Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Europe adventure; arrested in Croatia

In 1995 I was traveling Europe by train with my Buddy whom I will call Casey when he came up with his usual bright Idea's, We were sitting in a Cafe in Roma eating lunch when Cacey piped up in his dopey voice "ya know my family is from hungry, lets take the train up there for the day and we can come back and meet the girls and go to Paris for Christmas" so yea uhm that's about what I thought, what the hell?
We were traveling with two girls from Canada and wanted to spend Christmas with us in Paris, he wanted to ditch them and just show up the day we were to leave (would be two days later) on a train and expect them to be ok with it. It seemed ok, after all they were currently out shopping on there own so what did thy care?
So in my usual adventure not thinking whatsoever mode I decide I'M good with his half assed plan and off we went.

We caught the train and headed north, what we did not realize is this train went where we did not have visa's nor tickets to go, first stop, Slovania. There the predictable happened, the train conductor who spoke little to no english promptly cleaned out our wallets for a "Visa" that didn't exist and fresh tickets, always a good time. With a little grumbling from our previous ticket raping our next stop would be Croatia.
We had thought our previous robbery was bad, we had no Idea what traveling through this war torn country would bring.

I do not remember the time, I think its was morning, when we arrived in Zangreb. The head guard/police/soldier whatever he was, maybe all three came up to us in our car, he was checking papers.
Now at this time in southern Europe English was a rare thing and those who spoke it were generally very poor in their speech, this guy spoke perfect english and said "tickets, passport visa" behind him were a half dozen armed men. I would reply"here are our tickets, but we do not have visa's, how much will those be?" as I reached behind my back for my wallet, before I could have it drawn he snapped his fingers and a half dozen guards filled the train and we found ourselves staring down the .30 caliber bore of Ak-47s. Now I have been in quit a few scrapes, shot at, in knife fights, and looked down the barrel of other firearms before, but this time it was different, staring down those cold barrels pointed at your skull with soldiers who do not want to be there, think you are probably satan and really dont care one way or another cause a bullet to your brain lets them go back to their card game, life changes, and wow did it. All I could do was think that hell, I guess if I know its imminent I will fight, but right now, I knew I was fast, but I was not fast enough to beat a bullet. What to do? not much we could do but comply, we kneeled like we were told while they searched us and took our passport, the one thing I didnt want to lose damn it, and I tried to plead but the cold barrel of an AK with a barrel twist of 1.7 convinced me to shut my yap and let them take it. Now your thoughts are what next, do they do you on the train or outside where not mess for cleanup? a buttstock to the shoulder and a little firearms push suggests the bullet to the cranium comes outside. For some reason I really dont remember leaving the train,  I only next remember walking and hoping the asshole behind me doesnt have his finger on the trigger and slip in the knee deep snow. Casey was whispering to me "they cant do this" curt "just shut up" he persisted "but, but we are Americans"  what the hell does he not get, we are in a third world country in the middle of civil unrest and nobody knows we are supposed to be there. And he keeps running his mouth "well you know some serbian talk to them" I have two problems with this, one, my serbian consists of primarily pointing out kitchen  utensils and silly greetings, two if they find out I'm half serb we will have ventilated craniums for sure and I say as much, just keep quiet, oh hell no, he starts rambling on about suing them, talk about idiocy, "Dude, you need to just shut  up, nobody knows we are here and they dont give a ratts ass who your atty is, you keep it up and we are face down game over" and it sinks in, his shoulders drop and he looks around helpless. We continue our walk and for me, the odd thing in my mind was why the hell was I wearing slacks when its subzero and snow? Damn my legs were cold and even though we were walking, I was starting to shake, probably more adrenaline leaving than cold, but I was shaking somewhat, I just didnt want to be mistook for fear. They led us into the police station/guard house, took what bags we had carried and the golden haired English speaking guard made it clear for us to stand in the hallway, so there we stood right outside the guard quarters while they watched basketball and we took in our surroundings. I could not get over how much it reminded me of firefox, the single 100 watt bulb in a old tin frame shining its light from a 10 foot ceiling and just as its light dimmed, the next light picked up. There was another man with us, I guess Canadian because he spoke perfect English but had a brown passport, he looked like an ass so I didnt hav much to say to him, hell, I didnt have much to say at all now. At this point someone mentioned its a good time to run, IM like where to? tracks in the snow anyone? "lets just wait and see what happens" enjoying the poorly heated building sounded better to me than running through a frozen warzone not knowing where the hell we were going and being hunted all the way, its not a good feeling, ya gotta trust me on that one. So we stood, just kind of looking around, well cept for the Kanuk, who was trying to watch the basketball game th guards had on, they saw him, said something, and closed the door a bit, he pushed it open with his foot gently, watched a couple mintutes, the same guard saw said something and me and curt gave the point to him, and th door closed tightly, the stooopid kanuk said something and reached for the door. And I had enough soon as his hand touched the knob I spoke "if you turn that knob I will crush your throat and you will be dead before you hit the ground" I said clearly. He hesitated and gave me a half cooked defiant grin thinking about how funny it would be, but I have been told when IM pissed I have satan's eyes, and he saw it, and realized I was not joking, his fingers trailed from the steel knob and he stood back against the wall with his lower lip sticking out like a child. SO there we stood, I lost track of time, our legs ached, we half sat with our backs against the wall holding us up. Finally the head guard came back with our passports he said with such little accent "here are your visa's, they say you are good for three days in my country, that is not true, the next train leaves in five minutes I suggest you are on it. So that was that, the guards grabbed their weapons and kicked out luggage to us, we tucked out passports in our pockets grabbed our bags and headed outside following the guard. The door opened and the frozen Balkin air nipped at our faces, the train was already moving, we looked at the head guard who merely nodded his head in the direction of the train, behind us the guards lined up, Kalashnikovs at high ready with the look in their eyes that they would just assume be back inside telling jokes as wasting their time watching us. And then we started running, snow grabbing at our legs as our strides took us to the train, the kanuk tossed his luggage up first with himself close behind, the wheels of the train were churning up powder and the swirling wind made my pant legs move in what seemed odd directions, my mind briefly thought of slipping which ment the train got us, or the guards got some target practice, not an option, curt grabbed th kanuks hand and was pulled up, then just me, I lunged as their hands pulled me aboard the train which slowly increased its speed, and there Me and curt sat, looking back as the guards lowered their weapons and slipped back to the warmth of their quarters, Casey spoke first "I cant fucking believe this just happened, this cant happen, it only happens in movies" I really couldn't argue, but it was over for now, the train chugged through the balkin wilderness with pine tree's hefting their burden of snow taking us to Casey's homeland and our hope that this would be the last time we knelt to anyone.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rethinking volunteers and search and rescue

During the Indonesian Tsunami I Immediatly wanted to help, being winter with business being at almost a standstill I made some calls to see where I could be of most use, I presented what I felt were my qualifications, born and raised on a small "farm" I felt that I had the knowledge how to handle and deal with most crisis relating to agriculture especially where animals are concerned, I also touted most heavily the fact I am a licensed Construction contractor with my skills being primarily in the repair of sewer and water lines, debre's clean up, and of course the ability to properly operate nearly any piece of equipment, I was stoked, I was going around the world to truly put my sklls to work. Not so, orgniazation after organization simply asked "do you have a degree" well uhm no I do not, "tehn you have nothing to to offer us" I was quit litterally told this several times. I was shocked, how on earth could anyone come to teh conclusion someone with an accounting degree had more qualifications than someone who not only works in construction, but manages construction projects to work in a disaster zone? The right thing for me to do would simply to have been to ignore them and to have booked a flight on my own, I did not, and I have regretted it since, I also at the time somewhat bought into the "well its important to have qualified people onsite to help with the rescue efforts" now this is true, but let us look into this statement, we know that time is of the essence when trying to rescue anyone. Dehydration, injuries, hypothermia all lessen the time someone is able to survive, so Having a handful of qualified individuals really only allows the rescue of a select few. To me its important to get bodies out in the fiedl of a major disaster, and anyone willing should be allowed on board, hell in my case even I was willing to pay for my own plane ticket. Now on site the nonsense of "said person will be in the way" is just sthat, as a business owner/manager for well over a decade now I have had to take people quit litterally on the spot to fill a vacency and directed said person to do a job in a somewhat compitant manner. A good director of personal is able to quickly figure out what each person may be good for even if that may only be helping to carry a stretcher or handing out bottles of water. Will there be mistakes? Of course there will be, but for gods sake there are lives on the line and its important to do everything in our power to save people any way we can, having unqualified people walking on these area's at least pointing and shouting encouragement to survivors woudl help immensly, and having those in the construction field used to working with debre's IMO is invaluable, cant we at least get this right?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For those in Japan

Losing a loved one is a horrible thing for anyone, I cannot Imagine the heartache as Husbands and Wives search for their sons or daughters, as Son’s and daughters search for their moms and dads, as siblings search for each other, and even as a dog sniffs about the rubble searching for its master, none knowing if whom they search for will be found, or where they went, but still they look and still they will hope.
Through it all some of the most resourceful people the world has ever known simply move forward yet again, and do what they need do for the next generation and hope that the next world they create will be better than the one so many have left all to soon.
For those of us not in the midst of tragedy our hearts reach out to those that live it now. With caring arms people from all over the globe will travel and help, giving up their own lives, and leaving their loved ones with the promise to return, but deep down nobody is sure anymore as the world seems turned upside down.
But through the actions of so many good people, & through heroic actions of a few who brave disease, flames, radiation and the earth shaking beneath their feet, they secure a life as promised to those living in the now.
So with the most sincere heartfelt condolences I wish you all the best, and for those who’s time has already passed, your new journey begins, may those in eternity greet you with ethereal arms of love and guide you to your next life, this is your road, you will not be forgotten.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

US drops the ball on Lybia

For a couple of weeks now the United States has rattled its sabre doing what it does best, talking and really not doing anything, and I am usually pretty happy when our government accomplishes nothing, it means less they can mess up. However this time around the US were made to look silly and useless as Gaddalfi thumbed his nose and took back lost ground from the Rebels, what difference does it make? quit a bit actually, the main problem is Gaddalfi and son made statements to the effect they could fight off the world, with the US not following through with its threats it makes him look like something he is not, and takes away yet more credibility of the US in the world, something at this time it can not afford.
Look for Gaddalfi to raise oil prices substantially from his country, actually look for much of the middleast to do the same as it realizes that the US is a struggling animal entangled in its own web of uncertainty.
The solution was simple, one not say anything to begin with, or two, shove a missile up Gaddaffi's ass, the later of course only Reagan seemed capable of understanding as we struggle to keep up a fake Image of "peacefull" with a world that really deems us imperialistic anyhow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Business Licensing in America

A friend from Malaysia asked me last night asked about my business license, how much it was and so on, Well first off I replied, I have far more than one, so the next obvious question is "how many and how much"?
Fair question so here goes, First I have the county license, 50.00, next I have my Septic license which is 300.00, Truck license which is about 230, license for GVW depending on how much weight I want my truck to be able to legally haul (silly I know), another 60 or so, workers compensation has to be paid up front, that is based on an estimated payroll and number of employee's lets say 350 just to keep it easy, fire fighting card 85.00, licensing for Emergency Equipment for the forest service (supposed to be every three years but ends up being every year do to the powers that be transferring responsibilities to other bureaus), and then Orca, and CCR all three which are free.
Every two years I have to have my contractors license 225 dollars & contractors exemption license, I forget the price. so she is shocked, saying that in her country, there is but one license.
So my grand licensing equals 1215 dollars every two years and 990 each year, she is appalled, saying there you only need a single license.
I did not cover permits needed for various hauling and building I do as well, more shock on her end.
And we wonder why America has a 90 percent failure rate on business, everyone has their hand out.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slumdog actress loses home in Shanty town

According to MSNBC Slumdog Actress Rubina Ali lost her Home to a fire that raged through her Shanty town, two years ago a trust was supposed to be set up for her and another Actor to live in exclusive apartments, this only after much clatter was made about another child star who lived in a Shanty town as well while the makers of the movie raked in millions. How absolute horrible can a person be to willingly deprive someone of any kind of an actual existance for their own complete bloated greed? We are not talking about someone living in a nice house in America, we are talking about people who live in  tin shacks without running water in absolute filth and poverty. Where is the compassion?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Music Industry needs to open up

Kim Kardashian has released her first single, yet another no talent Celberity allowed to make more money who is already filthy rich.  I really do not understand this logic, now I understand its to sell music, and some pathetic Kardashian followers will buy the CD, but lets face it, the company is already making pretty decent change and IM sure she was compensated well on the assumption the brainless twit followers would buy said music. But why not give people a chance who deserve it? There are people who have devoted their entire lives to making real music and will never get a chance, those people may have not have brainless twits following them, but people who really enjoy music and appreciate it. Somewhere there is another Patsy Kline, Muddy Waters, or maybe even Mozart just waiting to be discovered, just waiting for their big chance, and there is that fan base, like me, waiting for that big discovery. I refuse to purchase music from crossover celebrities, as a matter of fact, I generally shy away from anything from a crossover celeb unless they show any real talent. To me it shows just how shallow these cross over celeberities are by taking up those valuable slots which could be filled by someone else, it shows how uncaring those are in the music or film industry rather than allow others to advance.
Come on Seacrest, if your out there give some guy working in a mine a break who has been thumbing that base since 10, Just think of the following you will get from moms from giving that secratary that sings at the christmas party but goes home to her three kids. And lets leave the Kardashians where they belong, being brainless drama idiots on reality TV.