Friday, May 09, 2008

Five Things

I wasn't officially tagged for this, and I won't tag anyone after me. Trevor once commented to the effect that the bloggers who do not get tagged are hurt by the omission. I've felt that disappointment too, so I'm not going to do it. Besides, at the rate I've been posting, this is similar to that mythical tree falling in the woods.

But this meme from ZombieSlayer's blog is kind of interesting because it poses some questions I'd like to answer.

Ten years ago I was:

At my age and stage of life, what I am doing now and what I was doing then only differ by employer and pay scale. Psyche! I was living in my San Francisco apartment back then, and life was totally different. My first-born had yet to make an appearance, and my then girlfriend had just moved in with me. This was that magical time in any new relationship when all your friends disappear and new ones appear in couples. One by one the implements of my bachelorhood were replaced with floral vases, paintings of scenic landscapes, matching table settings and cookware. I learned to say please, thank you, I'm sorry, and yes dear, of course you are right. I also learned that burping was not a compliment to the chef.

Five things on today's to-do list:

I filed an extension to my taxes on April 15th at 4:45PM, then made a mad dash for the post office which closed at 5. I got there just as the door was being locked. I'm kind of on a new kick—or should I say an evolving kick—to never pay another professional for what I can do myself. This started with the swimming pool. After getting stuck with a bill for five hundred dollars for closing the pool for the winter, I have been doing it myself since, for around thirty five dollars. Then I moved on to installing my own dimmer switches, then graduated to running a new outlet directly from the fuse box. I re-planted grass in my front yard, but I may have to get bailed out of that mess. So now I am doing my own taxes, with the help of Turbo Tax that is. I'm finding that there are a great many more deductions than those that my accountant was able to find. Despite only paying a portion of the estimated taxes that my accountant insisted I do, according to my numbers I still have money coming back. That's the only real item on my list right now, other than getting the house ready to sell if the market will bear it. I really doubt that's going to happen this year. I'm also thinking about growing some vegetables in the back yard.

Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:

Of course this would take some serious thinking, but I would find a place in America where the absence of a common source of income had been removed, and the people there are lost and unemployed. I'd pick a wide open field with a view of the mountains, alongside a lake and rivers and streams--and build a town. I'd create homesteads and give them away to anyone that agreed to farm the land. I'd invite and finance businesses that provide all services that are required for a community to be self-sufficient, the only requirement being that I am a majority shareholder in that business but a silent partner until such a time as that business infringes upon the environment. There would not be a drop of oil in town, unless it was prefixed by Olive. In the mountains I would build a massive wind farm, and start a company to employ the people to build turbines. There would be an ordinance prohibiting any sort of gas consuming vehicle within the range of all this. Anyone caught breaking this rule would have their car impounded and recycled. All homes and businesses would have solar panels, which my new company would provide at cost. I would create a mini-intelligence agency, whose only purpose was to find and prevent any corruption in the governing of this community. I would buy and store the material necessary to build a crenellated wall around the whole thing, and the weaponry and ammo to arm the potential guards that would walk its perimeter—not to protect anyone from terrorists, but from our own, if there ever comes a day when the people can't feed themselves any more.

Or I would start a technology company under the auspices of some abstract concept like "B to B Commerce", and hire all the best hackers from every college. Then we would systematically break into every known government database, into the bank accounts of oil barons and no-bid government contractors, and divert their moneys to making this planet a better place to live on. I'd call this company Sherwood Industries, and my phalanx of programmers the Merry Men (even though a great many of them would be women).

I'd start an online community that brought together people from all sides of the political spectrum, and hire charismatic speakers to spread the message that the people are tired of two-party politics, that democracy doesn't work when it is hijacked by the media and the elite that control it. I would start my own media empire that would be untouchable by anyone. Each station would be independent, just like the sections of a worm that can survive if cut off from the main body.

In short, I would do what I could to keep America free in the strictest sense of the word. I would take back what has been taken from us and bring us closer to the promises made by our Constitution.

Three bad habits:

I'm totally with Zombie on this one: video games. I don't know what to do about this. I think I am a lot like my mother, having an addictive personality. I have to be addicted to something. To pretend otherwise will land me in AA. At least it's video games. To date, I have played Call of Duty 4 for an hourly total of nearly ten days. That's two hundred and forty hours, two complete work weeks. And you wonder where I've been.

Coffee—again with Zombie on this—is another. Although I'm not as bad as I was when I commuted to work. There I would drink it just to be doing something. Now I only drink around two cups a day. But that is fully loaded with caffeine, and that can't be a good thing.

I'll have to ask my wife for a third. I suppose she would say that I don't do my laundry like I should. She has boycotted doing it for me, which is a theme in my life. You see, at heart I am a total slob.

Five places that I have lived:

Akron, Ohio – Where I was born and where, for years, I yearned to return. When I did, I was perplexed to see how run down it was compared to the other places I had lived.

Niscayuna, New York – I remember this most fondly when I was a kid. There was a network of trails in the woods behind my house that in one direction led to a golf course. I came back for a night visit when I was first on my own and passing through the area and found that it has all been developed with new homes.

Juneau, Alaska – A great place to be from, and even a better place to live if you love a glacial backdrop and have a taste for the outdoor life. The former I have to admit never really got old, but the latter was not me in the slightest. The most memorable characteristic of my high school brethren was a tendency to settle arguments with a fist, which was not my gift. But come to think of it, that was the way of things at every school I went to. If I could have only learned to go right down the middle with a haymaker, how easier life might have been.

Hayden Lake, Idaho - Turns out that I wasn't far from the heart of the Arian Nation when I lived here. When I pointed this out to my father, he told me that some of his friends at the time were heavily involved. Now that's scary.

San Francisco, California – I already mentioned it earlier, but I would like to point out that I have never lived in a more beautiful city (and I have lived in quite a few, more than I have listed here) than San Francisco. This city is contained in about a seven mile by seven mile box, but is packed with wonderful surprises. You could be a block away from a children's park or a highly eclectic street of shops and not even know it. There is a pride in knowing your way around the city, and where to find a great place to eat for pennies on the dollar. Of all the places I have ever been, this is the one that I would go back to if I had enough money to do so comfortably.

Five jobs I've had in my life

My first job was toting supplies for my dad and his cronies on various home building projects. My official title was Dumb Ass, Shit Head, Lazy Ass, Dumb Fuck, Shit for Brains, and Slow Leak, depending on the day. Ah, those were the days.

At sixteen I was a windshield washer for a Chevron gas station.

After that I bagged groceries for the super market in the same shopping center. I got fired for calling in sick and playing the junior-senior football game, which we, the juniors, won. It was worth it

After that, McDonald's. The hardest job that I have ever had.

My dad met the woman that he is still married to today when he picked her and her girlfriend up on the side of the road hitchhiking. He was running a major construction operation, with about a hundred employees, composing three framing crews, crews for soffet, vinyl siding and manual laborers for set up and clean up. When he met the love of his life (he was still married at the time), he dropped all these responsibilities into my lap and disappeared.


Beth said...

I didn't know you were such an environmentalist, Scott. That really surprised me. Loved the idea of your little town ... no gas, no oil, just plain old living.

What about no video games too? hehe

Scott said...

I don't think of myself as an environmentalist. But I am against putting poison into the ground when we drink the water that comes from it. My main concern is that we have way over-relied on oil, and now we have to go and take it. My main focus is on getting off that, ahem, addiction, so that we can live within our actual means, not one artificially held artificially high. Because when it runs out, those walls are going to be needed.

The Zombieslayer said...

Glad you did this one.

I like your ideal city. I like how you took energy into an account. It's probably the most important political issue today (besides overpopulation which nothing can really be done about that).

Never been to Alaska though. Would love to. I can't take the cold very well (which is why we left the Midwest), but if I could, I know I'd love Alaska.

Alan said...

It's only because of the crenellations on the wall around your town that made me think your town will be called Latveria, and as needs dictate, I will have to become the Reed Richards to your Doctor Doom.

Are you playing the vidgames alone, or with a network of peeps?

Hey, do you smoke? That just occured to me to ask. I guess the talk of addiction ...

RE: your writing. You've still got it and I still love it.

mr. schprock said...

Your city kind of reminds me of "The Village." I've always wanted to create a town to put all the winos who beg money from me whenever I run to the 7 Eleven. This town would be made of nothing but street corners, as many street corners as the eye could see. Each wino could have his own street corner! Just imagine...

Great post, Scott.

Jada's Gigi said...

That was fun. :)

Tee said...

Learned a lot about you from this one!

We also like to try to do things on our own without paying someone else. We get such a kick out of figuring how much money we saved. I figure I've saved over $3,000 the past 10 years by cutting my husband's and my son's hair... And we've saved thousands more doing our own home and auto repair when we can figure it out ourselves.

...Hey, when you build that town, give me a holler. We'll take a homestead :)

Scott said...

Zombie - The city needs some tweaking, because as Alan points out, I've set myself up as a dictator. That won't do. It will have to be self governed and allow people some flexibility.

Alan - I love me some weed, but I'm currently off it. No cigarettes though. Ever. And I will go to war over that with my kids should it ever come up. War I say.

Mr. Schprock - Your city sounds like a town John Carpenter could do something with, provided Kurt Russell was on board.

Cheryl - Thanks!

Tee - Consider your spot reserved (but I think your MIL would be a hard sell).

Alan said...

LOL!! Talk about a babe in the woods--I was only considering tobacco.

But ... hmmm. Do you think Mary Jane opened up something creative in our brains? Because Lord knows I did my fair share in high school.

Blogger said...

You might qualify for a new government sponsored solar energy rebate program.
Click here to find out if you qualify now!