Thursday, June 26, 2008

Warring Ghosts, Flying Macs, $10,000 and a Guy Named Voltaire

Ok... some things that have happened. Last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?) I tested my computer as a crash dummy at 50 mph. I had just bought cold plays new album Viva la Vida or Death and All of His Friends and I was putting it in the CD player in the back of my car and in doing so I set my laptop and accessories on the roof and left them there. So I went on my way happily listening to Viva la Vida all the way into Mansfield (about 18 miles) to work. I didn't even realize anything was wrong until I got to the office, at which point I realized that I did not have my computer and immediately cognized what had happened. Staving off a nervous break down and praying really hard, I turned around and drove back without ever even getting into the office. I drove all the way back to Hickory Road (almost back at our house) and there lying perfectly in the middle of the right lane (not that Hickory road really has defined lanes per se). I stopped the car (actually I distinctly remember putting the car into park about ten seconds before I was actually stopped, leading to a grinding noise that now makes me cringe to recall but that didn't bother me at all at the time) and ran out and got my computer. The neoprene case was slightly shredded and from how fast I must have been going and I figured that it must be a mess inside, but I opened it and aside from being a little wet (did I mention that it was pouring rain during this entire misadventurous tale) there wasn't a scratch visible on it. I opened it up and the screen came on fine. That was good, but the hard drive must be soup I thought (hard drives have been known to go because somebody jiggled them too hard let alone being flung against pavement at speeds approaching the state speed limit) but I the hard drive was fine too. I this point I decided that angels must have been involved and took it home and test the the optical drive, the usb drives and all the other drives I could think of, and everything was in perfect working order. And has been for the last week. A couple days later I did find a small chip on the case on one edge, but its tiny and I think it may have actually been there before from when the HD actually did go bad (and for no apparent reason ironically). So as it stands, nothing was lost. I found my power cable back the road a ways further, and my mouse which had also been on the roof, I found on the way back (it didn't fare as well as the Macbook; it was in several pieces spread out along a 70 ft. stretch of road and was. I put it back together and it works fine though, just with a few scuffs here and there). So that was last week.

This week I've been working like a dog. Our main sales man is gone on vacation and every Tom Dick and Harry somehow decided to descend upon our store to buy a stove. I just barely learned how to put estimates together last week, so I've been doing that almost everyday. I made my first official sale yesterday. It was funny how it happened... I spend the last two... no... it's been more like five years... trying to convince people to buy stoves, and yesterday afternoon this lady just calls up and says "I would like to order a Greenwood Furnace Model 100." As if it were a hamburger or something, so I was stunned and put her on hold for a minute so that I could go run around that office screaming (well, not quite); then got back on with her and found out all the stuff she needed, put an estimate together in Quickbooks, had Marty look it over once, had David look it over three times, faxed it to her, called her back, had her look it over (it came out to over $10,000 and she gave me her credit card info and we ran it and it went through, and I made a sale... and what's particularly cool about it is we just started a commission  program, so I'll get $100 dollars which is nice because I was starting to worry that with how much I was spending on gas and music and things I might not make much to save this summer, but after this week with all the hours I've worked and maybe a little over time things should be looking better.

I've made a few tutorials on the 3D program that I like, Blender, and posted them on YouTube. It's cool because I've gotten a good bit of positive feed back on them from people, some pretty good ratings. I basically took some concepts that I struggled with when I first learned and made some videos explaining it in a way that I thought would have helped me if I had had them at the time. If you would like to watch them they are on my channel: here

I finally bought a new Bible, all I've had until now was a great big study Bible that wasn't very convenient for much but study. The new one I got at Barnes & Noble is much smaller and cool looking. I also bought a book: Ghost Wars about the thirty years of CIA activity in the Middle East leading up to 911. So far it has been excellent. It contained lots of things I had always wondered. When I bought it I was thinking more 'history textbook' but it's been more like I Tom Clancy Novel so far. I also bought Arabic for dummies in case I get around to trying to learn that again, and a really old book by Voltaire called Candide, which I will probably read next time I'm depressed... and not because it will make me feel better, but rather make me feel justified in my gloominess.... 
 
So that's all for now....

God bless,

Andrew
  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Presidential Election Blues

I'm depressed about the coming presidential election. I've spent my entire life wanting to vote so badly. Now I can, and for the first time, I don't want to - and I don't think I will.

First off, both of the candidates have ridiculous ideas about how to lower gas prices: Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on oil companies; John McCain wants give oil companies a tax break, and they both have complete confidence that this is going to lower gas prices (that ought to be a little red flag right there hadn't it). First, Barack's idea is ridiculous because only a few percent of the total profits from oil companies go into the pockets of executives... much of it is invested back into drilling and exploration... so cutting their profits is only going to make the existing shortage worse (or wait... isn't that what the liberals want...?) and second (my Grandpa explained this to me) most shares in oil companies are actually owned by mutual funds, which are mainly owned be normal Americans, who will be hurt if the profits are taxed. John McCain's ideas are relatively moronic as well, since giving a big tax break to the oil companies doesn't obligate them in any way to pass that profit on to the consumer in lower prices as the pump, and their a business... if they don't have to, then why would they?!

At any rate I don't care too much about gas prices. I may spend $50 dollars a week on it, but I work for a small alternative energy company, so it helps.

At another rate, so to speak, I like Obama, I voted for him in the primaries here in Pennsylvania in fact. I think he has good idea's about dealing with poverty. I think he would also go a long way to furthering racial and ethnic equality in our country by his very presence, and help improve our image in the world (hey, I was a neo-con once, but it doesn't mean I think it would hurt for other countries not to hate us). But on the other hand, I'm pro-life... I don't believe in gay marriage. I think it's sad to have to be considered a conservative just for believing those things, but I'm afraid I always will be (considered), and I still struggle with the idea of voting for some one who supports those things. On the other hand, with Obama as President, there would probably be less abortions than with McCain President, since alleviating poverty would cut down on the number of people having them... so from that perspective I might be able to stomach it. On the other hand... oops, I ran out of hands... I'll put this one on my foot, most abortions are, contrary to popular belief, not performed on teens or the highly impoverished, but rather be older, middle class woman, I believe I learned in Sociology. So would it even help? On the other foot our country is so evenly divided on the issue that electing a pro-life president isn't actually going to overturn Roe vs. Wade. So from a practical stand point, it doesn't really make a difference whether the president is pro-life or pro-choice (choice my foot... they should call it pro-abortion... if the people who support it are coy to use the word... well... that should be another little red flag....).

Now... John McCain... don't even get me started. He wants to keep Bush's tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. I respect Bush as a President (thank you, thank you, yes, I know, I'm in a very exclusive club). He may have gone too far with the Iraq war, but but when I think back to 911, I think he responded well, and sent a message that the people who did it weren't expecting (this wasn't the first time that Al-Qaeda committed mass murder (they bombed the USS Cole, they committed dozens of terrorist acts in the Middle-East and Africa and killed untold thousands of Buddhist's and Gay individuals in Afghanistan via the Taliban), it was just the first time that anyone came after them for it). But when it comes to tax policy, it makes me livid. Let me ask a question? What are millions of dollars to people who already have millions? Nothing but more money, that they can't spend... it's nothing but a rush for them to accumulate more... a sort of ambition to be the biggest, a lust if you will (the Bible calls it the lust of the eyes). Millions will not do anything to improve the quality of life for people who already have millions and billions... (err, excuse me, it might make the difference between a private golf course and a 12o' yacht... forgive me for my cruel oversight!). So all that said, what does Bush go and do but pass a series of tax cuts that save millions of dollars for, da da da, multimillionaires and billionaires. And now, if John McCain gets elected, he is going to keep those tax cuts, and add more! It's the thing I hate most about conservatives, they want to run our country as if it's a business... if it goes on Wall Street then it can go for our country. 'If rich people can make money that they will never use, then, well, it's their's, so it's OK.' But our country isn't a business - it's a sacred trust. You can't ask people to die for a business. Let me ask another question. Does this actual scenario make sense: business executives in NY city make hundreds of thousands a year, have mansions, expensive cars etc. A plumber I work with has to work 80 hours a week just to keep food on the table for his family. And this contrast of course is perfectly fine, what's their's is their's, it's just good business. Now 2000 people in New York City get killed... now this plumber's son been sent to a foreign country to pay for their deaths. He has to kill. He has to see people killed. He is faced with the possibility of having to give his own life. Is this perfectly fine? Is this just business? Apparently anyone can be asked to give their life to help anyone else in our country. But not anyone can be asked to give some of their money.

I hate conservatism - and I hate liberalism as well. I suppose that's probably my problem. But for now I'm just depressed about the coming election.


So, if you actually read any of this confusion make sure you tell me, because I'll be impressed... : )



- Andrew Wilber

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hard Boiled Transfusion

I haven't posted in a while I know... I guess in the summer I usually get lazy... but hey, it's not even summer yet technically, so I shouldn't have that much of an excuse. Everything's been going pretty well, other than my Grandma of course, but I think even she has been doing a little better the last couple of days. We are putting the finishing touches on our old house and soon we should be moving back in. My new place is getting cleaned out (I'll be living in the room above our garage) and I'm exited about moving in. I bought an external hard drive to do back ups on the ensure as best I can that I don't lose all my data again. It's a Maxtor 500 gigabyte, similar to the one at our office, but this one is the dual interface, so it has fire wire ports also, which I think are faster, and let you plug more than one computer in at the same time, not that I need to do that right now, but I bought it from buy.com, so it was even cheaper than the less deluxe version, so I thought I might as well get it. It also looks a little cooler. Since I was placing that order I decided to get the movie Hard Boiled which I have had been wanting to see for a long time since it has one of my favorite actors, Chow Young Fat and is directed by my favorite director/choreographer John Woo. I watched it last night, and it was good. I think a lot of stuff in modern action movies for that last ten years has been copied from it, as a lot of the fight scenes in the matrix, to name one, greatly resemble the those in Hard Boiled, which is kind of ironic as John Woo says that he was trying to copy John Wayne... but that's cultural transfusion for you... Chinese people imitating Americans and Americans imitating them back and something entirely new ends up being created... or was nothing new created...? I don't know.

- Andrew

Monday, June 02, 2008

My GPA

Well, I finally got (0r figured out how to get rather) my grades for this past semester. I got a 3.936, which I was pretty thrilled about. So I'm on the Dean's List now, and I'm happy, also because I proved to myself that I actually can work in a regular class room environment, which being home schooled all my life I had wondered about, and that I'm not completely retarded after all ; )