Saturday, October 18, 2008

Political Bullshit

I posted something else earlier if you don't want to read about politics.

I have been engulfed in political discussions for weeks now. I am no expert on the subject, but it has really gotten to me this year.

When I went off to college at 17 Reagan had been in office for a year or so, and had quickly resolved the Iran hostage situation just because of who he was. That made me admire the guy. I had no clue of the details around the release, or what being a Republican meant. I really didn't know the difference between the parties other than my dad was Republican and my mom Democrat.

Soon after I got to Phoenix for school I needed to get a new driver's license... well I was told I had to after getting busted for not driving with my headlights on (there was a loose wire), not having a local license, and not having proof of insurance in the car. On top of that I had turned 18, and needed a different license for that. Luckily I was pulled over into the parking lot where I worked. My manager was outside and knew the cop. The resulted in me just getting ticketed for the license and insurance proof.

While getting my license I was asked if I wanted to register to vote. I figured what the hell, but I had to choose a party affiliation. Independant was not an option at the time, and I was clueless. I chose Republican since I knew that Reagan was a Republican.

I live in the most conservative city in Colorado, so its not like I have seen much of what Democrats can do here. Over the years I felt my choice was a good one. I learned that Republicans keep government small and taxes low. There were a few things I didn't follow with the right wing though. Especially the right for a woman to choose how she handles a pregnancy. I always felt that it was a strange thing that Republicans wanted smaller government and less regulation, but wanted to push their opinion on whether an abortion was right or wrong.

Now that I am a father and have a number of presidents behind us since my entrance into this realm, I see things a hell of a lot different than in my youth. I have always been moderate, but always leaning to the right. But I was seeing some problems with how our very conservative town was working.

Maybe our public school systems need better management, but without the funding their isn't much to manage. Every school my kids have gone to has been over-crouded since the day it was opened. My oldest son's middle school was built for a capacity of 600, but they were forced to put almost 1000 kids in this school the first full year it was opened. The high school he now attends is under the same strain.

Two years ago some people were able to get a few measures passed to get more school funding in our district and some road improvement projects. I voted for the higher taxes, as I didn't see things getting any better in the future unless all the jobs in town dried up and people moved away. We now have a new high school, middle school, and a couple grade schools. The high school my son attends got a couple huge additions to it. We're finally getting close to where we should be.

This town has been so against any taxes that they can't see what the lack of that revenue does to our future. I am not saying that I am totally for any new tax hike that comes along, but I am going to be taking a much closer look at things before taking a hard line on no taxes.

This brings me to the presidential candidates. This has been an interesting year. I voted for McCain back in the 2000 primary. I saw Bush as a fumbling idiot, so I couldn't back him. Lets face it... Bush is not the brains behind this administration, and some really powerful people have gotten their pockets lined without tax dollars and whenever we fill our tanks. I know things can't be any worse than what we've had for the last 8 years... well, so I thought.

I was never too excited about Hillary Clinton. I thought that would be a mistake. I am by no means against a woman president. I bet a woman could do a hell of a lot better than some of our past (and a hell of a lot better than our current) presidents. I just thought that people hate her too much to be successful. McCain to me was a good choice. He was a lot more moderate than any other Republicans in the race. Obama was an unknown to me, but some of what he was saying was definitely had some good points.

Then McCain started falling in-line with the more conservative right wingers. I kept telling myself he is just doing this to get the backing of the party, and that he would not be such a party guy once he got to the while house. But then he picked Palin for a running mate.


I could not stand her from the first minute she opened her mouth. I couldn't give less of a shit that she is pretty. Who the hell cares when this is someone that would be taking over if McCain dies in office (which isn't such a small risk). He needed to pick someone maybe a little more right than him... NOT THE QUEEN OF THE FUCKING FASCISTS!

This person is so NOT prepared for a heavy political position, and certainly doesn't have enough knowledge to even try to be a "Maverick". It is clear to me that McCain's handlers chose her is because she is a woman governor, NOT because she has any clue as a politician. I think McCain had no idea how bad of a match this was.

Now I've been feeling like a total ass for hoping he was who I thought. I can't in good conscience vote for McCain. Now that I have watched all 4 debates I am more certain than ever that the Republican party has totally lost its way. Obama not only handled himself WAY better than McCain in all 3 debates, the points he has made make far more sense to me (and apparently most of the US agrees).

A few weeks ago a fried of mine was over for gaming night and asked if I wanted to get a mail in ballot. I figured I would, but then on the form it also asked if I wanted to change my part affiliation. I changed to Democrat.

Now I worry about Obama being killed by one of these lunatics behind McCain.

I hope that is the last thing I say about the election before Nov 4th.

Thoughts on travel... and being a pussy

One of the things I wish I did more is travel. So the majority of my vacations are to visit family. Sure, I get out to Vegas or like in August I went to San Diego, but I feel guilty if I go on a trip without my kids. I usually tell them I will be out of town, so that they don't wonder why I am not at the house. I know I need my adult fun.

I have never been to Europe. I have only taken a part day trek to Mexico when I was in high school. For some reason I kind of have this feeling like I don't deserve a nice vacation. I am not one to go somewhere alone. I applaud my friends that can do that, but it would just make me feel out of place. Not on an adventure, which is what I know I would feel like if I went on with someone.

I have used the excuse of not being able to afford a nice trip like this. This isn't really true. I could do it financially if I really wanted to. I just avoid putting large charges on my credit card if at all possible.

The lady I went out with last week before my Michigan trip is now in Germany. She is a chef at a very posh hotel here in Colorado Springs, so she is there on a business trip. But I know she is going to make an adventure of it. She is definitely that type. I admire that. Is there a gene I am missing? I know that one of my inhibitions around this is because I wouldn't know the local language, but people do this all the time.

A friend of mine at work has been really hard on me lately because I am not outgoing enough. He slammed me because I meet women I date on-line instead of just going up to someone in the grocery store or where ever, and asking them for their number. Sometimes I think its easy for him to say these things because he is married. But then I see how women react to him all the time and I know I not doing it right.

For me its not about "hooking up". I do want to find someone that could build into a serious relationship. It's not like I can't talk to women. I do, and sometimes at very random locations. I just don't seem to have the balls to ask for their number. I think the last time I did that was 2 weeks after my ex left. It landed me a date with an extremely attractive woman, but ended badly because she was a HEAVY drinker and a party princess.

Maybe the on-line thing is just too easy to hide behind. I guess I need to get out of my safe zone... for both the dating and the travelling.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vacationing in Michigan

My kids are on a 2 week fall break from school, so I decided if I don't take a vacation now I will lose much of my vacation time (we don't get to roll it over or get paid out at year's end). With mom having gone through her surgery I figured now would be a good time to come. Plus, Erik's birthday just happened yesterday.

The drive out was uneventful. Kevin helped with about 7 of the hours of driving. I don't rest well with him behind the wheel, but I did take a nap the second morning, only to be jolted from my 20 minutes of sleep when Kevin hit the warning track on the shoulder. No more sleeping for me! He wasn't going off the road, but some states put their warning bumps way too close to the lane.

We had a nice party for Erik last night. My brother-in-law and niece came up from Ann Arbor with a cake made from scratch. It was great to see everyone there. We're all getting together again on Wednesday too.

I had to come to the coffee shop down the street from the senior center mom lives in to get wi-fi. There is something wrong with her router. I am sure that is something I will tackle this afternoon or tonight during the Red Sox game.

I went on a first date this past week. It was kind of an odd thing. She messaged me first, which is always a good thing, since I am such a fucking coward sometimes. We decided to meet at an Old Chicagos near her house. Meeting at a bar is not always a good thing. She asked if I was good at trivia... "pretty good", I said. But I hadn't played the trivia game that plays in the bar. She seemed genuinely excited to meet, so that made me feel at ease.

The evening we decided to meet she was going to have dinner with her parents and daughter, but would meet me after that. She said to relax after I got home from work, throw on some jeans and come meet her around 9.

Before meeting her I decided to take a really critical look at her profile. The big thing that stood out was that she smoked "sometimes". I decided that maybe it's only a minor thing and to let it slide. Normally to me it is black and white, either you are a smoker or you aren't, but we'll see.

When she arrived, I saw her walking through the bar and said hi to a couple people. Hmmmm. She was wearing a pretty hot little dress with a lot of cleavage showing, which made me wonder about the jeans comment. Oh well.

She knew most of the bartenders, and told one to get us another trivia controller. and she ordered a beer for herself, I did as well. The bartender delivered the controller and a personized stein with her name on it full of Guiness. The first game I started out good, and by the time we finished 15 questions I had kicked ass. She then told me she needed to go outside to smoke. She told me she only smokes when she drinks... From the looks of that mug, she must drink a lot.

The second game she kicked my ass hands down. So she is smart, at least on trivia. The 3rd game I again got my ass handed to me. WTF! Did she let me win that first one? She won the fourth game, but not by as much. She is a very nice lady. I doubt this is someone I will be with long term, but she is a lot of fun. I wouldn't mind having her as a friend. We have VERY similar senses of humor.