Categories
ramblings of a madman

Posting comments on Facebook

Every day I read the thread on Facebook that covers my friends and the topical areas that interest me. To be fair and balanced, I get like to read both conservative and liberal media. The way I figure it, the truth is probably in the middle of their respective stories. Seldom do they agree.

After I read the stories, I will on occasion post a comment articulating how I feel about the subject. It is my opinion, I am entitled to it and while you may disagree with it, ok. I like stimulating rebuttals and conversation. After all, I really think that is the power of Facebook. Citizens, people from all parts of society can have a discussion. It should work to strengthen our democracy. Unfortunately, what often happens is that there is no “I disagree because…” or “Your facts are incorrect…”. Sadly, it becomes character assassination. “Your an ass because…” or “Your thinking does not agree with mine and therefore you should just die…”

Of course that just leads me to reciprocate. I shouldn’t. I should just comment, turn the other cheek, thank them for their comment and move on. Has our society become so broken that we can no longer have a civil conversation? Whatever happened to civil disobedience? Must it always denigrate into name calling and violence? This change unfortunately is why we are in many of the messes that our country faces. We can no longer compromise. There is no way to split the difference. It must be my way or the highway.

And the threats! Against me, against my children. There are some really scary people out there. Let’s not even get started about gun control, taxes, the economy, or the environment. Global warming. I’m a trained scientist and I’m skeptical of much of the science. Man made. Probably, but not for the reasons that the media suggests. Our climate is changing, that much we can agree on. So you really don’t think that it is because the temperature curves or carbon dioxide concentrations have a direct correlation with the total number of humans on the planet? Perhaps that is too obvious, but being obvious or simple doesn’t get you NSF grants.

My mother would probably tell me that “if you cannot stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen”. Some people really say things that I feel very strongly against. We agree to disagree in the end, but at least we have had a dialogue, a conversation. Comments that suggest that you like a policy that our president is suggesting are met with the usual “Russian bot”. I am not. Do not agree with immigration, therefore I must be a racist. I would like to believe that I am not. No, we have a policy and laws. I just want them to follow the law. Asylum…we all know that liberal lawyers have told them what to say. We also know that they tell them Not to show up for the hearing. The system is overloaded and they have bigger things to deal with. “Just disappear into the community.” How about the judge in Boston who helped one escape out the back door? Now I have to help her with her legal fees. No thank you. The law is the law. I don’t get to pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones I don’t have to follow. That should apply to EVERYONE.

Don’t like the laws, then change them. I paid my student loans. Why should politicians now have all of us pay the loans of people today. It’s a contract. You cannot escape it by declaring bankruptcy. People live within your means. Crappy degree, crappy school, crappy career choice. Be an adult. Go to college and study engineering or the sciences. There is lots of money to aid people there. Work during the school year or in the summer. I did. Vacationing at the beach was an option if it was tied to a summer job where you worked your ass off to have money for College. Again, decisions have consequences. Either that or you failed to understand what you were doing. Maybe College was’t what you should have chosen. Join the Army. See the world. Grow up. Get free money for college.

Man, if I posted some of this on Facebook, the names that I would be called. Perhaps I should just take a break from Facebook. Don’t post anything or do not comment on anything.

Categories
ramblings of a madman

Rewriting History

I see lots of stories on Facebook and elsewhere about renaming schools, getting rid of statues and memorials about Civil War Generals and events. For those who may forget, July 1 is the first day of the bloodiest battle in American history. July 1, 1863 marked the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg. One Hundred and Fifty Six days ago the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac met in the small community in south central Pennsylvania. After three days, there were a total of 51,112 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing from both sides).

Books, movies, a PBS series by Ken Burns, all cover the subject from different points of view. In school back in Central Pennsylvania, a class field trip to Gettysburg was the norm. I think I went there at least twice. The trip would tour the key points of the battlefield: Big and Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Pickett’s Charge, a number of the monuments and the Gettysburg Cyclorama.

Last summer, I drove through the town of Gettysburg after I took Madison back to Pennsylvania for a two week riding camp. I had my son with me and after a short vacation for him at HersheyPark, I place I worked at during several summers in college, we drove to and through the town of Gettysburg. It has really changed over the 40 years that I was last there. He wasn’t too excited about the park, the cannons, or the history. I tried to trace part of Lee’s travels to Gettysburg, and then his retreat after the battle in our rental car. I really enjoy visiting such places. We were making our way back to the airport in Baltimore to return to New Mexico, so it was my way of trying to have an educational trip as part of the mini vacation. Not interesting to a 10 year old.

Yes, a long way to the airport. However, it was quality time with son. Of course, as he is in 5th grade, the only thing he knows about the Civil War, aside from the fact that it was a war between the North and the South, and that the slaves were freed, Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, and the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Yes, there was a Civil War battle fought just east of Santa Fe in March of 1862. Today, parts of the battlefield are part of the Pecos National Historical Park. There are a couple of monuments and signs, but no cannons or cemetery, or things like you find in Gettysburg. You can get a gate code and a map to unlock a gate at the Pecos National Historical Park Visitors Center. This allows you to hike the Glorieta Pass Battlefield trail.

I loved learning history in high school and in college. Sadly, what I see today is lots of people trying to rewrite history, or trying to change things so that we forget it, or to feel like we must understand the feelings of others. We rewrite the textbooks, often without much change in the historical truths. As Orwell pointed out, history can be and often is rewritten to suit the needs of the present. Some say that we rewrite history because the prevailing opinions of the period have changed. I should not be surprised that we also need to rewrite or recreate or reimagine that places where the history was actually made.

Today we rename the elementary school from Robert E Lee Elementary to another Lee who may or may not have contributed anything. We remove statues because a group of people think that they are evil, or that we need to forget the past. To this I say bunk. Robert E Lee was an American general who fought for what he believed in (state’s rights). Arlington National Cemetery now stands on his former homestead. Yes slavery was wrong. We fought a war to end it; and to properly define elements of the rights of the state and the rights of the federal government. We need to understand history so that we do not forget the sins of the past. To forget history is to rewrite history. The fact that we had to fight a war is enough to understand that humanity suffers because of it. That alone should be enough of a reason to not rewrite history. We are seeing failings of remembering the past unfold today in many areas of our political spectrum.

Categories
the week in review

End of June…almost July

Nice weather. A quiet weekend. What more could one ask for? I have big plans in terms of getting work done around the house and at the stables. Unfortunately I woke up early Saturday with lower back pain that kept me hunched over. Took the dog for a walk, which was able to loosen it up somewhat but moving around the house most of the day proved to be difficult. A sausage green chile burrito didn’t reduce the pain. Thus, no work was accomplished. The day was spent resting on the sofa with Jewel.

In the case of Jewel, she wanted nothing to do with that. So there we were, back and forth, up down, inside, outside. Really didn’t help my back. Really didn’t allow for me to make progress on the book I am trying to read. Maybe I should have started with a book that I haven’t read with far fewer pages.

I find myself looking at my blog statistics. I have noticed a decline in visitors over the past week. Not the trajectory that I had envisioned. Not sure if it is because I have posted less this week. Or is it the subject of the last two postings? Both had tones of politics and just general comment by me on how bad things are outside my immediate closed world. Or is it the lack of a theme? A hobby, self-help? Should I write about chemistry? Project management? History? What is the purpose of this blog? What is my purpose? What… As I eat my burrito, it is clear that I will have to write a future post about who in Los Alamos makes the best breakfast burrito’s.

So there I was, all of Saturday. In pain because of my back. Stretches didn’t help. Just a completely wasted day. Perhaps Sunday will be better.

Sunday is starting off better. Stayed in bed longer than I should have. My back is feeling better. Now I find myself staring at many pairs of old blue jeans. They are in a corner of the bathroom closet. All are worn and have holes in them. I must have had collected them over the years, all with a rip at the inseam or knees. Thinking that I could repair them or something? Not that I need them at all, I think that just getting rid of them would be ideal. Yet some people claim that there is money in torn jeans. Not sure but I think that I should just get rid of the whole pile. Old shirts are in a different pile. I use these for cleaning rags, dust rags, and just whatever.

I guess this makes me a hoarder. I really do hate to get rid of things. I think of the cost and the number of times I get to use it. I look at the old jeans and the inseam tears and concluded that this was planned obsolescence by the manufacturer.

At least I am now up and moving about. Back pain, back spasm, whatever, is still there but not as bad as yesterday. I’ll take some more ibuprofen and hopefully that will help me stand up straight. I’m guessing if I could loose a few pounds that it might help. Add that to my to-do list.

Outside looks like another spectacular day. But by now I am looking at the title of this post and see that it has nothing to do with what I have written. What does “end of June…almost July” have to do with a pile of old clothes, back pain hat has me hunched over like the Hunchback of Norte Dame, hard work, sausage green chile breakfast burritos, no one having visited my blog in almost a week. The answer is quite simple: nothing at all. Just more rambling thoughts to tell a story. Then it dawns on me. Am I trying to be a writer? Is that What I envision for the next 50-plus years?

Actually, what I have written thus far represents snippets in time of another weekend. Plans that never come to fruition. Ups and downs, humor, stupid thoughts, boring weekend? As I come downstairs to put my shoes on, there is Jewel. She wants out. There is the dining room table. It is again cluttered, unable to use if the kids were here for dinner. Broken glasses sit on one corner. Jewel ate my current pair. The pair that I need for driving. Happened a few months back while I was in the shower. Was she bored, angry, did she miss me? The pair on the table are missing screws, lenses and part of the frame. Time for some crazy glue while I wait to get an appointment to get a new prescription. Coffee is brewing as I pound away on today’s post.

I stop and reread what I have written. Now I have gone through several cycles of post and deposit because I find errors. Write more, correct sentences and spelling. Add more mundane thoughts to the paragraphs. Does it have to be perfect? It never will be. It is all over the map in terms of my weekend. No correlations between the title and the paragraphs that follow. Let’s see where the rest of the day takes me.

Categories
work

The Coriolis Effect

In yesterday’s post about politics, I showed a photo of a toilet flushing blue water. One could infer much symbolism in the photo if they chose to do so. The image is a prime example of the coriolis effect. It’s a term in physics (definition copied here from a Google search), whereby a mass moving in a rotating system experiences a force (the Coriolis force ) acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation. On the earth, the effect tends to deflect moving objects to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern and is important in the formation of cyclonic weather systems.

The coriolis effect explains why a toilet flushes clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Actually this is not true. Go to

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/06/03/videos-synced-up-across-the-globe-prove-once-and-for-all-which-way-water-swirls/?utm_term=.09af76098326

to get the real story.

But the image of a flushing toilet is so powerful in terms of describing a bad day, a bad period in your life, the world that we are leaving for our children. For my children. This subject often comes up in our morning coffee cabals.

Today was a bad day at work. We are trying to deliver on our annual production milestone and everything that was the basis of our planning and the schedule is being overtaken by events, causing less time for work to get completed, and at much higher cost. “It takes too long” is met with the refrain “well I’m sorry about that but it will take what it will take”. On top of that, critical infrastructure is breaking down, causing additional and unnecessary outages. As I sat in a two hour meeting trying to understand all of this, all I could hear were excuses, people pushing responsibility onto others, and the sound of a cash register. Why a cash register? Well there were about 100 managers at the 2 hour meeting. Nothing was resolved after listening to all of the hot air and the estimated $160,000 of money being wasted; a work-in-progress that has no procedure, as required. Just shows how broken and flying by the seat of the pants we have become. Cha-Ching goes the cash register.

Senior managers explaining how PhD’s were difficult and inferring that they were not contributing to the solution. Reminded me of a great refrain I heard from graduate school: “not all PhD’s are created equal” (I will save that for another day). Technical people being ridiculed by non-technical high school graduates for this and that. The drill is typical: create lists of action items and assign them to people who will return in a few days with very little resolved. It went on and on. I tuned out because this has been the paradigm for the past several weeks. Overworked people being verbally chastised for not doing something when they in fact did, but the tool was ineffective in capturing it. Nothing was accomplished. Aside from the money, I am sure that there was an increase in air temperature (hot air) and the carbon dioxide levels in the room probably added a tenth of a degree to global warming. We used to be better than this people. At one time we used technical reasoning to make decisions. Not any more.

And sadly, that is what I see across the technical landscape of where I work. I see that and wonder how the next generation of employees that we have just hired will be able to accomplish what the past group of workers were able to accomplish. Short answer is that they will not. It will take longer and cost more. Try to do work and someone will call out a process deviation in the work-free safety zone that our workplace has become. I try to care, but my PTSD after 28 years is so bad that it has become easier to stop caring, come in and do the job. No more, no less. “It takes as long as it takes”. Make no waves and collect the paycheck. At one time I often worked 50, 60, up to 80 hours a week because I felt deeply and had passion for the mission. That too is gone.

How does this translate to my children? I am saddened that their lives will not be as rich and as fulfilling as mine. Hard work and determination are now a lost cause in America anymore. Intelligence and reasoning has been replaced with guesswork, participation awards and games. Our word no longer means anything. We have evolved to a generation that wants everything handed to them. The middle class is gone. Setting goals and achieving them is an art no longer practiced. The wealthy in this country continue to take and never return. They make fancy promises of contributions to help certain causes. Those pronouncements sadly are nothing more than cheap promises that make them feel larger than the rest of us. Nothing ever enriches all, it enriches a few.

Our nation no longer makes things. We provide services. Some services pay well, many do not. More and more people are left on the sidelines, they lack the skills and abilities to move along with the nation. They lack the ability to compete for fewer and fewer jobs. We move what little things we make to cheaper places. In the end, ther will be nobody left in America to buy anything, or to use the services that remain. Peopl tune out, drop out and just meander through. Rugged individualism is a thing of the past. I am afraid that more of today’s children, my children, will be caught up in this quicksand and never move ahead. Sadly that is the image I see in the coriolis effect.

Categories
ramblings of a madman

Politics…take 2

Started writing an entry about politics three days ago. That is why I have titled this entry as take 2. Didn’t publish the original entry because it needs work.

Coming up are two days of Democratic Party debates. I won’t be watching. Frankly I am tired of all the talking heads and candidates. They have no values. Fox News is on in the background as I write this, and they are harping on the dark state and the crimes not being investigated by the House and Senate. Not really listening because they are equally disappointing. Instead we have an investigation on Russian collusion round 2. There was none. Get a grip and move on. People are literally dying because of all of the inaction by our elected officials focused on non-issues.

America was at one time a better place. Compromise was the norm and America was better off in solving issues. Nobody got everything they wanted and this is good. It is now going down the toilet rapidly. The press are no longer independent. They are letting their opinions become the news.

Understand that I am not a fan of Trump. He is a disgusting human being and fails to carry himself in the stature that the office deserves. In the last election, I voted for Gary Johnson. He was a great two-term governor for the state of New Mexico. That said, I can get behind a number of the policies that Trump tries to enact. I wish he would stop Tweeting. If he wants to get his point out, go to the Press Room daily and say it. Take the heat, be a man, and get on with it. That’s is leadership.

Conversely, the democrats have an understanding of the issues that concerns many Americans. They are so irresponsible in helping the average citizen because they don’t view it as important. However, their policy remedies will not fix the problems. Instead they will exasperate the problems. As the Federal Government has turned up the spigot to support education and health care, the costs continue to go up. The backstop of the Federal Government and the unlimited printing press will make sure this will continue. You doubt the connection? Just look at housing and those issues. Two NGO’s are essential in the ability of many to get a mortgage. They contributed to the Great Recession. People and families were ruined.

I’m sorry but allowing them to forgo paying back the money is wrong. Do they loose their degrees? I borrowed money for College. I paid my own way through school. I worked my way through school. I had student loans and paid them off over time when I had found a job. Yes I have health insurance and have seen how families struggle to solve those financial issues. The fix to healthcare costs is not a Medicare-for-all solution. It is to get away from treatment (drugs) and spend more on prevention. An annual physical, check up, tests are the way to reduce the costs when something is found early instead of when it is too late, or too expensive to cure. And it’s not just your physical health. Many of the tragedies we see on the news may have never happened if we expanded mental health care.

Sadly, I expect that next year will have a reversal followed by four more years of the same. Nothing will be accomplished, nothing will change. Our elected officials are unwilling (unable) to do what is necessary to help the American people. Stay tuned. More to follow.

Categories
Family

Weekend with the kids – part 2

Sunday starts early. I’m up before sunrise, doing some reading. Daughter is sleeping in but we must get going if she wants to feed the horse and get to Goose Downs by nine. Sadly, she is the slowpoke of the family and doesn’t have us heading out the door after eight to go feed Ruby.

Ruby is happy to see us. In her fly mask and sheet, she greats us like she does every morning. Leaning over the fence, a couple of hello whinnies, and then the expectation of a treat. Hay, grains, beet pulp and supplements; and she is fed and we are on our way. No ride for Ruby today. The 60+ minute drive to Goose Downs is in front of us.

I have brought the dog along for the car ride. Drop off daughter and finally get play date time and location scheduled for son. There I am, driving back. Passing through the McDonalds drive through in Santa Fe, I order a large coffee and a sausage with egg. Long line at the drive through, but as I get my order, the two people at the window are talking that the order in front of me left too quickly and were short on their order. I comment how I never leave without checking. I check and it looks good, at least the wrappers. However, I need to check deeper in the future. My sausage is not sausage, rather it is Canadian bacon. My coffee, which is black with two sugars, is coffee with cream and no sugar.

Back in Los Alamos I get son and get ready for his play date. His friend arrives after lunch and they proceed to play Minecraft for two hours. I try to nap as I am still tired and recovering from travel. And just like that, they are done and scheming for next weekend. I drop his friend off, taken son to his mothers and then back out on the road to pick up daughter.

I have divided the trip to Goose Downs has been into three 26 minute increments. Each increment becomes a race inside my head as I try to beat the time of 26 minutes. The first is Los Alamos to Pojoaque, one of the many reservations (and casinos) that exist in the state. The road is two lanes in each direction, the scenery is that of mesa’s and mountains, although they lack the vivid colors from a Georgia O’Keefe painting. The second segment is Pojoaque to the I25 interchange south of Santa Fe. This actually takes you through Santa Fe. Once upon a time, one could drive through Santa Fe at 38 miles per hour and never hit a red light. That changed with the New Mexico Rail Runner, which crosses at the intersection of St Francis and Cerrillos. The panhandlers are on these corners, with their signs stating their plight. It’s summer so there are many of them, although it isn’t as bad as the cities in California, Oregon and Washington state.

After the I25 intersection, you head north for the third segment, to Goose Downs. Staying on I25 for awhile, you then turn south on 285, passing Eldorado. Goose Downs is south of Lamy, just before Galisteo.

The scenery is like much of New Mexico. All in all, the trip is just over an hour one way, and probably could be described as the southern route like the scenery in the great book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

Before you know it, I have daughter and we are heading home. The race over the three sections plays itself out in reverse. Try talking during a car ride to a teenager who has her ear pods in and the music cranked up. Lastly, horse is fed, sone is retrieved and tonight we are having pizza. After 12 hours in the car driving back and forth, my ass is sore, the evening is soon upon us and tomorrow is another work day. The things we do for our kids.

Categories
Family

Weekend with the kids

My weekends are often denoted by the following: either I have the kids, or I do not. A normal schedule has them with me starting on a Thursday night and continuing through Monday morning. This weekend is not normal as I was on travel this past Thursday. And as they have gotten older, they have certainly begun to exercise their free will to decide what they want, including which house to stay at, regardless of schedule. I am somewhat bothered by this approach, but as they get older I understand that they need to make their own decisions. After all, the fact that decisions have consequences is a valued lesson.

Daughter spent the day working around the horses at Goose Downs. That required me to gather them up and drive daughter and son about 60 miles one way, drop her off and return. Aside from a trip to Lowe’s, son and I returned home for a three hour round trip. Boring for son, but I took the internet with us, so he at least could entertain himself with his iPad. In general he doesn’t really like car trips. Not your usual road trip as I remember them growing up.

To pick her up later in the day, I took him to his mom’s house while I was away. Just doesn’t feel right to leave an eleven year old home alone for parts of the day. He thinks he is old enough and while I trust him, it just isn’t something that I will do for long periods of time. Yep, another three hours in the car. Knowing that a trip back to Goose Downs tomorrow was in the plans, he just asked if he could stay at his mom’s. He really didn’t want the joys of another car ride, so I said sure. After all, he has been with me for several weekends due to various horse activities.

When they are here, they tend to keep to themselves. Often that is computer games in their rooms. An occasional movie as a family, or family games. Daughter often rides during the weekends. Not this weekend as we are not transporting Ruby to Goose Downs for lessons. For son, I was working to arrange a play date with a friend of his from school. Swimming at the pool may also be a distinct possibility. Unclear if either will happen. Equally unclear what else can be folded into this weekend beyond another several hours in the car for myself and daughter. I still have a number of things to do around the house and the stables.

Categories
Family

First day of summer

Today marks the first day of summer. Started humming the Brian Adams tune “Summer of 69”, which I recall was big during the summer of 1983. I was back in Pennsylvania. I had graduated from college and was getting ready for graduate school. I recall that was a hot summer for some reason. And here in New Mexico, today is hot (mid-80’s) and windy. Low humidity, and blue sky. Yes, I was able to get back about midnight after the travel day from hell.

It was good that I was able to get home because I had lots of things to do. I had to feed the horse first thing in the morning, go to work on my day off to deal with some pressing things, pick up the dog from the kennel, take daughter riding and pick up son from nature camp. Horse and dog are fine, children are well, and I didn’t get sucked in on my day off.

Summertime usually coincides with the kickoff of the afternoon monsoon season. Monsoon season has been on again, off again over the past two decades. Monsoon season is usually when the rain clouds form above the mountains to the west during the day. By the afternoon, we have a thunderstorm with rain. They typically hit every afternoon and last about a half an hour at most. But the thunder and lightening can be quite impressive. They add their own unique set of colors to the New Mexico sky, which is a palette containing a variety of colors. The skies are often light blue or dark blue. They are some of the deepest blues that I have ever seen. And of course, the white puffy clouds. Often with the monsoons are large and very colorful rainbows. Sadly, I have yet to find a pot of gold. Another sky anomaly, depending upon the sunlight, the angle in the sky, and other weather conditions are the variety of other colors present in the sky: yellow, orange, red, and pink. These colors are often present at sunrise and sunset.

We have a quiet weekend planned. Daughter plans to work at Goose Downs. Son has nothing on the horizon but we have some work to do at the stables in terms of cutting weeds and getting the barn ready for the first delivery of hay shortly. Aside from housecleaning, perhaps I can read some more of my book.

Quiet is good. I never sleep well on travel, so I often return very tired and need the weekend to recover. Plans for July and August are starting to take shape. Two horse competitions; one in July and one in August. My 40th high school reunion is in a July. Still trying to decide if I will make it back. Sounds like a few folks that I haven’t seen in 40 years may be there. July is pretty busy already, making a long weekend trip back east difficult, but we shall see.

Categories
life

Away from home

I rushed to the airport this morning trying to get back home at a decent time to see my kids tonight. I had it all planned in advance. I had to get back when I planned. Sadly, I now find myself sitting at the airport, waiting six hours for my rebooked flight. If all goes well, instead of getting home by dinner, I am home by midnight. It’s not just my time or plans ruined. It cost my employer money because of added time for parking, meals, and since my flight gets into New Mexico after 9pm and then it’s two hours by car, I can actually stay in a hotel an extra night.

Really, you don’t have a spare plane that can reposition and get me on time? Maintenance really takes that long and you cannot shuffle flights so that I could get home sooner? It’s me so yes dammit I will be selfish. I have your app yet the technology that should of alerted me to these problems did not. It was experiencing its own technical problems so you said. Had I been alerted, I could have kept the rental car for awhile longer, returned to my meeting, or at least have enjoyed a nice restaurant away from the airport. Instead, I am here, writing about you.

Where I work, some call travel a perk. Others call it an unnecessary evil that comes with our jobs. I hate travel. Others love travel. My desire is to win the lottery with enough money so that I can travel on a private plane. You rebooked me and now I have a crappy seat. The other day I posted on my Facebook page photos at your hub, where you claimed to be making improvements with upgrades. I presume you think that these will make our travel experience better?

I think not. How is a reduced sitting area in the terminal improve our travel experience? How are places to line up based upon boarding improve my experience? You have already reduced our legroom. Perhaps you should redo the seats in the terminal to mirror the lack of space we will have when we can actually get on a plane.

When I checked in my luggage, I thanked the attendant for ruining her plans. It’s not her fault and I told her that. She agreed. Unfortunately she is the face that you put in front of me. She listened, I complained. I thanked her and we went our separate ways. Now my checked luggage is setting there, unlocked because the government searches it in the name of security. Odds are that it will NOT make it to my final destination. This is the voice of experience talking because I have been down this road before.

As I sit at the airport, I see the clouds rolling in. Yep, I am certain that I will experience additional delays this afternoon because of weather. My weather app tells me that there is a 70% chance of afternoon Thunderstorms by 4pm. Just about the boarding time for my flight from Augusta to Atlanta.

Hopefully I’ll get home based upon my revised itinerary. I’ll let you know. At least I’ll have my questionnaire that I will be sent by e-mail asking me about my experience. NOT!

Categories
ramblings of a madman

Internet services

The internet has changed a great many things about everyday life. From how we do our jobs to research and communication, music, entertainment, and of course buying things. The buying of things has been a significant change. Directly or indirectly, Walmart stores have been blamed for the decimation of Main Street USA. Many of the brick-and-mortar stores that did not or could not embrace the internet have failed because they were already weakened by Walmart. I saw it first hand in my hometown in Pennsylvania. Walmart, and a few other stores have been able to survive the Amazon juggernaut by competing directly against them. They have had to figure out how to fold the internet into their stores. Main Street continues to survive, albeit in a very weekend condition.

Over the past several years, I have shopped less and less in a brick-and-mortar store, and it is easier to order something online. That said, it has not been without frustration. This subject is indirectly tied to my frustration. I find myself on business travel this week. Thus, I have to board my dog this week. The place that I have chosen allows me to access a webcam in their room. The problem is that you have to know which room, and what the camera password is. That said, I have tried the password, including multiple spellings, upper case versus lower case, across all 20 rooms. No luck. Of course, it is after hours and no one is there, or at least no one is answering the phone. I have to assume that there is someone there with the dogs. My dog has stayed at this place four times. I have seen a deterioration in the service in this area in my last two trips. Not happy with the service at this juncture. I do my best to support local small businesses, but the person-on-person interaction is key.

Conversely, I have had very good service from E-Bay, but Amazon has been hit or miss. It is difficult to gauge the quality of the product from Amazon. They provide information, but good luck trying to determine if it is “Made in the USA”. In some categories, Amazon offers the same quality as I have had with E-Bay, but that has been only in a few areas. With either website, I have yet had the experience to return a purchase.

Buying things on Facebook has been a completely frustrating. I have had three items that I have purchased from a Facebook ad never arrived and months in some instances to get a refund; and two items that were purchased and took months to be shipped. The one item has several websites devoted to the fraud associated with the product. Two years and no refund or shipment of the purchase. I have given up on it. It is clear to me that Facebook takes limited responsibility on the vendors, the quality of the ads, or trying to satisfy those who purchase from sites that advertise on their website.

I know lots of people who do not purchase stuff online. Others prefer going to a store and purchase items, often after researching the item on the internet. I like that approach as well. The great unknown in the internet is that people can get credit, purchase things, and the debt just continues to suck people in and have less and less for necessities. The internet fails to make a direct connection with people, who are necessary to create the service.

What do you think. I could go on and on about this. I am not an expert, but I know what I like and do not like.