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Self love in the time of Covid

As last week headed toward an end, I found myself more and more short tempered. With the amount of crap from coworkers or stupidity from family members, I knew that I needed a break because if I didn’t, I would snap at the next person who issued a wrong word my way.

I stopped by my general manager’s office and told him that I needed to take a few days off – to get away. After his quizzical look of concern and approval for a few days respite, I researched a VRBO south of Tallahassee for ninety bucks a night. The next morning, I attempted to book the room, but for some reason VRBO wouldn’t let me book that evening, just the next night. After several hours of back and forth with the owner, we made arrangements for me to rent the small converted fishing shack that evening.

The small cabin was secluded on a lake – Lake Ellen – in Crawfordville, Florida. There were a few houses nearby, but the snowbirds weren’t down for the summer, so I had the lake largely to myself. Two of the neighbors were in residence, but I didn’t see anything other than their head occasionally bobbing along over the fence line.

Lake Ellen – Peaceful solitude

One of the selling points for me was that there wasn’t a TV in the building. Even better was that my cell phone didn’t have service out there. Some folks were at one of the houses right on the lake on Saturday evening. I quickly left because I couldn’t deal with the excessive noise of the children and the parents trying to entertain them.

St. Mark’s Lighthouse – July 25, 2020

On Saturday, I went to the local lighthouse – St. Marks – and found the place to be interesting. Two alligators were in close proximity at one point and I was not inclined to visit them up close and personal!

Coastline dreams

I met up with a friend and we socially distanced at Alligator Point Beach. It was fairly quiet, with a handful of people on the beach, keeping their distance from one another and – more importantly – from us!

My stalker

After less than two hours, we trekked back to the small house to rinse off the saltwater and made our way to Wakulla Springs. My pal told me this was where they filmed “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” We visited the lodge, which was fascinating with its beautiful paintings on the ceiling. The springs were inundated with too many people, despite the Coronavirus concerns. When the gatekeeper told me we’d have to wait to get in to the swimming area, I told her not to worry about it – considering she just let in about eight teens, none of whom were wearing masks. My friend and I were wearing masks and were evidently not going swimming in our hiking shorts and backpacks. I just wanted to see the grounds, but I wasn’t inclined to put myself in danger with all the children and other non-mask wearing folks around.

After a lunch of shrimp and grits, we parted ways for us both to seek out a nap. Getting older during a pandemic will make you sleepy!

Monday arrived and it was time to check out but not without spending some time with the owner of the cabin. She was a charming former school teacher who shared with me her chocolates that she makes as a side business. After a short visit with her, I packed the car and made a mental note to come back for my birthday in September.

What I learned from this spontaneous trip alone:

  • Quiet time is a good thing – seek it more often.
  • Walking in the marshes alone isn’t so scary – unless you happen upon an alligator (or two)!
  • Naps are an amazing way to energize.
  • The adage about stopping and smelling the roses can be applied to:
    Lilies,
    Wisteria,
    Irises,
    Mushrooms,
    and tomatoes… even if you don’t really want to smell some of these!
  • Early morning walks to the lake are an amazing way to start the day, especially if the fish are jumping and the fog is drifting along the banks.
  • Pay attention to the colors and smells. The different colors of the water at the lake versus the sea can be striking. While the smells of the sea and beach are vastly different from the lake.

Finally, just allow yourself to be. You don’t need an agenda. Say hello to strangers. Smile. Keep your notebook handy and use those color pencils to capture the moment – even if your skills aren’t those of Picasso, Dali, or Renoir. Sometimes just a brief scratching of color is all you need to remind you of the day. And keep your ticket stubs, passes or receipts. They make a great reminder of the day.

I did mail postcards to myself each day to recall what I did, even if the events were mundane.

Be good to yourself. Escape and be at peace with yourself. The world will be there when you get back and it will gladly remind you why you took a break to begin with!
-Peace.

Mushrooms in the yard
Little feet
Small wonders

July 28, 2020

Broadcast links

The following are links for news production that I worked on at News Valdosta.

Anchor and Producer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20bKowe9jAk 10/8/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3QRLJFVCzI 12/3/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ciuAL-YQcA 11/12/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV_gTaMefdY 10/24/12

Producer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvTRvpwEhtg 09/10/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C79AlvpLF1U 11/28/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL-XCWWC83g 11/26/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwwO59s7Nwk 11/14/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFKWn-pAy_M 11/19/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeJWtAJXW2o 11/7/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYKTLLcLw4 10/31/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKOOeuvyLGU 10/29/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNHDhO8s-QQ 10/22/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfezw-6YfO0 10/10/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wWBAs0FS1Y 10/3/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc7_9ozc-40 09/19/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A06-VcLqp0 10/1/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjJutHmk0BU 9/24/12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNuY1VzoyM8 9/5/12

Producer and reporter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBMc0emR58E 10/17/12

Producer, anchor and reporter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8e-4DLnobI 9/17/12

The death of integrity

Several years ago when I worked at Pyxis Corporation, an item on a self review was the self determination of your integrity. In as far as work was concerned, I felt then and still do that I had tons of integrity in the workplace. My manager at the time was a back-stabbing little troll of a woman that would just as soon blame you for an issue that she caused while sitting in a meeting with a client – as you learned there was an issue!

I digress.

During the first self-evaluation with my new manager, I had marked myself a five on the scale of 1-5 for integrity – because I felt that I had the most integrity of all my team members. I never took time off while I was working on a project. I was incredibly honest with my clients, sometimes to my own detriment. I took all responsibility for the project, despite issues that arose from other people or corporate!

In any event, she told me that she changed it to a three because “you either have integrity or you don’t.” To which I commented that it shouldn’t be a gradient scale and asked her how dare she question my integrity, when she knew that I had more integrity in my pinkie than she did in her entire body!

I tell you that to tell you this: I watch what is happening in our world at the hands of the current occupant of the White House – he is constantly tweeting lies, proclaiming actions that never happened, or denying that he grabbed women by the genitals. The integrity of the office of the president has fallen to a historic low. His approval ratings are an indication of how far down the integrity of the most powerful office in the world has fallen.

The sharp slide downward may not have begun with the Nixon administration, but its end point certainly has reached a new low in the Trump administration and you have to wonder how we have fallen so far so quickly. Together with Congress members, the current occupant stirred up a load of bull about Obama and his birth certificate. His skin color offended them and they did nothing for the greater good of America while he was in office. So much of the Republican’s obstructionism brought us the current occupant.

I blame reality TV. That’s what Trump brought to the table: visibility to a set of Americans that only watch Fox News and reality TV. (I don’t like to generalize, but I’ve watched this firsthand.) I stopped watching TV almost 10 years ago. I don’t care about Kim Kardashian or any of her ilk. I barely know what’s on TV these days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know what’s going on in the world because I am a news junkie and have been a political news junkie since Mitt Romney made his 47% comments. He awoke in me an anger that had me off the sidelines and into the world of arguing with my friends and relatives who refused to see the truth.

They still don’t and I’ve wasted my breath.

Think about it; we had an election that was more scripted for TV than it was about policy. Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk. I know the type. They sit up at nights reading policy and bills – I know, I’ve done the same thing!

She tried to introduce policy – actions that would help the country. In Trump, we had vague promises to build a wall to keep Mexicans and other North American Latinos from crossing into our country.

I’ve read much about the impact that such a wall would have, both environmentally and from a trade agreement perspective. Doing so could have a tremendous impact on existing trade agreements with Mexico, but reality has no place in the scripted horror-comedy that is the current occupant’s administration.

That doesn’t include the cost of the wall. There are estimates between $15 to $25 billion just to build it and an estimated $750 million a year for the upkeep.

Even with George W. Bush, I never was as scared of my president as I am with the current occupant. Trump has signed a huge number of executive orders, some of which are unlawful and stopped by judges before they can be implemented. He stole a Supreme Court seat, thanks to Mitch McConnell. Of course the Democrats have much to blame in that – they should have insisted that Garland Merrick have a nomination hearing and should NOT have assumed Hillary would win. The arrogance in their lack of action is telling as well.

Now, the current occupant has bombed Afghanistan and launched missiles into Syria. He warned the Russians he was going to launch the missiles and that allowed them to move out of the area and look as if they were never there.

On top of all that, Trump has taken more golfing vacations in the first couple of months than Obama did in a year. The sad thing about that is Trump constantly berated Obama for taking any vacations. During the campaign, he said he’d prefer to stay in the White House and work. Apparently not.

We have all been duped – well, I haven’t because I’ve been screaming about the lack of integrity of this man for a few years now. He’s a liar and a crook. I didn’t vote for him. Now, as he works to defund the programs that actually help the people who elected him, I wonder if they finally see that he is screwing them over and the pain he inflicts now will be felt for years to come.

It’s been difficult living in South Georgia where the people vote Republican and then get mad when the government takes away their social security checks, their food stamps, or whatever else they may be receiving. No one seems to do any research and realize that it was their congressman who actually voted to reduce food stamps, voted against a raise in social security and disability checks.

Still, it’s more than just the facts that point to this death of integrity. Look at how Trump has handled criticism, or how he mangled history (Andrew Jackson as an example), or how he refused to shake the hand of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

These are just a small number of offenses by the current occupant. He hasn’t answered the call to release his taxes. He hasn’t answered questions about his ties to Russia. There are so many other important issues to discuss that we’d need all night to discuss them. However, if this commentary hasn’t prompted you to do your own research, then you aren’t paying attention.

Integrity is dying in America and it is prominent in our politics today. Most people recognize that politicians lie to get the vote, but the lies we’ve seen in 2016 and the moral standing in our country has been depleted with the current administration. We have the most corrupt administration ever and people think we are heading on the right path.

I had a conversation recently about the state of the world from a political standpoint. He told me, “I don’t pay attention to politics.”

I warned him that he and the youth of today need to pay attention because they are about to inherit a world that will be horribly screwed if they don’t.

Yes, we do need to make America great again. We can start that by recalling the current occupant and clean up the swamp he has created and change the idea that America was ever that great to begin with. We were on the right track, but the train has derailed and we are nowhere near able to get it back on its wheels without some serious inner reflection.

Published articles by J. Daniel Young

 

The following is a non-comprehensive list of published articles from various work endeavors.

SNL Financial – Reporter

While working at SNL Financial, I wrote articles concerning the banking industry, as well as a weekly wrap up of political issues influencing the financial sector. My beat also included Congressional hearings, industry conferences and a daily stock market overview.

Having worked in IT for almost two decades prior, I leveraged my understanding of technology to write articles on the EMV chip-embedded card technology – a much anticipated change to industry standard. Additionally, I penned articled about other technologies of concern to the financial industry – including cybersecurity and Bitcoin.

Financial institutions begin 1-year countdown to EMV compliance – Oct. 17, 2014

Full EMV compliance not expected for several years – Dec. 2, 2014

Cybersecurity is a geopolitical, financial problem, FBI rep tells Senate – Dec. 10, 2014

Cybersecurity is the new black – Oct. 1, 2014

As oil prices dropped, I spotted a concerning trend among analysts and bankers.

Dropping oil prices do not concern bankers — yet – Nov. 25, 2014

Canadian banks eye oil prices for remainder of ’15 – April 06, 2015

The fairly new Dodd-Frank Act had supporters and detractors that often clashed at the mere mention of the act’s name.

Dodd-Frank: Behind schedule and under scrutiny – July 21, 2014

Did the Dodd-Frank Act curtail America’s prosperity? – July 30, 2015

Constantly on the lookout for new angles, I often incorporated data into my articles, as well as trending topics for the financial space.

After ‘Armageddon,’ out-of-state buyers take balanced approach to Florida expansion – June 19, 2014

Conflicts between state, federal law causes headaches for bankers in marijuana-approved states – Nov. 17, 2014

Industry observer cautions on DC’s job market, as commercial loans grow faster than rest of US – Dec. 19, 2014

1- to 4-family residential construction loans continue to bump up in Q2 – September 18, 2014

The “Washington Wrap” was a collection of stories, including those from other news agencies, that highlighted the week’s news – some of which impacted the political landscape of the financial industry.

Washington Wrap: A challenge for Hensarling’s gavel – October 24, 2014

Washington Wrap: Political posturing arrives before new Congress – November 07, 2014

Credit Union Times – Washington Reporter

As the Washington Reporter at Credit Union Times, I wrote on issues impacting the credit union community. During this time, I interviewed some of the most influential people in the credit union space which provided me with some of my favorite articles to date. Among them was a three-part introspective on the passage of H.R. 1151, a bill that defined the modern day credit union. Additionally, I wrote much about the marijuana industry and its attempts to gain access to financial services.

The following three articles trace the origins and path to law of H.R. 1151.

How H.R. 1151 Conquered Capitol Hill – December 17, 2015

How H.R. 1151 Transformed Credit Union Grassroots Efforts – December 28, 2015

How H.R. 1151 Influences Credit Unions Today – January 11, 2016

The marijuana industry sought support for financial services, as indicated in the following articles.

Wall Street Banks on Pot – February 07, 2016

Additionally, I often spoke with industry leaders who impacted the credit union space in general or their local communities. These are a few of my favorites.

Credit Unions Feel Dollar’s Influence Decades Later – December 11, 2015

Outstanding Political Action: Redwood CU Shines Light in a Devastated Community – February 21, 2016

Departing NCUA Chairman Matz Reflects on Her Legacy – April 24, 2016

Senators Discuss Effects of Consumer Finance Regulation – April 05, 2016

Beauty is nothing new

In this day we are obsessed with all that is beautiful. The glowing tube of electrons project beauty so deep into our minds that all else is little more than a passing glimpse. Our obsession is so entrenched that we no longer can see the inner beauty without first passing judgment on what lies at the surface.

– On the road

Near midnight and tomorrow seems far away

I have been doing a lot of thinking. A lot of soul searching. I write thoughts in my head for later fodder. Tonight this is one skimmed from a dream a few days ago.

My story will not be written in the stars
It will be written in my scars
Upon physical inspection
They are not seen with the naked eye.
I am not so arrogant as to think the stars
Hold my story in their ancient grasp
Here, on my wrist, is raised skin from
An accident in high school chemistry
The event changed my life
There are burn marks on my face from that day too
They have faded with time.
This one is from when I jumped off the porch
Onto a broken coke bottle
It was my first set of stitches
Beneath my skin a whole other story unfolds
In my mind I am still the small child
That bore the brunt of a belt-wielding father
Those welts have long since faded
But not the memory of my eight year old self
Dodging as the leather whizzed through the air
In a resounding thwack.
The bite mark on my back has smoothed out
From the bashing I took at the hands of boys bigger than me
High school boys that were older
And I have no reasoning for the attack
Almost thirty years later.
But it has been words that left the deepest cut
Such as, “you are ugly”
“You will never amount to anything”
These serve as a warning to parent
You may forget what you say in anger
To your children
But they never will.
Like a patchwork quilt
Laid deep in my mind
The collection of scars
Are the tapestry that tell my story
The stars are inconsequential
I wrap myself in a blanket not of my own making
But one handed down through the years
Generations before me have woven this story

– On the road

 

The power of rejection

I saw him nearby in the bar. My latest type. Hipster. Fun shirt stretched across ample pecs and a brownish-red beard. My married friend said hi and they chatted. I was talking to a host of other folks and finally made my way to say hello. I introduced myself.
I’m Daniel.
He cocked his head back and spoke with a hint of Spanish accent.
I am Daniel too.
We chatted aimlessly. Asking questions of one another. Where are you from? Are you here for the holiday weekend? Who are you here with?
He pulled me to the bar for a drink and made fun of its pink hue.
It’s not masculine, he said.
I had the bartender splash some grenadine for a redder color.
We chatted some more.
Somehow we became separated after going to the bathroom. The friend who had been speaking with him originally kept insinuating himself back into the conversation even after we’d walked off to grab a drink. We went to the restroom and my friend followed.
Daniel was speaking to other folks when I came out of the bathroom.
My friends wanted to go to dinner.
I said that we were leaving. He barely acknowledged me leaving.
Before dinner I was angry by the friend who kept coming between he and I. I was pissed that someone who has a lover and a child would stop someone else, block a single guy from hanging with this beauty.
He told me later he intentionally cock block me.
I lamented to my best buddy that I was sick of being alone. I was pissed at our friend for behaving in such a way. I was sick of looking at the couples walking by. Fat and ugly couples. Skinny or muscular couples holding hands. When is it my time? It’s been ten years since I’ve dated. Being in DC has been a nightmare. I haven’t dated and have rarely hooked up. The guys that have come over, for the most part, haven’t been my standard hottie. They’ve been fat and while not ugly they were sometimes ugly adjacent.
I’m a snob. Or was. I mean I am still attractive. Granted age has dulled the pink in my cheeks and lips. Some grey hairs have trickled in and started heading south. At least they aren’t below the waist line yet. Granted it’s all trimmed there so who knows?
And yes I have wrinkles. What a horrible word. Laugh lines. That’s better. I can deal with that. It’s character. Not old man-like.
So at dinner I am already mad and have to sit next to the clock blocker.
Then one of the friends I drove to the beach with decided to split the check six ways. I am pissed because I had ordered what was in my budget. Not to split the fucking bill and pay for shit I cannot afford.
After dinner they want to go back out. I join them looking for Daniel.
He’s back at the bar I left him at.
We talk again and grab another drink. He pays again.
We talk and he flirts with other folks and my friend tries to cock block again. I give Daniel my number. Key it into his phone. I send myself a message and we leave. The message doesn’t come through and I wonder if maybe I keyed the wrong number in because I am drunk.
We go back to the house and I end up falling asleep. So did my housemates.
The next day is Monday and we are at the beach. Every bearded boy is Daniel. I chat with everyone we are sitting with. My cock blocking friend is playing with his kid. I feign interest.
We head back to the house and my friends prepare to go out. They leave and I am relaxing at the house. They text me and tell me he’s at the bar. I head to the bar.
I catch him and find out my number was wrong. Sure enough my drunk ass keyed it in wrong.
We leave and I feel better when we head out to dinner.
Daniel and I text a couple of times over the next day or so. We left for the city that night and I am exhausted. My friends never leave at a decent time. I don’t get home until 2 am and my car breaks down in my yard. I took the next day off and should have gotten my car towed but I am so over the goddamned car and cock blocking friends.
I realized that if Daniel wanted me we would have had sex together while at the beach.

I am defeated. He and I text all week while he’s back in Mexico and we flirt. I flirt. He feigns ignorance.
I am defeated. I’ve invited him to an event I am cohosting and he barely pays me attention.
He wasn’t drinking which surprised me because he had been drinking almost every time I’ve texted with him over the last week.
I leave him to the vultures. The older men in the group who fawn over him.
I am defeated because I know the attraction is one sided. I have felt this before but usually bounce back but not this time.
This, combined with my hatred of DC and it’s nasty people makes me filled with rage and depression.
I finally ask him out but he says he just wants to be friends. I tell him that isn’t in the cards for us. Perhaps it’s silly to give up so easily. But I am too old to play any game but ‘beat the clock’

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

 

Union station and Senator Dodd

I am sitting in the Columbus Room at Union Station in DC waiting for Senator Dodd’s arrival. For those outside the world or finance and regulation, he is one of the authors of the Dodd-Frank Act. One of the most broadly reaching pieces of financial regulation. The room is large and open. White walls are topped with a fresco ceiling, while the windows near the ceiling are lined with painted frescos. The rich opulence reminds me of the wealth that banks have amassed before and after the financial crisis.
 
 
 – On the road

Location:Massachusetts Ave NE,Washington,United States

Zombies attacked me in my sleep

I woke up with an earache that is now in my throat and throughout the left side of my face. I feel like a zombie. Arg.

Of course sinus meds helped with that freshly zombie-bitten feeling.

Crawling back in bed.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Gonna play the lottery

On the way to work this morning, I managed to have nothing but green lights. Now that may not seem so far fetched but from my house to the metro is about three miles. There are about seven lights and all were green this morning. When I got near the Springfield mall, I just knew that run was over because those lights are what I call social security lights – they are red so long you may have to have your social security checks mailed to you there.

So, I decided today must be my day to play the lottery. If there was ever an indication that it’s my lucky day, a street full of green lights is a great sign!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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