May 10

Hello, my name is Adventurer Rich, and I’m fat.

There needs to be a twelve-step program for fat-o-holics.  Food is most definitely a drug, and I’m addicted.

Ever since the holidays, I have had a bit of added stress in my life.  And by “bit” I mean I’m genuinely surprised my heart hasn’t exploded.  I don’t deal with the regular old stress of daily life very well, so when stress is added that makes me wonder what in the hell I’m going to do with my entire future, I don’t hold up too well.

And I eat.

I wish I were one of these people whose appetite just disappears when they get stressed or depressed.  You know the type, people who fall into a funk and they lose like twenty pounds because they are too depressed to even eat.  If I was one of these people, given my predisposition to look at the darker side of all situations,  I’d be super-model thin.  I am, however, the complete opposite of these lucky sons-a-guns who can’t eat when they are down.  When I’m in the dumps, I eat like a pig.

  • Can’t figure out how I’m ever going to be able to retire?  Eat some left-over pizza and it doesn’t matter as much.
  • Realize that most of my life has been wasted giving up on dreams?  A roll of summer sausage and a tin of Pringles make the pain go away.
  • Wondering how we’re going to cover the mortgage and other regular monthly bills plus the plethora of medical bills that recently reared their ugly heads while adding a teen driver to our insurance?  PB&J with triple PB sounds about right.
  • Job situation a little shaky and not sure what is going to happen if that falls apart?  One-pound block of sharp cheddar, take me away…

So, needless to say, I’ve packed on a few pounds over the last few months.  The problem is, I not only eat when I’m stressed or depressed, I eat when I’m happy too.  Proud of the older boy for his performance at a soccer game; celebrate with a fast food treat!  Proud of the younger boy for earning his next belt in karate; stop by the bakery and get some donuts!

So, whether I’m winning or losing, I’m gaining weight.  The more I weigh, the higher the old blood pressure gets, the more I feel like crap, the more my self-esteem slips, the more I eat, the more I weigh…

See the problem?

I love food. Food is a great way to celebrate when you are happy and it makes you feel better when you are down.  And any food that doesn’t taste like butt makes you fat.

So I am fat.

I exercise, but exercise just makes me hungry.  The more I exercise, the more I eat after exercising.

So I am fat.

I was trying to lose weight last June, and I wrote about it.  I actually weigh more now than I did then, and that sucks.  I am officially “obese”.

Actually being obese frees me in so many ways…

  • I can wear my pajamas to Walmart… I can probably even use Walmart’s little scooter/shopping cart and park it in the middle of an aisle while I take my sweet time deciding which flavor of Doritos I want.
  • I can let my feeling of guilt slip away while filling that seventh plate at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • I can drop ten bucks at McDonald’s ordering only from the dollar menu… all for me… for a snack between lunch and supper…
  • Celery no longer needs to take up any space in my fridge.
  • Screw the diet pop; I’m going full-on high fructose corn syrup!  I don’t even need the carbonated water to thin it down.  Just point me directly to the high fructose corn syrup and some Red Bull: the breakfast of champions…
  • Elevators and escalators will no longer be the “fun” way to get where I am going; they will be a necessity to prevent stroke or cardiac arrest.
  • Trips to the YMCA, long having been a pain in the butt, are no longer necessary.  The sooner I let my obesity consume me, the sooner disability and a life of leisure can kick in.
  • I may be shortening my life, but I’d rather live a short, happy, fat life than a miserable, long life eating things that make my taste buds cringe and my poop green.

I used to think I could get in shape.  I used to think I could be healthy.  I used to think a lot of things…  I try not to think anymore.  Thinking hurts.  Smart people can think and it doesn’t hurt, but it hurts me when I think. I must not be very smart.  Being not very smart is kind of depressing… pass the pork rinds…

 

 

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Aug 05

I’m having a hard time blogging as of late. Nothing much is striking me as funny. I’ve got a post I’ve been working on about Castle Rock Construction out of Minnesota (that did some hail damage repair for us last year… and into this year), but there is nothing funny about the crappy experience Castle Rock provided.  That post serves more as a warning.  I’ve also got posts partially completed about soccer as a sport, defining a successful career, and great free things in a bad economy.  I also took an awesome trip with the family to Mexico that I should probably blog about, but that holiday ended as most do… with going back to work… and there is nothing funny about going back to work.

I returned to work after almost two weeks off today.  As anyone who reads this blog knows, I hate work. My attitude sucks when it comes to work. It’s not where I work or the job itself (at least not 100%), it’s just that working any job sucks.  So, since my vacation was supposed to “revitalize” me, I thought I would try heading back to work with a new attitude.  In an effort to make this happen, I spent Sunday evening before returning to work reading Fish! A Proven Way To Boost Morale and Improve Results… I mean, it’s proven, right?

Okay, I’m not going to do a book review here. The book was stupid.  Much like Who Moved My Cheese, this crapfest was a silly little fictional story that makes it seem like adapting to change and changing your attitude is something easy that anyone can do… and your life will be much better for the effort.  The numbskulls who write these books need to spend a few weeks working in the real world with real customers before they write this nonsense.

Anywho, I decide I’m going to have a positive attitude.  Yep, just like that. That’s how easy it’s supposed to be. I’m going to look at the positive in every situation that comes up.  And I go to work… on a Monday… after being away from the office for almost two weeks. I don’t know who is stupider: me or the authors of this insipid book.

Now, please realize that these books are not really written to help anyone.  Motivational business books are written solely for the purpose of making the authors a lot of money. Since the advice found in most of these books is worthless, the only way the authors can make bank is to make the books attractive to managers and executives who are too lazy to really work with morale issues in their companies and are looking for an easy “fix”.  The people in charge need to say:

“Hey, we need to implement changes for, or get more results out of, our drones and we really don’t want to pay them more to make that happen… so we need some cute little book that will make them want to work harder for us for the same money (or at times less than) they are currently making.  Pick up a couple hundred copies of Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results and make it mandatory reading for the worker bees…

Then, the authors make bank and write supplemental books to their original book that are even cheesier than the original, like Fishing with Boys! A Proven Way To Make Your Preschool Boy Not Pee All Over the Toilet Seat. I knew all of this going into my new Monday morning positive attitude approach, but I figured it was still worth a shot. Something needs to change. My attitude may be the answer.

So, I get to work with my sparkling positive attitude. First thing, I get employees telling me about all of the stuff that went wrong while I was gone. I inform them that I am working on a new, positive attitude and have no need for their negative “facts”.

Then, the phone rings and a longtime customer that I have done many special things for to make their service work beyond what they paid for cancels service. They are going with a competitor that I don’t care for much at all.  But that’s okay… right? I mean, I have this whole new positive attitude thing going on, right?

And then a customer calls in and asks for a “manager”… which I guess would be me. Anytime, as a manager, you have a coworker say, “Can you take this call? They want to speak to a manager,” you know it’s not going to be fun. So I take the call and the person is upset that they haven’t heard back from tech support and they left a message over two hours ago on a Monday where the techs are dealing with all of the messages from over the weekend and this wait time is unacceptable and their service isn’t working and they need something done right this minute and no they don’t want to talk to a tech that boat has sailed and I need to get someone out there right NOW! So, I book a service call… for Wednesday… which is the soonest I have someone available… and the positive attitude that I started the day with slit its wrists during the call. It’s about half way through the work day and my negative, pessimistic attitude is giving my positive attitude a really scathing eulogy before cremating it and scattering its ashes to the hostile, unrelenting panhandle wind.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. Maybe Tuesday is a better day to try a positive attitude…

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Jun 03

Have you ever tried to lose weight?  I have, but  I love the taste of good food too much and I despise anything that makes me too sweaty.  Needless to say, the loss of weight has never been easy for me.  Why is it that all of the goals that have a positive impact on your life are so stinking hard and take so much stinking work?  Every… single… one.  Being a good parent is hard and takes work.  Relationships are hard and take work.  Making money is hard and takes work.  Just getting through an average day isn’t exactly a walk in the park.  And being healthy is absolutely sucktastic.

Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”  Why exactly in the hell do we quote this man?   If your life is full of effort, pain, and difficulty, you are to be envied.  What is the purpose of living a life like this?  What joy can be found in a life like this?  I guess if the effort, pain, and difficulty result in some sort of reward, there is a silver lining.  Silver is overrated.  I want my lining to be gold.

Life would be so much easier if you could just eat whatever you wanted with no negative consequences.  Why isn’t life like that?  Why does everything that tastes good have to be bad for you?  Why can’t turnips cause cancer and aged cheddar cheese lower your cholesterol?

There is going to be some healthy jerk who reads this and thinks something like, “Oh, nothing tastes better than fresh arugula sautéed in olive oil with organic pine nuts and a touch of sea salt!”  This person has never tasted bacon.

There are those who say that our bodies crave “junk” (i.e. good food) because that is what they are used to eating.  If we would just change our habits, we would come to love the taste of fresh greens and other low fat crap which are really what our bodies crave… our bodies just don’t know it.

… uh, sure…

Then why did almost all native people risk their lives in the pursuit of wild game?  I’m sure there were all kinds of leafy greens that could have been gathered with minimal risk of death.  They wanted meat!  They wanted roasted meat and charred meat and raw meat.  They wanted to bite into the still beating heart of their latest kill!

“The fat of the land” refers to the best part of something… because fat rules!  I don’t remember reading anywhere in the Bible, “And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the brussel sprouts of the field.”

And then there is the whole “eating in moderation” train of thought.  Eating in moderation is all good and well if you don’t mind walking around hungry all of the flipping time.  I hate being hungry.

Of course the whole secret to losing weight is taking in less calories than you burn.  Exercise helps burn calories.  So, in theory, if I could just exercise all of the time, I could probably eat whatever I wanted.  But I can’t exercise all of the time.  First of all, exercise sucks.  It’s hard and it makes me tired.  Second of all, even if exercise didn’t suck, there is no way I can do it all of the time.  Why?  Because I have to work a job to make the money to buy the food to put in my mouth to intake the calories that need to be burned by the exercise that lay in the house that Jack built… or something like that.

Needless to say, I’m trying to lose weight.  At a mere 5’7″, 200 pounds puts me on the verge of obesity.  Once I can actually call myself obese, I am left with no choice but to pitch a tent in the sporting goods department and live out the rest of my life at the local Walmart.  I don’t want to live in Walmart, thus the weight loss regimen.  I’ve been “dieting” for almost a month.  The pounds are very, very, very slowly coming off.  I track my caloric intake, I track the calories burned through exercise, and I constantly crave a bacon double cheeseburger.  Losing weight sucks…   and I wrote “pitch a tent”… heh heh heh…

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Mar 07

Everyone has his or her own version of the “American Dream” tucked away somewhere in the nether-regions of her or his subconscious.  Our personal versions of the “American Dream” are part of what motivates us to get out of bed every morning and live life.

Little Johnny wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a fireman so he can spend his life saving the lives of others.  Then Little Johnny wants to retire and travel and enjoy his final years.

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Little Suzie wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a doctor so she can spend her life saving the lives of others.  Then Little Suzie wants to retire and travel and enjoy her final years.

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Little Barack and Little George wanted to grow up to be politicians so they could meddle in people’s lives and screw over a country.

Everyone has a dream.  Some people realize that dream, and the rest of us learn to settle.

Settling sucks.

Little Adventurer Rich wanted to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a something-that-makes-a-lot-of-money-and-helps-a-lot-of-people-but-isn’t-dangerous-or-doesn’t-involve-sticking-his-hands-in-other-people’s-guts.  Then Little Adventurer Rich wanted to retire and travel and enjoy his final years.

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Little Adventurer Rich got a cold slap across the face as a wake-up call.  When you decide to grow roots in rural Nebraska, there is no such thing as a job where you can make a lot of money.  If you don’t get the job that pays a lot of money, the retirement and travel associated with the retirement become pipe dreams.

I’m thankful for the marriage and the family and the house.  The rest of my “American Dream” is things I will need to learn to live without.  Well, I guess those things are already lacking, so I won’t need to learn to live without them… I need to learn that I will never have them.  It’s called “settling”.

As I cruise through this ever-increasingly difficult mid-life crisis, things start to fall into perspective.  I’m not the kind of guy who wants a fancy sports car or a token 20-something-year-old mistress to help realize unfulfilled dreams.  I’m happy driving crappy used cars (even considering getting a minivan).  My wife is my only link to sanity.  If I lost her, I would lose all bearing on life.  So, I’ll keep my 40-something-year-old model.  Besides, the only 20-something-year-olds interested in old farts like me are after gold, and my veins are full of nothing but pyrite and cholesterol.

So, since I’m not looking for the typical remedies for my ills, I’ve been trying to figure out how to become less miserable.  I look in the mirror and this old guy looks back at me, with his gray hairs and his frown lines, and I start to get pissed off at him.  He looks so much older than I feel.  Why didn’t he do something with his life?  Why couldn’t he have been better looking or more self-confident?  Why didn’t he take advantage of opportunities that I’m sure were available to him (yet, strangely enough, neither he nor I can think of any)?  Why has he let me down?  Ooh, sometimes I just want to throttle that loser in the mirror.  He doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would ever be successful.  He looks like a stupid goat farmer…

… goat farmer…

…GOAT FARMER!

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OH…EM…GEE!  I look like a goat farmer!  A stupid goat farmer!  Being a goat farmer would be AWESOME!  No stupid customer problems! No stupid technology! Just lots and lots of goats!  You feed them, you breed them, you take care of them, maybe you milk them, then you kill them and you eat them. Maybe you sell them.  Maybe you sell the milk or sell the meat.  Maybe you hire them out to breed with someone else’s goats.

OH… EM… GEE! I could be a GOAT PIMP!

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If not goats, maybe ostrich, or rabbit, or some other semi-exotic meat that people are willing to buy.  I wouldn’t make my riches being an exotic meat farmer, but being out on a farm, working with my hands, being responsible for only my own actions and relying only on my own efforts… I may not be able to retire, but I wouldn’t want to gouge my brains out through my ear holes before going to a “job” every day, so it is something I could see myself doing until I finally snap and they end up throwing me in a loony bin!

Maybe my family wouldn’t be able to have some of the things we have now, like satellite television or cell phones or Internet or new clothes or gas for the used cars or, you know, food to eat other than goat… but it would all be worth it!  If you can’t make it to the top of the food chain doing something you hate, crawl to the bottom of the food chain raising goats!

Now, I just need some land and a shack to live in.  I’m sure I can pick up some land on the cheap in Nebraska, right?  And I’ll need some starter goats.  Do they sell starter goat kits?  Never mind, I’ll Google it later… while I still have Internet :)  And I just need to convince my family that we would be better off without all of the stupid “conveniences” or modern life. I’ll never be able to provide for my family in the ways I dreamed as a kid, so it’s time to change the dream!

Little Adventurer Rich wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and sell that home and buy a goat farm and raise goats!   Then Little Adventurer Rich wants to lose his mind and get locked up in a “facility” with lots of padded rooms where he will enjoy his final years dreaming of his goats…

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Finally, a dream I may be able to accomplish…

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Aug 08

Every year during Oregon Trail Days, the illustrious City of Gering hosts the renowned International Food Fair.  This is a one night only event that many locals look forward to from the moment the festivities end one year to the moment they begin again the following year.  I mean, come on!  Having some cultural diversity in downtown Gering is a great thing, right?

The entire downtown area is closed off and vendors representing food from all over the “world” set-up shop to bask the attendees in the glow of multicultural cuisine!  Now, to be honest, I haven’t been to this event very often, because long lines amongst throngs of people waiting to overpay for food isn’t my idea of a good time.  Last time me and my oldest boy tried going down there (several years ago), I ended up getting pissed at the long lines and we walked down to McDonald’s and got ourselves some international Big Macs… they’re Scandinavian, right?  This year, however, the wife’s and my nieces were visiting from Denver for a week, and we’d run out of things to entertain them with here in the panhandle (surprise!)… so we decided we’d all treat ourselves to some international fare.

We arrived and scoped the place out.  I’m thinking maybe some Middle Eastern curry may be in order, or perhaps some Jamaican jerk.  If worse comes to worst, I always like a good gyro.  And then I notice what kinds of “international” treats are available at the food fair…
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Alright!  The Chinese place in downtown Gering set up a booth selling — Chinese!  Our journey through a smorgasbord of foods from around the world has begun…

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Okay, we have us some Mexican.  What else we got…

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… alrighty, we have us another Mexican burrito place.  Next…

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… uh… I’m starting to see a trend develop here.  So far, we got us some Chinese and lots of Mexican.  What else do we have?  Out of the corner of my I, I spied something “Italian”, so I go to check it out…

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… so, looks like an Italian sub is the country of Italy’s submission to the International Food Fair.  I’m kind of suspecting the people who ran this booth hadn’t actually ever been to Italy, but at least it’s not another burrito place.

The panhandle of Nebraska is filled with Germans.  I started looking for some of that traditional German fare, and I wasn’t disappointed…

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… or was I?  Germans in this area are big lovers of garlic sausage, which is kind of like brautwurst, but garlic-ier.  I found no garlic sausage, I found no sauerbrauten, and there wasn’t a spätzle or knödel in sight.  But there were brats. I don’t know how well this booth represented Germany, but it reminded me that I kinda miss those tailgate parties from my college days.  Maybe there was a different German booth…

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… or not.  Looks like brats are as German as this International Food Fair was going to get.  This booth also introduced the famous “pulled pork sandwich”, which I believe comes from Ethiopia.  No, wait a second, I’m thinking of kitfo.  Pulled pork is… uh… pretty much an American barbecue thing.  Well, American is part of the International community, so American fare at one booth isn’t bad, right?

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… oh, for the love of…

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… I give up.  The International Fare at this food fair seems to be a Chinese place and a bunch of places selling Mexican and American food (with the occasional brat thrown in for good measure, and an Italian sub).  At least this place from the Sandhills of Nebraska make their sign interesting by trying to disguise their weaseliness.  Notice how they have a “meal” price of $8.00.  The meal includes a sandwich and a water or Powerade.  Notice how a sandwich alone is $7.00… and a water alone is $1.00.  That isn’t even a combo meal… that’s just them adding the prices conveniently together for you and making it look like you’re getting a deal.  I will give them credit for knocking a buck off if you go with the Powerade option, but I deduct credit for a “Philly”-style sandwich having American cheese.  Either throw some provolone on it, drench it in Cheez Whiz, or take “Philly” out of the name.  I do love how they state they raise their own beef, and how there is “No mystery meat here, folks!”  I thought this was hilarious… I don’t think the people at the Chinese place felt the same…

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Now this place has it going on.  They have the “Mexican” nachos, the Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cake, and the fries from the country of Ribbononia.  And they have Indian tacos, which are, of course, associated with the Navajo Nation… which I count as American, but you can count it however you want.

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This one is kind of hard to read, but it's Indian Tacos for $6.50 and drinks for $1.00... and the unadvertised meal-deal of a taco and a drink for $7.50.

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Got nothing for this one, but I took the picture, so here it is. Julie's Antiques has some cool stuff, so I recommend checking it out...

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There were other booths at this food fair, but they all served pretty much the same or similar things. There were some awesome boy scouts selling Pizza Hut pizza, but anyone who claims that Pizza Hut is anything other than Americanized pizza is dented and shouldn’t be listened to anyway.  So, my oldest boy and I got Indian Tacos and the rest of the crew got Chinese.  I think the whole experience set us back only a couple hundred bucks, and I was once again reminded why I don’t usually go to the International Food Fair in Gering, NE.  The concept is great, but the delivery (or offering) is severely lacking.  Gering’s International Food Fair hosts pretty much the same food you get at a normal fair, but offers the disappointment of being mislead about the whole “International” thing…

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Jun 12

I’m on a hunger strike!  I have been on a hunger strike since yesterday.  The last time I actually ate anything was Sunday evening, and it is currently Tuesday evening.  I am approaching the 48-hour mark.  I felt a little light-headed last night. Tonight, I’m feeling okay.

Why, you may ask, am I on a hunger strike?  Well, I figure I’m going to do the hunger-strike thing until Nebraska quits sucking.  In other words, I’m going to starve to death.

Last year, about this time, I posted about my experiences with the wonderfully craptastic County of Scotts Bluff.  See, the county commissioners and the county assessor are in cahoots and regularly pull random property valuations out of their asses in order to charge more for property taxes for the abused residents of Scotts Bluff County.  Last year, my taxes inexplicably went up.  I filed a formal protest and appeared before the county commissioners.  I intelligently stated my case and was quickly talked-down to and brushed off.  I wrote a post about my experience last year.

Well, last year’s increase was like 2%.  I filed my protest, appeared before the commissioners, was shot down and humiliated, and wrote a blog post about my experience.  This year, the jackwads at the county decided to increase the value of my property by 6%.  SIX FREAKING PERCENT! How can they keep doing this?

They can keep doing this because they are government — and government sucks!  All forms of government suck, which is why I can’t understand liberals.  Liberals want more government.  Liberals think the government (through more taxation of those who work for what they have) should take care of those in need (those who don’t work for what they have).  Screw that noise!  I used to be a conservative… until along came Bush Jr.  Seems to me Bush Jr. talked a good conservative game, and his tax cuts seemed like the conservative thing to do… then he created all of these billions of dollars in debt with all of these stinking bail outs.  Bush Jr. was nothing more than a liberal in a Texan’s clothing.

All politicians suck.  Period.  There is not one person who is serving in politics who is doing it for 100% the right reasons.  Every politician alive is doing it for:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Influence
  • Personal agenda
  • Attaching his/her name to a legacy

People will disagree, but people are idiots.  There is not a politician alive who is serving for the good of all people.  There is not a politician alive who truly puts the best interest of whatever he/she is representing (country, state, city, county) based on his/her actions.  These jerkwads always have an agenda.  These jerkwads are always looking to help either themselves or help whatever constituent provided the most kickbacks.  I hate politicians.  And Scotts Bluff county commissioners are politicians.

So, let’s see, what new and great things are happening around Scotts Bluff County that would justify a 6% increase in my home’s value (and, of course, the obligatory tax increase associated with that hike):

  • New employers with great new high-paying jobs?  Hell no!  Walmart may be hiring…  The only people making good money are people in the medical field and trust-funders.  Even teaching is considered a good paying job in the craphandle.
  • New amenities?  Are you kidding?  I suspect the newest round of tax-gouging is just to maintain the infrastructure at its current level.  I guess there may be a new drug dealer in the trailer park in my neighborhood.  Drug dealers = idiot drivers looking to score = a not very safe neighborhood for my kids to play. Yeah, increase the valuation of my property based on that…
  • Strong existing economy?  I don’t think so.  Gering recently had a new grocery store open, which replaces the grocery store that Walmart drove out of town years ago.  I don’t know how long that new store in Gering will stay open, but if it were publicly traded, I wouldn’t buy its stock.  In just the last couple of months, our local bookstore (Copperfield) has gone out of business, as has a pottery store downtown (Create Away).  JC Penney recently announced they will be closing their store in our joke of a half-dead mall.  I know about businesses closing.  Closing businesses don’t seem to be the kind of indicator that point toward the kind of strong economy that would justify a 6% increase in a property’s value, does it?
  • The county figured out a way to block the wind, filter the allergens, get rid of the feedlot/sugar beet smells, or make the stinking old Germans drive faster?  Of course not.

The pile of crap that falls from some county administrator’s mouth and gets printed in the local newspaper is that we aren’t being hit as hard by the housing crash as the rest of the country.  We don’t have the big rises in real estate, and we don’t have the big crashes in real estate.

Really?!?

Yeah, I guess if my property value is increasing with me making no improvements to my property, it would be hard to say the market here is crashing.  Stupid Nebraska.

I know, I know… I should be happy that the value of my property is increasing.  A small part of me is happy.  The rest of me is afraid that (if the local economy continues to sucktastically slide, and my wages remain stagnant while the cost of everything — property taxes included — continues to rise) I will find myself in the near future not able to afford my stinking house.  That thought pisses me off beyond all comprehension.

So, I am not eating.  I am not eating as a way to protest the suckiness that is Nebraska. I am not eating to showcase my displeasure in the idiots who run stuff around here.  I figure I will probably make it about 2 to 3 weeks.  And I will happily die knowing that my tombstone will read:

Here Lies Adventurer Rich.

He Died Because Nebraska Sucked…

The Life Right Out of Him!

Oooh, what’s that smell?  Is that chocolate chip cookies?  Damn it, I think the wife made chocolate chip cookies!  She knows I’m on a hunger strike!  Can she not stand behind just one of my attempts to show my displeasure at life in Nebraska?!?  DAMN IT!!!

Crap…

I’m gonna go get me a cookie.  Then, it’s off to McDonalds and its dollar menu… ’cause that’s what we have here for affordable fast food that allows me to STILL PAY MY FREAKING PROPERTY TAXES…

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Jun 01

I originally started writing this blog to capture my journey through turning 40 and the pain that journey entailed.  I wanted to, at least somewhat humorously, document how much turning 40 sucked.  Well, I turned 40, it did suck, and now here I am at 42 and things get no better.  People always say crap like, “Just give it time, things will get better,” or “At least things can’t get any worse.”  Well, I have come to a realization: people lie.  The only thing my future potentially holds is turning 50; I’m sure that will be a joy ride.

If you are down in the dumps or have a touch of the blues, people say ‘things will get better’ to prevent you from jumping off of a bridge or walking through the local Walmart with your hunting rifle a’blazing or something.  There is no real guarantee that anything is going to get any better.  In fact, things run a pretty substantial risk of getting worse.  Still, you should not jump off of a bridge or take out the entire population of a Walmart (believe it or not, there may actually a few good people in there).

When I start feeling down about the suckiness that life often dishes out, I blog.  It makes me feel better.  It might piss some people off, but then maybe they need to start their own blogs.  A small part of me has always thought that if I sit down and practice writing on a regular basis (i.e. blog), I might improve my writing skills to the level where I can actually making a living writing.

“Why would you want to make a living writing?” you may ask.

I don’t like dealing with people.  Any form of conflict stresses me out to a degree that I can barely function, and you cannot deal with people and avoid conflict.  What really amazes me are people who seem to thrive on conflict.  You know them, the people who can take a completely calm situation and turn it upside down by inserting a touch of drama… which always leads to conflict.  These people need to be locked away on their own island… hey, Total Drama Island!

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Good cartoon... I miss it :(

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I have not always been like this, but over the last several years, the degree of my anti-social thoughts and feelings has multiplied to the point that I really am pretty miserable a lot of the time.  This is mostly related to time when I am actually earning a living.  At home, and even in the occasional social setting, I am happy and pretty comfortable.  I have tried to think of a job where I would have very little personal contact with people in the realm of the method I use to earn an income, and writing seems to be an excellent choice.  There are additional choices, but none of them seem to fit quite right:

Methamphetamine Manufacturer

Oh sure, making the meth sounds like a great way to make a living.

*You can work at home.

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*You make a very high (no pun intended) return on investment.

*All of the simple instructions are easily accessible online.

*The only people you would have to deal with would be your dealers.

*I’ve seen some of the people who make this stuff… you don’t have to be a rocket scientist.

*You are making a product that is in demand and makes people feel better about their miserable lives.

However, if you really look at the consequences of making meth, you find that there may be some drawbacks.

*You can burn down your home.

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*Meth may make people feel better, but it has been discovered that it may not be good for them.

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*Apparently, making meth is illegal.

*The only people you would have to deal with would be your dealers.

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So… meth is out.

Pornography Actor

Okay, so you would have to deal with people, but I’m sure there wouldn’t be much conflict.  Even if there is conflict, who cares?.  Three words: female porn stars! This doesn’t sound like a bad choice…

And then reality sets in…

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CPAP

Yeah... no one is going to pay to see that...

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Crap!  I think the wife may have an issue with me being in porn… as would God.  Porn  is out.

Let’s see… what are some more jobs that would either be enjoyable or have limited conflict…

Bookstore Owner/Employee

I love books and used to think working in like a Barnes & Nobles would be a blast.  I mean, who in their right mind would be unhappy in a bookstore.  I used to think that way, until I saw some poor information booth employee at Barnes & Nobles get chewed up one side and down the other by some jerkwad who was bent out of shape because the store didn’t have a copy of some obscure philosophy book.  Jerkwad was upset that he would have to wait a couple of days for the store to get in a copy of Larry Fleitzerhinie’s Mans’ Walk on an Impartial Plain of Reason in the Twilight of the Mountains of Contradiction… or something like that.  “What kind of bookstore is this,” Jerkwad yelled.  Seriously… is there not a job on this planet where jerkwads are not present?  So the bookstore idea is out.

Working with Children

I used to work at Discovery Zone (a Chuck E. Cheese-like place with tubes and tunnels and ball pits and video games and birthday parties etc. etc. etc.).  One would think that a fun place like that would be reasonably stress free… but one would be wrong.  Parents become absolute imbeciles  when it comes to the happiness of their children… especially when they are paying for it.  And these imbeciles love to yell at whatever employee is closest to them when their child is for one second not having the ultimate in fun (like the kid just got reprimanded for biting another kid in the butt).

“You have no right to discipline my child, you minimum-wage piece of $@#&!”

Meanwhile, the parent of the child who was bitten is screaming, “You need to keep better control of the kids in here.  I should sue!”

Of course, neither of these parents say a word to each other… let’s just take it all out on the minimum-wage piece of $@#&!

So it is becoming relatively clear at this point that there is no such thing as an enjoyable job… or at least a job that is stress-free.  I understand that stress is supposed to be a good thing in small amounts because it helps us make decisions and whatnot… but I’m getting too old to deal with the stress crap anymore.  You know, if I had the money flowing in that I expected to be making in my “prime income-earning years”, the stress probably wouldn’t get to me as much.  Sounds silly, but it’s true.  If I was making six figures, I think my tolerance for all things stressful would be a little higher because I’d be able to put a sizable amount of that away for retirement and I’d have the knowledge that I would not have to deal with the crap forever.  However, given my current situation, I will be dealing with some sort of crap for every single workday for the rest of my natural life.

Go ahead, say it.  I know there is someone out there who is wanting to say it…

“Suck it up!  Quit your whining and do what you need to do!”

“Nobody ever said life was going to be fair, so shut your mouth and get busy working!”

“People who complain like you need to be thankful they aren’t a starving child in Africa!”

“If you worked as hard as you complained, you’d be making more money!”

“Quit feeling sorry for yourself!  We all gotta deal with it and you don’t hear us complaining, do you?”

Oh my… if I had a nickel for every time I was the recipient of one of these comments, I’d already be able to retire.  I have never stated that I am not thankful for what I have.  I just want more out of life than being a working stiff who begrudgingly works a job until the day he dies.  I think it is best stated by Drake in Nikki Minaj’s song Moment 4 Life:

I’m really tryna make it more than what it is, cuz everybody dies but not everybody lives!”

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Apparently, one needs to look like a pink blow-up doll to be living life right?!?

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Word!  … does anybody really say “word” anymore?  Yeah, probably not.  I’m kind of out of the loop.  I am 42, after all…

Good gravy – I’m quoting a Nikki Minaj song?!?   ‘Bout time to wrap this post up.

Anywho, writing is about the only job I can think of that would have the limited public contact necessary to eradicate a large portion of the work-related stress from my life.  Of course, I only enjoy writing as a way to bitch.  If I had to write how-to manuals or reviews of laundry soaps or something like that, writing would suck.

So, if anyone knows of a good writing gig that requires a whiny writer who loves to bitch, give me a shout out.  Word!

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May 29

Why are so many parents sooo screwed up these days.  I mean, the wife and I are far from perfect,  but I consider us to be pretty good parents.  And I know a lot of good parents exist — but there are some pretty poor excuses out there as well.

I recently rented a movie at RedBox.  I’m kind of into cheesy horror, and RedBox had a brand new release.  I couldn’t find any real reviews or anything for this gem because it was that fresh (straight-to-video).  The movie is called The Dead Want Women. It features Eric Roberts, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad, right?  I mean, Eric Roberts is Julia Roberts big brother.  Sure, he’s been in some duds, but he usually plays a pretty good meanie.  And the cover of this thing looked so campy that I figured it had to be good.

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Come on... this looks pretty corny-good, right?

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Now, when I rented this, I was not planning to sit down and watch it with my kids.  I wouldn’t let my 8-year old (or even my 14-year old) watch a R-rated horror movie.  The violence is just too much.  I don’t need my kids having nightmares.  Any horror movie that is scary without violence would be rated PG-13 (and there are some pretty good ones).  When you throw R-rated on a horror movie, you just figure there is going to be a lot of blood and guts and gore.  Personally, I love the gore, but I don’t want my kids exposed to it.  Too desensitizing, in my opinion.  There will come a time when we can enjoy the gore together, but that time will be some years in the future.

Okay, so I watch The Dead Want Women, and it totally sucked raw rhubarb.  I mean, this thing is a worthless pile of crap.  Eric Roberts seemed to be having a good time playing this role, and for that alone he should be permanently barred from ever making another movie… EVER!  The acting really wasn’t bad.  The make-up was horrendously clownish, and the plot was totally dented.  Now, the silly make-up would have worked if the movie had some campiness to it, but this dreadful wretch tried to take itself too serious and failed on more levels than I want to take the time to write.

What really gets me, though, is that by the time I got around to writing a review for this festering boil-of-a-movie on the RedBox website to prevent some other poor soul from sitting through even part of this monstrosity, there were some other reviews filing in.

Now, to be fair to some of the reviews that this film has garnered, there was an unusual amount of seemingly unnecessary nudity in this movie.  There are some strange sex scenes, and this one poor actress goes for almost half the movie completely nekked.  I think she may have lost a bet with the director or something…

So anyway, back to other reviews of this pile.  The very first review of the movie on RedBox stated (due to the sex and nudity) that the film is “Not for children.”

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I’m sorry.  If it weren’t for sex and nudity, is this reviewer saying that a violent, R-rated horror film normally would be cool for the kids to watch?  Does this reviewer normally sit back and watch people’s flesh disintegrate in Cabin Fever while sharing popcorn with the toddlers?  Hostel is fine for the kiddos, but if they added too much nudity or sex, suddenly it would be deemed “not safe for kids”?  Seriously.

I thought maybe this one reviewer was just a little bit tilted as far as his or her perception went, but then I came across another gem that read, “Unclothed scenes put in at bad time! Dont watch this with kids!!”  Wow, the splattering blood and charred human flesh are all fine and good, but put in some “unclothed scenes” and suddenly it’s not kid-friendly?

I guess I can only hope that these reviews weren’t actually written by parents.  Maybe they were written by single people who dream of some day watching horror with their children.  Maybe they will realize that the violence and gore of a typical R-rated horror movie are enough that you really shouldn’t be letting your kids watch it in the first place.

Or maybe — just maybe — watching The Dead Want Women was enough to actually cause some temporary brain damage to these folks.  I feel that even I have been somewhat dented from the experience…

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Jan 24
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There will be random pictures of geeky tech nerd chicks throughout this post. Scientific studies prove men are more likely to read a blog post if there are pictures of sexy geek-chicks associated with it... or, at least I am more likely to read a blog post if there is a picture of a sexy geek-chick associated with it...

I used to be kind of a techie geek.  I liked the newest tech-toys and the hippest websites.  When I worked at Alltel, I was all about the newest, coolest phones.  I was one of the guys that the customers would come to so they could transfer all of their saved crap on their old phone to their new phone (because we didn’t have fancy machines that did that automatically), or set custom MP3 ringtones on phones that weren’t supposed to be able to have custom ringtones, or whatever other crap needed to be done that took a lot of time but didn’t generate any commission.  Also, friends and family, because I worked at a cell phone store, thought I was the be-all, end-all to tech greatness.  I liked being a go-to geek.  Then I started doing actual tech support, and everything changed.

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Nothing says geek like a Stormtrooper chick...

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I also used to love to read.  I loved being taken away to a life that actually contained adventure by having my imagination stoked by a master wordsmith.  Holding a book, turning the pages, feeling its heft in my hands, knowing that someone had taken months of their time creating this tale just for me… reading was awesome.  I always dreamed of being one of those wordsmiths, creating those tales just for that individual who chose to be carried away by my musings.  I dreamed of having a mass of paper bound together and full of my words with my name embossed on the cover underneath a catchy, deep title like: Whereas Whispers the Will of our Souls, or, Arnklot, Last of the Vampyre Clan of Tillystone. All dreams must come to an end.
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Supergirl wannabe... how nerdy is that?

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The wife used to be pretty technologically ignorant.  She was anti-smartphone because they were too “fancy”, and she didn’t feel she would ever use all of the “fancy” Internet features on a smartphone.  Still, I was able to convince her to go into a Droid, and she has never looked back.  Her next step was a Kindle.  I was actually against the Kindle (this was after I stopped working at Alltel, and technology had started to lose its appeal to me).

“Books are books, and they can’t be replaced by a stupid e-reader,” I would tell her.

“I still love books,” the wife would say, “it’s just nice to have a whole library in one easy-to-carry device.”

“That’s crap,” I would logically disagree.  “Kindles are stupid.  Only babies have Kindles!”

Whatever,” the wife would say, usually rolling her eyes.
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Glasses are uber-tech-geeky...

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So the wife got her a Kindle and started getting fancy electronic books.  They were much less expensive than the good old paper books, and she soon had a decent sized collection of crappy e-books on her Kindle.  I was disgusted.

I started to notice that more and more “experts” were predicting the slow demise of the paper book.  Digital books were predicted to be the wave of the future.  I disagreed.

“Who is going to take the time to write a book if they have to sell them on Amazon for 99¢?” I would inquire.

“There are writers out there who have become millionaires selling books on Amazon,” the wife would argue.  “These writer’s would have never even received an offer from a traditional publisher.”

“But, without a traditional publisher, how do you get a paper book made?” I asked.

“Well, they don’t have paper books made,” the wife said.  “They are all digital.”

“That’s stupid,” I would conclude.  “Only baby writers don’t have paper books.”

More eye rolling always followed.  The wife likes to roll her eyes.

Before I knew it, the wife was getting involved in all kinds of reading crap.  She got all wrapped up in Goodreads, and there she found new Facebook discussion groups and whatnot.  She learned more ways to get enjoyment out of her stupid Kindle.  She actually was fast becoming an expert on e-readers and e-books in general.

This past Christmas, both of my boys and the wife all got Kindle Fires.  Now, all three of them are supporting making authors struggle more by buying e-books instead of the good old traditional paper books.  How in the crap are you supposed to get a signed copy of an e-book?  You can’t, that’s how!  Stupid Kindle.  Stupid Amazon.  Stupid Nook.  Stupid Barnes & Noble (whose brick and mortar stores are on the verge of extinction thanks to stupid e-readers).

The wife was recently talking about how e-reader experts will probably be in pretty high demand in the near future.  Traditional bookstores, libraries, and even many businesses will have a need for an on-staff e-reader expert.  That sounds like a job I would like.  That seems like a job the wife has positioned herself for.  Stupid technology.  After dealing with tech crap all day at work, the last thing in the world I want to do is submerge myself in technology after hours.  I watch stupid scary movies or find some other mind-killing activity to help me get to sleep: things that in no way will help me transition into a fun job (if there is such a thing).
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All Orientals are tech-geeky, right?

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I don’t really read much anymore.  I used to read because I thought reading might be a good way to improve my writing skills.  Now, I have given up on my dream being a writer.  I won’t have my name embossed on the cover of a stinking Kindle, and nobody is going to let me sign their stupid Nook.  Selling e-books for 99¢ isn’t going to lead to a full-time gig (… at least not with any of the hogwash I would end up writing), and who in his or her right mind would write seriously just for fun (I have this stinking blog for that).

Technology kills dreams.  Technology erodes real human contact.  Technology is destroying the world.  My wife is now the technology expert in our house.  And although I work with stupid Internet technology all day, I am thankful that, technologically, I’m an idiot…

Normally, I would end my post here with this profound thought, but I’m feeling kind of bad.  Here I have written a kind of stupid post (yeah, so what’s new?) and interlaced it with attractive women with a more-than-necessary amount of skin showing for the sole purpose of getting guys to stay on my site longer and increase my stats.  I may be a little geekier than I let on.  This is not fair to the women who visit my blog: the wife and my sister.  In order to make amends, I offer the following for the ladies:

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ooh la la, can anyone say "hottie"?

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Beefcake City!

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Finally, that Oriental-thing goes both ways, doesn't it, ladies? :)

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Jan 14

We have this bathroom in our basement.  I love this room.  This room is where I go when I want to spend some quality time alone.  The wife has decorated our little downstairs bathroom with a “theme”.  The “theme” of this room is palm trees.
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I used to wonder how the lovely wife came up with the theme of palm trees for this particular room.  I suspected that Walmart had a  clearance rack of toilet-related materials and the only matching set the wife could find was palm trees. The wife claims the theme arrived in remembrance of our honeymoon almost 18 years ago in Cancun…
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… and the soft, warm breezes on the beach and the hint of lime in every shrimp quesadilla… or lobster taco… or 39 peso cheeseburger at McDonalds (seriously, every thing from Budweiser to bacon in Cancun has a hint of lime).  Whenever I inquire about the theme downstairs, the wife waxes nostalgic of a time right after she and I stood before a man of God, all our family, and most of of friends and proclaimed our undying love for each other.  Cancun for the wife and I was the whipped cream on the Hot Fudge Brownie Delight that is married life.  Remember when Dairy Queen used to sell Hot Fudge Brownie Delights?  These were the calorie-laden monstrosities that consisted of mountains of delectable soft-serve ice cream resting on plains of nut-covered chocolate brownies separated only by seemingly endless rivers of hot, steamy fudge… and then irresponsibly topped with the snow capped ridges of 100% dairy-and-sugar filled whipped cream.   The foundation of marriage is the brownies and ice cream and I do not for an instance regret any part of it… but our honeymoon was the whipped topping, full of fun and sweetness and decadence…
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… everything that convinces a man that he is settling down with the right woman to begin a life of work and responsibilities and children and STINKING FUNDRAISERS!!!  I digress…

So, anyway, I spend a large portion of my “free time” in our downstairs bathroom staring at the shower curtain that rests directly in front of the toilet.
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You may wonder to yourself, “now, what exactly could he be doing on the toilet for any measurable amount of time that would lead him to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at a shower  curtain?”  Well,  you may be slightly dented for asking such a question.  What goes in must come out, and I am sincerely sorry to point this out, but even Johnny Depp and Katy Perry spend time staring at the palm trees… if you know what I mean ;)

The wife dreams of tropical places when she and I discuss the wonderful places we would like to settle down once we figure out what we are going to do with the rest of our lives.  I, on the other hand, tend to lean more towards something more mountainous.
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Of course, both of us are open to the ideas of the other.  I would be almost as content in a bungalow on the beach, and she seems fine with the thought of fresh mountain air and fresh-caught trout with wild asparagus for supper a couple of nights a week.  One problem is that we don’t know quite how to get to either of these locals.  The second problem is that we live in Nebraska, which does have a scenery all its own, like this…
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… and this…
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… and this…
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… along with…
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and, occasionally even…
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… which leads to…
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… and ultimately…
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… but is about as far as you can get from either a tropical paradise or a scenic mountain retreat.

Living in either a tropical paradise or a mountain of solitude would require an income that currently surpasses us here where we actually have jobs, let alone in a remote location where jobs are few and far between.  I’d like to think that we would be able to use our retirement savings to get us to our dream location, but I would also like to think that I don’t look my age and that the tooth fairy pays out even more when the elderly loose their teeth.  All three of these wishes are pipe dreams.  I figure that the only way the wife and I are ever going to see our dreams come true is found in three simple words:

third world country.

Third world countries can be tropical, and third world countries can have mountains.  Third world countries are a lot cheaper to live in than the United States.  Help me, Third World Country… you’re my only hope!

I figure if the wife and I can save up a few thousand dollars, we should be able to move to some neato place like Guatemala or Somalia or, heck, I hear there are some good deals on property in Afghanistan right now.   Guatemala and Somalia both have some nice oceanfront property
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and Afghanistan is known for it’s mountainous regions.

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Heck, that’s where all the fugitive Taliban hide, right?
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For a few thousand dollars, we should be able to live like a king and queen!  Oh sure, there would be some language barriers, but I’m sure that any self-respecting country would teach English as a second language, right?  And even if they don’t, just think of the millions of Mexicans who migrate to the US who don’t speak a word of English.  The Mexicans get by just fine.  In fact, many companies and even our government bend over backwards to make sure our Spanish speaking friends don’t have to bother with learning English.  After all, on almost any telephone call you can always “apriete dos para español.”  As ass-backwards as the US is viewed by the rest of the world, I’m sure these third world countries have even better programs in place to make non-native tongue people feel welcome, right?  Of course they do.

There may be some other small hindrances, like decent health care, or a clean water supply, or a reliable food source.  And the fact that the wife and I are Christian may lead to a problem or two.  We may have to fend off the occasional suicide bomber or be weary of any Muslims with a big knife and a penchant for heads, but I’m sure it will be worth it to live in the type of surroundings that we dream of.  I mean, it’s pretty obvious we aren’t going to make those dreams come true in the US.

Ahh… so maybe our dreams really can come true.  Maybe there is some hope for our future outside of the good life that can only be found in Nebraska.  I mean, either dying a martyr at the hands of a radical Muslim, or staring at another corn field and watching another disappointing Husker football season.  At least the martyrdom would be on a beach… or in the mountains…

Well, that’s enough for now.  I had a big supper, and my daily fiber seems to be kicking in.  I have a date with some palm trees…
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