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Archive for May, 2011

Interesting coincidence this is. Just as the email came in announcing this weeks photo challenge – water – we were in the midst of a pretty good storm. This is a photo I took just before the email came through. So I figured this would be a good scene for the topic… ūüôā

¬†You can click on the photo for a larger view…

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The only work I’ve done this week, has been around the house. You see, I’m on vacation.

Every year at this time Рthe week before Memorial Day Рmy wife and I take time off from work for a vacation. We do so for two reasons. The first is that the full heat of Summer is not yet upon us so it makes taking time off a pleasure. The other reason is that if we do go away somewhere we can still take advantage of price reductions before they change for the Summer season.

This year, however, we decided not to go away anywhere and save our money for next year. You see, this time next year I should be a retired person and we are planning on taking an extended vacation as a retirement present. Depending on how our 401 goes, it will either¬†be for¬†two weeks in the Colonial Williamsburg, VA area¬†or a month trip to the West Coast and back; we’ll see.

All is not lost, however. We did decide to take a day trip and go somewhere where we have never been before. The place we picked was Harper’s Ferry, WV. This is the place where, in 1859,¬†John Brown held his famous raid in trying to capture the U.S. Arsenal and to start a slave revolt in the process. At that time Harper’s Ferry was in VA as there was no West Virginia, yet.¬†Well, if you know anything about history at all you know that he was not successful.

As a point of interesting history, the Commander of the U.S. Marines who came to the rescue, and to capture John Brown, was Colonel Robert E. Lee, and on his staff was Lieutenant J. E. B. Stewart. In two years they would be considered the enemy by the same forces they were commanding.

Anyway, we drove the two hours to get there and spent the day. It was quite interesting to walk around and see the various buildings, including a replica of John Brown’s “Fort”, visit the museums¬†and to climb up the mountain to see “Jefferson’s Rock”; quite a view from up there.¬†All of this was followed by having a good meal at the local Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

With that in mind, there is nothing work related to talk about and I’m sure you don’t want to be bored¬†hearing all about our one day vacation trip. That, then,¬†makes¬†what you are reading¬†the post for this week. But I can’t leave you hanging like that without giving you a little hint of what we experienced.

Just to give you an idea of what all we saw, here is a photo of John Brown’s “Fort”, as seen from an angle that mostly likely you won’t see in most travel photos. The image is finished in Vintage Photo style and I hope you like it… ūüôā

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Just a little warning… this¬†is an opinionated¬†venting post on what I see as inequity on the part of public service unions. You are forewarned…

I’ve been at¬†my company for twenty-five years. I’ve worked long and hard at getting to where I am today. I’ve used my own time and I’ve¬†spent my own money in obtaining¬†the knowledge needed to be able to do what I do, and what I do… I do it well.

I’m looking forward to retirement and hopefully will be able to enjoy it. However, I don’t believe I will enjoy it as well as some who I feel take advantage of public funds given by you and I. Let me explain.

I just read an article about some Lifeguards out in California who are making a six figure income, some as much as $200,000, and their pension contribution is only 3.5% a year. When they retire they will get 90% of their income to live on. These are Lifeguards???

To me this is just another example of how public service unions, all across the country, are contributing to the money problems that governments are having. They get and give nothing back.

Now think of this. Public service unions workers get paid by public tax money, their benefits are paid with tax money and their pension fund is paid with tax money. That tax money is paid by you, me and everyone else who pays taxes and fees to our government; whether local, state or national.

With this money, that we pay, we are funding, not only their present income and benefits, but also their pension when they retire. For my pension, whatever is put into it, I fund that 100%, my company puts nothing into it. So, I wind up not only contributing to my retirement but also to the retirement of public service workers.

However, they will get a far better retirement pension than I and they are doing so with my money. Not only that, they are doing so with your money as well. You and I are paying, not only for their present income, but for their retirement as well. They put little to nothing into that fund because you and I are funding it through our taxes and fees.

It doesn’t matter where you live in the United States, somewhere you are funding public service workers income, benefits¬†and their retirement, and most likely they will all retire in a better condition than any of us. And they are doing so with our money. This is just wrong.

Since they are already using our money for their income they should be the ones funding their retirement pension with the money they are already getting from us instead of taking more from us to do so. You and I are paying for them to live well in retirement while we will have a hard time making a go of it.

Many public service workers, when they retire, will have a yearly income that will exceed the total amount that I will have in my pension fund, that I funded with my own money, while contributing to their pension fund at the same time.

The money you are I are paying, that is going to them, should be going into our pension fund and not theirs. They should be fully funding their own pension from their own salary instead of taking more from us so that we wind up with less.

SOMETHING IS WRONG SOMEWHERE!

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Well, here it is Friday and I have yet to post anything, until now. You see, today РFriday 13th Рwas the day of my annual physical. Now I know what you are thinking. Friday the 13th is a bad day, but not for me. Friday the 13th has always been a good day for me. Actually, any day is how you make it to be.

So, here are the results of my physical. I’m still getting up in the morning,¬†I’m still drinking coffee and I don’t see my name in the “obits”. Any day I can do that lets me know that I’m still alive…

All kidding aside, my physical turned out well. Here are some figures… cholesterol 160… triglycerides 90… blood pressure 116/80… everything else is in the normal range, and¬†all body parts are functioning¬†well.¬†There are no¬†problems¬†about which to worry.¬†So, all in all, the Doc says I’m in excellent shape for someone of my age.

With that in mind, I’m good for go to continue on the road to my “Countdown To Retirement”. As of today I have eight months to the day for my targeted retirement date and, yes, that day too is a Friday the 13th… ūüôā

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Well, here it is Thursday and today was the first day this week I didn’t have to drive anywhere. However, I did have to go out on a call but it was downtown and I decided to walk; considering it was only 10 minutes away…

Anyway, after completing the call, on the way back, I decided to do a little photography. Got a couple of good photos for use over the next couple of weeks and that was a good thing. We haven’t had to many days recently with sunshine in them like today.

This week began with a nice two-hour drive – one way. Went down to Strasburg, VA; it’s just south of Winchester, VA. I went down the back way, through PawPaw, WV and connected to route 522 south. Eventually I¬†came¬†to route 37 and connected to I81 at Winchester. I did take a little detour down route 11¬†to Stephens City and made a rest stop at a Sheetz. There’s always a Sheetz somewhere. After a little refreshing and getting a drink – diet cherry Pepsi – I got on I81 and headed south to Strasburg.

The call was a good one. There was a slight problem with the way the MFP was already setup on the network and once I changed that the install went fine. I was there, maybe, about an hour to an hour and one half and after the training session I left and headed back. I stopped again at the same Sheetz store and this time I got a Vanilla Nut Coffee. Coffee, for me, is a good relaxer while driving, especially after a good install or service call with a good client, and this was a combination of both.

Before leaving I received one of the best compliments I’ve received in a long time. When I was finished doing the training I had asked if there were anymore questions? One lady said, “Yes. It’s a personal question, though, is that OK?” I said sure as the others were listening. She wanted to know if I did this work as an I.T. person full-time and if I was also a “Preacher”? That stunned me for a moment and then I smiled and asked why did she ask that? She said it was because I had¬†a “Preacher’s” voice.

I found out that when I was on the phone talking with their I.T. helpdesk and was leaving a detailed message they were listening to me and that is when they decided that I was a Preacher by the sound of my voice. That was amazing and I never thought about that before. The funny thing is that, yes, I have done some preaching from a pulpit, and I’ve even been on the radio live a few times in a church¬†where I had been¬†an ordained Elder.¬†Being an ordained Elder¬†is what got me into the pulpit from time to time.

I have to admit, I don’t get a chance to do that anymore, but I do miss¬†it…

Oh, well,¬†even at my age there is still plenty of time to be given the chance again to do some preaching, if it is God’s will that is.¬†What lessens my chances to do so¬†is that I’m a believer in Reformation Theology.

In the area where I live there¬†are hardly any churches with the same¬†Biblically based Theology.¬†I won’t go into that but it is the same Theology¬†that Martin Luther, John Calvin and Charles Haddon Spurgeon believed, taught and preached; not to¬†mention Paul, Peter, John as they were taught by¬†Jesus. Read¬†the Gospel of John 6 sometime and it’s there, the whole T.U.L.I.P thing…

Ok, off the pulpit now and on with this week.¬†Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trip were a little close.¬†Only about an hour or so away, give or take, and I was able to capture a few Road Trip Photographs as well; always have¬†a camera with me. I’ll be showing them on my other blog as we go along.¬†If you want to see what¬†my photoblog is like just click on the link on the right side of this page entitled “Riff’s Photography Journal” and you’ll see the kind of photography I’ve been doing. You might even like it.

Tomorrow, now, I’m heading to a place that’s only about 45 minutes away. Have to do a firmware update and install new drivers so that their MFP will work with Windows 7.¬†That operating systems takes special software and print drivers in order for it to work with our equipment but, we have it, we install it and it works. That’s all that counts.

That’s it for this week.

_____________________

Now, as for the Weekly Photo Challenge. Well, this weeks topic is “Round”. So, here is a photo with two “round” silos on a farm in a photo that I call ” Farm Valley “…

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