Monthly Archives: November 2008

Decisions, Decisions…

One of my biggest problems I encounter at times is the inability to make a decision. Going to a restaurant with a wide range of goodies to choose from can be downright frustrating. Well, I’ve come face to face with this “demon” yet again! I found this web site that has some cool looking Christmas cards. They’re all quite cool, but I want to go with one design. That’s where YOU come in! You’re all going to help me decide which design to go with. I’ve put all six images on my flickr site, and they can be seen here. Once you’ve checked them out, just come back here and place your vote below. Pretty simple, eh? I’ll order next week, so I’ll run the poll through the weekend. until someone breaks this tie!

 

**UPDATE**

And so it finally ends! After 6 brave souls dared cast their vote for the future of the Christmas card we send out this year, it came to a tie…..which went unbroken. So the decision was made to go with one box of each. Wow…I made a decision! ūüėČ

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It’s now officially the holidays…..

My boss & I have worked together for two different companies since 2001. She saved me from a miserable position in another department to¬†do accounts payable¬†in the finance department, where she served as chief financial officer for a radiology group. Due to some strong-arming by¬†a local¬†health network we were providing our radiology services for, we were forced to close our doors in 2003. Most of us went our separate ways. She took a job as CFO of a cardiology group, and I took my accounts payable skills to The Indianapolis Star. I knew early on it just wasn’t going to work. I really thought when I was hired there it would be one of those places where I could be there the rest of my working days. However, as much as I tried to put on a happy face, I just didn’t care for my job and loathed going to work every day. The only solice I had working there was the hour Jennifer & I would meet for lunch, as she worked just a couple of blocks away. Unfortunately those lunches were more therapy sessions than enjoying lunch. The sterile, corporate atmosphere there was something I wasn’t able to adjust to. I was used to smaller work environments, and that’s what suited me.

During the time I was there, I had kept in touch with my old boss. She was getting adjusted to her new position and served as counsel to me as well. After some series of conversations, she decided she wanted me in the fold there, somehow. So having some clout there, although she was new on the scene, she created a position, got the OK from the CEO, and asked when I could start. FREEDOM!!!! I felt the weight of the world was taken off my shoulders. I would’ve taken a cut in pay to go there, but she asked what I was making at the Star and matched it. And after 5+ years, we’re both still there plugging away.

Now that you have the background, time for the meat of my post. Ever since I’ve worked there, at this time of year, I always have co-workers ask me if we’re getting a Christmas bonus this year. I guess since I’m working for the CFO, I “must” know everything that has to do with the finances. Oh, if they only knew! Each year it gets worse and worse. The number of people asking grows every year. And the comments I’ve heard over the years¬†just blow me away…..”Well we better get one….I’m counting on that money”…..or (my all-time favorite) “I skipped my car payment this month in anticipation of getting a bonus so I could buy my kid more presents”.¬†Amazing. Some of these folks have been there waaaaay too long and don’t know what it’s like out there working for other companies. I remember a company I¬†worked for for¬†11 years gave their employees a¬†$12 allowance so they could go out to dinner after work. Hey, I wasn’t complaining.¬†¬†I was just grateful to have a¬† job. And unfortunately too many where I work don’t show that same gratitude. The bonuses we’d get were more than generous…..as in virtually two weeks of pay generous. I recall a few years ago when the company had a loss for the year, we still got $200. That’s why it irks me to no end why some people have this attitude of a bonus entitlement.

Well, today, November 20, I got my first “So have you heard if we’re getting a bonus this year?” question. I gave my canned “I haven’t heard anything” answer, then went on to pull out the envelope my pay stub was in and said “I get a bonus 26 times a year.”, meaning, I’m just happy to have a job! I told my boss this afternoon that it was now officially the Christmas season, and she just smiled and¬†knew exactly what I meant.

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Drilling for money with oil…..

OK, so I’ve never really been much into the whole multi level marketing scene. Over the years I’ve turned down friends who’ve tried to get me into everything from Amway to long distance phone service. But now, I’ve joined the fray. If you’ve never heard of Amsoil (not affiliated with Amway!), that’s fixin’ to change.

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I’ve changed the oil in all of my cars ever since I got my first car in 1987. I could count on probably one finger the number of times I had someone change my oil in those 21 years. Coming from a car family, changing your own oil is something YOU just did. I never really thought too much about oil for several years, but started to “study” the subject around 1994. I was planning a trip out to Southern California and was really close to driving out there. Being a “3,000 mile oil change” guy, I knew I either had to get the oil changed during the trip or put in synthetic oil in my ’87 Cavalier for the entire trip. I didn’t know much about synthetic oil other than it was expensive and you could run it longer than conventional oil. So at that point, I got on the internet (when the internet was still young…..I was too, actually) and learned about viscosity, API ratings, thermal breakdown, etc, etc. Well, with all that in mind, I did some calculating and realized taking the Greyhound to SoCal would be more economical than driving. On top of that, I had some confidence problems with my Cavalier even making it past Oklahoma, so the $169 round trip ticket on the bus didn’t look too bad.

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Ever since then, I’ve kept that interest in automotive lubricants, almost to an obsession, and have learned a little more here & there. A few years ago I found a home where others with my “disease” have migrated: http://bobistheoilguy.com. It was there where my learning really took off and where I took a good look at Amsoil. I had heard of it a long time ago, but always heard how expensive it was & hard to get. Well, those myths were debunked as I found out it’s not that much more expensive than other synthetics and it’s really easy to get. Several guys on¬†“the bob site” get their oil analyzed after changing it. Yes, at first it may sound rather anal, but oil analysis¬†serves a very good purpose. Not only does it indicate how the oil held up during its¬†cycle, but it also indicates if your engine is developing a problem, such as a coolant leak.¬†Anytime¬†an Amsoil analysis would come up, I’d pay close attention & compare it to other oils. One night I set up a spreadsheet and compared several different synthetics and after some fiddling with the numbers, overall Amsoil was at or near the top¬†when it came to showing the best¬†wear. It was¬†enough for me to give it a try. I’ve tried just about everything over the years, but being a creature of habit, I wanted to¬†develop a brand loyalty. I seem to have found what I’m looking for! I first opened a “Preferred Customer” account with Amsoil that basically gets me the oil at dealer cost. Recently I was looking through some of my materials they sent me and happened to look at the money making opportunities. Granted, I don’t intend to retire off this, but I thought I could at least make some money off me in the form of commissions¬†from my purchases. Then I¬†found out there’s an¬†opportunity through internet sales. Then there are opportunities for Amsoil to send customers my way. Then I thought….eh, why not? So I sent in my registration to become a dealer, and last week I became official.¬†I purchased a basic web site from Amsoil that they maintain and host for a minimal fee, and that¬†web site was launched today. ¬†

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I have no idea if anyone I know will buy it off of me, but that’s quite alright. I’m not going to push things hard. I’ll let my brothers know about it, and the folks in my Corvair club, but that’s about it. If I make a buck or two, then that’s a buck or two I didn’t have before. But regardless of how it works out, I’m planning on doing things right….just as any business person would. Besides, my “profits” will be going into my garage fund, so I’ve got an incentive to do things right. It’ll be a learning experience, but I plan on making it a fun one.

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The latest branch of the Bremer family tree….

It’s a girl!¬† Little Annabelle Marie Bremer came into the world at 1am on Thursday November 13, 2008 in Indianapolis, checking in at 8lbs and 20″ long.¬†She belongs to my nephew Ryan and his wife Katie. She marks the first offspring of my dad’s grandkids, so she’s the first of the next generation of Bremers. With dad having 9 grandkids, the tree will likely grow quite large in the decades to come.

Here are a couple shots from tonight, with my brother Jeff and wife April. Jeff’s not been so thrilled about being a grandpa at 42, but I don’t think he’s minding too much right now!

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Public Service Announcement

Most of you, I’m sure, have heard of the American Heart Association. The importance of what they do can’t be stressed enough. Below you’ll see a brief YouTube video I’d like for you to take a few minutes to watch. The gentleman is Dr. Mark Jones, a cardiologist with Indiana Heart Physicians, my employer. Dr. Jones is one of the good guys around, and we’re fortunate to still have him with us, in more ways than one. The situation he went through hit home for me, as he’s just a year older than me at 41 and in perfect health. Fortunately all worked out well for him, and I’m looking forward to resuming our weekly discussions regarding the state of IU basketball this season. ūüėČ

If you’ve never donated to the AHA, please consider doing so. It’s a worthy organization that strives to help prevent and lessen the consequences of cardiac events. Thanks….

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Get ready for 2009!

Searching for that PERFECT 2009 wall calendar?? I’ve got what YOU need! Our Corvair club decided to do a little money-maker and the idea was brought up for a calendar with our cars in it. I volunteered Jennifer to take the photos and we put it all together. We finally got it¬†done in September and after our initial sale to the club members, we have several left over. All but one of¬†her pictures in the calendar can be found here. In the actual calendar, there is some verbage added to each photo (year & model as well as owner’s names & hometown), but this is essentially it. They’re spiral bound and full color. Cost is $15+ shipping if you’re out of town. If interested, contact me at roadmaven@aol.com. All proceeds go to Circle City Corvairs!

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What makes me “right”…

A couple of weeks ago, a topic of the upcomng Presidential election was discussed on an auto racing message board I frequent. The board’s owner, an unabashed Obama supporter, took a couple of the forum members to task (one of them me) as to how can we possibly choose John McCain and risk four more years of the same or “take a chance” on Obama. His question to us went like this:

“Considering there will be more elections in 2 years and the congresspeople and senators coming up for re-election ALWAYS have that on their minds when they vote for bills and such….
You would rather vote for McCain and take a chance of 4 more years of what we have now, or vote to stop that bleeding and gamble that it’s impossible to become a socialist nation in two years? I mean, WHY would you not at least want to try something else? When you sit by yourself and think, OK, this guy or that guy….you can’t tell me you’re having a good time with that, right?
What drives that decision to close your eyes, pray and pull the McCain lever when you know nothing will change?”

For me, there is no choice. There are those of us on both sides of the political fence who don’t need to sit down & analyze who we’re going to vote for. It’s a given. For the politicians, they don’t waste their time on us. It’s those sitting on the fence who they’re going after. Since he called me out in his post, I felt compelled to acknowledge him with a reply. I thought I’d replay that reply here, since it must’ve been worth something to fellow conservatives on that forum, as I received several “atta boy” replies from it. I think I wasn’t only speaking for myself, but I think I must’ve put into words the way they felt as well. It went a little something like this:

“The ideology between the Republican and Democrat parties are well defined and that will continue to be the case. The ideology of the Republican party is more in line with my own personal beliefs. Do I like McCain? No. Fred Thompson would’ve been my choice. Are McCain’s policies more attractive than Barry’s (Obama)? Yes, but that’s not to say I even like McCain’s policies. It boils down for me to be the lesser of the two evils. I’m a Conservative first and foremost because that’s where my beliefs are, and McCain is not a Conservative. I don’t see anyone who I consider Conservative with any chance of making noise in the future, so therefore, I have to settle for who the Republican party brings forward. Obama stands for nothing I hold sacred, whether it’s gun rights or the right to life. For those of us who stand for what we believe is right, a tidal wave of the left forthcoming frightens us as Sarah Palin does you.
When I first voted in 1986, I registered as a Democrat. Why? Hell, I was 18 & didn’t know any better. I came from a union household and was brainwashed into believing Replublicans were evil and Democrats were the saviors. Well guess what? I grew up and started to think for myself. I looked at what both sides had to offer, what they stood for, and realized my leanings are to the right, where, personal responsibility and limited government are at its core. There’s only one thing I’ve heard Obama say that I agree with, and that’s directed to parents to have them shut off the TV and “whatever” with their kids. But other than that, he offers nothing to me. His stance on taxes are dead wrong. After the Bush tax cuts, do you know what happened? Of course not, because it was never shown on the main stream media. Tax revenue poured into the treasury at record amounts! Now he wants to “spread the wealth”. Sorry Don, but that is directly from the Karl Marx playbook, deny it or not. I’m not going to be affected by his tax hikes, as I’m not in that tax bracket, but that doesn’t exclude me from stating it’s wrong. Those people earned it and it’s there’s to keep. Instead of feeling sorry for those future recipients of the tax increases, maybe they should get off their a$$es & makes something of themselves too instead of getting a handout. That’s the problem with left. They want to be caretakers of everyone when in reality, it’s nothing more than a way of buying votes.

Anywho, that’s my story. ”

So, that pretty much sums up why I am the way I am. Many of my closest friends, many of you reading this, have an opposite view as I do. I learned a long time ago politics & ideology are not worth jeopardizing friendships, so I make a habit of not talking politics with those particular friends. And, they do the same with me.

With Tuesday’s election coming up, I’m not going to paint a rosy picture, because that’s not going to happen. I fully expect an Obama victory, a widening majority in the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate. Which, strategically speaking, might not be a bad thing. Then, they won’t be able to label the Republicans as “obstructionists”. However, you can say you heard it here first when they come up with the excuse “Well, because of the previous 8 years, there’s a lot of mess to clean up”. Whatever…..not as much mess as Dubya had to clean out of the Oval Office. ūüėȬ† One thing I’ve noticed in my 15-20 years of watching the political process in this country is that the electorate has a way of putting things back at center. It won’t let things more too far left or too far right. And when things do move far to the left in the next 2-4 years, you’ll see a tide of Replublicans coming in, ala 1994. So for now, I’ll just accept the outcomes Tuesday and wait for things to become “right” again.

In the meantime, if you haven’t seen this video, I’ll vote for him for Prez any day of the week:

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