Where is the rest of the Internet?

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lkngI often go searching the internet for things that interest me but often have a hard time finding anything on a subject.  Yes, they are obscure, specialized and sometimes perverted things but it blows my mind that there aren’t other people out there with similar ideas.

I know I’m not the only person on the planet with certain interests.  I can’t help feeling that the search engines are censoring our results and we are barely scraping the surface of the web.  It can be extremely frustrating to not find satisfying results on subjects you feel strongly about.

There is a thing known as the Dark Web or Deep web but finding it is rather difficult.  I guess I’ll have to make it my business to find the entrance.  Going there can be scary because who knows who is watching.  Anonymity has long since disappeared on the internet and big brother is watching at all times.

The internet as we all know it is highly filtered.  The olden days of the Wild West are over.  You see what they want you to see and nothing more.

Money for Panhandlers

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pnhndlerLike most cities, San Antonio has a large number of panhandlers at major intersections.  Technically Illegal here it doesn’t stop anyone.  What are the cops going to do anyway?

In the past I have been, like most people, indifferent to them.  We look the other way like they don’t exist.  It always bothered me to do that though.

During the 10 months I took off from work I was not homeless or even wanting for money but as I searched for a new job I felt a connection to the plight of the homeless and uneducated people out there.  Even with education and skills, the competition for a good job is still incredible.  When you are homeless, it can be virtually impossible to pull yourself out of the gutter.

It also bothers me to give to those who are intentionally making panhandling their full-time job.  A person can make quite a bit of money playing on the sympathy of the common motorist.  It’s still far from the American Dream.

Many are disabled or even veterans unable to make it in the real world.  Some just elderly and without family for support.

I’ve decided that no matter what their issue, I think it wouldn’t hurt me to help them out.  I keep a stash of $5 bills in easy reach so I can make their lives a little better.  Whether they are seriously down and out or just eeking out a living they are very appreciative and I feel good about making their day easier.

I wish there was a better way for them and in many cities there is but at least I can do more than just feel bad for them or even be annoyed about what they are doing.  You only live once and when that life sucks to the max, it’s nice to have someone care enough to help you out a little.

Rain Barrel

rnbrrlI’ve always wanted a rain barrel but never got around to it.  Now I wonder why I waited so many years.

I picked up a perfect plastic barrel at a farm supply store near Seguin.  It only cost $28.00 after tax and fit easily in the back of my car.

I brought it home and put it on two nicely leveled cinder blocks I had sitting around.  The top of the barrel has a nice square hole over which I stretched some windows screen on a wooden frame made by cutting pieces of wood at 45 degree angles. This will keep out the debris and mosquitoes.  Don’t like mosquitoes.  The top of the barrel also has a slot where the overflow can pour.  I just had to shorten the downspout from the gutter over the garage and put the angled end back.  Too easy.

It took me around 30 minutes to set up.  All I have left to do is get a faucet and attach it near the bottom.  Can’t wait for some rain now.

I am blessed

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blssdlfYou know… I’ve spent 20 years wallowing in depression and it wasn’t until just now that I realized that I am living a truly blessed life.  I was so caught up in loneliness and self-pity that I failed to notice that compared to the majority of people on this planet, I am incredibly blessed.

Yeah,  I don’t have a family or satisfying friendships but as far as the American Dream goes;  I’ve got it.

During my time of not working, I kind of identified with the jobless, scrambling masses.  Of course I wasn’t one of them but still I felt a connection.  It gave me time to see life from the other side of where I lived.  So many people are living paycheck to paycheck.  They are barely eeking out an existence and struggling to meet life’s basic requirements of food, shelter, transportation and health.  I have at least three friends who are in that category.

It made me realize just how blessed I am.  I’ve never had to struggle for my existence.  I can almost say that life has handed me everything I need and more.  We were not rich when I was a child.  After my father died when I was 9, my mom, brother and myself lived on social security.  We didn’t have a lot but we had everything we needed and more.

After I graduated from school I worked and attended college for my associates degree.  I continued on towards an engineering degree but got into the emerging computer industry.  Jobs were easy to find and paid quite well.  I bought a house, a Porsche, a BMW, an RV and whatever else I wanted.   Life was easy.

Perhaps not having a wife and family contributed to my easy success and I’m not sure I miss having them.  It costs a lot to have a family.

In general, life gives me whatever I need.  I don’t have to go out and fight for things.  They just come to me.

I don’t intend to be bragging about my easy fortune but I do want to remind myself about it because life really is good for me.  I only wish I could get those wasted 20 years back.  There’s no doubt that wisdom comes with age.  It is unlikely that I could have recognized my good life back then anyway.  The important thing is that I go forward and appreciate what I have accomplished.  I am blessed and I appreciate it.

Being Black is a choice

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blkmn1Stories about white police viciously beating black men are all over the news these days.  It may appear that these cops are deliberately targeting black men but the simple statistics show that there are more white cops than black.  There are more bad black men than there are white.  Simple logic dictates that there will be white cops busting black men.

There is no doubt that cops should not use unnecessary force on any man white or black.  There is definitely a problem here but this is not the root cause of this problem.  We are overlooking the fact that these bad black men should not be acting in such a manner that puts them in the position to be arrested in the first place.

There are two basic categories we can observe:
1. Men who are black
2. Black Men

There are Men who are Black:  Those men who are classy, educated, trustworthy, contributors to society.  These men are regular people who just happen to have black skin.

Then there are Black Men.  Men who not only have black skin but insist on ACTING black.  These are the ones who are out on the street wearing hoodies in the summer, tattooed and carrying weapons.   Here is where your choice comes in.  You don’t have to do that.  Acting this way will get you in trouble in one way or another.  If you want to be treated like you deserve then act accordingly.   If you insist on acting black then don’t complain when the consequences occur.

There is no racial discrimination due to the color of your skin.  We got over that decades ago.  The racial discrimination we are currently experiencing is the result of the way you are acting.  Normal people don’t like that and therefore have a bad opinion of you.

So stop it.  Be nice.  Be good.  Life is too short to be angry.

Remember when phone quality was good?

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oldphnWhen I was growing up we didn’t have cell phones.  We had a regular phone that plugged in the the wall of your house.  You had to sit there by the phone on the floor in the hallway when you were talking to someone.  We were fine with that.

The best thing about those old phones is that you could hear and understand EVERY world that was said.  You didn’t have to keep guessing at what the other person was trying to say as the signal cuts in and out.

I’m about fed up with cell phone technology.  You would think by now that things would have gotten better.  Call quality has actually gotten worse lately.  I’m dangerously close to calling the phone company and asking for an old fashioned line so I might actually understand what people who are calling me are trying to tell me.  It probably wouldn’t help much because the people calling me are on cell phones.

I think the time of quality voice communication is over.  Maybe we should just give it up completely and move to texting and email.  I think I like that better anyway.

Why do people hate the Jews?

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jwshThe news reports that violent antisemitism surged 40% in 2014.   I have a hard time understanding why the Jewish people are so hated across the world.  I’m not Jewish and I don’t really know anyone personally who is.  I’m sure some of them might be Jewish but they’re not very jewy.

I don’t see any good reason to hate them.  Sure they have strange customs but how horrible is that?  I would so love to belong to a group that has customs.  I’m just a white guy in Texas surrounded by Mexicans.  I’ve got nothing.

As far as I know, Jews don’t go around forcing their religion on others like Christians, Mormons and Radical Muslims.   They just keep to themselves and live a good life.  If we all did that the world would be a far better place.

I think antisemitism is based purely in jealousy.  The Jewish do well because they are smart and have good family values.  I think we could all learn a number of lessons from them.  We should all cut them some slack and mind our own business for a change.

What’s wrong with using a selfie stick?

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slfystkSo what is wrong with using a Selfie Stick?   I’m not a big fan of taking selfies but I don’t see the problem with it.  It’s not like it’s anything new.  In the past you just asked someone else to take your picture.  Now you’re doing it yourself and not bothering others.  Big deal.

You want a picture of yourself with your friends or in front of some national landmark otherwise who would even know that you were there.  There has to be proof.  If there’s no picture then it didn’t happen.

People may argue that the selfie-stick takes up space but the Earth is large.  I think a person can be afforded a few extra inches of personal space every once in a while.  It’s hardly dangerous.  It’s not like people are whipping it around knocking over the Venus de Milo or injuring someone. The physics just aren’t there.

Others call selfies narcissistic.  Maybe, but that’s none of our business is it?

Personally, I can’t see myself ever owning a selfie stick.  If I need a picture of myself I use a tripod.  Of course that isn’t portable.

In the end, who cares?  Can’t we all just mind our own business and let others live their lives?

Laptop Acquired

dllptpI have laptop again.  A few months ago my old laptop died after many years of service.  I had planned on buying a new one but found out that work was going to give me one since I would be on call one Saturday each month for a few hours.

Cool.  After receiving my Dell Core i3 laptop I immediately swapped in a SSD that I had available and installed the latest Windows 10 technical preview.   I’m back in business.

Now I should be blogging more often again because it is more convenient not having to go upstairs to use the computer.  Blogging on my iPad just wasn’t easy enough.  I like the nice keyboard and flexibility of a computer.

So… Get ready for plenty of griping, advice, observations and thoughts.

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