Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 is my rear view mirror!

I'm happy that 2008 is over. It was an exciting and crazy and scary year, so I'm looking for 2009 to be a bit smoother for me. Below is my 2008 Christmas letter. I realized that I hadn't written a Christmas letter since 2004 and I know that's because I wasn't that happy in the intervening years. I am happy now and as a red-blooded True American, I demand my right to pursuit Happiness.

What I didn't include in my Christmas letter was:
  1. the plague and infestation of rats
  2. the plague and infestation of flies (summer was big fun at Dreamland - no money, but plenty of "friends")
  3. thinking I was going to lose my house, my Dreamland and the stress that caused
  4. visiting and calling lawyers and finding out that employees ain't got no rights if some "qfuuz xzsbou" doesn't like you
  5. but as is my credo, I used my genius for good and not evil and the people who shall not be named (and you know who you are) will eventually get what they deserve because as we all know, at least those who are watching the "Seven Deadly Sins" series on the History Channel, that the list of sins are: lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride. Three of the sins: greed, anger and pride were directed towards me and that sounds bad to me. A triple Whammy, if you will. Better buy some asbestos sandals.
  6. I will admit to some passing angry thoughts, but then I just think about the future and I'm using this blog entry partly for expunging the past year's badness.
  7. I have one more thing to do before the end of 2008 and nobody will probably see it, but I will know that I did it and it's out there in the ether, which is good enough for me.

Some really good things happened in 2008:
  1. I organized the JAB (Just another Birthday) party for my Dad and it was perfect and I got donations for a plaque and a dedicated redwood tree in Big Basin State Park in the Semerviren Fund's Legacy Grove.
  2. I found the top expert to rid me of my pestilence.
  3. I discovered massive amounts of information about the Coates' Family Tree
  4. On Sept. 25th, I had a vision and I went to cash in all my retirement accounts. On Sept. 29th, the Dow Jones dropped 777 points and I felt strangely at peace. Someone was looking out for me.
  5. On July 14, 2008, I started working at Wind River. It is so nice to be appreciated for my hard work and dedication. It had been a long time.
I wish everyone and I mean everyone, a very Happy 2009!

Christmas 2008 Change, roller coasters, family and how the Monster saved the day.

On the calendar that I have in my office (I always get a movie poster calendar) the month of December is the poster for Godzilla. How perfect is that for symbolism? Godzilla was changed by
a catastrophic event and this year has had plenty of big events for everyone that changed things in a big way. But in my story, the Monster also saves the day, but more about that later…

I guess 2008 was always going to be a memorable year. For me it started out by working on my Dad’s JAB (Just Another Birthday) party. I dusted off the old family photographs and found out that online Genealogy had improved massively, so I was able to find a lot more family members and info about them. I discovered Great Uncle James Coates and his family who stayed in England. I cranked up my scanner and got the family photos online, some of them over 100 years old. It was fun to figure out who was who.

To my surprise, I got an email saying: “You’ve got my Grandfather’s photo on your site. It was Barbara Astle, granddaughter of William Coates. She had lots of Coates’ family documents, photos & the family bible. I took a road trip to visit her and her husband David and we were able to figure out who was who in some really old photos. I learned that the ears & chin don’t change much from age 3 to 83. The photo of Crater Lake was taken on that trip.

Then I also found the Silliman family, another cousin, Cliff, who’s the grandson of Jessie Coates. So this was a year to find old and new family and celebrate the family.

The political scene this year was change and life changed for me major league big time. Losing my job after 16 years was a shocking surprise. When you’ve worked with people that long, they are like a 2nd family and now I understand more about dysfunctional families and as I was driving home, I felt strangely happy. I took my unexpected time off to donate about 600 gallons of clothes to the Goodwill, which made me feel good and I know helped lots of people. I also discovered, which let me cull without mercy a bunch of items that I didn’t need, but others did. It was a house cleansing and Dreamland is almost back to its heyday. I got the Fireball pinball machine tuned up, so it’s playing better than ever and I installed the Dreamland Weather Station that’s serving up weather data to the Internet.

The stock market has been like a rollercoaster this year, mostly a long downhill scream ride and I’m feeling blessed and fortunate that the Monster ( came along, picked out my resume and saved my bacon and my house from a crash and burn. Now things are great with me working at Wind River in Alameda with a great bunch of people and doing enjoyable work again after such a long time.

So 2008 has been a year of discovering new family and friends and getting rid of old baggage and I’m sure that 2009 is going to be a fantastic year. I always feel blessed to have a close and supportive family and I couldn’t do it without them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Who is goooooood girl?

I've gotten a couple of comments on my blog from "goooooood girl", just saying: "I like your blog." is "goooooood girl" a real person? If you are a real person, let me know.

Just curious.


I think I've figured out who "gooooooood girl" is: Is that you, Annette Obrestad? I use sitemeter to track how many people view my blog and it also shows the location, so on Jan 1st, someone from Elverum, Norway checked out my blog for 49 seconds and exited on the page where I talked about my WSOP Academy of Poker class in Las Vegas where I met and played against Annette Obrestad. Just a guess.

If it is you, I think it's way cool that you are reading my blog. If I knew I had a fan, I would write more. I haven't had much time to play any poker lately, but so far in 2009, I'm way ahead in wagering on the college bowl games.

My email is: if you want to say Hi. Good luck!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tire inflation really does make a difference

I have proof that inflating your tires helps gas mileage. check out the graph. the two big spikes upwards are when I got my tires inflated - first was my last oil change and the 2nd was last week when I did it myself, although I guess I didn't get it up to the best pressure, it sure helped a lot on my MPG. I had noticed it was going down, so I figured I should try it and it worked.

On August 4, 2008, tire inflation became the latest goofball political issue in the Obama/McCain campaign - Boston Globe article (including 2 YouTube videos).

Eventually, McCain agreed that proper tire inflation was helpful in improving gas mileage, but not before the McCain's campaign offered "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauges to supporters for a donation of $25 or more, and the Republican National Committee also gave tire gauges to newsrooms in Washington "in celebration" of Obama's birthday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open Letter to President Obama

The #1 priority is Energy Independence and Green Economy Because this solves several problems - we have to start now to lower our consumption of oil for our cars - just starting down this road will keep gas prices lower. It will also create new jobs for Americans and finally it will help the environment, which everyone needs.

I heard this morning that a large percentage of the Energy Dept budget just takes care of the nuclear arsenal. That seems like old Cold War thinking. That needs to be changed.

P.S. When Clinton got elected, I sent him a message asking to get rid of the Helium Fund
(started about 100 years ago to supply our barrage balloon fleet for WWI) and the Mohair subsidy (which is also a WWI leftover for making sure our pilots had nice warm Mohair flight jackets and that back then people like Sam Donaldson and Charlie Stenholm were taking big tax right offs against). The day after I sent this message back then, I heard someone mention both issues on CNN the very next day and I think for awhile they were cut back, but I think Bush brought them back.

I am hoping that your budget director will find things like the Helium Fund and Mohair subsidy that are relics of a previous era and finally kill them once and for all.