Archive for December, 2008

The Christmas spirit and a new years resolution

December 26, 2008

I have always loved the meaning of Christmas, and I could never get into the  commercialism of the season.  Working two retail jobs I have one solid month of pure insanity where I’m either dealing with irate customers, or trying to play catch up with all the video transfers that people require before Christmas, or their holiday season will be ruined.
Let me say that as far as work is concerned, I am relieved that Christmas is over.  I think I just got tired of people complaining over nothing important, and hearing about the things that make this time of the year stressful, instead of happy.  As far as the real meaning of Christmas, I can never get enough of that.  People giving of their time, talents, and hearts should be year round instead of one time a year.
Instead of making weight loss your new year resolution, or saving more money so you can buy another car to sit in the garage, which no one ever keeps anyway.  While weight loss and saving money are both important to your physical and financial health, they are both one sided, and only benefit one person.
Try making a resolution to do something nice, and helpful for someone else.  When I say do something nice and helpful, I’m not talking about giving money to charity, although if you have the money, you should feel free.  The kind of help I’m thinking of involves the simple things that make life just a little more bearable for someone who’s having a bad day.  Things like making irate customers laugh, or helping someone short reach something higher.  If you are doing something that makes a person’s day a little brighter without expecting some kind of payback, that is what the Christmas spirit is all about, and it’s the kind of thing that should continue throughout the year.
To all those who believe that a late order can ruin their Christmas, lighten up.  You need to reevaluate your priorities with Christmas.

Enjoy,
Allen

Blue lightning of December

December 14, 2008

On Friday, at about one in the morning, I was at work at Hannaford, stocking shelves.  The freezing rain storm had been going on since Thursday afternoon, and the weight of the ice on trees, and power lines was starting to take it’s toll.  Just after 1 the lights flickered about three times, and then they went entirely.  Of course the generator kicked in, but all we had was lights.
With no phones, the supervisor got on his cell phone and started making calls to managers, and trucking to get us trailers for the perishables.  In the mean time, there were two of us covering meat cases, and other cold shelf areas.   After the meat department was covered the three of us took a break outside to watch the storm.
There are some things that people don’t see during the day, and while we were standing out side, I saw a blue flash in the sky.  One of the guys suggested it was one of the emergency vehicles, but those are red.  Suddenly I saw another, then another, and so it kept going while we were standing there.  The flashes were going off so much, all I could think of was blue lightning.  Of course, power was failing everywhere.  New England has some serious ice storms, and in Maine this one left 16,000 people without power.
With our break over, we went back in and took care of everything else. About two in the morning help started to arrive and by six we had the cooler shelves emptied and  three trailers filled with meat, deli, produce, and dairy products.  This is an excellent example of cooperation and teamwork.
The power didn’t come back until 4:30 in the afternoon.  Trees were down, or split, and some even ended up in living rooms.
Some of you may ask, “What was the blue lightning?”  When power transformers explode they produce a blue light which reflects off the clouds, and resembles lightning flashes.

Enjoy,
Allen

Don’t let technology control you

December 10, 2008

Every time you turn around it seems that technology keeps changing the way we see, and interact with, the world around us.  This is nothing new.  Inventions such as the telephone, cars, and television, have brought about major changes to who we can talk to, how far we can travel, and how many people we can reach.  Is it any surprise that the internet would have the same effect, changing our access to the world?  Since I started making videos on you tube, last February, I haven’t had any reason to turn on the tv.  With my computer, I can watch movies and videos, listen to music, write, edit photographs, and do all the research I want, and never have to worry about paying for long distance to keep in touch with my family and friends.
With everything a computer can do, is there a negative side to technology?  With all this information, and entertainment at our fingertips exercise has gone down and weight related health problems are on the increase.  Another problem is that everything we do is being run by computers.  As a result, people have become so dependent on them that if something happens to their computers, they would have a hard time recovering from the loss of information.
My own recommendation is to set a time limit for computer use so that you can get up and exercise.  If you are doing something specific on the computer, figure out what you want and how to accomplish it before you turn the computer on, this will make the task easier, and shorten the time you need to spend on the computer.  Make sure you save your files to disc, and save often. That way, if your computer crashes all you lose is time, and not information, it’s easier to replace a computer than it is to replace all the information a company needs to survive.
In short, make technology work for you.  Don’t let it control you.

Enjoy,
Allen

Pets save lives

December 8, 2008

A three year old, in Virginia, wandered away from his home with their two puppies.  21 hours later, the child was found both safe, and alive, with the puppies snuggled against him on both sides.  The puppies kept the boy safe through freezing temperatures, and when they took the boy to the hospital the puppies were ready to travel with him.
In Colorado a two year old was choking while the babysitter was in the bathroom.  The family parrot started squawking loud, and kept repeating “mama, baby” until the babysitter came out of the bathroom in time to save the toddler’s life.
These two are perfect examples of the importance and the role animals play in our lives.  Many people see animals as good companions for lonely times, and yet other people see pets as an unnecessary expense.  Regardless of how people view pets, there is no doubt about the role they have in everyday life.  As long as they are given the love and attention they deserve, they will return the love with friendship, and loyalty. Not only that, they will risk their own lives to save you, and the only request from them  is love.
I remember the dog that tried to save his person from drowning in a hole by jumping in himself.  Unfortunately, neither one made it out, but the point is that the dog gave up it’s own life trying to save the man.
I don’t believe we should treat our pets like humans because they’re not, but they do deserve to be treated with respect, and unyielding love.  You never know, a family pet may just save your life some day.

Allen

Pearl Harbor and 9/11

December 7, 2008

Today is December 7, 2008.  This is the day that Americans commemorate the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Not only was it a direct attack on US soil, but it was also the act that brought America fully into World War Two.  Before this, most Americans weren’t “enthusiastic” about going to war especially since the first world war was still fresh in peoples minds.  After the end of the second World war Americans picked up the pieces and got their lives back together.
Almost 60 years after Pearl Harbor we were once again attacked directly and now we are plunged back into a war.  There are many similarities between the two attacks, but the 9/11 attack is now fresh in our minds,  and the attack didn’t happen on a military base.  It happen on two buildings where civilians, innocent people, just did their jobs and went home like everyone else.
When Japan hit Pearl Harbor they were aiming for a military target, not civilians.  Al Qaeda was aiming at three powers when they attacked.  Financial with the World Trade Towers, Military with the pentagon, and if the plane hadn’t been stopped, the white house.  If innocents got in the way of their attack, they didn’t care, and that to me is why, as important as Pearl Harbor is to this nation, I think 9/11 will dwarf Pearl Harbor in time.  Do I think that we shouldn’t commemorate Pearl Harbor?  I think we should remember both for their own reasons, and we should never forget the people who lost their lives in both.
As far as this battle is concerned, I feel we should definitely stay where we are until the job is finished, unless we want another attack to darken our land with the blood of innocents.

Allen

Keep the memory alive

December 5, 2008

If you are normal, or even unusual, you have probably lost a relative or friend that you loved deeply.  I remember when I lost my grandmother.  Before the Alzheimer’s caught up with her, we were great friends.  As soon as I was old enough I would ride my bike to her house, and just hang out.  We would sit and talk for over an hour with tea and fig newtons, for a snack.  During the holidays she would make the best pumpkin, and mince pies I ever had.  She was the reason I developed an interest in baking.  The ability came from my mom.  The day my grandmother died I was just sitting down to a plate of spaghetti before going to our last marching band performance of the season, we were going to be in the Portland Rose Festival one month later to perform.  I cried for a little bit, and knew I had to make it through the performance, so I stopped crying, and made it through with no problems.
I’ve had a lot of good memories of her, and unless I write them down no one else will ever know how kind she was, or how special she was to me.  When someone special dies their impact in your life shouldn’t be lost as well.  What you have gained from them should be passed on, and writing down those things that made that person special helps you to spread the good things, just as much as acting on their teachings.  Writing it down will also keep that person’s memory fresh in your mind, and can become the greatest way to show respect for that person.
Don’t let the things they taught you fade from the world, keep their teachings, and their memories, alive and write them down.

Enjoy,
Allen

How much is too much

December 3, 2008

Have you ever had someone tell you that you work too much?  Well I have, all the time.  I have two jobs, one full time and one part time.  I have a wife to take care of after her mini-stroke, and I’m trying to start making money from writing and photography.
The question I had to ask myself, and I’m certain some of you are asking the same thing, is, “how much is too much work?”  In my opinion, if what I’m doing helps me to reach my objectives, then it’s worth the effort.
In my case, the full time job at a grocery store pays my bills and gives me great health benefits, my part time job at a photo store pays minimum wage and has no health care but it has supplied me with the camera equipment for my career through an employee account.  These two jobs are helping to set me up for my future career as a writer, and the photography will compliment my writing.  Obviously, the two jobs are a necessary part in my plan, and now that I have the photography equipment and equipment for writing, the next step will be to make 100 dollars a week with writing so that I can leave the job at the photography store.
With all that I have to do, it can get a little overwhelming, but is it too much?  With what I wish to accomplish, I would say no.  In his book “7 habits for highly effective people” Stephen Covey wrote, “You have to begin with the end in mind”.  Are you doing too much?  Ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and if what you are doing now keeps you from reaching your goals then the answer is probably yes.
If it helps, write out a plan that starts where you wish to end up, and work your way backward.  This will act as a map to show you how to get where you are going and where you should be right now.  After you have this plan, you can start putting it into effect, and in the end reach your goals.  Only then can you say it was worth the effort and it won’t seem like too much.

Enjoy,
Allen

A wakeup call for Christmas

December 1, 2008

Last Friday, an employee from Wal-mart was trampled to death.  This incident has raised a very important question.  What has happened to Christmas?
No matter how you twist the truth, regardless of your beliefs, Christmas was started to celebrate the birth of Christ.  God gave the greatest gift, the gift of himself to save the world, and this was the inspiration for Saint Nicholas, a monk who lived centuries ago. He gave to the kids toys he made himself, a gift of his own talent.  He didn’t go to Wal-mart and trample someone to beat everyone else to an item that they probably didn’t want anyway.
People need to wake up and see that all these stores are not their friend, they don’t care about you, just your money, and they are using Christmas as an excuse to take your money.
A Christmas tradition I started in high school is that every year the gifts I give have to be creative, something I used my talents for, and cost me no more that 25.00 all together.  The first year I did this, I wrote a Christmas poem, bought an eight dollar box of cards and slipped a poem into each one.  People loved it, and all it cost me was eight dollars and a little time and effort.  The best part is no one died in the process.
The gift of your talent is something unique, appreciated, and something that everyone can afford to give regardless of the economy, and false sales.  Remember, a gift of the heart and talent can’t be returned, and it’s not easily blown off.  Christmas is all about giving something of yourself, and not of Macy’s, and that is the true meaning of Christmas.

Enjoy
Allen