It's been pretty cold lately so going to work has been a whole barrel full of monkeys kind of fun. For some reason, the third of my house where my bedroom is is much colder than the rest of the house. It is the farthest from the furnace, but I think something more than just proximity is going on. My house is definitely drafty so I need to get an energy audit next spring to identify the culprit and get it fixed. I had a tankless water heater installed to save a bit on energy, but I think the gas used to heat water is dwarfed by that used to heat my mostly empty house. I'm not a fan of carpet, but it does help keep the floor reasonably warm. Don't get me wrong, I'm not regretting my tankless since the water is always hot for the shower or any other thing I want to do. It does take a bit to heat up at the faucets, but I'll fix that problem in one bathroom with an Ariston 4g POU electric heater. I ordered one earlier this week and it fits under the sink. It should because I measured everything out, but you never know. Hopefully my plumber can get back to me on a quote for the fat guy toilet so I can get both of those taken care of. The toilet in my main bathroom sucks so I'm going to replace it with a water conserving Toto bad boy. I think he can get a pretty good discount, but we'll see. I poked around online and the prices aren't too bad anyhow. I've definitely budgeted enough money so there'll be some leftover to use for Xmas presents. Some people really like this time of the year with all the decorations and caroling and whatnot. I'm kind of luke-warm on it. It's a good chance to see family and to get some stuff, but I can get stuff anytime I want thanks to my job, my credit card and the internet. I find the excessive consumerism pretty depressing though I'm as guilty of it as the average American. One of my biggest fears is that I'll turn into an average American who's 50lbs overweight with diabetes and a huge pile of consumer debt. Heh. I'm already halfway there. I just need to eat some more crap and spend a bit more money. All this tax bill talk is starting to piss me off though. We should be more concerned for the future since our current economic strategy is broken. The future is going to be crippling since we'll owe trillions and trillions of dollars to foreign governments. Why? So we can buy too much crap. Stuff rarely makes you happy and the acquiring of stuff is even more empty. Only people can make us truly happy and we can hang out with them for free. I'm ok with having a much higher tax rate on the richest Americans because I think a good fraction of them trampled on the rest of us to get to where they are now. Not all of them, but certainly some. It's a zero-sum game and the true cost of our actions is not always monetary. The Republicans seem hell-bent on enriching as many of their donors as possible while the Democrats seem hell-bent on handing out whatever they can. Both are trying to buy goodwill, but from different people. Obama has become next to useless with his endless and unnecessary compromising. I'm finding him to be nearly on the side of dishonesty. He's pretty much done, but it's possible he could win in 2012 if the Republicans run a dumbass like Palin against him. I know a fair amount of people would vote for her, but I'm sure even more would vote against her. Better the devil you know eh? It would be nice if more parties could be involved in government. They could help dilute the influence of the two major parties and could better represent the middle of America. Maybe I'll start a new political party. I think I'll call it the Rational Party because I want to restore reasoning and rationality to governing. Truth #1: you can't cut taxes without increasing the incoming money some other way (invading a rich country and robbin' their asses) or by cutting services. Politicians are always going on about how they're going to cut taxes and then cut some spending. But what? I'll vote for the first person who actually details what current spending their going to cut. The big problem is the US spends a buttload of money on the military, Social Security and Medicare. The military seems untouchable for some strange reason and the other two would be tough to go after as well. Hmmm...there are some crows in my front yard cleaning themselves up in my pond. Anyhow, we've got to approach the situation logically or we'll further bankrupt future generations. How long can America be on top with its current policies? We waste billions of dollars protecting people in Iraq and Afghanistan nearly against their wishes. Why? Are we any more secure now? Iraq never had WMD because Clinton blew that mess up with some surgical strikes. Solid intelligence and surgical strikes are all we really need. We don't need ground troops to secure anything because we just want to reduce others' ability to wage war on us. It's a lot trickier in Afghanistan because we're trying to find specific people, but I still think we've failed miserably there. I don't feel any safer and now I've got the choice of getting cancer or getting groped when I fly. Flying used to be a cool experience because you could go crazy distances in just a short time. Now it's a pain in the butt and a lot of the novelty has worn off. I much prefer driving, but my family is too far away for me to drive back for a visit. Bum deal. Flying is always too much like riding the bus. You're squashed in with the unwashed masses. I flew first class a couple of times last year and it was nearly tolerable, but it's expensive. Last year, first class tickets were cheap because the airlines were trying to attract customers. Now it seems like every flight is full. Demand has picked back up, but the airlines aren't adding new flights. I don't blame them because they can't afford to fly people around the country at a loss, but it does complicate the situation for me. I guess Americans got greedy and came to expect being able to fly anywhere they wanted for peanuts. I actually wouldn't mind if flying became more expensive to help filter some of the white trash out. Long term readers of my blog know white trash is my nemesis. They are the antithesis of everything for which I stand. I'm not sure how this country would function without them, but I wouldn't mind finding out. I'm sure we could find teenagers and old people to man the shifts at fast food restaurants.