Monday, February 23, 2009

Pic from the Bash

Kinda says it all. Bigger post coming.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The '09 Version

Remember this... 2008 Mid Winter Blues Bash?

The '09 version started yesterday. I'm leaving today at noon. DC (the bastard) is already there.
Update (with pictures) to follow some time next week after I sober up.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We... He Won

Remember this?

Web Design Contest Vote

Well, with 112,000 votes, it seems CJ and the They Have Names site one a free web page make over. Thanks to everyone that voted. I can't wait to see the new page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Well Shit

That didn't work. Fix it tomorrow.
Trying to send a long post "Today's Word is Cold" from a new blackberry has it's challenges.

Edit - 19FEB09 @ 1626 - Fixed the post, see below.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Today's Word Is 'Cold' - Take 2

... and sore.

Last time I rode was the long over due 'Therpy' session I had. Today, riding for SSG Burkholder was hard on this old man.

It was 20 here when I pulled out at 1:30 am... seems to me last tome I did this I said something about using a windshield next time. Well, maybe NEXT time.

Door step to staging area was 125 miles, about 2 hours. Things weren't to bad, fingers were a little cold and so were my toes but over all I was doing ok.

Semper Gumbi

The Illinois part of the escort was suppose to stop where we were, regroup, then all of us were going to head down the road.

5 or 6 of us were sitting at a weigh station and we could see about half a mile down the interstate. Blink, blink - we could see the Illinois State Police Escort coming down the highway, when 'zooom', they went screaming by at about 80 miles per hour. The RC (Dan) had this look of dismay mixed with frustration on his face and everyone else was looking at him like, 'WTF - Wow That was Fantastic'. Dan gathered himself and barked 'mount up. Looks like we're gonna have to catch them!'.

The Indina State police escort we were to have jumped in their cars the couple other riders there got on their bikes and 'vroom' everyone was off... except me. See, I know if i sit around fully dressed, I'll start sweating, then when we start riding again I'll freeze. So, put on my gloves, and face mask, zip up my coat, fire up the 'ol therapist and hit the road.

By now everyone is out of sight. I hit 90 for a mile or two and caught them in about 10 miles. Took my place at the rear of the procession right in front of the last police car. He never did ask me what I did to catch up. I wasn't about to tell him either.

The next stop was Mt. Comfort exit on I-70, just east of Indianapolis. This leg was just under a hundred miles. When I got off the bike I could not feel my fingers and I couldn't stop shivering. Being that cold was uncomfortable. Maybe I should be more like the other old guys and buy some electric gear, at least start using the windshield when it is under 32. I called it a day and as the group left heading for Ohio I headed home.

240 miles in 20 degree weather, a long hot shower and a nap with a heating pad and I was ready for the day to begin... after all... it was just 10 o'clock... am.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It Has Been A While

It is nearly 2330 hours and I can't sleep. I wish I could say I forgot what this is like but...alas. I remember it all to well. See, I'm suppose to get up at 0130 tomorrow and ride to escort SSG Jason Burkholder.

I don't even know the whole story... Buy I do know he was killed in action, fighting for freedom. He is to be buried in Ohio tomorrow, and there was a memorial service in Illinois yesterday.

I almost didn't go. I made an excuse, argued it was too short a notice... Too cold... Too far to ride just to 'escort'. But I have to, I have to go. There is no excuse.

I have other things I could be doing... Should be doing. I have to do this. Much to the irritation of those I have an appointment with tomorrow, I may ride to the Ohio line. I may have to.

It is a heart thing and truly, I mean with no disrespect, if you do not already understand, I cannot explain it.

God be with all of the riders that will be out early tomorrow. And God bless the Burkholder family. I pray that you rest a bit easier, knowing that Jason is in my thoughts and I will not forget him.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Help me!

Web Design Contest Vote

Please vote for CJ and the They Have Names site for getting a professional make over.
Click on the ‘Ranked’ button above, then click on the pink ‘Ranked ___ vote now’ button. (You’ll need to scroll down a bit.)

I’m not sure I can even begin to list all of the things CJ dose for the Troops but I do know one thing he does and that’s manage and dedicate his time and money to is the web site “They Have Names”.

If he gets enough votes, the web site will get a professional make over.

So, vote, please. And remember, you can re-vote daily.

Oh, and if you are wondering why CJ does this, read here.

PS: this post stays on top until the contest closes on 15FEB09.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OK… The Interview

Let’s see, where to start.

The interview trip was an add on trip to my twice a year committee meeting thing in KC (Kansas City). I bought the KC airline ticket about 2 months in advance. Then the CT (Connecticut) trip was added. That is, they wanted me there that Monday (the 26th) because of various schedules of people at the company. Interview would start with breakfast at the hotel with the CEO at 8 am.

No problem. Cancel the existing ticket buy a new 3 stop that jumps me all around, no problem.
Heh, right.
The first ticket was ‘non refundable’. Yea, they’ll cancel it and give me a credit for the purchase amount… BUT… to use the credit there is a fee and a processing fee and a convenience fee and a screw you fee and a fee fee. You get the idea. I was money ahead to just buy a second ticket that went from KC to CT and back to Indy and let the other one go, not using the KC to Indy leg.

Fine, whatever. Money hungry bastard airlines. Just FINE!

No issues in KC, meetings went well. The lighting geek in me has so missed the technical side of things. *sigh* it was good for my soul to be yucking it up with those people.

Fast forward to Sunday, the day I left KC headed for CT. Get to the KC airport, get my boarding pass, heading to Minneapolis. Get off in Minneapolis and the gate attendant asks me where is my connecting flight headed… as I say “Conne…” while looking at my boarding pass, I realize that I’m checked into the Indianapolis flight.
I explain what has happened to the gate lady and she directs me to one of the ticket counters where I can get a new boarding pass and all should be good. Luckily both flights laid over in Minneapolis.

I get my new boarding pass and hesitantly ask about my checked bag. “It is less than an hour before the flight leaves, there is nothing I can do with your bag”, she snaps. FUCK ME!

Why the colorful language, you may ask… Let us take inventory of the situation shall we; I’ve got a briefcase with some reading material in it. I’m wearing jeans, underwear, a t-shirt, socks and tennis shoes… that’s it. I have nothing else. No more clothes, little lone a suit. No razor and I didn’t shave Sunday morning so the beard is like sand paper. No deodorant. Nada, nothing.

OK – deep breath, CT is a thriving area and Hartford and New Haven are thriving metropolis’, right? There has to be a 24 hour something-or-other where I can buy the stuff I need.

Landed in Hartford CT at about 10 pm. Head down to the baggage area to find the unclaimed baggage office to see with is up with my bag. “yep, it is in Indianapolis” the baggage lady tells me in some eastern block accent that is so think I have to strain to pick out the English in what she is saying. It takes the next hour to get her to understand and communicate to the Indy office that I will be there Tuesday and they should hold it for me. She kept insisting they could have it 'here' for me Tuesday morning. Grrr, but I fly back to Indianapolis Tuesday.
Another half hour to get to and out of the rental car lot. 11:30 pm, I’m finally on the road for what Google tells me is an hour drive. Oh, and I haven’t had dinner yet. Good thing there weren’t any deer on the side of the road, I would have had fresh venison. And yes, raw.

Actually found a 24 hour Wal-Mart, thanks to an attendant at a gas station along the way. I get inside and I’m scanning the overhead signs as I walk… pants, black. Shirt, white. Socks, black. Underwear… Cool, I’m outta here. Almost to the check out and, DAMN “white tennis shoes will not go with this”, and head back to the back of the store for shoes, size 9. (Side bar – I always wear a 9. Have for years. These were too small. I nearly broke my finger trying to wedge them onto my foot. I think I know how you ladies feel cramming your feet into shoes. Let me tell you it felt good to get those bastards off at the end of the day. – End side bar) Done, good… SHIT, razor *sigh*, it’s going to be a long night. Grab a 4 pack of disposables, figure I’ll just use hotel bar soap to shave with… and you guessed it. Back into the store for contact solution and a contact case. Back again for deodorant. The whole demented shopping trip took over an hour. (Side bar – I also bought a duffel bag so I could get all of my new travel junk home. Being the thrifty guy that I am I bought a 4 pack of razors and a 12 oz bottle of contact solution. You might have done the same, after all, the bulk stuff is ultimately cheaper, right? Well… razors are not allowed on the plane in a non checked bag, trash’em. And 12 oz of saline at 8 bucks a bottle exceeds the FAA’s “4 ounces max of fluids in carry on bags”… trash it! Damn terrorists. - End side bar)

I finally roll into New Haven at about 1:00 am.
New Haven is a college town and has grown up around its founding father short sightedness. Alas, there are many, maybe nothing but, one way streets in New Haven. The hotel in on one, and I missed it. There is no sign or street address on the building. Fine, down to the next street turn left. I figure I’ll just do the four lefts thing and circle back and try again. Hahaha!! Whatthefuckever. The next two streets are one way the wrong way, yes two in a row going the same (WRONG) direction. On the third, I can go left. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t just do the four rights thing. Call it tunnel vision, sleep deprivation, I don’t know, I just didn’t. K?) I tried to keep count, I was about 4 blocks from where I needed to turn to get back to the hotel but there was construction, closing the road, then more one ways going the wrong damn direction again. Would you believe it took me almost 45 minutes to go 'around the block' and get back to the hotel? *big sigh*

I finally get checked in and up to my room. (see picture below). It’s nearly 2 am and I’m exhausted. As I’m about to lie down, I realize that the clothes, being new and in cellophane packaging, are wrinkled. Not like thrown on the floor wrinkled but those square ‘just came from the store’ wrinkles. I stayed up for another half hour and ironed.

Made it down stairs for the breakfast interview with the CEO. Everything went really well, guess I was running on adrenalin most of the day. The worst part was right after lunch. The VP of engineering took me on a ride around town to see the area and what not. There I am in a car, with a full belly on 4 +/- hours of sleep and the sun shining in on me. God as my witness, I was doing the whole 'head nod/jerk myself awake' thing for the last half of the ride. He said he didn’t notice. I talked with the CEO, the VP of sales and the VP of engineering. Also chatted with some of the other employees. They also had me take a 90 minute phyc test. You know;

If an employee after 3 years of flawless service begins coming in 30 minute late every day, do you;
A – fire her
B – talk to her once and fire her if she is late again
C – talk to her at least 3 times then fire her if she is late again
D – Do nothing

Great stuff.
I must have done ok. They have made me an offer. I guess you could call it that. Dollar for dollar it is about 5% less than I was making here. With the 35% increase in cost of living and 45% increase in housing, plus taxes, the ‘offer’ is a lot less. I will be talking to them this week about how far off we are. I doubt they are going to add 30-40% to their offer, so. I guess I’m not moving to CT.

Pending opportunities are in Raleigh, NC; Detroit, MI; Nashville, TN; San Diego and San Jose, CA.

Holy Crap, 2nd Place

Last time I looked CJ was in 3rd at like 3,000 votes to 12,000… Now he over 22,000!!

Holy Crap!!

Go CJ Go!!

If you haven’t voted, please do. And remember, you can vote once a day.

Edit - Holy holy crap crap!!! CJ's now 1st with over 25,000 votes!!!
BTW - Its been just over 3 hours.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Welcome Home

Welcome home!
2-150FA, Bloomington Indiana.