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Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Purdue: A Video Diary, Part 1

Here is a video blog, my first ever, but more to come!

Thanks!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Incoming Freshman: The Checklist to As and Honors

You are about to embark on an life-altering adventure at Kick-Ass-And-Take-Names State, the number #1 higher education institution for your potential career in Microbiotech-Entrepreneurial Law with minors in Post-modern art and Chinese philosophy. (I am only half-kidding.) You arrive as a hot co-ed or Geek Squad president of your ultra-cool high school with all-state accolades in football, bungee jumping, and Douchocity. To say you need help with college does not calculate in your 2350-having SAT score head.
But you would be wrong!

So, here's a few things to do before you go to I'll-be-making-$100,000-cos-I'm-smart university:
1)  Buy your books early and read 20% of their contents. The first suggestion, you can usually find out what they are via online setups at universities, or via the local bookstore(s). Make sure you get the right edition, right author, right title -- ISBNs usually help here  -- or you better know Kierkegaard inside and out. Go to Alibris, Amazon, or whatever cool outlet actually gets them to you reliably and CHEAP! Second, read! It is important to take the 3 weeks before class to get cracking on the books - skim 4 or 5 chapters and read shit that seems important. Take notes too - that too takes practice.  Try it out - like being a virgin all over again!

Goal: Save possibly $100-200 on your weekend-before-class, book-buying peers, be ahead in class from day one, and actually learn a habit that will carry you well onto Grad School: read up over the summer.

2) House me. If you are well off -- and most of you are not (loans don't count) -- but...if mommy and daddy are, and you have 2 or 3 real friends, who seem capable of responsibility (meaning: they won't flunk out after a year or flake out either), maybe buying a stake in a condo or cheap house can work wonders. Think about it: your buddies pay your parents rent - at a better rate, than a DORM - and that goes into your stay at the university for 4-5 years. Now, it means too flipping the house, 4-5 years down the road. But if the 'rents know finance, and can rely on you (and their assessments of your friends too), it could be a good deal. It also means you have to maintain the place. No 10 keg parties with ganja odoring around like a Pink Floyd pig at their once-wild light show concerts is permitted. (See Left) Sure, party, but be a neighbor too. Mow the lawn. Actually take out your own trash. Vacuum.  Maybe indoor painting or some shit when your not getting high or drunk, like a responsible adult does.

3) Begin to tell the truth. College is about exploring the depths of your passions...bla bla bla. Look, you should like what you are majoring in, but bullshitting your resume (and yourself) around town is not going to work for too long. Oh, and fess up to your past - you were not the darling you thought you were, nor the stud of the high school. Be real -- and learn some humility. The sooner you learn how not to lie to everybody (and yourself), the happier you will be. Girlfriends. Boyfriends. Yep, they count. Might be exes, but 'ems the breaks. Professors: NO excuses! They are not going to buy your lack of completion of assignments because you were really too busying trying to see if you could jam your social calendar in between psychology and calculus assigments.

4) Time Management. You get a schedule of classes, the marching orders for all your days. Problem is, you basically find out you got a lot of weird gaps and little motivation to do a routine outside of it. Break this. Wake up same time 5 out of 7 days - Monday thru Friday. (See, I'm fun!) Set your life around the earliest class, find a routine that involves books, a quiet place, and preferably, a same-sex study buddy that studies. (Or: if you are liberated from the dorm closet, an opposite sex stud bud.)  After you learn how to put this 3-week routine - the time to learn a good habit - you will have learn how to gain time, get shit done, possibly to the improvement of your other activities. (Exercise anyone???)

5) Organizations. Join only stuff you will do. Resume builders are not joining every club or interest you may have. One club only. (At least until junior year.) Greek organizations - oh, that's not giving, that socializing - so unless they are tied to schoolwork, forget them too. (GDI speaking here. But they have a purpose; but not recommended.)

6) Organizing and Budgets. Yep, you are an adult - 18 and Life to Go. Best get a money program to keep track of your finances and put all your life important stuff in the latest wiz-bang technology. Actually, find a way to be both tech-friendly and paper-useful together. That way, things will not end in tragedy when you drop the cell in the toilet, or your laptop is bound for Guadalajara menos tu.

Secondly, you need a way to keep all the important papers and the other junk you will collect (like beer cups for Schooner night) organized. Start early. Make logical files and consolidate mercilessly, both in paper and on your computer. Do you laundry -- unless mom is a crier for dirty underwear -- and donate shit that does not fit, a.k.a. the Freshman 15. Make a pact to not end up on a episode of Hoarders. The earlier you learn habits that stop chaos in your life, the better off you will be - might even be financially better off than mom and dad.

7) Fun is not a beer and boyfriend/girlfriend. Look: having a good relationship is easier once you know what you want. The author here knew not what he wanted until he was 25, 26...and that changed too, funny how that does. So at 18, you are likely as fickle as a reality TV star that is picking through 25 potential mates in the hopes some magical karmic fate strikes while a camera rolls and the money is good. Shit, you can have a few nice times without a SO. And beer: well you'll drink. Hopefully, not to excess (ha ha) but keep in mind that most of the people, like 98%, you hang with in this activity will not be around in any meaningful way after college.

So that's my advice.



Sunday, July 1, 2012

A 2012 Mid-Year in Review: A Year Without Mom

I have not been writing very much lately. It has dawn on me that my skills as a writer may not reach a level worthy of recording every silly thought or review of a situation. Just seems irrelevant to pop online to talk about whatever movie, legal case, political issue, or economic turn happens to catch my fancy for the time it takes to organize some coherent thoughts. Other matters are more important than the contributions one makes via blogs.

Today, one year has passed since my mother's death and funeral. Obviously, it runs through my head a lot. July 4th is my grandfather's death to remember too. So while others prepare for food fests, live concerts, fireworks, tracker pulls, horse showings, and whatever else makes the Fourth, the fourth, I will likely ride my bike around campus a lot and watch movies for my own way to get through the holiday.

The year since has been one of reorganization and reality. I got into to Purdue again, achieved my best GPA ever and semester honors, and will take the GMAT in August. I moved to West Lafayette, and currently, paint apartments and bust up plaster that needs work while spackling over the rough spots too. My life too needs more spackle (and walls of plaster) in places we've discussed before, many years ago on this blog.

I spend most of my time alone. Have not made good friends yet, not for lack of trying. But again, as always,
past experiences and realities just are...there. A line from the movie, Hoosiers, by Barbara Hersey's character regarding Gene Hackman's plights before coming to Hickory to coach basketball: "A man your age comes to a place like this, either he's running away from something or he has nowhere else to go."
At Purdue, a little of both is probably true of me.

I saw this course as the last go at school and whatever that might bring. That there can not be much to gain from staying on a paper route, hoping I'll get ahead, and knowing it never did get me (or my mom) anywhere in the decade plus of time we both dedicated to that task. That I also have no where else to go and no one left in my life to share it with is true. This is due to a fear of intimacy.

To be clear: In the last moments and months of my mother's life, I found a closeness to her even as she could not always make clear her thoughts (dementia and cancer.) Being relied upon, and counted to do the right thing, is never easy. I made mistakes and stress was in every decision. Yet, I did my utmost to give my mother as much of a happy time as we could afford. (Her favorite: going to PETSMART to pet the cats. We went about twice a week as it was nearby.) Simple, frivolous to many I suppose, but it was something. Book stores too were treat. Shopping at Target. Watching the Cubs...

But outside of that one relationship (the easiest one to be closest, for many people, but not all), I have no real close relationships. Just superficial acquaintances and meager work connections that end at the juncture of mutual interests and quitting time. Years ago, I discussed this from the woe-is-me, victim-is-me standpoint. I was who I was then; flawed and failed and flailing around for answers. It was after the first time I seriously attempted to tear down a codependent, fear-of-rejection/intimacy wall as a recovering alcoholic in 1999-2000 while in a community organization. Later, I was duly burnt by pursuing an unavailable woman; reacted very badly to her salt-in-the-wounds rejection; was punished rightly for my bitter and spiteful words in retaliation; and had to accept lies told (to buttress the legal case) on top of that. And then...life had to go on with the damage done.
  
Now, I have tried to be more open, yet guarded also, since there are others out there that are just as hurt and
just as willing to repeat their cycle of re-victimization. So while I can hope to make things work, I realize what are the missing pieces to the puzzle: intimate relationships. What is worse - I have never seen them in operation in my own life. No happy intimate relationship while in any romance. (14 years since I've even kissed a woman.) Barely a friendship to count on. For some, I can hear, "well, you need to give more to others." 

The last six to eight months, in various ways, I have made strides on this area. At least dozen fellows, for various reasons, I have tried to advise in long form. Work-related, life goals, self-improvement mantras, or titles of worth, or just general encouragement in pursuit of the long-term. Sometimes a few minutes, others, maybe 1/2 to and hour in social atmospheres I probably should not be in - bars. Advise, not, "This is what you should do...period," instead just stories from my own failings... Yet, while worthwhile, it lacks. It's not fulfilling long-term. Still does not solve my own personal issues. But, I try.   (And for contrast: I've tried a couple times to talk to ladies. Not very successful at all - nor were they open to advice - in fact, plenty of know-it-all ladies must attend Purdue. Wisdom: the outcome of failed experiences. Or: You can learn a lot from a dummie. )

That said, you have to Run Your Race. (See Below.)

So, that's the year in review, mid-year. We will see where I am next year.

Will I still blog, if infrequently?
Will I be in an MBA program?
Will I make a contribution of note?
Will I cross a rubicon in my evolution towards a more whole and satisfying life?

I realize some may not like Joel Osteen, but a few bits here in Run Your Race are worth listening to:

1) 20:25-22:30 Saul & High Maintenance People
2) 24:15-25:30 The Old Man, the Boy, and The Donkey, People Pleasing
3) 25:35-27:15 Dreams Untold (Joseph, Mary)
4) 11:55-13:00 The Pit: People Pleasing, Ignoring Advise

 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tidbits from the Tele: The World is Going Mad

TV Series Going, Going, Gone!!!

I woke today...a bit...hungover. Yes, I danced with the devil last night under a pale moon. The graduation ceremonies at Purdue were rocking, and people came a knocking. So I went out - and drank a bit more than a socially acceptable limit, and likely said, some socially unacceptable things, but all in good fun. No personal jibes.

So, back to the real point of this post. Seems most of my Hulu favorites to kill some time on are going bye-bye. GCB, Pan Am, The Finder, and House are all finished. House, after a glorious if an uneven run at times, bids us farewell and leaves a trademark character in the TV universe, that of Gregory House. I hope the finale is worth all the psychological and philosophical ground trekked over the last decade by Hugh Laurie's character. But, everybody lies.

GCB was a replacement show; but, it seems television execs actually thinks they can get the same ratings out of all the shows they put up. Instead, reality shows, winning money for singing, business planning, cooking, or quiz show mastery seems the pace of things in TV land for the foreseeable. Pan Am too was doomed by high expectations and very poor script writing. The Finder - my quirky favorite, like Psych  -  likely a product of bad timing, a Fox overkill of weird shows (so the Finder is actually normal by comparison), and no place on the network.

It seems many of the shows I like get axed quicker than most. For example, these shows all had good casts - GCB was a real hoot, superficial Texas people with modest charm, pulled off by a half-dozen real talents from David James Elliot, Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth to lesser-known names like Annie Potts. The Reillys (Miriam Shor, Mark Deklin) are an interesting set that will get lost to the ratings axe: that of a successful rancher and gay man with a career-always-first woman both engaged in hiding their arrangement while striving towards a more friends-with-benefits-and-responsibilities marriage. As sit-coms go, it just came too late to get the Modern Family treatment and accolades. That formula did not save it.

China's Rating System IS No Better...Still, America, Wake Up!


Moving on to other TV stories, China is pumping their kids up with IV fluids to get them higher test scores. And they achieve it- #1 in math, science, and reading - at least in Shanghai, which is not counting the other one billion point three souls (1.3 billion) who probably like to be educated too, and lo, were not studied. As James Fallows deduces about those Chinese 15-years old children:

It is certainly arguable the Chinese educational system and culture leads the world in training students how to take tests. But it is not clear whether this type of training prepares students for much else other than taking tests. Certainly I have seen much evidence for this proposition in the Chinese graduate students that I have worked with. My favorite examples were the Chinese students with perfect TOEFL scores who could neither read nor write English in any meaningful way. 

That said, what does it say about the United States of America? How does one cope with the hysteria (over the lagging scores in the US, #24) and still motivate our kids to scholastic achievements and to be more able to score well, and also, adapt well to a changing balance in the race (and it is a race) to properly use Earth resources towards humanity's best ends? (As someone is always deciding - consciously or unconsciously.)  And does that fit with U.S. domestic and foreign policies? How do we play the long game - as China has for 5,000 years?

Because whether you believe it or not - it is a competition; their are sides; and, lest we forget, many of those soon-to-be-attending American universities, will, one day, assume positions of power, in business or in government, in their respective countries. And, China is still communist; one party that designs and destines what it sees fit for its people, including which ones get ahead in their system and which ones will have advantages based on those pesky scores. Sure, at 15, they are seen as just eager little sponges of knowledge - but, remember: who amongst them might be the next Mao with a capitalistic bent? Mao did little right, but nonetheless led the nation with personality plus (Chinese style) for 40 plus years (1930s -1976).

I said the world is going mad because I find myself straddling two points of view: sure, China is still underdeveloped in most areas, yet, the high growth areas are rivaling America without democracy; and, I really worry that the above picture is not some righty wing nut's version of the future, but a bitter reality prediction. The second point is not to scare myself or others into extreme behavior. Sure, we need better education - less TV, social media, playing of video games - to be structured towards turning out some real genius level winners in the 21st century of the race to make a better future. 

It is a maddening thing - change. We can accept it; evolve with it; or defy it - or deny it. What camp do you feel you are in?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summing up Spring 2012: Purdue, Part II, Beyond & Debt

Friday, it will be done. Five more classes I will attribute fonder remembrances to only if the grade meets my economic expectations. (Inflated ego or inflated grades?)

Yet, it was easier this go. Amazing what time management does for you as one gets older. When I was younger, I never had time - probably because I wasted it on people (or as I've seen, in hindsight, talking too much about them:see that presently in college) - and so, one rushes around, and presently, they whine a lot. I whined a lot too, then. Not this time.

Not to jinx it, but I should come in around 3.5 GPA-wise. That is the best semester I have turned in since I was in high school in the 1980s. (First college go: 2.7 was my best semester.)

Monday, I start Job #23...or is it #25? I forget, and should stop counting. It will pay for rent and food, and give me the additional finances to do another year I suspect at ol' Purdue. More importantly, I will focus on these three things, and only these three:
1) This job for enough cash and tighter money management (cushion for my screw ups)
2) Completing the book - yeah, been a real slacker on that one...July!!!!
3) Studying and taking the GMAT by end of August 2012: $250 bones for that, and whatever these applications cost

That last one will be the decision maker for my future in 2013. Apply to grad school in Indiana - IUPUI, Purdue, maybe Valpo...or too, some-always-admitting grad school somewhere else. I may also retake the LSAT, by October, but that's rather non-critical - yet if I could gain admittance.JOINT DEGREE!

But you get the idea: I will become grossly indebted ($120,000+), and as a result, by 44, I will also have my advanced education, one way or another. Some may say, "You'll never find the job to match since you'll be only productive, what, 10-15 years?" Well, maybe I'll be productive 30 or 40 years? As it stands, I am not productive or considered worthy via my current background, so, why not go into debt --it's the American way!

And also, in the long run, we all pass from this mortal coil. (History lesson: Many kings died insolvent back in the Medieval times...(Judith Bennett, Medieval Europe, 11th edition, 329) Anyone care? (Creditors) President Jefferson was deep in debt as he pass in 1826. Anyone chasing him through the ages? Nope. So why should I care? Or why should you care?)

I think I know enough about life's importance and debt too now.

My mother will be gone a year come June. And so, what I do is often a reflection on what she would hope I had done since her passing. Not everything - I am no saint - but when I stick to a higher purpose or thought.

That's all for now.

Alphaville: Forever Young plays us out....


Friday, March 30, 2012

How to spend a half-billion dollars?: A hypothetical

Today, as I left class with just a month to go before final grades post, and I, being concerned about that and other things, heard that the lottery had went over a half-billion dollars. ($540 million racked up as I was too busy to notice. So, I don't gamble much on the lottery.)

So again, I detoured from home. Went to the local gas station and plunked down $1 on the lottery sure that I will win, and become uberwealthy and never want for anything again, ha! ha!

So what to do with $330 million after Uncle Sam gets his cut at 25% and Indiana gets 3.4%? Or the annuity of $17.64 million in Indiana, which could also raise their taxes in the future? (Take the lump payout!! The inflation is low now...but...better to have the money to manage in one lump than spread it out - which - is ok at low interest rates, but I think I can find enough banks to spread the wealth into...to cover my but, again, ha! ha!)

1. Endow Purdue University with $30 million. Currently, their endowment size is only $2 billion. Hope they will build a nice building regarding a new interdisciplinary academic program that ties business, technology, arts, history, and engineering together. Find a professor to head up this new program. If not, they did me a favor, so I'll return it, many fold.
2. Create a scholarship program of $250,000 per year for 4 students at Purdue. I figure that can pay the current tuition for four years of study, and probably, for the next decade. After that, well, that's for administrators to decide. The prerequisite: a student that came through significant hardships, older applications likely preferred, who show a dedication to educational pursuits, likely, after not achieving the highest grades upon first entry. Interview process. An essay of around 2,500 words. Really, just someone not cut from the same model of 18-years old and unacquainted with setbacks as an adult.
3. Start a business. Yep,  have been working on that too. But with capital, I can do it right. Meet the right people, investors that I can do due diligence on (not someone's sucker, like this article represents lotto people as)  and get things going in the right direction. Employ people, install management, design the products and process, and seek out those that can contribute the right skills.
4. Do something for my mom. Her 60th birthday just past. She did not live to see it. However, I think I can do several things she wanted to do. Adult literacy, invest in business start-ups run by talented, but underfunded women, work on a memorial that I think she richly deserves.
5. A modest home (under $500,000) near water - but not right on the beach. A place I can write, contemplate, run operations of the publishing empire (ha ha) and make some life changes I seemingly never have had the opportunity to do.
6. An affordable lifestyle. See, the lottery winners of the past 25 years have typically done all the stupid stuff. Buy on credit. Never invest. Let leaches in. (I know who are my friends....and they are indeed few.) Let family manipulate. (No wife now. No kids. Two closest relational ties are strained....distant ones, I have no connections with - so, ideally, the best candidate to win the half-billion. "Hey, God, you want someone that can actually make a difference with loot - that's me.")
7. Travel. Yep, I'll do that once I get the wheels of the financial management working well. As I am non-descript this will be easy to do too. I want to do this to find food for writing thought.
8. Goal completion. I have a list of 60+ goals that I want to achieve. Financial power, as a lottery win provides,  will make these achievable. The list has more donations and improving forces on it than many I know would believe. My task even without the largesse is to make some difference.
9. Pay off debts and my moms too. So, many a creditor can be assured to know that with means, comes payment. That said, I won't be hustled.
10. Enjoy life!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A few handy thoughts: My philosophy without an entire book

While this is not everything I believe, it is a primer on whatever philosophy I have culled together. It is not written as the final word on things, rather, it is just a starting point. Subject to change - as the U.S. Constitution duly is. But it is at the foundation of what I deem important

On Religion: God made a universe, and man was set in motion to either: to make it better (by his flawed reckoning); fuck it up (once again by his own dichotomatic mental process - that of separating good from bad); or just exist in it, with barely a concern for his fellow man; or maybe a concern, but usually with a projection of what is good or bad onto the object of said concern. Makes you want get drunk, now, doesn't it? The Founding Fathers of America were pretty much Deists. While they may have pandered to the common man (denominator), they really preferred to just concentrate on the details of keeping a ragtag, racist, rebel rousing, rough-for-money lot from not killing all their ideas before an abundant land of resources could be turned into a printing press of money. Yet, through the spectacle of time, media, and contortion, these men got more labels of religious piety and concrete Puritan beliefs than a Jeff Gordon race car.

On Politics: If I vote Republican it will be because: I feel a need for more corruption and I have a several hundred million in the bank to buy off either party. Call that a hedge...But that means the Democrats are not a lot much in tune with what it takes.

It is hard to turn around the bus when it is on a cliff and the dead end is too close to back up towards....we missed the boat on what it takes to be the world leader. And the Democrats needed more balls and sense when dealing with the conservative lot...Just a opinion 50% will not like.

These mistakes have arose out of every administration since FDR (not particularly FDR - because, if, you look at his record for economics - taken from Great Depression to 50% of World GDP in 1945-46 - or foreign policy - win wars, rebuilding a new world 'order' - that he tried to set it up.) Yet too, no man knows the future - especially Presidents with all the information they have. FDR did make plenty of errors too, some as a matter of weakness in his final six months on Earth, when the need to fight is quite hard to muster...

But I digressed.

The party system is riddled with poor operation and poor candidates. I am though thankful for the fact I woke up and America had not fallen apart while I slept.

Instead, it does so while I walk in it daily....

Witty quotes to summarize feelings:
  • I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed -- or repair anything sold, bought or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. John Cusack - From 'Say Anything'
  • Perhaps they were right in putting love into books - William Faulkner
  • "Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? " George Bernard Shaw that RFK made famous "...and Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that." George Carlin 
  • Riddle me this, riddle me that, who's afraid of the big black bat? -Edward Nygma in Batman II
  • Excuse me? Ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light? - Michael Keaton (Batman 1989)
  • Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
    Escribir, por ejemplo: "La noche está estrellada,
    y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos."
    El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta....  
  • Tonight I can write the most sorrowful lines. 
  • I can write, for example: "The night is star-filled
  • and the blue stars are shivering in the distance."
  • The night wind turns in the sky and sings... Pablo Neruda
 Movie Dialogue:With Honors (1994)
Simon Wilder: You asked the question, sir, now let me answer it. The beauty of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The beauty of the Constitution is that it makes no set law other than faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.
Professor Pitkannan: Faith in the wisdom of the people is exactly what makes the Constitution incomplete and crude.
Simon Wilder: Crude? No, sir. Our founding parents were pompous,  middle-aged white farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know: that they didn't know everything. Sure, they'd make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them. The president is not an elected king, no matter how many bombs he can drop. Because the crude Constitution doesn't trust him. He's just a bum, okay, Mr. Pitkannan. He's just...a bum.


A Few Good Men
Jessep (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...
       You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
       We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?
Jessep: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?
Jessep: You're goddamn right I did!!

These are starters again. Just nuggets to think on.


The movie quotes reflect that things are always questionable. What are we trying to do: save lives?, as Col. Jessup reflects while doing it without the honor to the basic human tenant that all life is precious. Though, I do agree that it is a tough duty to defend freedom with your hands tie behind your back. In the With Honors' piece, I suspect we all feel bum-like, the inevitable result of life being a series of misfortune and poor doors chosen. The Batman selections are the psychological deconstruction of not playing with a full deck characters. They too see the need to question. Say Anything is self-evident; the need to play the game like others is not really what I want to do either, yet, I've done it. RFK and Carlin question why and why not and the time it takes.


So there it is - for all to see - my credos in life at this juncture. In 2020 or 2024, maybe it will be more thorough and a more enlivening discussion to reflect on what I believe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Every Little Thing She Does: The Police Saga and Tribute

While the rage in Britain had turned from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, then to Led Zeppelin and ultimately, The Sex Pistols, a trio of older musically competent man-boys set out rule the Material World.

They called themselves The Police.

On drums, Steward Copeland drew on classically-trained licks, infused them with Reggae (and a driving snap-time personal metronome), and thus, designed a better beat with a cosmopolitan ethos setting off a vigorous pace. He is considered by Rolling Stone to be in the top 10 amongst the greatest drummers of all time (7th). (I'd say top 5...)

Essentially, The Police just played better than the average bloats thrashing about in the West End of London. To further the mix, Stewart's family connections (Miles Copeland III, I.R.S. Records founder) and band experiences with Curved Air, a once popular band, meant the rock beat was set; now, for a singer, songwriter, and a guitarist, to match the musical and business chops of Copeland.

Not to be outplayed, ever really (superego-id-ego stuff), was Gordon Sumner, a.k.a. Sting. He is underrated as a bassist, but likely, just as overrated as a songwriter, meaning: he did both equally well - and gave The Police the material it needed to grow from a faux-punk band to a record-setting popular rock band. (Below is a basic demonstration Sting's dual talents (songs and bass) in his classic brooding obsession song: Every Breath You Take, played more than any other in July and August of 1983 on MTV. As a youth, it was the theme song for a local radio station, Q101 out of Chicago.)



Guitarist Andy Summers gets overlooked as the combustible pairing of Sting and Stewart meant the eldest of the bunch, Andy, played a very flexible and transparent membrane between the two. He was like a dad influence without much fathering, instead, mostly rocking. Andy's chops on guitar were under-appreciated, as he could play subtle and a wide variety of licks flawlessly, never really showing off - as the solo was not much desired (Sting v. Stewart) in his playing. That said, Summers could do that, too - So Lonely, a classic Police show closer - was his time to shine.

The Police had only a handful of albums (and a bunch of greatest hits, reissues, box sets, that created a much larger discography), but they had a sound, and a range, that shone brightly in each record.
The best songs, frankly, were these:
  1. Roxanne, So Lonely, Can't Stand Losing You off Outlandos
  2. Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon off Reggatta
  3. Driven to Tears, Canary in a Coalmine, Man in a Suitcase, When the World Is Running Down... off Zenyatta
  4. Spirits in the Material World, Invisible Sun, Hungry for You, Too Much Information, Omegaman on Ghost in the Machine
  5. Synchronicity I and II, Every Breath, Tea in the Sahara, Murder by Numbers off their final studio release Synchronicity
In all, about 25 tracks (some not listed, obviously) are first-rate for anyone's listening pleasure. No argument really to be had. Others, had their quirkiness, off-putting sounds, or did not jive up. Every band has them - that's the process of music, and stretching.

From 1978, after barely knowing each other six months, they were to be on world tour by 1980, getting huge publicity that would make the current music idols and gods envious. It was a different time for the Police, for music, for the world, really.

Murder by Numbers (9/10/83)


Murder by Numbers' partial lyrics:

Now if you have a taste for this experience
And you're flushed with your very first success
Then you must try a twosome or a threesome
And you'll find your conscience bothers you much less

Because murder is like anything you take to
It's a habit-forming need for more and more
You can bump off every member of your family
And anybody else you find a bore

Because it's murder by numbers, one, two, three

It's as easy to learn as your ABC
Murder by numbers, one, two, three
It's as easy to learn as your ABC

Now you can join the ranks of the illustrious
In history's great dark hall of fame
All our greatest killers were industrious
At least the ones that we all know by name

But you can reach the top of your profession

If you become the leader of the land
For murder is the sport of the elected
And you don't need to lift a finger of your hand

By 1983, they put their final album together during fist fights, and childish and jealous rants. It would be hard to know - as no one directly connected wants to say what exactly caused it - but they outgrew the basic concept of the band. And stardom, travel, and musical directions resulted in their breakup at the height of their commercial success. (Their last album, Synchronicity, spent 17 weeks at the top of the American Billboard top 100 charts, interrupting Thriller's run.)

The album's title (Synchronicity) was inspired by Arthur Koestler's The Roots of Coincidence, which mentions Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity. Sting was an avid reader of Koestler, and also named Ghost in the Machine after one of his works. (Wikipedia)

But in synch, The Police were not. By 1984, the band was abolished but for a one-off attempt in 1986 that went nowhere. It took 21 years, aside from a few drink-inspired get togethers, before they would only see the light in 2007, or rather, the dollar signs. (To be cynical like Murder by Numbers.)

The things I remember most are haunting lyrics intertwined with a tight playing drummer and a ethereal guitar player. She wore a red dress; drove you to tears; when the world is running down; while every breath you take was inspired. We sent a message in a bottle and our SOS could be heard. And we all are Spirits in the Material World...Boom crash!!!

The saga is done, but the memory of their works are not forgotten.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paying the Price of Forty: Education and Situation

While no one is immune to feeling out of place, or not amongst their friends, or surrounded by critics who would like nothing more than you not to succeed, or indeed, would find humor in your failure, you would like to believe educated minds would be otherwise. Or maybe, learning-to-be-educated minds is a better label.

This week has been one of those. Certain classmates, and places I've grown to visit, were not the friendly atmosphere I desired. Now, it did not result in overt conflict. Just...you get that gut feeling that you are the outsider, the outcast, and there in lies the bulk of the barrier.

Being comfortable with myself has been an issue for years. But it was getting better - really, not a problem. Sure it was not easy given the year of 2011, but that was an aside, a crisis to grow from, thus to my own development. Now though, I wonder, "what do these people really think?" It does not matter - unless - they provide grades, which I get to see later if they are really worthy of their titles.

Many times people are a bit too oft-putting when they expect a great amount of explanation of what writing is or is not. Or the tumultuous ride of breaking down what someone else said. Even as you know, and have said so, in a rather unambiguous way - through writing. Explaining it out loud, well, I still have some work on that.

I have not decided yet whether to go The Full Monty, leaving inhibitions to the lonely crackers down by river. (That's a mash-up of metaphors.) But, there is risk to that: many see me as the 40-year old putting back to academic sea without any map, or hope of making any real landfall. That the island of washouts is far, far more likely than successful navigation to a fruitful and flourishing paradise of my own visioning and construction.

Now, that is trepidation. The intrepid musings of someone probably caught between knowing more about what he does unconsciously (yet, conscious of it) while others meander around their abilities, consciously flawed, but also, consciously making little room for others doing, being, and expanding abilities in it.

The direct approach has never been too successful. Unless...we just talk together in some unsuitable setting - a bar, a gym, a greasy soup off some highway at four in the morn - there, in that moment, I'll tell what it really is. Not the philosophical high-mindedness that academia loathes to admit is never too far from being as useless as a religion without spirituality, or a life's work without true love.

No, instead I have to hide some intellect, or pretend, because people say, "if you were so smart...you wouldn't be here in a basic class." Really? Who are you, anyways?Whether titled, or hairless, like a deposed king in the 8th century, you are but a rocking dingy on a sea to essentially nowhere. All the best laid plans, and dreams of glory, will (and can) shatter in the course of a single life decision. I've see it - and done it, as most 40-somethings and beyond have.

Experiencing utter failure is wisdom's handmaiden.

As I approach forty, I get more looks of disdain or incredulity at being apart of the milieu that is the college experience. I suppose some figure me a loser, a slacker, a person that has paid no prices, or does not even know the cost. Admittedly, I did not do much of the leg work and long hours it would take (and will take) these scholars-to-be to become marginally-talented to an expert-to-a-bias some twenty years ago. But I'll suggest, that in a decade of time, I have paid more a debt or service to this present craft than many will likely be able to understand.

I have to pay more to prove that investment turns into a picturesque sunset just as I sail into a harbor that fascinates and enlivens me forward to a better destiny I often thought I should easily reach, but never saw a treasure map guiding me to it. While some will give over to religious exposure and decry anyone that will not go to that altar freely, and devotedly, I suspect my long-term still does not include me proselytizing to the lost masses (or the throng of people devoid of anything called a moral compass).

These are the thoughts, behind the simple utterances, as I sometimes wander, off-topic in the mind during my introductory courses. I want to add more; but the stares and the smirks just really put one in a public box. But that has to change - if I ever will overcome the conformational bias that is creeping into my mind.

By February, I must take the unknown heading I diverted from, first to assist a dying mother, then to make a go at college work, once again. By that, I mean, I must put out the final representation of six years of hard work.

The education and situation warrants it.

And my future depends on it.




Monday, January 16, 2012

Waiting for an Assignment: A Purdue 1st Week

As you probably guessed, I am an impatient sort. Waiting is not something I do well - it leaves me too much time to think, to mull, or otherwise, to wish things otherwise. (Can't imagine why.) Living in the moment is something I am still discovering anew without my mom's presence in this world.

That said, I have been relatively patient at the start of my first semester in 16 years. While I do the readings, and work better to do note-taking this time, I have been pressing to do something more active.

So I did.

I wrote a 3,000+ word research paper on mortgage-backed securities and the impending cycle of recession to hit China soon over the last few days. I explain the history of the American growth in housing, the hurricane that swallowed a few investment banks (Lehman, Bear, Merrill Lynch) and the investment boom that will shatter China's economic dreams very soon. The parallels are there - shadow banking, overconfidence, a need to make numbers (profits) - but the differences are present too: top-down China edicts and local corruption versus bottom-up hyper-driven consumerism in the USA with politicians buying votes; a growing and flexing of the muscles in China versus the stagnating perils of middle-class America. The long cultural desire to renew the power of traditional China versus the America whining that we were once (a very short while ago) number one, but now, are reaching for mediocrity.

This is a very informal analysis of the paper. I will post the link to the actual one later, after the prof offers a grade, or tells me to cut 1,000 words so she will not have to read too much. Or reorganize the thesis to be a very specific instance - which is a part of writing to satisfy a college template. Not much can be said in 1,500 words where you cannot delve into the back history. (Which I did exceedingly too much of, I presume in this paper, but cutting is easier than adding too.)

For my bet, pros and cons or for-against papers can be sliced and diced anyway you want them. Whether you take an economic, social norms, or ethical path, the audience can ignore it, no matter how fluidly you frame the argument. Long papers give you challenges of finding more data, supporting a pronged argument, and the quest for what is to come. Because, really, if you cannot surmise, or give an example of the destiny of humanity via the present problem discussed, what does it matter?

I write this too to satisfy the requirement of blogging. Not that it has ever been hard to put something down for me. Life misadventures, book reviews, movies, sports, economics, history, and whatever catches my wandering eye shows up in the blog over the past six to seven years.

But the real assignments will come soon enough. And I'll ferret out the details; flush out the crap I suppose still lives inside my ho-hum life; and determine what angle is appropriate given the templates that are a college writing.

Just be patient...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Spin of a Bull Durham Quote: Crash Davis's Rules of Life


From the Movie Bull Durham

 Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

My monologue version of this: Well, I believe in good sex, money for nothing, loud-ass music, and, as Americans, we all need an in-house masseuse issued to us once we reach 30. That the movies of Quentin Tarantino are overrated, blood and gore fests painted up to teach a moral - only i don't need that fucking lesson.  I believe happiness is a beer, a pizza, a kick-ass ballgame, and a woman that enjoys those things too. I believe George W. Bush acted alone; or at least, needed no real prodding to make his religion-inspired decisions. That the versions of the Bible are too many, like strippers name Chastity, or Destiny. I wish every day was Halloween. That a man's home is his goddamn castle, a baseball game is a holy experience, and all men need Viagra so three days of fever-pitched sex means a long weekend with a woman not named Chastity. And the Cubs will reach their destiny of holding up a World Series trophy some Halloween.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

College Acceptance and Attendance: A 2011 Memoir

Chapter 18 of My Life and Times at Purdue University
Engineering Mall at Purdue University
 The following is the letter (appeal) I used to regain admittance & financial aid to Purdue University.


Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
In reapplying and going to Purdue, my end goal is to put right a life that has twisted down many roads and came up short of the promise I held at a younger age, when youth is potential to be mentored, educated, and directed. The hope is this letter can explain my future plans and reveal the now better character that I often did not possess from 1990-1996, when I attended and graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.

Past is not Prologue
My first trek through the university system saw me abuse alcohol, skip class, refuse to deal with personal issues (father in prison, aunt controlling), and specifically, my lukewarm feelings about my major. I liked certain things – mathematics, management, finance, economic justification, and design – just not much on the thermodynamics, statics, material science, manufacturing processing, or electrical engineering. And my grades in those latter courses were abysmal. I squeaked out a 2.07 GPA. And so, I got my money’s worth out of the eleven semesters spent at ol’ Purdue.


In my ‘professional’ career, I did well enough in three jobs to continue to get more responsibility (project management), raises (twice), and opportunities to diversify my skill sets (technical writing.) However, I was seriously flawed personally. I ran through money like a pig does slop, made relationships like Napoleon – burning bridges behind me, and otherwise, behaved as if I expected to die young. (I attempted suicide in 1999 while in the U.S. Navy as a deck seaman wannabe OCS candidate.)


These things lead one to believe craziness is a family trait; or that, I couldn’t leave the fatalistic narcissism at the check coat station of Studio 54 in my unorganized, never-far-from-a-bender life. I made a bed filled with poor choices, complained a lot, listened to no one at all, and hurt the only woman I figured to romantically love, but could not have, given what I said to her because she rejected my woe-is-me shit. That last bit garnered me a stint in prison – an apple not far from the family tree.


I can’t say I immediately whipped about to a better state. It took me several years, different readings of self-improvement books (Hill, Maxwell, Robbins, Canfield, et. al.), my own book project, a family financial crisis turned medical emergency, to change the maladaptive behaviors long engrained, but changeable via what I was ‘college taught’, but never applied personally, in industrial engineering.


From 2005 to the present, I worked on a baseball history that is up at dcfpress.com, a currently mediocre website for an LLC I formed in March 2010. (Not a web guru.) I read hundreds of books and articles on baseball, downloading vast amounts of statistics too. Contacted people for images for illustration and edited (best I could) my own 750-page plus title. I had the intent to formalize for publication Bringin’ Gas & Dialin’ 9 in late 2010, however, family matters were at a fork in the road.


A Year in the Life
Most educated people (street or formal) can handle their problems. They can see an end path long before they start the hop from one choice to the other. My prior education was about options, changes, engineering a plan, designing for contingencies, etc. However, that usually means you have some resources and team players to forge your bridge from point A to point Z. As discussed, I left the road of wellness in the early 21st century, and a lost decade of career, firm relationships, and tangible resources in a watery depth of what we’ll call Davey Jones.


These are the highlights (and it does not do proper justice to my mother, Donna Mae Powers) of my last calendar year (September 27, 2010 to September 19, 2011):


o Mom has numerous cancerous masses removed from her abdomen: Sept 27 2010.
o Late October, mom’s state alters slightly as she cannot do basic math (she was a self-employed shop owner and bookkeeper.)
o Mom has emergency brain surgery (Nov 18 – metastatic cancer) and is not given much hope by the UIC doctors.
o Received my first professional writing gig in late October – completed, but Quarasan is unlikely to rehire given these issues.
o Mom admitted to VA home in West Lafayette in December. She attempts suicide (dementia) and sleeps rarely. They suggest I move her from the facility after only a week.
o Move again, to a Value Inn kitchenette in January 2011. Mom settles down a bit. Has mood swings. Schedule MRIs to initiate radiation treatment later on at UIC.
o Apply for her Social Security and SSI in late December and January 2011.
o I transport my mom to hospital, clinic appointments, etc. at least 30 times. Once took her from West Lafayette to Chicago for emergency room admit.
o Rehabs in a 115-year old dilapidated house that is facing foreclosure, while her sister ignores the gravity of the situation, no matter what I say to create options.
o November 15, 2010: Aunt blows up at my mom while I was not around, I take her in for the altered state she is in.
o I move out on November 19, 2010 taking a beat up car and computer to a Motel 6.
o Visited mom five times from her surgery to end of November. My car overheats - $700 estimated to fix – and I also take Power of Attorney of my mom’s affairs. I ostensibly take a car away from my aunt (moms) to continue to see my mom regularly.
o I move from a Motel 6 to a kitchenette. I move my mom to this new place. She cannot be left alone – as I find out when she turns a gas stove on while I deliver papers nightly as I have for 6 ½ years.
o Two more masses found in her brain. Radiation for two weeks. I managed her diabetes, psych drugs, high BP, and other meds. We eat in and out. Watch TV. Go to bookstores. Enjoy what we can do daily. (Jan-May 2011.)

o March 2011: Mom’s parent loan is nearing default. I get two doctors to fill out forms to nix this dilemma. Sallie Mae constantly irritates about this $1,000 debt. (While a $160,000 bill is due to UIC for the surgery.)
o I move in early August 2011. My original car (that overheated) was fixed. The fix lasted two weeks. I sell it for $250 (right on the highway) as a head gasket blew.
o My 5-year old found-in-a-junk-pile computer finally crashes. Spend $450 to replace.
o Rejected for admit to Purdue. Write letter. Then accepted last week. Contact a student about apartment – must clear the rental company’s hurdles. ($300/mo.) Applied for a clerical position creating brochures via job board. All last week.
o December 2010 – June 2011: I pay the IRS (back taxes), VA, Sallie Mae, Credit Acceptance, and Speedway what is owed them by my mom. JPMorganChase pursues legal end to foreclosure. Donna’s sister attempts three contacts, but does not apologize to me, or to her sister right.
o Car (‘99 Camry) is technically owned by Credit Acceptance. I’ve use it to keep an income – but the plates expired September 14, 2011 and they want $3,147 for the payoff. They refuse to transfer title (for registration) though I pay on it for my mom for 10 months.


This is my life. Moved four times, left behind personal items (books, clothes, and worn out assets), moved my mom three times while seriously ill, took her with me on my paper route for four months nightly. (She had mild sundowners too.)


I am not complaining about it now. I lost some battles. But my mom lost the ultimate war with cancer at 59, as her parents also did at age 60, and 64. Just relates the struggle of living as my karma came back around.


And it took my mother…that really deserved a better life. She worked 40 years for $4,600 in Social Security benefits that paid her funeral. That’s all she is to her former creditors – a number, and an estate she lacked.


Her legacy is me.


A Dream Deferred or Denied?
My dream is to complete a B.A. in Economics by the fall of 2014. I have to get grades I never have at a time when people’s trust in ‘economics’ or ‘the economy’ is sorely tested. I started my preparation for this career via books by Ph.D. economists and those schooled in Wall Street (Roubini, Krugman, Skousen, Lewis, Cassidy, Lowenstein, Smick, Rubin, Posner, et. al.) To put into context, I can’t name or cite an industrial engineering book I’ve read in a decade. Shows my interest. And my inner thinking.


The rationale is simple: to overcome my past, I have to put a future together in the present. Day by day, sweat the small details, and do the work. The degree is a stepping stone which hops toward an MBA program, if allowed, and if: my relationships, my spirit, my course work warrant further  consideration toward such higher learning.


It is a risk. Risk and reward – the supply of capital for the demand of a new venture of education, achievement, and career. In these tough and never safe economic times, people worry a person won’t pay off on their debts to them. Or that their own dreams will vanish under the auspices of a foolish banker, or an irresponsible credit seeker never intent on repaying what they owe, causing billions of dollars of storm clouds to brew, like 2008. Deferring money for the future (saving) is what many are doing now. I do so also – anti-Keynesian – yet, I have to put my chips in sometime – investment in rebuilding – Keynesian. As John Maynard once said, “In the long run, we are all dead.” So, I might as well take a calculated risk; enjoy the outcome; and, work hard to create a better humanity, a better life.


I am 39. When a Missouri haberdasher in his late 30s was deeply in debt, he managed by hook (and crook) to get to the most powerful position in the land: that of President of the United States. Harry S. Truman took us out of war, and saved potentially a million American lives while trading over 100,000 Japanese souls in dropping the A-bomb. Risk and reward at its cruelest means, and end. It took ol’ Henry Ford until he was in his forties to get a car company on track. His own dad didn’t think much of Henry’s plights. Seventh grade education be damned, Henry did it. (Ignore the ‘other stuff’…)


I can’t say that I’ll achieve their heights in my plights, but I have nothing left to lose in attempting to right my ship of fools to a fortuitous course that I denied for a decade, or longer: that of using my education and experiences, gained often through failing, to achieve more in these next two years than I did in the six in the 1990s. Time waits for no one – and I got goals to accomplish.


1. Publish at least two books while at Purdue University
2. Obtain GPA honors every semester – and work on a thesis paper (if only for myself)
3. Obtain an internship – to pay for school or seed money for the publishing business
4. Successfully run a publishing business – publish other authors, employees, profit, etc.
5. Establish good working relationships with professors – and learn, adding to my knowledge base
6. Take the GMAT and obtain admittance to a top MBA program in international finance
7. Mentor someone who is either wasting their talent, or on a bad road – teaching by example


I appreciate your review of my plan of study, finances, and other documentation. These things support the picture painted, and I whether I go next semester or not, I have at least been admitted back to Purdue. Six years ago, I had neither the courage, nor the story, to tell you to get back to this point on the road.


Thank You.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The College Game: Time for Schoolwork and Teams


As I obtained the residual part of my loan today, I went into the bookstore and bought my last two course books. Cost: $330 plus. What did I get: an access card ($140), a lab book ($30) and a paperback Economics book ($143). The cost of education: priceless. Or so we are told.

I have been operating under the 'graduate school theory' of getting ahead (or don't get too far behind) on some the courses. Reading two or three chapters into the books. Setting up accounts, word documents for course notes, etc. The last time I was here, I never crack a book until a week into the course, if then. This time, I am operating from getting an A in the course, instead of shooting for Bs and Cs. (I actually did set myself up for failure some twenty years ago...) While I have not had to, I make a daily trek to campus, sit in the Union, and read, write, or somehow open up something that might help me before the classes start. Preparation and routine - that is what it is all about.

To use a tired sports analogy, the guys who win on Sunday, typically did their work Monday through Saturday to put themselves in the position for a team win. For myself, I am going to be proactive hopefully this entire rodeo in order to get As, instead of something else.

2012. By mid-year, forty years of age will be here. Some questions cross my mind. Can I learn how be a better time manager? Can I learn how to force myself to learn stuff I may not always see a need for, given prior experiences? Can I be refreshed and happy, when I am usually alone, and no longer fit the model of "typical college Joe?" Whom will join my support team?

The last one I have not talked about much in my life. A support team. My mom was pretty much my best and only member, so much so, that in my initial business formation agreement for DCF Press, I made her the responsible party in case something happen to me. With her passing, that falls under "things to review and change."

I've been looking for a while. Some guys I know or have met, have potential. Some more as supporting the cause or goal once I figure out how to generate inertia on my own. But I too need mentoring, or someone that sees what the road ahead needs from me before I can lock into that path. So right now, I think college could provide that if I meet one professor that is not closed off to helping someone such as myself formulate a business, or publish at least several articles/books of worth.

You got to have such a team to reach another level. Writing or writers need editors that see common mistakes and oversights. Coaches need coordinators to get parts of team to work like clockwork. Manufacturing managers need maintenance and production workers that impart the wisdom of their experiences on particular tasks to get it right. Even those financial wizards, need someone to point out the risks of doing deals that can generate a chaotic environment for a larger economic world.

By no means have I worked out the path to forming this team. It is just a start of that process.
To improve my plan, as always, I listen to courses, or people that might help:

John Maxwell is putting up a 4-part series:

1. Path Towards Success
2. Add Personal Value in this Economy
3. Become A More Effective Communicator
4. TBA

Its my way to build upon my thoughts. He's not the end-all, be-all on this, but he's accessible (and free) and is doable at this point.

As the cost of college is not without a price.

Time for a new day!