Thursday, March 03, 2011


I work at a non-profit organization. We help people who are going through hard times. Our credo is to give them the emergency services to help them through crisis and offer them the tools to help them toward the goal of self-sufficiency. One of my jobs is to help our clients get caught up on their utility bills in order to prevent shutoff and thus to prevent them to go without heat and electricity during the winter in Michigan. This brings me to one of my clients.

Lady comes in for an appointment with a smile and the contentment of the faithful. Story has it that she was in a severe motorcycle accident. Hospitalized her for months, caused months more of her unable to work and to take care of her children properly. And to add to that, her husband left her. She had finished school to be an EMT right before her accident and because of the accident, she is unable to work in that field. Now she wants to go back to school and try something else, but has almost no income, is days away from having her utilities from being shutoff, is doubtful that she can afford to stay in her current residence and is having a hard time with her children due to the months that they were mostly unsupervised during her recuperation.

And all through this, she stays positive and looks hopeful that things will turn around. As it turns out, I was unable to help her, and as I walked her out of the office, she thanked me for the time and trudged along to try something else.

After all that life can throw at you, you can sit still and cry till it all caves in, or you can fight your way through it. She not only fought. She did it with a smile on her face. That's positivity.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To all my friend's and family

To all my friend's and family,

Known to many of you, but not all, in January of 1996 I was convicted on 4 counts of misuse of a financial transaction device (a credit card machine), each a felony in the state of Michigan. I was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 100 hours of community service and was court ordered to pay back the several thousand dollars stolen plus court costs and fees. After serving those 100 hours, paying back said restitution and in about 3 years time, in January of 1999, I was free and clear from my punishment in the eyes of the court.

Since that time, I have lived an honest living, received a college education and started a family. However, now 14 years later, I ask a favor of you all. I plan to petition the Governor for a full expungement of my record so that I may not be tethered down by my past mistakes in the hopes of finally moving forward, both in life and especially in career. So if you have ever shared a moment of time with me in all these years, an event worth mentioning, I ask that you write a small letter on my behave to share a message of my character so that I can include it in my petition application to the Office of the Parole & Commutation Board in the hopes that my application will be seen by the governor.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a note or call.

Thank you.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mission Critical (Zero Hour)

Like all movie clichés where the end is near or all hope is lost so goes life in general. I'm being melodramatic but the reality of the situation is that I've been out of work since September of 2008 with no prospects of finding employment anytime soon, and it sucks. But this isn't anyone's fault but my own. Like many of the unemployed, I believed in the hype of the 90's where nothing could go wrong with the economy, with the job market, with the gas prices, with the world and it was all a pipe dream.

So here is a list of big mistakes I have made over the years which now result in me being unemployed now and in the foreseeable future.

1) Education

I've had numerous chances over the years to obtain a quality education in a blossoming field and instead chose poorly. That's not to say I'm not educated. I have an associates degree and I'm learned in many skills. Sadly, most of those skills cant be quantified on a resume. Other skills are self taught and don't carry a certificate or degree to back them up. So, I'm educated, but you wouldn't notice it by looking at my resume, which, by the way, my wife tells me looked horrible until she recently overhauled it. Well that explains much of the past year.

2) Poor Choices

By poor choices, I mean things that you did or could of done that hold power over you long after they were done. Here's some that come to mind. One, committing a felony at age 17. No brainer there. Whenever you get yourself in legal trouble you have to look forward to checking that box on all future job applications. Two, I turned down an opportunity to work for General Motors. Years ago I had a chance at getting in and set it aside out of pride and laziness. Now that's not to say that my life would be any different, GM is having a tough time right now, but turning down any job that pays what GM pays is just dumb, even if I felt it was beneath me. As it is now, Cleaning toilets isn't beneath me and if it paid better than unemployment, I'd be scrubbing gas station toilets right now. Three, not dealing with my Mother's death. Mom died when I was 14 years old and it wasn't until a few years ago did I realize the depressive state it put me in for years. I was numb and dumb for a great deal of years. My wife pointed out that I might want to see a counselor about it a few years ago. Now I don't think that it is necessary now, but it probably was at the time. I imagine if I had my head on straight after her death, I may have not of made some of these poor choice.

3) Lack of Follow Through.

Now, I could do a poll right now and chances are that all my friends and family would say unequivocally that I would do anything for them. I would go the extra mile to help out. I'd loan my last dollar if you needed it more than I, then I'd drive you to wherever you needed to spend it. But when it comes to myself, I usually stop mid stream. I'm notorious at starting a project and stopping half way though. This isn't a problem if it's just an idle pleasure like painting or reading a book, but it's a lot more serious when it comes to pestering employers for work or calling back on a resume. Sadly, it's gotten worse. The few times I have called back or talked to someone or received a response, it's all for an unpleasant outcome. Doesn't give you much hope to try harder the next time.

I'd like to think that it's just me, but it isn't. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't talk to someone who has it worse, or just as bad. Everyone is hurting right now, but what scares me is when the job market turns around and everyone is back to work, I'm still gonna be sitting at home washing dishes or doing laundry while looking through the classified ads wondering when it's gonna be my turn.

"Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives" -- My life as a soap.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So I'm Looking for a New Job... (Self Therapy)

...and it's not because I wanted to be looking. In all seriousness, I probably should of been marketing my skills a long time ago. I used to joke that I was just one step up from a ditch digger, but in all actuality, I have a series of traits that are crucial to any employer. Not to toot my own horn, but "TOOT TOOT!" I have a Work 1st mentality. Not to say that work is actually first in my life, 'cause it isn't. My Family has that priority spot. But I have always been the guy who comes in early and stays late. I was the guy who you called to fill a spot and the one you knew who can work independently, without any serious amount of supervision. I consider myself intelligent, no genius mind you, but I can hold a conversation about a world of topics and love debating the undebatable. You know, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Ethics, etc. etc. I'm a quick learner. I've done a little bit of everything and have taken a bit from each of them. I've done sales, retail, office, automotive, stock, clerk, child care, computer repair, homemaker and more. My devotion is rarely in question. I'm the definition of a "Good Employee"

My problems reside in my official "Skill Set", the one on paper, the one that is quantifiable and measurable. I only have a two year Associates degree. I am the guy everyone comes to for computer repairs or advice, yet I have no Microsoft Certification or technical training. I'm a self motivator and have learned much of what I know on my own. I have years of experience in an industry that is considered a nitch market and while I used many of the industry standards in computer software, I've used none of it in an advanced fashion, so Intermediate is as far as
I can morally state my education is in their use.

Here are some little known facts about my skills. I can paint miniatures, you know the kind that are used in table top war games. Big market for that I'm sure. I can weave Chainmaile. So I'll be a hit at the next Renaissance Festival in your area. I can reformat a computer and get it running again, but I can't tell you how to set up server architecture, how to make it inter-operable in a cross platform environment, set up account logins or extensive use of remote access.

My Point is, I have the drive to be someone special to an employer, but an inspiration is rarely a marketable skill.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm puzzled by the housing market...

...and not just the mortgage industry, but in general, how the realty business and banks make any money with the asinine way they do things. Take a look at my predicament and judge for yourself what a peon like me could possibly do differently to get this done.

After just under two months of looking, making offers on homes, and being rejected or outbid on them, we finally found a house we liked, could afford, and made an offer. We opted to go with FHA financing, which is fine because this house is up to code. We made our offer, essentially an overbid because we are asking the bank who owns the property to cover the closing costs. Within a couple days they accepted our offer and said they had an addendum that needs to be signed.

We received the addendum and everything was in order. It was essentially some time lines and whatnot, just your standard paperwork for the bank. We signed it (After having it revised because they had some wrong names on the paperwork), and sent it to the bank along with a $1000 check, earnest money, to show we were committed to buying the house.

At this point we had to hire an inspector to look over the house to be sure we weren’t getting involved with a problem property. $250 later, he gives us the nod and says it’s good.

Then we have to have the FHA inspector come in to be sure it’s up to code. We took care of a few problem spots that would get flagged. We had to install a fire door between the garage ad the kitchen and paint the deck. $250 later, the FHA inspector gives us his blessing and O.K.’s the Government backed financing. The whole process take about 3 weeks and the mortgage people want their stuff and in the end we get our rate, everything is in order and we are ready to close…NOT.

Remember that addendum? The addendum that the seller bank wanted signed immediately. Their own paperwork, I might add. They have yet to sign it and return it to us. And until they sign off on it, we can’t close. And they are in no hurry to do so. In fact, repeated calls by our mortgage lady and now, my wife have resulted in nothing. They are not going to be hurried and don’t give a shit either.

Here is what puzzles me. The bank is sitting on a property, which is unoccupied and not making them any money. They are paying a larger than average insurance rate on the property and larger than average tax rate on the property due to the fact that it is not occupied as homestead currently. They only have to sign a few pieces of paper and not only will those bills go away, we’ll also give them $130,000.00.

Lack of patience aside, this is going to shortly cause me further financial discomfort. My locked in mortgage rate is only good until the 31st of July, at which point that may, and probably will, increase. I will have to pay for additional time at the rental storage unit as that’s only rented until the end of the month. Not to mention my renters want to move in ASAP because of their own agenda.

All I know is that if for some odd reason I do not get this house, I swear to cheese, I’m gonna sue someone. I’ll sue for lost time at work. I’ll sue to get my $1000 back plus interest. I’ll sue to get them to cover my inspection \ mortgage costs so far. I’ll sue for pain and anguish. Etc. Etc.

With that said, I believe will we still close this month, but my original question remains. How can these people do business like this and expect to remain profitable?


Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Golden Compass: The Rant

So I finished reading the first book in the "His Dark Materials" Trilogy, The Golden Compass, and I have some issues with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the strange setting. It felt unique, fresh; it had a similar feel but took it in a different direction. It was a sort of Indiana Jones fantasy keeping mired in ground scientific fact but altering those facts with a fantasy flair. I enjoyed the setting immensely. However, this book was written to be a trilogy and as such, we were chasing a McGuffin the entire book, only getting enough answers to make us ask further questions, which can only be answered by reading the entire trilogy. And while I respect the grandiose method of his story telling, and in his defense, he sells the whole trilogy as one book, I am irked by the serial nature of novels written for the younger audience. Furthermore, the big reveal at the end of the first book revolves around a sort of church bashing and alternative Judeo-Christian belief structure where the church seems to be the unnamed enemy to scientific knowledge as they have been seen historically, which doesn't bother me as it is a fictional tale loosely based upon our own reality, but it's almost an agenda and I can see why some Church groups were asking people to boycott the movie. I guess I should go see the movie now.
With that said, I recommend the book and I'll get around to the second book soon, after I finish reading Children of Men, which the movie was based on. I recommend the movie if you have not seen it. It's very good. The book is way different and also very good, if somewhat unrelated.
Rant over

Friday, July 20, 2007

Just Like Everyone Else

I am an individual
Just like everyone else

I have a plan
Just like everyone else

I think I can fix this
Just like everyone else

I have an opinion
Just like everyone else

But Mine Is Right
Just like everyone else

Just like everyone else

i'm a failure
Just like everyone else