Monday, March 5, 2018

A Lesson in Faith

The Beer:  Tonight, it is a Bogle Cabernet with an 80% cacao dark chocolate.  A celebration of sorts.

The Bicycle:  I took a three mile walk tonight. I want this to be the start of my road back.

The VRWC:

It has been a long 18 months.  I have always believed we would be delivered from this challenge.  With help from Charles, Donna and Lori, to whom I am truly grateful, we have been able to hold the line through the opening and closing of Paige's studio, the loss of Paige's mother, the loss of my job. We nearly lost the house and car.  The water and electricity have both been shut off at one time or another.  There have been times where I have allowed myself to fall into despair.  Job applications went out in vain.  But my faith, while sorely tested, never wavered. 

I am not the best Christian.  By far.  If I listed all of the ways in which I was not in line with Jesus' teachings, I would need more space than is currently available.  But like my Biblical heroes Joseph (of the Coat of Many Colors) and David, God has held faith with me through everything.

I drive Uber.  I enjoy it and while it will never pay my mortgage, it helps keep us afloat.  Paige's new job,while it pays well, isn't all we need.  I enjoy driving.  I meet great and interesting people.  They tell me their story and I tell them mine.  Last week, I picked up Jay in Dallas who was headed for Love Field.  As we drove, he asked about me and driving.  In the conversation, I mentioned my job search and he asked for contact information. The Engineering firm he owns has a staffing division. I gave him a copy of my resume and that was the end of it.  I told him how much I appreciated his interest and had no other expectations.  I've been here before.  But today, just before noon, I was copied on a email Jay sent to his people with my resume attached.  "If you have anything...."  Never super encouraging, but better than I had before. 

Today was a slow Uber day.  I was well below what I expect for weekday earnings.  I had resigned myself to calling it a day and waited for Paige to get out of work.  As I sat in the parking lot, expecting a wait of over an hour, the Uber driver app pinged me.  I never turn down work, so I responded thinking it would be a short trip.  I was wrong.  She just finished an interview and wanted to go back to Texas Woman's University in Denton.  A 40 minute trip.  Long trips are Uber "gold".  We talked along the way as is my habit.  I rejected a call from a number I didn't recognize and I took a bad news call from a friend along the way.  He had lost his job for doing the right thing.  When we arrived, she hugged me and told me what a blessing I had been to her.  Then she wished me Blessings from God and went about the rest of her day.  What I was paid for the ride made my earnings day.

As I was leaving, I decided to check a new voicemail.  It was from the number I rejected.  It was one of the men Jay had emailed.  A contract job with a client just came across his desk.  It was perfect for me.  I don't have it yet, but this makes 3 potentially high paying jobs on the front burner.  These things don't happen by accident.  After all of our trials and tribulations, our faith may soon be rewarded.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I Never Expected To Be Here

The Beer:  Shiner Ruby Redbird.

The Bicycle:  It may be necessary to sell one or more to stay afloat.

The VRWC:  I don't normally talk about my situation, but at this point, I don't know how much it really matters.

Just over a year ago, I was fired from a six-figure job for reasons that remain unclear.  I had just turned 60.  Our department was successful in our mission.  I was sent off to perform audits autonomously at company field sites and there was no indication I had done a less-than-satisfactory job.  What was used against me were things that were documented as having no bearing on performance.  I'was stripped of my severance and sent out to fend for myself.    I have applied to many positions well within my experience, all to no avail.  I have worked as an Uber driver (which I really enjoy, but will never pay the mortgage), a mechanic at a boat shop, a project manager for a concrete construction company and a septic tank inspector.   I can't even get a callback for a job in my field.  I'm not going to cry "discrimination", though all the evidence points that way.  

Anyway, I am down to my last $100 or so with no prospects for a bailout.  My savings and what retirement remained after my divorce are expended.  There is nowhere to go and no option but to sell everything.  And that is only a temporary solution.  I need a job with a steady paycheck.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Football Players and Social Justice

The Beer:  Shiner Bock. 

The Bicycle:  Hangs in the garage while my good intentions pass by.

The VRWC:  So, NFL players have decided to follow Colin Kaepernick's lead in showing their displeasure with the justice system.  I think we can all agree that the justice system needs reform; minimum sentencing, drug offenses, differences in sentencing based on race and corruption in general are part of a long list of problems with the system.  But appearing disrespectful of the flag, the National Anthem, the Nation and it's people turns off a very large majority of the people. 

The President had an opportunity to say nothing.  He didn't.  He had an opportunity to bring a message of unity.  He didn't.  Instead, like the one before him, he threw gasoline on that fire.  Now the NFL, the players, the owners have all lined up against him as have many of his otherwise allies.  His supporters will never leave him and his haters will never credit him.  But guys like me, who base our judgments on what he does, not who he is see this as a major blunder. 

Now the NFL has changed its approach and possibly lost sight of the original goal.  Besides, it's en vogue to be against Trump.

My take on all this is that 1) the players would do better getting hands on and changing the culture in "the Hood" and 2)  POTUS needs to be working on messages of unity, not off-the-cuff tweets.  Unfortunately, the players are, for the most part stuck in that "Hood Culture".  They can't change it because they don't know differently.  POTUS in equally stuck in his own culture which is "My way or the highway."  Expect Twitter wars to continue.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Just Weather

The Beer:  I need to brew something to keep warm this winter.  It's going to be long and cold.

The Bicycle:  I can't lose another season.  I need a good riding partner

The VRWC:  After years of below average hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin, suddenly, the Atlantic hurricane season has become very active.  So, what do our AGW friends do?  They never let a crisis go to waste.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/17/us/neil-degrasse-tyson-on-climate-change-cnntv/index.html

Now, extreme weather events happen.  But statistically, there is no increase in either frequency or severity of these events.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/climatic-phenomena-pages/extreme-weather-page/

Attacking the source is weak.

The AGW Inquisitors (they want to try and jail - or worse - us "deniers") are the ones doing the cherry picking.  Time scale is an important variable here.  We want to look at the longest scale available.  Shorter time scales are not as good for trending.  The Inquisitors LOVE short time scales

Oddly, increasingly harsh winters are being called "weather" while one hurricane season is "proof" of AGW?

Climatistas need to become more consistent in what they present and how it is presented.  But that would require they remove their blinders,

Friday, March 10, 2017

End of Life

We all have to go at some point.  To date, only one has gotten out alive and that's because He was resurrected.  Our days are numbered and if we are lucky, we get to choose the time an place.

My mother-in-law has been ill and in and out of hospital for nearly a year now.  Yesterday, She became non -responsive and was not breathing.  Someone missed the DNR and the ambulance crew revived her.  She is now set on a track to the end of her life.  She is refusing all medications, all therapies.  She is confident of her place in the afterlife.

At what point do we make that call?  As I age, I better understand this process.  The pain of day-to-day living becomes less worthwhile, whether it is painful, physically or emotionally, or just too tough to slog through.  Or maybe we just decide we are "done".  If one is ready, at peace and prepared for what comes after, one should feel free to let go of this life and move on to the next.

The Grid

The Beer:  I am well past due for a Brew Day.  The last one was a disaster.

The Bicycle:  Slowly getting back.  This HAS to be the year.

The VRWC:  The "Grid" is the country's electrical distribution system.  There is only enough energy on the grid to meet all the loads plus the losses.  Losses are in the form of heat from what I would call "electrical friction".

The grid runs at 60 hertz and consists of "base load" which are large generating units that run full-out all the time.  Then there are reserve units that follow load.  As load varies throughout the day, they pick up the slack.  All these units are known quantities.  The load follow units also make up for other generators that might accidentally fall off-line (trip).

Wind is a variable source of energy.  It varies not just by the day or hour, but by the minute...even by the second.  Because of the variability, conventional generators must be available to make up for that variability.  Remember, there is only enough energy to meet all the loads and all the losses.  Solar is also variable for the most part, but somewhat more predictable.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Dow and Democratic Socialism

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 3000 point off its 52 week high.  With the world plunging headlong into "democratic socialism", how can anyone be surprised?