Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Going on Day 3

Tomorrow marks my third day with Comprehensive Mental Health. This will be longer than I lasted at the Scott Greening Center. So far, I think I'm happy there. I won't start seeing my own clients for another week, so right now they just have me shadowing. I think once I learn their paper work, I'll be set.
The atmosphere seems real relaxed. In fact they don't really care if you come in at all. They make their workers sign an agreement to provide a minimum of 25 billable hours a week (and make sure your paper work is in). You are paid a generous hourly rate for billable hours and you can work as much as you want. The only draw back is that there is no paid time off. Basically it's like running your own practice. You even get paid for meeting with your supervisor (who so far mine seems pretty cool) Overall I wouldn't say that it is a bad deal.
I've decided to do one more interview for a place in Olathe called KEYS. It is for a supervisory position. I'm only considering it because the drive is closer. I also have a pending offer from Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority for a property manager. The pay isn't bad, but I'd have to move into Wyandott County within a year. My goal is to move further from Wyandott, not into it. I'll talk it over with Wah-Wah though.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Goodbye to Scott Greening

After rushing back from St.Louis, I had my third and final interview with Comprehensive Mental Health. By the end of the interview, I had a offer and a start date on next Monday. Since I'll be starting there next week, I'll need to say goodbye to the Scott Greening center which I worked for for 2 days. This is a record for me. I usually last for at least a couple monthes.
It is with a heavy heart that I say good bye. Social Work has high turn over, which is a shame since people rely on you to help them meet their needs. But the salary Scott Greening was paying me was pretty insulting. I've always known that I'll never make millions doing social work, but their salary was well below the standard.
Comprehensive Mental Health has potential to do well. The catch is, I'll be paid for only for time spent with clients (certain meetings are paid for too). The hourly rate is good, but there is no paid time off. Also I can work any hours I want, but it is way out in Independence. So it has it's ups and downs. I was hoping to get on with the adult unit (I'm really wanting to get more experience with adult mental health), but I'm in the children's unit again.
Comprehensive Mental Health isn't the perfect job, but it is a lot closer than Scott Greening. I still have a few more interviews that are already scheduled, that I'll check out. Who knows, maybe I'll be somewhere else next week.

Concert of the year

I have just returned from what I would have to say was the concert of the year-U2 Vertigo 2005! This year, I've seen some good shows- Keane and Coldplay, but they are pale in comparison. For this show,I needed to drive 4 hrs to St.Louis trying to keep up with A Forrest's driving (we took separate cars), but the show was well worth it. To put it simply- U2 shows you how good music can get.
After I dropped $70 for 2 T-shirts, rapper Kayne West took the stage. Being the rock fan that I am, I've hardly ever seen a rap show, but Bono came on stage and personally introduced Kayne West, so I thought I would give it some attention. I have to respect U2's idea about bring rock and rap music together. Here are 2 artists that make music with a purpose. West wasn't as bad as I thought. Unlike most rap acts, he didn't swear every other word and he actually used real instruments with real musicians.
I've seen U2 8 times over the years, and this was by far their best entrance. The opening song "City Of Blinding Lights" has the same uplifting effect of "Where the Streets Have No Name." Watching U2 is like watching a well oiled machine. These are the same 4 guys that have been playing music together for almost 30 years, so you can tell that they really know each other and their different styles.
Once the band started playing "Love and Peace or Else", the climate got very political and focused on the Third World. Bono had on a head band that read "Co exist" and he talked at almost every opportunity about the plight of Africa.
One particular moment during "Sunday Bloody Sunday", Bono pulled up a young boy out of the audience, probably not much older than 6, and had him sing "NO MORE" during the guitar bridge. I thought that was pretty cool and showed the song's message in a different light.
I think I had one of those surreal moments during "Where the Streets Have No Name". This is the song that builds with guitars and explodes with lights and sounds. I remember thinking, "Music doesn't get any better than this. This is what music is all about. Freedom of the spirit, and no one on the planet does it better than U2

Monday, December 12, 2005

My first day

Today was the day that I finally started working after being unemployed for almost 3 months. I started at the Scott Greening Center as a Community Support Worker. I spent most of the day watching another CSW doing her job and this gave me an idea of what this place is all about. Basically, the center is a drug and alcohol treatment for a residential treatment program. The kids are bused in every morning and stay the whole day and return to residential treatment at night. A CSW, meets with the kids and does one on one counseling with them and coordinate any other services.
It's different from what I'm used too. The first thing I noticed was that you don't get out much. Your clients are already there. I also noticed that a lot of these kids don't want to go home and miss behave on purpose.
I liked a lot of the people I met today, but I really don't think I'll be there for very long. I think I might like the job, but the fact is that the pay sucks. It's well below what I was hoping for. So, my job search continues. The problem is sneaking out for interviews. I think I could only use the doctor excuse so many times.
Comprehensive Mental Health wants a third interview to see if I would be interested in an child Case Manager position. I was hoping one day to break away from youth, but I would take the position. It is a little further and it is at a hourly rate, but the pay is much better and it is out in the community.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I decided that this blog, I will dedicate to my son, Woogy and some of his accomplishments at 3. He is definitely seeking our attention more. He seems to want to be constantly entertained. I assume this is just an adjustment to Nibbles coming in the family. He has started playing "Star Wars" (something I use to do when I was a kid). He likes to challenge me with his lightsabers. I have to admit, that I like playing lightsabers more than Thomas or Bob the Builder.
If he doesn't want to play Star Wars, he wants to play on the PS2. Of course, he can't even load a game, but he loves to watch me play and share the controller. Don't worry, we are not playing anything rated "m". He also loves to play games on the computer, and this has taught him a little about the internet. He knows how to turn on the internet and click to his favorite site "Nick Jr" and can play almost any game on his own. Not bad for a three year old.
I think the most amazing thing is how much Spanish he knows. He can count to 15 in Spanish, knows all his colors, and can form complete sentences. I think a lot of this comes from watching "Dora" and "Deigo". It doesn't hurt, that his babysitter speaks Spanish around him. I think it is pretty cool that he knows more Spanish now, than I knew in college.
This is the first year that I think he is aware of Santa Claus. On Saturday, I took Woogy to go see the "Polar Express" in I Max and 3D. Even though the movie was geared for kids, I thought it was really cool. The 3D made the movie feel like virtual reality. The animation was spectacular. Woogy enjoyed the movie and began asking questions about Santa. I think Wah Wah is really looking forward to him in believing.
With Woogy knowing how to operate the internet and becoming fluent in Spanish, it's amazing that he is not potty trained. He is aware of what the potty is for, and we have offered him every incentive we can think of, but it doesn't help. He'll be 4 in another six month's, so I'm starting to get a little worried.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finally- an offer

After two month's of searching, I finally got my first job offer. The Scott Greening Center offered me a position as a community support worker. I did accept it, but I plan to continue to search for another job. I like the location and what I'd be doing, but the pay sucks. If I stuck with it, it would definitely be an adjustment financially.
However, other places are coming around that would pay better. Today I interviewed at Crittion Hospital and drove out to a middle school in Raytown to interview for a school based position. She invited me to go out and visit the high school that I would be working at. The job begins real early in the morning (7 am) but would be off by 4pm. Another perk is that I would have the summers off with a option of working part time in one of their units.
I also interviewed for the state as a child abuse investigator, but I don't think that is going to work. First, the job requires a lot of traveling to all parts of the state and you are on call 24/7 (I don't think Wah-Wah would like that). The job is very challenging and I would take it, but I don't think the interview went that well. Lots of long silences between questions. The guy interviewing me was telling me how important grammar is on the job and then he pointed out an error I made on my resume. So I'm not expecting that one to work.
I did get a call back to Jewish Vocational Services to meet the staff, so I'm a little hopeful there. Tomorrow, I interview at Farmers Insurance. If I have to talk about all I know about insurance, it should be a short interview. Next week I interview at Comprehensive Mental Health. I know a few people there so I might have a chance.
The biggest surprise of all is that I actually received a call from Johnson County Mental Health wanting to set up a interview. I can't believe it. Johnson County is like the god of mental health centers. Their salaries can't be matched. I've been applying there for years, and I finally have a interview.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Not the best Thanksgiving

I'd like to say that I enjoyed my thanksgiving weekend, but I didn't. It started late Weds night when Woogy threw up at my parents house. I had the feeling that this wasn't going to be good. We then drove up to Cedar Rapids to spend Thanksgiving with Wah-Wah's parents. By the time we arrived, Woogy was pretty sick and throwing up and just wanted to lay down.
Dinner at Wah-Wah's family was pretty good. I enjoy the basic Thanksgiving foods, not the exotic ones that my mom makes. The next day, Woogy was feeling better, so we did some X-mas shopping in Cedar Rapids. By late afternoon Wah-Wah was feeling ill. At this point I realized that the bug Woogy got was pretty contagious. That evening, Wah-Wah was really sick. She had the shakes and chills (of course every virus seems to hit Wah-Wah harder than anyone else). It was pretty hard to feed Nibbles (I changed Pinky's name. Nibbles is more appropriate) since Wah Wah was so sick. Watching Wah- Wah be so sick made me pretty nervous that my time was coming.
On Saturday, Wah-Wah was feeling better, so we drove back to Des Moines to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Shortly after dinner with them, I got it. I threw up most of that night. By the morning, I felt so weak that I slept till 1 in the afternoon. Since Wah Wah has to sit in the back seat with the kids, it was up to me to drive back to KC. The drive was awful. Not only did I feel sick and weak, but we hit some pretty major storms.
Well I feel fine now and so does everyone else, which is good because I have a lot of interviews this week. I just did my interview with Jewish Vocational Services (no you don't need to be Jewish to work there). Basically the job is helping people in the area as well as refugees from other countries find a job. I thought the interview went well-but that doesn't mean anything. The cool thing about this place is that you get not only Christian holidays off, but Jewish holidays too. Anyway, the interviewer showed me around the office and said she would like to set up a second interview.
I have two important interviews tomorrow. The first one is for the state of Missouri investigating suspected child abuse(I've been involved in those investigations and they are not fun). The second interview is in Raytown High School as a school based CM. It sounds like something I'd like to do. Then on Thursday, I have a interview at Farmer's Insurance as a claims adjuster. Hopefully something will happen soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

An Awkward moment

Last Saturday I took Woogy to the movie theater to see "Chicken Little". While waiting in line, behind me I noticed Randy, my former director was right behind me. What a small world this is. What are the odds of former boss standing right behind me in the line to see Chicken Little on a Saturday night at the same therater?
I figured it had to be astronomical. How come things like this happen? This isn't the first time that I've run into that one person I'm trying to avoid in a big public place. Back in Iowa, I must have run into 3 ex girlfriends (relationships that ended pretty badly).
Well anyway, I hate Randy. This is the guy that fired me only to later bring me back, then turn me down. I used to have a lot of respect for this guy, but now his "calm-therapeutic" voice makes me sick. He tried to talk to me and ask me about my son, but I just walked away. I don't think I've ever been that openly rude before, but oh well.

I don't expect much to happen this week as far as job hunting goes. Today I interviewed at the Scott Greening Center in downtown KC. I was real excited about this interview, but once the director showed me the salary, it became difficult to still smile. The interview went well, but it's not the end of the world if I don't get it.
After the interview, I drove out to Independence to the Comprehensive Mental Health Center and ran into some old co workers from Wyandotte. They couldn't believe that I had been fired. They said that Comprehensive was alright and it didn't have all the BS that Wyandotte has. I was applying for a different dept, so I don't know if they could get me a reference but they said that they would try.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Time for a update

I've begun to lose count of how many unemployment updates I've done, but I thought I would do a update anyway. Let's see, I had no real interviews last week except for the one at Kelly temp services. Last Friday, I wasted 3 hrs at Kelly temp. After taking three hours of test, I was offered a sweet job at the Encore call center- answering phone calls for a whopping $8 an hour. As tempting as that offer was, I decided to turn it down since I realized I could make more on unemployment and save more money staying home with the kids
Hopefully this week was more fruitful. I visited a small mental health center in downtown KC. I can't even recall the name, but the staff was very friendly and showed me around before I filled out an application. It looked like a place I would want to work, so we'll see what happens there. I also tried a different temp agency-Celebrity Staffing, and to my amazement passed all their test with the computer. Now I go back on Thursday for more testing. I hope it isn't another $8 job. I also was invited in for a interview at Farmer's Insurance (Shakedust referred me to this one). This means that I passed their phone interview I guess.
I would say I've had a streak of rotten luck lately, but I got a really nice surprise in the mail last Saturday. My grandmother (who I haven't talked to in 15 yrs) sent me a really nice generous check. She had sold her house in Florida, and moved in with my aunt (who won the Florida lottery). She decided to use some of that money to give to her grand children. She even sent a check for Woogy and Pinky. Well that prompted me to call her and talk to her for a while. She even talked to Woogy for the first time. She invited us to Florida sometime soon and go visit Disney. Woogy would really dig that.
I'm really going to make an effort to get down there sometime. 15 yrs is a long time. I love my Grandma, but she has always lived in a different time zone. My family also has never stayed close to one another.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The joke is on me

After meeting with my two former directors and listening to them praise me, there is no job offer after all. The joke is on me. I received a call from my director and he started saying "you know Brian, you have had a lot of good years at Wyandott Center, but it would be too awkward having you back". So why the hell did you call me back in the first place?
After my meeting, I remember I felt pretty good, like "they really listened" and "they are serious" and "I might actually go back to Wyandott Center". But as the weekend progressed I began to think more logically-"this is too good to be true" and "they aren't that cool. They are not going to toss me a bone"
So when the rejection came Monday morning, it really wasn't much of a surprise. What I regret (among many things) is not telling them off when I had the chance. Tim, the other guy who was fired with me said that when his opportunity came to meet with the directors (two hours before mine), he told them off and called them liars. I thought a different approach would be more useful so I went in and was as courteous as I could be. Big mistake. These were the people that screwed me over and they brought me back for more. I agree with Tim, that they were never serious about bringing us back anyway. They were just trying to appease us. I know it seems strange, but it feels like I've been fired twice, by the same people. I guess the joke is on me.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The difference in generations

Today I took two test for the state of Missouri for social worker positions. I had to go to a government building in downtown KC for the tests. During the break for lunch, I drove around the neighborhood looking for a place to eat. This neighborhood was the hood, I mean the really real hood. This is the neighborhood around Truman and the Paseo. I'm used to going to Quindaro and other ghettos in Wyandotte County, but this neighborhood took poverty to a new level.
I finally found a McDonald's (it was the only open building for miles). While I was standing in line, I noticed one guy accidentally cut in line of this other guy and he was pissed. The other guy apologized and said it was a mistake, but that wasn't good enough for the other guy (who was obviously a gang banger). This gang banger started raving about how he was disrespected and he was going to "Cap your ass". No matter how many times this poor guy apologized, this gang banger was making a scene. Everyone in the McDonald's was watching as the gang banger told this guy he was going to die because he disrespected him, but no one was saying anything.
I'd like to say that I took this opportunity to tell the gang banger about Jesus Christ and how He loves him, but I didn't. I was only white guy around for miles.
After the situation was resolved (the gang banger's quarter pounder was ready, so he left), I ordered and sat down to enjoy my McRib next to these older gentlemen. I over heard their conversation about Christ, Martin Luther King, and other men of peace. They were having a pleasant conversation about philosophy and the importance of loving one another.
I couldn't help but to notice the differences between the situation I had just watched and the conversation taking place. Here are two groups of people with similar socioeconomic situations but differ greatly in age and values. I then began to wonder were did the breakdown in values between generations begin? Why were these old guys talking about peace and love, and the other younger guy was going to "bust your ass" for accidentally cutting in line?

Crawling back to the Center

As previously mentioned, I finally received a long over due call from my old director who wanted to meet with me to discuss the possibility of me returning to the Center that I was abruptly fired from. On Thursday morning, I called the former co worker that was fired the same day I was under "weak circumstances" too. He had the same offer to come in and talk about coming back. He warned me that the dreaded assistant director was there too.
This former coworker said he went in there and told it to them like it is. He said he told them that it was unfair that he was fired and he didn't trust management anymore. I decided to try a different approach since I don't want to be unemployed any longer than I have to. I tried to be kind and courteous to the two people that fired me. Oddly, my director didn't want to talk about why I was fired. They eluded to it being my "judgment", (which I never heard before)and didn't give a specific example of when I used poor judgment. My director was more curious on how I would handle coming back. I told him the truth, that I would focus more on the clients (which I hadn't had since I was a case manager)and I would appreciate a change in departments if possible.
I'd like to say that it went well. I did get a number of comments about what a dedicated and hard worker I was as well as being told I was one of the best CMs. I left there feeling good, like I had done my best and if they didn't hire me back, then they were never serious about me coming back anyway. They were just trying to appease me. My director said he would call me on Monday and let me know.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Job hunting update part 4

And the search continues...Sadly, a couple of jobs that I was excited about last week seem to have busted. Kansas City Regional said "no" and the probation thing didn't work out either. So it is hard to get excited about anything right now. I interviewed today with KC Housing Authority. This would be assisting poor families in finding low income housing. I'd say the interview went well, but who really knows? The guy did ask for my references (that could be encouraging if I wasn't so pessimistic). The pay isn't very good either so I wouldn't be destroyed if I didn't get it.
I'd say the most interesting news came last Friday afternoon. After completely giving up, my old director called me back after 3 weeks of not returning my calls. He asked me to come in on Thursday to "talk about possibly returning". This is what every unemployed person wants to hear. If I do have an opportunity to return, I would take it since there appears to be no other offers on the table (There is still a slight chance I might hear back from Truman)

I figured there are several scenarios that might happen on Thursday:

scenario 1. My director is on his hands and knees and begs me to come back "we were so wrong to fire you. You are the best, please come back. I never liked that Assistant director, so I fired her"

scenario 2. I go down on my hands and knees and beg for forgiveness. Pride goes out the window. I offer to clean the bathrooms and re tar the roof. Tell them how right they were to fire me.

scenario 3. My director says "what are you thinking? You were fired, you can't come back! Can't you take a hint!"

scenario 4. My director says "I called you here because we want the men's bathroom keys back. We are on a tight budget.

Time will tell

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Job hunting continues Part 3

This week hasn't been very productive with job hunting until today. I had an interview with Kansas City Regional Center, which I was very impressed with. It seemed like something I would enjoy doing. Unfortately my interview was rather short because they said they had a tight schedule, so I didn't get to ask all the questions that I would have liked to. Right after the interview, the HR lady took me to a clinic and had me do a drug test (maybe they thought I was on something, or maybe they are interested, I really don't know). It is so hard to know what these people are thinking.
I also received a call from Jackson County Court for a Intensive Juvenile Probation Officer position. They want me to come in and take a test on Friday. I would also love that position. I did my internship with probation and loved it. I have pretty much wanted to be a PO since I got into this field. I hope I don't blow it.
I also received noticification from the state of Missouri to come in next week and take a merit test for a Case Manager and a Social Worker positions. Those would also be nice to land.
Lastly, I got a call from Johnson County Developmental Disabilities and they want me to come in and meet the staff that I would be supervising as well as the consumers (the people they serve). So that sounds like something might happen with them. The problem is, that I'm not really that excited about working there. The pay isn't that great, but it is a position with Johnson County which could open some other doors. There are also promotional opportunities. I would work a four day week (save some money in babysitting) and my schedule would be from 1-11pm Mon, Tues, Thrus, and Friday (No Homer's Thursday night and not a lot of time with family). So as you can see, it definately has it's draw backs, but on the other hand, I'm getting desperate. I've been out of work for a month now. The longest I've been unemployed until now has been 2 days.
I have had interviews with Swope Park (I've given up on them) and Truman which sounded like good positions, it's just I haven't heard anything back yet. I would hate to take a job, then leave it for something else (all though I wouldn't be the first person to ever do that). So I don't know what is going to happen.
I'm still wondering whatever to Wyandott Center? Almost 3 weeks ago, I received a call from the Executive Director, stating that I would be offered a chance at another position in the company. He then instructed me to call Randy (my old director)and he would set something up. Either Randy is dead or he is intenionally not returning my calls. After three weeks of trying to call and not hearing anything back, I've concluded that there is no offer. They are just blowing smoke up my _ _ _. I guess what I'm wondering is that why was I told this in the first place? I would have appreciated it if Randy would at least return my call and say "I don't know what you are talking about." It is professional to return a call and Randy was all about being professional. Of course I haven't heard anything back from the Executive Director either. My guess is that there seems to be a breakdown in communication.
At this point I despise Wyandott Center and everyone there (not everyone, just management). To work for a company for 5 1/2 years, never recieve a bad review, lead in stats for 3 years straight, then get fired and never recieve a call back. I was even invited as the only staff to help Congressman Dennis Moore, the mayor of KC,and the director with the groundbreaking of the new center. I'm venting I know, but what have I done to deserve this? Oh yeah, I sexually harassed a 50 year old woman. I better stop doing that.

Pinky's dedication

Last weekend we had Pinky's dedication with both sets of grandparents in town. I was hoping my mom would arrive earlier because she wanted to spend some time with just her and the kids. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. Both grandparents showed up around the same time. One set wanted to go out to eat, while the other set wanted to stay in. Wah Wah had been cooking all day for her party the next day, and didn't feel like cooking more. I decided to order pizza from Papa Keno's which impressed everyone (They make the best pizza).
Wah Wah's parents spent the night at our house while mine went to a hotel. My mom complained that Wah-Wah's step mother hogged the kids. She probably did but I could really start to see Woogy bonding with her. Up till now, Woogy has always considered my mom to be "grandma", now he understands he has two grandmas.
For church the next day, both grandparents were in attendance with us. I have to admit that I don't always feel very comfortable with my parents in church. They did raise me to be Catholic (they failed miserably), and up until I got married, Catholicism is all they knew. They are used to standing up and sitting down a hundred times, listening to a 5 min sermon, and quietly leaving service with out talking to anyone. Typically there isn't a lot of praising God or people enjoying themselves.
Anyway, Wah-Wah's two sisters also attended and brought their kids, so we had more family with us than normal. When the pastor said the prayer, I think everyone, including the helpers in the nursey, where amazed that Pinky didn't cry when the Pastor was holding her. Typically, no one but Wah-Wah can hold her for more then 10 seconds before she starts crying.
I enjoyed the Pastor's prayer all up to the point where he prayed that I reach people in my work place. I told myself, "yeah, that would be nice if I actually had a place to work." I kind of wanted to interrupt the Pastor and say that "I'm unemployed, why don't we pray for that?" But that would have been rude, and besides, the Pastor had no way of knowing that I am unemployed.
Afterwards, the whole family came back to our house for chile. At that point, I was kind of happy that no one else had come since we barely had room to sit all those people in our humble home.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Job Hunting Continues Part 2

I got my first paycheck today---from the unemployment office. Easiest money I ever earned. Unfortunately it won't go on forever but God bless the person that thought of unemployment benefits.
Well job hunting continues. Everyday I wake up and say that "this will be the day I get a job", but it never happens. Yesterday I had two interviews. The first one was at Johnson County Developmental Supports. I interviewed for a senior residential staff position. I'm not thrilled about the idea of working in a group home again. The pay isn't that great, but there are at least promotional opportunities. I think the interview went well, however the hiring person said if I get the job, all the staff that I would supervise would be jealous since they are all applied for it too.
The other position was at Truman Medical Center for a Case Manager position. I interviewed first with the HR lady. She said that I would be a good addition to the company, and felt confident that I would get the position. Then she sent me over to interview with one of the supervisors. I've done better interviews before. First, the supervisor didn't seem to have much personality, so she didn't really laugh at my sense of humor. Sensing this, I decided to keep any sarcastic comments to myself. I then felt like that I was bore. Secondly, she sat half way across the room with no table between us. I don't think that is a set up for good conversation. Unless the HR lady decides who gets hired, I'm not getting my hopes up.
Next week, I only have one interview set up Jackson County. Since they want a copy of my college transcripts, I'm not getting my hopes up on this one either (especially if they look at my stats and biology grades).

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ode to the Smiths

My favorite lyrics by the Smiths

"Sometimes I feel more fulfilled,
making Christmas cards with the mentally ill"
----- Frankly, Mr. Shankly

"It is so easy to laugh
It is so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind"
------I know it's over

"Sweetness, Sweetness I was only joking
when I said I'd like to smash every tooth
in your head"
------Bigmouth Strikes Again

"If a double decker bus
crashes into us
To die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die"
------There is a light that never goes out

"I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen
Every sensible child will know this means
The poor and the needy
are selfish and greedy on her terms
-------Nowhere fast

"Poor woman
strangled in her very own bed as she read
But that's OK
because she was old and she would have died anyway"
-------Sweet and tender Hooligan

"Sixteen, clumsy and shy
I went to London and I
I booked myself in at the Y....WCA
I said "I like it here-can I stay?
Do you have a vacancy for a Back scrubber?"
--------Half a Person

"Burn down the Disco
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life"

"Spending warm summer days in doors
writing frightening verse
To a buck tooth girl in Luxembourg"

"Will the world end in the night time?
(I really don't know)
Or will the world end in the day time?
(I really don't know)
And is there any point in ever having children?
(I really don't know)
What I do know is that we are here and it is now"
---------Stretch out and wait

"I wear black on the outside
Because black is how I feel on the inside"

"Girlfriend in a coma
I know, I know--it's serious
There were times when I could
have strangled her
But you know I would hate anything
to happen to her"
----------Girlfriend in a Coma

"an emergency stop
I smelt the last ten seconds of life
I crashed down on the crossbar
and the pain was enough to make
a shy, bald Buddist reflect
and plan a mass murder"
----------Stop me if you think you've heard this one before

"I've come to wish you an unhappy birthday
because you're evil
and you lie
and if you should die
I may feel slightly sad
but I won't cry"
-----------Unhappy birthday

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Discovering the insurance biz

Shakedust is right as far as what the Primerica does-- train you, and the responsibility falls on you to meet your own clients. There is little risk that the company takes. It is a risk that I'm investing little in. The training is paid so you get your money back after you take your test. Plus I'm learning a lot about the insurance biz.
The guy that got me into this is a devote Christian and attends the same church that a certain "Visionaneering" person is now attending. I met with him for a few hours today over lunch. We talked a lot about faith and ministry. He says that he uses Primerica to help others get out of debt and if he can't, then he won't bother them. I thought that was pretty noble for a insurance guy.
I come from a totally different world than sales. As a Case Manager, my clients or customers didn't owe me anything for my services. A occasional "thank you" was always appreciated. But the bottom line is that you are not trying to make a buck off this person so your intentions are mostly sincere. But then I wonder if you are trying to make a buck, are you going to be trust worthy or are you going to say anything to sell your product?
I have had more than a few dealings with sales people who are your friend all up till the point you decide not to buy what they are selling. For example, I'll never forget the time I decided not to buy a truck from Randy Curnow Ford. I thought the salesman was going to break my legs. Literally, him and a few other salesman were ganging up on me. I sure don't want to be that kind of person.
I don't know if I'm cut out for this to be honest. If I can reduce the debt for a few people, then I guess I did OK. So far, I've learned a lot about insurance, and even met a guy who is on the board at Johnson County Mental Health who says he might be able to "pull some strings", so maybe things might work out (of course that is very optimistic thing for me to say)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Follow up to a Little Help

There seems to be a lot of concern with this Primamerica thing. Trust me everyone, I have no intention of giving them money or doing one of those pyramid scams. I have no intention of making this a new career either.
The fact is, that I've got nothing to do all day but sit and dwell on the fact that I'm unemployed- which is very depressing. It is hard to sit and wait for a phone call that will never come. Since my wife is now the bread winner, I figure I could make a little extra money on the side since we are going to need it. If and when a job is offered, I plan to leave this far behind. I'd much rather do what I was doing than this Primamerica thing (unless of course I become filthy rich at it, which is unlikely.)
Finding a job in my field that pays well is not easy. It is also important to note that I am not licensed by the state which means all jobs in the hospital I'm not qualified to do. Don't get me wrong, I want a license but that means 2 years of school plus a semester of a unpaid internship. I am considering this as enrollment comes around again.
On a follow up note, it is now clear that the center I use to work for is jerking me around. Despite the fact that the director himself called me and said that I will be given another position, seems to be a bunch of crap. They have not been returning calls for several days now. I guess this is a pretty sick joke. It might have been a little kinder to say "you're not coming back" than "we'll take care of you and give you another job."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the job hunting continues...

Much to my surprise, the phone hasn't been ringing off the hook with job offers. I interviewed at 3 places last week were I felt the interviews went well, but no calls yet. Back when I was doing interviews, I usually could give you a answer in a week. I actually got someone hired the same day as her interview. No such luck for me yet.
But now something else has come up. Since I was "fired" various co workers I've talked to say I should take it up with Wyandott's executive director, Pete. Everyone says that he is a really nice guy and very understanding. This morning, I decided since I have nothing to lose, I called Pete's assistant and said I need to talk with The MAN. (the MAN),Pete called me back and said that he wasn't aware that I had been "fired"(even though his name appears on my severance papers)and said he doesn't see a reason why I could not have been transfered. He said that Randy, my director, holds me in very high regard and wants to meet with me.
I'm not sure I know what this is coming too. I told Pete that I don't feel I could go back to my old department with that dirty snake that fired me. Pete says that he thinks there are openings in the adult program but he thinks I might be happier working with kids.
With all this I feel like I'm standing at a crossroads in my life. Could I or would I return to Wyandott Center? Should I keep looking for another agency? Or should I do the postal thing which seems to be getting a lot of support.
I just had a few other options thown at me from a different kind of business--loans. Despite the fact that I know nothing about loans, a gentleman at American Mortgage said that I could work there as a loan officer. It's no sweat for him since this is a commission only job (I don't think I'm sold on this idea.
Then today, I met with a guy from Primerica and was offered a chance to sell insurance. Now I don't know a thing about insurance, but the guy said that he could train me in 3 months. I believe he also said that it was a paid training. He said the job is more psychology than knowing numbers plus he said your potential for income is unlimited. Sounds like there is a catch. If it is this easy to sell term life insurance, then how come everyone is not doing it?
I think I might visit with this guy again since I honestly have nothing better to do. But if he should ask me to send him a check to get me started, I'm gone.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Miracle pt1

"miracle pt1"

A penny for your thoughts
It looks like the weight of the world
is on your shoulders now
You think your going crazy
just when it seems everything will
work itself out
You're driven right back down
You said "it's not fair that a man
walks, when a bird can fly
We have to kick the ground,
stars kiss the sky
Still a spirit lives,
A man has to die"

What's going on?

Not much is the answer. Sitting home all day unemployed sucks. Don't get me wrong, I'm going out applying for jobs. I'm looking them up on the net and calling every lead. So far I've applied for everything I'm qualified for. I even applied at Enterprise, and a few other companies that are out of social services. The hardest part is waiting for the telephone call. When it does ring, I get all excited, only to get let down when I hear how I could save on my college loans.
I was approved for unemployment. I've never had to do that before. Last Friday I walked into Kaw Valley in Olathe. I was interviewed on the spot and the interviewer remembered me from a case we worked on together. I don't know if I want the job though, I would sit in the office all day and would have to find a new foster care placement within 4 hours. The pay kind of sucks too. I also got a call from Juvenile Detention. The pay isn't bad, but the hours are horrible.
I had my first interview yesterday at Swope Park. I think it went pretty well. I didn't stumble at all in the interview and even answered some questions before the interviewer had a chance to ask them. It would be working with mentally ill adults between the ages of 18-25. Thursday I have a another interview. This one is at Kaw Valley as a Runaway Case Manager. I walked into the office and filled out a application, and by the time I left, I had a interview scheduled.
With all this extra time on my hands, I've spent a lot of time writing. Some may call them poems, I like to think of them as songs that have yet to be played. I'm starting a serious that I will be posting shortly.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Little Update

It has been a while since I last blogged and that is because I've had some very tramatic things going on. Most everyone knows, but I lost my job at Wyandott Center. Yes, after 5 1/2 years of faithful service,countless volunteering on the weekends, and being one of the few people to sign up for the company softball team, I was canned.
My problems at the center started about a year ago, when my old boss JoAnne was asked to resign. JoAnne and I got along really good and I always felt like she had confidence in me. Reason why JoAnne was out nobody really understood, including herself. JoAnne was out and was replaced by Kim. Now to give you a little background, Kim happens to be the gay lover of another director in the agency. She was only with the agency a couple of years. She does not have her master's degree. Her rise to power is awfully fishy. Kim always had it in for me and I found everytime I met with her I was on the defensive.
Then several month's ago Kim annouced that my position was being eliminated and was going to be replaced by people with master's degrees which she would supervise. Again this seemed a little fishy, since she was now supervising people with a higher education then herself. Further more, it threw case managers off of managment and no hope of ever getting back in. So I asked what I was suppose to do now and I was told to go hang out with the Case Managers and make sure they are doing their job. My signature became worthless over night. I was now hanging out with the staff I use to supervise.
Then the night of the Coldplay concert, Kim asked me to come in and told me that a staff said I was being negative, but she refused to tell me who. Then she told me that I had harassed another worker by jokingly offering her a hug. This worker didn't think anything of it, because she knows my personality and was not making a issue of it. She also knows that she is 50 and I'm 31 married with kids. Besides, we are social workers, we hug. It's not like I asked to feel her up or anything. Anyway she sent me home for the rest of the week.
I had a feeling that I was a goner and became very depressed especially since I was not given a chance to talk to anyone about it. Then they told me to come in Monday morning which is never a good sign. I decided to call my good friend Dave in Iowa and asked if he wanted to come down for the weekend. His life is even more messed up than mine, but we can always joke about it. Dave came down for the weekend and helped me take my mind off work.
By Monday however I was pretty worried. I tried to tell myself that I would be OK, because I always had confidence in the center and had been a excellent employee. I had even asked for a transfer. However Monday morning they handed me my walking papers and told me to clear out. I at least got a severence package and will be paid up till the end of October.
I was devestated. I had never seen a future with out Wyandott Center. 5 1/2 years gone. How would I face my family, I was such a failure. On the way home I got a call from another co-worker at the same level as me and he told me that I wasn't alone, and that he had been fired too for lame reasons. But that was little comfort. I could see nothing but black. It was like looking in a dark tunnel with no end. All my depression and suicidal thoughts I had growing up when I was a teenager came back like a flood. I decided at that point the only thing I could do was check myself into the hospital.
I sat in a dark room for 8 hours before some one finally came to get me to tell me my wife was on the phone. I told her that I felt so lost and that I would be no good at home. By the next day, and a lot of medication later, I was feeling better and quickly got out of acute care and went to just observation. The day after that (Wed) I felt that I needed to get home and help with the kids. Plus nobody is going to hire a mental patient, so I asked the docter to release me and he did.
Being home without a job is hard. We continue to send our kids to the sitter so I can focus all my time into finding another job. I have been basically hand delivering all my resumes and got my first call back. I have a interview on Monday at Swope Park Mental Health.
I have also been considering getting out of the mental health field. It's not that I don't like it, but the pay sucks. For some reason I can't explain, I'm thought about to studying to be a postal worker. The pay is far more than I'll ever make in mental health. Plus it has promotional opportunities, a cool outfit, and a nice pension. I don't know, maybe this postal thing will go nowhere. I not sure I know what direction the Lord is calling me to. Maybe things happen for a reason. Right now I'm not very certain where I'll be.

Friday, September 16, 2005



Looking in the papers
Makes me sorry to be human
A little ray of hope won't hurt at all
A price on every head
It's cheaper when you're dead
Quality of life will have to fall

Muffled voices , world in action
Stir the peaceful need for longing

What's the sense in senseless violence
Hear the silence too forgiving

I cannot describe
the fear inside my heart
I therefor do swear
To live my life
In accordance with grace

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My Irish hertiage

Since we had no other plans for the weekend, we decided to attend the KC Irish fest down at Crown Center on Saturday. I've always known that I have a very Irish name, so I thought it was a good idea that I go and connect with my roots (I've told that I actually look more Greek than Irish, but Wah Wah agrees however that I have an Irish temper.). I thought it be like returning to a home that I've never been to. Ireland is what I identify with as being the home of my hero (Bono) and my family.
To give a little background, my hertiage can be traced about a hundred years to an area outside of Dublin. My father's side of the family is very Roman Catholic and very traditionally Irish. I remember growing up with pictures of the Pope and the Virgin Mary in my grandmother's house. The Irish like to drink so there was always plenty of alchol around. I'm not sure how my Grandmother felt when I told I was leaving the Catholic church. I am the first in my family( and only one so far) to leave the Catholic church.
I found the Irish fest a attempt to capture the feel of what Ireland is like even though it was in the middle of downtown Kansas City. The fountains were dyed green and there was Irish music everywhere ,no U2 or the Cranberries, but Irish folk music. People were dancing and singing along with it and having a good time
Personally, I love to go to these things and try the different ethnic foods. Then it occurred to me, that Ireland doesn't have a lot of ethnic food. Ireland is known for many things, but food is not one of them.
I think our day would have been much more enjoyable if it wasn't so hot. It definately didn't feel like Irish weather. I was also very interested in seeing more of the music, but was unable to due to Woogy and Pinky not being comfortable in the heat.
Ireland is one of the first places I want to go before I die. I got to know some Irish people when I was in Germany. I found them to be fun people. They could drink like fish but they look after their own. They love being social and singing folk songs in the bar. I guess until I go, KC Irish fest is as close as I'm going to get.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

No Daddy's Girl

While on my vacation in Oregon, I tried to get our infant, Pinky to take a bottle. Up till now, she has been nothing but breast fed and now Wah-Wah is returning to work this week. Since she wasn't taking the bottle, this was bringing up a lot of anxiety that Wah Wah will not be able to return to work.
Nearly everynight, myself and my mom tried to feed Pinky with a bottle. All she did was scream at us. I even went so far as to buy a bottle shaped like a breast (yeah I know what you are thinking). Not even the breast shaped bottle would fool Pinky. My mom, who was so optimistic in the begining, told me that it was hopeless. At that point I was beginning to examine our options.
Finally, when we got home, and I pushed Wah Wah to try to feed her with a bottle. After a few hours, Pinky took the bottle from Wah Wah. Much of last week, Wah Wah spent with our baby sitter getting Pinky use to her. It seems to be successful. God does answer prayers.
One problem still remains, Pinky will not take the bottle from me. Infact, she will not let me hold her. Even when Wah Wah is not around, Pinky still cries. Apparently Pinky will go to strangers better than her own father. Over the weekend, my sister in law, watched Pinky while Wah Wah and I went out. When we returned, my sister in law said she did fine.
It would seem that Pinky is no daddy's girl. She only smiles at me in the morning as I'm leaving. I get the feeling that she is happy that I'm gone. I hope this is just a phase, and in 15 years from now, she is still screaming at me.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My vacation to Oregon

Here is some pictures of the Oregon
coast taken on my vacation

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Best BBQ

I love BBQ. My family loves BBQ. In fact when they come down to visit KC, that's always something they expect. But where is all the good BBQ?
It is not Arthur Bryant's. As I write this, I'm recovering from my lunch there. I remember the first time I tried that place, I wasn't very impressed. But I decided to give it another try. Today I tried the Burnt Ends and they were terrible. It tasted like stewed meat, covered in mustard BBQ sause. The fries were cold and rather bland. I can't understand the popularity of this place. It was way over priced, and I didn't even want to take the left overs home.
Then there is Gates which isn't too bad, if you like being yelled at when you walk in the front door. "May I Help You!?" is yelled everytime when I walked in. Once you get past that, the food isn't so bad. Probably not for everyone.
Wyandott BBQ isn't too bad either, as long as you get it in Wyandott (which I happen to work down the street from) The meat is usually juicy and fries are nice and salty.
Hayward's is pretty bad. I remember their ribs are really fatty.
Zarda's is pretty good. Usually their BBQ is pretty safe (meaning it's not too mustardy or oily). I think anyone who enjoys BBQ would enjoy Zarda's. I haven't tried Rosedale or Johnny's recently to give it a fair review. Overall, I didn't think they were the best.
So what is my favorite? Oklahama Joe's. I usually get the Z-man sandwich. It's hard to want to try anything else when you have "sandwich perfection" like the Z-man. That onion ring they add makes all the difference. Their fries portion is huge and zesty. Some of the best fries around. You can't beat that gas station atmosphere either.
Right up there, would be Jack's Stack- if you want nice-sit down BBQ. I may get in trouble for this, especially with loyal KC BBQ people, but I've always liked "Famous Daves". Their meat is not too gristly and sause is good too. At least at Famous Dave's, I don't leave regretting I ate there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Me and the Heat

I guess there is not much going on in my life since I feel it nesscary to respond to other blogs. I'm writing this one in response to aforrest's blog on the age old question, what is better-- too hot or too cold?
Personally, I'll take the cold. I find that as I get older, I can't tolerate the heat like I use to. My father is the same way. He hates the heat (that's why he bought a house off the coast of Oregon). Frankly, there are just too many uncomfortable feelings I associate with the hot weather.
Years ago, I lived in Cedar Falls Iowa, and my apartment would bake in the summer. The genious who designed the apartments, put the air conditioner on the roof, so during heat waves, the air conditioner couldn't keep up. To make things worse, I lived on the top floor, so hot air kept my apartment feeling like a oven. Even at night, it wouldn't cool down. I remember my referatgator couldn't keep up and spoiled everything. My poor ferret (my beloved, Basil)was actually close to expiring.
Years later, that summer still effects me. I get really cranky if the environment gets too hot. This summer has really been bad. It seems I run from one air conditioner to another. It's too hot to go to the park with Woogy or do anything else outside. I have even let my lawn go. I don't want to mow the yard in 100+ heat. The bottom line is, unless you have an air condtioner to go to, there is no escaping the heat. This must be what life is like on Mercury.
During the evening in the summer, who wants to relax with a nice warm cup of coffee? Usually, I spend an evening making gallon after gallon of Kool-Aid. When it gets as hot as it has, I try to convert Feinheight to Celeius. Then instead of being 100 F, it is 37 C. That sounds cooler.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


It has recently been brought up among fellow bloggers the question; what makes good humor? I have always considered myself to be a good judge of humor, but without sounding conceited, I know what makes one person laugh is not necessarily what makes another laugh. I could easily illustrate this by spending a evening with my wife watching the classic BBC show "Fawlty Towers", or the "Simpsons". I find these shows timeless and funny, when she doesn't. These are the two best shows that I can think of that take the absurd, and run with it to who knows where.
I read were pessimistic people are more funny than optimistic people in general. Being the pessimistic person I am, I could only conclude that the pessimistic person uses humor as a way of bringing light into a world, where they don't see any light. I know personally, humor is very important to me. Seeing some of the things I've seen on my job, humor is a way of coping and making sense of things that have no sense. I think most people I know understand that about me. Just the other day I got an email from a coworker I barely know and was thanking me for turning a other wise awkward therapy session into a stand up rountine. She said the clients really got a lot out of it and enjoyed themselves.
I also I think have a humor switch which is always "on" and looking for that one absurd moment. Of course the problem is turning the switch "off". This would be helpful especially around my boss who is not on the same level with me (which ever level that is).
I know a couple of things about humor; it is also all about timing and not being predictable. It's like going for that first kiss with someone. You look for the right moment and you want it to be perfect, but if you miss the opportunity, you may not get it back.
I also would compare humor to art. It captures the moment and changes emotion. Some people it offends, others appreciate it, but there is beauty in it. There are techniques but no rules. It is also takes creativity and thinking outside the norms.
Lastly, I would say about humor is that humor keeps us young. The second you begin to lose your sense of humor, is the second you begin to grow old.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My weekend

Now that my work seems to have settled down, I can focus on my important things-like blogging.
Last weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary. Seems hard to believe, but just five years ago, I was starting my job, living in an apartment near Shakedust, and just beginning a relationship with the Lord. There was no management work, dogs, Woogy or his little sister (who I can't think of a clever nickname yet). Things seemed a little simplier then. I wonder what the next 5 years will hold.
To celebrate, we traveled up to Iowa to visit Wah-Wah's parents, and introduced them to Woogy's little sister. We traveled back to Des Moines and went out for a nice dinner on Des Moines "plaza" area (I'm comparing it to the plaza, because they have the same resturants). Their plaza area is build around a small man-made lake that couples walk around while waiting for dinner. It was a great night for a walk because they had a live piano being broadcasted around the lake and was putting on a free concert. It was a nice way to celebrate our anniversary.
The next day I took Woogy to the Iowa Science Center which is just like our Science City. Woogy loved it, but the highlight came when Woogy found another wooden train table. Out of all the things to play with, he wouldn't leave the train table (not as good as the one he has at home). Woogy truely has "train on the brain".

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Lately with 2 kids, I find I'm just getting annoyed with my dog. I think my dog means well, but he's just digusting. For example, when ever I try to change one of the kids diapers, Monty (our dog) is always has to put his nose in it. I've always had bad luck with dogs.
My first dog was a shite zu named Tie. This was the most digusting dog ever. He would love to eat out of the cat box. He'd eat his own grap too (which in a way, he cleaned up after himself). It was pretty embrassing when he would go into other dogs yards and help himself to any grap in their yard. I really hated that dog because he destoryed all my Star Wars figures, which today would hold sentimental value as I try to introduce Star Wars to my son.
We owned that dog for a couple of years and then dropped him off on a farm (I can't remember if that farmer wanted him or not). After Tie, we tried our luck again, this time with a cocker spanel named Casey.
Casey would pee before anybody that came in the house. That was embarassing if you were bringing friends over. Casey would also eat anything. I remember one Christmas, she some how got our ham that was up on the counter, while we were at church. The Christmas after that, she managed to eat a whole bag of ferret food from my ferret that my future wife had given me. The dog had suffered from serve gas and we had to clear out the living room.
This brings me to my current dog Monty. He is probably the best dog I've had, but that isn't saying much. Frankly, I think I like cats better. It is tragic however that my wife is allegric to cats, and we will never own one.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

My Day With Thomas

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking my son, Woogy, to his first "Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine". I must say, I was pretty excited to see his reaction to meeting his favorite character pull up on a train track. I was more excited than he was.
Woogy and I drove about an hour south to Baldwin City were we had tickets to ride Thomas. Woogy was of course very excited to see this place. Basically it was a couple of tents with Thomas stuff in them. I spent almost $30 for two tickets on Thomas and I must say, the ride was awful. Woogy and I rode in a 100 year old passenger car with no circulation or air condition. It was already a hot day, and sitting inside the passenger car was like a oven. When the train finally did start, it went backwards for 15 minutes then forward back to the station. No senic sights or even a complimentary glass of water. Woogy and I both enjoyed our ride on the train at the Omaha Zoo last weekend much better, and it was only $3.
After the ride, we went to a tent were they were playing Thomas stories, all of which Woogy had seen a 100 times. Woogy's favorite part of the day was going over to another tent were they had a Thomas Train table. It was just like all the other train tables he's ever played with including the one in his room. I did learn that I'm not the only parent that has to carry their child kicking and screaming when asked to leave a Thomas table.

Friday, June 17, 2005

My procedure

Today I put a end to the question -"will I have any more kids?"The answer is --no. I got to experience the pleasure of having a vasectomy. I am slowly recovering and should be able to walk normally soon. In case anyone is wondering what a vasectomy feels like-- I can only describe it as the feeling you get when someone kicks you in the crotch, repeatedly, and it won't go away.
The procedure starts with 2 shots to the crotch. The first hurts. The second burns. I decided not to watch the rest of the procedure and covered my face with a "TIME" magazine. After the shots, the procedure isn't painful, but you can still feel the doctor moving things around down there, which you can imagine isn't pleasant. I think the most unpleasant part came when the doctor began to sow up the stitches. That felt pretty weird, like she (the doctor) was pulling something out of there.
After I returned home, I quickly discovered it is not a good idea to have your kids jump on you. I also think I might skip my daily bike ride. Frozen peas never felt so good. I guess it is worth it if it gives me the peace of mind that I won't be fathering anymore children. I love the two I have- one boy and one girl. But I think another would be too much.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

What's New

How some people can find the time to blog everyday, I'll never know. I'm lucky to get it done once a week. But since I'm doing it now, let me tell you what's new.
First I've had two big events happen in my life. The first one happened last Tuesday- I picked up a copy of the new Coldplay :X&Y. This is one great album. Once in a great while you pick up a new album and think, "wow, this is great! This album really changes things. It takes music to a new level. I'll listen to this till the day I die." U2 did this with "Achtung Baby" and nearly all their albums. The Cure did this with "Distintigration", the Smith's did it with "the Queen is Dead" and Radiohead did it with "Kid A". Now Coldplay's X & Y is one of those albums. Standout tracks include "What if?", "White Shadows", "Fix You", "Talk" "The Hardest Part" and "Speed of Sound". In the tradition of the Edge, Guitarist Jonny Buckland, creates his own styles of "walls of sound". I could go on, but I should probably mention the second major event in my life, and that is the birth of my daughter.
Last Wednesday, my wife went into labor. I was really hoping my wife would go into labor in the morning, that way hopefully by night time, Our daughter would be born. But instead she went into labor at night making it one long day. We went into the hospital at around 9:30pm. The nurse doing the medication messed up and only the left side of my wife's body went numb, leaving the right side able to feel every contraction. Even the regular nurses noticed it wasn't done right. So with a contraction happening every couple of minutes, it was a long night for both of us (mostly her). Finally around 7:30am, with just 4 pushes, our daughter was born weighting in at 8'12. Pretty big baby for my wife.
Our daughter thankfully, is very healthy and has a mean appetite. I forgot how they only sleep and eat for the first couple of days. So far big brother Woogy is adjusting well, but it's only been a few days. His favorite person, Grandma, is here to give him special attention. I've always wanted a daughter, and now I'm been blessed with one.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Absences of God

Today in aforrest's Sunday school class we discussed the U2's "Wake Up Dead Man" in comparison to the absences of God. Indeed the U2 song illustrates the frustrations a non-believer might feel when he doesn't see God with all the suffering in the world.
With that in mind, I had a rather trying week at my job trying to rationalize the presences of God. I had a little 5 year old boy come into my office for a intake( This is when I first meet a client and try to set them up with mental health services. Since I have no available staff due to cuts in Medicaid, I will personally work with this kid.). Anyway, the foster mom of this child was telling me about this 5 year old's abusive past. He had his two front teeth knocked out by his mom's boyfriend when he was 3. The doctor says that he will not have his teeth back until he is about 10. I then saw this boy's back which had cigarette burns on it (apparently he must have been a human ash tray).
Being the father of a three year old, I couldn't make sense of why would anyone do that, or what kind of a mother would allow that to happen to her child? The boy even cowarded when I reached over him to grab a pen. I've been in this business for 5 years and this is one of the more worst cases of child abuse I've seen. The system hasn't really helped this kid much either. They have shuffled him around 6 foster homes.
About the only good I could see to come out of this horrible situation is this boy's foster parents seem to be good people. They have had this child for a year and he seems to be making progress. His temper tantrums are now only a hour when they use to be 4-5 hours. Sadly, this child wants to return to his mother which is not looking like a possiblilty.
Ontop of this, I had a visit from a 13 year girl that I wrote about earlier. When she was younger she was rapped by her uncle. Usually kids that have endured a rape grow up to be a nun or the opposite. She has turned the opposite and is trying to draw the attention of older men. She is no longer able to make eye contact like she used to.
With all this going on, it does make you wonder where is God is all this. I can't fix these kids, why does God permit such things to happen? Well if he didn't, I wouldn't have a job. Maybe I'd be neutering animals (you can make a good living doing that). I can only guess that there is a greater plan here and it makes it more of a reason to seek Him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My operation

Today I met with a Urologist about getting myself fixed. I wasn't I knew what to expect. As it turns out I had to watch a 25 year old video on the subject that sounded very much like a old sex ed movie. With the raising cost of healthcare, you would think they could afford to update the video to at least a decade ago. I had to spend 20 minutes listening to real life couple Steve and Carol discuss "being fixed" and how it didn't effect their sex life. To say it was cheesey would be a understatement. I wonder how this nice couple is doing now?
After the rather entertaining movie on why Steve and Carol don't want anymore kids, I met my doctor. Thinking it was going to be a rather manly man- grizzled old doctor that had been doing these kind of things half his life, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a nice young lady about the same age as my wife. Well this is definitely off to a interesting start.

This weeks picks

This weeks picks are:

Glen Phillips "Winter pays for Summer"
If you are a fan of"Toad the Wet Sprocket" this is the album for you. After a horrible first album, Glen is back with the honest singing and song writing that made Toad a good band.

Joy Electric "Robot Rock"
This album was a big hit nowhere. It probably would have been if anyone outside of Ronnie Martin's fanbase heard it.

Charaltans UK "Melting Pot"
A greatest hits of a band that came out around the time and place the "Stone Roses' hit it big. But unlike the Roses, this band is still around and putting out albums

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Child abuse

The other day my boss reminded me I've been at my job for 5 years. I started as a case worker for abused child with mental illness. Some of the kids that I've met and worked with, I'll never forget. Most of them are craving attention, but there are some with awful stories to tell-stories of abuse, neglect and rape. I remember about a year into it I started with an 8 year old girl that had been raped by her uncle multi times. She was a nice girl and I could never figure out why someone would do that to her. I just didn't make since. In my field, you really see people at their worst. So I began writing a little :

He's already been inside me
and I know it doesn't feel well
I keep looking in the mirror
but it's hard to tell

He's already been inside me
and I would stop him if I could
nothing feels the way it should

Would he hold me in his arms again
and wipe away my tears
Or has he already taken my best years

Fortuately, the girl I wrote this about is doing better. We recently closed her case. It took four years of therapy and a loving grandma, but she is doing better.

Friday, May 06, 2005

This week's picks

10,000 Maniacs " Camp Fire Songs"

Long before Natalie Merchant was in the poster child for adult contemporary, she was in a folk rock band consisting of college professors called 10,000 Maniacs. This hippie bunch wrote songs about social issues such as illiteracy, alcoholism, violence of television, teen pregnancy, and corporate creed. My personal favorite "What's the Matter Here?" is a song about a bystander who sits ideally by why her neighbors abuse the crap out of their child (this song actually inspired me to get into Social Work).
All of 10,000 maniacs best comprise "Camp Fire Songs" first disc. The second disc is full of B-sides, rarities, and demos. Duets with Michael Stipe on "To Sir with Love" and David Byrne "Let the Mystery Be" highlight this disc. Also featured are covers of Morrissey's "Everyday is like Sunday", David Bowie "Starman" and Tom Wait's "Hope That You Don't Fall in Love with Me".
sadly, founding member and guartarist Robert Buck has passed, which means no reunion tour. This means we will have to continue to listen to Natalie rack up the top 40 hits like the over- thankful "Thank You", and the bleak sounding "Carnival".

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May 1st- this weeks picks

New Order"Waiting for the Sirens"
On Wednesday I went out and picked up the new New Order- "Waiting of the Sirens". What a great ablum. Peter Hook gives his signature bass and Benard Sumner voice hasn't changed or lost it's innocent appeal. This one is a little more dance sound than 2000's "Get Ready" but still very fresh sounding. It's worth the title track alone.

Social Distortion "Sex, Love, and Rock and Roll"
I've been listening a lot to my favorite hard- luck-punk band for some reason. Social D was the first concert I ever went to- back in 1990. They put on a great show. Filled with raw energy that only Mike Ness's guitar can create. Their comeback record picks up where they left off (before their drummer died). These guys were living the punk life long before Green Day died their hair.

What is old is new again

This afternoon I spent some time in my favorite store- Borders- drinking coffee and reading the latest issue "Q" maginize. If you don't know, Q is everything in British music. This has been a magnize that I've read that successfully predicted the rise of Coldplay and with other great bands- Muse and Keane to name a few. What Q is predicting now is bands like Block Party, Kaiser Chefs, and the Bravery will take their place along side Coldplay of being great bands from Britain.
The only problem is all these bands sound the same- retro 80's. Like Interpol (who shamelessly sounds like Joy Division), the Killers, and Franz Ferdand, these up and coming bands are riding the retro waves of success. What they will find is that this wave will become stagnate.
These retro bands will find it difficult to make a second album because everything has already been done. There is nowhere else to take the "New new wave" sound. New Wave bands in the 80's discovered that (that's why they are not around any more). As long as these bands continue in this direction, they shouldn't plan on having a long career. It's ok to be influencend by New Wave, just don't build your career on it.
Like all phases of music, in a year or two, this retro phase will end. The secret to staying power is to be edgy and try something new. Forge a new sound (that is what music needs). Build off and take your sound in a different direction. This will keep your fans guess and eager to see what you put out next. That is what art is. Andy Warhol didn't go back and do the Mona Lisa. Van Gogh didn't rip off Monet. Be original. I don't mean to sound preachy (feel free to listen to whatever you want to), but life is too short for bad music.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Da Vinci Code

For Christmas, I was given a great book to read from my sister called "Angel and Demons." I quickly noticed that it was by the same author who wrote the very controversial "Da Vinci Code", but I didn't have anything else to read so I decided to give it a try.
As it turns out, "Angels and Demons" is one of the best books I've ever read. It's fast paced, suspense filled, and a real page turner. In a nut shell, it's about a group called the "Illuminti" who are trying to blow up the Vatican in the middle of a pope election. The main character, Robert Langton, races around Rome trying to stop the murder of cardinals, and a bomb.
After reading this book I decided to read the next book in this serious-"the Da Vinci Code". Yes I decided to venture were no Christian had gone before and see what the big deal was. As you know, Rome has called for a ban on the book, as well as many Christians. My opinion on this book is that it is ridiculous, and if so much attention wasn't paid to it, it would probably go unnoticed.
The controversy comes from the plot that Robert Langton stumbles on to proof that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a daughter and that Mary is the "Holy Grail". This idea was borrowed from a book 20 years ago called "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and offers no physical proof what so ever. If this book shakes your faith, than you never had much faith. I found this book more ridiculous than controversial. You should know that nowhere in this book does it state that Christ was never the son of God or that he died for our sins.
If anyone would be offended in this book, it would be the Opus Dei- a far right wing sect of the Catholic church. In the book, the church dispatches a albino monk (yes, that's right, an albino monk) to kill Langton before the secret gets out.
With a movie coming out next year directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, it is likely that the "Da Vinci code" will get more attention. Frankly I don't see what the big deal is. This is clearly fiction. Mildly entertaining at that.

Friday, April 22, 2005

What annoys me in theaters

Since becoming a father, I have significantly cut back on a favorite past time-- going to the movies. For one reason, I find it very difficult to take a toddler, much less justify paying for one. When I used to go almost every week, I now go maybe once every couple of month's ( My last trip to the movies was several weeks ago to see "Sin City"). What I've been thinking about is that there are some things about movie theaters that consistently annoy me (Ticket prices are too easy, they annoy everyone)

1. The concession stand guys trying to get me to "supersize" my popcorn and drink. They say for .50 more they can supersize my already big drink to a 60 oz drum. If I could actually drink all that, I would be going to the bathroom throughout the movie. Then they say that if I buy a extra large popcorn, I could get free refills. Even between two people, I would get really sick eating that much popcorn, much less desire a refill.

2. When you are running late , there are 5 theaters playing the same movie and you don't know which one is yours. Theaters put little signs up that say the times, but sometimes you still can't find the theater because there are so many. The only directions you get are from the usher that says "to your right". Half the time he doesn't know were the movie is either.

3. The floor of the theater. This is especially nasty if you go later on, after several audiences have been through. I usually have to take my shoes off when I get home because I have half melted Milk Duds stuck on them.

4. Those military recruiting commercials. If Hollywood really wants you to serve, they shouldn't show that guy hanging from a cliff while trying to scale a mountain, but more movies like "Top Gun". After seeing that movie, a lot of guys wanted to join the Navy.

5. Those ads that show millionaire celebraties asking you to give more money to a charity after you've just blown almost $25 for less than two hours of entertainment.

Friday, April 15, 2005

why achtung

In case you are wondering why I named the post "AchtungBB" it is from U2 classic 1991 album "Achtung Baby" This was a album with a ridiculous name, but a very serious message. I'd say this is the best U2 album ever.
GO back to 1991. U2 was still recovering from the criticism of Rattle and Hum. They were seen as too "self rightous". The band that made "the Joshua Tree" at a time of hair metal was now jamming with BB King. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not forging new sounds which the band is known for doing.
Then they reinvent themselves as cyber punks and launch Zoo TV, a assult on the senses with pop culture and media. If they were going to be seen as self rightous, why not indulge in it? However the music would speak for itself-exploring the flip side of relationships in a time of madness, yet still finding beauty.

hair dye

If you have ever imagined what your hair would look like in different colors, take my advise and get it professionally done. Take last Sunday for example.
After hearing from everyone I needed a hair cut, I decided to get one. I lost just about all my highlights in the process, that despite what my wife told me, I thought made me look a little younger. Highlighting didn't seem that hard when the ladies at Fantastic Sams did it, so I decided to try it on my own. The guy on the highlighting kit sure looked pretty cool.
Unfortuately this kit turned my hair a yellowish orange which is definately not my color. Since the damage was done, my wife runs to the store and buys black hair dye( No way am I going out in public). 35 minutes later, I have jet black hair (it's better than yellowish orange). Unfortuately it would cost around 75 bucks for Fantastic Sams to try to find my oringial hair color, so I've decided to keep it. When all the black hair grows out, I'll probably spend a little extra money and get it professionally done
Goodbye to the Stars
The month of May is just around the corner and with this we say goodbye to the two geek magnets that have been around for years. I'm talking Star Wars and Star Trek. Both series end in May for those who don't know. For the first time in my life there will be no new Star Wars or Star Trek. Honestly however, it's probably best that way.Star Wars will probably always be in pop culture, but the long question that I've wondered since 1977 will be answered: How did the guy in the scary mask, loud breathing, and James Earl Jone's voice, ever father a baby. Then I reliezed he must have done it before he became Darth Vader . I mean what kind of girl finds a guy with blinking buttons on his chest attractive?George Lucas does plan to keep Star Wars going by doing "Star Wars 3-D". Yes, it seems George Lucas is never satisfisfied. But instead of continuing messing up the special effects, why can't he do something about the acting? CGI can do such wonderful things, but it can't take away Luke shouting "Carrie!" after he destorys the Death Star. Nor can CGI do anything about the awful hair cuts that plague the serious.Star Trek on the other hand will probably be forgotten. Most fans have already forgotten it as the ratings indicate. When you are the lowest rated show on UPN, it's a curtain call. I've liked Star Trek for years, but the glory days are over. As for Star Trek:Enterprise ending, all I can say is I hope they don't make another spin off.Star Trek was a unique show, and offered man kind hope for the future. It seems aliens from across the galaxy speak very good english (yet I go down 10 miles to Armdale and I can't understand a word). Yet for all the great possiblities Star Trek envisioned, it shows man kind no hope for hair loss (Captian Picard) or weight loss (Mr. Scott).The question is what will us closet sci-fi geeks turn to now? X-files is long over. No more Lord of the Rings. Time will tell.
posted by Achtung BB at 1:35 PM 0 comments

Friday, April 08, 2005


Great CD"s on the horizon:: Starflyer, Garbage, New Order to name a few.
Check out the new Moby too. Not half bad
Concerts I need to see (but probably won't): Moby, the Doves,Muse.
Concerts I will go see: Keene, U2!