Monday, October 29, 2007

Automobile Visibility

This is a topic that has popped in my head from time to time. Mostly because I see it when I'm driving. That is people not using their headlights when they should;
  1. between sunset and sunrise - even before the sun goes down below the horizon, sometimes it can get pretty dark in some situations, heavily shaded areas. You're safer if you're seen.
  2. any unfavorable atmospheric condition; rain, fog, snow. One day I was out and there were snow squalls, I saw someone driving a white van with no headlights. A snowsquall hit and he disappeared withing 50 feet of me!
  3. any situation where you can't see beyond 1000 feet clearly. Even at 35mph you're covering a lot of ground.
One last thing; sometimes your car color can make it difficult for other drivers to see you in certain situations. A dark car on a dark road in shade, or a light colored car on a concrete highway can be hard to spot by some other drivers. Remember, not everyone is paying attention like they should.

All kidding aside, let's not meet by accident.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Common Sense for Driving

This will be a brief introduction for my future posts on driving. Suffice it to say that I have seen my share of strange things on the road. For ten years I have driven professionally (local livery) and now am a driving instructor. I still see strange things.

If I could make a suggestion to the on road community it would be this; use your turn indicators. I love driving behind someone when they suddenly slow down for no reason, only to turn off the road somewhere. Folks, I can't read your mind. Plus it would protect you by making you more visible. If I'm driving along and I'm distracted or zoned out, your blinking turn signal might catch my attention and I'd be able to slow down in time. Otherwise I might rear-end you.

Just a little something to think about from your friendly road warrior.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our Children

By "our children", I mean it collectively, as in all our children. Recently, I was helping out our daughter by getting signatures for a National Honors Society application. She was invited to join, yea, she's that good. The people I got the signatures from all said nice things about her and wished her well. It felt good to know that she had a positive effect on people. Her life is so different from mine, academically and personally.

When I was growing up I had issues that kept me from fulfilling my potential. Family issues that impacted me and caused me emotional pain on a subconscious level. Pain that I tried to mask with sex, drugs and rock n' roll. As far as school went, I was there because I had to be and I did what I had to to get by, and I got by, that was it. College was pretty much the same thing, just get through.

Since I've gotten married and had children, I've had a lot of time to reflect on my life. I've noticed some patterns and made some decisions in regards to child raising. The main one being that I would give my kids what I didn't get. By this time I had talked to a few therapists and realized some things about my life. One, that a lot of my issues started when I was really little with the decisions my parents made about raising me and two, I didn't want my kids to have those issues in there lives.

What I did want was for them to grow up happy and secure. That decision would take and did take a lot of love, attention, and interaction. For the next eighteen years I did all that I could to make sure they knew they were loved and had nothing to worry about at home. It worked, today, they are well adjusted and doing well, much better than I did at that age with a wonderful world of possibilities ahead of them.

If there's one thing I want to say in this post it's that parenting takes a lot of energy and active involvement. Be there for your children. They really want you more than toys and things. Time with Mom & Dad are the precious moments that will last forever.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Environmental Thoughts

Since today is Blog Action Day for the environment, I wanted to throw some ideas out there that I had been thinking through throuout the day.

Solar power has been of interest to me for a while. Solar panels on houses covering the southern-facing roofs made sense but is expensive to do, at least initially. What if the solar panel idea could be done in smaller increments, and added to as funds are available?

Now the reason I am saying this is because I read some comments about how to conserve energy. They were good but they were all related to computer usage; don't use speakers unnessessarily, get energy saving monitors, etc. Good ideas. Then I got to thinking couldn't we move toward doing more? That's where the solar power came to mind.

Other ideas were like this; developing adapters to attach solar panels to that are affordable for more people to use. Easy to set up like a lawn sprinkler. Maybe a mobil unit that could be moved around if you have a lot of trees in your yard. Or how about developing a stationary bicycle type thing to generate some power and loose weight at the same time?

My thoughts were to start small, replace the power used by a computer one day a week, then move up from there. That is where the solar power would work best, start small and work up to something the size of a roof and really make a difference.

If anybody can develope these ideas futher, take it and run. Lots of potential to be tapped here. In the mean time use only what you need and don't waste it.

I will be searching for sites, articles and the like to add to the "Green Things" section, so check back from time to time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time-bomb kids

Something has occured to me and I want to try and get this idea out there before something else happens. It's regarding the latest school shooting incident in Cleveland, Ohio. The names and locations change; Asa Coon in Cleveland, Dylan Klebold in Columbine, Cho Seung-Hui at Virgina Tech. They were all disturbed, picked on, outcasts. In school and in life. I believe this can be avoided.

We need to be able to spot these kids who are in such distress that they want to kill people, before they do it. Somebody must come in contact with these kids and get an idea that somethings wrong. The thing seems to be, what to do next. Who to tell?

What if there could be a few trained individuals who could take some time and interact with these kids, and hopefully steer them away from their destructive desires. I'm thinking something on a very small, community by community level. Maybe a church ministry kind of thing.

These are rough ideas. I want to put them out there and maybe someone can pick them up and build on them, put together a task force where you live. Organize something. Maybe befriending one of these troubled, unpopular kids would help. Know who to call in case you need help. Develop a network that can jump into action when needed, and know when to involve the authorities.

Sometimes the parents share a big part of the blame. Sometimes they may have an idea of trouble brewing and don't want to deal with it and don't know who to turn to. Can we help them?

My hope and prayer is that these few ideas will spark more ideas that will turn into action that will stop these time-bomb kids from going off.

Thanks and God Bless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kids Growing Up

We spent last weekend with our daughter and my parents at her college. For me at least, it was strange. Seeing her as her own person, making her own decisions and charting her own path apart from us. Everyone who has kids in college goes through something similar. The child you invested 18 years into raising so you could get to this point, now it has happened, now they're out of the house. Now there's that strange void where they used to be. It's different when they're away for the day at high school. You know they'll be back later in the day. Now it's stretched out to weeks at a time, maybe months, with just a phone call every so often. And all you can do is wait, and adapt.

But they are standing on they're own two feet. Your parenting role is different, you are the sideline coach, still important, but in a different way. There's still memories to be made and fun to be had. And a wonderful future to look forward to.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Death in the Funnies

In the comic strip FunkyWinkerbean, one of the long time, main characters died off today from breast cancer. That doesn't happen very much, if at all, in the comics.

Funky Winkerbean wasn't one of my favorite comics, but I kept an eye on it from time to time. Within the last year, I knew that Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Every so often I would check in and noticed that she seemed to be getting worse as she went through her treatment. I wondered how it was going to end, would she recover and be a cancer survivor? Or would she die?

Several months ago, I think, one of the news stations covered the decision of the creator, Tom Batiuk, to have the character die. So even though I knew it was coming, it was sad then. Today it has hit me harder than I thought. Maybe I'm thinking about this way too much, I don't know. One thing I thought was touching was how he depicted her crossing over, switching from the present day hospice to the all white environment of...eternity, I suppose. There the host, if you will, comes for her and guides her away. As she's walking away from Les, she says “I Love You”. Back in the hospice Les asks, did she say something? The nurse says “She's Gone.”

It was very touching and very well done. I applaud Tom Batiuk on his handling of the topic and courage having one of his characters die.