As 2012 draws to a close, it’s been a wonderful year in Austin for me, Sylvia and our family. Shelly is doing well in her sophomore year at TCU. Caroline is doing well in her (also) sophomore year at Westlake High School. Our business finally picked up in 2012 to our busiest since 2008. And I, Steve lost 30 lbs! More on that below.
Thanks goes out to all of our friends, family, clients, customers, acquaintances and others. Without you, our lives would not be as wonderful as they are. We end 2012 with much gratitude.
Now for my shameless plug and request for support. No, it’s not about business or leads or referrals. Something much more important. It’s about health, fitness and curing cancer. Please read on …
I spent most of 2012 getting into better shape. I was becoming a fatty again, and as I approached age 50 in 2012, I wanted to get serious about my fitness and health. I started cold turkey in March 2012 getting up at 5AM (yes, 5AM!), 5 days a week, and going to the gym for morning workouts. I have continued that schedule ever since. Through exercise and better eating, I’ve lost 30 pounds and feel great as 2012 comes to an end.
But as 2013 begins, I feel like I hit a fitness plateau. The routine is getting old, and I feel myself slipping back to old habits. I want to push myself to another level. I need a new challenge for 2013.
I was not sure what that challenge would be, until New Years Eve, 2012. I’m going to run the LiveStrong half marathon in Austin this February!
As we’re all bombarded for one last night on radio, TV and our mailboxes with the offensive and intellectually insulting ads produced by maggot politicians seeking our votes, I thought it would be interesting to see what the world would be like if these scumbags had to follow the same Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that we do as Realtors.
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.
This means instead of seeking power and wealth for yourself, Mr. and Mrs. Politician, you work toward the best interests of your “clients”, those being the constituants whom you are suppose to serve and represent.
REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction.
Stop telling lies about your opponent, about yourself and about the issues. You’re all worse than a bunch of 5 year olds. It’s embarrassing to watch your ads on TV. You all should be ashamed.
REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest.
Work together to solve common problems, not to feed your ego, your personal aspirations, and your pet projects.
Read more …
Last weekend we took a vacation to the Island House in Corpus Christi on North Padre Island for 4 days. While there, late one night, while checking email and logging into Facebook, I was presented with the following login message:
Your account was recently accessed from a location we’re not familiar with. For your protection, please review your recent activity to make sure no one is using your Facebook account without permission.
Reviewing your activity takes just a few moments. We’ll start by asking you a couple of questions to confirm that this is your account. (If we recognize your computer, you’ll be able to skip this step.)
I guess Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, thinks if I’m logging in from my laptop in another city (different IP address than usual), something might possibly be amiss, and I must therefore validate myself by passing a test. The “couple of questions” turned out to be a photo lineup of 7 “friends” whom I had to identify from photo arrays, selecting from 6 possible names for each individual, or choosing “I’m not sure”.
Only two selections of “I’m not sure” are allowed, and ZERO incorrect answers are allowed. Each “friend” has two photos to review, some which are indistinguishable, my favorite being when the square surrounds a tiny spec of a face within a picture hanging on a wall in the background.
But mainly, with most photos being of decent enough quality, the question remained, Who are these people?! (my “friends”). I don’t recognize any of them, let alone enough to go 5 for 5. Each failed effort requires a 1 hour waiting period before a new try. Meanwhile, my iPhone access still worked, as did the granted permissions from 3rd party tools such as Ping.fm, from which I make most of my status updates, so I wasn’t totally “gone” from the standpoint of status updates, but was unable to log in from a web browser and do anything on Facebook.
This morning I’d had enough. Somehow I would defeat this validation system and regain control of my Facebook account. I finally did. Here’s how.
Read more …
I’ve always been a night owl. My first late night job was in high school, mopping up and taking out the trash part time at a restaurant after closing at 11PM. After high school, not taking well to college right away, I worked second shift 3:30PM to midnight at a factory in San Diego for 18 months. This resulted in countless all-nighters, though I did, unbelievably, maintain perfect attendance without one single late or sick day.
It was a Japanese-owned factory, and perfect attendance each month was rewarded with a $5 bonus and the designation of “Honor Employee”. I liked my $5 bonus the first of each month ($4.34 after taxes), and I liked the way my manager bowed in thanks when presenting the bonus check and saying to me in broken english “You are Honor Employee. We appreciate you”.
To this day, I can’t believe that a wild young, irresponsible, unreliable 18-19 year old like me could be tamed and made 100% punctual by the desire to receive that simple ritual affirmation and a few extra dollars each month. But if you’ve never been bowed to in ritual and honored by an oriental boss, and told you are appreciated in front of all your co-workers, it’s intoxicating. It’s addicting. And it made me feel entirely worthy and valued when everything else in my college-droppout-beer-drinking life indicated otherwise.
So I made sure I was on time every day and didn’t miss work. I think my lifelong work ethic can be attributed to the punctuality habits caused by that $5 bonus and the seemingly trivial yet potent acknowledgment of appreciation each month.
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Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on Ed Sullivan. I’m a huge Beatles fan, always have been. Here is an interesting clip I found on You Tube. It’s a news story that appears to be prior to the appearance on Ed Sullivan.
I received this nice letter from the IRS called “Understanding Your Economic Stimulus Payment”. I got out a calculator to arrive at my own understanding and, from what I can tell, my stimulus award was taxed at a rate of 92.17%, which is the percentage of the $1,800 total that was taken back because we make supposedly earned too much in 2007. That leaves us with a whopping $140.90 which which to stimulate the economy.
That’s fine, I don’t really care about the money, but what irks me is that politicians run around spouting the gross figures, as if it has been rebated to everyone. But those of us who worked too hard and contributed too much toward our nation’s tax base were not the only ones who got left out.
I did a bit of searching and came across a blog article from a self described “Crazy Old Lady” who, along with her dog and cat, is getting by in life on $573 per month SSI income. She didn’t get a stimulus rebate either.
Read more …