Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Conversation Pieces - Don't Boss Grandma Around!

Grandma arrives on Saturday.

Me to Desi, preparing him for the new rules I plan to enforce: "I have told Grandma that she is not allowed to spoil you. You need to earn your presents."

Des: "Dad...why are you ordering Grandma around. She gets to order you around. She's your mom!"

Me: "...."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Politics and Junk

I was recently asked to consider being a PCO (Precinct Committee Officer) for the Republican Party.  In a nutshell, this means that I would be a representative for my precinct (which consists of about 10 square blocks), remind people to vote and be available to discuss policies and junk.

The first thing I said was, "I don't know if they would really want me.  I am not your typical Republican." 

What do I mean by this?  Allow me to explain.

I once heard a radio host (actually, I have heard this more than once, but it was one particular time when it really hit home) who, at the time, was very fond of the tea party, explain that he is a Conservative first, a Republican second.

That right there is where I get annoyed.

To me, Republicanism does not always equal Conservatism.  I will explain later.

Next...when I attended the "victory" party during the 2012 election (victory in quotes because we lost most of the elections), I was remarkably put off by the distain expressed towards Chris Christie, a fellow Republican.  People were furious that we had the gall to walk arm and arm through the newly ravaged New Jersey coast with Barack Obama.  You know...the President of the United States.  Their problem had to do more with the fact that he's a Democrat. 

Here is my voting order:
I am an American first!  This means simply that I don't care who is walking arm in arm with whom.  Chris Christie and Barack Obama are both Americans  And...New Jersey just suffered a major hurricane.  To me, their unification was a sign of greater strength as a country.  It's what we've been missing for a while.  They can argue taxes later.  That day, they were both Americans and they were there for each other.  Just like we should all be there for each other.  Regardless of Party.

I am a Republican second. Party comes after country.  I believe in lower taxes, states rights, individual freedoms, the free market, a strong military, etc.  You know what I don't believe in...telling people what to do in their bedrooms.  When did this become a Republican value?

I am a conservative third-ish.  I mean, I don't really even consider myself conservative.  Certainly, I have conservative views on some things.  But, I consider that more coincidence than anything.  Low taxes is conservative.  Being allowed to pray in schools is conservative.  However, being allowed to pray in schools has been turned into school led prayer.  Which, unfortunately, goes against my Republican values of less government....sooooooooo, we have a problem.  If the Jew wants to pray, he can pray.  If the Baptist wants to pray, he can pray.  If the Atheist wants to do nothing, he can do nothing.  But, when the principal gets up and says, "Let us pray..." you just alienated everyone who doesn't want to participate. 

I am a Catholic forth.  Meaning, I do take Christian values into account, but not on the level that my values will infringe on another's religious freedoms.  More along the lines of "Teach a man to fish" or "how you treat the least of my children is how you treat me." (I don't have the Bible memorized, in case you couldn't tell from my paraphrasing.)

And 5th, I am me.  This means that I reserve the right to change my mind.  I will always vote my conscious.  If I think the main guy is a schmuck...I won't vote for him.  I will write a name in before I vote for someone that I don't genuinely believe will do a good job. 

Anyway...apparently, as I was told my a friend in the party...they need more people like me.  Otherwise, the Tea Party nutjobs will take over.

Those guys...they need their own party.  Because, right now...they are really screwing mine up. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maholo, Maui!

Ok...so, I thought I posted this already.  I wrote it up, like, 2 months ago.  Not sure why I didn't hit publish.  Anyway...here it is.

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Last week, I returned from an amazing trip to Maui!  Last year, when I got my Microsoft bonus, I decided I wanted a nice big, long, real vacation.  Disney to start 2013 was a vacation.  But, I spent a significant amount of time during that vacation running.  I wanted a vacation where I did nothing but relax and have fun.  So...bring on Maui. 

Now...I haven't told my 9 blog readers much about Kim.  Realistically, most of you already know me, therefore you know about her already.  For anyone stumbling across this blog, you'll find pics in here of Kim.  She's gonna marry me next year.  But, I'll talk about her some other time.  Right now...here are some Hawaii pics for the grandparents who don't use Facebook. 

Some activities on the trip: swimming (obviously), mini-golfing, scuba diving (for me), the Old Lahaina Luau, and the shark tank...yes...I swam with sharks!  And, it was AMAZING!

Check it out.

Lady killers. 
 
That would be a shark about 1 foot away from me.

Don't touch the spikey things. 

I believe this is called a Horney Fish. 

Sharks!

More sharks!  And, a huge ass manta ray!

Sup, dude? 

I don't remember what kind of fish this is on the left...but, imagine how much sushi you could get from him. 

What's a dive without a scuba selfie?

Dad in Lahaina. 

Des was lovin' the ocean!

Waiting for the sunrise at the Haleakala summit. 

And, there it is! Amazing!

With Dad at the Summit sunrise. Don't mind the fact that we had to get up at 2 AM. 

From the bike ride down the summit. 

Same. Overlooking Maui. 

Showing Grandma how to play Nintendo DS. 

Paying more attention to my new camera than the spotted Eagle Ray in front of me.  

Des was a little scared before I got in the shark tank. 10 mins in, he was bragging to the rest of the spectators that it was his dad in there!

On the flip side, Kim wondered what she was getting into by accepting the proposal of a dude who pops the question one day and jumps in a tank with man eating creatures the next. 
 
Tiger shark.  The highlight of the shark dive.

With Grandma and Grandpa. 

Me, Des and Kimmy.

At the Old Lahaina Luau (which was good, but very overpriced).

Des conned Grandma into buying him a wooden turtle. 

My mom and Kim with my dad. 
 
Sunset in Lahaina





 
My old man at the top of the climbing wall
 
And again.  Can you believe this guy is 60 something?

Playing in the pool with the grandfolks. 

 
The only good pic I got from the very brief trip down the Road to Hana. 

Sunset on our last day. 

From inside the shark tank. 

Desi's first snorkeling! Next time, we'll go somewhere other than just off the beach. He was great!