The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: June 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

June comes to a close…

Welcome to the exact middle of the year, at least by the Jullian calendar.

Is it just me, or did June DRAG by?  Well, fear not, the hump is upon us and Christmas, Hannukah and the New Year are right around the corner.

I am truly sorry to see that so many people decided not to join back up after I cleared the email list out.  I will not lie, it does bother me that so many thought so little of what I try and do here.

But this is a fresh start and you, my captive vict… er… I mean audience shall not be disappointed.

I am looking at the possibility of adding a guest writer for occasional pieces… if you are interested in writing maybe one piece a month and can write better than a 5th grade level… let me know.   I am not ready to do this yet, but ever since I had to fire my wife from the job, I have been considering opening this up to people.

Dreams of retirement

As time goes by, I am realizing that the need to consider retirement is really not that far off.  Ideally I am hoping to retire at 55 years old, which is not that far off.

The obvious things worry me… will I have enough to retire, where can I afford to retire, will I have to take a part time job when I retire, just to make ends meet?  There are many concerns and in reality, unless you were already financially well off to begin with, nothing is certain until that fateful day when you take the step and leave the workforce and become a retiree.

I try not to worry about the financial side if it too much.  I am doing what I can and setting aside as much as I can.  We will see when the time comes if it was enough and with the way the economy is going right now, it is anyone’s guess.

I try to think more of the PLACES that I would like to retire to.  One thing that has become certain in my life is that the older I get, the less I like places that have large populations.  Sure, when I was a teen I loved the idea of living in someplace like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco.  Those are party towns and they always have a lot going on in them.  My wife and I even briefly looked at the idea of living in San Diego back in the early 90s.  We even looked at lofts near Horton Plaza in the Gas Lamp district.  At the time it was a bustling older style area.  I think that entire area was renovated and the apartment is no longer there.

Today, my idea of the perfect place to live would be anyplace that has a small population and low crime rate.  Someplace that only has four or five gas stations, total and a population small enough where you will actually learn who your neighbors are.  This is something that I miss from my childhood.  I spent part of my youth in Taft, Ca.  While I like to make fun of it as a “Hick Town”, I do recall the fact that we knew everyone on our block and there was never really a question about who you did or did not trust.  You borrowed tools, helped each other, talked, visited and there was few, if any, problems with one another.  I miss that.

The places that I am looking at, with my wife, for retirement options are places like Olancha, Ca.  The place that my mother lived as a child.  Elko, Nv.  A small, out there, kind of town.  Fairbanks, Ak.  Where my mother, brother and his kids live now.  Sedona, Az would be nice, but probably a little pricy because of the tourist trade in that area.  There are a few other places, but I have not looked into them as much.

The way things are going, though, with gas and all… who knows.  We might have to retire to a cardboard box next to Highway 58.  You never can tell where you might end up, until you get there.

The Samurai’s “You Gotta Visit” Sites for June

IMAO – Another satirical look at politics.

La Meu – For when that PC of yours is too silent.

BananaPhone – Who can ever have enough of the BANANAPHONE?

High Tech Pranks – Just when you thought it was not possible to get back at that guy from work.

5 most expensive – Next time you are trying to think of what to do with your riches.

Reminder – Non Registered users to be deleted tonight.

Just a quick note to my readers…

Tonight at 20:00 Pacific time (That’s 8pm for those of you in Rio Linda), I will blow out the database, removing all non registered users.  This is to honor a “request” that I no longer send my emails to people whom I did not first ask their permission.

By now those of you who are registered, will have gotten an email from me letting you know that there is no further action required on your part.

If you do not get an email, then you are not registered and will get no further emails from this site.  Period.

If you would like to register, then you can do so on the main page in the lower right.  You will see a Register button right near the log in.

 

 

Thanks much.

Unanswered prayers…

There are many songs that touch me. Anyone that knows me, knows that when I listen to music, I REALLY listen to it and look for all the meaning that it has.

Because of this, I think I enjoy music that much more. To not only hear the song for the song itself, but also for the sake of the message, hidden or otherwise, that lies in the music or the lyrics. I feel that my desire to understand what the artist was trying to say makes the music that much more important to me. It helps be find a connection with the artist or the message that the song or album tries to convey.

All that being said, there are few artists whose music sticks with me on a regular basis. Such artists and groups as Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Ozzy Ozbourne, Ray Lynch, and there are many more and one day I may write a follow-up post that talks about them. But the point of this post, if you could not already tell, is Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers.”

This song has more meaning to me that anything else he has done. I like all his work and would love the chance to meet him one day. He seems like a hell of a guy to sit and have a beer with in some seedy country bar that has that old twangy 60s and 70s country playing in the background while we sit and talk about sports and the fact that the barmaid is showing a little too much cleavage, much to our appreciation.  After all, we are guys.

“Unanswered prayers” may have a special meaning for many of us. Think of how many things that you wished and prayed for when you were young, that, in retrospect you are glad you never got? How many things that would not have happened to you had your wishes been fulfilled. The people that we meet as kids all too often turn out to not be the people that we thought when we grow up.

This is not to say anything bad about the people themselves. I, myself, had a list of people in school that were my idea of who I wanted to spend my life with… at that time. Looking back now, and who they are today, I realize that there are certain things that just were not meant to be. Sometimes things happen for a reason and we follow our heart, our desires or, in some cases, our hormones. Usually the latter ends in disastrous results.

It is hard to say how we get where we are going in life. How all our choices are made and if there is something else out there that is working to help or hinder us. I am not a big fan of the whole “Divine Guidance” thing, but I am also open minded enough to accept that there is a lot out there that we just do not know or understand. There are a lot of unanswered questions throughout life and I would like to believe that there are many that we do not need to know the answer to, in order to keep life fresh it is better to not know all the answers.

When I think of all the choices that I have almost made in my life and all those that i followed through with. All the people I have encountered, exchanged part of my life with and either made my friends, lost touch with or simply cast off as vexatious to my soul or to those around me, I do wonder if I alone made those choices or if maybe there is a greater power out there, which I know goes against my disbelief of the “Divine Guidance” idea. Who knows, maybe the “Pastafarians” have it right, and there really is a Flying Spaghetti Monster who guides us all.

Of the women I have known, I never expected to find the one I married. The fact that I met her at all was sheer chance. The fact that we met, became friends, fell in love and married (almost 17 years as of this post,) all because of a chance introduction, gives me hope that maybe I am wrong about how our lives are directed.

With all the billions of people on this Earth and all the chance encounters that we have, it is truly amazing that every now and then, two people meet, sometimes by chance, sometimes planned and bond to create a single unit.  Or as the Spice Girls might say it, “When two become one.”

Hosted by the Helpless and Useless…

Anyone who may have beer trying to access either my Blog or my Forum over the last week may have noticed that I have been having a bit of a problem with my sites.

I have been suffering a little problem with my hosting provider. A company called 1AND1. While I like the service itself and the price it right, the support department is about as sharp as a box of hammers. Add to that the fact that when I DO get an email from them, they are either arguing with me, or barely able to write english.

All this makes for and interested experience.

Oh… By the way, according to them, I have not been down the last few days. Even though I have an outside company monitoring my site, 1AND1 is telling me that I just need to clear my cache.

Wow… Really?

On “News from Lake Wobegon”

I am a big proponent of “Simpler Times”.  I am the first to tell you that I am a little jaded when it comes to how I recall my childhood and what I consider to be a simpler time from both my own perspective as well as that of the people I know who are older than am I.

This is why I enjoy listening to “The Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.  If you are not familiar with who this person is, or have never heard of the program, then you are truly missing out on something wonderful.

Unfortunately I learned about the Prairie Home Companion (PHC) late in life, so I cannot tell you that I have been listening to it for years and years, but I can say that I have been listening to it for about two years, on and off and I can tell you that I love the feeling of the program.  That you can get lost in the music and the stories that are told.  Most importantly to me, is the fact that there is something in Garrison’s voice that is like visiting an old friend that you only get to see on occasion.  Soft, with some humor, but you never question the fact that he really means what he tells you.  The kind of voice that you might associate with your father or any other patriarchal figure in your family.

There was also a movie that was made several years ago about the PHC called, oddly enough, “A Prairie Home Companion.”  If you have not seen this movie, then I cannot urge you enough to rent it and watch it.  While there is a lot of the side story that is just there as filler, the rest gives you a feel for the show itself.  Attached it a scene from the movie that I particularly liked.

But the radio program is where you really get to experience the feel of the people and the characters they portray.  There is something “comfortable” about listening to this program that I just cannot explain to a person that might not have ever heard of the show before.

If you have a chance, then please take a moment to go to the web site by following this link, and go to their archives and listen to a show or two.  I think you will enjoy them.  Good music, good stories and in the end, when the program is over, it leaves you with that feeling of emptiness, like you have when you have had a bunch of friends over, and then the time comes for them to leave.

Review: The Andromeda Strain

To be fair, I went into this movie expecting a poorly made remake of a movie about a book.  That is to say that while the original movie was good, they had to make some changes in order to make the movie a little more politically correct for it’s time.

This movie had me worried.  Making a movie based on a really good book is dangerous enough, but making a movie about a REALLY good book is like pissing on a spark plug, just to see what will happen.  I sit here to tell you that I was not too displeased with the results.

One of the first things that started me having high hopes for this was when I saw that Ridley Scott was involved in it.  Pretty much anything that has his name on it turns out pretty good.  OK…  I will pretend that “G.I. Jane” was just that he woke up with a headache when he took that on. 

The movie was well done, and except for about the last third, it stayed pretty close to the book.  Obviously they updated things to make more sense in this day and time.  The last third of the movie took on a little too much of that whole, “Kirk and Spock, shoot around the sun, time travel, paradox.” feel for me.  Face it, the whole time travel thing thing has been beat to death, stomped on, thrown in the oven, rebaked and served to us with some other name.  Like so much day old bread put in a new bag.

My main complaints are actually with the graphics and CGI work in the movie.  You would think that since this is a A&E production, they might be able to afford someone like, say, Industrial Lights and Magic.  If you want an example of the problems I am talking about, look for this one.  Towards the begining, when the team is dropped of in Piedmont, as the Helo takes off, you will see that the overlay is all wrong and the perspective is wrong for the placement of the people in comparison to where the Helo is.

Sorry… I know I nit pick, but if I did not, then who would?

If you happen to see this on again, watch it.  It really is not too bad and this is coming from a guy who, for the most part, really does not like movie adaptations of good books.

 

So if I buy the album, do I have to take the baggage?

I recently heard a song by Amy Winehouse and discovered that I really like her music. So I mentioned this to a couple people I know, who immediately started telling me about all the recent news she has been involved in.

Tell me… how does this change how I feel about the music? Granted, if I found out that she was using the profits from the sale of her CDs to organize a crusade to kill kittens and puppies with baseball bats and chainsaws, or anything else for that matter, then maybe I would be hesitant to buy one of her CDs.

Fact is that her baggage and issues are just that, hers. By purchasing her CD, in no way do I make myself party to her problems. I am merely buying the CD. She will continue to have whatever problems she has whether I buy it or not, so why should I not?

Unfortunately I also feel this way about other artists that seem to draw media attention like so many moths to a bright light. People like Brittany Spears and such… regardless of how many albums are purchased or videos are sold, then are still going to implode taking their career, if you could call it that, with them. With people like that, fans are merely a doorstop, holding the door open a little longer but eventually it will close.

When I buy a disk, it is because I genuinely like the music and because I will not buy a CD until I am sure I will like it, you can surmise that it takes me a while before I break down and get it.

Artists are just what they are. They belong to a class of people that are not too much unlike very bright stars. They burn brightly for a short period of time, then collapse on themselves and either become burned out embers of what they once were… like Milli Vanilli, or becomes so dense that not even like can escape… we will not talk about those ones.

No… When I buy the CD, I could care less about the situation of the artist. Their music, if it is truly well done, stands on it’s own merit. That is all that is important to me.

All that said, if you like that bluesy, soulful sound that you remember from the late sixties and early 70s, then listen to “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. Very good.

Happy Father’s Day

For all you Dads out there…

Happy Father’s Day.

My very best to all those Dads, present and past, at home or over seas. 

 

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