Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Post Created at 1:13 AM by an Opinionated Man

Hello everyone...it's 1:13 AM and I am as wide awake as I have ever been. It could be that my sleeping schedule became incoveniently impaired by a week of sleeping alone without my lovely wife while I was at training in SLC. It could be that we are currently staying with Dana's parents in Las Vegas and although the bed provided by our gracious hosts in inarguably comfortable (can you say "eggshell comforter?") , a fundamental truth of the world is this: ain't no bed like your own bed. It could also be that my mind is stressfully preoccupied with concerns that Mark won't like my Christmas present or that Adam won't get me a Christmas present, or that Dad won't buy me the X-Box 360 he promised me. It could be any number of other things, but this fact remains: I'm wide awake!

So I decided to do something useful with my time and got up to read for a while. Often that will put me out fast, but tonight it doesn't seem to be working. As I read, I came across a word with which I was vaguely familiar, but I decided to look it up on the Internet. The word was ecumenism. As I learned, the definition is:

1. a movement promoting union between religions (especially between Christian churches)
2. (Christianity) the doctrine of the ecumenical movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding between religious denominations: aimed at universal Christian unity

An interesting word, no doubt. It also has very slight relevance to a topic that I was pondering as I attempted sleep. That topic is summed up very well by the following demotivator:

NOTE: Demotivators are another fundamental truth of the world in my mind. I believe Megan posted this particular demotivator on her blog at some point.

I, like all of you, have various ideas and opinions about life and the world that have all been derived from a combination of my upbringing, my own life-experience, my inherent personality and soul as well as a broad host of other factors.

Well, the world is a big place and as amazing as it seems to me and as it may seem to you, there are a lot of people out there that probably disagree with just about every opinion and point-of-view I possess or hold dear. Someone, in fact lots of people think I am an idiot. Because of my opinions and beliefs, I'm sure there are those who think I am naive, uninformed, a hypocrite, a loser, a moron, a bigot...in short dead wrong.

I, of course, believe that all of these people are themselves complete joker-fools!

I'm sure there are a few people who would agree with many if not all of my opinions. I'd also like to hope that with most people out there I could probably find some common ground. Some instances of belief that we might share. I think that the more you get to know any person or culture, the less bizarre ideas seem that before seemed completely indefensible and insane. That doesn't change the fact that they may hate your guts, it just makes it a little more understandable.

It is amazing to me how two people, who could both be considered to be rational, logical and thoughtful can both come to completely opposite conclusions based on a viewing of the exact same data. People are different to the core. People, including me, are also unknownly biased, tragically misinformed, hopelessly uninformed and pathetically apathetic. I guess the simple fact is that complete objectivity is impossible. Subjectivity is a part of being human. I guess some would consider Nature to be purely objective, but that is another discussion... My point for now is that diversity in this mortal and transient world is inescapable and wonderful.

Diversity of thought and belief and opinion is a beautiful thing, in my opinion an outgrowth of divinely appointed free will. But as beautiful as it may be in concept, it certainly has ugly consequences in practice. So much bitterness, hatred and violence stem from the clashes of diverse individuals and societies. By the same token, so much creativity and learning takes place because a person or a society is confronted with a new idea that had never before been considered.

I disagree with the relitivistic notion that because of the utter subjectivity of everything human, all rational ideas, opinions and worldviews are equal. The fact is, some are most definitely superior to others, but how can a completely subjective human being judge between competing worldviews?

That's easy...I'm right!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Mangy Mug Shot

This picture is here so that I can add it to my profile. I took a couple pictures and I guess this was the best one. So now when I comment on other peoples blogs, you can picture my smiling mug delivering those comments from my own mouth. Unless of course I'm hurling insults and criticisms at you, in which case your have to just imagine what my face might look like then.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beach Buds

Max and I were standing on this NW Washington beach with a world of possibilities expanding in all directions around us. Which of those possibilities will we reach out for, grasp onto and clutch to our chests? Which ones will slip through our fingers? Which ones will we never even know were there? Max and I both have a lot of living to do!

The wimpy little waves were rolling in off of the straits of Juan de Fuca and I was just glad that I have such a wonderful family. My predecessors, my contemporaries and my progeny are all just about the greatest people I can imagine. I am a product of those spectacular people more than I am a creation of my own making. I hope I am an end product that is worth something. I guess I convinced my wife that it had some pretty good value. I hope she doesn't feel ripped off.

Anyway, I pledge to be more active on the blogs....

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Smell of Saturday

It is Saturday and I am not at work today. This week was the first time in almost 2 months that I had to go to 5 days of work in a row. Can you believe the injustice?!! I just walked outside into a sunny, Pacific Northwest early afternoon and I could smell it in the air...Saturday. I have been able to smell it for as long as I can remember. When I was a youngster in Missouri, it was the smell of freshly cut grass, of soccer games, of no responsibilities, of freedom. It is hard to describe, but it is real. I used to wonder how it was possible, but now I just enjoy the sweet scent.

It's going to be a great day!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

1st Fathers Day

Hello, everyone! No deep thoughts tonight, just musings about my first Fathers day...

I love my little family so much. I am so lucky to have such a beautiful, sweet wife, who has the golden heart of a loving mother. She is such an inspiration to me and I continually seem to learn about the finer sides of life from her. I look back on the type of person I was before I met her and I can see that in just a year and a half of marriage, I have slowly morphed into a different and better person. I still have a long way to go, but under the expert tutelage of my lovely wife, I know that I am on the right path!

And now, onto my son...

He is such a sweet little baby. He is chunking up like a champ, as you can tell from the above picture. The other picture is a favorite of his parents because it was taken right after one of his baths. He hated his baths for the first few weeks of his life, but he loves them now, and they always seem to calm him down. As I have said before, I can tell that Max is such an important person, who holds so much potential for good in the world. I feel a heavy responsiblity on my broad shoulders to be this little guy's father. He is so dependent on us and we love him so much. "All you need is love," right? I'm sure there are other important ingredients as well, but love seems like a pretty good starting point.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Baby Steps Towards Changing the World

That is one cute, dapper little man!

I apologize for not providing you with the pleasure of reading about my thoughts and feelings for almost a month. Who am I kidding? As I always tell Dana: "Nobody cares!"

It has been a whirlwind month for us. As with any defining moment in life, the duration of that moment can usually be described as at once both ploddingly slow and screamingly fast. I can't believe that Max has only been in our arms for only about four weeks as it is hard to remember anything before he came along, but at the same time it seems like he is growing so fast that we cannot keep up with him.

He is such an alert baby. Sure, he sleeps his fair share, but he is awake more than I thought a few-week-old baby would be. He has started to acquire some useful head and neck skills (next come the computer hacking and bowstaff skills...). Sometimes, when I hold him against my chest, he will purposefully put his head back and just look up into my eyes, like he is trying to figure out who I am on the inside. By that I mean he knows that I am his dad, but he seems to be searching my heart and soul for something else.

He is so small and so helpless. Yet, it is babies like Max that hold endless potential for powerful good in the future world. How badly the world needs good people to influence it. I hope I can teach him and inspire him and guide him so that he can make the most out of all that potential he has wrapped up inside that little brain and body.

Look out world, we have unleashed Max upon you. Evil and corruption will be vanquished!!!

Okay, well, maybe he should start by working on basic motor and speech skills and accurately controlling his extremities first. Then he can move on to changing the world. Baby steps...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Look Out For Internet Scam Artists!!!

As many of you know, we are trying to sell our 2004 Hyundai Sonata. So far, we have had a few people express interest and ask questions, but at present we still own it. This weekend, the most promising potential buyers yet are coming to check it out, we hope.

This last week, I had an interesting email exchange with another potential buyers that I thought I would share with you all. This guy was so slick I almost fell for it! :-)

Original Email:

Name: Mr john
E-mail Address: ljsnoop2@yahoo.co.uk
Phone Number: 2348052624951
Best Time to Contact: Afternoon

Message:Attn,your vehicle meets with the specifications of a client werepresent,but with a bid of $13,000 so if that is agreeable by you thennotify meif there is any mechanical defaults whatsoever,so that we cantransact.thanks

My Reply:

Mr. John,

The Sonata is still for sale. There are no mechanical problems with the car, it is very clean and it has been very well maintained. We are asking $13,500 at this point, but are willing to consider other offers. We live in Silverdale, WA. Would you like to see the car? Please reply or give me a call at (360) 447-0799.


His Reply:

Attn ,
Thanks for the email, I have forwarded your vehicle information to my client and after evaluation and due to time constraint on the fact that we are running short of time , i am delighted to tell you that my client has commended your vehicle and he has instructed me to carry on with this transaction, he also instructed me to inform you that payment will get to you in a cashier check of $25,500, which is a refund payment of a cancelled order earlier made by my client. Due to company policy this check has to be made out in this amount to you, because company policy only allows a refund payment on one cashier cheque. So you are required to deduct the cost of your vehicle $13,500 when payment gets to you and refund balance $12,000 to the shipper for him to be able to offset shipping & tax charges, and other cosmetic repair costs. After payment has reached you and balance sent to shipper, the shipper's agent will come for inspection, pick up (of vehicle & signing of title
papers), make some cosmetic touches and drive to a prepaid shipper to be shipped to my customer. Confirm this and forward your Names, Address and Phone number for payment to be made to you as soon as possible. Your honesty, understanding and co-operation will be highly appreciated. Have a wonderful day.
Best regards

My Reply:

I have forwarded your email to the FBI Internet Fraud Division. Have fun with them!

His Reply:


I wanted to write back to him with this email: "Oh, yeah, and your English sucks!" but my wife wouldn't let me because it was too rude. She's probably right. Anyway, be careful out there, everyone is looking to rip you off!

String Fellow Hawk

Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93

We went and saw a remarkable movie today...United 93. The movie is an incredible, straight-forward look at the mind-boggling events of Sept. 11, 2001. It is extremely well made and life-like. Some of the real people in the air traffic control and military, who participated in the chaos of that day portray themselves.

And chaos it was...the movie seems to capture that very well. There are no cheesy lines, stupid stunts or other Hollywoodisms and maybe that is one of the reasons it feels so true-to-life. The producers and director were meticulous in their efforts to base as much of the movie as possible on the known facts. Of course, a lot of the details of what actually took place on the airplane will always be unknown, but the way that they filled in the holes in the story seems to be a likely possibility for how the events might have played out. There is as little interpretation of the events as possible, leaving just a stand-alone and very powerful story. The storytelling relies on a lot of jerky, hand-held camera shots that make you feel how frantic and desperate the situation must have been. There is some graphic violence that is as disturbing as I have ever seen, not only because it is so brutal, but because it really happened!

It is emotionally chilling and gut-wrenching. It was so hard to watch some parts and yet it felt so important to me to watch those very parts. It allowed me to somehow, some way feel a slight hint of what these average and heroic everyday people went through and felt when they stared horrendous evil in the face. They were some of the first Americans to fight on the front lines of the war on terrorism and they deserve tremendous honor and respect.

I was deeply moved and affected by the whole experience as evidenced by my tears (for the record, my wife shed more than me...). Afterward, I felt more aware of my mortality and more aware of the tremendous courage and selflessness of which human-beings are capable.

Tiptoe Through the You-Know-Whats

Yesterday, I saw some very pretty things. It is true that I see my pretty wife every day, but in addition to that daily perk of marriage, I saw some other pretty things which are showcased below:
Even Ty liked these tulips

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips!!!

Pink and white tulips for everyone!

Look, I'm a real dutchman with a windmill and tulips!!!

Dana in Full Bloom
In case you hadn't figured it out yet, we went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on Friday. Yes, we saw lots of tulips (Dana's favorite flower) and we took pictures of lots of tulips. It was pretty amazing how many tulips there were actually...more than I had ever seen in one place at one time. Those Skagit Valley folks sure know their tulips!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wanna buy a car?

Dear blogging family members,

I like Mark's idea of having a network of family blogs. I started this blog over a year ago but I didn't really tell anyone but Dana about it. I'm not sure why, but I just didn't feel like sharing it with many people. Mark pointed out to me that it is an obvious contradiction to create a blog that you don't want anyone else to see. I am aware of that and I can't really explain my feeling, but the beauty is, I don't have to...this is my blog and I make the rules! The older I get, the more I realize that I am a man of many internal contradictions, some of which I am only slightly conscious. I'm working on myself. The important part is, I am sharing it now with anyone who cares. (is there anyone?)

Anyway, I thought I would try a little experiment on this blog and solicit financial advice from my financially-savvy family members. Here is our family (WA Fosters) situation on which I need input:

We want badly to buy a house this year, but they ain't going cheap as I'm sure you all know. We own two cars and on both we are still making payments :-( I've done the math and in order to afford a house that we can be happy with, we can only afford to make payments on 1 car. I bought a bike and will be able to ride to work 3-4 times a week so that Dana and the baby will not be stranded at home.

Some info about our current automobiles:

2000 Honda Civic (Buster B)
  • payment: reasonable
  • remaining payments: a little more than 2 years
  • quality: decent and reliable, but higher mileage
  • worth: just a little bit more than we owe
2004 Hyundai Sonata (Sonny Boy)
  • payment: almost twice the payment on the Honda
  • remaining payments: a little more than 4 years
  • quality: very nice car, very reliable, low mileage
  • worth: $2000 - $3000 less than we owe (i.e. we are upside-down)

Our current plan is to sell the Sonata, eat the amount that we are upside-down and try to pay off the Honda in about a year and a half. At that point we could afford to buy another car and remain with one car payment. I like this plan because it involves up-front sacrifice (getting by with one car) on our part to achieve better financial positioning later on which seems to ring true to me. Unfortunately, we have been advertising the car for 3+ weeks and have had almost no responses. I'm sure we would get more responses if we dropped the price lower, but we are already asking $2100 less than we owe. We are not sure how much lower we are willing to go...

Any ideas about what we should do? We have a few that we are mulling over, but I would be interested to hear if any of you have any brilliant ideas.

Super Humans

I just watched the last half of a show on TLC called "Super Humans." It was about a woman who was born with one of her legs severely disformed so that the doctors amputated part of it. She is now in her early 30s and has competed in the Paralympics and marathons for years. She just recently completed the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii (2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike, full marathon). What an incredible person!

She said when she was 11 years old she hated the feeling of being left out of athletics and other things because of her disability. She remembers one day she saw a woman with a prosthetic leg run by without any problems and it changed her life.

The most interesting part of the show came when she was talking about how often she has wondered what her life would be like if she had been born with two legs. She said she doesn't think she would trade her life now because of how her life has been colored and shaped by a "disability."

I know it sounds like just a cheesy, feel-good show, and I guess it was, but I felt truly inspired. I like to think that I really know something about how harsh and cruel life can be, but the reality is that while my life does provide me with the occasional challenge or two, I know very little about pushing myself to the edge of my ability and crying out in anguish when things go horribly wrong. I hardly know anything about the real pain and agony (physical and other) that so many people endure constantly, and yet so many of them rise above. I take so much for granted and spend so much time feeling sorry for myself, when I should just go out there, quit making excuses for myself and kick some serious butt like this girl does!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Beautiful Washington

This is a picture of my lovely wife looking out over the beautiful Washington state coastline at sunset. The picture was taken on our "babymoon" to the coast. The concept was something she had heard about, but then I surprised her with the trip. As you can see from her beautiful belly, she has less than a month to go.

The title of this picture is "The horizon of possibilities."

My brother recently started his own blog. Here is the link:

Catching Your Breath

Check it out. He is more poetic than me so I'm sure you will enjoy his blog!

'Til later....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Moved to WA!!

Hello to all of my loyal readers!!!

Oh, wait, there aren't any of you...oh well it is just a matter of time.

We just moved to Western Washington about a month ago and after being in a hotel for over 3 weeks, we are finally moved into an apartment. Hopefully it won't be too long until we are moving into a house of our own. This move came up kind of suddenly, but my wife and I both felt like it was the right thing to do. We had only lived in NY for a little over a year so this is a big deal to us.

Remember that baby I told you about that my wife is pregnant with. Well, HE is due in just over 2 months now so we are getting really excited. My wife is at her parents house having a baby shower right now, raking in free stuff. Showers are a beautiful concept.

I can't wait to meet my son. Both of us are having a hard time comprehending how our lives will be changing very soon. I hope I'm a great father!