Where Is My Anger

Posted in MainPage at 9:42 pm by admin

So, like most Americans, I’ve spent the last few days coming to understand too much about terrorism. The standard questions keep running through my head. “Why did these people do this?” “How do you find 14+ suicide bombers?” “How could those 14 or more suicide bombers spend enough time in America to learn to fly and yet hold on to enough hate to go through with it?” “How did they come to hate America so much in the first place?”

Also, like many Americans I have been thinking about how to respond or react to such people. Others of America have responded with blind rage. I could not join them, yet I felt rage. So I had to find out where that rage came from and why it had no direction or outlet.

Why I don’t hate these misguided men is complex. The answer did not come to me easily but it did come. When I learned of their actions, my first thought was, “We have the tools and the technology to simply turn their homeland into radioactive glass. That sounds like a good plan.”

Then I started to consider the millions of people that would die who do not share anything with the terrorists. These men were not arabs just like every other arab. These men were not muslims just like every other muslim. These men were extremists, just like every other extremist.

And that is what caused my rage. I had become one of them, even if for a few minutes, I understood how they could hate so completely because I did as well. So now my questions are not “How do we strike back so that this never happens again?” but “What did they believe about us that allowed them to do what they did?”

To be certain, I feel we should hunt down and punish any allies they left behind. However, we must temper our zeal as we hunt. We have to keep our minds not on revenge against all muslims or all arabs or all middle-easterners but against the terrorists and those who support them.

While we do the ugly job of retribution, we must also do what we do when we are not so engaged. We must find out how they have come to hate America and Americans so much that they willing and individually give their lives to hurt us. We must reach out to those who do not understand us and explain who we are.

America is the richest country this world has ever seen. We are also the most generous.

One does not have to look long into our past to see that generosity. America operates many international aid efforts. Look just outside the borders of Rwanda today and you will see hundreds of thousands of refugees. You will not see them living off of the land. They have tents, blankets, clothes and food. These did not come from their own governments who would rather wipe them out but from America.

As americans, we enjoy the benefits of a free society and it hurts us to know that not everyone in the world does. We see war torn countries like Bosnia and we send in troops, not to kill but to promote peace, to see that a local government will not oppress its minorities. And when those minorities get the upper hand, we do our best to prevent them from blindly seeking revenge.

So too, must our revenge not be blind. It must be directed, focused and above all accurate. As americans, we must be, not better than the terrorist, but more particular. We should expect more of ourselves. It bothers me to hear of americans who have recently commited hate crimes against the arab or muslim communities. These men must be stopped. If necessary, by force or incarceration, but hopefully by showing them that they, as americans, have a duty to expect more from themselves than did the terrorists.

I didn’t really know I had this much to say. Maybe its is all just unrealistic rambling. But maybe we can actually get it right this time. Maybe we can wake up to the pain in the world and help those less fortunate without building resentment that can fester into hate.

And then again, maybe not.


Bye Bye Level 3. Hello…

Posted in MainPage at 9:41 pm by admin

Level 3 laid off 25% of its workforce today, including me.


I Am Your Dentist

Posted in MainPage at 9:40 pm by admin

I discovered part of a tooth rolling around in my mouth during lunch yesterday. I don’t know if it was fortunate or not, but it was mine. So, I visited Mr. Dentist today. Oops, I mean Dr. Dentist.

My mouth is quite numb right now whithch ethplains whah I am sthlurring my sthpeach. I get to go back in a few weeks to have a permanent crown installed. yipee.


Let the Revelry Begin

Posted in MainPage at 9:39 pm by admin

We went to the Colorado Renaissance Festival this weekend. Mead was drunk and so were we! We saw the Ded Bob Shotm, Puke and Snot and the Endangered Cat show.

We recommend all of the above.

Attendees included Brian and Janice St. Denis in attire from the Mrs. St. Denis label. They looked good. Pamela and myself. I was decked out in a tunic that I produced myself and very non-period sun-glasses. It was bright outside. Cynthia and Dave and Terry the tall one. Pictures may make it to this website soon. I have to scan them first.


Vegas baby, Vegas

Posted in MainPage at 9:39 pm by admin

As the headline reads, we went to Vegas. There was money spent. There was gambling done. I won almost enough at black-jack to pay off my slot debt. Almost. Still, fun was had.

We stayed at the Luxor, a lovely hotel with an Egyptian theme. They have an IMax theatre in the lobby. We saw both of the shows. The Blue Man Group performs there. Gary and I went to that show and had a regulation butt- load of fun. That would be the American butt-load and not the imperial one. The show defies description, so just go and blame me if you fail to have a good time. I bought the audio CD so if you come to my house you can hear the show, but you won’t get it.

While we were there, we visited the Las Vegas Hilton and did “Star Trek the Experience.” OK, this was a bit hokey, but they had a shuttle simulation ride that was a great deal of fun. I did it twice.


Real Estate Is Soooo Fun

Posted in MainPage at 9:38 pm by admin

Well, here it is another day in paradise. I shovelled about a foot of snow off my driveway today. What fun. Anyway, on to the news.

We bought a condo yesterday. Or should I say, I bought a condo yesterday and signed my wife’s name over and over. Whatever. Anyway, you’ll find a snap of it here.

Cute pic, huh? So the condo itself is a 1br-1ba with a reserved, covered parking space, eat-in-kitchen and micro-laundry room that will hold a top/bottom washer dryer combo. It is in the Hylands Ranch area of Denver, convenient to the Tech Center and (believe it or not) a mountain view from the main living area.

Some of you may be wondering about why I was signing my wife’s name. Well, you see, she arranged the closing date and then, in a fit of spitefulness, arranged to be in New Jersey visiting her mother (and celebrating Passover.) So, she signed a power-of-attorney for me and split. Not only did I sign *my* name about 50 times, but I also had to sign hers followed by mine AGAIN and then the text “as her attorney in fact.” This got old after the first set of forms.


How We Bought A House

Posted in MainPage at 9:37 pm by admin

Pamela and I decided to move to Colorado (or heck, just about anyplace but where we were) about May or June of 1998. I started talking to some people at Level 3 Communications and got the offer letter some time in August. Our lease was up at the end of September and we had decided that, if we could, we would buy rather than lease our next home. Neither of us had ever done this before. Our combined experience in purchasing very expensive items was one new car each. We planned a long weekend, leave New Jersey Saturday morning, house hunt for two days, spend Monday either working out a loan or (because sometimes you just don’t find a house you like in the first two days of looking) renting a temporary dwelling. This was really the plan. I would not make up something like this.

OK, so we were naive. But it was the good kind of naive, young, fresh and full of exuberance for our endeavor. So, we set out Saturday morning, arrived at the Denver airport around 10:00 and met our real estate agent, Pam Maness of …, for the first time just before noon.

We had already spoken to Pam by phone and she had a list of places for us to look at pre-culled of the obviously inadequate. Later, we would learn how one comes about such lists. We looked at four or five houses in that first outing. Most were empty. We found a couple that we could live with, after ripping out the bright orange kitchen counters or replacing the nasty ’70s brown shag carpetting, but we were looking for “the ancestral home of our children” and didn’t want to settle.

Remember, we had allocated a day and a half to hunting. Pam (real estate Pam) took us back to her office to expand our search. It turned out that there were some minor miscues about where we were willing to look and where our flexibilities lay. We went back through some of the houses previously rejected but didn’t really find anything. It was time to go into the database for another list but it was late in the day and we all felt that it would be best to start out fresh in the morning.

I should probably mention some of our desires at this point. We were looking for a free-standing house convenient to Interlocken, a business park in Broomfield. Originally, we had thought to restrict ourselves to the areas north of Broomfield as that looked less suburban and more country. Four or five bedrooms, 3+ full baths, 2+ living spaces, a large kitchen and yard were essential. In addition to that, I had some rather odd requirements. First, I don’t like stairs that vanish up a whole in the wall. That is, stair cases should generally be open to a balcony of some sort. We also wanted to avoid new construction, what Pamela called “Yuppie Ghettos” because we wanted a home that already had a little personality to it. We could always blend in our own touches later.

So, Sunday, we picked out a few places, made calls to the appropriate listing agents to make arrangements with any current occupants and for lock-box codes (this becomes important later) and hopped in the car. Round Two. One of the houses we planned to visit had only been purchased the year before and was now back on the market. The house was occupied by the current owners (half of them anyway) and we had gotten a warning about cats that liked to escape. Just to be on the safe side, we had CAT written in large letters on the page describing this house. We didn’t want to forget and accidentally release someone’s favorite pet to be crushed by a passing car.

This is where the lock-box codes I mentioned earlier come into play. For the uninitiated, when you list a house for sale, the listing agent will put a key to your front door in a tiny safe that hangs on your doorknob. Sometimes, these tiny safes have key locks. Other times, they have combination locks. The combination variety can have numbers or letters on the wheel. All of the houses we were dealing with had combination locks with letters. This seems to be fairly common. So, at the top of each page describing a house, we had written a three letter “password” that would let us in. Remember the warning about the cat? That’s right. When we looked at that page, we thought we already had the lock-box code.

It was not until we got to the house that we discovered our mistake. Again for the uninitiated, sometimes the difference between getting the house you want and feeling like a complete loser is just a few minutes. A seller may only consider one offer at a time and generally, the first person to offer what they are asking (or willing to take) gets the property. Now this was the most promising of the house descriptions we had seen. We were already looking at the exterior, and liked it. It was in a neighborhood that had been established over twenty years before, backed onto a narrow green-belt and had lovely (if somewhat untended) landscaping. We wanted to look inside, but had the wrong code.

As we were headed dejectedly back to the car, another agent pulled up with another prospective buyer, the enemy. They we there to steal our house from us before we had even gotten a chance to look at it. This could not be allowed to happen! Our agent, Pam, performed a brilliant job of social engineering on the enemy’s agent to get the lock-box code. I assume her technique is a trade secret and won’t reveal it here. We got inside.

We liked it, a lot. Five bedrooms (two for offices, two for guests and one for us,) THREE living spaces, low-maintenance landscape, adjacent to green-belt, nice house.

So, we made an offer contingent on a clean bill-of-health from an inspector. We offered their asking price, but we asked them to fix a broken mirrored door. They accepted the offer.

The inspection report came back two days later. Bad news. The house was over 20 and had the original cedar shingle roof. Not only is this a major fire hazard, but the roof was ready to fall off of the house. We asked them to replace it.

They refused but countered that they would pay half and provided an estimate. I got a little testy when the real-estate agent came to me with this bit of news. I didn’t want to pay for the roof. I thought that if they expected to sell a house, that it should have a decent roof on it. I stewed for a bit, not wanting to put more money in it and finally came up with a solution.

When we had made our offer, our agent told us that it was standard procedure to allow the seller 72 hours to vacate the premises. This had seemed unreasonable. It is like going to a store, buying a product then letting them demo it on the show-room floor for three days before actually taking it. In spite of my feelings on the subject, we took our agent’s advice and gave them the 3 days to vacate.

Well, when they got all pissy about the roof, I decided that I had to get something back from them. I recalled the 72 hour grace period for move-out and I had my answer.

We re-counter offered with: Buyer to pay half of roof repair up to half of the estimate. Seller to vacate premises before closing.

It was accepted! Yes!

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