While I was praying and awaiting Christ's signal...I was still powering my own efforts. The Holy Spirit told me "no more" and I declined any further visits to recruiter offices that required spending my time and gas unless there was a genuine peace about doing it.
Within a couple weeks of this decision, a different recruiter emailed me out of the blue about a position at AOL. We communicated only over email (convenient since she is in Florida but different since no other recruiter operated this efficiently) and spoke on the phone only a couple times (another great difference). Other recruiters required a phone call and usually a visit to their office before my resume would be forwarded to the hiring company.
I mentioned to Christine, the recruiter, that working for AOL would be awesome but the commute would be rather painful. After a flexible commute schedule was agreed upon by AOL and the phone interview with the hiring manager went absolutely splendid, I was pretty certain this would be my next job.
However, the AOL job was not captured by any of my screens or methods. If Christine hadn't contacted me, this blessing wouldn't have come my way. I've also learned how things behind the scenes at AOL aligned to fulfill the blessing. Even better was learning my arrival was an answer to prayer.
Which is another characteristic of great blessings: they tend to be answers to prayers for both sides.
So, if anyone needs to help job hunting, lettme know and I'll send you Christine's way. If you're looking for a blessing, don't. Instead, pray and wait on the Lord. He'll always deliver in His timing.
Ummm, YAH! :)
AOL is in Dulles, Virginia. Keep in mind, I live in Columbia, Maryland. Oddly enough, the drive is actually shorter than my former trip to W*USA9 in DC. AOL takes me 70 minutes (or 1.5 hours one way...to round off) and WU*SA9 was almost always 90 minutes. AOL is 35 miles one way which is 10 more than W*USA9.
But distance and time aren't a concern since I'm allowed to work from home and more importantly because my family life is much more rewarding.
I had been wanting to depart from 9 for a couple years but the people there and at Gannett made the difference in my staying. Not until several months into a management change did the future seem bleak.
For a year, I endured unrealistic expectations which continually produced mental and emotional exhaustion. I prayed daily for strength and endurance and for another opportunity...possibly a return to Mississippi. Although I went on several interviews and dealt with multiple recruiters, no opportunity presented itself. Thus, I knew the Lord had more for me to do at W*USA9.
After leaving 9 and starting at AOL, virtually on my second day there Kim says to me, "You're a new man." Last week, my mother-in-law says, "Do you realize you smile more lately?" I had no idea the weight of constantly being plugged in, constantly trying to please the unpleaseable, and doing the work of at least 3 people was taking on me.
James 2-3 says: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
Our faith is tested daily. I know the last four years at W*USA9 produced endurance for me. However, I allowed others to steal my joy or at least distract me from considering it all joy. Instead, I was disengaged at home and nearly always mentally and emotionally drained. Work isn't supposed to be that way. And if you're feeling like that - GET OUT NOW!
Your job should be fun and rewarding...where you contribute to a team and the team supports and encourages itself. Anything less is unacceptable. We work to live...not live to work.
I'm blessed to have a perspective change and an answer to prayer.
13 July 2008
It was rather simplistic in its gloriousness. The morning was spent with waffles (which G will quickly tell you that I can make waffles but not pancakes...the last experiment with those was a bit uneatable) and cartoons...a nap for G...and then a jaunt to feed the ducks at a lake in Laurel.
We went to the Granville Guide Park & Lakehouse.
The G did very well with her aquatic friends, as you'll see below. She rather looks as if she's holding court. Gimmie the bread, lady, wwwahhhhhhk! Most entertaining is the "beat" from the music at the end of the clip. It's coming from the Don Pablo's mexican restaurant a few feet away.
In the words of the G, "It was a good day, daddy!"
01 July 2008
30 June 2008
24 June 2008
23 June 2008
W*USA9 will always be an important chapter in my life. I'll never doubt or regret coming to work at the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. The opportunity presented itself at a time I truly felt that I had to "know someone" in order to get out of Jackson, Mississippi, and work on the east coast. The Lord reminded me, "Yeah, HELLO, you know Me!" Boom, I'm in DC!
The last four years have been tough professionally and personally. If you've read my earlier posts, missing out on my child's first year of life and wondering when my house was going to sell...yeah, tough. Being away from friends and family in Mississippi...tough. Being on call 24/7 and being constantly "plugged in" via a smart phone and computers...mind-numbingly tough. What's not tough is realizing the peace I have from closing that chapter and moving on.
Actually, I've been searching for other opportunities the first year I've been here. First, due to wondering when our house would sell. Then, growing weary of indecisiveness and lack of support and resources from W*USA9's previous management. Since October '07, W*USA9's current administration proved that my input had little value or everything I shared was questioned.
At a job, there's little worse than being a department head and having staff of multiple personnel adore you and you them...but having no support above you.
I learned about recruiters as many came of of the woodwork to offer their services. Recruiters are paid by companies...so, they don't work for you - key point. Their reputation is to bring to the table solid candidates, so their companies will pay them and reuse them for their keen candidate sense.
I'd been on multiple job interviews - some with, some without the assistance of recruiters. I visited about three local recruiter offices before I asked myself, "Why do you keep going to these recruiter offices, interviewing in front of them, and then waiting for them to set something up for you or interviewing again with their client?" It seemed silly and a waste of time. So, I canceled what would've been my fourth visit and refined my prayer: "Lord, if it's Your Will for me to get a new job, please create the opportunity and grant me the discernment to know what to do with it."
I said "refine" above, since the Big JC and I had been chatting about my woes and struggles for a while. But just like in Jackson, He would pave the way...I just needed to trust His timing.
Several weeks would pass, maybe even a couple months...but then WHAM! I get an email out of the blue from Christine Hampton, Manager of Recruiting at Harbor Light Recruiting, Inc. in Tampa, FL. She shares with me details of a new position at AOL. We begin trading information and before long, she's passing those details along to AOL. Christine and I haven't spoke on the phone. Every recruiter before her, I at least had to interview on the phone and go to their office. Granted, she was in Florida, but no calls? She had everything she needed over email and via my resume.
Next, the phone interview and in-person with AOL was a super-breeze. All of this became quick confirmation that when the Lord paves the way, it'll happen fairly quickly and fairly painlessly. When we are doing the hunting and pushing - we're exhausted, frustrated and overall spent!
This next week will be a pleasure to have no responsibilities...to unwind and have 3 days to myself...and a weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, with my family and in laws. I'll start at AOL at a position where I'll have the freedom to mostly work from home, make more moolah than at W*USA9 at year's end, have less stress, and not have everything I do dictated by every breaking news, weather or sporting situation. Intoxicating bliss.
20 June 2008
Dear Mr. Garner:
Thank you for getting in touch with me again about energy policy.
You have obviously given this a great deal of time and thought ‑‑ I've learned from hearing your views. I want to be responsive to the needs of all Marylanders when I make decisions. Information from people like you is essential if I'm to reach that goal.
Again, thanks for keeping in touch with me. Please let me know if I may be of assistance in the future.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
17 June 2008
The gal at the left is my Senator. I lovingly refer to her as "the Bulldog" due to her looks and basically what falls out of her face: blah, blah.
If folks in politics could have more oompah, more action to their words...how different things might be.
So, I wrote to Bulldog about doing something with gas prices. Her response:
----- Original Message ----
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 5:58:07 PM
Subject: Responding to your message
Dear Mr. Garner:
Thank you for contacting me about the high price of oil and gasoline. It's nice to hear from you.
Gas prices are putting a tremendous burden on family budgets at a time when they are already stretched. That's why I am an original cosponsor of the Consumer First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 3440).
This legislation would create tough new federal protections to guard against profiteering and market manipulation by oil and gas companies, create a temporary windfall profits tax on oil companies reaping record profits, and prevent commodity traders of U.S. crude oil from routing transactions through off-shore markets to evade speculative limits. This bill would also empower the U.S. Attorney General to bring an enforcement action against OPEC and any country or company that is colluding to set the price of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product. Oil companies need to know that we are watching and that price gougers will be caught. People in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes.
Unfortunately, S. 3440 did not receive the necessary votes on June 10th to pass a procedural motion to allow for further debate. However, I will continue to fight for an energy policy that protects consumers and will keep your support for this legislation in mind should it come before the full Senate in the future.
You should also know that I supported an amendment (S.Amdt. 4737) to the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act (S. 2284) that will suspend the filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through December 2008. This measure will help increase supply and lower prices. The amendment could result in as much as a 5 cent reduction at the gas pump. Similar legislation (H.R. 6022) was passed by the House of Representatives. The two versions of this legislation will need to be reconciled and passed by both chambers before being signed into law by the President.
Since President Bush came to office, gas prices have more than doubled, and big companies have made more than half a trillion dollars in profits and the United States is even more dependent on oil. Gas prices in Maryland have increased by $2.18 per gallon, an increase of 153 percent. The Department of Energy estimates that families, businesses and farmers in Maryland will spend $464 million more on gasoline in May 2008 than they spent in January 2001.
Again, thanks for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with me again.Sincerely, Barbara A. MikulskiUnited States Senator P.S. If I can be of further assistance in the future,please visit my website at http://mikulski.senate.gov/or call my Washington D.C. office at 202-224-4654
So, my response:
Thank you for your reply and information. I would've respected your email more if you hadn't added the remark about President Bush near the end. Your inference that his being office has assisted gas prices to rise brings another point to mind: While everyone is focused on President Bush's approval ratings being low (around 25%*)...the approval rating of Congress is lower (around 13%**)
Why? You'll likely disagree with me but I feel it's because Democrats expressed such great change and issued so many promises into coming into power. Many of those promises haven't come to fruition. While blame wishes to be placed on President Bush and his administration, many of our issues today are inherited from the poor decisions of President's Clinton's administration. Every admin has successes and failures and more often the next admin inherits those successes and those failures.
I also recall the then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on April 19, 2006, mentioning, "Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices…join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now.”
Democrats have been in power with promises of lower prices...yet prices keeping going up.
Let's start drilling in our own backyard and off shore to ease the burden. Offshore drilling bans have been in place since 1981, but Democrats have repeatedly blocked such attempts on the basis of environmental concerns.
Enough is enough. Stop blocking efforts and at least make a compromise on the drilling issue. We all want to be green and protect the environment and resources. Since we have a majority of automobiles requiring gasoline and diesel to operate, we should make some serious compromises that'll better everyone!
*CBS Poll 5/30 - 6/3/08
11 June 2008
09 June 2008
So, Kim finds this stuff. Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi. Awa-what?! Tea Tree oil? Apply this stuff in the shower is like landing face first and skidding on thick grass. Not the feel...just the smell. Wow. Make the mistake of getting some in your mouth and that's worse than chewing grass.
It's described as "a gentle cleansing solution that leaves your skin feeling clean and silky. This unique face wash contains natural Organic Tea Tree Oil, an inherent antiseptic. Included also are extracts of Goldenseal, Hawaiian White Ginger (Awapuhi) and the essential oil of Swiss Chamomile (Matricaria). Mineral-rich Bladderwack, harvested from the sea, nourishes the skin to leave it looking vibrantly healthy. Thoroughly Clean Face Wash ever so gently helps improve the texture, clarity and radiance of your skin. "
Wow, I feel very metrosexual after reading that. Fact is, it's actually working since I haven't had any breakouts since starting to use the stuff a month ago. Of course, my turning in my resignation from WUSA a week ago may also be helping.
Stay tuned...more to come on that.
06 June 2008
I've tasted many a hot sauces but Mad Dog Inferno is definitely the hottest I've encountered. Described as: "A full 20 minutes of serious burn..!" This stuff combines concentrated capsicum extract and jalapeno peppers with unsulphured molasses, garlic and clove to form an intense fusion of Caribbean flavor. One drop and you'll wonder what hit you. Extreme heat level - "90,000 scoville."
Most spicy sauces can nearly become a beverage for me but this stuff I've only been able to ingest mixing it with mayo.
Next time you need a spice-off...this is the stuff that will break any opponent assuming you can handle the heat!
03 June 2008
“So we had Cheneys on both sides of the family...and we don’t even live in West Virginia." Cheney then added, "You can say these things when you're not running for reelection."
The crowd got a nice chuckle out of it. Yet, this comment today is viewed as ignorant, insensitive, inappropriate, and disrespectful.
Gimmie a break. I'm a born and bred product of Mississippi which has taken labels and jokes relating to poverty, rednecks, education, lack of footwear, cooking, hunters, weight, and even inbreeding. During Katrina, more importance and attention went to Louisiana than to Mississippi which literally had its sea legs wiped away by the hurricane when towns, cities, history, and lives were erased into oblivion.
It's a joke, people! "Well, he's a public official, he shouldn't say things like that." Yes, we prefer our public officials to be politically correct robots who agree with our mode of thinking and NEVER show any sign of humanity or humor...who never make mistakes.
Now, everyone will demand he make an apology, travel to West Virginia and grovel. Please. In Central Mississippi, a city called Pearl receives the jokes for being the most redneck, hickville place around. People in Pearl make fun of Pearl. Yet, Pearl has a bunch of cool things to see and do. So, what? In the scheme of things, it's nothing given any thought.
The sadder commentary is that the majority of people (including those in West Virginia) who are upset at the remark are likely from the DC Metro and say similar jokes about West Virginia.
I salute each of you. Here's a warm glass of "shut the heck up."
02 May 2008
2008 is half full...or half-empty...it's half done. Can you believe it?! Next month is the halfway mark...then Christmas is here, again. Whew!
But before that, Georgia turns 4 in July. Four years old!
But before that, in June I've been working in DC for four years! How ironic, Georgia's age will always reflect such a change in my family's life. As our first child (for now anyway), she'll represent the wonderful change Kim and I were thrust into dubbed parenthood. And her age will represent the change of relocating to a new area for as long as we hang here.
Although, Kim and G haven't been here for four years. Only 3 for them. Yeah, there was that whole "house didn't sell for a year thing." But all things work out in God's timing.
Speaking of, I've begun writing a book. Actually, if I had it my way, I'd be an author today writing all sorts of stuff...fiction, parenting, poetry. Georgia's the inspiration for this current project. The question is how long will it take to write...and will anyone buy it? :)
Time will tell...as it flies by...
07 April 2008
Mommy went to Mississippi to catchup with some girlfriends from church. She left Thursday morning (4/3) and came back Sunday (4/6). She had a great time...but had a rather tornatic weekend:
WJTV.com WLBT.com Clarionledger.com
What a weekend to pick! Actually, the scary thing is that the damage is described as worse than Katrina. But in reality she "blew through" Jackson having already mortally scarred the coast. These were direct strikes by mother nature to Central Mississippi.
So, Thursday I worked from home and G went to daycare a.k.a "school" at USDA. She enjoys the place. G went to Poppy & Grammy's to spend the night. She had fun with them on Friday and then we met for burgers at 5 Guys (the best burger joint around). Saturday morning was all about cinnamon rolls and cartoons, lunch, nap, going to Lowe's and helping me at the storage unit, some Taco Bell, bath time, bunch of Bugs Bunny episodes, and bedtime. A really good day. We had a ton-o-fun that only cost some Taco Bell. ;)
I had to post the pic of her at right doing "cheerleader hands" at the NCAA Women's Basketball 1st & 2nd Rounds. What a cutie.
Sunday was church, lunch with Poppy & Grammy, nap, and picking up Mommy from the airport.
Wow, Georgia's growing up so fast. Seems kinda silly to say since she'll be 4 end of July...but then there was a time I couldn't imagine a child in our life. Now, I couldn't imagine life without her.
03 April 2008
Eckhart Tolle has authored "A New Earth." Oprah has channeled this book over her Book Club and co-hosts with Tolle multiple webcasts teaching Tolle's beliefs. "For those readers who are followers of these religions or teachings. I say to them: there is no need to go elsewhere for the truth. Let me show you how to go more deeply into what you already have."
What I already have, Mr. Tolle? If I don't know the love of Jesus Christ, I have only sin. However, Tolle and Oprah want you to believe that you have the power...that instead of everyone turning their eyes upon Jesus that if we look deeply into ourselves and love each other, our world will change.
Our world has become so open to everything. Absolutes are viewed as archaic. However, a gas engine can only run on gas...our veins can only pump blood...and our hearts have a hole that only God can fill.
My suggestion: pray for Tolle and Oprah...search the Scriptures...and stop watching Oprah until her heart changes.
We purchased a "Hello Kitty" kite from Toys R Us a couple weeks ago and G was ready to for her experience. However, last Saturday morn, she was rather mellow. Seems she had a dream about her and a boy from her daycare (grrrrrr) standing in the rain and her dress got wet. Never mind that maybe they were soaked. Her dress was wet. Why were they in the rain? Details, this was a dream and her dream - so it's all about the dress. As for the boy, he's on my watch list. Hahaha.
Getting out the door was one of those "how does it take this long to leave the house?!" kinda mornings. In the Highlander, G was talking non-stop. While driving for only a few minutes and me as a passenger, I dorn the hood of jacket, start sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth, and mumbling "make it stop...happy place, happy place!" It was a great stress relief with Kim laughing so hard she could barely see. Georgia would immitate me pulling the hood and rocking...but that's ok, she didn't see or hear what else was going on.
Anyhoo, the day wasn't as windy as we had hoped but we did get our kite rather airborne several times. We had to stop in the National Art Gallery for a potty break. A porta-potty for fine for Kim or I but not even wanting to imagine that fun with the G...plus, the gallery is free admission.
By that point, Georgia was tired and getting cranky. Since the dream had caused her little sleep it was time to bail, forget finding lunch, and just head for a nap.
Once Georgia woke from her nap, we learned she had a fever. May have had it the whole while. Eeeek! We stayed home the rest of the weekend and Kim & G stayed home Monday. G's fever spiked at 105 on Sunday evening which is ok for a toddler not an adult.
She's back to her normal-comical-full-o-personality-Gness but is missing mommy since Kim is going to Mississippi Thursday through this Sunday. She's visiting girlfriends. G and I will be keepin it real round da Merry-land. Werd.
22 March 2008
It's still rather funny what all goes on during Easter. Bunnies, candies, baskets, eggs, sunrise services, big hats. But the real meaning of Easter has nothing to do with all of this. It's Jesus Christ's victory over death.
His death, burial, and resurrection symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and was buried, He would have been considered just another great teacher...a good man. However, His victory over death proved that He was the Son of God...God among us...and that is why the Scriptures are alive and well today. The Living Word is just that...words that are alive and relevant today even though they capture a time over 2000 years ago.May you know His love today....
01 March 2008
G and I are over our crud. Kim's still got a couple more days to go. Otherwise, G is lovin her ballet class. She's goes every Thursday and twirls around in her tutu. She loves it. Much better than the basketball class she went to once a week. Who knows, she might get a hankering for it but it's all about the ballet right now. I haven't had the pleasure of taking her as of yet - just her mom and Grammie.
Enjoy your weekend...
21 February 2008
I worked through it but trying to code a whole site and coordinate with peeps isn't the best thing when you feel like a Mac truck has run you down, backed over you, stopped for a lunch break, changed the tires & oil, and slowly driven away.
Of course, this was a blessing in disguise cuz I can always get WAY more done working from home than being at the office. Way too many needy peeps. I compare 4100 Wisconsin to adult daycare.
It was rather entertaining last night when I went to CVS to get Day and Night "Dr. Quill." I've never seen so many people at one CVS. It's like half the town of Laurel was sick. But I digress.
We also got about an inch snow fall yesterday, so I'm thinking winter may pass us by without anything major this year. However, tomorrow we may get an ice storm. Those are no fun no matter where you live.
Maybe the "Evil Crud" will leave me soon and life will return to normal. Otherwise, my vote is to hibernate for the winter and I'll see you all in the Spring. ;)