Monday, August 10, 2009

Safeco Insurance Company Has Failed Another Customer

I am pissed off. See how long it has been since I have written on here? Well, it took my insurance company being complete crooks to get me fired up enough to use my personal platform to spout off. I have always hated insurance companies, the scumbags who run them, the snakes who are in bed with our politicians re-writing policy and legislation constantly to suck the citizens, businesses and the consumers in this country, dry.

The short of it is that I asked them to come look at an issue I was having at my house a few months back. A leak had reared its ugly head in a storage room in my garage. There is substantial damage to the sheathing from a defective flashing up on my roof. Apparently, the flashing isn't even REAL. Sucky builders. They tell me months ago they will not cover me since it is defective workmanship. The builder of course is long gone and out of business. They will not cover it as my insurance company of 10 years, and now I get a letter from them stating they are going to drop me as a policyholder all together! WTF? These guys are crooks and I don't care what anyone has to say about the b.s details about it being a workmanship issue. If this was within a workable time frame, I could have gone after the builder. It isn't. the house is 12 years old now and the leak has finally appeared. My insurance is to protect me. End of sentence. I say to all you evil insurance companies out there. Drop dead you scum sucking bottom dwellers. You have shitted up this country for too long with your crap. You suck the money from small businesses and homeowners and when they need you, you not only deny the help, you then dump them and leave them for dead. I hope that all your members of your families develop non-curable diseases and that you are unable to be covered by your own companies. Eat shit and die.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Words of inspiration

Steve Jobs, the man who created Apple Computer, the imac, the ipod, the iphone, and many other amazing tools, may very well be one of the most incredible people of his generation and certainly of the last 20+ years.
Someday in the distant future, when the aliens come down, and probe the earth for signs of life after we have most certainly wiped ourselves clear off the planet, they will discover the impact that one man had on the world of computers and technology and the way both were used.

This article is from the Standford News Service site and is a very empowering read. Enjoy.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisio

ns I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about var

ying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossib

le to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macint

osh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. Wh

at had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Big Foot Exists?

Highly doubtful. If any one of the 10 remaining intelligent Americans tuned in to this debacle of a press conference yesterday afternoon, we would have quickly surmised that all the Bigfoot clues pointed, with a large neon flashing sign, to "NO".
Let's take a look at some of the possible clues that might have tipped us off.

The Bigfoot "expert", Tom Biscardi, who started the conference looked like he stepped right out of the back of a Gypsy wagon ready to sell some snake oil to all the world. It was hard to follow him, what with all the exciting rendition of how he met those fine gentlemen. From the plane ride down, the stay at the hotel, the food they served him, the 2nd plane ride down, more food being served, interrupted only by his horribly placed and shameless plugs for his lame internet radio show, eastern standard time and all. Shouldn't that really be clue number one? An internet radio show? I could go get an internet radio show in about 5 minutes myself. A credible broadcaster that does not make me.
After several minutes of some more boring anecdotes, pathetic plugs, things unrelated to Bigfoot, and some of the most lame showmanship one has seen on major cable news sources, in at least a few hours, our fair leader of this dog and pony show introduces the first of the dynamic duo from the mountains of Georgia. (Cue the banjo folks)

Matthew Whitton, an ex police officer, claims he and his friend stumbled upon this beast while walking in the woods, with their video camera of course. He stated how they were never hunters of Bigfoot prior to this encounter even though the hats they adorned stated, along with another shameless plug, that they were the best Bigfoot trackers in the world. That statement alone is absolutely stupid. "I fell over a dead body of a mythical creature. I'm the best at tracking him."
Whitton said that there were many other similar animals watching them the whole time they removed the body, with his mutton headed friend's tow truck. I find it next to impossible to believe that they were not challenged while trying to remove the 500 lb. body.
A question posed by this fine reporter is, when did Whitton get shot in the hand? Before or after this incredible discovery? He claims it was in the line of duty. How much of a help would he be in removing the body with a lame hand?
When asked about his law enforcement job, he seemed to get very heated about it and declined to respond. That certainly peaks my interest and I would love to see someone investigate that just a bit further.
At one point during cross examination, our Bigfoot ringmaster Biscardi jumped in when Whitton was asked a question regarding other fake claims of Bigfoot. Before long Bascardi was arguing with the reporters and explaining how he had refunded money to other poor suckers from one of his previous fake Bigfoot partnerships. He tried to quickly dismiss it and stated that the person who had claimed to have found Bigfoot in that incident had mental problems and was since receiving mental help. Nice.
Biscardi did have some interesting stats, none of which were factually relating to the subject of this press conference.
He quoted a statistic of 72 missing planes that have never been found with all of our high-tech imagery and such as a response to why we are unable to see 7000 or so of these creatures as he has posed.

When the press asked if the other guy speaks, Biscardi brought him to the stage. There is a good reason why Rick Dyer was the mute one for a while.
"When we was filling the freezer up with water." he responded when asked why the freezer kept braking that housed the illusive hairy beast.
When asked why they were filling up the freezer with water he stated, "To put it in a block of ice." This is the point I fell off my chair laughing so hard. These morons thought they were going to build a solid block of ice around this thing almost like it was an iceman carved from the deep regions of the Arctic plains. By filling up a freezer with water! Georgia's rep just dropped a few clicks and at this very moment is right at par with the stereotype of West Virginia. Congratulations boys. You have served your state well.

Oh, and the overwhelming DNA evidence that was supposed to be revealed. Part human, part Possum, as he says. And more pictures were released. One looks like every other photo over the years of Bigfoot. In the woods, trees blurring the view.

You know, I was taught never to judge a book by it's cover, but I have to tell you that when I look at these 3 guys, my gut doesn't like it. Anyone who sports that Kid rock dirty mustache look, with those slightly beady eyes like he "Just aint right", has something else going on inside that head all the while laughing at the U.S press who jumps at the opportunity to broadcast this crap. Shame on all of us for getting to the point where we allow non credible news and people to fill our lives with B.S.