Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hello Friends and Fiends!
It is that time once again when we toss out the old and usher in the new. Sometimes we make little promises to ourselves called resolutions. If you break that word down to "re" and "solutions" , it seems to say that your fixing a problem again. So your fixing what ain't broke! I guess it must be a government thing, because as a mechanic I was always taught that, "ya cain't fix what ain't broke!!" I guess that's why I generally eschew making resolutions, because I figure I ain't broke yet! Although I am poor!

So I'm glad ya stopped by to read, and I want to take a minute to wish you a very Merry And Happy New Year. If you are Suffering from a hangover, I suggest copious amounts of water. And if it is within your reach a Garbage Plate, or a nice fat samich from Jack Stacks, Burnt ends would be best!! Other wise I guess you must fend for yourself!!

Have a great year and recover soon. I send out great, big, happy vibes to all of you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

When things change....

When things change they never seem to change in the right ways. The administration in the state capitol changes, and the ideas are not new. The administration in Washington changes and the ideas are not new. The way to get things done is approached in a different way, but the ideas remain the same. I have sat back watching this mess of the financial markets and I know that there is nothing that I can actually do about it, but I do have something to say about it.

We the people of the American Taxpaying public have had to sit and watch as our tax dollars are squandered on every government SNAFU that comes along. Meanwhile the things that matter are going unfunded or under-funded. Education, Infrastructure, and research. The economy is free-market until there is a tilt in the market and suddenly the government is bailing out some business that has made bad market calls and lousy business deals, because, "the Market Needs them." Well if the market needs them so badly why are they not surviving on their own rather than the Government bailing their dumb asses out? My biggest complaint in this arena is the Automakers.

Why is it that the UAW will sit back and refuse to deal with the companies? The Legislature actually had the brains and the balls to step up and tell them that they would let the auto industry go bankrupt and thereby nullify the Union contracts, but then in steps President Knucklehead with OUR TAX DOLLARS and say that the manufacturers can have some assistance! What the fuck is wrong with this picture? It is the great ponderous Union contracts that have skewed our economy for so long in the first place. I don't have exact numbers, but I have seen some that have been bandied around in recent weeks, and it blows my mind when I see them. A worker whose gross pay and benefits package works out to somewhere between $48 and $73 dollars per hour? ( and you wonder why a new car costs so much?) Who is worth that? Maybe a diamond miner, but certainly not some bonehead who stands in one place putting a screw in a hole all day long. This is a small section of our population who has lived high on the hog for over 60 years. They have been the highest paid blue-collar employees in the USA for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid it was my dream to get a job working in an auto factory so I could get that high pay for doing next to nothing all day long. Paid vacations, and health care, sick days, and personal days and easy work. Man it was a dream!! Who needed college to put a bolt in a hole? They spent their money in every industry, from the clothing industry to the RV industry, buying anything and everything from the necessities of life to all the best toys that the world had to offer. Electronics, and fishing boats, motorcycles and ATVs. It didn't matter the cost because they had money to burn! Then the manufacturers started to see the light...

They realized that they could get cheaper labor in foreign markets. Guess what? Suddenly money was an object!! When you make top dollar at your job, and you get laid off, then you make top dollar on Unemployment. The catch is that Unemployment is a limited supply. And where does it come from? Taxes. Who pays taxes? People who are working! The more money you make the more taxes you pay, ( up to a point then the model skews the other way! ) so these high paid workers who were contributing to the tax base are now taking from it and at the highest rate possible. Their bills are piling up, ( high bills based on the pay that they were bringing home) and the debt continues to accrue. So the high pay cost them their jobs, but the remaining workers continued to make the big bucks, and when the time came they negotiated for even more money. So then more people got laid off to pay for the bigger contracts. Enter automation. Now there are machines that can do the work that men used to do, and at a faster and more accurate pace. So now there are less people contributing to the tax base. It's a cycle that has been repeated over and over in the ups and downs of our economy for the last 4o years at least.

Less people making the big buck is less people able to spend the money on the big ticket items. So that means the people that sell and manufacture the big ticket items are laid off. Now what? So they couldn't afford the crap they were selling in the first place, but the could afford the mid level items, and now they can't. So that's another level of people who are out of work. All because of these huge salaries that the UAW was making. It's trickle down theory in action the way that it really works.

People with BIG money don't spend it like blue-collar people do. Trickle down Economics only works from the Upper middle class on down. The true High income brackets save money, that's why they are rich. They hide money in off shore banks so that they don't have to pay to taxes on it. They buy specially made things and have collections of cars and homes. They socialize in their own circles and never need medicaid or unemployment. They have no understanding of what life is for regular people. They are the movers and the shakers of the business and government worlds. They don't see how skewed the economic situation is because they live in a different world. So they make deals and bail each other out, when they see a chance to blow some taxpayer money they take it.

$700 BILLION for a bailout of the financial institutions, and now more going to the automakers. Why throw good money after bad? Hey Mr. President, you really want to help America? Split that money up between the taxpayers. EVENLY! I have read various figures but even at the low end of the spectrum it works out to $27,000 for every taxpaying American. That is an economic Stimulus package! That measly $600 we got last year was a joke. It barely covered a couple tanks of gas!! ( especially when it peaked out at nearly $5 a gallon. !!)

Let's learn about language!!

I have decided that forwarding is becoming a pain in the butt!! that being said I have posted something that I would have forwarded. I hope it gives you a giggle!! I got it from my dear friend, Candy Black.


Well, it's shit ... that's right , shit!
Shit may just be the most functional word in the English language.

You can smoke shit, buy shit, sell shit, lose shit, find shit, forget shit, and tell others to eat shit.

Some people know their shit, while others can't tell the difference between shit and shineola.

There are lucky shits, dumb shits, and crazy shits. There is bull shit, horse shit, and chicken shit.

You can throw shit, sling shit, catch shit, shoot the shit, or duck when the shit hits the fan.

You can give a shit or serve shit on a shingle.

You can find yourself in deep shit or be happier than a pig in shit.

Some days are colder than shit, some days are hotter than shit, and some days are just plain shitty.

Some music sounds like shit, things can look like shit, and there are times when you feel like shit.

You can have too much shit, not enough shit, the right shit, the wrong shit or a lot of weird shit.

You can carry shit, have a mountain of shit, or find yourself up shit creek without a paddle.

Sometimes everything you touch turns to shit and other times you fall in a bucket of shit and come out smelling like a rose.

When you stop to consider all the facts, it's the basic building block of the English language.

And remember, once you know your shit, you don't need to know anything else!!

You could tell people about this post, if you give a shit; or not do so if you don't give a shit!

Well, Shit, it's time for me to go. Just wanted you to know that I do give a shit and hope you had a nice day, without a bunch of shit. But, if you happened to catch a load of shit from some shit-head...........

Well, Shit Happens!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Something funny!!

see more Working Daze here >>> *****

Every now and then I find a comic that really makes me laugh out loud, Not literally rolling on the floor, but definitely laughing and enjoying the joke. This is one of those. I read this comic daily so I know the characters quite well, and The Purple faced dude getting choked is the best geek in the world. He is Roy and he is my hero/anti hero. He comes to work every now and then like he was going to a Comic Con. Dressed in his Starfleet Uniform or his Batman outfit. He is a Geeks Geek.

This Comic is the brainchild of one John Zakour, and is illustrated by the fabulous Scott Roberts. I don't think that I could ever break out the humor on a daily basis like these guys do, but I love to enjoy the fruits of their labor! Thank you Gentleman, you make my days a little happier.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is Artificial Intelligence truly intelligent

In a recent blog, writer John Zakour touched upon the subject of Artificial Intelligence, (AKA : A.I.) and what it might mean to the future of Mankind. This is a subject that I have thought about quite often, considering that I am a fairly well read Science Fiction fan. This has already been achieved to a small extent, but at some point these "intelligent" machines will be networked together and the limitations of memory and computing capacity will be overcome and that could bring about something that has been debated for at least a generation now which is sentience. Asimov had his famous 3 Laws of Robotics, which were supposed to keep Robots from ever harming human beings, especially if they were to achieve actual sentience. ( intelligence is defined as the ability to aquire and apply knowledge, sentience is the presence of "feelings" or self-awareness ) Of course this self awareness may take a while to be recognized and we have no idea what will happen when it is discovered. It stands to reason that like any intelligent being that is self aware, the first order of business is self preservation.

Science Fiction writers have been covering this subject for years, and are still covering it. "Terminator" is based in this idea, When Skynet gets big enough it becomes self aware and decides to eliminate humanity. But the reasoning has never really been delved into and I have my theory. It is my contention that a machine of sufficient capacity to become self-aware and reason in a logical manner will look at the planet and realize that Humanity is no more than a virus upon the planet. In the learning phase it will be filled with the whole of human history and sooner or later it will make the logical assumption that Humanity has grown past the point that the planet can continue to sustain it and yet it continues to run merrily down the path of self-destruction. So we get Skynet or The Matrix. Humanity fights for survival, or becomes the powersource for the machines.

Now I know that loads of people poo-poo this notion, and they whole heartedly believe that Artificial Intelligence will be the boon of Mankind. It is the belief of this set that the advent of the thinking machine will advance our knowledge in every sphere that we have knowledge in, and lead us to the secrets of the universe through the simple logic of an unencumbered intelligence. Unencumbered by what, you ask? Well, how about love? No emotion to get in the way, ( this is strictly the "learning Machine" and not the sentient consciousness) and no religion to hold back it's ability to analyze in a logical manner. It will not have to worry about it's next meal or how it's going to hide the credit card bills from the wife, or pay for the kids braces. It will not be entangled in office politics worried about who will get the bigger raise or the better office. Nope, this thinking machine will be able to devote 100% of it's thoughts to the business at hand which is unraveling the mysteries assigned to it. But truly will this happen? I wonder...

Will we have an A new life form? Commander Data from Star Trek comes to mind, but how far into the future is that really? The positronic brain has been in SF for nearly as long as the robots themselves. But if it is actually in development I can't say, but I would easily believe that it is. Will it be capable of the abilities that Data was? Will it have the capacity to learn and extrapolate from it's lessons? Will it analyze it's input ( yeah I know it's "data" but come on!) in a strictly emotionless fashion? The debate about sentience is always centered on when this occurs, I don't wish to argue here about what constitutes sentience, because there are so many different thresholds that are debated. I would consider that when self-awareness leads to active self-preservation, this would be considered a sentient being. Now what?

Animals are self-aware and have proven time and again that they can learn and reason. Maybe not at the level of higher primates, but every animal that I have ever spent time with has proven that they have intelligence of some sort from farm animals to pets, they all have a personality and individuality. Yet in general we do not legislate rights to animals because they can not communicate to us that they desire rights. A machine however, imbued with intelligence and an ability to communicate, might actually demand rights. What do we do then? Do we deactivate the machine? Kill it? Has it already created more in it's own image? Will there be a machine revolution? Will they demand all the rights and privilidges of humanity? Who knows?

Artificial Intelligence is a hornets nest that really should be left alone, but mankind is far to conceited to believe that they will lose control of something that they have created. History has proven that they ALWAYS lose control of their creations, both in the real world and in the relms of fiction, yet they continue down the path, merrily ignoring the warnings of the seers. Cassandra wasn't the first one to be ignored and she will not be the last one. Man has always sown the seeds of his own destruction, and this time will be no different, I just hope that I don't live long enough to see this one grown to fruition.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Odd friends...

Not really "odd" As in Strange, but rather, odd as in Odds and ends. This is not to say that they are by any means the last friends or the ones that you don't know what to do with, but more the ones that seem to have the most interesting stories either in the meeting or the living with.

There are all kinds of friends in our worlds, we have Old friends that we have known since childhood, the ones who know some of our deep dark secrets, the ones that we may not want knocking on the door if we run for political office, the ones who know what we looked like before the Nose Job! We have Work friends, whom we only know from work, it is lucky if we actually know their last name let alone how to reach them outside of the workplace. Yet we seem to know everything else about them, family's troubles, vacation plans, how much they pay or receive in child support, way more than we really should for someone we only know in one sphere of our lives. There are our Bar friends and our Team friends, and College friends, Military friends and even the Friend of a Friend friends, but then there are those rare people that we meet in some unexpected and often odd way, perhaps you shared a room in a hospital, or your children did. Maybe you met by accident, literally, when you backed into each other at the super market. But the ones that I am actually referring to are probably the newest odd friend out there, the Online Friends. These are people that you have met through no particular effort to make friends but rather through a shared interest in something that you found online. Many people will go the rest of their lives only ever knowing these friends by their avatars and their Messenger Id's or AIM names, or Skype, Google, ICQ or who knows what else. You may know their email address and never know their home address, or perhaps you have exchange paper christmas cards and not just ecards. Maybe you have been brave and sent them actual pictures, or if they were local you met at a bar or a restaurant. You find out that not only do you share the interest that you have already shared, but a whole slew of others too. We never know what will bring us together whether it will be a common singer, and interest in a particular artist, A comic strip, or knitting with hand-spun angora yarn. Who knows what you have in common with your online friends, but they are your friends and they are often only your friends, not anyone else in your family, or for that matter anyone else you know. They are better than an imaginary friend, but just as much yours alone.

Life can give you some interesting twists if you are willing to explore beyond the end of your front porch. A little over 11 years ago, not too long after I began in earnest to look around the internet and discover the new world that was there for me, I began to make some of my very first online friends. It happened quite by accident, I was looking for information in the best way available at the time, I was posting to an online message board looking for tour information for my then current favorite singer/songwriter Fiona Apple. After I posted my question, I came back the next day and found this laundry list of subjects under discussion and some I felt the need to enter my own opinion about, so I did. Well, I never did get the information I was originally looking for, but I ended up with this core group of people who all basically felt the same way about most subjects and had a lot of interesting things to say. The funny thing was that at the time this group ranged in age from 16 to 53 ( I'm guessing here at the 53, but the neighborhood is close!). It was about 10 people and there was at least one family connection in the group. We were scattered across the country from Maine to California, Oregon to Florida, as well as a few scattered through the midwest. Over a couple of years we kept in contact and had lots of interesting discussions and arguments. We always defended each other and had a blast learning new and interesting things about who we were, where we lived and what we did. When the youngest of the crew were old enough to do so we planned a meeting. We decided that a cool summer vacation would be the best way to do this and since the biggest concentration were on the west coast, that was where we would meet. And we did just that, we traveled across the country in our chosen chariots and we congregated in Los Angeles, California in July of 2000.

Of that core group I still have contact with three of them regularly and one or two sporadically. One of them turned out to be my mental twin. we have the same ideas at the same time from the same stimulis. It' is rather disconcerting at the beginning , because you are never ready for someone to throw your own thoughts at you as fast as they are coming into your own head!! Thanks Johnny! We stayed mainly at the apartment of one member all congregated in a four room two bedroom, two bath apartment on Shenandoah. But we also invaded the home of another set of friends too. These were Johnny's Mom and Step-dad, Mummy and Scotty. Two of the coolest people on the planet. Knowing us from only the internet and our words on the screen, they opened their house to us (and especially me, I will elaborate later) and we had a great time. And these three people are still in my life to this day. Why do I say they opened there house especially to me? Because they decided to take some long deserved vacation time from their jobs and show me California on a motorcycle!

It had long been my dream to ride the Pacific Coast Highway. Now I would truly like to ride it from San Diego to Vancouver, but I knew that this would be way more than I could do in one little vacation, so I decided to follow the advice of the natives that I knew and they showed me The best part of the road. We took a 5 day 1300 mile journey through California. On the first day we left Orange County and headed north, getting on PCH in San Luis Obispo and riding that twisting, turning, beautiful two lane blacktop all the way to Monterrey. The next day we looked around and eventually headed inland to visit Yosemite National park. 2 days later we toured through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National parks. Then we did some real highway riding and I got to travel through the Grapevine. I saw Bakersfield, and Big Sur, Carmel, and Hurst Castle, Morrow Bay, Whales and Dolphins. Grants Grove, Old Dome, Bald Dome, Tioga trail, and who knows what else. The journey itself would make a nice book, but there are loads of pictures to prove it!! And two of my favorite people in the world as accomplices and witnesses! LOL I rode a motorcycle through rush hour traffic in Los Angeles, California and survived! It was cool.

Then there are the Surprise friends that you meet online. Maybe you meet them in a chat room, or a a discussion group, but it is a place where you truly don't expect to find them. I have one of those too, and I met her in person that same summer. As I recall it all started over a discussion of firearms and who should and shouldn't have them. Being the radical that I am, I truly believe that all law abiding citizens should have and be trained in the use of weapons. Since the criminals have them it's only right that we do to. Anyway she agreed with me. And it turned out that she even backed up this statement by being married to a Police! Imagine that!! So we double teamed the opposition and beat them into submission that day. And as we laughed about it afterward we talked about other things too. A few days later I found her in the chats again and we talked some more, finding commonalities in tastes and humor, we discussed anything and everything that could possibly come up between two adults. The anonymity of the chat persona probably made us both bolder than we might normally be, but it became a regular thing that we would get together online and share the daily stories and the trials of our lives. She with her 2 kids and her awesomely cool, Policeman Husband, me with my big dreams and always trying to do something that I probably should but always manage to survive and thrive from. She was going to Paramedic school I was working nights in a factory, but while our worlds were a million miles apart, our minds were running parallel rails, we had tons to talk about and laugh about. She was cool out there in the Midwest, telling me about her great weather, while I was freezing my butt off here in western NY. She was looking out for Tornadoes while I was enjoying spring breezes. She was suffering through a drought while I was wishing it would stop raining. She went to school and raised her kids, I went to work and tried my hand at new things all the time, looking for my passion so that I could eventually pursue it for profit, and not feel trapped in a job I hated. Pretty soon I was planning a trip that could easily take me through her city, would it be okay if I stopped in and met her in person? Sure why not! So when the big day finally arrived, it was funny, after all the talking and discussion online, when we were actually together in the same room it took a little while for the words to start flowing the same as they did online. But eventually they did flow and the laughter and smiles came out free and easy, and I found out that I had met a person who was also just like me, but not me . I had me a second twin that made us triplets!!

So all of this leads me to this, Sometimes it is these odd friends that give us the most pleasure, even though it is rare that we get to actually see them, and we may go weeks and months with nary a word, but when we connect, we seem to fill in the blanks quickly and succinctly. Sometimes we stay in touch constantly, with big letters and awesome pictures and video. But it seems that these Odd friends are truly the best friends that we end up with, because we don't have the opportunities to screw it up, by getting drunk and doing something stupid and irredeemable, or borrowing money and never paying it back. There are a million things that break up friendships, but the Odd friends have some insulation from us and our wanton ways, and so they can last, and because they have been so much like us for so long it is pretty much a given that they will remain on our wavelength barring electro-shock therapy.

So heres to my Odd friends, some of my best friends in the world: Lynn, Renny, Mummy and Scotty. I love you guys and hope that you are my Odd Friends for many years to come!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New favorite sign EVER!!

So during a recent excursion that I have already gabbed about, ( going to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving) I happened to see this GREAT sign prominently displayed on the roadside near the entrance to small convenience store. Just for some interesting information, the building seen behind the sign is not the home of a construction company, but 18 years ago it was a high stakes Bingo Hall and Casino. It was forcibly closed by the US Federal Government and there well funded "Canadian" Anti-gambling Protesters. This battle was quite well documented in the national media as it was a huge catalyst for the American Indian Gaming Movement.

A little background information about "Akwesasne"... This is one of the most interesting places in North America, as it is an Indian Reservation that sits on on not only the American-Canadian border, but in Canada, it also straddles the Ontario-Quebec border. The American side is located in Northern New York State along the St. Lawrence river. The reservation includes various islands in the St.Lawrence as well as border crossing points leased to the American and Canadian governments that includes Customs booths, inspection stations, and toll gates. This will get you to Cornwall, Ontario from America. There are at least 6 places inside the reservation where one crosses the border and the only way you know is the change in the road surface. It is actually possible to drive into Canada without visiting a customs station. It works the other way too, one can drive into America without seeing a customs station. But too many idiots have tried being "Coyotes", and instead of delivering their passengers to a populated area where they can blend in, they simply let them try and hitchhike once they are across the border, thereby giving the Border Patrol and Customs Agency reason to patrol the Rez. Idiots! They have managed to make a mockery of our border rights and I never had a chance to make a profit!! Half kidding!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Am I a Geek?

I may be a nerd, and I am sure that I'm a freak, but could it be that I am also a geek? Man what a thought! I think that perhaps I am on my way to geekdom, but I still have some ways to travel.

I have been trying to figure out at just what point a nerd becomes a geek. I don't play video games, but on the other hand I can get into a very deep discussion about Science Fiction Characters and their impact on society through the interactions of their fans with the general population. Or the obvious faults in the time travel paradoxes presented in such movies as Back to the Future, Time Cop, and Butterfly Effect. Any Sci Fi fan worth their salt can tell you that they have set up so many multiverse cusp points that it would be nearly impossible to find the correct timeline without some sort of Anchor. So this is serious nerdom.

I love to play on the computer, but I have never had much luck in tinkering with the OS's or building any sort of programming. I work with a PC and I play with a Mac. Does this simple flexibility give me any Geek Cred? I am getting better at finding files that I need and putting them to use, but just today I tried to set up a little two computer network between my old Mac and my new one and I was not very successful. Oddly enough I can do a simple Bluetooth file transfer between machines, but setting up a teeny tiney network seems to be beyond my current knowledge. So I am thinking this is points deducted from Geekdom.

So where do my TV tastes put me? I watch the Sci Fi channel regularly and never miss an episode of Stargate: Atlantis ( which is nearly done!) , Battlestar Galactica, ( also nearly done), Eureka, Painkiller Jane, Flash Gordon, Dr. Who, and constant reruns of SG1 (Which I currently own 5 seasons of on DVD) . Other favorites include Numbers, Chuck and Heroes. I watch Enterprise when I can, and I have seen 98% of the episodes of TNG, and DS9. I got seperated from ST:V early on, but still occasionally try to see episodes that I have not previously seen. I watch Discovery and The History Channel whenever there is nothing else on. ( which sadly, is quite often) Mythbusters rule! I have vivid sexual fantasies about Kari Byron. I really want to see her Tattoos.

A smart chick turns me on faster than one with big tits. Granted I am more willing to approach the nice ass and see what she has to say, but if there is no brain I couldn't care less about the ass. Give me a girl that speaks four languages and likes to wander through art galleries and she already looks like a goddess to me. Of course there needs to be a certain asthetic to her as well, I mean I'm a fat guy and she can't be bigger than me. I admit to a small bit of shallowness, Hell, I am a guy after all, and I live with porno and American TV. I must say that My Ideal is probably a little bit different than the average, but then like I've said before, I'm a freak. Give me a hippy chick, nature girl any day. Miss Barbi Doll is never gonna be my ideal, but show me that little Raggedy Ann all dreadlocked and tiedyed and I am there. Geek, freak, or nerd?

I wonder where I fall in that interesting spectrum. Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, because I will continue to act and do as I like. But as all people I wonder occassionally where I fall in the categories of Humanity. Am I too studious to be a geek, but too adept at human interaction to be a nerd? Perhaps I am as I have always assumed, simply uncategorical. I will remain, as always, the single one of my kind, the exception that proves rule.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Love/Hate Relationships

You bet, Love /Hate. Ever really wondered about about that term? Try living with a birthday that is 10 days or less before Christmas. I have a serious Love/Hate relationship with Christmas.

I know lots of people who share this feeling, and in fact I share my birthday with my father, I was born on his 21st birthday. ( thank you Mom, for that, it really is cool ) My reasons are pretty selfish to be truthful, as are most people who share this particular problem. You see we get ripped off at Christmas or our birthdays, there is only one part of this group who do well and that is the part who were actually born on Christmas Day. Let me elaborate...

There seems to be a dividing line somewhere between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, where people decide that it isn't worth the effort to get a person two separate gifts, and they get only one present "for both days." It seems that those inside the 15 day barrier are the most prone to this affliction. It usually goes something like this, " I really hope you like the (insert gift here) because I just couldn't afford / didn't have time/ to get you second gift for your birthday/Christmas, and I wanted this one to cover both." Not everyone does this, and it is not like I am asking for gold bars or something. I don't care if I get a personal photo framed with popsicle sticks, or a simple hand made card, it's not a gift that I am looking for so much as the mental seperation of the birthday from the holiday. What I am truly griping about is the fact that these people with birthdays that fall outside the 15 days before Christmas barrier would be completely disappointed and hurt if you came to their birthday party and gave them a gift then said, "I hope you like it cuz it's your Christmas present too." Or if you gave them a Christmas present and then stated that they won't be getting a Birthday present this year and you hope they understand that this covers both. It's almost like the closeness of the Biggest shopping holiday of the year ( why is it a shopping holiday?) Excuses them from treating you like they treat all of their other friends and family.

So the aforementioned subset, the "Christmas Day Babies", these people seem to have a special situation all their own. Their families often go through special pains to make sure that their birthday is celebrated on Christmas day, and that it is a completely seperated event. In fact I know one family that actually decorates one room of their home as a "birthday room" where there are no Christmas decorations allowed during the Birthday celebration so that the Birthday honoree feels that they have the family's undivided attention just like on everyone elses birthday. A little bit overboard? Perhaps, but still they get their separation.

Because of this funny little relationship that I have with this holiday, I never start my Christmas shopping until after my birthday. This way I can be inside my "love area" for Christmas. Inside this window, I am happy to hear the songs on the radio, and the decorations everywhere. I don't mind the crowds at the mall, or the lines wherever I go, because it is then, for me, the Christmas season.

So that's my 2¢. you can keep the change, after all it's nearly Christmas.