Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recovery

My dear friend, Dianna Degette, "D" as I affectionately call her, sent me an email today. Not only is she my dear friend, but my also my representative in the House of Representatives. I like her much better than my senators because she emails me once and awhile to let me know how she is doing and (more importantly?) what she is doing .

Today's email was more about Mr. Obama's address to Congress a few days ago. She is "inspired by his wisdom and confidence that he has for the future of our nation". I did not watch the address. She probably knows that and just wanted to fill me in.

D also invited me to check out recovery.gov so that I am able to monitor where the money is going to be spent for the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Isn't that sweet of her? She knew I was a little skeptical as to how that money would be spent, and looking out for me, she passed along a web address for me. This is why she is my dear friend; she is always looking out for my interests.

Honestly, one of the things I like about what Mr. Obama says is that he is going to add some transparency and accountability to the executive branch of the government. I really like the idea behind http://www.recovery.gov . I think it is a great idea, and I will probably look at it a lot. It is a good step towards his goal. It is a tiny step, and I have doubts as to just how much Mr. Obama will be able to restore confidence in the integrity of any politian, but at least he is taking steps toward that end. Yes, I did not vote for Mr. Obama and do not agree with lots of what he stands for, but I do like the idea behind the website. I have not had time to look through it, so at this point, it is just the idea I am excited about. I do not know how usful the content will be, but I am optimistic.

I am less optimistic about our ability to pay off this huge amount of money we are spending, but what the heck do I care? There is a new website out there. I do not know how much of the bill goes for creating and upkeep of the site. I figure that is in "other". I hope it is not all of other. 8 billion is a lot for a website.

In case you care (and don't want to look yourself) here is a breakdown:

Category
Amount ($ Billions)
*Tax Relief
$288
*State and Local Fiscal Relief
$144
Infrastructure and science
$111
Protecting the Vulnerable
$81
Health Care
$59
Education and Training
$53
Energy
$43
Other
$8

* Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy.

*State and Local Fiscal Relief - Prevents state and local cuts to health and education programs and state and local tax increases.

By the way, D also invited me to add her as a friend on Facebook. Isn't that cool?

And... Colorado also has a recovery page: http://www.colorado.gov/recovery/

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent

I took the boys to the church last night for a Fat Tuesday pancake dinner so, I guess that means Lent starts today.

Sometimes I give something up for Lent. Sometimes I don't. I do not ever remember it being something Lutherans necessarily did as I was growing up. It was one of those catholic things. It is very possible that it just was not something we did as a family or maybe it was just not something I did. But, nonetheless, I never really gave anything up for Lent until I was an adult, and then it was never that big of a deal.

In fact until just yesterday, I never heard that the Sundays during Lent are not part of the time that you have to give something up. Apparently, Sundays are "mini-Easters" and you can do whatever you want on those Sundays.... as long as it does not violate the keeping the Sabbath Holy and other pesky commandments like not murdering or coveting etc... To me, that makes things infinitely easier. I'm not sure it is really that much of a sacrifice if you can indulge once a week. I guess it depends on what you are giving up.

I may be giving up coffee, since I am already not drinking coffee this week (because I am giving blood Saturday) and I might as well just continue. I guess.

I could give up drinking beer. I am in the middle of brewing a few batches, so it would be inconvenient to have to wait the extra time to sample them, but I could do it. It might even be better ... one more reason to wait for the conditioning to be done.

I may try to fast for Lent. After all, it is not like I will starve to death if I can eat on Sundays. On second thought, though, maybe that one is a bad idea.

My sister is giving up the internet for Lent. That will not work for me. I literally need the internet to do my jobs. I cannot work just on Sundays. I did consider giving up facebook for Lent, and I have been on facebook today, so I could do that. But something that trivial would be pointless.

Anyway, chances are, I will not give up anything for Lent. If I do, it will be something trivial like coffee or beer. Probably not beer. I need to give my 1776 ale a taste pretty soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No School


Tyler did not have school today (Tuesday). Some sort of teacher-in-service day. He got off Friday and Monday (Presidents Day) too.

Monday and Fridays are easy because Tracy works part time, three day weeks and has Fridays and Mondays off. Tuesdays are another story, though. We could put Tyler in La Petite (Connor's preschool and Tyler's before / after school care) for the day. But, I hate doing that. It just does not seem fair to have a day off and have to spend it in "school".

So, I try to not work on days when Tyler is off school and Tracy has to work.

Today, I figured I would have to at least be available for my client, though. So, I gave the boys the choice to stay home with me or going to La Petite. I told them that I would have to work most of the day and that if they chose to stay at home I expected them to play nicely together and be able to let me work.

I was extremely pleased with their ability to work together to come up with activities to keep themselves busy. They did every one of their puzzles together. They also played a lot with their Marble Run game. They made a real good one.

video

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It is not true

I don't get "brain freezes". I never have. Personally, I do not think they actually exist. The whole concept of a "brain freeze" is just one big conspiracy. Apparently people decided to claim that if they eat something cold too fast, it causes a quick, sharp pain to the head. It does not happen to me, so the only thing I can conclude is that brain freezes don't actually exist and for some reason hundreds if not thousands of people are lying to me when they describe the phenomenon. Why would the world "at large" go to such a huge extent to perpetrate such a myth aimed primarily (as far as I can tell) at me? I do not know. If you claim to get brain freezes, why do you do it? NOTE: I have been told that only 1 in 3 people actually get "brain freezes" and that I am not that unusual for never having one. I swear I have never actually had someone say "me neither" when I mention that I do not get brain freezes. My sample size is not HUGE, but it is big enough that if 1 in 3 were actually the number, I would have come across a few people who have never gotten them. More proof that the whole thing is a big hoax.

I also doubt that such a thing as "heart burn" exists. Well, actually, let me qualify that. My wife described a sensation she called heart burn when she was pregnant and I do not think she was making that up. I do think a pregnant woman can get an unpleasant feeling due to large creatures growing and moving around in a space usually taken up mostly by internal organs. Something has to give in that sort of situation, and I can see moving digestive organs causing burning sensations all over the place. I do believe that pregnant woman feel all kinds of unpleasant things, and I do believe one of those feelings can be heart burn. But, I myself have never had heart burn, so I think that it is a myth that it can occur without some sort of major anomaly going on in the body such as a growing and kicking child or a pig swallowed whole or perhaps an alien parasite getting ready to burst out (like in Alien). Anyone who does not have something extraordinary going on inside must be lying when they claim heart burn.

I do not believe people can trip over untied shoelaces. Again, it has never happened to me, so it must be impossible. Do, however, always make sure your shoelaces stay tied when riding a bike. They can get tangled in the peddles, and that can get dangerous.

I do not believe people can get addicted to coffee or any form of caffeine.

Cutting onions never makes me cry, so obviously they don't have that power like people say.

I do not think cigarettes are as impossible to give up as people say. Of course, having never even tried a cigarette, I have no basis for that disbelief. Forget I said that.

The saying "lefty-loosey, righty-tighty" is a complete myth. When you turn something in a circle you are turning left, right, up, down and in all 360 degrees at once depending on what point on the outside of the circle you are talking about.

I do not think anyone out there actually likes Survivor or American Idol or any other of these "reality T.V." shows that have shown up on the airwaves over the past several years. I would not be surprised if a huge part of the problem with the economy is that networks play more and more of these shows despite the fact that no one actually likes them. Because no one likes them, no one pays attention to the advertisements and so they buy nothing. Thus, companies do not sell their products. People get laid off. People without jobs have extra time on their hands and have to watch the reality shows (it seems like very little else is on) and so, the downward spiral self-perpetuates.

I have a similar feeling for Soap Operas. At least the soaps do not come on in prime time.

If Obama wants to make a difference based on television, I do not think he should extend the digital T.V. conversion. Instead, I think he should ban reality shows and soap operas. I wonder if T.V. executives would be able to fill the time with something worthwhile or if they are going to have to come up with something even worse. Doesn't matter. Obama should make them shut off programming if they cannot come up with something worthwhile.

Anyway.... if you are indeed someone who perpetuates these myths. Please stop. Especially the "lefty-loosey, righty-tighty" myth. I hate that one.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Happy Birthday

It is my birthday today. I played hooky from work.

After I dropped the boys off at school, I stopped at a car wash and gave the mini-van a badly needed cleaning.

Then, I went back home and signed onto my computer to check things at CHFA (my current client). Nothing needed my attention, so I let them know I would be out for the day. I worded it "I'm going to save you some money today" rather than saying "I'm going to blow off work today." I think my way goes over a little better.

After sending the email, I headed out to the health club. Wednesday night is my night to go to Bally, and I knew that with gifts and cake and stuff chances were high that I would not get to go tonight. I worked out for about two hours, burning over 2,000 calories on a couple different cardio machines and lifted weights for about half an hour. It is hard to get in good workouts like this now-a-days, and it was a great feeling to get one in today.

After the workout, I went home again. I checked things at CHFA again. And loaded GPS coordinates into my GPS unit and headed off to Mt. Falcon park. It was such a beautiful day for a hike. I got to a couple of geo-caches, but just getting out was wonderful. I spent a little over 4 hours in the park. I hiked about 8 hours and spend a decent amount of time just sitting and looking at the wonderful views from the top of Mt. Falcon and listening to nature.

Now, I am home. The kids and their mom just arrived. They are wrapping gifts I think. I even get some cake tonight. I'm such a lucky guy.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow Sculptures

Happy Belated Groundhog's Day. Hope you got all your shopping done ahead of time and were not too stressed out with all the last-minute things that had to be done.

This past Sunday (Superbowl Sunday), we headed up to Breckenridge, CO to look at the 2009 Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships. It has been a long time since we have gone and in fact Connor has never been. The snow sculptures are always really cool and did not disappoint this year. It is amazing what people are able to created out of these huge blocks of snow.

And the weather was just perfect. We got a little "I'm cold" chants from the wipper-snappers, but considering how spoiled they are, not nearly as bad as I expected. We got lots of great pictures, and we all had fun, and we even got to go to Breckenridge Brewery where I got to try their Vanilla Porter, which I really enjoyed. If you ever get a chance to go up and see the snow sculptures, I highly recommend it.

We hit traffic on the way home and pretty much arrived for the Super Bowl. If you have been following my blog, (and chose to remember this bit of information) you know that I have been targeting Super Bowl Sunday as the day to taste my first home-brewed beer. It is amazing that I made it so long.

My first beer was a bit lighter than I would generally prefer, but I think it was a good first brew. Plus, it is the style Tracy prefers. It turned out really well. Tracy claimed she liked it too. It was a success! We still have some if you would like to come visit and try some.

And, yes, as I am just a huge geek, let me share with you a website I put together: http://beer.ericshepard.com . It is nothing real special, but if you would like to see what is going on with Sheppy Brews, you can come and see what I have brewing (literally and figuratively). There is even a handy-dandy calendar so you can see when you can taste the different styles of beer on a google calendar that I put together (http://beer.ericshepard.com/calendar.htm).

Anyway, it was a great Sunday for us. Hope yours was nice too.
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