This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I have a great ringtone of Alf saying "why must you make everything so complicated" that just cracks me up.  Alf always cracked me up.

And this morning, while spending two hours on the phone prior to starting work, that little ringtone kept playing over and over in my mind.

Comcast, soon to be the monopoly in cable, needs money to purchase senators and congressman so they can buy Time Warner and started with doubling my cable internet bill.  No notice.  Yes, I know, they probably told me last year when I was in those last months caring for my dad, but I didn't remember that it was a one year contract.  What really pissed me off was not being notified my bill was going from 36 bucks a month to 77 bucks a month for 25mbps download speed.

But they were nice about saying touch luck, they did offer me, because of my 15 year history of being a customer, to extend a special one year offer for 7mbps for 66 bucks a month.

As Cary Grant once said, "mighty white of you".

But I didn't say that, I just suggested that offering me 1/4 of the performance for 30 dollars more a month really didn't sound like much of a deal.

So off to Century Link.

I have my phone line for 17 bucks plus 12 dollars in government payoffs a month and Century Link could offer me 40mbps for just 30 bucks a month!  Sounds like a deal.  So we start the sign up and oh, wait, can't do that, doesn't bundle with basic phone service.  Well, then unbundle it.

Can't do that.

So what we can do and blah blah blah it went for 30 minutes while he explained if I upgraded my phone to X with all those bells and whistles I don't need that they could package a great deal for Z.  And then, they could turn off all those bells and whistles on the phone line I would be now paying for and don't need so together it will just cost 65 bucks a month for the two.

When did everything become so complicated?

It's like when I bought that little TV just to get news and then had to buy a digital antenna in order to get 5 channels - 3 in Spanish.  After four days I had to return the antenna and TV because they wouldn't work.  Once upon a time, all we had to do was plug a damn TV in and pull up the rabbit ears and we'd get over a dozen channels, today it was a cluster bomb of  complicated things for what use to be easy.

Easy would have been a pricing system that doesn't double the cost of the service with no notice; hell they can monitor everything you do and watch and they can't code a 'if bill increase then write letter else goto X' line in SAP.  Easy would have been just letting me keep what I have for phone and then setting up the internet separate, but no, the system won't let them do that so it all gets complicated.

This is one of the reasons people are so upset these days; this constant reminder of how out of control our lives have become for large unnamed entities, massive data bases that collect information on how many times we wipe our butts but can't make simple adjustments to make our lives simple.

But we can't strike out against this unnamed beast, so we strike out in other ways and leave the unnamed beast in the background of our subconscious.  We just go along, never thinking about it, hoping it all just holds together, keeps working, until we can retire or die.

This is one of the things that make Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance such a great book.  In the first four chapters, the discussion is on this very issue, his friend and the friends wife's fear of technology, whether it be a motorcycle or a dripping faucet.  How they just paid for a BMW bike and assume it will never break down.  And it was written in the late 60's early 70's and how much more profound this explanation is today.

Have you ever read ZAMM?  You should.  If I could only have 1 book, it would be the Bible; but if I could have two, the second would be ZAMM.  I am re reading it again, highlighter in hand, pen to take notes.

The early 70's.  No cable, no internet, analogue phones from one phone company.  If you could have missed Vietnam, it was a good time to be alive.  It was simpler.  Not easy, but simpler.

Some day some old familiar rain will come along and know my name
And then my shelter will be gone and I'll have to move along
But till I do I'll stay awhile and track the hidden country of your smile

Some day the man I used to be will come along and call on me
And then because I'm just a man you'll find my feet are made of sand
But till that time I'll tell you lies and chart the hidden boundrys of your eyes

Some day the world I used to know will come along and let me go
Then I'll be leaving you behind for love is just a state of mind
But till that day I'll be your man and love away your troubles if I can
And till that day I'll be your man and love away your troubles if I can 

Rod McKuen