Good morning all:

Weekly wisdom:

“Congratulations to Newsweek for going all-digital. You are now a blog.” ~ that guy on Red Bud

Makes me feel so important knowing that I am now sitting here enjoying my morning mug of coffee with the knowledge that I am posting in the company of the greats at Newsweek. Wait a minute, no one reads Newsweek!

Before I forget, let me urge you to take a listen to brother Pieter’s radio show (or a streaming podcast of it anytime at your convenience) at: www.kdrt.org – KDRT 95.7 FM in Davis, CA. “Listening Lyrics” – this coming Wednesday at 2:00 pm Pacific time (5:00 pm Eastern time). Here is the reason: he’ll have his brother-in-law Jack Edwards as a guest.

Aside from talking about his Peace Corps experience Jack will talk about his real passion the last number of years. Since his retirement from Cummins Jack has developed a career volunteering for an amazing social entrepreneurship non-profit called Ashoka. With this group he’s been traveling the breadth of Latin America evaluating potential projects for viability to then assist financially and with the necessary and continuing ‘underpinnings’ to ensure that, once begun, a newly formed business will be successful. Should be a fascinating discussion; personally, I see it as a great way to for all of us to enter the Thanksgiving weekend.

OK, so now I’ve completely had it with the constant “Automatic Updates” pop-up that appears about every five minutes wanting to complete the automatically installed upgrade process by re-starting Windows on my computer. I’ve had it! Hitting the “Restart Later” button gives a measly five minute reprieve before it reappears. What is this nonsense!

Battle won – This one with the kind people at Cincinnati Bell Wireless. Earlier in the summer I moved my business to another carrier. I expected a final billing of a couple of hundred bucks. Therefore I did blink a couple of extra time when I read “Total Amount Due – $393.82” on my final bill.

Mid October that was readily re-negotiated to a final payment of $208.35 and a check was sent; so far so good. Two days ago a new bill was discovered in the mail box, this one showing a credit of $208.35 and requiring a payment of $191.65.

Next we had a total of about three hours of discussion, cajoling, happy-talk, and threats – all too little avail. It appears that any corporate internal screw-up becomes the customer’s problem to resolve. These wireless companies have their employees operate in an absolutely rules based environment and forego any current trend of a value based setting where they are able to make a reasonable decision.

Yesterday, running some errands, I made one final stop at the Cincinnati Bell Wireless retail place where we had come to our original agreement. By luck, the little manager lady I had dealt with back in October was on duty. By luck, she still had a copy of the mail she had sent to corporate on her Blackberry. Within a couple of minutes the issue was resolved; I owe ZERO and had won not just the battle, but the war.

Warning to any business; don’t mess with retirees who have the advantage of time. Much time!

Times they have-a-changed – On a back shelf we found a circa 1975 board game called: TIC TAC DOT. This is a small board-game variation of the old TicTacToe game. Anyway I thought it cute to play when the little ones were over. In preparation I took a moment to read the instruction sheet.

Here is what really caught my attention: “Playing Long Distance: By using the numbers on the dots to describe your move, you can play Tic Tac Dot on the telephone, CB radio, or through the mail.”

Don’t you just love it!

In lieu of a lottery – I assisted Adrianne and Tevita with the Kindergarten registration of Vaioleti into the magnet school of choice. The process started by getting into line before eight in the morning last Tuesday. Taking turns sitting outside from that time and throughout the day and all night till 6:30 am Wednesday morning – nearly 24 hours. Much of the wait was in near freezing temperatures (Adrianne was on the nightshift and slept with the others in the heated gymnasium).

Actually, communal misery will bring a degree of comfort. What crops up is a lot of camaraderie, socialization, parent group bringing pizza, donuts, and one person even used his iPad to display a roaring fire in a fire place. The outdoor coffee-making setup (shown on picture) was also really appreciated!

Once registration started, Adrianne, being sixth in line, easily snagged one of the 27 open slots for little Vai to attend North Avondale Montessori school kindergarten. The actual registration was completed in mere seconds.

Does anyone have a better solution?

Animal Planet – our decorative pear trees are just now beginning to turn and lose their leaves. What has become visible is a massive squirrel nest – probably over two feet in height. This has to be the ultimate squirrel resort hotel I’ve ever seen and its here in my side yard. Picture will follow once more leaves drop.

Fini – This is the start of a busy weekend. Findlay Market for some outdoor shopping for fresh veggies. Now that the Bengals are back into the “win” column it might be worthwhile, and less frustrating, to watch a little on Sunday.
Yup, it’s going to be a good weekend.

Then, have fun preparing for Thanksgiving. Aside from all our blessings give thanks for the warmth of family and friends.

Have trouble sleeping and the night is clear? This weekend is great for watching the Leonid Meteor shower.

Stay safe!
Cheers,
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Morning all:

This week was a major lesson in coping. Marcia and I stepped off our little commuter plane and had to immediately dive under cover waiting for our planeside-checked luggage in order to stay dry. Welcome to Cincy and its newly declared Tornado Warning. Two nights in a row it was full-time weather only coverage as front after front barreled this way from places like Evansville where real destruction actually did take place. All the major stuff except for the rain and cold missed us. Now I am ready to play the “snowbird” bit again and head back to the sunshine. Maybe that is why I am starting this morning drinking my liquid “sunshine”.

Everything about the wedding last weekend was wonderful, and we had the best of times. Marcia kept her good humor even though most of my side of the family, complete with all our antics, got together. It was a bit much seeing the “father-of-the-bride” walk about with the rear of his tux smeared with contents from the chocolate fountain. Even my twin sister cousins from Holland got into the spirit of the weekend having registered at the hotel as husband and wife. All I can say is that it was an amazing party. One hint for Sandy, next time you hire a true artist as photographer make certain that it is not a madcap variation of Vincent van Gogh.

Marcia’s Christmas, birthday, and all events for the final quarter of the year gift had been installed during our travels: a new Viking professional kitchen stove.

I think she continually keeps testing all of its six burners as she stands in front of the thing happily grinning away.

I don’t know about you but this time of year brings with it massive lists all relating to chores. Today the annual winterization and storing of the little Deux Chevaux is taking place. This will be along with the storing of the deck furniture and the shrouding of the A/C compressor. As a child winter was always a new and fun season. As an adult it seems to be more of a shutting down time. Oy, probably there is a serious metaphor here—just being perspicacious (the word for the day).

Since I got up quite early this morning I put on electronic music from Budda Bar’s album called “Chill Out in Paris” (I think very appropriate this week) put in the ear buds and cranked up the volume. Having done all that I took a thermal mug of coffee outside and pressed up against the wall of the house for balance and to a look up at the Leonid Meteor Shower: see Linda I do read and follow your advice. The sky was clear and completely cloudless, so wouldn’t you know it, I did not see a single shooting star before getting cold. That was all the incentive I needed to head back inside, and sit down to post this ramble.

To everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and friends during this beginning of the holiday season. I now best get busy with my job jar. This afternoon Cathy, Jason, Marcia, and I are off to watch University of Cincinnati women’s basketball team do their magic.

Make it a great week everyone.
Cheers,
Dirk

2 Responses to “Ashoka”
  1. Anonymous Says:

    hooray for Opa – OK, here is a suggestion, if these classes are in such demand that every year the “line” story appears, maybe the school system should expand what the parents want.
    Thank you for the kind words re KDRT

  2. pieter Says:

    Hooray for Opa – you do look come though.
    Here is my suggestion, if these classes are so popular that every year I read about the “lions” story. then maybe, just maybe the school board should expand this program.
    Thank you for your kind words re KDRT

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