Sunday, June 24, 2018

I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghosts

Recently, one of my former places of employment has been in the news, and on national TV. Sure, this isn't the first time, but it's for a little different reason than usual.

Over the course of three summers I worked at the Enchanted Forest Theme Park just south of Salem, Oregon. I loved working there and had a great time. It's a great place for families, and it was also enjoyable seeing the look of joy and excitement on the faces of so many children.

This weekend, The Land of Enchantment was featured on a show called Ghost Adventures. I have not seen the show, and don't necessarily plan to. I simply don't have the desire to learn what they think they've found.

One of my current co-workers asked me whether I thought the place was haunted. My answer was simple, "no." To put it more plainly, I do not believe in ghosts, therefore it cannot be haunted by ghosts.

"For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten." - Ecclesiastes 9:5

That's right, if the dead don't know anything, it eliminates the possibility of ghosts. I do believe, thought, in a spirit world. The Bible, while not supporting the existence of ghosts, does indeed support the existence of angles and demons.

I told my co-worker that I never experienced anything of a "haunting" nature at Enchanted Forest. Continuing on, I explained that there has only been one time that I've truly felt an overwhelmingly evil presence.

During the summer of 1993, I spent six week in Israel with a group from college. We spent five weeks digging at Tel Hazor, and the final week was spent in and around Jerusalem. On August 4th, we went to Bethlehem and visited the Church of the Nativity.

The Church of the Nativity was established in 327 CE, but was formerly a site dedicated to a Greek god. While there, I entered the site with other members of our group, but after only a short time, I was compelled to get outside, and stay outside. I had a feeling that this was NOT a place that honored God in any manner. Although this site is heralded as the birth place of Christ, I am absolutely convinced that it definitely is NOT.

Of course, it doesn't matter where Christ was born. I believe that the evil one, Satan, uses such things to draw focus away from what really matters. The more you focus on a site, the less you focus on the significance of the event that is being claimed to have taken place there.

Two days later, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This site is also quite old, and has some similarities to the Church of the Nativity. It is said to be the location of Christ's crucifixion and entombment. Whether or not it is, I really have no way of knowing, and neither does anyone else. What I do know is that it did not elicit the same feelings in me, or the same response to flee.

In 1998 I also was fortunate to make another visit to the Middle East. Again, the group that I was with visited both of these sites. When we visited the Church of the Nativity, I chose to wait on the bus. After my previous experience I wanted nothing to do with the place.

As for Enchanted Forest being haunted, I'm sure that like every other place on Earth, it is NOT haunted. Probably about the creepiest things I saw while working there are in the photos below.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Maximum Minimum - Part 2

Today Oregon governor, Kate Brown, has signed the new minimum wage bill into law. That means that it's time for the sequel to The Maximum Minimum. I received positive feedback on my last post, despite having a relatively low view count. I attribute the latter part of that partly to the lateness of posting. As I had mentioned, I did have a few more things to discuss with regards to minimum wage.

Wages vs. Welfare
I work daily in the world of public assistance in the form of Medicaid. Eligibility for this program and many others such as SNAP (food stamps), TANF, etc. are based on federal guidelines, not state. Currently Oregon already has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, $2 above national. A single person working a full time job (40 hours a week) at minimum wage in Oregon does NOT qualify for Medicaid. Same job at the national minimum wage would be within the qualifying income range.

So, the higher the wage, the fewer people getting public assistance. That's great, right? In terms of health insurance, it can be the difference between getting free healthcare via Medicaid, or having to pay for private insurance. It's not just the premiums, which could be as low as a few dollars a month, to a few hundred depending on certain factors. What about deductibles and co-pays? If a person actually has to use the insurance, they could end up spending more total than the increase in pay that disqualified them from Medicaid.

What about someone receiving SNAP benefits? Again, this is a federal program, based on federal guidelines. The more money someone earns, the less they can receive in benefits. Now, more of the wage increase goes to the food budget therefore nullifying the increase.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Maximum Minimum

Those of us in Oregon are more than aware that as of today both the Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill to increase Oregon's minimum wage. It also comes as no surprise that the governor is expected to sign it, after all, wasn't it her idea anyway? While the overall increase proposed in this bill will take a matter of years to be fully implemented, it will make Oregon's the highest state minimum wage in the United States (assuming that other states don't pass similar increases before then).

What follows here is my opinion, achieved by using logic a common sense, things that are sadly lacking in this world. If you disagree, that is fine. If you are offended or upset, you were warned. Continue at your own risk.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Windows 10 Experience | Part 3

So, I've been running Windows 10 for a few months now. A wise old lady asked me for another post, and I've put it off until she bugged me about it again. Sorry mom.

Back when my mom asked me to write another post, I really didn't think I had all that much more to say. There were a couple of things that I thought deserved to be mentioned, so here it all comes.

I'm pretty sure that it was the same day that I was asked to do another post, that I turned on the computer and found this.
That little "Sign out now" button was completely useless. It let me log back in, but came up with the same error. I had to power the computer off, by holding the power button for a few seconds, and restart it to get it to start up properly. It has not happened again, but I don't have any idea what prompted it that one time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Windows 10 Experience | Part 2

After a few days of having Windows 10 on the new laptop, I thought I would go ahead and post part 2 of this experience. I'm not going to pretend to share any great insight, but rather to just share some thoughts and opinions.

Travels to the Edge.
I said before that I found Microsoft's new browser, Edge, to be just as useful as Internet Explorer in that I used it to download Firefox. I decided that in all fairness I should actually go ahead and give it a try.

From what I can tell, it's a fairly straight forward web browser. The interface is clean and simple, yet seems a little blockier than what I am used to. There are no "curves" to it, as there are with many other programs. This almost seems to be the way with Windows 10 in general. Nothing inherently wrong with squared edges and such, but it definitely doesn't look pretty.

I started this post in Edge, but I just had to switch to Firefox instead. I'm used to the Blogger interface giving me a WYSIWYG interface, but instead in Edge it was HTML only. I'm not brushed up on my HTML enough to be comfortable working with it. In Firefox I have the option to switch between WYSIWYG and HTML. Perhaps there is a plug-in that Edge needs for it to work, but it did not request to add anything, and it Firefox it just works.

Speed. I really don't know how to measure a browser's speed to be able to compare Edge to Firefox. There are times that it seemed a little slow, but that could just be the computer. At other times it did seem to be moving at adequate speed.

Conclusion: It won't be my every day browser. I'll still stick with Firefox. Maybe it's the familiarity, but why fix what's not broken.

Start Menu.
I decided that it was only fair that I revisit the start menu. After my friend Marty left a comment on my earlier post about how the "tiles" could work, I decided that I would take a look at it. I understand it somewhat now, but I'm not convinced that it's a better interface than what was in previous versions of Windows. For now I plan to continue using the Classic Shell interface, but I still have the option to use the W10 start menu at any time.

If you spend the time getting your commonly used programs setup as tiles, then it could be beneficial. Aside from doing that, it seems that a lot of extra time and effort is expended in actually locating the program that you want. Sadly there are some things that do not show up in the Classic Shell menu, but can be found with the W10 menu. All newly installed programs will show up in both locations. I do not know why there is a disparity, but it seems to be mainly with Microsoft applications.

That's it's for this installment. Futures posts on the Windows 10 experience will be dependent on my deciding that there is actually something worth me saying about it.

Thanks for reading, I'd love to  know your thoughts.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Windows 10 Experience | Part 1

Unless you've been living in a cave, or even if you have, you may have heard about Windows 10. The "big" thing about W10 is that Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to users of W7 or W8.1. With this in mind, I thought that someone might be interested in my experience with W10. This is the first, and hopefully not last, installment on this subject.

Very recently, I picked up a new laptop computer. It's not a high end machine, thought I wish that I could justify spending more on one. It's in many ways a replacement for the laptop that I got 5 years ago. The old one has a display that no longer works, but, thanks to the magic of the HDMI port, works well to watch streaming video from Hulu and other sources on the TV.

Not only does the new laptop solve the issue of having one to take on any trips that we go on, but also provides a needed computer for the children in doing their school.

So, Windows 8.1. I really have no interest in dealing with it. I've seen enough of W8/8.1 to know that I don't like it. I decided that my first project with this computer would be to upgrade to W10.  Really, it can't be worse than W8.1, and there is a chance that it's better, after all, it does have the start menu again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Made In The U.S.A.?

Do you remember when it actually meant something to buy a product made in the U.S.A.? Can it really have been that long ago?

Years ago Wal-Mart proudly advertised that they sold items that were made in the U.S.A. Now it's a almost a struggle to find a product in their store that isn't made in another country. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but they sure don't promote "Made in the U.S.A." anymore.

Personally, I prefer getting products made in this country when I can, and supporting US companies. I'm not saying that I would avoid a foreign made product, but if I have my choice of equal quality products, I would rather have the US made version. Some items don't have equal counterparts, leaving no choice, of course.

Why do I bring this up? Recently in the news has been talk of the failed launched of the Obamacare website. Regardless of how you or I feel about Obamacare in general is not the point of this post. The thing that really struck me in the news, other than the extremely high cost of the website creation, was where the company responsible for most of the work is located. The work was done by what is essentially a Canadian company, not a US company.

Why? Someone please explain to me why a government would give such a large contract of work to a foreign company. Shouldn't there be a law that government contracts go to companies in the country. I can understand if there are no domestic companies that provide the product or service, then reach out to foreign companies. I'm willing to guess that there are plenty of companies in the United States that are more than capable of creating websites. Maybe the problems would be the same, but why are we sending tax dollars to another country for a product that is supposed to "serve" U.S. citizens?