Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kids Today

What is it with kids today? They have no respect for adults. They wear their hair too long. All they want to do is hang out with their friends and chat on the computer. They wear weird clothes and have no drive or direction in life. This is certainly on a lot of parents lips, or Facebook pages, these days. It was also on most of our parents lips when we were kids (jeez am I glad my mom didn't have Facebook back then). OK, except for the computer thing, then it was talking on the phone for hours at a time. C'mon, you can't tell me you don't remember your parents saying exactly the same things to you, about you, about your friends and on and on.

So, are kids really more disrespectful today? Living in Sweden now, there is a difference with how the younger generation views their elders. Sweden seems a lot more laid back in terms of generational deference than what I remember growing up. Though I have to say, some of it is troubling, it is also a very different world today than when I was growing up. Times change, the world is a scarier place for our little ones. Also, aren't we the ones who teach our kids about respect? When did discipline become a bad word? When did setting boundaries become something others need to do for their kids, but we don't ever say no to our own? I'm not talking about spanking, or other forms of corporal punishment. In Sweden it is actually against the law for parents to hit their children. I'm talking about teaching our kids right from wrong, and teaching them respect for others.

Now, I get frustrated too when I see 'other peoples kids' misbehaving and not giving a damn, but I can't let that change the way I want to raise my own. I want my kids to be productive little humans when they get older, and I feel like this is the best path to achieve that. Most importantly however, I want them to be kind, caring individuals. My oldest has a problem with sitting still. To many parents he seems like the ultimate spoiled brat who is never told no. But a closer look shows a boy with a heart of gold. He doesn't pick on other children, he plays and shares with others, he is kind to those who are smaller, and for the most part is very respectful to grownups.

I always vowed when I was not a kid anymore, but before I had kids of my own, to not forget what it was like to be a kid. One of my friends mothers told her, when she was 16, you don't have any problems, you don't know what problems are. I promised myself that day to never say that to my children. The reasons things our kids are dealing with seem trivial to us is because we have grown and matured, hopefully. We have learned to handle the things that to a 16 year old seem like the most important things in the world. 16 year old's lives revolve around being liked, accepted, having boy or girlfriends, hanging out, socializing. And when this world is off kilter, it IS a big deal. Now if you are a parent struggling to pay your mortgage, they may seem trivial, but the 16 year old only can feel what they know. I think it is the same for kids of all ages. My four year old's most pressing issue is playing nicely with others at school. When this doesn't happen, it IS the end of the world, to her. When my 7 year old tells me he is having a tough time with a bully at school, I need to treat this with the same regard as when I feel low because I can't find a job, because to him, it is the same thing. When my oldest has a tough time with his teacher in school, I need to discuss it with him, and not just write it off as a 9 year old thing. He is 9, so that is his life.

Kids aren't perfect. Yes we would like them to be. Yes we want them to listen and obey at the first mention of our commands, but that isn't the way their little brains are wired. Now I am not trying to preach. I lose my temper and raise my voice more often than I would like, but I also apologize and try to explain to them that parents are human and we make mistakes. I treat the with respect. Believe it or not, even their child wired brains understand this, and are happy to see us admit to our frailties.

I have a motto when it comes to my child raising. 'Being a parent is the easiest job in the world. Being a good one is the toughest.' It simply means that we can let TV and others raise our kids. We can blame society for allowing our children to run wild. That's easy. If we let them watch programs on TV that show disrespect, if we disrespect others, whether they are close to us, or not, then what will they learn? If we take time to be with them. Take an interest in what they watch on TV because HELL yes, we all need breaks from the responsibility, but not at the cost of letting strangers on the tube detract from what we are trying to do. That is hard, but it is also necessary to help guide our little ones in the direction of respect.

There is a scene in the movie Parenthood where Steve Martins character is at a school play when his youngest goes on to the stage to 'protect' his sister. He ends up ruining the entire set and while some people are laughing, some are screaming at him and his wife, he feels like he is on a roller coaster, which at first he doesn't like. Then he sees his wife laughing when suddenly he realizes roller coasters are fun! He starts laughing too and the scene ends. Yes, raising kids is hard. Yes, we will get annoyed at the disrespect we view from kids, but life is not meant to be ridden like a merry go round on the stationary horse, the roller coaster, for all of it ups and downs, is much more fun. As for the other kids, there isn't much we can do, but for our, the buck stops here. We are the ones who need to make sure our kids don't act that way. Now if every parent did this, well then I guess I wouldn't have had a blog topic today.

So stop worrying about the kids clothes. Don't stress if your kid want's to wear their hair long. You want them to be respectful? Show them that love and respect go hand in hand. After all, our parents said the same things about us, and from what I see, we turned out all right. So, to paraphrase Roger, Pete, John and Keith 'The kids are all right...the kids are all right...'

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I wish I had a date!

I think that people should come with 'good to' dates. Not expiration dates mind you. I couldn't handle knowing when my expiration would come around, but a good to date would provide many benefits.

Dates printed on consumable merchandise are a marketing departments dream come true. If the date is short enough, people will throw away perfectly good stuff and buy new stuff, in sizes they think are a bargain, but are way to big to ever use by the seemingly arbitrary dates printed on the bottom of the label. In fact, Consumeraffairs.com states that merchants aren't even legally required to remove merchandise from the shelves past the date, though some states do require this on perishables such as milk.

The US Army did a study on the effectiveness of drugs past their expiration date. The review examined 96 different drugs, and included 1,122 lots in all, and found that 84 percent remained stable 57 months beyond the expiration date. Stable! Almost 5 years after the date that according to the manufacturer you should no longer use it. Sounds like the ultimate marketing scam to me. Now I don't know about you, but when I go to my local mega-store and buy my mega bottles of pain relievers, I don't look at the good to date. The fact is that if these dates were taken seriously, I would have to down 3-5 pills a day, every day, just to finish them before the date. Damn, if my back hurt that much, I would go to an acupuncturist. If my head hurt that often, I would go to a shrink. Well, you get the idea.

There are 3 major codes:
  1. Sell by: Don't buy the product after this date. This is the "expiration date."
  2. Best if used by: Flavor or quality is best by this date but the product is still edible thereafter.
  3. Use by: This is the last day that the manufacturer vouches for the product's quality
So, if I am a shopper with all the time in the world on my hands, I could potentially look at the sell by dates of everything I buy. But if I buy it on this date, how long do I have to use it? If it's chopped meat, I would imagine the time is much different than other products. How are you supposed to keep track of all these things. As for the best if used by. Come on, are you kidding me? Most of the stuff that uses this type of date probably wouldn't change it's taste until after my expiration date. Half of it tastes so bad now you wouldn't even know the difference. As for edible, that is an individual opinion that much of the stuff is actually edible in the first place. That leaves us with the use by, or good to date. When was the last time a manufacturer vouched for the quality of a product? With all the crap on the shelves of food stores today, they should be vouching that it's not going to kill me when I eat it. I would feel a little happier then.

And still, these terms seem a little vague. Some of the products that use one or more of these codes would probably be better served by using a skull and crossbones with a date printed right below it. That would be pretty clear, right? I have seen milk curdle days before the expiration date, and I have had milk last for days after the date has come and gone. What do these dates mean exactly? According to what they are trying to say to us, products are good, then they are bad. Pretty confusing and misleading huh?

People, as opposed to being good one day and bad the next, usually have extended periods of mediocrity. Some peoples periods last their entire lives. This is exactly why human beings would be so much better off if we had the equivalent of a use by this date.

When born, we come into the world hoping for a nice long healthy life. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to know in advance when it is going to end. However if I came with a date where God would stop vouching for my quality, I may make some different choices. I may eat more veggies. I may go to bed earlier. I may stop listening to blowhards whose only purpose on this planet is to raise my blood pressure. Now I realize I should probably do these things anyway, but we all want to have some fun in this life, right? However, if I knew that on the 29th of October, 2021, I would pass my use by date, or good to date in the case of us humans, I would be better educated as to just how much fun I could get away with.

If I were single, I could use it in my advertisement at Plentyoffish.com and place it directly under the title of Geezer with lots of time left on my good to date. As for a married person, you could use the date to guilt your partner into something. 'You know honey, we really ought to go the the tractor pulling show this year. You know my good to date is coming up.' If you had kids, you could make sure they came by for Thanksgiving, or else miss the last holiday you were 'good for.' It could be printed on the bottom of our feet so that as we got older we would have a harder and harder time seeing it. Unless of course you were a yoga master and could do the lotus position when you were 70.

But since we don't have these dates, I guess we will just have to continue living on the edge. I think I hear some breakfast calling. Maybe a bowl of cereal. I am pretty sure the date on the milk was yesterday, but I am going to go for it. What's life without living a little dangerously. I know, I am such a madman!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ones and Zeros

How did my life end up as a series of ones and zeros? Most of you probably know that computers and how they do what they do are programed, in it's most simplistic form, into a sequence of ones and zeros. I will use 1100 for the purposes of saving my hands from typing the words over and over for the rest of this piece. That's right, this blog is being typed on an open source word processing program, programmed by computer nerds and geeks all over the world using sophisticated programming languages that basically look like 1100, or 1010, or 0001 or some other combination to the computer, albeit trillions of times just to produce a bit of instruction to make the machines we live with every day do what we want them to do.

Recently we switched all of our data from one computer to another. Not being too technically savvy, and being too cheap to buy a program that would let me transfer the data directly from the one PC to the other, I used an external hard drive I had bought a few years ago with the intention of backing up my computer every day. OK, you can stop laughing now. Occasionally I would back up the data, especially around the times when I would be playing around with the thousands of family photos we have stored in our digital world.

Since December of 2003, all of the pictures we have taken have been on the same Sony digital camera. In that time we have lived in 2 countries, 4 houses, taken numerous vacations, started our own business and most important added a third child to our family. That, over the course of almost 7 years, adds up to ALLOT of pictures. Combine that with years of creating documents, saving our CD collection, and even the video our video cameras we have owned since we got married 10 years ago have taken, and that is an unfathomable number of 1100 (ones and zeros for those of you with ADHD, stay with me now).

To give you an idea, I moved more than 250 gigabytes of data. Now how big is a gigabyte? Well we need to start at the smallest piece of digital information, one bit. One bit would be one 1 or one 0. There are 8 bits in one byte. There are 1,000 bytes in one kilobyte. Remember when we thought that was big? There are 1,000 kilobytes in one megabyte. So for those of you keeping track, we are now up to 8,000,000 bits, 8 million ones and/or zeros for each meg. One Gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes, or 8,000,000,000 1100. So I moved 2,000,000,000,000 bits of information, not once, but twice, just to keep our digital lives in order. How come so much? My camera saves the hi res pictures somewhere around 2.5 megabytes. This means that each image of my kids, each unforgettable vacation moment, that romantic shot of my wife and I consists of 20 million bits of information. Astounding!

My parents came to visit us a few years back and they were still using, gasp, a film camera. When they were taking pictures, my sons would run up to them saying “Grandma, can we see the picture?” Yes, they had no concept that when you take a picture, you wouldn't be able to then see the image on a screen. “What, you have no screen? What is film? You have to wait how long to see the pictures?” The questions to me seemed strange, but to my little ones, there is no other reality. No world without digital cameras, computers and instant images. Looking at pictures in an album is fun, because it's different.

The first time we sent our digital shots to get printed, we probably sent out close to 200. We realized that was quite allot so we promised we would send them out quicker next time. Well, the next time was more than 300. That time we swore we would not wait that long again and now I am pretty sure if we looked at all of the pictures we would want to print, we would have more than 500. It has been that long. With film, if you left the used roll around longer than a month, you felt guilty, Now the pictures are instantaneously shown to us on our big. beautiful, crisp, clear monitors and printing them can wait. Good or bad, there are probably lots of opinions, but it is different none the less.

But I still can't get over the fact that my most precious memories are all just a bunch of 1100. It seems that they are more important than that. What basement dweller choose 1100? I would like to speak to him or her, but I would probably need to contact them through e-mail. Why not P's and Q's. We were already busy minding them anyway. And don't tell me because it was easier to type. On some keyboards the 1 is not that close to the 0. What about Z's and X's. See how seldom we use those letters anyway. We could have gotten allot more out of those lazy letters if we used them instead. I guess no matter which 2 characters were chosen, there would always be that crazy N fan out there stalking the developers until the N was the letter of choice. The R freaks would then be mad, and we would have a whole R revolution on our hands.

I guess for now, I will just sit back and watch the slide show on my computer showing me all of the priceless images of the last 7 years of our lives. Ah, here comes one of my departed dog. She was with me almost 16 years. What a nice shot of her sitting so still for the camera. Look how nicely all of the 1100 have made her look so regal, so serene. I guess the 1100 know what they are doing after all. Hey wait...what the hell is that 2 doing in there?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Yesterday, the 19th of September, elections were held in Sweden.  They happen every 4 years and are quite different from elections in the other parts of the world.  One of the biggest differences is that before last night, there were 7 parties, under two alliances which ruled the political landscape.  After last night, an 8th party, the far right Sweden Democrats is now also a full fledged member of parliament with 5.7% of the national vote and reports of more than 20% in some locations throughout the land.

Sweden’s politics works on a percentage system where the number of seats you gain in parliament is based on the percentage of the votes you get.  You need a minimum of 4% to be in parliament.  The Prime Minister is the leader of the party who gets the most votes in the alliance who gets the most votes.  Confusing?  A little.  To simplify, last night the Moderaterna, Moderates received 30% of the vote, the Social Democrats 30.8%.  The leader of the Moderates remains the PM however, because his alliance received 49.3% of the vote compared to the opposition alliance who received 43.7%.  As you will notice, the winning block did not receive more than 50% and here-in lays the issue that has most Swedes losing sleep and pulling their hair out.

The far right Sweden Democrats, who have a reputation of racism, anti-immigration and a strong nationalistic agenda, gained a foot hold in parliament with 5.7% of the national vote, an increase of 2.8% from the last election.  While a seemingly small number, they can choose to side with either alliance to give an undefeatable majority on the various issues that the government must decide on. Each side has vehemently stated that they will NEVER partner with the SD party, but if the SD decides to support one side or the other, the perception of cooperation will be unavoidable.  It is a sticky situation, made even more sticky by the fact that Fredrik Reinfeldt; the Prime Minister, must now extend an olive branch out to the party of the opposition most likely to work with the alliance in power, the Environmental party.  This much he has already stated, but the initial response from Maria Wetterstrand, the Environmental parties fiery spokesperson has been anything but positive, commenting that, as they have said the entire election, they do not want to be a support party for the Moderates.

How will they govern without a straight majority?  Of course it is still early, merely hours after the final votes were counted, but the uncertainty has already had some impact, sending the Swedish currency down against major currencies around the world.  Uncertainty is an economies biggest nightmare.

What this election will mean to Sweden is something that will unfold over the next few weeks if an amicable, if uncomfortable, agreement can be reached between the alliance and the Environmental party, to years, if the SD party maintains it's king maker position.  Making sense of this election, however, requires taking a look back to see just how much the political landscape has changed here in the last 8 years.

In 2002, the Social Democrats obtained more than 40% of the vote and held the position of power that they had for 65 of the previous 74 years.  The Moderates garnered just 15% of the vote and they looked like what the opposition said they were; a party for the rich.  They were being portrayed as a party who wanted nothing more than to tear down the social network that is Sweden’s foundation.  In Sweden, Moderate was considered far right, and the thinking of supporting a party that was in favor of privatizing some of Sweden’s state owned monopolies such as pharmacies and liquor stores, was akin to Pinocchio playing with a butane torch.

In the next 2 years, the Moderates remade themselves.  Resigned to the fact that Sweden IS a socialist state, and that the vast majority of the people want to keep it that way, they moved more towards the center.  They formed an alliance with 3 other parties who were tired of playing in the Social Democrats shadow and set out to try and win over a population with the idea that free markets and a vibrant economy mixed with private and public contributions would be the best way to maintain the funding for the entitlements they wanted so badly to keep.  With a system filled with bureaucratic waste, decaying infrastructure and an image that people were fraudulently living off the state, the Alliance went to work.  By maintaining that they would not dismantle things, they soothed the people in the country who felt it was difficult to get ahead for those who worked hard and were successful.  They won over people tired of seeing neighbors out of work for years, while they slaved at jobs they hated.  Perhaps most importantly, by changing party leaders to a puppy eyed, bald headed, moderate named Fredrik Reinfeldt; the party got the extreme makeover it so badly needed.  In 2006, based largely on the gains of the Moderates, the support for the Alliance pushed them into the majority.  Reinfeldt became the new Prime Minister, and they quickly went to work on remaking the social system.

Over the next 4 years, most know what happened.  The bottom fell out of the world economy, and Sweden was hit hard.  But, unlike most countries, there was little panic.  An economy well balanced in many areas kept Sweden from being so badly damaged.  While some policies were unpopular, the budget for Sweden kept its debt far below that of most other European countries, its unemployment rate relatively low, and the housing market never saw anything close to a major crash.  All in all, the Swedish economy survived fairly healthily and is now ranked as the second most competitive economy in the world, behind only Switzerland.  The social system was not raped to benefit the rich and the privatization that they have been able to accomplish has not led to a drastic rise in prices as some had predicted.  In all, the average Swede realized that this government did a good job given such dire circumstances, and was able to maintain most; if not all of the entitlements they came to know and love.  Trust that they could provide for the people while growing the flexibility of an economy often stagnating in government regulation was born.  This trust was soon rewarded.

In 2010 the Moderates gained 30% of the vote, their best ever showing and just .8% less than the once mighty Social Democrats and saw what was a 25 point gap just 8 years ago basically disappear.  While obviously and rightfully pleased with their performance, the night was tempered by the gains of the Sweden Democrats, and their appearance in the parliament and possible king maker position.  Lars Ohly, the leader of the Left Party, Sweden’s largest of the most liberal, wouldn’t even go into the same room as Jimmy Ã…kesson, the leader of the SD.  That Ohly still lives in a world where he feels that everyone should be taken care of by the state, and that businesses and the wealthy are the enemy, did little to dampen his followers’ enthusiasm at the sophomoric snub.  Mona Sahlin, the leader of the Social Democrats declared that there was no winner last night.  The leading alliance did not have a true majority and the SD party had made a significant showing on the national stage.  Playing politics becomes easier after a bitter defeat where you can point the finger at what the other side 'should' be doing, but if the politicians are true to their word about not giving the Sweden Democrats more legitimacy and any power, the solution is unavoidable.

The Social Democrats and the Left party working with the alliance will never happen.  It makes no sense, and a vocal opposition is one of the political forces that helps keep the balance Sweden seems to have found in recent times.  In some kommuns, or counties, around the country, the Environment party has already worked with the Moderates for various reasons.  The national Environmental party needs to shake off the sting of defeat, and decide that yes, they will work with the alliance, not only because it will keep the SD out of any real power position, not only because the Swedish people deserve a stable solid government, but also because of what working with the Alliance can do to forward their cause.

Sweden is a very environmentally conscience country.  The Environmental party is now the third largest in parliament and was one of only two parties from the seven that were previously in parliament to gain votes over 2006.  They have a passionate, if not controversial, spokesperson in Maria Wetterstrand and a deeply engaged support base.  She and Maud Olofsson, the leader of the Center Party would make a good team and an excellent role model for women who want to get involved in politics.  They are both strong, dedicated, intelligent women who fight for what they believe in and the Environment party would do well to have another ally in Olofsson.  In fact, in an effort to stem what many were saying would be huge losses from her party, Olofsson tried to position the Center party as the environmental party of the Alliance.  While this didn’t stop a loss if 1.3%, it was less than the 3% some poles were predicting as little as 2 weeks ago.

Aligning themselves with the enemy, taking the impression of their initial reaction, would give them an air of fairness and of doing what is best for the Swedish people.  If the Tories and Left party in England could form a coalition government, for the good of the land, then certainly Wetterstrand can put aside her differences, which are much smaller than the vastly different ideologies of the two parties in England.  Why their alliance is working is in part because the Tories agreed to work on some issues that were of utmost importance to the Left.  This is what the Environment party should also seek.  If Wetterstrand can see that for the short term good of the people, the long term good of the environment and the overall benefit for her party, she will quickly realize that cooperation does not have to mean subordination, and that she and her party can accomplish exponentially more in the next 4 years by working with the Alliance, and coming to that decision sooner, rather than later.

As for the SD.  Yes, it seems as if there is a slide towards nationalism, anti-immigrant, and racist feelings here in Sweden with this result.  However, what the leaders in Sweden must realize is that something is triggering these feelings in more than 1 out of 20 voters.  The immigration issue is very real here, as it is in many European countries.  Sweden has been very generous in allowing immigrants from less fortunate countries to share in the plethora of benefits that socialist, democratic societies offer, especially in comparison to their old countries.  Its policies, however, have left many feeling that the immigrants do not need to do anything to fit in and can simply live off the welfare state.  If this was part of the reason many Swedes drifted towards the center when confronted with their fellow Swedes doing it, how would they feel when their opinion was that immigrants were coming and doing the same thing?  This is an opinion that the parties, all seven of them, must do something to address in the next 4 years.  Otherwise the SD and other even more dangerous parties who appear more like Nazis than SD will continue to grow in popularity and strength. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, this is the reality the current political machine faces. 

Keeping your head in the sand is not the answer.  That has been proven.  Open debate, candid conversation, listening, and a constructive policy is the way forward.  Let's hope the leaders of Sweden can find a way to make this happen.  For the sake of Sweden, Swedes, and the people not born here but who choose to call this country home.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the Beginning...

I will be 45 in one week.  I am good at writing, this I have been told, and I enjoy it…for the most part.  Besides that, I am just as lost and confused about what my life is, and what to do with this life as I have ever been.  I am not gonna go all existential on you now and bemoan the meaning of life, I am simply wondering whattheheckamigonnadonow type of thing.

Throughout my 44 years, 11 months and 51 weeks of life, I have used writing from time to time as a coping mechanism.  I have written letters to lost loves, never sent them mind you, but wrote them to get what was in my head, out, on to paper, or in most cases on to the electronic void of the computer.  I have written to my mom who passed away, and have even written to my dog who after almost 16 years of love and devotion, had a stroke one morning and needed to be put down.  Now my writing seems to be bubbling up to take a new purpose.  I want to write, not just need to.  I want to find a way to write for a living and I am not sure how that will happen yet.  Why is this coming up now?  I guess I need to go back a bit.

I am an American love refugee living in the southern part of Sweden.  That's right, if you put faith in Fox News, I live in that empire of socialistic evil in northern Europe where all the women are 5'10” blond haired, blue eyed supermodels and tax rates are 246%.  I live here because my wife is Swedish and once we started a family, we decided that this would be the place to raise them.  The quality of life for families with children is very good here.  Crime is very low, we get the choice to send our kids to a private school at no extra cost, college is free, maternity and paternity leaves are the law and we receive many other benefits for children's families which just aren’t available in other places.  Upon arriving here in May of 2004, we began to look to start out own business, a long time dream of mine.  The fact that my Swedish was barely passable at the time and the limited number of English speaking jobs made it imperative to do something on my own.  Now 6 years later, my dream turned into a nightmare for more reasons that I care to recall, my wife is running the one location we have left and I am searching, in earnest, for a job for the first time in over 12 years.  A daunting task at any time, but throw in cultural and language differences, economic instability and more rust around my edges than I knew existed, and it is a frustrating, emasculating, down right depressing way to spend the better part of ones day.

I have an MBA.  I have a great professionally written resume.  I have wide ranging experience and, according to hiring professionals, I have the skills, education and experience that companies are looking for, yet, I can't get a job.  I am not sure it would be different if I was trying this in the US, but at least I would have a home field advantage that I just don’t have here.  In many ways, I feel that getting a full time job would be a step backward.  Owning my own company has had MANY problems, to be sure, but I have gotten to be very flexible with my time, a great thing to have when you have 3 kids between the ages of 4 and 9 in the house.  On the other hand, having a place to go to every day, with preset responsibilities and expectations sounds pretty good to me right about now.  The issue is, I can't sit around waiting for something to happen, I need to make something happen, and one of the ways I think I can do this is to begin to write for a living.  The best of all worlds’?  Perhaps…if I can actually get paid for it.

I have found some great sites that help promote freelance writers, find writing jobs and obtain the skills they need.  However, I have yet to read a job announcement which didn’t want an experienced writer.  Thus the age old catch 22.  How can I get writing experience, without a writing job, and how can I get a writing job without the writing experience?  At least for a writer, blogging would be one way to get ones writing samples put out there.  Thus the Blah Blah Blog began as a little seed in my head, until here it is, being put down into my word processing program, and then posted into cyberspace for enquiring minds like you to read.

Why Blah Blah Blog?  Why not Aspiring Writers Blog or something more specific?  Well, I have many interests and I didn’t want to be tied down to one topic.  I am a devoted husband and father, my family is the number one priority in my life.  I enjoy sports, politics, reading and have begun working out in earnest for the first time in my life.  I am 40-60 pounds overweight, depending on which reference you use, and I could easily write about that too and my battle to finally shed those unwanted pounds.  So, Blah Blah Blog.  It’s about life, love, writing, being a foreigner in a foreign land, even though you live here and are a citizen.  Food, exercise, weight, job searches the agony and ecstasy of being a father, you name it.  Maybe sometimes, like a good Seinfeld episode, it will be about nothing.  Well he didn't do too poorly with that tact did he?  Whatever I am feeling that day, or moment, or what ever.  And perhaps the things that you are feeling and thinking too.  I hope someone out there reads it and enjoys hearing about the antics of a middle aged man who is trying to figure out what direction to take to obtain life’s greatest joys.  A cold beer at the end of the day, and a warm body to snuggle up to at night.

Welcome to Blah Blah, more than your average chit chat…