The move

Everything went very smoothly, well almost everything. Kelly, Pat, mom and Rick helped me move into the new place. Thank God they were there. There was no way on earth I could have gotten my bed out of Rick’s place and up into my new place without their help. So all my stuff is now there and I am going to spend my first night there tonight!

The only hiccup occurred when I gave my landlord my check. He looked down and pointed out that my checks still said “First Union” on them. First Union was bought out by Wachovia something like 6 years ago. Obviously, I don’t write checks very often… I’ll get some new ones from the now Wells Fargo bank that I use.

My new place doesn’t have internet just yet so I’ll be offline for a little while. I’ll go up to the library and get online in the nearish future. Till then, I’ll be learning the bus lines and starting my new job!!! I’ll post news when I have it.

I have to wait another week

My training has been postponed for a week due to the launch of the new operating system by Apple. They just don’t have the time to deal with a new person.. SIGH

But it’s not all bad. I can get stuff done this week. I already have a new phone, and I used it to set up a dental appointment with my dentist. I’m also going to start looking at places to move into. With any luck, I’ll have a place by the time I need to report to work.

So a slight delay, but things are going on. I feel like I’m starting a new life…

My new job

Yes, I am no longer unemployed. At long last, I was hired by Apple computer. Once I understood that I was not going to be able to do the teaching overseas thing, working at Apple became my next goal. The trouble was that as soon as I figured this out, the economy tanked and Apple put on a hiring freeze. As days stretched into weeks and then months, I started to despair. As I’ve written before, I had never been in the position of having to do a job search before. I had simply figured out what job I wanted to do, and then I went and got it. As it turns out, I have done it again, but it took quite a bit longer than I expected…

I have been hired as a “specialist.” That is Apple-speak for a salesperson. I have no doubts that I will totally kick ass at that. After all, I have actually sold 5 Macs this year without being in the store or even working at it. My enthusiasm was enough to convince those people that a Mac was the best idea for a new purchase. I’ll be working at the Pentagon city location, come and see me if you have some time!

I am beyond psyched at having a job, and one that I will enjoy at that. The downside is that I am starting over. No really, I am. I have been hired as a part time employee. From what I can tell, this is typical. They start people as part timers and “promote” them to full time once they have proven themselves. I won’t have any trouble getting the number of hours I want. Between back to school and the holiday season, there will be plenty of work to go around.

In addition to being a part timer, I will be paid essentially the same amount I got paid when I first joined Penn Camera back in ’97. That’s a huge pay cut as compared to what I was making before I left. On the other hand, it’s a hell of a lot more than I was getting being unemployed… No matter, I consider this a foot in the door. Apple gives me an opportunity to go places professionally that I just couldn’t go in the last company. In addition to going into management, there are all sorts of other opportunities to be had as well. I could become a trainer, I could go into tech support, I could go into the corporate world. The sky’s the limit!

So yeah, I can’t wait to start. I’m also excited at the prospect of starting a new chapter in my life. There’s no telling who I’ll meet, where I’ll go, or what opportunities I’ll come across. It’s good to have some excitement about life again!

I used to hate shaving

I have always been thankful that I don’t need to shave that often. For a large part of my life, I would only need to shave once a week, nowadyas it’s every third day. Seeing guys that needed to shave twice a day to look decent made me even more aware of how lucky I am.

That’s changed a bit, now I actually look forward to shaving. No, seriously, I enjoy it now! It turns out that if you do it properly, it is quite pleasant. Use a real shaving soap or cream and throw away that canned goo! Use a proper single blade to shave with instead of those expensive multi bladed contraptions. Use a decent aftershave afterwards and your skin will feel great!

The best part of all of this is how cheap it is. Go to Amazon and buy the Van der Hagen shave set. It has a puck of shaving soap, a brush, and a bowl and runs around 12 bucks. Trust me, your face will thank me later on. Just using a proper shave soap will do wonders for your attitude about shaving. You can also go to Bath and Body Works and pick up a tube of the C.O. Bigilow shave cream. They say you can use your hands, but you should really use a brush…

The aftershave can be something as simple as witch hazel. I use a scented one from Ogallala, I love the lime and peppercorns. The main purpose of the aftershave is not for the scent. The scent should fade away fairly quickly with a decent aftershave. You want to use the aftershave to tone the skin and possibly moisturize it.

Seriously, just try them. I am now a little jealous of the guys that have to shave every day. If you want to know about razors, just drop me a line.

The difference between democrats and republicans

A friend took one of those silly facebook myers-briggs tests and was horrified to find that some prominent republicans shared her personality type. I would be honored if I were to be compared to Thomas Jefferson, but Cheney is on that list too, so I can understand the consternation.

But really, I’m surprised more people don’t the see the similarities between hard core republicans and hard core democrats. They both have ideas, BIG ideas about things. They are prepared to wage political and social war in order to have the power of government in order to bring about their visions. To a lot of people, they don’t look all that different

Oh sure, they do have different outlooks about people, morals, possibly even money, but they are united in the importance of the government and their desire to control it. Of course controlling the government is really just a proxy for controlling people that don’t agree with them. Seriously, squint just a little, Pelosi and Palin aren’t all that different in the control department.

As long as the disagreement is over how to use government to implement favorite outlooks and control the people that do not share that outlook, the political war will never end. It is this quest for power that causes the conflict.

Of course people think I’m crazy for bring this up. Duh Isaac, what else is government supposed to do? Look at the constitution, that’s what the government is supposed to do. Those things are not, for the most part, very controversial. The things that are controversial, abortion, stimulation of the economy, maintaining of the economy, protection of jobs, health care, gay marriage, etc. are all products of political party fights over power.

That’s really the difference between the two parties, how to wield power. So remember, the personality test is not a political one, don’t be too terrified if you show the same personality traits as your political enemies. The fact that you are so similar is why you are enemies, the drive is the same, just for different ends.

A deep breath, healthcare reform, and the 10th amendment

I don’t want to give the wrong impression, but it may already be too late. If you read enough, you’ll see that people in countries that have various forms of nationalized healthcare, or at least nationalized healthcare coverage are mostly happy with it. People deal with whatever they have to work with. In other words, if something were to be passed, and it worked overall, I don’t think it would be the end of the world. That doesn’t mean I’m not worried what is hidden in those 1000 pages, but I’m not going to get crazy if it does get passed.

I am getting frustrated at people scoffing and ridiculing others for being worried about the federal government involvement in things that it doesn’t have any jurisdiction over. Calling them “unamerican” like our speaker of the house did is unexcusable. Whatever you may think of those people, they do have an argument that has some force, it’s called the 10th amendment. The 10th amendment (the last of the original bill of rights) is the key difference between our government and all of the other governments out there.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It is a clear limitation on the extent of the powers and scope of the federal government. Granted, the people yelling at the meetings are not citing the 10th amendment, but their sentiment is the effectively the same. Like it or not, it is there and we shouldn’t ignore it, or the people that share the sentiment.

Of course, the 10th amendment has all but been ignored for all of the 20th century. The supreme court has twisted itself into knots using the commerce clause in order justify all sorts of federal involvements that are not in the constitution. I do wish that we would remember what the federal government is supposed to do, it is very clearly spelled out in the constitution. The 10th amendment was put in there to prevent the federal government from emulating a monarchy. You have to have limits to prevent that, an the 10th is it. On the other hand, the proper use of the commerce clause could in fact help out this issue and the government could stay within its prescribed bounds. SIGH, I guess it’s too much to ask for that to happen…

Just for the record, I do think things are screwed up

I have posted many times before on how screwed up the medical industry is. Insurance companies are sheltered from competition, providers can’t tell you how much anything costs, and there is an enormous amount of confusion about costs in medicine. it should be much more straightforward. If people are unaware what things cost, how will we ever get prices lower? If we don’t get prices lower, how will we ever expand availability in a way that doesn’t kill us?

So what are my ideas for correcting things? I would like to start with stripping away the layers that protect the insurance companies. Make them compete on a national level. I would like to see providers be more transparent on the costs of procedures. I would like to see more competition for care in the same way you see competition among dentists, corrective eye surgery, and plastic surgery.

All of these things could be done without additional tax burdens. Who knows, maybe they wouldn’t be enough for the people that are so eager to reform, but they would certainly make a difference. I want the lawmakers to go after the low hanging fruit before trying incredibly expensive and large programs. Shouldn’t that be the way things work on a normal basis? What’s wrong with doing the easy thing first?

"It’s not a single payer system, so what’s the big deal?"

That’s a response I got to my last post. It’s true, I don’t know of anyone seriously promoting that, but it can still do what I said in my previous post. Why? It all has to do with the fact that it is a federal program.

Imagine that you have kids and live in an area with lousy public schools. You really don’t want to send your kids to neighborhood school, what to do? Sure, you have a choice, you don’t have to choose to use the state’s school, there are plenty of private schools to choose from. Here’s the thing, even if you choose to not use the public school you still have to pay for it. Your choice to not use the school does not help you out at all. You have to come up with the money for both the public and the private school. On top of that, the public school doesn’t really care if your children don’t go, they won’t change what they do at all.

Facing that decision, most parents go ahead and send their kids to the public school. If they are really committed, they will agitate to improve the school. Of course, if anything ever does come of that agitation, it will only be long after their kids are through that school.

It’s a similar thing with a federal health insurance “option.” It will be optional to use the services, but it will not be optional to pay for it. Faced with that decision, most people will go ahead and use it. Using what you are charged for is the rational thing to do, even if that thing is substandard. The cost of using something else is just too much for most people. This is the mechanism that will cause the federal program to squeeze out the private ones.

Keep in mind that this holds even if you can opt out of the premiums. This is because the inevitable cost over runs and/or cost underestimates will still be the responsibility of the federal government. Without any real reason to worry about profitability, there will be both. It will be like Fannie mae and Freddie Mac, political promises with no incentive to rein in costs or risks. In other words, a disaster waiting to happen.