September 30, 2004

Clothes make the man...poor

Ok, so I finally broke down and bought some more formal clothes - read business attire, which for me is rather formal. 2 pairs nice pants, 2 nice shirts, 2 jackets (!)...that sort of thing. I hate buying clothes. I was dreading going shopping - actually I was having a bit of an anxiety attack...shopping for clothes and pushy salespeople! I went into the Roseville Men's Warehouse with a combination of fear and dread and deep saddness; a yearning for a simpler age, a bygone day when men wore furs in the Winter and a loin cloth in the Summer.

At the door I was greeted by Daniel, an African-American with a nice smile and a bit of some sort of accent. His handshake was not too firm and he wasn't all, "So how much can you spend?!" and in your face. I said, "Are you patient?" He laughed a bit and I explained that I was basically starting from scratch and that I needed "business attire" friendly clothes - not for work, but other events coming up, etc.

He wanted to start with the jacket and go from there. Long story short, I picked out something sort of fun (not "Weird Al" fun - subtle) and he suggested I get a blue blazer also for more formal stuff.

Then we went to pants and shirt, ties, suspenders. He has a good eye for color and he was calm and not hard-pressure. He got me to spend more than I was going to - I was only shopping for one outfit, but he got me to get two - 2 base outfits that I can build off of and mix-and-match. One less formal and one more formal. Some items needed to be altered. One of the reasons I hate buying clothes is that it is really hard to find clothes that really fit me, but nothing a TAILOR can't fix I guess...a bit surreal for me.

Anyway, I would recommend him for you guys that need/want nicer clothes. Some of the other sales people I overheard with other customers were god-awful! - Just the kind I was afraid of getting. Got lucky this time. He is my "wardrobe consultant". That's surreal too.

Posted by hunte046 at 12:58 PM

September 26, 2004

PJ @ 15 Mths.

I'll post a pic soon, but here's a mini update. PJ got a cold and in the process his sleeping got messed up. He's regressed some, back to waking up 3-5 times a night and every now and then throws a fit and won't go to sleep for an hour or so - almost impossible to console. I think that when he was sick and we picked him up he got a bit spoiled. I think it's getting better now though and on the right path.

His friend Nathan came to visit. He is 3 months older than PJ - I think it got him wanting to try harder to walk, but he is still quite cautious - he practices every possible thing that is involved with walking: getting down without falling, squating, even a fancy sidestep. PJ and Nathan wrestled a little bit - we were watching them to make sure no one got hurt. He came pretty close to tripping Nathan a couple times, but no major injuries.

Then he went to his friend Faith's last night and they were interacting a lot more - chasing each other etc. It is really fun to watch them squeal and take turns being "it". Several times he was just about to take off after her walking, but decided to go to his tried and true crawling - she let him catch him a couple times. She was just learning to take off her shirt, but PJ wasn't really interested in that. By that time he was getting pretty tired and we had to get him home to bed!

His checkup was good. He is only in the 8th percentile for weight, which leads me to believe there are a lot of incredibly fat kids out there throwing off the curve. ;) He's got plenty of baby fat on him, so we aren't worried - the doc wasn't either.

I'll try to get a pic posted soon.

Posted by hunte046 at 8:19 PM

September 14, 2004

Why Centrists/Moderates should vote Left in 2004

toughoncorn.jpg

"People have got more money in their pockets because of the tax relief.
Our economy is stronger because people are keeping more of what they
earn." --George W. Bush in a recent speech

Huh? I haven't felt any real relief. The cost of living keeps going
up and wages haven't kept up with those increases. I think I could
afford an extra sody pop a week with the tax cut. I'll need that extra
caffeine now that I am working harder for less.

I am a centrist/moderate in part because I am a member of the
beleaguered middle-class. They say people "vote with their pocket book"
and in my case that is the case. There is no viable third party - which
in my opinion would have to come from the center, so I tend to lean to
the left in elections. I have voted Republican once - Arne Carlson, a
moderate Republicans running for Governor of MN and I have voted
Independent several times - including for Jesse Ventura. He wasn't as much of a centrist as I was hoping, but anyway...

Both parties are not doing enough for the middle-class and it is being
eroded year by year - no matter who is in office. A strong middle-class
is required to have a solvent Democracy and it cannot shoulder the tax
burden solely. The right generally works for tax cuts for the wealthy -
don't they have enough loop-holes? - and the left tends to concentrate
on helping the poor (granted that is a very noble idea, and I agree as long as it doesn't come at the expense of the middle-class). I believe you should
be able to raise the minimum wage, create jobs AND help the middle class
without "overtaxing the rich". I am not talking "pie-in-the-sky" stuff
here either.

It should be noted that taxes are not inherently evil. Without them we
would have no services or infrastructure to speak of. We pay less taxes
than most if not all industrialized countries - get over it! Pay your
share and vote and hold your representatives to task so they don't waste
money. If they do, don't vote for them next time. I know this
oversimplifies the issue somewhat, but I really hate it when I hear we
are over taxed. That's BS. This being said, steps do need to be taken
to help the middle-class and this could include shifting a portion of
the tax burden away from them. Increasing the minimum wage *could* help
- sort of a trickle up as opposed to Reagan's downward trickle (if the
rich pay less taxes, this will create jobs mumbo-jumbo). Granted, I am
not an economist. All I know is that is difficult for my family to make
ends meet and my wife and I have pretty good paying jobs and health
insurance! We do not live extravagantly. We don't need to "keep up
with the Jones' ". It wasn't so long ago that only one person needed to
work to support the whole family - and have money left over for
cocktails.

Day care and housing costs are partly to blame. Perhaps my wife and I
should have stayed in our smaller, impossible-to-child-proof home.
Perhaps we shouldn't have had children to begin with. But we wanted
children, shouldn't it be easier to afford them? I think so. We would
like to have another child, but we literally can't afford it. You'd
think those of the "family values" camp would have some ideas beyond the
child tax credit, but most of them don't seem to live in the same world
I do, which could explain things.

If only one of us had to work, that would save hundreds of dollars a
month - which could, call me strange for thinking this...be used for
savings?! The average person in the middle-class has what - $8000 in
credit card debt? Doesn't that tell those "in charge" something? If we
are struggling even slightly, I can't imagine what single parents, etc
are going through! Luckily we have been able to hold our credit cards
down considerably below the national average, but we've had to make some
interesting choices/sacrifices to do so and in my opinion any credit card debt is too much.

I guess these are some of the reasons I am leaning further to the left
than I normally do this election. The country has shifted farther to
the right in the past few years and I don't believe they have the right
ideas to fix these issues. They have proven this beyond a doubt to me
anyway. We centrists need to vote further left this time to try and
balance out the rightward trend - thereby shifting the government's
policies more to the center. Kerry seems closer to the middle than Bush anyway. Bush has been a lot farther to the right than he said he would be. He has misled the American People.

Other reasons other than economically-speaking include:
--erosion of personal freedoms
--the balance of the Supreme Court is right-leaning already and could
even shift further right if Bush is re-elected
--Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror and the world is less
safe now than it was before the invasion. We should be focusing on Al
Queda and finishing our work in Afghanistan but now we have opened up
Iraq to chaos and anarchy. Saddam should have been dealt with, but the
timing was wrong.
--Bush has a double-standard with Putin in regards to Russia's Islamic
Fundamentalist problem - he asks Putin to negotiate with them even after
the recent barbaric atrocities they have committed. What happened to
"we can't negotiate with terrorists"?
--erosion of our alliances throughout the world
--erosion of precious and crucial separation of church and state
--gun control policies too lax
--lack of peace plan/efforts in Middle East
--etc.

Posted by hunte046 at 12:55 PM