On Being “Patriotic”

27 12 2007

I’ve never really considered myself a patriotic American. I always assumed that the system would be self sustaining with or without my vote. I did vote, mind you, I always felt that was important, but I did only do it in a half-ass manner by only voting for Presidential Elections. But, over the last seven years, many things have changed in my life to warrant me to pay more attention to what is going on in the country and the world. It is my desire that my children grow up in a better world than the one in which I grew up.

The most important things to me these days are my children. I’m sure yours rank high up in your book as well. I do what I can to make sure they have a great childhood and to keep them safe. These tasks will get more difficult as time passes and they are exposed to more of the bad things the world has to offer. But, then again, I was a kid once too, and I made it through a pretty pad neighborhood (because I was a nerd). Regardless, there are still things that can be done to make the world as a whole a better place; and not only for my kids, but for me as well.

So, as it was, I was just poking around the Internet several months ago, and I noticed some pages on Digg that were about Ron Paul. I took a look at what he had to say, thinking “I haven’t heard this guy speak, I should give him a chance”. I was immediately drawn in to what he was saying, because he was saying the things I’ve been thinking for my entire voting life. Questions like “why do we have to pay taxes?”, “Why do we need more government”, “Why can’t I stop paying into Social Security when I don’t even WANT the so-called benefits”? “Why do we still have a base in North/South Korea?”. These are tough questions that have gone unanswered for many elections, and someone in power why finally asking them. Better yet, he was gaining popularity on the Internet, so apparently, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to truly belong to my country, but had no real reason to care.

Now, I feel that there is someone to stand behind who will actually listen to the people, rather than the corporations. Someone who hasn’t sold his soul in order to take office and start needless wars or overthrow governments who aren’t operating “in America’s best interests”. Someone who believes in less government rather than more. Someone who thinks the status quo should be stopped.

I encourage everyone to watch the following videos:

There are also great videos on the Ron Paul Channel on You Tube on how the monetary policy of the United States works.

I have already donated to both Ron Paul money bombs with modest donations of $100. And I will more than likely donate more as our finances permit. I also plan on joining fellow Ron Paul Meetup Groups to see what else I can do to help.

I hate to bring up such topics around the holidays (because the things discussed in the videos are a bit disturbing), but I feel that this is necessary in order to save the world for our children. The 2008 election is going to be a huge turning point in American history. It will change the direction of where our nation is heading; hopefully back in the right direction from a fascist government back to a democratic republic.

So, for the sake of your children, and mine, and for the country, please look at Ron Paul’s campaign and vote for Dr. Paul. Be “patriotic” and return control of the country to the people.

To all Grandparents Out There

26 12 2007

Every year at Christmas time, the task to find gifts from Santa to give to our small girls seems daunting. It always feels like the holiday hits us unprepared. Last year, I scrambled at the last minute to find some great little things they would both be able to play with together. And, with some help from my parents, they certainly didn’t feel left out of the whole traditional gift giving.

But this year, it seemed that I was more prepared (I would think after 3 years, I would take a hint), and I was able to round up the things that my girls really wanted the most. I could tell this because days before, Eliana was saying that she wanted a camera for Christmas. As luck would have it, Santa got her a pink kid digital camera. Also high on the list were a play kitchen and a wooden train set. And, of course, girls just love having dolls. Santa was nice enough to bring a slew of Dora dolls. But, what I was unprepared for was the number of gifts given by their grandparents. So, while this is a pubic forum, I am going to appeal to not just my grandparents, but to all grandparents:

Please don’t go crazy when shopping for toys for your grandkids

I don’t want to be ungrateful or sound like a grinch, but my wife and I made an agreement with Santa that we wouldn’t inundate the girls with toys on Christmas. It is our firm belief that when kids get too many toys, they will then not appreciate gifts, and leave many toys untouched. Then, a sense of entitlement will take over, and the once sweet girls become spoiled brats. And, it isn’t that we can’t give them an absurd amount of toys, but we choose not to, since as kids ourselves, my wife and I had modest gifts at Christmas. I know there were many Christmas seasons where I had all that I could have asked for and more. However, my most memorable Christmas was the one where it was only my mother and two brothers staying with my grandmother. We each got three toys each. It wasn’t extravagant, but it had a special feeling because my dad was not able to be with us at the time.

As your children, we now know the hardships you went though when we were the innocent children. All you wanted was to give us the things we wanted. However, by giving us everything we wanted, it only would have turned us into kids who would had a sense of entitlement of all things material. I’m not saying the kids don’t deserve toys, but as with anything, they are only good in moderation. That said, we, your own kids, know you worked hard for your money. Heck, they way things are, you may used credit cards and be carrying a balance to pay for this excess of toys. We want you to spend your money wisely. Spend it on a great toy for the kids (the camera, the little kitchen set). We’ll help you get the things we know they will appreciate. Heck, you can save some of that money for your retirement. Or better yet, save it for the children’s college education. At the current rate of raising tuitions, each kid will spend more on one semester of college than I did for all four (er, five) years put together. You worked a lifetime for your money, please don’t spend it on things that will become pointless in only a few short minutes.

Older, but not smarter?

24 12 2007

Remember the days when you knew everything? I think i was about 10 or 12 years old when I knew everything. I was a smart, upcoming young student moving from middle school to high school. Well, everything related to what my parents knew about me I guess. Well, time has passed, and I came to the realization that, in fact, I don’t know everything. Which, I guess never was the case to begin with.

Back in High School, I was studying some great things everyday: Calculus, Physics, American History, Literature. In college, my studies lead me to everything related to my degree in Computer Engineering. I loved learning and using some really crazy math. Learning circuits was tough, but neat. Expanding my mind (without drugs) on a daily basis was an experience that I didn’t know I was having at the time. I was too busy trying to get good grades to get out of school and get hired by a tech company.

But, since school, I’ve been out in the work force, and have been focusing my mind and efforts into focused areas. While I have had the opportunity to learn a few interesting things while at work, I have often missed the broad spectrum of academic learning. I have tried to fill that void with podcasts and other self learning techniques, but I seem to have difficulty staying focused.

Things are different now. I have responsibilities: a house, a family, a job. I can’t take these things lightly, and I don’t. But, there still has to be a way to achieve a balance of what I want to do and achieve and maintain or even enhance my responsibilities. This is a work in progress, so I’l have to get back to you on this as I make more progress and get back to being smart again…

Christmas Memories

16 12 2007

In the family mini-van, I’ve set the radio station to 99.9 FM. We never listen to the radio, so from the website, I’m guessing it’s the local Easy Listening Station. But, for the month of December, it is the holiday music station. That is, it’s Christmas music 24×7.

The Holiday music station has recently been playing many songs that I (and my family) listened to growing up. As it were, these songs triggered many happy memories of the past, my childhood, and of growing up in a more innocent time when all I truly had to worry about was what I was going to see under the tree for me on Christmas morning.

Now that I am seeing and hearing the world from the other side, or rather the adult’s point of view, there are many things that I worry about or just think about more often. Taking the kids for a ride in the mini-van gives me only a few minutes of exposure to that time long ago. Since I keep up with news and other current events, I am constantly fearful of the kind of world in which my children will eventually live. The part that does scare me the most is the state of the nation and how corrupt it has become over the past century. But, when I think about the kids, they don’t worry about that, they don’t know about any of these things.

Knowing what I know now, things were not any less calm back then than they are now. The Cold War was coming to an end, however there was still a lot of economic turmoil. My parents were also at the time, not the most wealthy people, an struggled just to get by much of the time. But they shielded us from all the craziness and worries that adults deal with. For this, I am grateful. For this is what I will try to do with my children so they can remember the spirit of Christmas more than the toys they receive.

Being Effective

13 12 2007

Today, during my solo travel to Oregon and around Portland, I listened to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I have listened to this book before, but I don’t think it sunk in. As I was listening today, almost everything Mr. Covey said directly applied to several problems and situations I am dealing with today.

I had previously thought that I was being proactive and trying to sharpen my saw, in addition to all the other 5 habits. But my recent inability to be effective at home and at work has convinced me that I am merely keeping myself busy. I want to be effective and strive for positive change in my life, my family’s life and my work life.

I mentioned to a friend recently that I’ve been dealing with inner turmoil. Basically I’ve degenerated to some of the victim habits covered at the beginning of the book. At this point, I’ve realized the state I’m currently in, and will try to work toward correcting them starting with the first habit. But even before that, I will be working on a personal and family mission statement…stay tuned.

Little Belly

11 12 2007

It has been one of my greatest desires that my girls don’t have a childhood like mine: that of the fat kid. While the rest of the nation is quickly becoming fat, and doesn’t know what to do about it, I will do what I can to help my girls not achieve this milestone. As a part of the generation who grew up thin, I always resented the fat part of my childhood. I wanted to do so many things, but my weight always felt like it was holding me back. By the time high school came around, I had accepted it, and tried to achieve more with my mind than I thought was possible with my body. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to break free of the endless cycle of fat. Even now, as I feel as unfit as I was when I first started, I haven’t gained a whole lot of weight because I know when to stop eating…for the most part.

As Eliana has grown over the past few years, we have made a concentrated effort to keep her from a fat childhood. The war is unending, and we have lost a few battles. The time we caught her sneaking to the bathroom to eat something was pretty bad. She has always been praised as a “good eater” at a time when every other kid in daycare was so picky. That is our “fat gene” taking control. As Eliana has grown to understand us and communicate with us, we have told her that we want her to have a small belly. We, have rethought this strategy many times as it can probably lead to some kind of mental confusion in the future. I don’t want that to happen either. But since we have no way to control her eating other than taking away food, we have little choice.

Today, while eating dinner, she actually slowed a little, and said, “I’m done”. Usually she cleans her plate. Sometimes she does this to get some dessert, or will sneak in a snack later. We’re wise to her games. But this time, she told us “I don’t want to have a big belly. I want a little belly so I can wear the pretty dresses”. I’m not sure what to make of this statement. On one hand, our message is getting through to her. On the other hand, she may well be on the road to anorexia so that she can fit into size 0 clothes. I obviously don’t want that to happen, so while I am glad she understands there is a good reason to not eat everything in sight, this should still be reinforced with positive messages like “you’re beautiful no matter how big you are”.

Personally, I want her to be a normal weight so she can just enjoy all the normal activities kids do. That’s all I wanted as a kid.

My Girls are Left-Brained

10 12 2007

As with many milestones, determining with which hand your child uses to write her name is an important one. This milestone will most likely determine how your child will think for the rest of her life. It may determine how you get along and how much you will see eye to eye. Or, it could mean nothing because we simply haven’t truely un-earthed the significance of the meaning of right vs left-handedness.

Eliana has been right handed for quite a while now; I’ve know this since she was holding her first crayons. Annabelle, on the other hand, did show some tendencies toward being left-handed. I was actually kind of hoping she would be left-handed. It wouldn’t be unheard of since my father and brother are both left-handed. However, tonight, I was helping Annabelle color a paper, and she immediately put the crayon in her right hand. I had put the crayon in her left. While I can’t be 100% certain about her tendency, but I think this one is a safe call..

Annabelle is right handed.

Welcome to 90% of the population ([1]). You are assured that you will will always find a baseball glove in stock. You don’t have to buy a special guitar when you learn to play. The world is right-handed, and Annabelle, you are part of the club. Your membership to the Right-handed society is in the mail!