Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Friday at work, I was having a discussion with a coworker that began on a subject completely unrelated to Father’s Day.

The woman with whom I was talking told me stories about her father, but not a thing she had to say was pleasant. She told me about how she and her mother were abused. She discussed her memories of her father beating her mother, and how her mother would always go back to him, and that somehow she always loved the man.

She spoke calmly, with an understanding that this was just what life was, but I could see in her eyes she despised the details of the story she told. She also had been abused during her first marriage, which psychologists would probably say was a direct effect of her childhood experiences.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember all the details of our conversation at this moment, and all the details are not extremely important. It was amazing to me to hear the stories I was hearing, because this coworker had never talked to me about this aspect of her life. To know her, you’d likely never know she had such a turbulent past.

What was fascinating, though, was how she turned the story on me and asked me, “And what about your father?”

My answer was quite simple, and came to me without hesitation.

“Best man I’ve ever known,” I replied.

Any man can be a “father,” in the biological sense. But to be a Dad… to be a man, and to do the things it takes to not just provide, but to truly help a child find his way?

Thank you, Dad, for all you’ve given me. Life, lessons, advice, experience shared… Thank you. I know I didn’t always show you appreciation, but I suppose you always knew that was part of the deal.

You truly are the best man I know. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Good Times

I haven’t been to a concert in a few years. Today on the way home I heard these guys are going to tour for the first time in nearly two decades... absolutely amazing guitar work.

This is Good Times. I hope you enjoy it!

I’d probably break out of my shell and go see a show if The Stone Roses come to town.

If I'm not here, you might find me on Twitter.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I’ve just a quick thought tonight, as I get ready to turn in.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is going on and on tonight about this “Lilly Ledbetter” legislation that President Obama signed into law. I guess it’s time for his media to start ramping up what few positives they believe they can help him with. That, plus there’s new polling out that says Romney is behind but gaining with independent women.

Anyway… this law the President signed. The idea is supposed to be “Equal work for equal pay.” I’d be good with that, except that’s not how these things end up turning out.

The truth is that in a free market, the best employees will rise to the top and earn the most pay due to their merit. As I discussed a couple of days ago about my own situation, if you’re an hourly employee trying to maintain a full 40-hour work week in a manufacturing environment today the key to success is to be better than everyone else at everything available to you and be willing to do it.

So my question is this:

If a woman had the exact same job title as me, but she were a much better employee than I, would it be reasonable of me to expect the same pay as her simply because we held the same job title? I believe it would not even be open for discussion.

So why is it okay for the same situation to be considered mandatory, when the gender roles are reversed?

Other than the typical liberal victimhood play, I can’t think of any reason why this “Lilly Ledbetter” legislature ever needed to be created.

I welcome your opinion, and I thank you for your time.

Check out @wisdomofsoloman on Twitter.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

lil' Red, and The Kitties

Today has been a good day. It’s always a good day when I wake up and this little girl is laying by me, looking out the window and watching her birdies.

She is one of my four babies. Her name is CCP, which is short for Cherry-Chicken Pock. I didn’t choose it, but I respect it and that’s her name. I have kind of unofficially changed it to Cici P, so it’s more like an artistic name. she came to me about this time last year, by way of the young lady I was dating at the time. She and I had some good times, and my little family gained a new member.

Wilbur, my eldest, is 6 this year. I rescued him one night late, at an impound yard when I was a tow-truck driver. I was also a drug addict, which is a frightening thought on an amazing number of levels.

Yet the man I am now was the man I was then at some levels, and I understood that this little scared guy needed help, so I brought Wilbur home with me. Wilbur is gentle and kind, and very much a scaredy-cat. I love that little boy.

Chloe is about a year younger than Wilbur… maybe a year and a half. She was one of two Tortie kittens wandering the neighborhood, one of which my then-girlfriend rescued. The other went to a neighbor. Anyway, there was Chloe, and we had a new little girl to call our own.

Today, since that ex-girlfriend is no longer in my life and I was the responsible one of the two of us, I am proud to call Chloe mine. Chloe is a little insecure and therefore pretty pushy sometimes, but we do okay together overall. She's a sweetheart.

At the time she entered my world, Chloe was actually the third cat in my household.

Cassie was the original of this group I'm describing. Cassie was a beautiful solid black cat with a bit of a temper toward the others, due pretty much to over-crowding. She found a new home a couple of years ago, with an older woman who wanted the companionship of a loving pet. I assume they’re doing fine.

Louie, Louie, Louie. He’s my big Siamese boy. He’s a big oaf, and has so much love to give. Sometimes he forgets his own strength and gets a little rough, mostly with Chloe. Louie and Cici P are the best of friends.

One little guy I must mention as I talk about the kitties I called my 'kids' is Buddy.

Just after the aforementioned irresponsible girl left my home (and took all the cats with her) I met Buddy. At the time I was a smoker. I was sitting outside having a cigarette one night and he just walked right up to me like he’d known me forever. I petted him some, and he walked away. Later that evening I was outside again and he came back, so I opened the door and offered him the chance to see what inside looked like.

Buddy stayed with me a while. When I first moved to the apartment I have now, it was just Buddy and me. Then the irresponsible ex showed up one day needing me to take the others, and I suddenly had five kids to raise… Cici P wasn’t with me yet.

There was a lot of tension, mostly Buddy getting picked on. I knew that mess wasn’t going to work for long, so I had to find Buddy a new home. He went to live with a man and his dog. They had had just lost their cat a few months back. The guy said his dog was lonely, and knew one of each type of pet had been a good balance for him in the past.

This guy had pictures of his pets on the wall, and urns with the ashes of a past dog plus the cat he’d recently lost. I know Buddy ended up in a very happy home. That gives me comfort.

I didn’t end up taking my Crate amp and guitars to work last night as I said I would, but that’s okay. I’ve still accomplished a lot today, and the wheels are in motion. Electra and lil’ Red (my Ibanez) plus my gearbox have moved into my primary closet and are in my way, and they’re not going back into hiding.

Today I plugged lil’ Red into my 10-watt amp and tuned her, then strummed some. A little E-A-B blues shuffle, then I picked through the entire fret board to find a little solo-like phrasing that held that tune to the strumming. I played decently enough for someone who hasn’t really played in years and who really has never played a solo. I know with the support of a patient rhythm section I could definitely improve, and maybe even develop some soloing skills. Or, I could continue to develop my rhythm strumming skills and learn to incorporate singing. I enjoy singing.

For now what I might do is record myself strumming rhythm to whatever shuffle feels good, and expand from there.

Today I watched a free broadcast of my baseball team on my flat-screen TV through an HDMI cable coming out of my laptop. However, I find it very disappointing that by Wifi-capable Internet-ready Sony blu-ray player does not have built in and that I cannot install Flash player to the blu-ray player’s built-in browser.

I have such First-World problems.

And yet some would insinuate that I should complain, call myself part of the 99% and go “Occupy Wall Street.”

Bullcrap. Suck it up. Be grateful for what you have, work hard if you want more, and stop expecting the world to come to you so easily. It ain’t like that. Life’s a bitch is a saying for a reason.

The Diamondbacks have a very impressive group of young players. This team has the potential to be a contender for years to come, and that’s awesome if you’re a baseball fan, especially one living in Arizona.

I am. A baseball fan, that is. And I live in Arizona. I love it here.

I’m also enjoying seeing that my Tribe is playing well this year. I do miss the Cleveland area in the summer. The riverbeds are such fun areas to explore when it is warmer outside, but I can’t take the cold.

Every day I find reason to be grateful, and for every living day I give myself a hand.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your time.

I tweet, and it’s kind of interesting. Click here to learn more…

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finding My Way

Strummed to a rhythm something like You Make Me Real, with an alternate, deep blues version with an intro something to the effect of Texas Flood.

I made your bed for you baby,
So come on and get in.
I made your bed for you baby,
So come on and get in.
Cause when you’re sleeping in my bed baby,
You know that’s when I win.

I was sorting through laundry and getting ready to take a shower today. My kitten (literally a cat) was watching me. When I'm in the shower she has a certain spot she lays and waits for me, right in front of the sink. I laid some towels down in that spot because I thought she'd enjoy that, and the lyrics above came to me.

I’m a desiring to play, but not aspiring to do so, blues fan. I own three guitars, but play not at all for reasons I understand but won’t justify.

Right now, given the way I am thinking about music, my guitars should be out.

So today I begin to make that happen, in two ways.

First, I wrote that which is written above. I have an understanding of music, and a mid-level ability to strum through some cords. I am beginning to hear inside my head more and more of the structure of a guitar solo, and I need to start exercising those sounds.

I have written other thoughts that have become songs, including a song called “you are where I want to be” that is along the lines of a good blues shuffle… maybe some Stevie Ray influence, I confess. I miss Stevie. And Jim, and Jimi. Kurt, Shannon and Layne too. And Buddy Holly. Boy did we lose a lot of great rock and roll the day the music died.

I need to put “you are where I want to be” to music and put myself on YouTube, at least strumming through it on the acoustic. That would be a major accomplishment, yet is completely achievable.

Second, I will pull out my acoustic and find that song (the one written above) at some level. Then tonight I will take my Ibanez to work with my Crate amp and my box full of pedals and stuff. My workplace is a manufacturing shop, which will be closed when I go there. I have a key, however, and permission from the owner to use his building to work on my car. I know he wouldn’t mind at all if I were to play my guitar there. In fact, he’d probably be darned glad he offered me that place for that purpose.

As long as I am there, I will set up (at least) a basic system and pick through something. Anything. I will find something fun for a while, and turn it up. It will be nice to not be confined with the electric, and should inspire me to play the acoustic more at home.

Now that I think about it, there’s a third, and perhaps most important step to take. Electra must go to the shop. She needs some TLC from someone who knows electronics better than I. What I have lost in time not playing I must accept, but to play I must. It is an outlet I know really will help me find my way.

So Electra will go with me, and she’ll stay locked up at work, because ultimately I should leave work one day and take her directly to the shop.

The name of the song I started this thought with - the one that I opened this blog post with - will be finding my way.

By the time Electra comes back from the shop, I need to at least have the basic structure of “you are where I want to be” down confidently, so I can start really working on it. That song has been in my head for at least a year now, and it's time.

Because I’m finding my way, baby…
Finding my way back to you…

Electra was a gift from my Brother and his wife. I can’t remember if it was for my Birthday or Christmas they surprised me with her, but I know that day changed my life, in a very good way. Nothing bad has ever come from the times I have played guitar, even when I was at my worst. And I know much good has come from those times, and that can only get better now that I’m not an addict.

As they gave me Electra, my brother told me “It doesn’t matter if you never play this guitar, but don’t ever get rid of it.” He knew I never would.

Keep reading, and you’ll understand just how much I am finding my way right now, Perhaps my thoughts might help you find your way too.

Or just keep reading about some guy who grew up in Cleveland but today living in Phoenix, who has interesting insights about things like “big labor” and “right to work” states (I’ve lived in both), music, some sports, and the weather. I moved here to The Valley of The Sun because of the weather as much as or more than any other reason, so you’re darned right I have an opinion about it.

In the near future, I need to write about “a little blow” and how it’s not something to be proud of. I’m a recovered meth addict, and I’ve done a fair share or cocaine too. “A little blow” is never a good thing, and I have the scars to prove it.

Then, I need to write about the intelligent consumption of marijuana, and why decriminalization should be looked at more seriously, re: private industry, which can be taxed without subsidy, regulated reasonably using drivers’ license as proof of privilege, et cetera.

It’s a delicate situation with regards to morality in the eyes of some, but as a person who has very good morals, I’m here to tell you that it’s all about responsibility, and in that respect we can discuss alcohol and text messing in the same manner yet those two things are legal. More later on this subject.

Today I finish here, and I thank you for your time. Let me know if you think I’m a complete idiot, if you find me fascinating, or if you just want to let me know you were here. I always appreciate hearing from you.

Have you followed me on Twitter yet? If you have, I thank you. If not, what ARE you waiting for?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ramblings of a Happy Madman

Today on my way home from work I stopped at Del Taco. If you’ve never had Del Taco… well, it’s Mexican fast food with a different flavor than Taco Bell, plus burgers and fries on the menu. I’ve never tried their burger; I’ve heard it’s decent.

I left work at noon today – I’m lucky enough to get 40 full hours of work at my workplace as an hourly employee, as long as I have work to do. The easy way to make that happen is to be willing to do anything, and do it better than everyone else who is not on salary. Being able and willing to teach others has also been greatly beneficial to my professional life.

My key to success in all aspects of life, at least as of today (which I believe would include the entirety of my life), has become my understanding of just how important that though process can be in everyday life.

Be good at what you do. Or, get good at something, and do that.

And do right by those who trust you with information that provides them a benefit, because that information is likely providing you a benefit as well. Otherwise they’d likely not trust you with it.

Or it might be they’re just really lucky and you’re along for a dangerous ride. Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, they say.

So the plan was a stop at Chic-fil-A, then head home to whatever came my way. Well here I am, but the line at Chic-fil-A was amazingly long, so Del Taco became the most convenient alternative since I didn’t want to work out the food issue with time in the kitchen beyond grabbing a plate and a Dr. Pepper. Oh, those 23 flavors of joy.

I had other things to do, even if my other things were even something so simple as dragging myself out to the pool and basking in the 110° heat, which does my bones a world of good. Best. Disinfectant. Ever.

So I had to have fast food. You understand.

Don’t tell Mayor Bloomberg, he may try to take over Phoenix and exploit my obvious lack of self-control with some new restriction on my freedoms.. er.. I mean regulation.

My Dr. Pepper was in a can, by the way. Twelve ounces. Take that, Bloomberg!

So I was headed to Chic-fil-A and re-routed to Del Taco, I believe, before that tangent.

They run an amazing operation, Chick-fil-A, and their business volume shows it. Everyone who has ever had Chic-fil-A loves it, as far as I know. Please tell me if I’m wrong, but be warned I may ask for signed, notarized documentation and a video statement from the person who doesn’t love that place.

Anyway, the long line at Chic-fil-A… and I ended up at Del Taco. I’m focused.

Interfacing with the young lady working the register inside Del Taco was an interesting experience. I’d say she was “working” the register, but I do not want to insinuate that she is in any way involved in prostitution. That would be a reach, although I’m not sure how much of one. I mean, thick silver eye shadow over dark eye liner for the counter at a fast food gig? I know I’m getting old, but ugh…

I was ordering an item that appeared new to the Del Taco menu. Pollo Asada Burrito. The picture made it look like it contains chicken, Pico de Gallo, rice and maybe beans, and guacamole. Guacamole… even the crap from a tube at Del Taco is good when you don’t have guacamole much. Obviously I don’t, because I’m clearly obsessing about guacamole.

So I gave the early 20-something female employee my order for the Pollo Asada Burrito, plus the coupon for “Buy one, get one free” chicken soft tacos. My role in this adventure then became watching her fuss with the register, then get irritated with it, and in doing so give me a new insight on life.

That’s an important part of what I’ve come to understand as well, during the aforementioned “entirety of my life”. I learn something from an amazing array of interactions with people I know and people I don’t know, just living life.

I don’t believe everyone understands the value of finding a lesson in simple everyday experiences. For some time, I didn’t understand this simple truth, or at least not like I do today. That tells me all I need to know.

It wasn’t the fact that she looked like she was completely unsure of what she was doing, because she simply looked so irresponsible; it was the reaction when whatever she did simply would not work for her. And trust me, the look on her face made it clear she had done everything correctly.

She was so surprised by the fact that her efforts were unsuccessful that she scoffed, flipped her head back, and then rolled her eyes as if to be telling that register it didn’t know what it was doing.

Somewhere along the way, I asked if the Pollo Asada Burrito indeed had guacamole on it. Remember, I’ve got an obsession by this time.

She replied, “To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know.”

In hindsight I want to appreciate her candor, but at that moment my opinion was more of “what a surprise.” Based on the attitude she presented by her actions, not to mention her general appearance, I didn’t believe she knew much about anything happening at Del Taco.

It’s amazing the importance of a first impression.

I just had to share this experience because it’s good for me, and I know there are people who care about me that like to know what’s going on in my life. Whether family, or people I’ve never met, I have good people interested in my exploits and my well being. That’s a great feeling.

I used to write here a lot. I haven’t been here lately because… well, just because. What’s the difference, really?? It’s a story, I’m sure, why I haven’t been here much lately writing.

Another time, perhaps.

I plan to come here more often. I may offer a microburst of though and be gone, or I may drone on and on about my moral superiority, like I have today.

The liberal left believes that since conservatism is such the “old white men” club, and that we’re so regressive in our thinking, that we conservatives “just don’t get it.”

Well I’ve got news for you, liberal left.

I have done things. You know… smoked a little weed, done a little blow.. the things that give the liberal left their supposed cover to understanding President Obama's past. And just like President Obama, I’m not afraid to admit my past.

My family knows me, and I know myself. I have found my place in life, and I’m good with who I am. I am a decent person.

Or I’m a racist. You make the call.

I believe it’s dangerous for people do be offered too much opportunity to depend on anyone other than themselves, and I believe that’s what government is trying to do to us. They want us to depend on them. I believe President Obama understands that's the end game of his political philosophy, and I believe that fact needs to be exposed. Fairly and reasonably, but exposed nonetheless.

Self reliance equals survival, and while we’re not the “Wild, Wild, West” anymore, the world has always been a place where we must all keep ourselves prepared for anything and everything. When we start to believe the “system” has our back is when we become most vulnerable.

I’ve come to believe that the more I admit my own truths, the more I am able to see why the direction President Obama wants to take America is wrong.

I believe they call it “Speaking from experience.” I plan to begin speaking from experience a little more often, here.

I sincerely thank all of you who have taken time from your life to make it to this point in my writings. I also feel slightly sorry for you, that I, of all people, am that interesting to you.

That’s self-deprecation, but you already knew that.

I’m on Twitter, if you haven’t heard.. I’m not very popular – I don’t have thousands of followers. It’s all good… I’ll get there. Trust me. I’m a heck of a guy, people are bound to start noticing. I’m good at what I do, remember?

Fridays are always fresh days… Have a good weekend!