birra's Journal

birra's Journal


Honor: 13    [ Give / Take ]


19 entries this month

For where there is hope...

20:20 Sep 29 2008
Times Read: 1,154

"Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,

she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not

fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the

lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing

Zeus the Cloudgatherer."

-- Hesiod, "Works and Days"

It is said this is what keeps mankind alive - hope.

In the fable of Pandora, she opens the jar (box) and releases all the ills upon the world and upon human kind... but hope is the last thing left in the jar. Hope...

...yet, hope... and the act of hoping, is a concept I consciously try to avoid in my life. I learned long ago, hope is not enough. Hope is never enough.

If I only have hope, I don't have control.

Control is what I need to take my life into my hands. Effort and perseverance will help me achieve my dreams, not hope.

I'll leave hope locked away in the jar... I have to get back to work.



21:39 Sep 29 2008

There have been times in my life when hope has led me to aspire to things beyond my reach. It is important to aspire to greater and greater endeavors, but when I failed, I failed spectacularly.

03:39 Sep 30 2008

Spes est sominium vigilans- Hope is a waking dream.

Hope is nothing more than the beginning of a thought, the start to a process. It does no good to sit and hope something will happen. You have to get up and make it happen. It's something I've seen you do time and time again. Even when all hope seemed lost. *hugs*


The quiz is making the rounds...

03:41 Sep 29 2008
Times Read: 1,179

...but why would I conform?

Here is my own version:

1) Does anyone care what you think.

A: No.

2) ...



03:44 Sep 29 2008


03:49 Sep 29 2008

I took the quiz. -.- But I made it private. So, yyeeahh

09:38 Sep 29 2008

Quiz me this, quiz me that, quiz me in a big black hat...lol. Rebel. ;)


I want that hour of my life back...

18:22 Sep 27 2008
Times Read: 1,195

...spent a quality hour with the gas string-trimmer shortening all the tall grass in the ditch in front of the old homestead.

Mindless work... so totally mindless it left me way too much time to think about... things.

Way... WAY too much time. Way... WAY too much thinking.

Sometimes I wish I could just turn off those parts of my brain completely.... how do you escape your thoughts, and memories... and the demons that live in that big mushy pile of elbow noodles called a brain?

If your answer was, get drunk... I like the way you think.



23:04 Sep 27 2008

what's an elbow noodle ?


You'd be surprised...

08:50 Sep 26 2008
Times Read: 1,221

...seriously. You would be.



22:44 Sep 26 2008

Does this mean we may get to see the other side of your face soon? :P


The joys of youth...

05:23 Sep 26 2008
Times Read: 1,228

...you know how when you were a kid you figured you could cut a worm into ten pieces and you'd have ten little worms, each able to go in their own direction?


...doesn't work the same with me, unfortunately. There is only one me.

And honestly, it didn't really work for the worm either.



13:14 Sep 26 2008

TRy cutting Brad in ten and just check that out, I would

20:22 Sep 26 2008

But just in case.....let's not. -.-

23:03 Sep 27 2008

hmmm but there's no real harm done if it all goes wrong


This has to change...

16:45 Sep 24 2008
Times Read: 1,271

...something has to change. Seriously. I'm really starting to hit maximum frustration levels...

...sitting here in the office... installing software on a lab server. Software that I've installed a hundred times before. But it feels completely foreign because I haven't installed it since June.

Yes, June.

This job.. this contract.. that I've been the go-to guy on for over 2 years... I haven't done this in 3 months.

You might be asking, why not?

Well, it is becuase Brad refuses to assign any new work from the vendor to me. No new accounts, no matter how vital they may be to the client... all go to someone else. Which that doesn't even disturb me as much as the fact, all the biggest and most important ones go to techs that aren't part of my company... my techs get all the tiny jobs that go under the radar. The big ones go to other techs, and one by one they come back to us to fix the problems the other techs have left behind.

So many things have changed since Brad was hired, and none for the better. Our situation is so much worse than it was over a year ago. His response to anything handed down is most likely "alright..." or "ok..." or maybe "alright" followed by "ok..."

It's grown into a ridiculous situation...

Something has to change.



16:55 Sep 24 2008

Undeniable dilemma. Boredom's not a burden anyone should bear.

Constant over stimulation numbs me

But I wouldnt want you

Any other way.


I need MORE.

Nothing seems to satisfy.

I said, I dont WANT IT.

I just NEED IT.

To breathe, to feel, to know Im alive.

20:45 Sep 24 2008

Thank you, Maynard...


A good, visual example of how our government is failing us...

18:57 Sep 22 2008
Times Read: 1,285

...and they fail us over and over again.

The next time you hear a politician use the

word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive (birra edit: in theory).

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain... let's take a look at New Orleans...

It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D)

asked Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans. An interesting number... what does it mean?

Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.

Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

Or... if you are a family of four... your family gets $2,066,012.

I guess this would only count if the government actually went about distributing these funds to help the people, instead of their own interests...

Are all of the calculators on Capital Hill broken?

Accounts Receivable Tax

Building Permit Tax

CDL License Tax

Cigarette Tax

Corporate Income Tax

Dog License Tax

Federal Income Tax

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

Fishing License Tax

Food License Tax

Fuel Permit Tax

Gasoline Tax

Hunting License Tax

Inheritance Tax

Inventory Tax

IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

Liquor Tax

Luxury Tax

Marriage License Tax

Medicare Tax

Real Estate Tax

Service charge taxes

Social Security Tax

Road Usage Tax (Truckers)

Sales Taxes

Recreational Vehicle Tax

School Tax

State Income Tax

State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax

Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax

Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax

Telephone State and Local Tax

Telephone Usage Charge Tax

Utility Tax

Vehicle License Registration Tax

Vehicle Sales Tax

Watercraft Registration Tax

Well Permit Tax

Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago..

and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt...

We had the largest middle class in the world...

and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?



16:56 Sep 24 2008

"and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. "

You have earned a - kiss my ass - for that part.

The rest of it, sure. But national debt has nothing to do with the woman being the baby maker. SCREW MEN! I'M A LESBIAN NOW.

20:46 Sep 24 2008

The point is, it only took one income to raise a family... not two, or in some cases, three.


Jumping on the bandwagon...

14:55 Sep 22 2008
Times Read: 1,307

...everyone seems to have these in their journals these days...

This one says so much...

Let's not even get into appreciation/depreciation...



15:03 Sep 22 2008

0.o bwahahahaha! Awesome. Thanks birra.

15:13 Sep 22 2008

Sadly most get the car to get the girl... and then they loose their car, their home, the dog and become fans of country music... as they feel it fully expesses the pain and sorrows of life.


19:40 Sep 24 2008

I see a woman doing that, and I have the biggest urge to run up and push her over.


My work... my words...

14:42 Sep 21 2008
Times Read: 1,326

...like so many bland potatoes... starchy and lacking flavor...

... it needs ketchup.



15:22 Sep 21 2008


15:05 Sep 22 2008

I happen to like your words, it is usually in places that the mind goes that give much inspiration and ideas to the work others do. So never discount your words. Your potatoes, well, I dunno.


18:17 Sep 20 2008
Times Read: 1,340

I just cleaned eye-boogers out of Pai's eyes... ewww.

Spent the entire morning at the conference table with a guy from a local hospital system trying to fix issues with their server remotely. Not only have they not provided me my own VPN access (been working on this over almost 2 months now) but they've even hunted down and killed my local user account for their server - which will now make doing the work even harder since I will be completely dependent on someone from the Hospital being there when I have to do work.

I love IT Security nazis...

What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday morning.

I wrote a poem last night that I previewed for Joli before I posted it. Hence, I didn't post it. Her only response was, "That's nice. Well, it's not your best work..."

Yeah... it was crappola... but in a rare twist, I actually made things rhyme. I'll keep it shelved with a few others that shouldn't see the light of day...

Morri sent me a riddle which apparently I failed to answer correctly... but she hasn't responded with the answer...

...*itch itch itch*

Happy Birthday to her dad. I know his party tonight will be some serious fun for all.

On to... filling today taxes.

Lucky me.



21:10 Sep 20 2008

I love almost everything your fingers ever type out and you immortalize me with a poem-crushing entry? I feel like the Grinch. I should have said, "It really rhymes!"

15:08 Sep 21 2008

Geez.. Not your best work? How encouraging.

I'm sure it was great, and I would love to read it. Your words are a fantastic break from the rest of the word when I read them.

...I could probably list a couple poems that I wish would fall of the face of the earth, or at least the writer would realize that they suck.

No more working on Saturdays! If they're going to be asshats to you, then they deserve to sit through the weekend with their problems.

18:56 Sep 22 2008

Now I feel even worse. :(

19:04 Sep 22 2008

Awww.. Joli, don't feel bad.

You offer me a lot of encouragement, as well as a critique or two... you have been one of the biggest reasons I actually post anything I write, and I improve because of that. I take more risks because of that.

Believe me; my posting your comment here in my journal will NOT immortalize you in anyone's eyes... your own writing, your own words, your art and everything you have given to the people who enjoy your work, art and friendship have already immortalized you as the incredibly, amazing person you are.

I deserve any and every critique you offer... maybe someday I can come close to achieving the level of artistic writing you have already surpassed.



08:29 Sep 20 2008
Times Read: 1,344



15:19 Sep 18 2008
Times Read: 1,365

The contrasts of life.... isn't it incredible how the good can turn to bad, the enjoyable can become intolerable, the ecstacy can turn to annoyance... in the blink of an eye.

Yet without these contrasts, would we even know the difference?

Welcome to life...



17:52 Sep 18 2008

You have touched upon the essence of life birra. No one knows the joys but for the sorrows, the pleasure but for the pain. How much greater the high than from the lowest point and the savory taste all the greater when you bite into that fruit that has ripened fully upon the branch.

18:27 Sep 18 2008

great post. definitely food for thought.


16:09 Sep 17 2008
Times Read: 1,390

I have my office completely to myself today...

...well, aside from the two dogs...

What to do? What to do?

....oh yeah... work.



19:17 Sep 17 2008

run around screaming ;-]

19:39 Sep 17 2008

Work? When nobody's watching? Hmmm, a novel idea.

21:24 Sep 17 2008

I hope, for your sanity's sake, that you don't get a call fromBrad!

21:58 Sep 17 2008

No, in typical fashion he's only responded to one out of about 20 emails today.

But "WE" don't communicate effectively...

Ppphhhfffttttt! How's that for effective communication?

15:27 Sep 18 2008

I would have thought it was obvious ... You hang a dummy of Brad from the ceilings and train one dog to attack it each time the phone rings, then train the other dog to attack it when the phone is picked up



06:40 Sep 13 2008
Times Read: 1,410

Sleep isn't going to come easily to me tonight... I'm more than a bit restless and simply not at ease with things right now...

..can't explain it.

Ever just have that feeling of dread? The foreboding hanging over you like a black cloud that just keeps missing you with the lightning it holds?

Something is coming to a breaking point. Something. I just don't know what.

I have to be prepared for... anything.

...sleep might help me prepare... but... crap. I'm going for a walk...




Weeping for strangers...

06:53 Sep 11 2008
Times Read: 1,419

I was up at 4:30AM, Alaska time this morning. At least an hour early to catch my 7:30AM flight. Perhaps it was the internal panic of not wanting to miss the flight. Maybe still a bit of jet lag since to my normal eastern standard time it was already 8:30AM and I usually get up around seven these days.

No matter. I took my time grabbing a hotel shuttle to the airport, took my time through security and all-in-all had a leisurely morning.

I had a conversation with Morri. She was at the office and working on the issues of the day. I had a conversation with a colleague about some upcoming schedules and issues she was having with… well… Brad.

See folks, it’s not just me.

I decided to leave the massive journaling and crappy poetry authoring aside for a bit on this flight. I think I did plenty of both on the way to Alaska. That combined with the newest pictures I’ve posted, I’m already fretting too much over who is reading my journal? Who is viewing my pictures? Who likes my crappy poetry and art?

It shouldn’t matter anyway. My life shouldn’t be summed up by the opinions that people on-line have regarding my art, my creativity and most importantly my feelings and sense of self.

Instead I decided to finish a book I barely started on the way down. “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch. I began reading it on my flight to Chicago Sunday morning. I only managed about the first dozen pages before I was sobbing enough to force me to put it down and change my train of thought.

But this morning I got through the rest of it. It’s not all sad and depressing, despite it being the last visage of a man dying from cancer. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who thinks they have life so rough they can do nothing but complain.

Mostly, the sadness comes from my own internal empathy and struggles in life. Here is a man, loving life, mid-forties, married, three young children – a pioneer in his field, a mentor, and leader… and within months of this book being published he will surely have passed from this life. He will have left behind that life and career… his friends and colleagues… and most heart-wrenching of course, his young children who may barely have memory of him, if any at all.

A story line that makes me take consideration my own life of course. My children, about the same age as his, give or take a year or two. How would I respond to the same?

It is these thoughts that leave me sobbing for the plight of a man I don’t know.

We never know what life will throw our way. As it is said, we can’t change the cards we’re dealt; we can only change how we play them.

In a way, I find the good fortune in his situation. How do we learn to live each day as if it is our last if that isn’t a looming threat? He has learned… and he has lived in that way. Not only that, but he has the diagnosis: 3 to 6 months to live. He knows his time line to have everything in order. To make his final life plans. To record his days with his children and leave them a legacy of his love and knowledge. To reconcile his life.

Most of us don’t have a time-line put on that.

And even though Morrigon tells me I will most likely grow to be a very old, jaded and grumpy man… I know, there is the chance I won’t.

Pancreatic cancer might not be my death knell. With the way I live my life, who knows what it could be? A drunk driver while I’m trying to get home early in the morning after a late flight? A deer on a dark highway in an unfamiliar country road in a state hundreds of miles away from home? A miscalculation by a pilot in a storm? Odd are if I die young, it will be an accident that takes me.

And accidents like that leave no time for reconciliation.

One minute you’re there, the next you’re gone.

So how do I find that resolution? How do I live each day as if it were my last, and still assume I have to make plans that can lead far into the future?

How do I show my children every day who I am, what they mean to me and I will love them through every day of their lives?

It didn’t take this book to incite these thoughts. They are something I deal with constantly. How am I living my life? What am I leaving to my children? Is it just my happiness at stake, or theirs too?

What will be my legacy?

Randy Pausch just put the question in a more reasonable manner:

How do I ensure my kids get to live their dreams even if I’m not here for them?

I think daily I’m on the right path. I love them to no end. I encourage them, even when the boys want to be dare-devils. They have to reach out to life for themselves; they have to learn lessons on their own but with a guiding hand. No, I don’t let them stick the butter knife in the electrical outlet, or let the jump off the really tall slide at the playground…

…but I do let them jump in puddles in their good shoes once in a while.

This is a lesson I’ve learned later in life, but want to impart on my kids early on:

Material things are immaterial to life compared with experience and the enjoyment, and lessons learned.

Like it was said in the book, if you fail to achieve your goal your reward is experience. For me it isn’t if they succeed at everything, it is if they learn when they don’t get what they want.

I try to teach that lesson every day… every moment I can. I always have.

I don’t coddle my kids. If they get hurt, I help them up, brush them off and reassure them they’ll be ok.

Like I told my oldest after she fell off of her scooter while riding with no pads, “You’re eight. You’re supposed to have skinned knees once in a while. It’s what kids do.”

It is amazing the difference in their response when it’s just me picking them up and telling them they’re fine… compared to the “Awwwww… poor baby” reaction they get from others.

I was considering some of these things last night standing at the Anchorage airport waiting for the hotel shuttle. Someone had carved in the paint of the taxi-stand support post the Pink Floyd lyrics:

“Gotta keep my eyes from the circling sky

Tongue tied and twisted

Just an Earth-bound misfit, I.”

Learning to fly… It felt appropriate. The coincidence was that song was playing in my head for so much of this trip.

I want my kids to dream and learn what it takes to achieve those dreams.

Even if I’m not around to see it…

If you don't have the book or just don't feel like buying it or reading it, do yourself a favor and watch the lecture...



16:38 Sep 13 2008

.... Who likes my crappy poetry and art?





04:36 Sep 26 2008

I read that book at the start of the summer. What an amazing lecture and view of life. It was nice to watch the video AGAIN ! Not that it ever gets old i still cry each time i watch it .


06:02 Sep 06 2008
Times Read: 1,464

That's the next one...

bloodtaintedstars... I keep seeing this name as bloodstainedstairs...



06:10 Sep 06 2008

bloodstainedstairs lol

08:53 Sep 06 2008

I want to read it as bloodstainedtears but stairs sounds better. O.o lol

14:55 Sep 06 2008

That name isn't really.... bad I guess :P

17:32 Sep 06 2008

We must have the same vision.



14:38 Sep 05 2008
Times Read: 1,479

....rarely does anything in life reach the edge of that gray line that defines perfection... so often our most anticipated moments and events fall short of our expectations and leave us disappointed.

This, however... went beyond those expectations. We reached for that brass ring we call perfection and again, as we have so many other times, flirted with what once seemed impossible.

And like each and every time in the past, it left me breathless... speechless... and re-evaluating this so-called life I've grown into. It has me looking towards another path... a different road. One within view, but no easy exit ramp to take me there.

This has been a struggle like no other I've ever faced. Like a conquistador in a new land, this part of me was not known to me until recently and now that I've set my foot upon the shore I thirst to move forward and conquer it... but jungle lands can be carved through, mountains can be climbed, rivers can be traversed...

...I have no idea how to overcome myself. I am my own obstacle and unlike any obstacle I've ever had to face.

Not in this way.

Every day I try to look at myself in a new way. To try and figure this all out.

Every day I take a step deeper into the forest, closer to the river and the mountains... to the new road I know I need to travel on...

I will get there. I know I will. I have faith in me.



06:11 Sep 06 2008

^-^ So does this mean we've cleared the river and I can come out to dry off? *hugs*


14:48 Sep 04 2008
Times Read: 1,514

I'm waiting....

...that is all. Just waiting.

I know it's coming.

Maybe it's just too early... but, I have time and patience...

I'll be here all day.



14:51 Sep 04 2008

Oop. there it went.

I'll get the net.

19:42 Sep 04 2008

But as soon as you go to the shop to get milk, just leave for six minutes ... it will have arrived and now you have to go and collect it ... its the law hehehe


What a bitch.

15:27 Sep 02 2008
Times Read: 1,522

Class assignment: Write an essay on what Labor Day means to you.

Labor Day is the day we honor all the hard working men and women in America. We do this by recognizing their efforts, celebrating their achievements and working our asses off on household projects more labor intensive than anything else we might do at “work.”

For example, this summer has been a rainy one. I don’t think we’ve had a forecast all summer that gave us more than one or two consecutive days without rain.

Until this week. Sunday through Wednesday, rainless – sunny, warm, beautiful weather. The perfect time to start a roofing project on the old homestead.

Unfortunately for me, it is the old homestead. A farm house that has been standing, although not in the same spot, since the 1870’s. A house pieced together, room by room over the years. A house in serious need of help. However, before I took over full ownership the house had only been treated to help of the most frugal kind.

Now, the house has been in my family for generations. Dating back to the Great Depression, my grandparents and great-grandparents purchased it almost 80 years ago. So a lot of the mistreatment of this house does rest squarely on the shoulders of my penny-pinching relatives. Repairs weren’t done right; they were done right away and the cheapest means possible. Granted they lived through the Great Depression so they knew what it meant to save every penny, but for some of the work they did on this house, all I can do is sigh and shake my head.

The roof, for example…

Roofing wears out. Water starts to seep in. Leaks happen. What was their solution?

Put on another layer of roofing.

Repairing the problem was too expensive. Fixing it the right way, too costly. In a more human metaphor, if the house had a broken bone they put a band-aid on it.

So the section of roof that is leaking is a 20ft x 20ft roof over two back rooms added onto the house, judging by the wood used to construct them and the full foundation under it, sometime between the 1930’s and 1950.

In that amount of time, there has been five layers of roofing applied to this roof. Six if you consider the rolled roofing placed only on the lower 6 feet of the roof. Seven, if you consider the cedar shingles they at one time used for drip-edging.

Oh, and the roofing cement. Gallons upon gallons of it to patch this and seal that… a two-inch think coating along the wall flashing.

I figured the tear-off of the roof would take a few hours… six, maybe seven at most.

Yeah… can be a dreamer that way.

The beautiful low-80’s and sunshine turned into a scorching desert within an hour standing on the roof. Even twenty minutes of clearing off the old roofing turned into exhaustion.

Normally if you’re using a roof scraper to pull up a layer of shingles, you scrape about three or four feet and hit a nail. Then you scrape another three or four feet and hit a nail. With five or six roof layers feet turn to inches. The scraper is stopped by nails sometimes within every square inch. Before long my hands were blistered and bruised from the force of hitting nails constantly.

Arms sore, legs tired, back and hips way out of whack, but I got through it all. The pile of mess on the ground tarp beside the house is impressive. And tonight, I get to work on re-roofing… I thought I heard the house actually sigh in relief of finally having that weight removed from it…

…this is what Labor Day means to me.



15:21 Sep 04 2008

You're one badass working dude.

07:09 Sep 06 2008

Just think how grand it will be next summer... when there are no leaks!

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