Saturday, January 31, 2009

And the winner is........

Today Jules over at Just Jules made my day [again]. She has started reading my blog after an interview with Tangobaby. I'm very very grateful for Tabgobaby's interview, because without her interview no one would probably read this mindless blog.

Today she presented me with an award that I am truly grateful to get. Honestly, I am just glad people like to read my blog, although I really write for me, it is just an ego boost when people comment and tell me that they liked my post, and again, this award is just another shot of air into my already inflated ego.

So as a result of this award, I too, must pass this award along to 5 blogs that I like!

So without further interruption, here are the winners of MY superior scribbler award,[in no particular order] and why.

  1. Richie at linecook. -This is probably the most uncensored look into what a professional kitchen is like. I love reading what Corey is going to say this week
  2. Steve....The Master of the Universe at All My Friends Are Make Believe - Want to know what most of us might think, but might be too afraid to say it out loud? Read his blog. Funny, uncensored, offensive, and true.
  3. Calicolyst - I just love his anger.
  4. Sourire11 at Life in Cleveland - A mother to be and a Knitter of fine clothing. Love hearing from people from my neck of the world, plus, I thought texting and driving was a talent until she posted a photo of her knitting and driving.
  5. mouse (aka kimy) at Mouse Medicine - From my neck of the woods as well, and a photographer and great story teller. Her posts about the inauguration were fantastic along with her photos from it!
The rules for the award are as follows:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the Award on to 5 most-deserving Blog Friends.
  • You must link to the author and name of the blog from where he/she has received the award.
  • You must display the Award on your blog and link to THIS POST, which explains the Award.
  • Each blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add your name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, they will be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor.You must post these rules on your blog.
  • Each recipient must post these rules on his/her blog.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 'Crisis'

I have been trying to write this blog all day. I cannot seem to get it right. I have been trying to prove that the economic situation is being perpetuated by the media. I went into these long diatribes about how the media starts every news cast with horrible news. It's like it has become the apocolypse. I went back and got transcripts of every single speech Obama has made since he became the Democratic nominee to prove that Obama, the savior of America, is at the top of the negative food chain. I went back and compared our situation right now to the Great Depression. All the while, I wasn't proving a thing. I was just another part of the problem I was trying to eliminate.

So as I went back to re-read what I had written, I hit ctrl+a and hit delete. I started over.

We all watch the news, we all listen to Obama [supporters and non-supporters alike], and most of us have a job, yet all we hear in the media is what is going wrong. The obituary of our economy plays everyday on the news at 6pm.

The 'crisis' is fear. The media is out to scare us. The President is out to scare us. We are out to scare us.

Everday the news starts with a bad news story about the economic crisis. The stock market lost XYZ points today. The recession creeps closer to the "brink of the abyss of depression" as Chris Matthews tells us. CNN told me today that the economic outlooks is "abysmal".

So how do Americans feel? They feel scared. Of course they would. The President said the journey is going to be "long and hard". He describes it like it's John Holmes and we are the ungreased assholes [pornographic I know, but again I don't care]. If I was sitting at home and my savings was drying up, my 401k was losing value, and my company was going out of business, I would be scared too. There have been so many casualties of this economic 'war' that every person with a job is on the cutting block, or so they feel.

Yesterday I sat in a large conference with the leaders of my company. They were announcing our 4th quarter results and setting the ground work for 2009. Where have we been? Where are we going? Everyone wanted to know what our outlook was for 2009, considering the crisis. The area president was there, the company COO was there. They brought out the big guns. Everyone in the room was nervous. We had just spend a ton of cash on aquiring another company. Our 4th quarter results were not to the expectations of Wall Street anaylists, what is going to happen with our company?

As the conference rolled on we heard from our finance guys. We heard from our network guys. We heard from our marketing guys. We heard from our advanced data guys. With every presenter my excitement grew. It was like the slow creep of the roller coaster up the first hill. With every foot closer to the top, the adrenaline in your blood stream gets more and more potent. After all the presenters were up, our COO took the stage for his speech.

His tone was not akin to a funeral. It was quite the opposite.

He looked at all of his employees and addressed the economic crisis. He gave us a history. He told us a story of how he got into the cellular business. It was 1973. He just moved from the state of Arkansas to New York to start a business where people could be mobile, yet still talk on the phone. He was literally selling air to companies. At the time the Oil Crisis of 1973 was in full swing. Inflation was rampant, unemployement was in the double digits, and people were literally fighting at the gas pumps. The crisis we have on our hands now is not as bad as it was back then, yet we are gathering canned food for our bomb shelters.

As his speech continued he gave us an example of his sales process back then. He said he had to figure out what his client needed. He needed to find a reason why he couldn't live without my product. At this point mobile phones were an unnecessary convienience, and a cumbersome suitcase. They were not popular, they were barely reliable, but he was able to leverage the customer's needs, with the benfits of his product. He had to show that by buying his product, they would get a return on their investment in time saved and convenience.

A lot has changed in my industry, but they are exactly the same as they were in 1973. The only thing that has changed since is the wide use of cell phones and the ease in which customers will part with their money to buy a cellular phone.

Many businesses would say that people aren't buying. I would say that those businesses haven't given the consumer a reason to spend money. The media would say that consumer spending has fallen off because of the economic crisis. I would say consumer spending has fallen off because the businesses haven't done a good job at adapting to the economic outlook.

I am not naive enough to think that there is not a problem. But my COO said something that rings true.

Many companies are slashing prices to attract customers, and they are in fact ruining their industries. Our company sells a better product than our competition and we charge more for it. Sure we have not grown our customers to the analysts expectations, but we out sold our competition. We "kept selling and we didn't slash the prices and ruin our industry." We went back to the ROI [return on investment] selling. During the height of the cell phone boom in the late 90's, people would line up outside the stores to get a cell phone. Now that people are holding onto their money like a life raft and we have to assure people that by purchasing our products, they are not letting go of the life raft and wrapping their arms around a cinder block. Cell phones aren't a luxury anymore, they are a necessity. How do we sell to a customer that just lost their job and are depending on unemployment until they get a new job? How do we sell to a family who has 2 kids in college and their investments are losing value, and their income isn't going up?

"We need to step our game up."

This is not a time for us to lick our wounds and feel sorry for ourself. The mantra that my COO was touting from his soap box rings true for the rest of America. We need to step our game up! We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start holding ourselves accountable.

Right now retails sales is tough. But right now, nothing is easy. Instead of letting the economy be an excuse for poor results, I must make an investment in myself. I must push forward and better my skills. I have to polish myself like a stainless steel kitchen. Poor economy is not a reason to sit at home and hunker down. It is a time where the strong get stronger, and the weak get weaker. I have to polish my presentation skills like I am a chef plating a dish. I have to look at my subjects differently like I am a photographer looking for the perfect shot. I am not cooking, I am not taking a picture, but I am trying to get you to part with your money and make an investment in me.

If you are among the weak, you will fail unless you try and do something different. You don't win Top Chef with a deviled egg.

There is a paper factory in Wisconson that closed down. There was 500 employees out of work. What did they do? Went back to school to learn a new trade. If Obama gets his way, the construction industry is in for a big boom, so most of those 500 employees are learning to weld and drive trucks. These employees are not sulking with a woe is me attitude, like the news media wants us to. They are proactively seeking a new skill.

What America needs is a pep talk. Obama has inspired us all with his vision of hope, but he has not inspired anyone to act. My COO inspired me to act. He has inspired me to take off the practice jersey and put on my varsity letters.

The road ahead is not going to be easy. This is a time to sink or swim. I have signed up for my swimming lessons. Have you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Way I See It # 198

"You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all-your time? Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are the spontaneous ones. Being there. Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters." - Tim Russert

This morning I woke up earlier than should really be allowed by law. It was 6:30am, my alarm was screaming at me to wake up.

Usually on a Tuesday I sleep in until 7:30am, but then again this wasn't just any Tuesday. It is Catholic school a week. It was the annual parent breakfast. It was a chance to go into the school with your child, sit down with their friends, and have a crappy meal. Parents don't go there for the food. They also don't go there for the coffee. It's a time when the parents can see how their kids are transforming in front of our eyes.

For me this morning was just a break in routine. A chance to do something different and a chance to spend much needed time with my daughter. With a career path such as mine, it is easy to get engrossed in work. A volatile industry like retail is a scary place to be. The Wall St. Journal is screaming the economy is coming to a halt, Congress can't make up their mind whether to inject our economy with more money, and there are companies laying off thousands of people. Its easy to get wrapped up in work for me. If I can help my company be successful, then I get totally enthralled, because my company's success means that I will keep my job, and with the workforce flooding with more than qualified people, my company can kick under performers to the curb before you can say unemployment.

As of late work has been addicting. My location that I manage is doing very well, but as I arrived at work, after enjoying my morning at Audrey's school, I felt like I haven't been paying attention. As I saw my daughter socialize with her friends, I asked myself, where did the time go? Have I been asleep? Or was it just the realization that my daughter is becoming her own person and her need [dependence] for me is slowly eroding away?

It was when I got this cup of coffee this morning that I realized that I want to take more time for my family. I have 3 weeks of vacation this year and 1 week that rolled over from last year that I can take. I am convinced that I will use all 4 weeks of it this year.

I am not a religious person. I'm not Catholic, I'm not Presbyterian, I'm not Jewish or Muslim, but I do have a sense that there is something bigger than me at work in the world.

The quote jumped out at me today on the side of my cup. Tim Russert speaking his wisdom from the grave on the side of a coffee cup that was filled by a creation from my favorite Starbucks girl, Angel.

*fun facts about this post.
-all photos were taken with a BlackBerry.
-this blog was written entirely on a BlackBerry.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How knocking up my wife has changed my life.

I would be lying to you if I told you that my first daughter was a planned thing. Like everything else in life, it had a funny way of working itself out.

Now that I am re-married [btw if you would like to see how that went you can go to post 1, 2, 3, and 4 about the wedding] my wife and I decided that we should have a child. I say child because I'm cool with a child, but the Wife wants children. I am cool with maybe one more, if its twins then I am for sure done, but she would like more. It's a compromise in progress I guess.

Once we found out that we were expecting, on New Year's Eve, I was relieved. Not shocked. I did not see my world closing around me. I saw the world of possibilities open up. Everyone realizes when they made a right choice. Maybe not at that particular moment, but eventually we all realize our correct choices. Well I knew when my wife was walking down the isle I made the right choice and I knew that when my wife came downstairs and looked at me and said she was pregnant, my heart skipped a beat. I was so happy.

Later that night when we told her parents, my mom, my daughter, my best friend Pat, and her best friend Char at dinner. The confirmation that I had made the right choice was when I saw my mom jump out of her seat and scream really really loud. It was great because this was not the reaction I got from mom the first time around. When Audrey came over to me she was quiet. Jenn and I wanted to tell her separately, but timing was not on our side. We were worried she might be sad that she didn't know before anyone else. When she whispered in my ear her blessing, my choice was again confirmed.

It is amazing watching the pregnancy process. I am totally and utterly enthralled with this process. I have been blogging a lot more, but also reading the web on pregnancy and things like that. I used to be up on all the current trends and things like that, but it has been almost 7 years since I had to recall this kind of information, so I am giving myself a refresher course.

I love watching my wife transform into a pregnant woman, my pregnant woman. To say the least she hasn't been feeling all that great. The first tri-mester is always the hardest according to every pregnant woman I have ever known. She has been living on the soda-cracker, water diet. She must feel like she is at a Nazi death camp right now. Her energy levels have been low, but then again, that is to be expected. I think the nausea is starting to subside and the Wife will be back to her old self in no time, except that she is going to be playing the role of incubator to our fetus.

Life has certainly changed for me. I have to start to get myself in the mindset that this new child is not potty trained. I am still trying to psych myself up for that. As soon as the new child understands yes, no, wet, and cold, potty training here we come. I potty trained my daughter in one day, I will duplicate my success.

So, now that we are entering the 8 1/2 almost 9th week, the Wife is doing well. She ate a real dinner last night, however small it was, it was food and not crackers. Next appointment for the baby is on the 9th. Can't wait.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fan Mail!

Well over the past 2 days I have been very busy. I have posted 3 blogs, all of which required some extensive research and fact checking. Tonight, its time to relax. The wife will be home in a few and its time for me to show her some attention. She has been feeling crummy so I think she deserves a night without the clickity-clack of me punching out blog after blog after blog.

So tonight is research night for the blog I have been writing regarding how knocking my wife up has changed my life forever.

Hope to have it done by tomorrow.

Until then, here is some fan male I got from a reader.

Hollis made my day today!

Here is what he sent me via MySpace.

Subject: I Read your Blog

Body: Love it. I am an avid reader of Tangobaby. She posted you as an interviewee .. and now i'm hooked.

Thank you for pointing out the good in Bush. I am not a Bush or Obama hater (or lover), I just think people need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both and move on.

Just thought you should know you have another reader,


p.s. don't judge me by my Myspace.
I created it like 10 years ago when I was in high school : )

Thanks Hollis for the nice words!

Why I Hate the iPhone v2.0

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Its a cult!

Thank you Jeanne for putting this link on my last post.  I had to share it!! 


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why I Hate the iPhone!

There are those of you out there who are excited to see the title of this post. Some of you, maybe not so much.

To all those iPhone users out there let me say this.

I hate your phone and everything it stands for.

I have had a BlackBerry for quite some time now. It does everything.

Let me take you through a typical day with my BlackBerry.

7am: My BlackBerry's alarm wakes me up. I hit snooze for about 20 minutes.

7:30am: 1 of the 4 different e-mail addresses alerts me to today's headlines delivered from the New York Times mobile site.

8:30am: I am in the car to work. My BlackBerry's charging and it resting for the long day ahead. If inspiration hits me, the voice recorder is there to capture my thoughts.

9:00am: Work e-mails start to trickle in. By 9:30am I have 42 unread e-mails in my Corporate e-mail box. I delete the stupid ones and the forwards of forwards and respond to 3 important e-mails. New product launches, sales updates, and action plans. All of this before I step foot into the office.

10:30am: My BB messenger wakes up. My wife is telling me she is on her way to work and to have a nice day. I respond back.

12pm: I have answered 30 e-mails already and I haven't logged into my computer at work yet. I have sold 2 BlackBerrys in the morning just by using it at work.

1pm: Lunch. I sit down at lunch, turn on some tunes and log into my RSS reader [Viigo] and check for blog updates. 3 new blogs to read. I read them all. Then check on the headlines on CNN mobile and New York Times Mobile. Both have BlackBerry quick launchers

2pm: 3 facebook messages come in. 1 myspace message. I ignore them and wait to get off to answer those.

3pm: My BlackBerry calander tells me that I have a conference call in 30 minutes.

5pm: I hang up my BlackBerry after the conference call. I get more e-mails from my personal e-mail accounts [3 total on my BlackBerry], and countless e-mail from my work e-mail account.

6pm: Time to go home. I text my wife and see where she is. On her way home, so am I.

6:15pm: Call from my daughter's Mom. There is a cheer thing I need to be at on Thursday. She sends me the calander invite and I accept it into my BlackBerry.

7pm: Arrive home. I get hourly updates on sales numbers from my BlackBerry. I check in on my team and make sure all is well still.

8pm: I write a blog. I can't get to a computer so I write it from my BlackBerry.

8:30pm: The wife and I decided to go to dinner. What's close? I Pull out the BlackBerry. I boot up the GPS system. I search for Eating and Drinking Places around my location. 10 places show up. I get the numbers from the GPS program. I call ahead, see how busy they are, and the wife and I are out the door. This is a new place in a part of town I'm not familiar with. I hit navigate on the GPS program on my BlackBerry and it gives me directions [like a Garmin would] from my phone.

9pm: Go home, set the alarm, and go to bed.

Now, my BlackBerry can do more than what I described, but that's how I use it on a daily basis. Keep in mind, between every major task I do with it, I also use it for small tasks like phone calls, and I text message all day. My customers now text me with their issues, so I can address them, but not stop what I am doing and take their call.

My all time texting record. 7500 in one month. My daily e-mail traffic is about 100 e-mails total between work and personal e-mails.

The BlackBerry can do a ton of things.

Here is a comprehensive list.

  • Phone
  • Calander
  • Address Book
  • Text and Picture Message [SMS and MMS]
  • Assisted GPS [check your mobile carrier for availability]
  • E-mail Box [up to 10 different e-mail addresses at once]
  • Task Manager [Think virtual post it notes]
  • Internet
  • MP3 player
  • Video Player [plays most video formats]
  • 2.0 mega pixel camera [not great for photography, but great at clicking and sending in a pinch]
  • Voice Recorder
  • Expandable memory card up to 8GB [16 GB when it becomes available]-This is important for the Camera, MP3 player, and Video Player
  • Documents to Go [can translate most word processor files, spreadsheet files, and slide show presentations like all the Microsoft Office products]
  • Tethering [It can interface with your laptop or desktop computer and turn into a modem to gain access to the internet from your PC or Mac---think WiFi hotspot just for you, where ever you feel like]
  • Downloadable Quick Launch Buttons like ESPN mobile, NYT Mobile, CNN Mobile, Fox News Mobile, NBC Mobile, Weather Bug Mobile, White Trash Bingo Mobile [sorry shameless plug for my website], I can go on......oh yeah, best thing about all of these is that they are free
  • Downloadable Programs like FaceBook Mobile, MySpace Mobile, Yahoo to Go, Google Apps, Weather Bug App, RSS Feed Programs like Viigo, Slacker Mobile [Streaming Radio] and these too are mostly all free too

The funny thing is, the iPhone can do mostly all of these things too. Except MMS messaging, Tethering, Downloading Quick Launch Apps, and expandable memory.

It's not the phone that bothers me. It's the snobbery that it's users have. I can be showing a smart phone and an iPhone user will come by and say, the iPhone is better. Or an iPhone user will come by and ask to see a phone. I will go through what it does and how awesome it is and then they will say, well my iPhone can do more. Against a BlackBerry? You wish!

I don't give a shit about you or your iPhone. Truth be told the iPhone cannot even take its battery out. It can't even send a simple picture message. It has WiFi capabilities because the carrier they chose to use for distribution has the smallest 3G network in the industry, it needs WiFi to work because chances are, you're not going to be able to use the internet otherwise. If I run out of memory I have to start deleting crap off it to cram more stuff into it. 8GB or 16GB, 2 options.

The world doesn't revolve around the iPhone. I hate you and your catchy advertising. I hate you and your slick design. I hate you and your 1 button. I hate all[Most] your snobish users! My iPhone this and my iPhone that!

I'm tired of the iPhone being the new 'Gold Standard' for smart phones.

The BlackBerry has been around longer, and it does everything the iPhone can do[Everything you can do, BlackBerry does better], but oh yeah, the ruler of the free world carrys a BlackBerry. Sorry iPhone. You're slick, but not secure enough to be used by the President of the United States! The BlackBerry just might save the world!

I guess I am just annoyed that out of nowhere a product comes out that completely catches America's attention and because Steve Jobs tells them its new, they eat it up. The iPhone isn't new, its just hip. The iPhone isn't breaking any barriers in the cellphone world. It's just riding on the coat tales of the iPod which is another useless piece of garbage if you have a BlackBerry. If you want an iPod with a phone on it, great, get the iPhone, but other than that, its just a BlackBerry in tight jeans.

If you, Mr iPhone, were dropped on the tarmac of an airfield your glossy glass screen would crack and thus make you useless. Not the BlackBerry. Drop it, Kick it, and Abuse it. It'll keep working. If it doesn't, I can insure it through my wireless carrier. That's something else you can't do with the iPhone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inquiring Mind wants to know.

Some time ago (December 11, 2008) I subscribed to a blog called Tangobaby: Living in this crazy little city by the bay: San Fransisco. She posted an interview she got from another Blogger. It was interesting and thought provoking, and at the end of it, she gave us [me] the opportunity to sit down in the hot seat and answer some questions [You will also have this same opportunity at the end of this blog]. I jumped at the opportunity to be interviewed by a blogger that I have no connection with, other than the fact I read her blogs [which are well written and filled with fantastic photography].

Last night about 1:36am. That's Eastern Standard Time, she delivered the questions she wanted to ask. I was up for about another hour thinking about them, then my dog wanted to go out, then I went to bed, then I woke up and was still thinking about her questions. So! Without further adieu.

Tangobaby: I'm writing these questions on a very historic day in our nation's history. You and I live in such very different parts of the country, yet we both are excited and impatient for things to improve and for our country to be restored. I know you have a young child and a baby on the way. When your children are old enough to understand about politics and voting, what will you teach them? How will you help to develop them as the next generation of American citizens? What would you share with them about Obama's inauguration today?

Yes, we are at a very interesting time in America, and you and I are fortunate to live this day, and everyday from a different set of circumstances, and from different points of references culturally. I do, in-fact, have a young child. She is about to turn 7 in March. She is already very very inquisitive about politics and this past election she really wanted to know everything. Her mother and I are not together so she splits her weeks between Mom's house and my house. 3 1/2 days each house. The switch in houses happens on Hump Day [Wednesday]. During the election cycle, her school was teaching her about voting, and the American process. They learned to identify the candidates once it was down to just the 2 majors. She knew who they were, and she kept asking me who I was voting for. Her Mom was a staunch Obama fan, and I, was a fan of John McCain. My reasons were mine, but it was nice for her to see the perspective between her mother's point of view and mine. She kept asking what socialism was, because she heard me and her mother talking about it in very different terms. She assumed that Socialist meant that he liked to go to parties more than he liked to work and if that was the case, she like McCain.

She already has the curious mind.

My hope for my children is that they look at me funny when I say that when Obama was elected, the only other race that lead the American people before him were white. I don't want them to have to deal with civil rights. I don't want them to depend on their government, but have their government depend on them. I want them to realize that MLK day is more than just a day off of school or work [if they get into the financial industry]. I want them to realize what it stands for. Its a day to give back to their country. My best friend volunteers at a soup kitchen once a month. He has started to take my daughter now that she is getting older. I want her to see that there are people out there that don't have what we have, and that to get to where we are, you have to work. I want them to be able to make their own way out of a bad situation rather waiting for a government hand out. If they do need assistance from the government, they owe it to their fellow citizen's to pay it back, either financially or with their time.

To teach them this, I will never tell them anything, because I would run the risk of lecturing and conflicting points of view between her mother and I. The best way for children to learn is to lead by example. Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." This has never rang more true than right now.

Tangobaby: As a self-described "peddler of technology," do you feel like most Americans appreciate and understand the incredible variety and capability of technology that's available to them? How can we be good consumers of technology? Do we consume more technology than we really need?

What a loaded question.

My overall feeling on technology is that American's don't want to be bothered with some of the technology out there. It isn't until they talk to a guy like me that they can see the benefits of the technology at their finger tips. People forget that 10 years ago we were still buying film for our cameras, printing our photos on paper, and sending mail via the USPS rather than gmail. Slowly people are realizing that they no longer carry photos in their wallet or even carry cash in their wallet. Everything is becoming digitized. Cameras. Money. Lives.

In the business world, I have lived by a mantra, if you don't embrace your company's business model, you are doomed to fail. This rings true for technology. If you sit around fighting technology, you may be ignoring the very technology that could one day save their life.

I know melodramatic. But its true.

Right now technology is changing to make everything consolidated and integrated. A good example would be a smartphone from your cell phone provider. Just by getting a smartphone, you can consolidate your cell phone, address book, calender, and iPod into one device. A major platform for America is conservation. If everyone embraced technology, they are in turn conserving and saving the planet.

Need a connection?

I used to buy CD's. I have nearly 1,000 of them upstairs in my office right now, collecting dust. Every one of those CD's have been copied into my computer and I have most of them stored on my phone. I don't carry an iPod, and I am not about to lug around my entire CD collection. With the advent of digital media, I have been able to cut down on my paper costs by not printing every photo I have taken, and purchase of those little pieces of plastic called CD's. If every America did that, imagine the number of barrels of oil we could save by not manufacturing all those CD's.

Our computers have become virtual shoeboxes. We keep everything on them. Music, Video, Photos, documents, presentations, you name it, you might be able to store it on your computer. I have even curbed my purchases of DVD's. Almost every DVD now has a digital copy you can download. I now just interface my computer into my television and I can watch my movies off my computer on my television. I no longer have a ton of traditional frames hanging around my house. I have digital picture frames. The pictures change every 30 seconds.

There are cars out there that will integrate with your cell phone. The Ford Fusion has a system in it called Sync. It is a software package that uses Bluetooth technology to interface your phone with your car. I can make phone calls, listen to music, and even see who is calling me all from my car, just by having my phone inside the car with me. No more wires. Nothing more than a simple radio wave that is unique to your car. With just one car, I have been able to not take an mp3 player or CD into my car. No clutter. No messes.

American's have not gone to the extreme like I have, but then again, I sell a product that interfaces with everything, so I try and use it for everything. I carry one cell phone and one laptop computer. My wife does the same. My daughter also has a cell phone.

To consume too much technology is to not consume it at all. If we all embraced technology and all its benefits, we could really start a conservation movement. I think America needs more technology. I think we are behind the 8 ball.

*the only piece of technology I have not embraced is the e-book. I love the way the printed paper feels and the actual physical movement of moving pages relaxes me.

Tangobaby: I saw on your facebook page that you described your mood as "angsty." I'm going to assume here that's not a comfortable place to be right now. What is "angsty" and how do you get yourself out of it? What are your favorite diversions?

I think it was my MySpace I said that, but nonetheless, I said it. You're right it's not a comfortable place to be right now. Angsty is a feeling that makes you react 1 way. With a scream. Right now in my life I am in a moment of flux.

The things on my mind that are contributing to this description are, a new president and hopes that the job market improves before my wife finishes school so her chances of gainful employment are better. I have been trying to close on a mortgage for my condo for over a year now. Every time we get to the point of closing on the mortgage, something happens where it falls through. Now I am living in a condo owned by a very dear friend, and I am asking myself the question, do I want to stay here? Is it worth it? Now a new opportunity has presented itself for a move into a bigger house for less money than what I would pay for a condo. Now is that something I want to pursue and leave a dear friend of mine high and dry in an uncertain job market, and a very volatile and plunging housing market? I am torn between career paths with my company. Do I want to continue on this management path, or move to a more training path. In the event I choose a training position, it is non customer facing, so in the even that my company decides to cut back, I would be the first to go.

Its a very very confusing time, and with the wife being pregnant [who I am always worrying about] with our first child together, I am trying hard to make sure my 7 year old isn't going to feel left out or neglected.

I just want a clear path right now, and its hard. Call it my male nesting instinct.

As of late my moods on MySpace have been: busy, anxious, and enthralled. I also like superfluous, pissed off, and happy as hell!

To place Angsty in an overall category, its not a comfortable place to be, but its not entirely unpleasant. Blogging and writing help me think, and I think my wife can appreciate it, because if I dumped everything on my mind on her right now, she would collapse in a heap, although I know she has a lot on her mind these days as well.

Tangobaby: Writing a personal blog and having total strangers read it can have many benefits but it can have its pitfalls, too. For someone who's never read your blog before, what is the main thing you'd like them to understand about you and why you write this blog?

I am having trouble answering this one, because I write this blog to clear my head. Its a way to put my thoughts out on paper, and you as a reader can give me input. I really like to learn from the people around me. My younger brother Keith wrote something in his bio on another website we run that rings true.

I consider myself a very curious person. You know when you were a kid and you'd be at recess... then one day you'd find a dead bird on the playground? Naturally there would be a group of curious kids standing around the dead animal, possibly interpreting what death means to them at that moment... Well I was the kid poking the dead bird with a stick, and in a specific incident, dragging a dead squirrel home. I'm just thinking to myself... "I mean there has to be more here than just a dead bird!!". I have carried that mentality with me to this day. I mean I'm not going around poking objects into dead animals anymore... well not all the time... but my curiosity is still there. Only now it applies to EVERYTHING. ---Keith (my bro)

That is a way to sum me up.

Tangobaby: What makes you laugh?

My brothers make me laugh. My younger brother is studying improv at the famed Improv Olympic in Chicago right now. His off beat humor really is hilarious. Its hard to explain, but I have always been in awe of his whit.

Chuck Pahlanuik also makes me laugh. His satirical writings make me laugh, because they are so dry. You never see the build up, but when you find his punchlines, you can't help but giggle.

Will Ferrel. Immature, stupid, and HILARIOUS are the 3 words I would use to describe him.

George W. Bush. I know what its like to speak to a room full of people, and I would probably do the same things he did. Come off looking like an idiot.

Democrats. I mean those left wing nut jobs. They make me laugh because I truly believe they think that now that Obama is president he is going to put on his cape and save them. Let's not put the horse before the cart. He has the highest expectations, not only from his own people, but from the people that voted against him. He is only 1 man. He's not a super hero.

Republicans, and Rush Limbaugh in particular. He is so far right, he probably only makes right turns in his commute home just to make sure he will never been seen going left. To get to California he probably flys East around the world to get there, because to fly West is to fly left.

You [Tangobaby]. Your humor makes me smile almost everyday. Your blog has become part of my daily routine. I have an RSS reader on my BlackBerry and I look for updates almost hourly of all the blogs I follow. Sometimes your blogs put a smile on my face during the day, when otherwise I would be not smiling.

My wife. I share many laughs with her. I love arguing the counter point to her point. If she hates Obama, I love him. If she hates something, then I love it. Its once she realizes what I am doing does she get really mad, and yells at me, but I think that's healthy.

Anyone who takes themselves way too seriously. My Grandpa told me before he died, "Life's to short to be pissed off all the time."

That's it. I hope you enjoyed the interview as I have. Its funny. You learn a lot about yourself when someone else is asking the questions.

So I will give you the same opportunity that was afforded to me from Tangobaby.

Here's "The Rules."

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me." [I'm gonna need an e-mail address from you, so feel free to email me at acgercak AT gmail DOT com]
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and link to my blog.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This picture is supposed to mean different things to different people. For those of you who know me outside of this blog, this photo is a jab at the core of the Democratic Party, the poor, the unemployed. That’s what I had to tell my older and more talented brother with Photoshop for him to make this for me.

For those of you who just got mad at me. Get over it. Let me finish my thought.

I said that the picture means different things to different people.

What I think this picture would be to most is the fact that George W. Bush messed up this country so bad that the unemployment rate is so high, it quite possible this photo is speaking some truth.

Now, its time for me to tell some truths.

Today the people of America witnessed history. They watched as a black man took the oath of office of the president for the first time in American History. America has finally embraced the idea that a man without pale white skin can finally take office.

* as a quick note to my readers. I will not use the term ‘African-American’. Because you have darker skin doesn’t make you African. Yes, it is true, you might be able to trace your ancestry back to Africa, but to call yourself ‘African-American’ is just denying what you are, American.. Once my family came over from Europe they became Americans. Yes, I am Irish and Welsh and Czechoslovakian, but I would never presume to insert all those destinations of origin before I call myself American. I am American. Plain and simple. Doesn’t matter where I came from [although we all must remember our roots], just matters what I am today. Barack Obama didn’t ever call himself African-American, although he is. He is just an American with a really really nice tan.

Today most of America threw out the old and welcomed in the change that America needs, and so desperately wants.

Never in my short life have I seen or felt America so energized by something that has happened 44 times before this day. This inauguration probably had more television viewers than 20 Super Bowls combined. Many stations had uninterrupted coverage, just do the viewers at home didn’t miss a single thing. Political commentary all day, celebration. George Bush, thanks, but no thanks. Get the hell out, we are done with you.

Is it just me, or does watching George Bush leave office feel like I am breaking up with a girlfriend?

Nevertheless, as I sit at home, sipping some bourbon, which by the way, is the official spirit of America. For those who clicked, and then clicked back and thought I inserted the wrong link, I didn’t. It’s #11 on his episode list.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

As I sit at home, sipping some bourbon, I realized that everyone on the media said that the last 8 years have been a complete failure. No one had anything good to say about what he did while he was in office. So, when I got home, I kissed the wife, ate some dinner, and began searching the internet. I was looking up anything and everything about the George W. Bush Presidency. If the media was going to focus on his failures, I figured I could devote a little time to his successes.

On January 29, 2001 George W. Bush [W.] set up a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. For those of you who say that this was stupid, and didn’t work, I also looked up his approval ratings. His rating right after this initiative was, 65% according CNN and Gallup.

On June 7, 2001 W. signs the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. This was also called an economic stimulus package. The rebates we got over the last few years were because of W. His approval rating was hovering around 60% at this time. For those of you say that this is what set up the economic failures today, please write the government a check for all the money it gave you and then you can bitch about it. What? Not going to send it back. Quit your whining.

On Sept 11, 2001, America was attacked. The Twin Towers Fall, The Pentagon was attacked, and an airplane in PA crashes. October 7th, less than a month later, George W. Bush announces his War On Terror. His approval rating at this time is 92% according to ABC. That is this highest approval rating in American History. Not even JFK [80%] or FDR [84%], two of the most beloved of Presidents in America history had an approval rating that high. The second highest approval in American History was W’s father, which was 89%, which he got just after the Gulf War.

October 26, 2001, W signs into law the USA Patriot Act. Still at a 90% approval rating.

January 8, 2002 W signs the ‘No Child Left Behind Bill’. During his initiative, he gives us a line that has become a Bush-ism. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.” Townsend, TN Feb 21, 2001. Besides the poor grammar, he was right. As stupid as he sounded, his intentions and priorities are in the right place.

January 29, 2002 W gives his first State of the Union address. During his speech he stated that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea constitute an ‘axis of evil’. After his speech, his approval ratings were 75%. The speech he was reading was penned by a young speechwriter named David Frum. He later wrote a book titled, ‘The Right Man’. This book goes into depth into what it was like to work in the Bush White House. The theme of the book was “the Right Man at the Right Time.” He said that George Bush was the person to lead us through this tough time in American History, in reference to the 9/11 terror attacks. Sound familiar? America agreed, because at the time of the 9/11 crisis his rating was 92%

June 24, 2002 W announces a new Middle East policy, supporting a new Palestinian State, with the condition that Hamas and Yasser Arrifat are not in charge. The Jews didn’t like that, because he was back down to a 50% approval rating.

March 19, 2003 W announces the start of the War in Iraq at 10:16pm EST. W’s approval-rating jump to 75%. The war drags on, and his ratings drop, and once Saddam was captured, his approval ratings shot back up from a 50% rating to a 65% rating.

May 27, 2003 W signs the U.S. Leadership Against AIDS/HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003. This act provided $15 billion over the next 5 years to fight AIDS abroad, and in particular Africa. This is the largest amount of money pledged by any country in the World for the cause to fight AIDS/HIV. All you Gay, Bi, and Transsexuals out there who champion this cause, the man you all hate, pledged YOUR money to fight a cause YOU want to fight. His approval rating was 65%, so you liked him almost 3 years into his presidency.

December 8, 2003 W improves Medicare which was the largest overhaul in that programs 38-year history.

November 2, 2004 We re-elect W. His approval rating was, so-so, only 49%.

It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina we decided we didn’t like W. His FEMA messed up the response to the Hurricane and we watched as hundreds of people die in New Orleans. I am still under the impression that the whole tragedy could have been avoided had the local leadership mandated an evacuation. There are photos of 30 busses just sitting under water, still parked and not in use. These busses could have evacuated the lower ninth Ward. How is that Bush’s fault? Yes, it was his fault the response from the government sucked, because he appointed the Horse Judge as his FEMA guy, but again, avoiding it was the first problem. Kanye West also said George Bush doesn’t like Black people. I don’t think that is true, because he pledged $15 billion to AIDS research which affects millions of black people every year. More than any other race in the world. Yeah, he hates all of you!

Here is my long drawn out point. We were so quick to support Bush early in his presidency, but we were really quick to throw him to the wolves. George W. Bush had the highest (92%) and also the lowest(19%) approval rating in the history of approval ratings. Yes he may have messed up, but to call all 8 years of his presidency a failure, get off it. It wasn’t.

Again, this is why I call this a break up from a girlfriend. You can only think of the bad things, and not the good that he did. I think W is right. History will judge his presidency.

Now that we are talking about approval ratings, Obama comes into office with an 80% approval rating. This is all based on the idea that he might do the right thing. He got his approval rating based on speech and rhetoric, but he hasn’t done a damn thing, yet.

I do say yet.

Mark my words. The instant he makes a mistake, even his most ‘loyal’ supporters will turn on him. Obama has a lot on his shoulders. He reminds us of that every time he opens his mouth. It seems as though he is trying so hard to lower the expectations of America that he worked so hard to conjure up to elect him. He talked big and as the veil lifts, and he can see all the facts, you can see his small retractions. Before he was like, I’m gonna get this done, I’m gonna get this done, and I’m going to do it fast. Now he says that the road will be long, and it’s not going to happen in 4 years. Seems as though he is campaigning for re-election already.

I say, shut up Obama. It’s obvious that you can inspire America. I am inspired listening to you. But I want substance. I want you to shut up and get to work.

Make it happen.

Enjoy your day America. Enjoy your day Obama. Your accelerated aging starts tomorrow.

New Blog? Check!

Well, welcome to inauguration day folk's. I hope you seat backs and in flight trays are in their full and upright position. You are about to witness history. You knew that already? Ok.

So, yesterday I posted what I would consider my longest blog EVER. There was only 1 other blog I have posted that was as long, but maybe longer. Unlike this last post, the other 1 was completely true.

What other blogs did I commit to telling you about? Oh yeah! Why I hate the iPhone. Look for that one today. I also have a blog about my wife and being pregnant, and how it has changed my life. All of them will be much shorter than the blog I posted yesterday. Maybe.

For those of you keeping score. I also renamed and posted a blog on my other site yesterday as well.

Well, happy what ever future holiday this might become!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I woke up and............

I woke up early. I had to take my daughter to school this morning. The sun was barely up over the horizon and the colors from the sun's rays splashed the sky with pinks and blues.

As we left the house, we kissed my wife good-bye. She was going to be at work by the time I would be back home. She had an event today so her day was starting much earlier than normal.

The traffic on the roads was especially light on this particular morning. I was able to get to and from my daughter's school in less than 30 minutes, when usually I am gone for over an hour.

After arriving home, I got into my routine. I fixed myself a cup of coffee and say down at my desk to look over the headlines online. New York Times was the first stop then all the blogs I read. I visit all of the new posts from overnight. I read them all and then comment on a few that I feel the need to comment on. I could feel the caffeine in the coffee starting take hold in my blood stream, so I started to get ready for a busy day at work.

I took a shower, ironed my clothes, and went back upstairs to the bathroom to finish my routine. I am expecting a busy day at work on this particular morning so the head start I got to the day was welcome. Never hurts to be prepared.

As I was putting the American Crew fiber in my hair, I heard a noise outside. It was the sound of tires screeching to a halt. I heard shouting in a language I could not understand. I looked out the front window of the bedroom that overlooked the street and saw men with semi-automatic guns in all black outfits. Their faces were covered and I couldn't see their eyes. I heard a noise at my front door, then a loud bang.

My heart was pounding. It felt like an angry monkey banging around in its cage, just itching to get out.

The footsteps were now in my condo, and I could hear them talking. I still was unable to understand what the hell it is they were saying. What were they doing in my house, what did they want?

They eventually found me hiding under my bed. They pulled me out, placed my hands around my back, and I felt the zip ties pull tight against my wrists. I was rolled onto my back, all the guns were pointed at my head. A gunmen to the right said something in a language I still was having trouble placing, then it all went dark.

When I came to, I felt like I was in a van. It was all dark, I could feel the cotton bag over my head. I was completely disoriented and confused. I could hear men talking, calmly this time, and not shouting like they were.

I presume the van we were in stopped because I heard the grind of metal on metal as the sliding door opened and I was carried out. I could smell what I would consider jet fuel, but because I could not see anything, this is all a presumption. Funny how your hearing and sense of smell are enhanced when you lose the use of your eyes.

I was taken indoors and placed in a chair. The bag was ripped off my head and I squinted against the light filling my highly constricted corneas. I couldn't tell you how long I was out, or how long it has been since I was taken, but what I can tell you is that I was now sitting in a room with pale green walls. The smell of mildew was ever present. Its like the smell of a wet basement. There was a small metal table, and another chair besides the one I was sitting in. The chair was also metal, which explains why my ass is cold. There was a dim light, lighting the room, and it was casting an eerie glow with in the room. I have the overwhelming urge to pee, but maybe my captors will tell me why I am here, and I can explain to them that there has been a misunderstanding.

What seemed like an eternity a man walked into the room through the only door to my left. I looked up, but did not speak. He had two other men with him, and they had small guns.

He spoke to me in that language I was far from understanding. I don't know if he was talking to me or telling me why I was there. I didn't know what to do, so I asked if he spoke English.

I didn't see the fist that hit me from my right side across my face. I felt a new gash above my eye and I could feel the warm drain of blood down my face. This man said the same thing in what ever God forsaken language, and I started to talk again. Another punch.

This time when he started to talk again, I kept my mouth shut. That didn't stop the hit that came from my left side.

I felt two hands pull the chair backwards in a reclining position but the bag was back over my head and this time I had headphones on. You know the kind baggage handlers wear on the loading ramps of airports to keep their ear drums intact. I couldn't see and I couldn't hear.

I could feel something pick me up and carry me. The zip ties still around my wrists and this time I could feel them binding my ankles with some kind of shackles. They picked me up again and started carrying me. I could tell we went back outside because I could feel the difference in temperature.

I was thrown down and then bound to something else. Metal. I am trying to smell anything, and I could make out what I think is jet fuel, and Lake Erie. I assume I am somewhere near downtown Cleveland, but I can't be sure.

I could feel a heavy vibration start shaking me to the very core. It felt like I was inside a giant vibrator. The vibrations got even more heavy then all of a sudden the stopped. My ears had the overwhelming need to pop, so under my black bag, I was trying to move my mouth enough to equalize the pressure behind my ears. By the need to do this almost every 10 seconds, we had to be airborne.

Where the hell are they taking me.

We encountered turbulence not too long after take off and the straps binding my wrists to what I assume is the airframe pulled even tighter against my skin. It was pinching so hard I could feel the hot sticky blood on my hands. There was so much blood I could smell it. I still have the need to go pee so bad, the next spot of turbulence I couldn't hold it anymore, and I let it all go. The ammonia and vinegar smell of my urine filled my nostrils. I hope my captors can't smell it, I don't know if I can take another beating. More turbulence. Tighter against the wrists. I am now moaning in agony.

I couldn't hear the footsteps coming near me, but I could feel them. I was hit across the back of the head and I passed out.

I woke up in a room much like the one I was in before the flight. The bag was gone from my head. The zip ties were gone from my wrists. Shackles gone from my ankles. I inspect my surroundings. A cot, much like one would find in a prison. Pale green walls again, much like the walls in the room before. Mildew was growing in the corners of the room. The floor was cold concrete. I was cold, but I am not sure if it was the air temperature, or if it was just my nerves. On the ceiling of this room was a pair of handcuffs hanging from the ceiling. It looks as though they were bolted to the ceiling.

After inspecting my surroundings I inspected myself. My pants were dry, but smelled of urine. My wrists had deep bruises and cuts from the zip ties, but all the blood was dry and clotted. My ankles were also bruised and they took my socks and shoes. My shirt was stained with blood presumably off my face, and it had sweat stains all over it.

I laid back down on my cot and closed my eyes. Just as soon as I shut them, I heard the door slam open and more shouting. I was pulled to a standing position and I stood a good 3 inches taller than the man before me. His two friends in the room took the fleeting hope that I could take this guy out of my mind. My hands were pulled above my head and placed in the handcuffs hanging from the ceiling. Exhaustion wasn't the word, but the pins and needles in my hands told me that there was no blood left in them. The men exited the room and I was again left alone in my room, handcuffed to the ceiling.

There are plenty of movies I run through in my mind of what I could do next. I could miraculously put all my weight on my wrists and see how strong that bolt in the ceiling was, and try and get free. I could some how find a pin on the floor I could grab with my bare feet and use that to pick the lock in the cuffs. Apparently my captors have seen all these movies because, as I placed all the weight on my wrists, I clearly wasn't going to pull that bolt out of the ceiling and the intense and searing pain in my wrists told me I was really not going to be trying that again.

I closed my eyes and thought of my family. I have been so caught up in my survival that I feel selfish in not thinking of them. But behind my closed eyes I saw my wife. She had just taken a pork tenderloin out of the roaster. I could smell the seasoning on it. Thyme, rosemary, salt, garlic, onions. I could smell the potatoes and carrots. The fragrant spinach salad we had was still hanging in the air. I could hear my daughter telling me to sit down because I wasn't allowed to sneak a taste. They were all smiling.

The door opened again. 2 men enter the room. One I recognized as the man who chained me up. The other was someone whom I didn't recognize. I name them to keep them straight. The short guy who I recognized, he's Benson. The other, Olivia.

Benson said something to me I did not understand. Olivia, over his shoulder said, "You name."

I recognized that as English, and very good English. There was a hint of a British accent in there I think.

I told him my name.

Benson speaks again. Olivia translates.

They are asking me what my name was. Where I lived, worked, played, and blogged. They asked me if I was supporting the resistance in the North or was I a General in the Army.

All of which I answered with, United States, a cell phone company, outside, and Blogger. I told them I knew nothing of a resistance in the North and that I was never in the military.

Benson shouted louder. This time he placed his knee in my right thigh. Charley Horses aren't this painful. I could feel the pain travel down my leg, through my toes, and back up to my gut.

Olivia, "Tell them what they want to know so I can make him stop. This goes on as long as it has to. We need to know who you are helping!"

I don' know what the fuck they are talking about, and I tell them that. Another knee from Benson. Same spot. Same pain, but times 2. Shouting. I shout back. More shouting. More knees. More pain. With every new knee blow, the pain increases.

By the time they are done, the deep bruising on my thigh leaves my leg looking like roast beef.

They leave.

Still hand cuffed. Still alone.

Moments later Olivia and Benson are back with more people. This time the cut my clothes off of me and leave me naked. Benson shouts some commands and leaves. Olivia is still there. He must be playing the part of the good cop. The 3 other men in the room stand by the door. Olivia takes my hands out of the handcuffs and I collapse. Naked. Cold concrete. Olivia helps me to my feet. His warm hand on my back and soothing sounds makes me feel at ease.

The other men pick me up and I am back on my feet. The blood is rushing back to my hands. The pain in my leg is so great that I favor my entire right side. I am shouted at in some language I am still having trouble placing. Olivia tells me I have to masturbate.

What the hell? Now? In front of you guys? I don't think so.

The knee to the thigh from henchman #1 convinced me to oblige these sick bastards, so I started to pull at it. Not surprising nothing happened. I was still flaccid, limp, blood less, and the guys in the room started taking photos with small cameras. Posing with me as it looks like I am trying to get off. There was no turn on at all. I was doing this because I was told to.

Olivia and the men left, so I stopped. Humiliated.

Olivia walked back into the room with warm clothes. This time he was alone. I ask him what I am doing here.

"We have intelligence that you are a terrorist and that you are planning on killing our president."

"What country am I in."


"What the hell language are those guys speaking."

"Farsi. We are not in the country of their origin. You are at a military base outside the country so we can interrogate you."

"I don't know what you guys are talking about. I want a lawyer."

"You don't have the rights you think you have. They don't have to do anything. All they want is the information you have."

Olivia leaves and I get dressed.

I lay down on the cot and close my eyes. Its Christmas morning and my wife and daughter just opened their presents.

I was pulled from my sleep rather abruptly, and taken to another room lead by 3 guards. I could hear running water. A fear of mine if drowning. I am asked again in Farsi what did I know. They wanted names. I didn't know names. I didn't know what they were talking about. I was a sales rep for a cell phone company. I am not a terrorist.

They placed a bag over my head, leaned me back and poured water over my face. I could feel the water running into my sinuses, and my body tells me to choke. The water stops. I catch my breath, leaned back again. More water. I choke. The water stops. I can breath again. The bag comes off. I'm asked again. I know nothing. Bag comes back. Leaned back. Water. Choke. Stop. This goes on 3 more times. By the end I can feel the water in my lungs. I aspirated so much water. It was harder to breath.

I was placed back in my room. Asked the same questions. The same answers. More knees. More water. More handcuffs on the ceiling. Same results.

All my rights were gone. My life has ended as I knew it.

Benson and Olivia. Questions. But this time I just gave them names of anyone. I gave them the names of all my old bosses that I hated. I gave them the names of mass murderers. I gave them any names. They ate it up this time. They brought in a tape recorder, I stated all the names. I poured my heart out. Told them stories, plans, where to find the secret hiding spot. I told them anything they wanted to hear just to make this stop.

Everything I told these guys was complete bullshit. I told them that Bono was the mastermind, and that the KKK's headquarters is where he was hiding. None of this was true, but it made them stop.

The above story is a complete fabrication. I wrote it to prove a point. What I have described to you above has happened. Not to Americans, but to people who America thinks is out to hurt it. By definition, what I describe is not torture by definition, but depriving someone from sleep, pressure pointing, and water boarding is not defined as torture in the United States. But ask anyone who has had this happen, this is noting but pure torture.

Tomorrow Obama takes office. He touts that he is here to change the country. He is here to fix the problems. He wants to end the war in Iraq responsibly. He wants to shut down Guantanamo Bay. There are many things he wants to do, but what will he get done. The American people are waiting with baited breath.

One thing I would love to see is America's international reputation fixed. I went to Europe in the late 90's and Europeans thought we were idiots. The Middle East hates America because, as of late, we have a habit of capturing suspects and interrogating them in the same manner as I described above. The tactics I have described are not fiction. They are very real. There are subordinates the the military taking the fall of doing all these bad things, but they lacked the training, and they were acting under orders from their superior officer. To stop this culture of torture, we need to change from the top down. Obama is the first to change. He needs to close down Guantanamo Bay [the place where most of this happens] to prove he is serious about changing the way America acts.

We are all still reeling from 9/11. We all want to get the bad guys who did that. The 9/11 commission report stated that the major breakdown was that our agencies were not communicating. The FBI had intelligence. The CIA had intelligence. Separately it made no sense, but together it was the missing piece of the puzzle. The war in Afghanistan is still waging, and like any other business, the government wants results. We got all this intelligence very quickly about Iraq, but no one ever went back and double checked it. The interrogators that were gathering this information were nothing more than Privates in the military carrying out orders. We turned a country on its head, because some innocent guy wanted to make the pain stop. We ate it up, and into Iraq we marched. We watched it on CNN live as it happened.

The Military is a strong arm. The CIA is covert. The FBI investigates. Imagine if they all worked together. The CIA finds the suspects. The Military goes and arrests them. The FBI interrogates and investigates the charges.

I trust the FBI to do the interrogating because their policies and procedures are clear and defined. They will not harm the suspect, but they talk to them. Much like I talk to a customer who I am trying to sell something to. Sure it takes a long time, but the intelligence you get from the subject is more likely to be helpful and useful. No more keeping subjects longer than we have to. They have basic human rights, and America can remain safe.

Never in the the history of the world has their been a bomb anywhere ticking and we had the subject in custody. We never needed to find that bomb in 24 hours. What's the point is thinking that is what we need to do? Jack Bauer isn't real. Interrogation isn't glamorous.

So if Mr. Obama wants to close down Guantanamo Bay, I will be there by his side to support his decision. Charge all the suspects or let them go! We are creating terrorists by doing this to people.

If the above scenario happend, who knows what kind of rage I would have for whatever country did that. Whoever was in that room spoke for the country in my eyes. They were in government uniforms, wearing the government's flag, speaking the language of that government.

First impressions last forever, let's hope the world [and especially the Middle East] gives us a second chance.

**The picture at the beginning of the blog was taken and originally posted on mouse medicine thank you for allowing me to use this photo!**