Friday, September 10, 2010

Let 911 be a day of healing, not hating.

There's not much more to this than the title.

You can choose to hate.

You can choose to heal.

Isn't it great to know YOU have the POWER: it's all up to you!
"Make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon,

Where there is doubt, faith,

Where there is despair, hope,

Where there is darkness, light,

Where there is sadness, joy."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Love: Rain Over Me

Rather than meet hate with hate, let us "Pray for Torrential Rain in Gainesville, Florida 9/11/10". I saw this idea on a creative and delightful Facebook page: "A group of souls of all persuasions praying for torrential rain to fall on the grounds of the lunatic Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, September 11th, 2010, and that it may extinguish the sparks of ignorance and quench the flames of hatred. All are free to post prayers and devotional art!"
It's easy to be angry. I do it all the time. Something about the internet brings the opportunity for rage right to my desk, my phone, my face.
Maybe it's like being an alcoholic. Every day, you have to get up and say, "One Day At A Time. Today, I won't hate. I'll put it off until tomorrow."


Of course, music helps ...



Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Trucking in the Garden


The satisfaction you can get from raising some of your own food on your bit of earth is a little like sex. You really can't describe it in words; you can only urge people to find their own way to experience it.

You cannot measure its value in commercial terms. Often the preliminaries involve a little shopping, a little cash outlay, and a great deal of time spent finding the right location, experimenting with different approaches, facing rejection.

But the payoff: ah! The process of getting there is spiritually rewarding, and as physically challenging as you wish to make it. Some are in a hurry, and even seek chemical aids for more of a rush, but I think it's better to take it slow and easy.

It is a subject worthy of endless study. In youth, you think you know it all, and that's o.k.  There's years of practice with which to hone your technique.

Pay no mind to the bland,uniform perfections pitched to you on television, the products of science and artiface; the real thing bears the blemishes of being real, the imperfections of the soil and is all the sweeter for having been moved by your hand alone.

It's best with a partner, but you can do it alone.

I'm talking about a growing a salad. What were you thinking of?

Why I Quit Chase For a Credit Union

A few months ago, I got a postcard from Chase Bank, offering me $100 to open an account with them.

I should know that nothing is for free, but this seemed like a good deal. I've been with credit unions for years (decades really) but perhaps it was time to give a bank a chance. Chase is really big, so it must be really efficient and therefore it would be cheaper for me, the customer. Right?

Wrong.

I went to their nearest branch to open an account. It took about 20 minutes, at the end of which I got an inch-thick pile of paper describing what I was signing for. A key point is that if I didn't use the account, they'd charge me money.
This is pretty remarkable. Most things, you get charged if you use them. But this bank account: I was going to get charge for not using? That's completely irrational, and not what I'd expected at all.
When I asked the clerk, he said he'd waive the fee for the first few months, until I got into using it. I should have walked away at that point, but I had put in the time so I signed on the line.

Mistake! The time you've put into a transaction is gone forever. It is no reason to continue a bad transaction.

Time goes by. I don't use the account. They ding me for not using it. I realise that I have a choice: drop the credit union, which works fine as is and use Chase a lot more, or drop Chase, suffering whatever financial consequences ensue. It's not really much of a choice; the credit unions have never screwed me.

Today I went to Chase to close the account. The nice clerk says, "You know there's a $25 fee for closing an account early, right?"

I should have said, "No, I don't know that. Is it in that inch of paper?" but I just wanted to get it done. I didn't think they were going to concede anything. Maybe I should have negotiated or made a stink, but I had every confidence that they had every term spelt out in black-and-white, somewhere in the pile of paper.

The bastards dinged me $25 twice: once for checking, once for savings. I guess they count those as separate account for purposes of taking money from their customers.


Lessons
  1. Never use a bank. They exist to take your money. 
  2. Always use a credit union. They are owned by the depositors (which means you) so they don't rip you off. You can find one near you at http://moveyourmoney.info/
  3. No matter how smart you are or think you are, bankers are professionals and very, very good at what they do. They are better at it than you are, and you're a fool if you think otherwise. (You may have noticed that I just called myself a fool. Well, who knows better ;-)
  4. Always, always walk away from a transaction if someone springs something on you at the last minute, like the revelation they'll charge you if you don't use your account. If you are not ready to walk away, they have you.
  5. Write down your lessons. I should have learned all this stuff decades ago, but I forgot.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cat Bowling

One yard full of pine cones from our venerable tree, plus one fun-loving cat eager to chase anything, equals endless entertainment ... for me, for the cat and, for all I know, for the pine tree as well!

It's a simple pleasure, tossing cones for the cat, but it has both physicality and strategy to it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sources: Codes

Some places to look up some codes. (Not a thrilling blogpost, just a scrapbook note for myself.)

POS / Product & Service Codes http://wingovcon.com/downloads/service_product_codes.pdf (from 1998 but is there anything newer?)
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification - US DoL: http://www.bls.gov/soc/

Other:


Sign by Danasoft - Get Your Sign