Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blogging Newby

Lately, I've seen many of my blogging friends posting at other blogs, or participating in blog hops. I must now ask, What the heck is a blog hop?

I now understand, more than ever, what a complete blogging newb I am. I don't really understand what a blog hop, blog tour, blog challenge, guest blog, or any of these things are.

Can someone please shed some light on how all this stuff works? If you would like, I would even let you post an article here as a guest blogger.

All these things never really made an appearance on my radar until just yesterday when I read an article on promoting your written work and building an audience. One of the key items mentioned was participating in a blog tour/guest blog.

So, here it is, my rant for the day. Okay, not a rant, really. More a plea for help or a teacher to enlighten me on all things blog.

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Common Decency

Some may find the title to this post a little disheartening. Some may find it a little misleading.

Yes, the title is somewhat of an oxymoron since decency is not so common nowadays. Oh how I remember those days long ago when one would naturally open a door for someone, man or woman, as they entered a building. Gone are the days when a person would actually look down at the paper wrapper they just dropped on the floor. Ancient are the days when that person would actually consider picking it up and putting it into a local trash can.

I don't know what happened to this trait so many desired in the past. It almost seems people go out of their way to "get what's theirs" despite how it might affect others. And, this attitude has seeped through out American culture, rising all the way to the top of our government. Or, could it have started and the top and trickled down? I think it could be a little of both.

A prime example of this can be found in the current argument between opposing parties of our government over taxes and fairness. One one hand, our current administration proclaims that it's time those rich folks (those making over 2 million annually) kick in their fair share of taxes in order to scratch down our national debt and fund green energy programs. (although many are under the false assumption that these funds will be utilized to expand social programs.) This is a great concept as long as people are gullible enough to buy into it -- and so far, this seems to be the case.

What I don't understand is how people can completely fail to see the reality of this path. It we continue to take monies from the richest people in our nation to uphold a comfortable standard of living for the poor, then those rich people will eventually run out of resources or put their money elsewhere (read, overseas) until the burden will eventually fall squarely upon the middle. For those with limited memory of high school history, or basic economics, this leveling of society into one tier where everyone is given a fair share no matter what their contribution is called socialism.

I do my best not to get into the political quagmire, so I will also bring up the view from the other side. Now, in complete defiance to the thought of those richest people in America paying their fair share, many politicians spew hatred upon this plan, insisting that, if you overburden those that create jobs, there will be no jobs, or jobs will simply go elsewhere.

What I don't understand is why we cannot just come up with a fair tax system in which everyone pays a certain percentage of their earnings back to the government to offset the services the government provides, such as security, financial help, and yes, social programs. It all seems so simple to me that I feel I must be missing something. Why not just simplify the system and get rid of loopholes so that, by way of example, the business or individual making three million a year will simply pay say ten percent of that, or three-hundred thousand dollars in taxes. Likewise, the person on welfare (since that should be considered income) making sixteen thousand dollars per year would be responsible for the same ten percent (even though they were given the money by the government) and would pay sixteen hundred dollars in annual taxes.

I just don't get it. why couldn't something like this work? It seems to me that a simple system such as this would completely eliminate large corporations, or even individuals using loopholes to pay nearly nothing while, at the same time, requiring a sense of responsibility to be maintained by those wholly supported by government through annual tax payment.

It seems like a start to a fair, sane plan to me. But, I suppose our new world is not so sane. In the end, it all comes back to common decency. That's what determines fairness for all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Slapped in the Face with Technology

Last night, I finally made my entrance into this new high-tech world of ours.

I walked into my local Verizon store, and told the first sales representative I saw that I was ready to buy a smart phone.

Yes folks, it true. I've been holding onto what I once thought was a smart phone for years now. Except, I guess my old phone was long ago demoted to "Multimedia" phone.

Of course, not really knowing what I needed, and motivated by jealousy, since the oldest person in the office where I work finally got a smart phone of his own leaving me the only person still clinging hopelessly to the twentieth century, I allowed the salesperson to talk me into the latest high-tech gadget - the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx!

It's really more of a computer than a phone. I'm still contemplating bringing it back and getting something ... simpler. To make matters worse, I couldn't figure out how to get the contacts from my old phone into the dad blasted thing. Then, my daughter came to the house and, in what seemed a flurry of finger swipes and taps, pulled pictures off the Internet and had my first contact all nestled into my contact screen.

"See dad, It's really not that bad," She said. And then added, "I'll trade you my phone for this one if you can't handle it."

I can handle it just fine!

Well, it's been three hours since she worked her magic and I've managed to put two more contact names into the list. Yay, only one hundred-seventy more to go!

Can't I just learn a new language or something? I never realized I'd have to learn to think all over again to operate a phone. I don't know. I'm thinking Swahili, or Mystico.

Damn, it sucks getting old!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Survival

I wanted to create a huge post to serve as a guide for surviving the coming zombie apocalypse, but that would've taken a long time to develop.

Frankly, we don't have that kind of time!

So, instead, I'll post thoughts in a series of small sections, each one covering a specific subject.

For this post, I'll talk about the most basic of needs (outside of a good supply of soft, yet strong toilette paper) during the zombie apocalypse - weapons. I'll evaluate several weapons by comparing them to those found on the AMC television series, The Walking Dead.

Yes, I'm one of THOSE people. I've recently become a fan of the show. I even stay up extra late and watch the after show, The Talking Dead.

Onward ... to the weaponry!

In the show, Daryl carries a crossbow. He also keeps a handgun in the side pouch of his motorcycle when Rick's son hasn't stolen it from him.

While a crossbow is certainly effective at close range, it's major downfall is limited ammo. For those of you who watch the show as diligently as I, you probably noticed that by the end of the second season, Daryl had only one bolt left in the carrier. That would suck a whole bunch when faced with a massive horde of zombies like they all face in the last episode. The handgun is also great at close range, but you still have to be able to get to it in a hurry. Duh, that's what they made holsters for ... Daryl.

Speaking of Rick's son, Rick Grimes also carries a handgun. He's a little smarter about it, being a sheriff's deputy and all, and carries his in a holster. Rick is also good at using any available weapon found close-at-hand. The knife, or any other handheld weapon is great for conserving ammo and keeping quiet but understand that one must get real close and personal to force the edge of a knife into the skull of even the most dastardly zombie. Most will find it hard to gather the required intestinal fortitude to get this close. Besides, it is actually quite difficult to put even a sharpened blade through a skull. It's one of the hardest and well-constructed bone structures in the human body.

Edge weapons, blunt weapons, and even rocks are all great as a last resort, but nothing beats a gun and a bullet.

Case in point:  Way back in the olden days, I was involved in a military action that left me stranded in the middle of the night, in a foreign country, with bad guys chasing me. (Don't ask for details, I won't give them.) Anyway, someone came upon me and took a couple stabs at me with a knife. He was able to get a couple licks in but I had a handgun, and chose to use it over my knife. In real life, the guy with the gun wins every time. It proved to be a good decision because I'm still here. Can't say that for the other guy.

The one character in the show that surprised me in the last couple episodes of the second season was Hershel. He found himself a shotgun and used it with great success.

Shotguns are easy to use, carry anywhere from one to seven shells, and pack a wallop when up close and personal. The only downside to a shotgun is that, to really be effective, one must find and use, slugs or buckshot in order to be effective against zombies.

For those of you who might consider this completely unfounded, and barely researched advice in order to determine what might work best for home defense during our (equally inevitable) economic collapse, the shotgun is probably the best deterrent to crime in your home.

Nothing is more effective in slapping a would-be criminal's brain into gear, and making them rethink the efficacy of their actions like the sound of a shotgun chambering a shell. For home defense though, you could go with a good load of magnum turkey shot or buckshot as they will achieve the desired effect over a larger area but not go through your walls to hit innocents in the next room. That is, unless you live in a home with paper-thin walls, or a mobile home.

This brings us to the subject of ammo.

Considering that, after the zombie apocalypse, you'll likely find yourself running out of ammo and making that much-dreaded trip into town to scavenge for anything useful (Forget Walmart, by the way. That place will be ransacked at first news of a breakout.) You'll have greater luck in choosing a common ammo. This also applies if you are currently stocking up on ammo in preparation for the coming zombie apocalypse.

Here's the most common types of ammo available anywhere:

For handguns, 9mm, 22 caliber.
For rifles, 22 caliber, 30-06.
For shotguns, 12 gauge (either buckshot or magnum turkey. Although, in a pinch, anything will do fine a close range)

It would also be a good idea to pick up the biggest knives you can find, along with whatever garden tools they may have. A pick axe handle could save your life.