Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Day of Silence

I got sick while spending Christmas in Minnesota. It was a buggersome sickness, the details of which I won't delve into. Today though, upon waking up, I realized that I could not speak! That's right - the voice was gone. For the first time in my life (I believe) I went a day without speaking. I did all my talking through my computer, utilizing LH Michael's voice in Microsoft Word.

I got mixed responses: My mother thought it was annoying, my girlfriend thought it mildly amusing and... well, I didn't try it on anyone else. Interestingly enough, the computer was clear enough for her to understand through my cell phone.

Also, I got several thank you notes done. Well, more than several. Half done!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Intense Loneliness

I've made some difficult decisions recently that I think are what God willed me to do. With that said, for some reason life is very difficult for me right now. Though our business is growing, though I'm near family, though finances are good... everything is good, and yet on top of this mountain, igh above the valley and even looking down on the clouds there is a bittersweet smell that I cannot stomach. It is driving me from the mountain, though I'm not sure what it is or where it comes from.

It started last night as I watched I Am Legend when Robert Neville could do nothing to help humanity. Yes, that made me sad. He labored for years and then at his crowning moment, he died. He wasn't able to enjoy the fruit of his years of labor. Then, as I watched The Notebook, the feeling returned, as two lovers who worked hard on their family and enjoyed each other for years are unable to enjoy the twilight of life together.

Perhaps I need to be more heavenly focused - the things of this earth just don't seem worth laboring for sometimes, and other times it seems the more we care, the more we are hurt.

Or, maybe I just didn't have any coffee today.

I am Legend

I give this movie 2/5 stars.

By making the infected so... screamy and non-talkative, they just took any play out of the movie. The movie should have been silent, as it would have been an improvement over the ridiculous yells and shrieks of the infected.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well, Good Things

So, I had to turn down a job offer that I got in MN. I won't say where it was, just that it was something I really wanted to do, and that it was hard to say no to it. I love MN, from one corner to the other, and would have enjoyed the offer. After two weeks of prayer though, not only did I not have any peace about the offer, I felt like the timing was all wrong.

I've structured a pay for performance bonus system in my family business. We're continuing to implement a lot of changes this year, from staffing to computer systems to basic operations, and this is going to be a breakthrough year for the company. Well, another breakthrough year, as '07 has been phenomenal. The difference between '07 and '08 that I hope to see is increase in revenue, like '07 saw, without the HUGE costs. Expanding our offices, putting in a world class phone system, putting in a world class network, already having to expand the phone system AGAIN... it's crazy, ya know?

But, the Lord has been good to my family, me, and the business. I'm working on getting everything full flow by April, then training my successor and leaving in mid-December of next year... and that is contractual. Then, back to MSP to finish school.

I won't lie... I don't want to be here in Memphis. If I didn't feel it was what the Lord had for me right now and that it was part of his plan for my life, I would not be here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful For...

As I get ready to leave the Holiday Inn Express at exit 398 here on I40 in Tennessee, I would like to say I am thankful I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. The bed was very, very nice. :)

More seriously, top five things I'm thankful for this year:
1. The Lord
2. That the Lord introed me to someone amazing.
3. For family
4. For friends
5. For amazing business growth

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pray for Practical Things

I have been reviewing vehicles that have been literally creamed by semis lately. The thought occurred to me that it would be great if folks in the church would pray practical things, such as safety for drivers.

That's all.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Amusing VIN

I've never seen this before, and it amused me greatly. VIN's contain a lot of info about a vehicle... an '04 Land Rover Discovery's VIN spells, with it's first five digits, "SALTY."

What does that stand for, in the VIN?

S - Saxony England Manufactuerr Location
A - Austin Rover Group, UK LTD.
L - Lorrey
T - Discovery Series II
Y - SD or Series II SE 5 Seat

Car Schedule

I have been so busy growing our family business that I have not had time for my little side show - buying a few cars, fixing 'em up, reselling them. Well, I kicked it in high gear. I pull my Continental from the detailer tonight (hopefully) and then take a Mazda to him tomorrow. If I could move them both within the next 14 days, I will be happy! I'll post some picks of the Continental after I get it back!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So Far, So Good

I posted about the fraction game in my last blog. I've played it the last two nights as well, so hey, good deal. I am a bit frustrated. Even though I'm a big dude, I've always been able to run for long periods of time. I'm having to force myself to keep it to a minimum as I reintroduce myself simply because last time I hopped into this hardcore, I hit it too hard and hurt my right ankle. In fact, I hurt it so badly that I started walking weird and hurt my entire leg. I was off my feet for about 8 days! Not good! Here's to taking it easy and doing it right!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fraction Game

Today I played the fraction game for the first time in a long time! The fraction game is simply reducing fractions in your head as they relate to workout time. For example: tonight I ran for 30 minutes. 5/30 reduced to 1/6, etc.

In other words, this blog is really about working out. I started again, and I'm gonna keeeep it up. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gorgeous


I just got back in town from my cousin's wedding. I'll let the picture above do the talking. Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, SD (near Mt. Rushmore), was the wedding site. Gorgeous.

Notable to me was the fact that the Bride and Groom served communion to everyone personally. Very servant hearted and very special. Way to go guys!

This was one of the first trips I've taken where my thoughts have gone between the event itself and "I wish Sarah was here." that in and of itself is notable to me. I missed her!




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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wired (Again)!

I've been in the Black Hills of South Dakota all weekend for my cousin's wedding. It was spectacularly beautiful! This is just a quick jot down... but it blew me away that I had 11mb worth of email to download when I got to the airport! I thought it would be nice to have a break from being wired, but it just piled up more work for me to do!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"You Fell Just Right"

I saw and heard one of the most interesting displays of human "people skills" today I ever have. This just happened about 3 minutes ago too, so this is hot off the press.

Sitting at gate 31 at the Greensboro, NC airport, I watched as a flight to Cincinnati prepared finally close the gate door and push away. Suddenly, I heard a loud "thump!" I looked, and a woman that had been running simply fell. Everyone was off their feet to help her, and she quickly got up. She joked, "I'm too old to be running" and acted like she was able to brush it off, but a look at her face revealed that she was truly embarrassed, and maybe even ashamed. A flight attendant came and helped her to the gate. As the lady took her ticket to scan it, she said in a very genuine and admiring voice, "You fell JUST right! When we go through training for this job, falling is one of the things they teach us, but I've never seen anyone fall as safely as you did!" That's not verbatim... but I saw the faller flash a quick appreciative smile. Then, she came out of the little ball she had curled up into with a radical posture change, and began to strut down the ramp and out of view.

Very interesting. I hope I'm able to encourage people in moments of embarrassment.

Friday, September 28, 2007

As Company Grows, My Brain Grows and Blows Up

I'm studying the different versions of Server 2003 so that I can figure out what will work best for my company as we grow and add my network devices (and employees to work those network devices.

From my understanding there is a difference between 2003 SP2 and 2003 R2...

I need to be able to:

* Have users log onto my domain and be able to hop around from desktop to desktop. They won't do this OFTEN, just in case of their system crashing or me needing to work on their station.
* Manage my print services and quickly add print capabilities to new systems without crazy driver issues.
* Serve an access database to select users
* Serve our sales database (ACT!) to every computer
* Allow me to set permissions and security for every folder
* Easily implement VPN so I can get on this puppy now... from the airport, fishing, whereever
* allow to to remotely reboot
* Work with my 32 bit processor on the "server" that now has xp pro on it.
* Connect to 10 computers (now, will be adding more over time)
* Manage internet speeds going to each computer to insure everyone but me has slow, junky speeds (just kidding about the last few words there)
* Assign permanent IP addresses to systems based on their MAC address.



So.... can I do this with SP2? On server do they make you pay to download sp's? Or do I need R2?

And am I being stupid thinking I need Enterprise Edition?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shooting: Fun

This weekend I had the chance to shoot with a fellow member of TrekBBS. It was a blast to meet someone that likes Star Trek, Scifi, and shares my love of safe firearm useage.

I put about 200 rounds through my XD40, 25 rounds through his 1911, and 100 rounds through his AR-15. It was a blast shooting his 1911 as he just got it back from the custom shop. It makes me want one. It "prints" better than my xd40, meaning it doesn't bulge when you carry as much. It was... great fun!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Great Weekend with The Girlfriend



This past weekend was a great time. Nervousness passed to a great feeling of "yes!" as my girlfriend met my family. We had a great time!

Sarah was able to arrive about 8 hours early on Saturday as she found out at the last minute her job was closed for the holiday and was able to change her flight.

She and my family were able to dine at the Tower Room
which is on the 33rd floor of Clark Towers. For Memphis, that is way high in the sky. For everyone else, please, no makey fun of me.

On Sunday, Sarah and I went to Life Church of Memphis (the church I attend in Memphis) and then had a great time just lazing around.

Monday was the culmination of a great weekend though, as we spent a great portion of the day at the Memphis Zoo and then went to the Mississippi River to watch the sunset.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thuggery!

I have a car I've been working on for months to get ready to sell - months! I just put new tires on it, and was simply had to take it to the detailer. I went behind my office to get the vehicle... and a thug had dropped a rock through the right side passenger window.

WHY? The car was EMPTY!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hobbies

You can learn a lot about someone by their hobbies. My dad's hobbies, for example, are completely different on work days than non-work days. On non-work days, he will sit in his chair and read, or he will simply watch TV. On work days, however, he will drive as far as humanly possible to eat somewhere and normally spend 2-3 hours between driving and eating.

My main hobby is reading, but lately, I've renewed my interest in PC Gaming. My interest in going to the gym is coming back too... but that is something I'll have to make myself do :p

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I35W Bridge Collapse

We have a lot to be thankful for in this tragedy - THANK GOD that the school bus of students on the bridge didn't suffer any fatalities.

I got a call from Scottland asking how the country was doing, and I couldn't help but be amazed. Many news anchors were calling this "the worst tragedy" they've ever seen... despite having lived through 9/11. Personally, I'm thankful that my cousin in dental school at the U of M chose a different route to get home last night and left earlier than usual. I'm thankful that no Hazmat's were being transported on the bridge at the time of the collapse... the list goes on and on.

When I lived in the Twin Cities, I used this bridge every day to and from. It's kind of shocking that this happened. I've seen the bridge gridlocked, fully loaded, at a standstill. I just can't believe it "gave in" on its own. My gut instinct, despite Homeland Security's reassurances to the nation is that someone screwed up something on purpose on that bridge.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Terribly Homesick.

I've been browsing for office decorations. I started looking for city skylines, and came across a Minneapolis skyline that showcased the metrodome. At that point, I realized I'm terribly homesick for the twin cities.

Three good quotes on finances

Three quotes from my youth have been haunting my dreams lately:
1. "You don't have to be smart to spend money." My dad got this from my grandfather. I'm not sure who he got it from, but he did grow up in the depression and was very hard struck by it. Most likely, this was a common catch phrase.

2. "The universal law of economics: Your standard of living will rise to meet your income." I hope I always (note: I didn't say I hope I can, because 99% of people can!) will discipline myself to live significantly below my income!

3. "Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later." The great Dave Ramsey says this often.

That said about Dave Ramsey, I really need to go back and read some of Larry Burkett's writings - he was preaching the truth when Dave Ramsey was still going through bankruptcy!

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's a Mystery to Me

So, I sold a very nice dealer in Virginia an engine for a 2005 Cadillac DeVille. Super nice guy, really enjoyed talking to him. We agreed he'd overnight a check and we'd get it on the road to him.

Called two days later to let him know we hadn't gotten the check, and he let me know he'd sent it regular mail. That's fine by me, but:
1. It's not as secure of a way to send a check
2. There is no tracking number
3. It flat out takes longer, and I'm sure this guy wants to move this car!

Oh well, not my lot. I just hope the check makes it here!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Family Businesses: Good and Bad

Sitting here on hold as I try to get work done for another member of my family in our family business, I'm about as angry as I can be, which is not typical, but does happen from time to time. In a family business, moods seem to be dependent on what people eat for breakfast.

A few observations:
1. Never "bushwhack" someone right away as they come in for work.
2. Never make an accusation and then try to act like you were just asking a probing question to see if there was something you should be worried about.
3. It is unfair to think that when someone works until 11:00 at night doing something for you, they will always want to do this.
4. When you tell someone you want to talk to them, and thus use their time, it is courteous to set an agenda. Blind shotgun conversations are stupid and ineffective, and only very poor leaders waste their time and the time of their subordinates with this type of idiocy.
5. To quote the worn out phrase that everyone should know, but that everyone does not yet know: Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Eat it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fender Bender... not in my car!

I had a fender bender this morning and I wasn't in my car... I was in Sarah's! She's been great about the whole thing - she didn't yell or cry. I want her to feel like she can cry to me about things, but she was very calm about this whole thing, which is amazi(ng).

If an insurance company were to repair it I would estimate the damage at about 3k... but I'm hoping to get everything fixed for around 800. Pray that this happens!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What to pack?

I'm heading to North Carolina for the weekend to visit my girlfriend. I'll be staying with one of her friends and know it's going to be a blast - I'm really looking forward to seeing her.

Big fear: Whenever I travel, I'm scared I'll forget something important, whether it be a toothbrush, shirt, etc.

Here's hoping I don't forget everything!

What's The Deal With Numpad and Phone Pad

It is very counterintuitive that the phone keys and the numpad on a keyboard are in reverse order.

I hate this, and am trying to figure out a workaround.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nortel BCM50 - Interesting Learning Curve

For those of you who are "in the know" I recently purchased a very nice phone system for our company. I've been learning to configure it, and let me tell you, this has been a task. The capabilities of the system are very impressive, but to use them I've had to pour over several 200+ page instruction manuals. To be honest, I enjoy part of this, but what I hate is that to really learn, one has to experiment. If I do something stupid, that risks our entire phone system, and thus our connection to our customer.

And the customer comes first!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Burger King Has No BK Mocha Joe's

So for the third day in a row the Burger King ("King" ha!) has no BK Mocha Joe's! That's right - they're "all out!"

I don't buy it for a minute - I think they just don't stock it in the ghetto and need to stop advertising it in their drive through. I'll just go ahead and buy it at a nice burger king, by my house, and leave this one to selling fish fillets.

Out!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sad Day

One year ago today, Midnight, our poodle of 12 years, was put to sleep in Bartlett, TN. Simultaneously, I was babysitting this dog in Farmington, MN. I was unaware Midnight was being put to sleep and it came as a shock to me.

The dog in the picture is named Mickey, and I can hardly wait to own my own black poodle one day again. They make great football buddies, love to see you when you get home - and they're just flat smart.

R.I.P. Midnight Shadow Nowlin.
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Good Week

This has been an excellent week. I've gotten one car completely mechanically sound and into the detailer as of today, and another car should be picked up tonight with a parts list. Should not be difficult to get everything going on it once I have parts. I'm pumped, in other words.

This is all the good news I will publicly share.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Number One Idiot Question of the Day

"When you say the engine, does that include the transmission, or just the engine?"

Help me Captain Obvious, Defender of the Known...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Looking at Several Improvements for My Office

I'm registering a vehicle with the state right now and I'm taking the time sitting to note a few things I'm working on to make my company more profitable:
  1. Streamlining the paperwork process. We are looking at several options that would link three programs we use (Act!, Microsoft Access, and Quickbooks) and allow us to bypass cutting and pasting information between programs. This would save us a considerable amount of time and eliminate clerical errors.
  2. Switching to a VOIP phone service- if we switch to voice over IP, we would immediately see an 80% savings on our outgoing calls and maintain a similar cost level on incoming 800 calls. There are companies that we could cut costs with on both ingoing and outgoing, but they don't seem as reliable.
  3. Doing a better job selling part and labor warranties. This would give many of our customers a peace of mind about their purchases, extend their part warranty, and cover their labor in the highly unlikely event that they have a warranty problem, in addition to making our company more profitable. It is truly a win-win situation.
Also high on my agenda, but highly unlikely, is teaching my father how to do basic things around the office. He can sell like the dickens, but he's pretty much infantile when it comes to doing very basic things like looking up tracking numbers for customers. He then wastes his time and their time by getting someone else to do it, instead of just making 4 mouse clicks and finding it himself. Bad dad! Bad!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Incompetant People

One of the biggest frustrations in life is dealing with people who are attempting to deal with others or make decisions of a nature of in a capacity that is beyond the limits God placed on their intellect.

I hate this frustration, and tonight instead of writing about anything deep, I would just like to let you know that I would love nothing more than to find a hard counter top and repeatedly bump my head on it until numbness sets in and I go to sleep.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

That car is on fire!

U sell transmissions?

Funny phone call from someone that doesn't listen well:

"I needs a transmission for a 97 Caravan."
"Sir, I'm sorry, we only sell engines. I can't help you."
"Wha - huh? Well, wut a engine cost?"
**I check** In the background I hear a few people talking, "How you sell a engine but no transmission? Dis guy lyin'."
"Sir, it will cost XXXX.XX."

The guy replies, without any pause or hesitation, "Do dat cum wif a transmission?"

"No."

**Click**

Sometimes, I thank God for the clicking noise.

They did what? or Things that make me not use companies again

I bought a really nice Lincoln Continental out of Virginia a couple of months ago. I contracted with the company I've contracted with to move several other vehicles to get this Continental to Memphis, and bought a transmission with only 5,000 miles on it. I shipped it to Memphis and then I waited. 3 weeks went by. I waited another week. Then I started to get angry. I don''t yell at people I do business with when I get angry - I remind them of what they told me they would do when I pay them, and I remind them of the volume of business they will miss if they don't do what they've told me they will.

After much frustration, dozens of calls, and me planning on driving to Virginia to get the vehicle myself, they finally picked my vehicle up. I got a call Friday from the company they contracted to asking why they were being paid to haul a functional vehicle when the vehicle was non-functional (completely shot transmission). The idiots I hired LIED to the haulers, and now the vehicle was sitting in a cradle, unable to be moved off of the truck. Amazing!

The company (CK Transport) was nice enough to take the vehicle to their lot and use their equipment to pull it off the trailer for me. They'll deliver it to my shop on Tuesday. Crazy! I'll just go through them directly, as I plan on getting a lot of vehicles in Virginia from this supplier.

I'm finding out that one of the main components of business is knowing who to deal with and who not to deal with!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stupid Phone Calls

I talk to a lot of people on the phone every day. A LOT. Doing this, I hear some strange stories. "I blew up my motor racing backwards for five miles in the rain," etc. Crazy things. Today, I got a phone call. The area code was for the South Twin Cities, and it was so absurd that after I got off the call I immediately texted 7 of my friends to see if they had prank called me. If they did, none would own up to it. As most of them are pastors or pastoral study majors, I'm taking their word for it.

Before I share with you what happened, I want to post this disclaimer: idiot voice inflection can take an intelligent comment and remove the "intelligence" from the conversation.

When the gentleman in question called, he told me he was looking for a '96 Civic motor, and insisted he wanted to put a V-Tec in his base model. We don't sell a motor to someone unless it's the same motor they have in their vehicle. Nothing I said made this man understand that. Instead, he was focusing on whether or not I could get him the motor quickly so he could install it while his vehicle was on the freeway. That's right, he wanted to do a motor install on the freeway. I did not sell that motor.

Interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What if the tow truck needs towing?

On my way to a shop today, I saw a Ford F650 tow truck moseying down the road. To say it looked like it needed help would be an understatement. I thought of a man in ministry that recently fell due to a moral failing, a man I respect, and a seeing that tow truck - worn out from pulling other vehicles - struggling to pull its own weight made me really thank God for the men and women we have in ministry in the church... as well as those that support them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lightning

There's lightning in the sky tonight, along with the accompanying thunder and, of course, rain. My entire life I've loved storms. Something speaks to me in the bright flash, something sings to me in the rumble of the thunder, and the rain refreshes everything it falls on.

Every time I see lighting, I'm reminded of 1 Kings 1.11b-13
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

What a word-picture. Intense wind, an earthquake, and a fire. All of these symbolic in the New Testament of the new covenant (mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the earthquake that tore the veil to the Holy of Holies at the crucifiction, and the tongues of fire that landed on the heads of those in the upper room), yet God showed up and whispered.

Everyone loves to talk about the way God came rumbling and hollering at Ezekiel to not let the Witch Jezebel defeat God's prophet - not after the fire from heaven and the slaying of the 400 prophets of Baal. But God was doing more than rebuking Ezekiel - he was reminding him of his nature. Remember, the day before *wham* - fire from heaven, and 400 died. But LORD was not in the fire - and after the fire, God sent a prophet... a whisper.

Many times in our lives we see a radical situation change in our life, or in the life of someone else. We assume God is teaching a lesson or using that to directly communicate through the event a truth to somwone. Can he do that? Of course. But how many times the LORD is not in the fire, but is really calling us to show up and whisper? In the rubble following the earthquake, the darkness following the lightning, or the ash following the fire - are you whispering when needed?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Awkard

Last week I had a few interesting incidents.

Thursday, I found a homeless guy sleeping in an investment vehicle while I was taking pictures of it for advertising. I was not pleasant to him, especially after he peed on the rear wheel of the vehicle.

That night, with a new paranoia about the vehicles I leave at the office, I drove back by after I left the gym. Figuring I might as well get some work done, I went in the office for about 45 minutes. When I left the building, there were two kids in a late model Civic doing something unglodly enough to make the vehicle's shocks take the worst beating of their life. I walked to my Audi (in the opposite direction of them), turned on all my lights and cranked up some rap as loud as I could - I needed those kids to leave, as I didn't want to drive right by them, and they were by the only exit from the rear of the building. I sat. Waiting. For five minutes. Awkward Sometimes, you just can't win. So, I drove by them blaring my horn the entire time.

Awkwardness is such a weird emotion. You can feel awkward in good situations - getting to know someone new. You can feel awkward if you've done something wrong and you think you'll get caught.

Kids really do a better job of expressing themselves. Many times I've had them sum up why they can't talk about something with their parents - "It makes me feel retarded." That's an interesting take on the subject. Awkward could be anger with an extra chromosome - or fear, or sadness. It's a play on something normal, a perversion of something good. For example, meeting the homeless man, or those kids. Meeting someone should be a great thing! But when they're peeing on your car, or doing something shameful, the beauty of the meeting is perverted, and awkwardness ensues. Or think about meeting someone you feel is "better" than you. Your sense of self-worth has been perverted... things have gotten, as a teenager would put it, "retarded."

What a random, awkward blog. Oh well - off to the gym and then back to the office to check my cars!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Great Weekend in the Cities

When I left Minnesota last fall for the oilfields, it was my intention to visit the cities as often as I could. I was thinking once a month. That was realistic with me working on the oil fields. Obviously the oil fields didn't work out, and neither did my travel plans.

I've been tremendously busy in Memphis, working late nights at the office and on car deals. This experience been tremendously rewarding at times, and tremendously painful at other times. In other words, I needed a break.

I flew into Minneapolis, which is "God's country." It was great to visit friends and family, but it was a little difficult getting around. Note to self - rent a car next time.

For those that care, a recap of what I did:
  • Friday night - brief meal with Pastor Alan. It was so good to see him. I love that man like a brother.
  • Saturday - shooting with my friend Ben at his brother's house. It was a blast. He has a super nice family. Good people.
  • Saturday Night - Saw Vanman, looked at the house he's closing on. I think he can make some money on it if he keeps it a while and keeps it full of renters.
  • Sunday - Church in the morning, had lunch with Pastor Troy and did a little shopping, then had dinner with my cousin in the evening.
I stayed with Shawn Roehl, and it was great to see him. I put him right up there with Pastor Alan on the brother feelings.

It was good to get home - I'm now more motivated to work and get out of Tennessee, back to God's country.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The XD40

I'm doing a significant amount of business in less than safe areas of town. In fact, I was at a location about a week ago two blocks away from a murder - at the time of the murder. Now, I have to do what I have to do, but I don't have to do it without being able to defend myself. So, after renting and trying out several handguns, I've returned to my southern roots (full circle. OK, not really full circle) and purchased a Springfield XD40. I took it to the range last night and put 50 rounds through it. I'm waiting for an oil change at Walmart right now, and the XD 40 is at home, locked and in the safe. I'm signed up for the concealed carry class on April 7, and I will go to the DMV on the 9th to get my permit, and then I will start carrying.

The number of good, honest folks that have permits and carry a handgun in Shelby County is, honestly, astonishing. After 30 years of rising violence, TN passed shall issue concealed carry laws, and even now, the state is passing legislation to strengthen the right of the individual to protect themself. For example, a bill is being sponsored this year that would allow a citizen to shoot a carjacker even if they can't verify that the carjacker is armed. In other words, none of this, "Is the guy really armed, or is that a finger under that jacket." In the past, if you've fired in that situation, you've been liable for a lawsuit. Ridiculous. We need laws like this on the books.

Ultimately though, I'll end up never firing this weapon in defense of anything and only pulling it out at the range. But it sure is nice to be prepared.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Things Are Looking Up

Things are definitely looking up for me. In a way, my mechanic problems are turning into a blessing - instead of splitting profit on vehicles, I'm simply paying a guy by the job now. He's doing the work faster, better, and for less. I've sold the guy a ton of engines in the past for his customers, and I don't know why I didn't think to use him for my stuff. Irregardless of past details, it's a huge blessing to have his company do work for me.

Also, Dad and I are thinking of getting into remanufacturing engines. We handle a lot of newer, high dollar engines (late model Jag, Mercedes, BMW) and are pretty much wasting the "core" engines (some of these rebuildable Jag engines are worth $1500 bucks for the old core!). On Jag engines, you can literally quadruple your money - it's worth it, if you don't mind sitting on the engine for a while.

Today, I ordered several books on accounting and bookkeeping. I think we can cut our company accountant loose and save significant money by working more closely with our CPA and doing more in house... but I have to convince everyone else of this.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Baby Boomers - I feel Sorry For You

This morning, I figured out that I feel sorry for baby boomers. Most of them have decided they're going to let the government take care of them when they retire, instead of planning for it themselves.

Well, boomers, the government is broke.

Good luck.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It feels good

Last year, I had a cough that lasted so long my friends made fun of me and said I had an AIDS cough. Now, honestly, that's not funny, and it's tacky. But it did a nice job of underscoring the point that the cough would not go away. That same cough made an appearance again this year, about 3 weeks after I started running hard again, and pretty much wiped out what I had done in those three weeks.

Well, I started sort of tiptoeing around the gym about a week ago, but didn't do much. Last night, I hit the gym hard, and ran for 55 minutes. Let me tell you, it felt good. My back feels good, I hate tons of energy, and I'm ready to beat the piss out of the day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mississippi Burning




Saturday, Dad and I went down to the plantation to watch prescribe burning on the farm. We have a very healthy pine forest, but we haven't burned for a while. The fuel load was getting a little high, putting the forest at risk should an uncontrolled fire break out, and running burns kills the brush and leaves more food for wildlife. It's just a good thing to do from a conservation point.

Dad has only been to Weir (the town he grew up in and that the plantation is closest to) two times in the last decade. Interestingly enough, the funeral home buried my Grandfather in the wrong plot, and rather than exhume him just put a new tombstone over his grave. Dad saw the tombstone for the first time - which is strange, since Grandpa died 17 years ago.

We visited a man named Sambo, who maintained the homesite after Grandpa died and is very dear to our family. I had always heard about Sambo, but never met him until yesterday. He worked doing very manual labor well into his 70's - he was mowing our yard at the plantation until about five years ago.

Seeing the farm was just strange. Katrina created winds which knocked several trees down on the house - we had to have it torn down. Only the concrete slab from the car port remains of the house my dad grew up in. The picnic house and several storage sheds have all been rummaged through by thieves, and all the roofs are starting to have damage on them. Dad and I decided that, since we want to hunt and fish on the farm, we're going to fix up the picnic house. We plan on putting a tin roof on the picnic house, cutting the branches away from it, digging underneath it, and putting bars on the doors and windows to keep it nice once we get it the way we want. There is a nice pond there with good fishing (Grandpa actually dug the pond himself). We're going to cut back the trees, leaving several around the pond for shade, and burn around it. Basically, we can fit three people in that picnic house comfortably as far as existing bunks go, so we just want a nice place to hunt and fish out of.

Above are some pictures I took from a fun Saturday. The great thing is that I wasn't really cost a lot of work by being down there - the wireless card we picked up for my laptop gave me plenty of opportunity to get work done in the car on the way down and back!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday, Monday, Monday

"I hate Mondays, and I love Fridays." People that say that frustrate me. Nine times out of ten, people that say that work for the other guy, don't maximize their potential in life, and react to things that happen to them instead of being proactive.

"I hate Mondays" is in direct contrast to the mentality that God has laid out in scripture of working unto him with our full heart and storing up for hard times when the Lord gives us the chance. We have a negative savings rate in this country. I'm really feeling that right now at the business - we're selling tons of engines this tax season. That fits right in with the statistic I heard the other day that says most folks only savings is in their tax returns!

If you hate Mondays, you need to stop whining, get an attitude readjustment, and go kick some butt at your job.

This was a rant, not a blog. :D

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When You're Betrayed

I'm at a place in life I did not think I would be several months ago. About 8 weeks ago, my vehicle turnaround came to a halt. My friend, or the man I thought was a friend, the man we paid first and last month's rent for in a shop, the man we co-signed on rent for, the man we fed for three months, the man I tried to send business to (both customers and vehicles I bought to resell).

I have three cars at his shop. My dad has two - one of them is an expensive Audi A4, the other an 06 Trailblazer with only about 5,000 miles on it. Dad bought it as a rebuilder, had the body work done, and has been waiting on the mechanical work for six months. He told our friend he could drive the Trailblazer to pick up his kids, etc., since the friend was going through a divorce. Well, he's not doing anything. We've sent customer after customer to him. Their vehicles are always done weeks late. My vehicles haven't been touched in two months. And dude hasn't touched my father's vehicle.

He sent a vehicle out with an engine we shipped in. We recommended the customer to him. We used our good name and recommended him. He installed her engine and sent her out with a cracked intake manifold. We did not sell this gal a labor warranty, but we're paying to have the job done right at another mechanic's because we feel responsible.

Up until two months ago, this guy was gold. He's changed. He lies to me, he lies to customers, and he's costing me thousands of dollars.

I'm at a loss for what to do. I've found another mechanic who has had his own shop for ten years. He's priced dirt cheap, and he does good work, but he's not nearly as good as this other mechanic at diagnosis. I'm at a loss for what to do. I have to get three vehicles and $5,000 in used engines out of his shop, plus my dad's two vehicles - all without him locking the doors, or doing something to my stuff.

The thing that hurts though isn't the money - although that hurts. I'm doing this to get in good financial shape and it was working for a while, until he started lying and not doing work. What hurts is the lying. The "I'll have it done next week" for 8 weeks in a row. The "I can't get that engine" and going to his shop and finding him installing that exact engine in another customer's vehicle - when mine has been sitting there for 8 weeks.

I'm going crazy.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Back to Blogging

I woke up this fine Saturday morning and realized that I miss blogging. Blogging is, in a way, therapeutic for me. I'm able to sift through the torrent of thoughts I have and figure out which ones are important - even if I don't write about them.

So, a few updates.

The car situation in Memphis is going both good, and bad. The mechanic I really want to work with, and that I worked with at first, just flat out isn't getting my stuff done anymore. In fact, I send customers to him, and he's not getting anything done for them either. He's literally the best mechanic I know - when he works. It's like a month ago, he just decided he was done. So, I have a few vehicles over there, but I'm sending all of my new stuff to a mechanic we've sent engines to in the past, that customers have been very satisfied with.

Organization of all of this is fun. Tracking parts throughout the country, planning work timelines, creating profit estimate spreadsheets - I love it. It's a lot more fun than organizing my own life, to be honest.

On that note, my financial situation is greatly improving. I have good cash reserves, which I have to have to do what I'm doing with cars, and that reserve is growing. Bills aren't dreaded now - I can pay them without worry. Hopefully, I can get out of here and get on with my life on my planned timeline!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Avoid Credit Card Fraud

We recently shipped an engine to a customer in the great state of Louisiana near the end of December. It was a nice, expensive Cadillac engine. The customer said that their boyfriend was a mechanic and was going to install the engine, so we shipped it to their home (home delivery is not at all rare - many folks install their engine themselves). Everything our system asks for (and it asks for a lot as we take Credit Card Fraud very seriously) matched on the credit charge.

Needless to say, we got a call about two weeks later from our merchant services. The owner of the card had reported it stolen. At first, we were a bit miffed because of the fact that the owner of the card had signed for the engine. We thought it was a case of someone ordering an engine and simply deciding that they didn't want to pay for it.

Well, today we got a phone call from the police. They let us know they had recovered our engine. Turns out that this person was a huge identity thief. They worked at some kind of online merchant and stole a lot of folks info - the cops recovered massive amounts of data in notebooks on people.

We at Low Mileage Engines are proud of the methods we use to minimalize credit card fraud. Sadly, even the best systems aren't perfect.

Oh well. One fraudster is going to jail.