October 15


Although this is a story that I had heard about a few weeks ago, yesterday, while I was at the Primerica Leadership training in New Haven, CT (something we reps attend every 3 months), the story came to life in a very intimate way, when it was told in front of the group of 1,000-plus people that were there Saturday, Oct 14th.

On October 1st, 2006, a family of five was traveling on the Long Island Expressway and for some reason their minivan veered off the highway and collided with a tree, causing the front vehicle to become engulfed in flames.

A passing motorist notified police, just a mile down the road. When officers arrived at the scene, the children could be heard screaming and crying, in the back of the van. Officers used their tools to break a window and free the children, two of whom were still in their car seats, while the oldest child had her seatbelt on. They managed to save the children, but the fire was too intense for them to get close enough to the parents, Arturo Lopez, 29 and Christina Guardado, 30, who were in the driver and passenger seats. They perished in the fire.

Just a few weeks earlier, Glen Paganinni, a Division Leader representative from Primerica Financial Services, was trying to convince the father of this family to replace their $27,000 'Whole Life' policy with a $1,000,000 Term Life policy, citing that if something happened to him, the original policy was severely under funded and that the cash value would go back to the company upon payout of the death benefit. Mr. Lopez finally agreed and the policy was prepared.

In the few weeks that the paperwork had gone to the parent company for processing, it was determined that Mr. Lopez had a medical condition which would cause the policy to be rated (this is an industry term which means that the policy premiums had to be adjusted, or perhaps that the applicant was found uninsurable due to the seriousness of the medical problem) and possibly he would not be insurable.

Before the policy could be delivered, the October 1st fatal accident occured.

From a legal perspective, Primerica had no obligation to pay this claim. The policy had not been delivered to the client and there were issues with the client's health that needed adjustments to the policy. However, the company chose to pay the claim, in the full amount of both parents' policy death benefits ($1,000,000). In my opinion, they went above and beyond their legal obligations. To hear Glen speak about this whole situation as it unfolded, was a moving experience and a tribute to the good that is still within some of Corporate America.

People like to say that corporations are evil and will take people's money and screw them over, but the ethical integrity of Primerica is one of the factors that attracted me to this company.

I joined this company because I believe in their philosophy--which is to help the middle class get out of debt, protect their income and retire wealthy. The Leadership Training I attend every three months is not just a chance to walk across a stage and shake hands with many successful Primericans (some of whom are former celebrities, like Warren Powers, who played for the Denver Broncos and was a superbowl star), but to learn of real instances where the company went the extra mile to take care of its clients.

And the company takes care of the people who are the grass roots force of independent reps who get the word of these products and services out.

I am an independent rep. I made a choice to join because I believe in what the company stands for and for how they reward us handsomely for our hard work and dedication to our clients. When I personally hear about stories like this one with the orphaned kids, and how this company stuck it out, rather than take the attitude of 'screw the customer, it's all about the profits" of today's majority of big corporations, I realized I made the right decision to join Primerica. Few people have what it takes to be successful, but I am going to give it my best, because it's worth it. For me, and my family.

I joined because I see it as the only realistic opportunity to earn a great income. Yes, there are obstacles, but nearly all of them are internal to my personality and part of Primerica training is learning to overcome those obstacles.

A lot of people hate Primerica, especially those employed in the rip-off insurance companies that are still screwing people with deceptive practices, and when I posted this story in another forum yesterday, the forum's software had automatically trash canned it before it got posted, probably because it contained the name Primerica. So this story will live on in my Blog. And this is why I am working with this company.


"Friends don't let friends retire broke."





October 18


Upon completion of my dining room renovation, I did not immediately draw a correlation between a recently-acquired buzz that emits from the front of one of my QSC amplifiers and that same buzz emanating from the speakers as well.

I started to notice the buzz more frequently lately and thought something might be going on within the Powerlight amplifier. It has a couple of switching power supplies, which have lots of ferromagnetic transformers. No doubt the buzz was being converted to acoustical sound by one of these. But what of the fact that the buzz was also being injected into the audio chain? That one was a riddle to solve.

My first reaction was to see if turning off the QSC with the audible buzz would remove the buzz from the other channels. It did. So I quickly assumed that something in the QSC was generating RFI/EMI.

Then today came along and I powered up the "Pig" for today's blast (the wife was out) and lo and behold, no buzz--from the amp or the speakers! What gives?

I got to thinking about the recentness of the buzz and the fact that it seemed to be present after the dining room renovations. We had installed a chandelier into which I had installed five new C5 CFL bulbs. That was on a dimmer circuit. As it turns out, today, the lamp was turned off. So I did a little experiment: I turned the lamp on and went down to the studio to listen. The buzz returned. Both from the amplifier and from the speakers.

So how is it that the buzz goes away when I turn the amp off? Would that not signify that the buzz was generated by the amp itself? Not necessarily. Think about this: the QSC has switched mode power supplies that switch 180,000 times a second. That is like an RF carrier. Now consider that the electronic ballasts on the five CFL lights in the chandelier are RF emitters themselves. And they are on a dimmer, which chops and dices the hash into even more harmonics. What happens when those harmonics heterodyne against the 180,000 cps switching in the QSC? My theory is that they form new frequencies, some of which are subtractive harmonics which dip into the audible band.

That theory seems to hold water, as switching off either the QSC or the chandelier banishes the buzz. And it affects only one of the amps because the other QSC is on the other leg of the 240 vac line, which is not shared with the lighting. So I'll either replace the dimmer with a switch, or put a noise suppressor on the dimmer.

Just another one of those mysteries, solved!


October 22


A close friend of mine celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday; his wife had invited myself and a number of other close friends to a surprise party. The requirement was to bring a "homemade" card.

Knowing that most of my cards were cheesy, I had to think long and hard about it. And then I realized that a cartoon theme might just have the right flavor for my friend's sense of humor. I'm not a big comic strip fan, but there was one that ran in the 1980s that frequently tickled my funny bone: Gary Larson's "The Far Side". His ideas were off-beat, original and very bizarre, and often required some thought to "get it." Some of them were downright hilarious. So I settled on doing a cartoon in the style of Gary Larson.

I had to spend a few evenings at the kitchen table, sketching caricatures while having my dinner or my late coffee break, and I found that for me, it was not all that difficult to capture the "essence" of a Larson-style character. So realizing this after a few sketches, I had to come up with a theme. My friend owns many of the FM stations in New England, so the card would be a radio theme of some sort. But what, exactly? I mulled over a few ideas and the first ones were weak. But then I started to think like Gary Larson, and go into Way Out Land. That's when it hit me: What if radio stations existed 65 million years ago?

For the answer to that question, have a look at the cartoon.

  October 27


This is not going to be one of my normal technical blogs. The topic I am about to discuss is metaphysical and has some grounding in quantum physics. I am writing about the Law of Attraction.

It is the primary secret of success. It embodies visualizing what you want, and aligning yourself in harmony with the universe to cause events to occur which lead to the attainment of that goal.
The process of visualization is essential to the attainment of a goal. If you don’t have a dream and a clear vision of what you want to achieve or gain, you won’t get there. Visualizing where you want to be in a certain amount of time is the first step.

Dating all the way back to the when I saw and wanted the very first component which went into the current day Bass Pig, a Spectro Acoustics 210 Equalizer, I took home the sales brochure from the music store and pinned it to my wall. Every day, I looked at that picture and visualized it as being mine in the near future. It was a lot of money for me at the time and I had to work hard to afford it, but eventually, that vision lead to the manifestation of concrete reality.

Thoughts are things. Our thoughts lead to very tangible things. Our thinking attracts whole chains of events. Visualization is the beginning of that thought process.

My vision for Bass Pig (back then, just a real cool stereo system) was evolving over time. I remember way back when, a time when I thought it would be grand to have a couple of top of the line Heathkit speaker systems and a Heathkit AA-1640 power amplifier. My rig at the time was a pair of home-brew tube amps with push pull 6L6’s, driven by a Fisher TX200 amplifier with the preamp circuit tapped to drive the separate tube units. Hey, my friends thought it was pretty cool, but I wanted more.

I began to look at industrial professional speakers in a music store that sold a lot of PA equipment. Electro-Voice had just introduced the 15L, 15B, and 18B series woofers. They were pretty “killer” stuff back in those days. So I saved my pennies and visualized them as mine. I ate, drank, and slept with my mind focused on having a pair of those bad boys in my living room. And in time, with enough overtime work, I was able to afford them. It was almost an obsession. You have to want something badly enough to attract them to you.

Throw out all negative thoughts. Each negative thought attracts bad things. You have to believe that the goal is attainable, but to the Law of Attraction, like Yoda in the original Star Wars movie, “size matters not.” The size of your dreams and goals does not matter. If you truly want to attain whatever that goal may be, and you are totally committed to making it happen, it is attainable. The universe will accommodate you. All you have to do is ask.

There will be good and not so good days. Everyone has their off days. Those days you work, but on the good days, you work with passion, toward your goal. This is the essential key to wealth and the achievement of any goal you might imagine.

So why does this work? Quantum physics explains that our thoughts affect particles. The observer observing an experiment, affects the experiment based on his thoughts. If an experiment involves determining whether light is a stream of particles, or a waves of energy, the observer’s beliefs and thoughts about which theory is correct will determine whether the experiment yields one theory or the other.

What this means is that we are all connected to one big energy field in the universe. Our thoughts are far more important, and influential, than we are normally taught to understand. Conventional thinking says that it’s impossible for one’s mind to have an external effect on events.

But a couple of examples come to mind which seem to back up the the external influence theory: you’re riding your bike when all of a sudden you get a premonition that that kid down the block is going to ride his Big Wheel into your path, causing you to have to brake abruptly. The next thing you know, the kid cuts you off, you apply the brakes and go end over end, landing on your back with the bike on top of you. Or you’re driving down a deserted country road and you see a few deer around, and you think one of them might run out in front of you, and almost before you’ve finished the thought, a deer darts out right in front of the car, with no room to stop and you hit that deer. These are examples of negative thought processes attracting negative results.
Now the process works for positive results too, although man tends to like to dwell on negative things for some strange reason, so more often than not in life, negative events dominate a lot of people’s lives.

People who talk and think about illness a lot tend to be ill themselves. People who are obsessed with how devastating their debts and financial woes are, tend to attract even more debts and loss of income. It is too easy to dwell in the negative stuff.

The key to success is to consciously reject every negative thought that comes to mind, and focus on the positive, stay focused on your goals and think about them –visualize them constantly. Put up a “vision board” –a bulletin board where you pin up photos of the things you want to achieve –whether it be a new home, a nice car, or.. a better subwoofer. Whatever it is, learn to become obsessed with your positive goals and dreams. This stuff works. I’ve felt it happen in my own life and I’ve had some amazing things happen, which, the odds of which happening were, now that I look back on them, very slim. And if I had been thinking negative about them, I would not have achieved them, because I would have been asking the universe to give me failure instead of success.

I remember when I went to go visit my future wife in the Philippines many years ago, we had been writing and were pen pals and I never imagined prior to that time that a lovely lady like that would be writing to me. And when she asked me to visit her, despite my circumstances, I broke down a whole lot of mental barriers and chose to have faith and get on that plane. I could have given myself a hundred reasons not to go, but something was telling me that I must go. And when those fears and negative feelings crept up, I reminded myself of the good feelings of communicating with this lovely lady and I pulled myself through and kept the visions positive. Some of my friends quietly thought I was crazy, going to a foreign country in the Third World, to go and meet God-knows whom or what. I never let those thoughts of what might happen bad enter my head for more than a nanosecond. I instead focused on the belief and faith that my future fiancée and later wife was true to her word and that she would be there at the airport to greet me. And, well, the rest is history. We’ve been happily married for quite some time and have a lovely daughter who is the apple of my eye.

There is a limit to what I can write in this short space, but I wanted to get these thoughts down here now, in the event that they might resonate with someone who happens to come across this page one day. Thoughts are things. Think about that. The mind is powerful and dangerous if used improperly –or it has the capacity to make your dreams and goals happen. It’s up to you.