Monday, December 29, 2008


In a few days 2008 will be gone and the New Year will begin. This upcoming year is a hopeful one for me. Even though the economy is in the dumps and will probably get worse before it gets better, I have hope. It's strange because I'm basically a cynic, but an optimistic one. A cynic with hope. I think that when people are left to their own devices, often, the worst will come out in them. But not always.

After Greenspan's recent statements, he could have used a dose of my cynicism. He thought banks could be deregulated because he believed they would always act with the interest of the greater good, and not grab all the profit they could RIGHT NOW, and the future be damned. All too soon they found that their future was damned, and the future of lots of smaller real people with real lives and real families to take care of. I don't care that a financial institution like Washington Mutual no longer exists, but I do care that its demise has put thousands of people out of work, and more thousands will lose their homes. I wonder if Greenspan ever heard that there's a little bit of larceny in every heart? I wonder that he thought a financial institution would behave like a human? Yes, it may be run by people, but it is not a person - it is a corporation and corporations exist only to create profits. And we now see that a corporation will do anything for ever greater profits even if it means in the end that it will die of its own gluttony. It's kind of like a parasite or a cancer - it feeds off its host until the host dies, causing its own demise in the end.

Well, all that sounds kind of hopeless, doesn't it? If so, let me say two words: Barack Obama. I have hope because after eight of the most excruciating years of dismal leadership, we now have an incoming president who appears to know how to think, a guy who can see a problem from its many different angles, a guy who has traveled and lived outside of the U.S.A. and because of that I have hope that he has a broader perspective, that he can see the bigger picture.

So, I'm a cynic with hope. An optimistic cynic. Dang, I love a dichotomy!

And here is my list of 2009 resolutions. I post them as I did before, with the hope that public posting will bring greater endeavor to achieve such resolutions. Alas, I don't really have much hope on this score, never the less, I will post, and we can revisit them in twelve months, okay?

1. As it was last year: Finish the damn book! Write, write, write until it is done!

2. De-clutter. As promised, this item has been moved forward to 2009, with hope.

3. Study hard and try to understand this new techno-babble that is web language.

4. Try to 10% more frugal, and get my savings back to a comfortable level.

There you have it. Less ambitious than last year I think, but we all know what happened to those resolutions!

I hope you all find the New Year to be kind and exciting and healthy and a time when you can get closer to those things of which you dream. I dream of peace and love and people living with tolerance if not understanding.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


As I sit and watch the snow come down for hours on end, in my mind I'm basking in warmer days...

Hanalei Bay

Ke'e Beach

Another Kaua'i beach but I can't remember which one...


So, we are getting to the end of December and I was looking back over my posts and I realized two things: A) I did not post much this year, which is weird because I've been thinking about a lot of thingsā€¦ B) I did not reach any of my resolutions for 2008!!! Horrors. I thought that with them being posted publicly and all I would be inspired to keep at least some of them and not be shamed, as I am, shamed.

Let's start with resolution #1 - finish the book. I have to say in my defense that I have made progress on it and am at about the 80% mark. I am also writing a lot on this break and if I don't finish it this year, I will definitely get close.

#2 - De-clutter. Right. Like that's going to happen. I will keep it on the list though. Who knows, maybe I'll move this year and I'll be forced to get rid of stuff instead of moving it.

#3 - Find a job. Well it's true. I did get laid off in February, but then I got into this worker re-training program and I'm going to school full time, studying Web Design/Development. Part of the conditions of the funding for this is that I finish the program and that I do not accept any job which would then disqualify me for funding. They want us to complete and to succeed. Kinda nice, huh? So, no job yet. Hopefully the economy will stop tanking by the time I'm done and I'll be able to get one then, but it looks dismal.

#4 - Eat out less, cook at home more. Well, for the most part, this was not too successful. I eat at home and out in basically the same ratio as before. It's hard when one lives in a university district and has so many options for really good and often very cheap food. Why cook for one when I can go down the street and have a steaming hot bowl of pho at Tran Bros., or a "burrito muy pappas" at the taqueria, or "spicy crispy eggplant" at the Mandarin Chef, or palak paneer and naan at Jewel of India, or a baked potato with broccoli and a pint of porter at Big Time? Why, I ask?

I did however, go on a soup making binge last week, and I have soup to last me weeks if not a whole month, which came in very handy recently with the snow and all, so I have been eating at home almost exclusively this week.

#5 - I did revamp the look of my blog but in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit I did it before making my resolution list, and then I added it so that I'd have at least one thing to cross off. There I said it. I cheated. Just a wee bit. The other thing to consider though, is that now that I've had my first full quarter of web design, I must say that I did not learn enough to revamp it any more than I already have. And I really want to get rid of those little black corner marks, but I haven't figured it out yet.

#6 - Appreciating my friends and letting them know it. I think this is something that can't really be crossed off, that it is something we must strive to do daily. It takes energy and work to build and maintain friendships. If you lapse, you risk the chance that they will slip away and you'll lose track of them. It's harder to slip away these days with the interwebs and all, but it can happen. So I will continue to love and appreciate and to let you know that I do. (and thank you Brad for your lovely sentiments on this matter.)

That being said - I am thankful for the interwebs and the reconnection to my friend Tom Stanton, whom I have not seen for better than twenty years. And I am thankful that Carolyn Tracy and I connected again as I have not been as diligent with her friendship as I should have been. And apologies to Todd that I did not email him to get together before he took off to Thailand, but I will make sure to make time for him when he gets back. And I'm glad that everyone in my family now has webcams and we can skype each other - seeing them in the jerky motions of skype definitely lessens the great distances between us. I am also thankful for cell phone plans that give free night and weekend minutes and I can have my two and three hour conversations with Jay, and with Tim, and late at night with Rochelle.