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Thoughts On Turning 30

Posted on June 8, 2011

Dear Gracie and Boy,

Today your Dad turned 30. In case I haven’t said it enough, you guys and your mom are the best things in my life. I am thankful for you on a daily basis.

I spent a lot of the day reflecting on how quickly time has passed and how much things have changed over the last decade. I wanted to take some time to point out some lessons I’ve learned in case you are curious about who your Dad is/was.

Be Ready To Work On Your Marriage

This decade I got married, and its been hard at times. Though it has gotten better and I love your mom more today than when we first met. Be ready to work hard and seek to find a partner who wants to work hard too.

Be Wary Of Debt

The USA is currently experiencing the worst recession/depression in history. In fact the world faces some serious challenges moving forward. From this vantage we the people are owned by Corporations.

We got to this point by taking on way too much debt, which blew up in our faces. Please be wary of taking it on yourself. Ask the people you respect for their opinions before jumping into anything that ends with you signing a promissory note.

Never trust a bank.

Be Strategic In Your Search

In your youth, responsibly try as many things as you can. Get a feel for what challenges, opportunities, and tasks await. Also, use that time to learn how to be your best advocate. But let this search be strategic to narrow the scope of what satisfies your heart. Sitting here at the big 3-0, I can tell you your youth goes by all too fast.

Be Cautious Of Anyone Or Thing Wanting You To “Act Now!!!”

The best things in life take hard work and the most satisfying things take a long time to come into fruition. I have found that the longer I wait for something, the better off I am. And in this consumerist society, I know my slow actions are not the norm, but I think thats a good thing.

Be Kind To Your Mother

I was not always kind to your Mom. My personality can just be too strong at times. But she has been patient with me. I actually don’t think I’ve ever met anyone nicer than your mom. She loves you all. Respect her, love her, emulate her where applicable.

Be Aware Of Death

Make sure to show the people that are in your life, that you love and appreciate them on a daily basis. Its easy to forget, but very important to do. Always be aware that the time you have with them is limited, so you need to try and make the most of it.

Be Forgiving

Things won’t always work out for you. The bad guy may even appear to win at times. But forgiveness is not about them, its about you. And a lot of peace can be found in forgiving others. The people who I look up to right now, are the best ones at forgiving.

Be Strong

Choose the right time and place to confront, speak to, or act out. I’ve learned the hard way, that there are times to keep my head down and look for a better opportunity for my energy to have maximum impact. This decade, I realized that if my emotion is HIGH, then more likely than not, it is the wrong time. But also know, there comes a day when you must act. Be strong.

Be Full Of Questions

You will never know it all. Don’t act like it. Don’t try to even freaking attempt it. Just ask questions and listen, listen all the time. You will be mocked for this. In school especially. But pay no attention to those doing the mocking. You will end up far wiser and smarter than everyone around.

Be Different

I have a general theory that the majority of people are just sad sheep. Indifferent and uncaring to most everything around them of any major value. Main stream media and religious organizations for the most part are just forms of propaganda and control. There is truth in each, but I’ve spent the later half of this decade trying to figure out how to disseminate the truth. To read between the lines.

So when you see the herd moving in one direction, you probably should be moving in the opposite one. But please don’t just move in reaction, in accordance with trying to be different. Use it as a starting point to question. Ask yourself “If everyone is going this way, dad warned me that I need to probably move the other, why?”.

You’ll figure it out.

Be Willing To Not Succeed

When you try, you’ll soon learn that you will not always succeed. But the people around you, for the most part, are one step behind, they have stopped trying. They are the definition of failure. So when you do get knocked down after trying something new, and the world laughs and tells you that you suck, just say;

“I’ve not failed, I’m just currently not succeeding”

And then get back up and try again.

* * *

I hope this helps you, and if you have any questions, let me know. I will only be a bedroom door or two away.





Where Faith And Hope Are Requirements

Ever felt like you were losing your faith and lacking in hope?

I have.

These types of thoughts usually lead right into a nice bout of depression which is always a bitter battle. A downward mathematical equation calculating the slope of a line built on despair.

But one thing that I notice is that the fight begins when I felt that I no longer have questions. When the fullness of having things proves me safe in my supposed tangible security. Which I so arrogantly praised myself for acquiring. And with everything defined, categorized, and shelved so nicely, it would leave me in a place that no longer allowed for me to ask who I am and why I am here. Already summarizing that life had little meaning and even less value.

When I used to get to this spot, I would always voice that I no longer felt I had a reason to hope and that I had lost my faith. And go about looking for faith and hope not as objective solutions, but almost deities, defining the value using my subjective context.

And what would happen is that despair would seep right on in, dragging me deeper into feelings of pointlessness.

Lately I’ve been solving these issues by challenging my perspective. Going out and finding families and people who are in great need and have great pain. People whose lives have been torn apart by affairs, theft, drugs, or death.

These are the people who prove that we are not anywhere close to as knowing and mighty as we think. They are the ones to whom faith and hope are requirements. Simple reminders that we will all be broken someday and will cling to our faith and shout our hopes aloud.

Because when you are small, what else is there?

Getting old, is getting old

Posted on June 10, 2010

On the 8th I turned the big two-nine! And my wife organized quite a good BBQ and party for me. My parents even drove the distance to celebrate with us. It was a rip roaring good time.

There was though, one odd occurrence that happened over the course of my parents visit. It was something my Dad said. And at first, I didn’t really pay any attention. It wasn’t until a friend asked me.

“Do you feel any older?”

That I found that I could finally articulate my thoughts, and I was able to share about my Dad with my friend.

I said that as we (mom,dad,jaimi,i) were sitting around playing a board game,  Dad said;

“I’m having a hard time using my thumbs now days, because of arthritis”

And I sat shocked, because I have never heard my Dad complain or comment about this topic. EVER! After everyone went to bed, I ended up just lying there next to Jaimi, thinking about my Dad’s thumbs.

There are a lot of great memories in those thumbs. Magical moments that couldn’t have been created without them. How my Dad used his thumbs on the handle of a lathing tool as he did some wood working, pressing down on the neck of his classical guitar, or on the back of his clarinet as he plays, or lifting Jaye high over his head and dropping him on our childhood bed to a room full of laughter, smiles, and squealing. And with their loss on the horizon, I felt old as well as responsible for my family. And I thought

“Age is the metronome to a song that shall never be repeated”

I guess this year, the gift of responsibility was what I really received. And though some would curse it, or run from it, I don’t mind. Not one bit.


Canadian Housing Bubble and how to short it

Posted on May 30, 2010

canadian housing bubbleRecently I went to a PHP programming conference in Chicago, Illinois and was able to sit next to a Canadian businessman on our flight home. We discussed many things and some how we ended up on the U.S housing bubble.

“How much have homes appreciated in value where you live?” I asked.

“Well, I sold a home in early 2000 for about $180k” he started. “Now that same home, with maybe $300k worth of upgrades would go for $700k-$800k”

Uh oh, I thought strike one

I proceeded to tell him about Bend and how at our height, the median was around $400k.

“What is it now?” he asked.

“Well, I think last month the median was around $180k”

The businessman sat there, mouth agape, stunned.

“Glad that isn’t happening up north, I’d be in trouble.  I think homes in Canada are going to just level off in large YoY appreciataion because they were so cheap before”

strike two I thought.

“Well why couldn’t it happen with Canada also?” I asked directly.

He looked at me, and with conviction, said “Well, Canada is different…” and proceeded to tell me how.

Strike three I thought this thing is toast

And then today I read this article from mish

Imagine, 68% of your disposable income being spent on housing costs with the remaining disposable income likely being spent on their favorite Top Ramen and KD dinners. This is insane as well as unsustainable. It’s funny that many Canadians seems to think that the 49th parallel has magically created immunity from a housing bust that in their minds is exclusive to the United States. I can’t tell you how many times friends and acquaintances say that Canada’s banks are sound and there was no sub-prime lending and it just can’t happen here. I’m quick to remind them that the loss of one income from a two income family will in essence convert a low credit risk to a poor credit risk akin to that of a sub-prime borrower real fast. Now, multiply this my hundreds of thousands if not millions of borrows and we too have a major problem in Canada no different from that of the US. Wishful thinking really. The proof’s in the pudding and this puddings going to bring a dose of reality to those that are living in fantasy land, way beyond their means and who apparently have missed the global financial crisis that’s been gaining traction and intensity since August 2007.

We’re not only “Hosers” in Canada but we’re royally Hosed as well!!

Robert Clegg, JD, LL.M
Ombudsman, University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta

Now if only I could figure out how to short the housing mess that we all know is coming to Canada, I’d be insanely rich.


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