Monday, March 31, 2008

Presidents are people too

Its no secret that I hate Bush as a president but what happened yesterday really broke my heart. If you don't know by now, President Bush threw out the first pitch at the Nats game and litterally was booed as he came out onto the field.

In our daily lives we are all told that we need to separate our work lives and our personal lives so why is that different for the president? I don't think it should be.

I respect George W Bush as a person and, in fact, I think he is probably a really great person and someone that I could get along with easily. I believe that booing him at the game was really low. On the other hand, I can not even remotely respect him as a president and if this was an event taking place in the white house or a press conference I would be right there with everyone booing him. He has made numerous bad decissions and I feel that he has directly made my life and others' (especially my age) much harder to live.

So shame on you DC/VA/MD. I can't disagree with your motivation but I really wish you would realize that people, as humans, should be respected whether its a horrible president, someone who actually wants to drive the speed limit, or someone who just doesn't see something your way.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Saturday, March 29, 2008

BlackBerry Fails..... AGAIN (Another global outage)

Well I think I need to start considering a new phone. My BlackBerry email was down today between 9am and 12:30pm (EDT). I called T-Mobile and they confirmed that there was a global blackberry outage. It's getting pretty frustrating that I can not rely on something that I pay someone for for the purpose of running my business. Maybe they feel like they can just play with servers on Saturday but it happens to be a day that I heavily rely on my BlackBerry service for *MY* business.

The entire Research In Motion company is starting to scare me. Its not so much that they have all these outages but the company doesnt seem to have any concern about them and their response to them is to blame someone else. The outages, however, are starting to get plentiful and thats a cause for concern. If you need to do maintence let your users know that its a possibility so that the ones that rely on your service for critical things can make the needed adjustment.

The most frustrating thing about all of this is that the BlackBerry fits my life the best. Windows Mobile is junk.... Palm is dying (what's left of it) and Nokia still doesnt understand the concept of universal USB charge and data..... then of course the iPhone is AT&T only. So what options do I have?

I understand servers break but if they keep breaking this frequently then you need to come up with a new plan. If it's maintence windows then thats just as bad because your not telling your users. Above all else, be honest with your users when there are problems instead of blaming someone else. If we can't trust you to tell us about an outage all we can do is accept the fact that you break stuff and the result will be us blaming you even when its not your fault.

UPDATE 3:15pm: I was told that this was a scheduled outage, however, I still have no idea where it was announced. If it was scheduled then my complaint is that they need to find a way to actually inform their users reliably. Even T-Mobile thought it was an outage and they had no ETA on a resolution.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Pissed" would be an understatement

I moved in to my hosue in May.... I bought a house that was built in 1972.... in the woods..... something that is important to me but very unimportant to those that don't actually live here.

Let me explain....

In less than one year 2 lots have been completely cleared of trees to build 2 houses. If that concept isn't bad enough its additionally worse because neither one of these houses are for people to live in -- no, they are being built by realtors to hopefully sell at some point.... in an area where there are already 100+ houses on the market. They keep buying up this land and building houses in a market that is going to hell in a handbasket and they are absolutely destroying the whole reason people want to move out here but they don't care because they don't live here -- they only want the money so they just say F everyone else.

So I've been watching this go on for a while now.... and I get more and more pissed but tonight almost broke the camel's back. I just now came home and as I'm coming down the hill I see flames.... I get closer and I realize that these flippin assholes are burning the pile of wood that had been sitting in front of this house. So not only do they rip the tress down but NOW THEY DESTROY THE GREAT FIREWOOD. I can bet that at least half of the people that live on this mountain use woodburners and fireplaces to heat their homes... I know for a fact that the guy that lives behind me does because he asked if he could cut up the fallen trees on my property to use the wood for his fireplace..... So seriously, WTF!?!?!

I seriously think that I will be calling Weichert Realty tomorrow and letting them know. This is absolutely unbeliveable.... I'll tell you one thing, even if I didn't already know a great Realtor I still would not recommend these evil bastards to anyone. This is just an absolutely pathetic waste of resources!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Who Am I?

There was a radio commercial for Levi Jeans that advertised their jeans as being for hard working men.... they started listing hard working, manual labor, jobs and then the last thing in the list they said "... for the man who carries the sleeping baby up the stairs to bed". I swear everytime I heard that line I got chills and my heart skipped a beat. I think it was a way of defining who I am. Ok, so I don't have kids..... but the definition of who you are isn't what is around you and I think this is where people go so far away from what life is meant to be. The car I drive doesnt define who I am (even if who am I influences my purchase of it) nor does the house I live in.

I'm really pulling for Obama in this election but despite what people want to say about me, I'm not pro-choice. Republicans are pro-life so they obviously reflect the best intentions and hold high the miracle that we all are as humans and wouldn't do anything to hurt us. The problem is that it's easier for people to make judgements based on the outward because getting to know the inward takes time and its time that we don't want to waste.... and this is the whole basis for racism of all types. It was so much easier for slave owners to look at the color of their skin and make a judgement based on that rather than actually take the time to get to know those people as human beings. It's easier to attack me and say that I can't be a Christian because I'm liberal or that I can't be liberal because I'm a Christian. It's easier to look at the picture on the book cover and say its a good book or a horrible book rather than take the time to actually read it.

So who am I, really? I'm 27 years old, I am a male, and my mom's name is Kim..... I'm from southwestern PA and I grew up around a family that had a few prejudice thoughts..... I was in a mental hospital once.... I dropped out of high school -- and then out of college. I am a virgin but have been known to really enjoy sexual pleasure. I moved to Florida in 1999 for four months and came back after spending "needless" money because I couldnt stand to be away from my family.... I declared bankruptcy a few years ago... I once punched my sister on the playground in elementary school.

If those things answered your question then you are sadly misled.... but not because any of those things are a lie. All of those things are 100% true and are factual statements that can be proven with various different legal documents or talking to the right people. I can't go back and change any one of those facts but not a single one of those defines who I am.

Think about what you thought of as you read those things. Many of you didn't know some of those facts about me -- some of them were because I never told you for the reason that you might think what you may have just thought. If I say that I was in a mental hospital then obviously I must have something wrong with me mentally and you should relate to me with caution..... thats the easy thing to say, anyway. The harder thing to do is ask why. If you ask why you might have to hear about how I was misdiagnosed with many different mental "conditions" such as depression and anxiety for 6-7 years before we actually realized that I was ADHD -- a condition that is present in many fully functional Americans. You might also have to learn that I checked myself in to the facility because I wanted to find an answer -- not because I *needed* to be there. But all of that is too much work.

Or you might look at the fact that I dropped out of high school and college and that I declared bankruptcy and decide that I am a failure and that I give up. Again, it would be harder to ask why. In that case, you might have to learn that I dropped out of high school after my guidance counselor and my mom discussed that it was a viable and probably the best option for me and that high school was mainly holding me back from accomplishing what I was capable of. You might have to learn that the one year of college that I experienced was crucial in developing who I am as well as the 4 months that I spent in Florida. You might have to dig a little deeper and figure out what the motivations were for each one of these things and you might have to realize that the good outweighed the bad on these things. You might have to realize that the things I did weren't neccesarily the "easy" way out. You might then have to change your views on a lot of things -- not just views about me.

I've heard people say that I'm obviously a virgin because no one wants me and the result is that I'm sexually frustrated..... of course, thats the easy thing to think (and the most uplifting to the person saying it). But if you ask why with the intent of learning you might have to realize that this is one of my core values. You might have to try to understand that its a lot harder for me to keep this commitment than you might think..... and if you said those things about me because you wanted to attack me, you might learn that you've only uplifted me.

"But bankruptcy? Surely there is no excuse for doing that..... Its not what God would want you to do! You just wanted to take the easy way out and not have to pay those debts." No matter what your views are on bankruptcy, its, again, easier to attack me based on what I did rather than to try to figure out what it was that led up to that. You might have to learn that I spent more than 3 years going through no less than 2 credit counseling agencies and continually bringing myself down because the level of debt that I had and the debt/income ratio I had was not something that even the credit counseling agencies were able to reliably assist me with. You might also have to consider the concept of Jubilee in the Bible where every 7 years everyone forgave everyone's debts (that might be another blog entry sometime). Ok, now this one comes with a disclaimer. None of this is meant to justify my action or to make up your mind about whether bankruptcy is good or bad because those are issues of the heart and are truly between you and the Lord. But no matter what the action was, its not fair to judge anyone solely on the action without first understanding the motive of that action.

I'm 27 so I must behave like all other people my age. I'm a guy so I must be an asshole in relationships. I punched my sister as a child so apparently I was born evil. I had uncles around me who said negative things about black people. Oh -- and not only that but I DECIDED that I wanted to be around those uncles. These are just tiny little examples of that outrageous prejudice that goes through our heads every single day and we allow them to go through our head simply because it's easier to let them rather than actually weigh the evidence.

Oh -- one other thing about me. I am known as "BibleBoy" a lot of places. This name came about in middle school when I always had a Bible with me. Everyone started making fun of me by calling me BibleBoy.... but even in 7th grade I was already starting to recognize the fact that I need to be proud of who I was. I was heavily involved in BBSs back in that time (if you don't know, BBSs were basically the pre-internet online communications and were access through dialing a phone number with your computer to access a system on someone else's, typically personal, computer) and I had been going by the handle "Headpin" because I was really into bowling. One night I decided to log on to each and every BBS and change my handle to "BibleBoy". Since BBS systems were local based this is something that all the other computer geeks in my school realized right away. The response was awesome..... "Uhhh.... you know we're making fun of you" .... "Yup, I know". The name stuck and I allowed it to. In 2000 I registered and that officially was who I was letting myself be known as on the big (then fairly new to most) internet. Eventually other people crept up that were also known as BibleBoy so I had to shorten it to bblboy54..... then time went on and I realized that the name had me tagged as a religious freak. I guess, again, it was a situation where I was being judged based on my nickname rather than who I actually am. I considered changing the name of my blog so that more people would take me a little more seriously. Less than a year ago I realized that the person who I am would never really be taken seriously by someone who does judge a book by it's cover and I decided to stick with the name and if I say something that makes sense then I'd let it be for the benefit of those people who take me seriously no matter what my name is.

Did I answer the question of who I am? I hope not! Who I am is a definition that is always changing. All of us are very dynamic people that are capable of learning and understanding and the more than we learn and understand the more that we are naturally going to change. The facts, figures, and posessions are quite possibly the worst way to judge someone even if they are the easiest way. It's more the motivation of the person that led to those things. In reality, we should all primarily respect everyone for who they are.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

eBay does not protect sellers

I received a dispute filed from a buyer nearly 2 months after he had received his items. The only contact from the buyer was made only a few days before while I was away. The auction terms (which eBay refers to as a contract) stated any issues must be reported within 5 days. At this point I expected eBay to step in to ensure the protection of me, the seller, but was frustrated when eBay's response directed me to the "free" service of SquareTrade which eventually tells you that you are unable to receive any action unless you pay for a mediator. I have been incorrectly accused (publicly) of violating the terms and eBay is offering no support or any protection for me. Their only response other than SquareTrade was that I should contact the buyer personally, thus putting any blame on me. Additionally, the same seller has previously left negative feedback with replies indicating he has done the same thing at least 2 times prior to this incident, yet he is allowed to continue with such practices and abuse other sellers on eBay.

For a company that says its a safe place to buy and sell, they sure are missing the whole sell part. Not sure what good buyers are if you don't have any sellers but if this keeps going we might have to see how that scenario would work out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Followup: Spokeo Spam

Last night I made a post about Spokeo skimming your information and using it to spam you.

Today after Googling "spokeo spam" I am finding that the majority of the internet is with me in my feeling that this is an absolutely horrible way to start a company. Additionally I am finding one single guy spamming message boards apologizing for him being responsible for spamming a lot of his contacts. I don't understand what's going on here but I think any way you look at it, we need to seriously avoid using the Spokeo service.

I don't understand how a company thinks that spamming random users thinks its a good way to break into an area of the web that is a sector that is under constant attack for unwanted spam and information harvesting. Instead of working on a way to combat this problem, this new start up has embraced the process.

While I will admit that the company certainly is creating a buzz about themselves, is this the buzz that they want? The Facebook application invites was the start of this backlash and that was messages sent only within the facebook system but now this company is taking that annoyance and delivering it directly to your email addresses.

If anyone has an account with Spokeo, I urge you to cancel it now. Firstly because companies who resort to these practices should not be supported but secondly because you may find yourself apologizing to many of your friends for being the reason they received spam from this company.

See also:
This guy's girlfriend got spammed to her cell phone and it woke her up because her cell phone address was in his address book.

Spokeo skimming your information

I just received this spam and it is definately upsetting. I don't care if it says its one time only or not - they still skimmed my contact information. I did not request this email nor have I done anything with this company.

Sure, there are options on some of my social network accounts to filter more information but that's not the point. I know this type of thing was bound to happen but its frustrating just the same. Social networks are trying to tell us that only your friends can see your information but at the same time they are pollinating your friends for them to carry your information with them.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

<3 T-Mobile <3

I know that I have been pretty critical about T-Mobile at times but I just want to let everyone know that that really has been more in the same fashion of a friend doing something that upsets you but a stranger could do it and you won't care. Now, I don't like the ordeal that Robert Dotson's office created but I really have to say that I do absolutely love T-Mobile. Tonight was no different. I talked with an awesome tech support rep who actually interacted with me rather than "boss me around" and just tell me what to do. Actually, I have *never* had a bad experience with T-Mobile's customer service. They are also the company that I think pushes the limits beyond the normal by innovating new ways of doing things.

But anyway, T-Mobile had to transfer me to BlackBerry themselves about 40mins ago..... And I'm still on hold. RIM doesn't make me so happy - but that's another blog post :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hiking in June

So my friend, Steve, was talking about the Appalachin Trail and I apparently made the mistake of reminding him where I live (15 min from the north entrance to Shenandoah National Park) and one thing led to another and next think you know we're planning on doing a few day hike the first week of June. I'm not sure how I get myself into these messes but at least now he'll leave Boston and visit it me rather than only going to Texas and Finland :)

The good news is ill be 28 when I die since its a week after my birthday :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Presidential Thoughts

A lot has been going on. In case you missed it, John McCain is officially the republican canidate and Clinton is catching up to Obama.

But its the primaries - why should I care?

... Because the primaries this year have a lot more bearing on the general election than is typical. Oh, and that's besides the fact that this affects EVERYONE's lives.

Ok, sure, its your right not to care but if you don't pay attention to what is going on then you are recoking your right to care. Seriously - if you don't vote you better not bitch about a damn thing.

Its seriously time for this nation to pay attention to what is going on around them. Our rights are being stripped from us and that's not enough for most of America to "waste their time" caring. The only thing that is done anymore is just bitch and moan about the cost of gas and all the other things that are going on. How about this: start paying attention now and trying to head this off at the pass.

I think it'd be very hard to find someone that believes Bush hasn't destroyed this nation but what scares me is the fact that even the conservatives that dislike Bush still are cheering on McCain despite the fact that McCain is very clear in his defense of most of Bush's actions. The problem is simply that they just don't want to think. Its easier to look at one picture of Obama that he didn't have his hand on his heart and call him anti-American. Its easier to say the conservatives are pro-life and vote solely on that (which is something they can't control anyway) and thus decide that is who gets their vote. Its disturbing. If that's the attitude you have then you have no reason living in America. There are plenty of countries based around the idea that the government makes the decissions for everyone and I'm sure you'd be much more comfortable there. And some are racist and decide Obama can't run the nation because he isn't white - again, there are other countries for you.

I can't understand how everyone says we are headed for disaster but yet thinks that their party can make the right decissions for them.

Just some food for thought from Tuesday. McCain talked about embracing a world-wide free market and not working to stop our jobs from going overseas and then followed that up by saying how we need to work on building jobs in America. Something doesn't sound right there. Another interesting thing is that Clinton ignored the fact that she lost one of the four states on Tuesday while Obama addressed the fact that he did lose the majority of the states. Personally, I don't want someone who is prone to hide and ignore anything negative but I want someone that is open and honest about everything.

You can find bad in all the canidates just the same as you can find good. How about we focus on the good? How about we look at the whole package of a canidate rather than picking the first thing that jumps out at us and embracing that?

Please, America, WAKE UP! Turn your brains on and figure this out. This plane called the USA is in a nose dive and everyone is just letting the auto pilot figure it all out. Lives are at stake and if we don't know how to guide this plane we need to learn real quick because the auto pilot isn't working anymore!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I've failed (at life)

Really, I think this whole blog could just be summed up by the title. I've failed. People struggle with their areas but I think ultimately I just fail at life.

Financially, yea... I'm gone. I can't do it.... I try to pretend that I can but I just simply can't. I suck at managing money... I try to change it but I just end up failing again. The way I figure it right now I'm about $1k short for my bills the first half of March and that is assuming that my two clients pay their bills in that timeframe (which one is notorious for taking an extremely long time to pay). Misjudged taxes for 2007 so I need $2500 for the IRS by April 15th.... now let's add in medical.... yea, this is where my life really goes to hell.

I have exactly 2 doses of Zoloft left and my doctors office is refusing to give me any more refills until I have an appointment. So I have an appointment for Tuesday, however, I'm going to have to cancel that. Quite simply because I can not afford the $120 for the office visit (none of this is included to what I just said above). Add to that that when if I were to get those prescriptions on Tuesday the cost would be about $100 to fill them. I can't afford this.... not even close. Right now I'm not deciding between paying my mortgage or getting my medicine but preparing to not be able to do both. Starting this evening I am going to taper off of my meds in anticipation of not having them after a few days. This is going to add even more hell because Zoloft has really bad withdrawl and I have an extremely hard time focusing and getting stuff done without Adderall.

Third issue.... I'm all alone. I don't feel that there is anyone around me that cares enough to help.... hell, I don't have anyone that even calls me just to say hi. I know I'm a shy person and I'm mostly responsible for this.... and that became even more so evident tonight when I stopped at Sheetz. I did some twittering about this girl that works at that Sheetz that, to me, is absolutely the most adorable girl I've ever seen. It really was a joke but also sincereity to it because I am extremely shy. Tonight she was there again and, well, I really felt butterflies.... which sounds pathetic, I know.... but I drove away really feeling weird.... really feeling like I was supposed to do something but was just too damn shy. This is me tho.... I can never take the first move unless someone is evidently in need and I can help them in some way. It's a really odd feeling.... I will help anyone I possibly can but if I have nothing to offer someone I am the shyest person in the world -- and I'm literally to the point of hating myself for it.

I'm really scared. Being scared actually isn't something I feel too often. I usually (at least within the last couple of years) have the attitude that things will be ok and I will be taken care of in some way, shape or form.... But right now, I'm sinking.... and I'm sinking fast. It was 3 years ago that I started on Adderall and my life started to improve..... now it looks like that will be going away. One could think that maybe this is just how God is going to get me away from a crutch, I suppose.... I certainly hope that to be the case but if you really want to know what I'm scared about, go back and read the first two years of this blog.... I was a disaster.... ironically I was a disaster both financially and emotionally.... which is exactly the direction this is headed in.

Now one thing that I do have to say.... there are plenty of opportunities here to blame other people for my problems. I can blame the economy and the Bush administration for a lot of it.... I could blame the people around me that have given up on me or failed to recognize the fact that I am actually a human being. The truth is, this is my fault. The responsibility for all of this is ultimately on me and I am the one that failed.... Maybe there are things that could have happened differently that would have made this situation better but life is about being able to adapt to the hard things that are thrown at you and that is where I most ultimately have failed.

I don't know what to expect.... I have a feeling this is going to be a really rough week and I will probably end up being physically sick between the withdrawl from Zoloft and the stress..... I do have some extra Adderall so I'm going to try to keep that medicine in full swing until I get off of the Zoloft. I hope that 7 days from now I have a positive blog to write and I have an amazing story to tell -- but my fear is that I won't.

Coming Together

"Its very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. Its easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.

-- Fred Rogers

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The "Religious Right" strikes again

It is appauling to me that the biggest hinderance to God's Church growing isn't the homosexuals or the adulterers or the ACLU or the KKK but, instead, it is the conservative Christians. I think yet another picture of this has been painted by the recent "scandal" between John Hagee and John McCain.

See McCain Faces Fire Over Minister's Views.

Don't get me wrong... I do think that John Hagee is a very good preacher and I can't say that everything that he said about the catholic church is wrong BUT at the same time, attacking another denomination is exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing. But the catholics aren't in the clear either. John Hagee attacks the catholics so they do exactly what Jesus would do and turn the other cheek, right? Not quite. In today's churches it is important to strike back because God can't be honored if we don't? It's seriously pathetic what has become of the Church. It's all about which denomination is better anymore.... the church has become no better than any major corporation in America. It's a sad sad thing that we've let the concept of corporate America even think about entering an organization that is supposed to be about Love and Unity..... and yet, it hasn't just enetered but its BECOME a corporate entity.

We, as Christians, question why we are seen as hippocrits and we act like that answer isn't right in front of our face - we flat out our! Think of the typical Christian Church today. The preacher preaches about how God is Love and cares about everyone on week and then the next we talk about how homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to associate with the church. Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin but that is MY BELIEF and it is NOT for me to use to attack those that are homosexuals. Each man is judged by God and God alone and it is not our place to be attacking others. The church then goes out and violently protests against pro-choicers.... even the non-violent protests aren't out of love in any way..... Love would be getting to know the woman who is struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. Again, I am totally pro-life but I feel that I'm smart enough to realize that the actions that the church is taking is only complicating the issue more than it has to be. Instead of convincing women that they need to care for this little child growing inside of them we create a situation where now those women want to have the abortion just to spite us.

Back to the issue of McCain and Hagee. I don't have many facts in front of me and I don't have the time right now to look into them. Maybe the catholic church did make deals with Hitler in the past and maybe John Hagee is a biggot..... but these aren't things for me to judge. It is God's place to judge and no one else's..... When we judge and we try to remove the sins from this world we are only doing damage to the Church. Jesus made this very clear:

Matthew 13:24-29
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

It's not our responsibility to be uprooting the sins of the world because all we end up doing is creating a mockery of the Church and rendering us completely ineffective. Do we honestly think that God can't move in a world of sin? Do we really think that if we just forget about the sin and focus on loving people no matter what is going to hinder revival? Not according to the book of Acts. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1).

Its not about who's right and who is wrong but its about the Church making a mockery out of it's self.

Its how you interpret the day

Every day is a new day full of surprises and ultimately we control if they are good or bad only by how we interpret them." -- Bob K Mertz

I just typed that to a friend a little while ago and then I reread it and it hit me so I wanted to pass it along.