30 October 2005

'Ze parking follies...

I really hate it when I get to a store, be it the local grocery, or the local Best Buy, or wherever and there is a large parking lot. The large parking lot, not the problem, where people park, that’s the problem. Now bear in mind, there is an aforementioned large parking lot, yet these assholes feel the need to park their cars in front of the store where, in large ass block letters, it states, “NO PARKING FIRE LANE”. I’ve had what one might call “conversations” with a couple of these people before, and me being my normal wise assed self will walk by and casually say something like, “Not a parking spot.” Which of course I say in a loud enough voice so that the lazy person or persons sitting inside of the vehicle hear me. Sometimes I get a response, and sometimes I don’t. The most common response, “My wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/dog/cat just went inside to grab a couple of things.” Well, the problem with something like that is the mere fact that I too am also just going into the store to grab a couple of things. The funny thing is, is that by the time I go in, get the things I need to get, pay for it, bag it, get my change, and walk back out the door, the chain smoking lazy fat assed person is still sitting there in the same spot. Hey, I’ve been there before, I’ve dropped off someone else to go into the store to get a few things, and you know what I do? I go and park my car, or drive around in little circles until the person I dropped off comes out. Most of the time, I just park, and watch the door, and when my drop-ee comes back out the door, I can place the car into drive and go and pick them up. It’s really that simple. Why does this bother me? Mostly because it shows the laziness that has become American society in general. God forbid you have to walk more than a few feet to get inside of a store, or somewhere else that you’re going. That’s just insanity! I’ve actually seen people, and I’m sure that you’ve seen the same people, that will drive and circle a parking lot for a long ass time waiting for a spot to open up closer to the door of whatever establishment that they’re going to. I see these parking lot sharks circling like there’s freakin’ chum in the water, and the feeding frenzy is about to begin. Waiting, watching, and getting ready to attack the nearest parking spot they can find. What I find stupidly insane about this scenario is that when I see this happening, I park my ride, usually somewhere a good distance away from the entrance, and walk into the store. By the time I park, get out, lock the car, gather up myself, and walk into the store, they’re still circling. Why? Because damn it, they don’t want to have to walk too far lest they get some exercise. Do I walk to enough places? Yeah, probably not, but I do it a lot more than most people I see. The Chad was relating a story to me about going to GTCC and seeing people who would get to the campus hours ahead of their schedule class time so they could sit in their car, and get a close parking spot. Ridiculous. It must stop.

What I’m going to do is create my own parking tickets to stick on car windshields when I see someone parked in a space that’s not a parking space. They’ll say something like, “Hey asshole, nice parking job. Next time find a real parking space and walk.” You know, something really nice like that. Actually, I think what I’ll do is make a bunch of different ones, and have several on me at all times so I can hand them out like some sort of socially conscious policing effort of parking lots across this fair nation of ours. Social activism, it’s got to start somewhere. I’m sure I’ll make special ones for vehicles such as extra large unneeded SUVs, Hummers, and other vehicles that I think shouldn’t be driving the roadways of America, or any country for that matter. Maybe I can recruit others in different cities and towns across the country to print out your own tickets from my blog/website, and slap them on cars where they see this happening as well. I know I could get Graham on board with something like this, as well as The Chad no doubt. It could be a small revolution, oh yeah, I’m sure Jeremy is down as well, Dahron, and so forth. Essentially all of my rebel friends. They can become part of the rebel alliance, and maybe Darth Vader will chase us all down, or try to. Bring it on Darth you Freddy Krueger wanna-be. So in the near future, be on the lookout for “fake” parking tickets I’ll make up and you can print your own and slap them on the closest fat guy SUV you can find that’s taking up space in a fire lane, or in some other parking spot that’s actually not a parking spot.

Just a note for your Star Wars nerds out there. Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is coming out this week on Tuesday. Get your copy as soon as possible so you can see how Darth Vader evolves. Actually, I saw this episode last summer when I was in Maine, and I got to tell you, I don’t think it was long enough (Lucas you hack. Are you listening??). It went from Anakin being sort of bad, and maybe having a few bad thoughts, and sort of brushing them off and still being a Jedi, and then all of a sudden he’s slaughtering small children and other Jedi Knights? Yeah, the switch was way too fast, not nearly enough internal conflict. And also, as the SO stated, and I can agree with her on this one, Queen Amidala in this episode turned into a complete wimp. Not through any fault of Natalie Portman’s, but because of how poorly her character was written in Episode III. They took a character who had a lot of fortitude and strength, and turned her into a sniveling wimp. Not a good turn of character if you ask me. In the previous 2 movies, she was all kick ass, take names, and a good leader. This one, she’s mush. But… Since I am a fan of the movie and all, I’m going to get this one, since that will complete my collection of Star Wars movies. Also, the fight scenes in this movie, and the battle scenes are extraordinary really. Overall, the movie was still good, but it needed more development. I don’t know if there was more in there, and some of it ended up on the cutting room floor, but knowing how Lucas has developed his stuff in the past, and since it was his company making the movies, he could pretty much do whatever the hell he wanted to do, so going on that assertion, he just developed the characters badly. I could have seen this being like a 4 hour epic, and because of the huge and loyal fan base that these movies have had over the years, it still would have made bank. People would have gone to see it in droves, just like they did when it came out this past Spring. If a movie is good, or people have a sentimental attachment to it, they won’t care how long it plays on the screen, they’re down for it. Just look at the old Lord of the Rings trilogy. A couple of those movies ran over 3 hours, and people were skeptical of that, but when they rang in the cash, all of a sudden, Peter Jackson was a genius. He is also another movie guy who can do whatever he wants to do from now on because of the strength of those 3 films that he made. Which reminds me, King Kong is coming out soon by him. It promises to be, well if the hype is any indication, it promises to be a good ass movie. It’s got Jack Black in it, so I really don’t see how it could be bad. Especially if somehow he could work KG into the movie (Tenacious D reference for those not in “the know”), then it would be perfect.

The annual Halloween party was also this weekend, Friday night throwdown, and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed with my drinking abilities even though I’m out of practice. I had you know, somewhere between 7-10 beers throughout the evening, and still managed to not only be NOT hung-over, but I got in a ride this morning that kept me out on the bike for about 3 hours, or a little over 3 hours. Of course the entire time I was riding I felt like I might hurl, but I didn’t. And that’s victory in and of itself. Of course I would have felt like vomiting small projectiles of past foodstuffs eaten if Rich “Rocco” Harper, and Phil “I should have had a V8” Wikoff weren’t on the front of the local group ride killing it. Guys, seriously, that shit hurt. Knock it off. Luckily, or unluckily for us, Phil is moving away this week, shuttling off to Austin Texas with his lady Danielle, as she takes a big time real jobby job, and Phil becomes, well, becomes someone who will get to ride his bike a shit ton more. But anyway, the party. Turnout, not bad for the party actually not being on a Halloween and all. We had some random folks drop into the establishment, mostly friends of my friend Pete, but I didn’t know them, but they were decent folk, so it’s all good. Best costume of the night is either going to have to go to Emma and Peter for the Wonder Twins, or to the guy who came dressed as Otto from The Simpsons. That was a great costume. He had the Walkman and everything. Many beers and other beverages were drank throughout the night, but the most part, not a whole lot of craziness. Caroline came up from the big city of Charlotte, and it was of course, very good to see her. The insanity, just not there this year. Don’t know why, but it wasn’t, not that this is a bad thing. I mean, it’s not like the time Graham took a dirty magazine down to Dahron’s car so he could try to masturbate on the bumper as a drunken prank (he didn’t get to do it since the cops drove by when he was getting ready to do the deed). Or the time Rich passed out in the back room (for those of you who have gone to past parties you’re probably wondering WHICH party it is I’m talking about Rich passing out since he seems to accomplish this task at almost every party, but not this year actually, which was good) and we threw a funny wig on his head, and placed red hot tamale candy all over his face, and then took pictures of that with his camera. Oh no, nothing that crazy happened this time around. It wasn’t like Jeremy was running around the back room naked trying to rub his manhood on everyone. Ah, the good old days. I think we need more parties like that. Things have gotten more tame over the years. Is it because everyone is getting a touch older, or is it because we’re just getting more lame? Hard to tell really, hard to tell.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!! Heading down to the CLT to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Minnesota Vikings. This will actually be my first pro football game. The downside, we have to drive to Greensboro early in the AM to meet The Chad and The Alex, and then drive to Charlotte to tailgate for awhile, and then go to the game, and then drive home, and then go to bed. It’s going to be a long day, but undoubtedly a fun day. After drinking many beers the other night, I don’t think I’ll be boozing it up during the tailgate, but then again, maybe I will. I do believe that there will be bloody Mary’s on offer, that will put a twist in your cap, so maybe just one to get the morning off to a nice start. The upside to going to this game is going to be the drive back from Charlotte. I believe a van was rented, which means, I can sit in the back, rest my weary head and sleep on the way back to Greensboro, and then go home, and sleep some damn more later on. It’s been a hectic weekend, but a fun weekend so far. My only regret about going to the game tomorrow is that I won’t get to ride, but that’s OK, because damn hard core training is starting soon enough, like, as in, next week.

27 October 2005

Holy shit, theme sweaters...

It’s that time of the year again. Yes, it’s theme sweater time again. This is the time of the year when women in offices all over the world start to wear theme sweaters. It is fast approaching Halloween, and that is when round number one kicks into high gear. You can go into any place of business and see middle aged women wearing sweaters with pumpkins, ghouls, and goblins splashed all over them. And then we progress of course to Thanksgiving where there are turkeys, pilgrims, and even sometimes Indians seen on these atrocious wastes of wool. And then of course, the crème de la crème of theme sweaters. Christmas season. Holy shit, Christmas season. From the time Thanksgiving ends, until we go on vacation for Christmas, there is a cacophony of Christmas sweaters all over the place. Trees, elves, Santa, JC, reindeer, sleighs, and jingle fucking bells all over the place. Oh my God, it needs to go, go right into an incinerator along with any kind of velvety stretch pants that these women tend to wear with said Christmas theme sweaters. Now bear in mind, these are women, who I might have mentioned before were middle aged, but I take that back, some of them are younger than I am. The only person who should be wearing a theme sweater would be like an elementary school teacher whose kids would dig that kind of thing, or maybe some sort of grandmother. But a 33 year old young mother? I think not people, I think not. Middle aged woman? Yeah, well, maybe, but then again maybe not. It just shouldn’t be allowed in normal every day society. I would call for a ban on them, but there is that whole freedom of speech thing that we have in the United States. Then again if I were President…

I guess it is their garish quality that steams me the most. The bright colors, the smiling elves, the bearded bespectacled Santa, carved pumpkins, pilgrims with black clothes and hats, and so on and so forth. I guess they wear them so that they’re happy and all, but damn it all, if I want to have a bad day, how can I have one with a theme sweater staring at me across the conference room when I’m in a meeting? Is that really proper business attire anyway? I mean, even on the most casual of days, is it OK to wear a theme sweater? Maybe I could get a ban enacted on them in my workplace. Yeah, that would be sweet. Get the plant manager to ban theme sweaters because they’re distracting to other people, and when others walk by with them on, you have to shield your eyes for fear of being blinded by their brightness and bling. Which brings me to another point. If you are wearing one of these affronts to good fashion do not, I repeat, do not attach anything to them. These things would include but are not limited to; jingle bells, ribbons, sparkles, rhinestones, and essentially anything else that Dolly Parton wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. Theme sweaters do not require extra things hanging off of them to call attention to them. They’re already getting enough attention as it is. Leave it be with the nice little snowman making scene that you have on there already.

There is one woman that I work with that has worn a theme sweater everyday for the last week and a half. Not the same ones mind you, but different ones. It’s been almost 8 business days, and she hasn’t run out of Halloween sweaters yet. What’s funny is that she’s wearing Halloween sweaters paired up with a short skirt and some knee high boots. This isn’t something that you’d normally see. Part raver, part grandmother? Then at the start of this week she was joined in her sweater wearing compunction by another co-worker of mine, who so far is going strong on just 2 days. I doubt she has as many as the first woman, but we’ll never know. If you’ve ever seen the movie Office Space (and if you haven’t, you really should), the kind of overweight woman who is sort of the office manager in that movie, that is the perfect depiction of woman #2 (not the part time raver, but the second sweater wearer on the grassy knoll). She is sickeningly sweet, and is always in charge of things like the monthly Birthday roundtables where you round up everyone who has a Birthday in whatever month we happen to be in, and they all sit in a small conference room with the plant manager airing their grievances over stale muffins, week old pastries, and warm Mountain Dew. This is normally held at like 5 in the morning for some reason, most likely so that attendance is kept to a bare minimum, and then the plant manager won’t have to answer any actual questions. Instead he gets tossed softballs like, “Can we get another Coke machine for the cafeteria?” No. Next question. “What do you see as the possible economic future of this facility as it relates back to the general economy of North Carolina at large?” Oh, hey, I see our time is up, thanks for coming in. Normally, those sessions will go something like that. It sort of reminds me of a Presidential news conference where the reporters get to ask the President questions, but he never actually directly answers one, and just sort of tap dances around the issue and the question and you leave feeling like you should have gotten something out what just happened but you really feel violated deep down instead. That’s how Birthday roundtables go at my workplace. I went to one of them when I first started working there, haven’t been back since. You do get a free t-shirt though, so that would be something. Nah, still not worth it. It’s probably a theme t-shirt anyway, as a matter of fact, I know that it is a theme t-shirt. Meaning, it has a little company slogan and message on there. Something like, “Birthday Roundtable June 2005”. Yeah, don’t need any of that going on in my closet. It’s bad enough in there without cluttering it with another useless t-shirt. That would be like getting yet another t-shirt from a bike race.

The company that I work for is interesting. Interesting in the fact that of all the places that I’ve worked in my short working lifetime since graduation college, and even jobs that I had in high school, the general theme of workplaces in the past has been kind of like, “Work hard, and you’ll make gains, and get raises in your pay rate.” With this place it’s like, “Work hard, we won’t give you any more money, but we’ll constantly remind you of how good you have it even having a job.” You know, this isn’t the way to motivate the work force. What sucks for the general population of folks working there is that they don’t really have any other recourse, or anywhere else to go. They’re more or less a captive work force, with nobody to represent them, or speak for them as a whole. Don’t even mention the word “union” in North Carolina, you’ll get run out of town on a rail and or tarred and feathered. I hear complaints all of the time from the folks that I work with on the production floor. They want me to bring them to our plant manager, and sometimes I make mention of these things to him that I hear people talking about, but to no avail. I’m completely ignored as much as the rest of the work force out there. Well, except for the one time I complained about the bathrooms being dirty. They took some action then to clean the piss off the floor, for about a week. And now it’s back to the way it was before, which is to keep it filthy and smelly. And that’s for the so-called “office” bathroom. The one for the folks who work out on the production floor is about 10 times worse than ours. Now after all these years of my father preaching about how the unions stood up for the working man, I can see where he’s coming from. Sure there are unions that have become corrupted with power and money, but there are still unions out there doing good work for the general laborers who built this country, and who are still building this country. How did I get into this topic? Especially when I started out this entire thing by bitching about theme sweaters. Yeah, I have no idea either.

There is another thing that has been niggling at me for awhile. It’s China. No, not the plates and saucers, but the entire country. With so much manufacturing in China right now, and them holding sway over the US with a huge trade deficit and holding onto a lot of our debt (thanks GWB!!); what happens when the communist party leadership of China decides that their idyllic society has had enough of the outside world, and then want to close their borders to all foreigners? What happens then? I’ll tell you. We will be up shit creek without a paddle, or even a boat really. We’re screwed if that were to happen. Also; what would happen if say Taiwan decided they wanted to really be free from the mainland? China hurries their military forces into position, invades Taiwan, and do we stand by and let this happen? No, we’d have to protect Taiwan as we said we would in case of Chinese invasion. Once again, we’d be screwed. The Chinese in the recent past have done some pretty evil shit. Human rights abuses, taking over Tibet, and the list could go on and on for a long time I think. Why are we doing business with them? And essentially, we started the juggernaut that is now Chinese manufacturing and business back in the Kissinger / Nixon days of yore.

OK, started off light, ended with a dreary sense of the world under Chinese rule. How is that for running around the block without looking where you’re going? Speaking of going, it’s time to go to bed. I hear the sweet song of the bed calling me to it again. I love bed, especially this time of the year when it’s getting chilly out there and you can jump under the covers and feel the cool of the sheets. It’s good stuff, and the simple things in life that are all good.

24 October 2005

North Carolina State Fair... Or where I spent my Saturday evening...

Went to the good old fair last night in Raleigh. Don’t know about that thing. I don’t think I need to go again next year. Unless I go during the daytime, when there are no people around, or very few people around. Just too many people there last night, and that’s mostly my fault for going on the next to last day of the fair this year. I’m sure that the place was a mob scene today, it being the last day, and it being very nice outside all day long today. Blue skies, cool temperatures, and a slight breeze makes for a shit ton of people going to the fair. There were some cool things going on there, and mostly the agricultural stuff that we saw. There were tons of little ornamental gardens that people had planted as part of the competitions at the fair, and some of them were impressive. Some weren’t, but that’s how those things go. Then there were the gourds being displayed, other plants, and of course the good old rabbit house. There were tons of rabbits in that place, and one in particular looked pretty impressive. That would be the Flemish rabbit. That thing was huge. No wonder there are good bike racers from the Flanders region of Belgium, they probably eat these things, and it puts some sort of weird rabbit growth hormone into them. OK, not really likely to happen, but it’s a theory. The other theory is that they have really good doping doctors, but I digress. The rabbit was freakin’ enormous.

The other thing about the fair is of course the “famous” fair food that they have going on out there. If it can be battered, and deep fried in oil, they had it there. Cheesecake, cheese, candy bars, Oreos, funnel cakes, alligator, potatoes, onions, bananas, and on and on and on. I was good for the most part, only partaking in a funnel cake, some stringy tasty potatoes, and of course some fried cheese. Look, when you roll over to a booth that says, “Hot Wisconsin Cheese” you need to get on that shit with the quickness. Cheddar and jalapeno mixed together and deep friend, hell yes my friends, hell yes. In hindsight, eating that chicken burrito before going to the fair was probably a bad idea, but hey, I was hungry damn it all. We did get to go the fair with Chad and Alex, which is always a good time, especially when Alex was wearing some of her foster son’s knee socks. We all had whimsical footwear on last night, except for Steph who was wearing some boots, which were a lot less whimsical than my LaCoste shoes, Alex’s sneakers and knee socks, and Chad’s skateboarding shoes with pink shoe laces. So yeah, we were a sight walking through there, but looking at everyone else that was up in there, we were what I consider probably some of the more normal people that I saw.

The folks that inhabit the fair are a rare breed I think. First of all, rude as all get out. I kept having to turn, move, and dodge people as I was walking through the mass and throngs of people, but did other people move out of my way? No. They didn’t appear to be particularly in the mood to make way for other people. I don’t know if it was just me, or if that’s how it really was, but that’s how I viewed it at least. Then there are the people who in the midst of a very large and tightly packed crowd like to have a smoke. Now, not only are they exhaling stale cigarette smoke in your face, but there is also a good chance that they’re going to burn the crap out of you with the glowing ember of their cancer stick. Not a very nice thing to do I don’t think. Just a little consideration would go a long way. Then there were the gangster wanna-bes which actually there appeared to be a lot of in the fairgrounds last night. Mostly young, urban, black teenagers running around looking like the latest rap video, bling and all, and attitude and all. Of course there are the local rednecks that come to the fair. The young couples one wearing a camouflage (Mossy Oak I believe) hat, and his lady friend wearing a white baseball hat that she had just had his name airbrushed onto it is always a good pairing. Mullets everywhere of course, most of them looking rather fluffy since I’m sure that they had their hair did before heading to the fair (and these are the guys I’m talking about over here), and I’m pretty sure I saw more than a few of them there mullets that had been permed. I’m certain of this, well, almost certain. I could smell the curling chemicals wafting through the air. Their semi-toxic noxiousness reminding me of hair salons that my mother would make me go to when I was a kid, because hell be damned she’d pay for a babysitter just so that she could get her hair done (not that I blame her for this of course, it only make sense really). When you are getting a perm though, damn it takes a long time. This is when I gained my affinity for reading bad women’s magazines. There was really nothing else to do. No, really, there wasn’t. As always there are some older redneck couples running around with about 2 or 3 teeth between them. There is an enormous cross section of people at this place, all spending way too much money, most having a good time, and well, it’s the fair. I take it back. I’m sure I’ll go back next year. Next time though, I’ve got to bring the camera, most people wouldn’t believe this shit unless they saw it with their own eyes, or in pictures. Then again, even if they had seen it, they still might think they were dreaming that this mass of humanity could all gather in one place every single year for this event. At least this time, they didn’t schedule an NC State football game the same weekend that the fair was running. Now THAT would have been insane, and speaking with people who have run into that problem in the past, it makes for short tempers, and long lines of cars waiting to get back into the interstate. Finally, someone had the good sense to make the schedule run correct. Now if State fans would realize that their football team is as sub par as their basketball team, then we’d be getting somewhere.

I might be a geek for writing this, and I’m sure that I am, but there is something cool about 4 F-15 fighter jets screaming treetop level going through Chapel Hill. This is what happened yesterday afternoon as I was riding my bike home from my training ride. Big football game in The Hill yesterday, as they were playing Virginia, and as a special little treat of some sort, they had a flyover of F-15s during halftime. It was something to see the best air superiority fighter plane in the world come cruising through town at a high rate of speed. It appeals to the military buff in me, and the fact that back in the day, I had an intense interest in all things Air Force, and military planes. I know, I’m a dork. I’m an engineer, what can I say?

22 October 2005

Going to the fair...

It's that time of year again in NC when the State Fair fires up. Now look, I'm from the North, and we've had fairs, and continue to have fairs in the fall and such, but I don't think it is quite the same as this little fiasco that they have going every year. Back when I was younger, I was under the impression that fairs were for the agricultural bunch of folks running around, and for the most part, this is true in NC as well, except, they also have this huge midway where they have literally hundreds of rides being run by scary looking people. People who you wouldn't trust to leave your kids with, but they're OK to run these rides where they could damage, maim, and or kill possibly hundreds of people at a time. It brings me no sense of relief either to know that earlier this week when the fair first started up, there were something like 20% of the rides not deemed "safe". Now, I don't know what "safe" means, but to me, that says, well, NOT SAFE. So I think I'll be staying away from the rides for the most part, which pains me because I like rides, but I don't know. Carni folk, small hands, smell like cabbage. I'm going to have to take a pass on that one. I'm going to people watch, eat some fried foods, and to see the 500 pound pumpkin and other gigantic vegetables. That's going to be some extra large produce my friends, extra large. The ride thing though, now I'm all about some theme parks and such. Disneyworld, Busch Gardens and the like, I'm all over that. These ragtag midways that get set up, taken down, and then set up again over and over, makes me a skeptic. OK, so I'm a skeptic anyway, but this makes me even more of a skeptic.

Now the food eating. This is something to go for. Funnel cakes, deep fried Twinkies, and candy bars, that's some good stuff my friends. Only in the South though can they take something that is good for you, like a vegetable of some sort, dip it into some beer batter, and toss it into boiling oil before they'll eat it. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, OK, well maybe I'm sort of saying it's bad, but in a good way. Meaning, the deep fried deliciousness will not escape my clutches, I guaran-damn-tee you that. I might try to see how many different foods I can eat that come on a stick this evening. I'll let you know the count post fair going. Then there are the homemade ice cream vendors. I'm sure that's not so bad. The barrel pickles, and the list could go on forever. I'll have to bring a camera with me this evening, and post some pictures of the North Carolina delicacies that I encounter on my trip through the fair grounds. I can already hear my arteries congealing in pain and agony. Hey, when at the fair, do as fair goers do. I can't break tradition now. The really bad thing about going to the fair this evening is that my friend Chad is coming, and it's not bad that he's coming, but it's bad because he'll talk me into eating way too many tasty things that I don't really need to eat. I can see a 5 hour ride tomorrow to do penance for this mission into Raleigh this evening. I hope I don't get gravy on my white wifebeater t-shirt in all of this feasting. Jason "The Fart Sniffer" Darden seems to be a big fair goer. I've spoken with him a couple of times this week, and both times he was headed to the fair. One time to work at it for the Church he attends, and the other time to just attend. What the hell is a church doing at the fair? Trying to save all of those sinners (like myself) from themselves? Or just trying to convert the masses? Actually, it's the Bible belt silly, you don't need to convert anyone, they've already all been converted, or drawn into it all at an early age. He's going to have to answer that question for me.

The final countdown to the yearly Halloween party has begun. All of the chaos and drunken revelry will be here next Friday evening. I just got a call from my friend Caroline, she's in, she's coming up from Charlotte to attend. I hope that this year, the house gets rocked. Last year, it wasn't so good. The party being on a Sunday evening and all, that's just no good. That's why the shift has been made for this year to the weekend, and to Friday. My theory behind that is this; you get people wasted on a Friday night, you have all day Saturday to recover, and you can still do something on Sunday, so you don't feel as though your entire weekend was a waste of time for one night of drinking. This makes sense no? Yes, I'm sure that it does. This coming weekend is going to be crazy though. Party Friday night, Saturday pig pickin', Sunday football game in Charlotte, and Monday is going to be another party for Phil and Danielle (2 friends of mine moving to Texas the following day). I have a good feeling that drunkenness might prevail over this weekend for me. This will be an all time record for me, and I might just stay drunk through the entire weekend so as to not have to deal with a hangover on any of the days. We'll see how that goes for me. To top that all off, on the Monday that I'm having the party, I have a customer coming into the workplace, so I'll need to be on time this time (see previous entry about being late for work when your customer is in-house, it's frowned upon heavily by the boss and the powers to be, in other words, The Man). Monday night, actual Halloween night, I might not take in too much booze, instead, keep a nice buzzed level going on instead of totally getting knackered like I normally do when I have a party, seeing as how I do need to be at work and all. I might need until the end of the following week to get feeling normal again I think. This could be interesting indeed. I wonder what would happen if I showed up at work still stinking of beer? Well, let's not find out. I've done it before (once again Chad's fault) in the past, and it was not good. Had to chew about 2 packs of minty fresh gum to cover the stench. And when you have a hangover, working the jaws to chew some gum is about the last thing that you really want to do. It hurts the brain on a new and weird level.

I'm certain that Franklin Street on Halloween night will be packed with the college kids again, most of them dressed scantily (note to self, bring camera to Franklin Street this year). I do like walking around up there, and it's interesting to look around and see some crazy folks out there, but it's not that big of a deal. There's just a lot of people walking around in costumes, and it's crowded, hot, and well, you're walking. Walking up there from where I live involves walking up one of 2 rather large hills. That's the sucky part. Once you get there, it's all good in the hood. Getting there though is like getting kicked in the nuts by a small Chinese child with really sharp pointy toed shoes. It's just not good.

21 October 2005

Taking grenades in the trenches...

"I hope you flip your bike over and knock your two front teeth out! You selfish son of a bitch! You leave me in the trenches taking grenades, John!"

Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers

Damn it was another day of Hell in the trenches of work. I ended up the day yesterday having to drive to Raleigh, and later re-routing my trip back to Chapel Hill to drop off a FedEx package that absolutely had to be in Missouri this morning. I thought the best place to do that would be at the airport, luckily on the way to Raleigh the boss calls and tells me that there is an express drop off location on Franklin Street, Kinko’s. So instead of rolling over to Raleigh, I get to go there, which in the grand scheme of things is not a bad deal since I live about 1 minute away from Kinko’s on Franklin Street. By the time I get there, it’s almost 6:30, the sun is going down, and the pimple faced counter personat Kinko’s looks at me like I want a freakin’ miracle to drop off this package. He takes it, and I make sure he puts it into the express pile, meaning overnight to Missouri and my customer. He first drops it into the ground pile, I have to correct him on this, which he doesn’t look pleased about, but I have one irate customer here, and this shit has to be there in the morning or the boss is going to have my ass. Of course I committed the most grievous error ever in the fact that I corrected a Kinko’s employee, because if you’ve ever been into one, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, for some reason these folks seem to think that they are the end all be all of consumer service people. In other words, they look at you like you are a complete idiot if you can’t figure out how to run a damn copy machine. Luckily, they’ve never done this to me, because I am smart enough to figure out how to use a damn copy machine, but the rest of the general non-office dwelling population in the United States isn’t. So they tend to frown upon actually having to help someone make a copy or 2. This was the case with the package of last night, except when I corrected him, he at first looked at me like I had 2 heads, and then looked at the signage above the bins, and realized his mistake, and shuffled my envelope over to the other bin where it was supposed to be in the first place. Haha motherfucker! Told you so. Tom 1, Kinko’s employee goose-egg. Needless to say, the stuff got out of here, and was where it was supposed to be this morning at like 7AM, and the customer was relieved, but that’s just the start of the doom of gloom of this Friday.

Fast forward to Friday morning, 8:30. First of all, I’m supposed to be at work no later than 8:00AM, I’m late this morning. Add to that fact that one of my customers was in visiting our facility this morning arriving at 8:00AM, and my boss is freaking out. Mostly because she doesn’t know half of what I know about this program, and she can’t talk enough to keep our customer occupied. I walk in, and I’m getting the glare of death from the boss, which I deserve, because let’s face it, I’m a half hour late, when I should have been there at 7:30AM at the latest. OK, my bad. I was sleeping in, overslept, hit the alarm too many times, and aside from that, had a beautiful woman curled up next to me in bed. What would you have done? Exactly, same damn thing. Don’t even think about saying you wouldn’t have done that, because then I’d know you were lying. I get the short lecture about being on time, and then I go in and save the meeting, because this particular customer representative likes me a lot for some reason, mostly because she asks for something, and I produce it without too many questions most of the time. I take care of business there, and see the customer out the door. Meanwhile, my hip phone has been ringing off the hook all during meeting time. I finally check voicemail. 7, count them, 7 new messages I’ve got. I’ve got 3 customer issues, and people are starting to freak the fuck out because I’m not calling them back. Broken part in Canada, part labeling issues in Kansas City (still from the previous day and above paragraph), and a “loose” part in Chicago. Damn. When this many people are calling it cannot be good. I miss lunch, again, for the second day in a row, and start making calls around to the folks who have been calling me. I get yelled at by 3 different Ford guys at 3 different Ford assembly plants. For those of you out there wondering, never buy a Ford. It’s not even close to being worth the money you’re going to spend on repairs and warranty issues. They may “say” that Quality is Job 1, but really, saving money so they can line their pockets is Job 1. They nickel and dime you to death so they can make more profit, but at the same time in order for you to give them the kick backs that they want/require, you have to cut corners lots of times in production and or raw materials, and hence, you’re getting an inferior product. Does Toyota do such things? Hells no. This is why Toyota is going to take over the world of cars in the next 10 years, you watch. Toyota still wants value for their money, but if it means shoddy quality, they won’t do it. Ford, they just care about the money. Quality is a nice sound bite, but if you’ve ever owned a Ford, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, by the time I get done dealing with crying customers, and shuffling their problems around and fixing them, it’s now 5:30 in the afternoon again. Oops, forgot to eat lunch, or get a snack, or even take a shit again. Damn it all, and now, my head is ringing like freakin’ Quasimoto’s bells in France. It’s no good. I drive that tired ass home, call the SO, apologize for not feeling well, and not being able to attend Jen and Josh’s Halloween party this evening (sorry Jen and Josh I really wanted to come, but alas, I feel like h-e-double toothpicks), and eat a damn sandwich for crying out loud. Momma said there’d be days like this, except there seem to be more days like this lately, and more often than not. Ah, the world of being an automotive supplier. If there is anyone out there looking for a job path, I don’t suggest automotive. Too much stress, too much hassle. Find something more fun and amusing, like being a TV pundit, for which, if you’ve seen any of these folks lately, you won’t need much education anyway. All you have to do is to produce good sounding bits of information that makes it seem like you know something, and then pass it off as fact. For a good example of this punditry, see anything done by Ann Coulter. She’s a good one, as she essentially makes up everything that tumbles from her scraggly haired head. It’s kind of like that old song, “Momma don’t let you son’s grow up to be automotive engineers.” I actually should blame my old roommate Thomas Thibault for all of this business, because if it weren’t for him turning down the job that I eventually took, I’d still be designing machines to make tampons, I shit you not, and I wouldn’t be in the business of making car parts, instead, I’d probably be making feminine hygiene products, and I’d have an endless supply of them of which to foist them onto whomever I happened to be dating at the time. Because as we all know, those things are damn expensive for some reason. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t be working for Tampax anymore, I probably would have still ended up in automotive somewhere along the line, and suffering because of it. It’s kind of like the damn mafia. I keep trying to get out, and yet, they keep pulling me back in those bastards. When you try to explain to job recruiters and others that you’d like to step out of the automotive arena, they look at you like you’re nuts. Then again, none of those assholes have ever done this kind of work, so they have no idea about what it entails. If I could be a recruiter, I could work from home. Hell, get me a wireless connection I could work from my bed everyday. Make a ton of calls in the morning, ride for a few hours, come home, and make some follow up calls, shuffle around some e-mails, and take 10 percent when I could get someone hired. Hell yeah I could do something like that. I’d operate differently than the guys I deal with as well. No cold calls to people at work. No not telling people who the company is that I’m working for, or looking to place someone with. This is a common problem with recruiters. They call you, tell you about this immense job opportunity that they have for you, and yet fail to tell you what company it is for, or where the company is located. For example. Back in the day when I was looking to move to NC, I kept telling recruiters I’m looking for work in the triangle of NC (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), and these damn morons kept coming back to me with things like, how about North Dakota? How about Alabama? How about Missouri? Somewhere there was some disconnect between them and I, and it was most definitely on their end of things. I did get an interview in Wisconsin once, which was super nice. The company then changed their minds about hiring someone new, and they didn’t go through with it. Lucky they didn’t, because right now I’d be living in good old Wisconsin eating cheese and watching Packers games. Instead, I’m living in Chapel Hill watching the Tarheels lose badly at football. Hey, they won the National Championship in basketball last year, what the hell else do you all want? If I was a job recruiter, I’d definitely do it different. I’d be the man at it.

My political jab for the day once again goes out to Republicans. Now that we’re faced with this huge deficit, and mounting debt because of natural disasters, the war in Iraq, and just general running of a nation expenses, now, now these jerks in Congress want to be fiscally conservative and start cutting the budget. Let me clue you assholes into something. If you hadn’t passed Bush’s tax cuts a few years back and wiped out the surplus money we had stored up, this might not be such a large issue. Since Bush is all spend and no tax though (does that ever work??) instead of tax and spend (like us liberals, which I’ll take tax and spend any day, because at least then you have the money to spend) the rest of us are left holding the bag my friends. Holding the bag. Mounting debt is getting crazy out there, and Bush, the conservative, still has not vetoed a spending bill that has come across his desk in the years that he has been President. Here’s a clue curious George. Back when you were Governor of Texas, you cut taxes to stimulate economic growth, and it didn’t work. What did work was that your rich friends got richer, and the lower and middle classes of Texas suffered. Then you became President, and did the same damn thing, and what has happened? Amazingly enough, the same damn thing. It still amazes me, to this day, that we, the American people, elected such a dumb ass to the highest office in the land, make that, the world. Amazing… OK, that’s all the political ranting I’m going to do for this day, time to head off to bed and rest my aching head.

20 October 2005

Damn school buses...

Damn school buses. They annoy me. It’s the time of the year of course when the big yellow buses have been out on the road for a month or more now in North Carolina, and damn it all if they don’t get in the way of things, like me trying to get home in the afternoon. Sure as shit, if I’m leaving work at 4:15, or just a touch earlier in the afternoon, I run into 1 or 2 of them on good old route 57 driving over from Roxboro to Hillsborough. And sure as shit, they’re there, clogging up the road. Driving 40 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, with a line of traffic lined up 10 deep behind them as they trundle on down the road on their merry way to the parking garage, which according to the luck afforded to me in life, is located in Hillsborough on my drive home route. It’s not even the buses really, so much as the assholes who line up behind them and then fail to pass them when they can, and when you’re sitting 6th in line, you can’t get past those assholes to get past the bus holding up the traffic in the first place. This kind of drive home is the bain of my existence. Take for example today. I’m cruising along, 65 MPH, got some music playing, feeling good about getting home at some point in time early so I can ride my bike, and then… BUS!!! Luckily, there is only one car behind said bus, and then me, but this guy is someone who doesn’t follow closely, but follows just far enough that it might be a little dangerous to pass because there’s not enough space between the bus and the car, but just enough space to make it a hard pass because you’ve got to gun it hard. Luckily for me, I now have a car that has some get up and go, and once the opportunity opened up, I had to take it. The guy that was driving the car behind the bus kind of freaked out when I passed, and slammed on his brakes. The bus, just kept on keeping on, and I pushed the speed up to 80 just to make sure I got past without any trouble. Of course I didn’t realize that I had pushed it up to 80, and had to get on the brakes pretty hard in order to not run afoul of the law (like driving 80 in a 55 isn’t running afoul of the law and all), but this particular piece of road seems to have a large number of cops driving back and forth on it, and not just your Podunk police with a badge and an attitude, oh no. These roads are mostly patrolled by State Troopers, because there is a barracks in Hillsborough right where the DMV is. They crawl all over that place. My personal record for seeing the poe-poe on the drive home is 4 State Troopers in a span of 15 minutes. I shit you not. 4 of them. Is that really necessary? I think not of course. Don’t they have a meth lab to bust somewhere? Then again, they are heading towards Roxboro, they probably are going to bust a meth lab, so keep on rockin’ State Troopers of North Carolina. You go with your bad ass Smokey The Bear hats, and mirrored sunglasses. Of course, by the time I get home now, I’m almost in a road rage kind of way, luckily, I can still ride my bike, and after riding, all is well. As soon as I get rolling on the bike, the stress of the drive home melts away. This is why I really need to concentrate on riding my bike every day after work. It makes everything nice.

Riding this time of year, not overrated. It’s October 19th, and the weather is phenomenal, kind of like bacon wrapped scallops. It was 85 degrees today during the day, and by the time I get home, it’s a perfect ride temperature if you ask me, 82 degrees, sunny, and not humid. Yes, this is the reason that I moved to NC for. OK, I really moved down here for a woman, but weather like this is a good reason as well. More about the woman some other time. Just for your edification, no the current SO is not the woman I moved down here for. The woman I moved down here for is now married, living in Phoenix, married to a guy named Mac, and having her first child, but I digress. Riding in this weather, this time of year, is awesome. I can’t wait for this weekend when we’re supposed to have more weather like this, and I can increase the good old ride time out in the countryside of Orange and Chatham counties of North Carolina. I would love for it to stay like this for months at a time, but alas, it will get cold soon, which I tend to like more than the summer anyway, so I’ll be all good for that. I love riding in the winter when it’s cold out there. Sure, it’s hard to motivate to get outside when it’s cold sometimes, but once I get out there, I’m good. I’m riding. It’s crisp out there. There’s something about riding out there in the cold, getting home, taking a hot bath, or a hot shower, and then drinking some tea and or eating some soup. It’s just good. I can’t help but love it. Winter, my favorite season of the year. Always has been, always will be I guess. I used to love skiing and waiting for the first snowflakes to fall to cover the hills around my hometown with the white stuff so I can wax up the skis, sharpen the edges, and make some turns, and get ready for the upcoming race season, taking slalom gates in the face, and just carving turns. It’s hard to explain it all if you haven’t done it over the years. It’s just good stuff. Everyone should ski at some point in time, just don’t ask me to teach you, I retired from that gig a long time ago. OK, I might throw a few lessons out there for the SO, or maybe some other close friends, but if you’re not really close with me, you can forget it. Well, that and I’m out of practice as far as skiing goes, as I haven’t really done it much since moving South in the summer of ’99. Which reminds me, when I did move down here, in July of 1999, I’d thought I dropped straight into hell. The first 10 days I was here, the air temperature was well over 100 degrees everyday, throw in some heat index, and I thought I was going to do. Add into that the fact that I had to wear a suit to work, and you have, yes, you guessed it, a sweaty Tom promoting swamp ass all over Greensboro. For those of you not in the know, swamp ass is when you sweat so much your boxers get a little wet and sticky, and then smelly, and well, it’s swampy back there. Need I explain it more? I think not. That summer I was king of the swamp ass, I can guarantee you that. Also add into that the fact that I was living in Chapel Hill and commuting to Greensboro 5 days per week, well, you can probably tell how I felt about such things. Now THAT commute sucked really bad. Especially since they were still trying to build the damn Interstate back up through Greensboro, and everyday heading home at 5 in the afternoon, I-40 out near where I worked for Volvo truck was a damn parking lot. I could get there in the morning in about 50 minutes. It was pretty much a straight shot. In the evening though. You can forget about it. An hour and forty was pretty regular. Why do I do these things to myself? I don’t freakin’ know. Ideally, I would love to live close enough to where I work to ride my bike to work, every single day. Maybe, just maybe someday if I’m lucky. I hope so. Especially with the old oil companies making record profits on the backs of Americans. That’s for another entry though.

16 October 2005

Wallace and Gromit...

OK, so it's true, I went and saw a kid's movie last night with the SO. I couldn't help it. For the record though, I wanted to go and see The History of Violence, but she said we should go see something funny and uplifting, so we did. The new Wallace and Gromit movie, The Curse of the Were Rabbit. We planned on going at like 9, so that the kid factor would be a minimum, of course, we were wrong. Why do these parents bring their kids out at 9 at night? I don't get it. Especially the age these kids are. I mean, they were less then 10 years old most of them. I seem to remember being in bed by 9PM every night before I was like 13. I know for damn sure I wasn't out at a movie at 9 at night. No way, no how, no way. Anyway, the movie. There were tons of kids there. All talking, running around. The movie was good though, really good. Laugh out loud funny with plenty of subtle adult humor and sexual innuendo in there to keep even the most jaded movie goer pretty happy. I was very pleased that we went to see that movie.

Wallace and Gromit for those not in the know are 2 clay figures, Wallace being the man, Gromit being his trusted dog, and the brains of the operation. In this movie, they are Anti-Pesto pest removal service, and of course, they're humane about the bunnies that they're removing from people's yards, and protecting prize vegetables. You see, the town that they live in has a big festival every year, and they take their damn vegetable growing serious, serious enough to have their prized stuff protected. Wallace, being a lover of cheese, and not vegetables gets an idea to brainwash the bunnies into believing that they don't like vegetables anymore. Of course something goes wrong, and Wallace ends up being a gigantic rabbit who goes on a vegetable eating rampage. Seriously, go and see it. You won't be sorry. Funny stuff. Very funny stuff. British humor of course, but good British humor. http://www.wallaceandgromit.com/home2.asp I think I first saw Wallace and Gromit back when The Rebel (another name for the sister) started watching it, and got some tapes for Christmas one year. I've always been a sucker for claymation. The Christmas specials like Rudolph, Year Without a Santa Claus, and so on. Then you had Clash of the Titans, one of the all time kick ass claymation movies, and of course there were scores of Sinbad movies back in the day that were done by the same guy that did Clash of the Titans (Harryhausen I think it was). Such good stuff. It's still amazing to me how those guys can do that so well, it has to take tons of time to get it done right, tons of time I'm sure. Anyway, so I was always a fan of this stuff, and watched Wallace and Gromit, and immediately became sort of fan of that show as well. Can't get it much over here in the US, as we like to import great British shows, and then re-make them in American form. Survivor, Big Brother, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Office, and so on and so forth. Seems as though all the good TV show ideas are happening over across the pond. We just steal them, and pass them off as our own of course. You can't see Wallace and Gromit on TV here though, at least not that I've seen, they might have it on BBC America, but I haven't caught it yet if they do. Spend your hard earned dollars, and go and see the movie, you'll dig it I'm sure.

15 October 2005

Riding can suck sometimes...

Riding your bike can suck sometimes, especially when you haven't been riding it much, and you get mixed into a semi-fast group ride which is of course what happened to me this morning. I planned on running into the group ride of course, I just didn't plan on getting into the mix, which when I get into the middle of this ride, I can't help it. The competitive juices start flowing, and next thing I know I'm trying to take the intermediate sprint points on the ride, which at this point in time I have no business doing. The great thing about being a sprinter is that the muscle groups that make you a good sprinter don't go away when you've not been riding, they just lie kind of dormant until called upon on a Saturday morning group ride to take the first sprint line out in the countryside. I of course took it, and then paid for said efforts for the next 10 miles, because the pace on the ride today was actually pretty fast. There is one section of road that is long, and sort of downhill, and normally on this ride we'll ride across it at a pretty good rate of speed, meaning about 29 or so miles per hour. Today, no doing chief. Pegged at 36 chasing down a group in front of us. This speed was only maintained for a short period of time, but in that short period of time, people were popping off the back of the ride like lemmings jumping to their deaths. One after another. I was riding caboose baby, punching tickets, and hoping that I wouldn't be next, which would have been entirely possible, but somehow, I stayed in the group, and made it to the 2nd hill that we ride up out there, which is where the ride normally gets pretty hard, and at that point in time, the legs said to me, "NO MORE YOU ASSHOLE!! WE'RE DONE!! SCREW YOU!!" And things got very hard from there on out. I turned around, left the group after they had dropped me, and rode back into town by myself. I had company for a few minutes, but they were going too fast for my shattered legs at that point in time. So I rolled all by myself, which I don't mind, good time for reflection, and for me to cuss myself out for letting myself get out of shape so bad that I am now getting dropped on a ride that I can normally dominate pretty easily. Which isn't saying much really, because there are a bunch of cat nothings, and local group ride heroes out there on a weekly basis, but it's pretty fun to watch them suffer and take things way too serious on a training ride, but no matter where you go, this always happens. It has happened to me in the past back when I was living in Maine, and it happens here. Guys are the same. You get some bikes underneath their asses, a little testosterone flowing, and next thing you know the nice little ride you wanted to take with some friends turns into who can stomp whose guts into the ground. It's all in good fun of course.

Another couple of friends of mine got engaged this past week. Congratulations Johnny Wall and Maureen Noh (see pictures of them below, I'll let you decide who is who in the pictures because I'm not labeling them). Anyway, they decided to make it legal next year out in Fletcher North Carolina, nice little town outside of Asheville, NC, should be a good time for all who can make it on out there. Love Asheville. Lots of dirty smelly hippies out there, in other words, my people. Back when I used to be a hippy at least, which wasn't that long ago, about 10 years ago. I'm very happy and glad that I've burned or destroyed all pictures where I had long hair, because they're disturbingly funny, and I look funny enough, I don't need bad pictures haunting me from the past. Know what I mean? Yes indeed, very bad pictures indeed. Then again, I'm pretty sure I just take bad pictures anyway. I honestly can't remember too many pictures that I have of myself that I actually like. There are a few that I have that were taken of me racing and or riding, and some of those aren't too bad, but the general photography ones, you can forget about that shit. They're no good at all. I'm one of those people that can't smile on command. Someone tells me to smile, and I can't do it. It needs to be spontaneous for me to be able to actually be smiling in a picture. Sad? Yes. True? Also yes. That's the curse of being me I guess. Ah well. It's just something else that I can avoid, the whole picture taking thing. Which I gladly do (avoid getting pictures taken of me, just ask the SO about that). And I plan on doing that avoiding thing for a very long time. I'll bust a move and pose for a picture every once in awhile, to make folks happy and all, but overall, you can forget about it.

The last big Fall Classic bike race over in Europe was today, and I'm more than happy to report that Paolo Bettini took it over Gilberto Simoni. I'm so damn happy that Paolo won, because if Simoni had won, I don't know what I would have done. Don't like Simoni that much as you might be able to tell, but the freakin' Cricket (Bettini's nickname) is the bomb. He's the reigning Olympic champion, and he's had a rough season thus far, not doing too well here and there, but this makes it all good. All of the Italians want to win Lombardy. Find one Italian who doesn't want to win that race, and I'll call them a damn liar to their face. It's like Milan-San Remo, they all want to win this one, especially since it is the last big race of the year, and pretty much wraps up the season for the most part. Everyone now will head off on holiday, get chubby, and then start training again come November or so. Some later, some earlier. Some will just keep riding, because they dig it. Others might ride some cross races, or do something else for a little while, but most of them will be back again next season to give it another go. Ah, the Tour of the Falling Leaves as the Giro Lombardia is know, might be one of the most visually beautiful races on the calendar. There are a shit ton of pictures up on www.cyclingnews.com , check them out here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2005/oct05/lombardia05/?id=results I don't think that you'll be too disappointed with them.

Music pick of the day today, if you're sort of into techno or electronic stuff, check out The Overseer. Good stuff. I swear, no really. http://www.overseeronline.com/ It appears that this guy is just another pasty British guy cranking out beats and songs whilst living in his parent's basement, and DJing local clubs at night. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but get some sun at least once in awhile will ya??

Halloween party, in a couple more weeks, and as always, I'm hoping for an all house rocker. We'll see what happens. I'll be sure to throw some pictures up there for everyone to have a gander at. Hopefully Rocco, aka, Rich doesn't pass out and or get sick again. He has a penchant for doing such things, and then we can take funny pictures of him. So I take that back. I hope that he DOES pass out. It'll be a hoot.

12 October 2005

European base of operations...

My parents are now world travelers, officially. Well, my Mom had been to London a few times here and there, and some other places, but my Dad, not in this lifetime did I think I'd see him get onto a plane and go across the Atlantic ocean. Almost insane is what I would call it, but I'm glad that they went over there, I'm happy that my Dad went there. This is not something to be wasted, this travel to Europe and having a European base of operations. I was discussing this with the SO lately, and we need to roll on over there as soon as we can afford it. Who wouldn't want to spend time in Sweden. It's an insanely beautiful country, with some of the nicest folks I've ever met. The Germans, while nice, a little more like New Englanders in their stoicism, whereas the Swedes are more like the Southerners where they're super warm and open. I love the cities over there. Everything in Europe where everything is centralized, and close to the center of town, where you can stay in somewhere centrally, and walk everywhere. I wish it were more like that around here in the US. Centers of towns and cities flourishing once again, instead of the malls and sprawl. I hate suburbia. It really sucks ass to put it plainly. But yeah, the folks, they're over there now enjoying their early Christmas gift from my sister Kerri and my brother in law Drew, which was/is a free flight to Sweden, and the time to hang out for a couple of weeks, tour around, see things, go to Stockholm, other places, ride the train to locations unknown, and so on and so forth. I'm certain that my Dad resisted going over there at first, but once he got there, I'm sure he's all about it now. He loves getting out there, he just doesn't know it so much. He has to be convinced of it, and when he is, he's in feet first. It's good to see. I'm glad that he's over there checking out the scene, and seeing the sights. Everyone should hang out in Europe at some point in time.

I've been over there several times myself of course over the last 10 years or so. First time was Austria and Germany with some side trips to Denmark, Italy, France, and England. I landed at Gatwick on the way over, and myself and a guy I was traveling with got bumped off of a flight, so we had an obscenely long layover. Flush with cash from our first bumped trip coming from Boston, we ran outside, jumped in a cab, and took a whirlwind trip through London. Call it sightseeing 101 on a budget, and in sort of a rush. We got to see some of the good stuff, and I got to make my obligatory, "Look kids. Big Ben. Parliament." joke from European Vacation. Once I got to Austria, the European Vacation jokes continued, since we were in Salzburg, and I went on the Sound of Music tour in town, I had to make the, "Hills are alive with the sound of Griswold." Opening scene of the movie itself. Look, if you haven't seen European Vacation, rent it. It's pure mid 80's kitsch, and well, it's damn funny, it could be Chevy Chase at his coke snorting best, well, maybe aside from Caddyshack, and Fletch, also key movies, but I digress. You can skip Modern Problems where he gets toxic waste all over him, and then contracts super powers from that, it was like a bad comic book rip-off, and wasn't really funny at all. Anyway, Europe. What I was most surprised at coming into Austria was the fact that when we de-boarded the plane in Salzburg, there were no customs people there to check you in. Nobody. Just a big sign saying welcome to Austria. Damn, security was tighter trying to get into that David Lee Roth concert I attended when I was in junior high. Got to spend a lot of time in Southern Germany, and in Austria for 2 weeks. Great stuff, great stuff indeed. Climbed mountains, drank real German beer, met real German women, saw buildings that were older than my entire country, walked into antique shops, ate local food, and the list could go on forever. It was great, honestly, just superb.

2nd time I got to spend 2 weeks in Sweden when I was working for Volvo. Once again, lots of touring around, walking around the city of Goteburg by myself, checking out buildings, the sights, people, and just getting to know the country and the culture. The great thing about Sweden is that everybody, and I do mean everybody speaks English. They said that they start taking it when they are in about what we would call kindergarten, along with other languages. Why don't we do that here in the US? If I should ever happen to have the misfortune of having kids, they're getting language courses at an early age. Don't know what language, but something. Most likely Spanish, as it is becoming pervasive especially in North Carolina. We have a lot of Hispanic immigrants living here now, and I'm sure that this number is going to grow throughout the entire country. Sweden. Once again, great people, great culture, and just a special place to visit and check out, as is the rest of the Scandinavian countries. I made my way to Norway, Denmark, and Finland on that trip, got to spend a little bit of time in each of them. And for those of you that are single, the Norwegian women are the best. The Swedish women, not so bad, but Norway is where it is at my friends. Norway. My disclaimer for that bit of advice is that it was for only the single friends of mine out there. If you trotting off to Europe, specifically Norway and or Sweden and leave your SO at home (for those of you not paying attention SO = significant other) so you can go and carouse, don't come blaming me for that. I will play the politician and deny that I had anything to do with that. I will be going back, but the SO is coming with me for sure. Last 2 times I went overseas, I didn't have an SO to speak of. I'm sure Drew is going to love being inundated with relatives from our side of the family for the entire time that they're over there. This is what you get when you set-up a base of operations such as this. Mom and Dad are there now. Kelly and Doug were there earlier this year. Can't wait to see what the schedule is going to be next.

I'm excited. Yes, I'm a geek, but I'm excited. Apple introduced more new iPods today, with video. And of course, you can now get a 30g iPod for $299. Damn it all. When I got my 20g a couple of years ago, the damn thing was $399. Now you've got color, video, and 10 more gig of space, and it's $100 cheaper. Ah, hell, this is what I get for getting in on the ground floor of this thing. So now I'm thinking about selling mine off, and procuring a new one. Seems like it would be the best thing to do. But then they're going to change it again about 2 weeks from now. I think I'm going to take the "car" approach with the current iPod that I have. Run it into the ground, and when it doesn't work any longer, or can barely hold a battery charge, then get a new one. By then, the iPod will be set up to run the entire country I'm sure. Apple, getting smarter in their marketing. It's good that they keep rolling out new products I think, it keeps them fresh, and hip, and new. I know I'm never going to purchase a PC after getting an Apple laptop. I never thought I could actually love a computer, but I love this thing. It's just plain old awesome. It brings oohs and ahhs when I bust it out of its case in the presence of others. For me, it's grown on me, and I don't see it as special anymore when I do bring it out, but for other people unaccustomed to such cool and neat stuff, it still brings stares and people checking it out. I like that. My laptop is cooler than school Fat Albert.

Why can't I sleep? I came home from work, and immediately fell asleep, woke up shortly thereafter, had a little snack, and then watched some TV, fell back asleep on the couch, decided it was time to rack it, and as soon as the head hit the pillows, I've been awake ever since. Couple of hours now, thought I'd finish this off, and then try to sleep again. I think now though, it's time. Oh, and one more thing, if you're a local bike racer in NC, or used to be a local bike racer in NC, read the rant posted by my friend Chad over at his blog about this team that we have to race against all of the time. Chad is pretty much spot on with this one. Sure it comes across as being kind of harsh and all, but hey, truth hurts don't it?

Link: www.dirtycycling.com/cc/

Plus you can see some of the shit he's been whipping up at culinary school.

Oh, PS, if you haven't gotten the Kanye West CD yet, I recommend it. It's damn good actually. I was quite surprised that I liked it so much, and also, there is another CD that I've been listening to, band called Devil's Radio, also very good in my opinion. Some will tell you that my opinion of music is actually at odds with most regular folks, but I don't think so. Check out those 2 discs, Kanye is all over the place of course, Devil's Radio, more like some stripped down punk rock stuff, kind of "Misfit-ish". Check out their website here: http://www.devilsradio.net/ I think even Chad will like them, and their album is really good. Good songs throughout the record. OK, now it's really time to go to bed.

11 October 2005

Stories from the work front...

I cannot motivate myself at work lately. I had a time there over the last few weeks where it was right straight out, and now, it is kind of the lull before the storm once again, so I’m hunkering down and waiting for the waves to come crashing down on top of me again. I can see it coming, but right now I’m kind of enjoying the so-called quiet of the workplace. My customers are all behaving for the most part, meaning no problems from them. And by writing this, I’m certain that I’ve just jinxed myself and tomorrow I’ll be dealing with broken parts around the world or something like that. I hope not, but I could see that happening to me. That’s just the kind of luck that this kid would have normally, but as I said, all is fairly quiet right now. Calm. Smooth. Quiet. It’s nice. I had a false alarm this morning with a call from one of my customers, but it ended up he was calling about a part from one of our sister companies across that ocean we like to call the Atlantic. I made a few calls, and placed him in contact with the right German guy to talk to about the issue that they were having, and I felt like George Costanza who had done his one good deed for the day, and could go home from work now, because it just wasn’t going to get any better. I have stopped writing at work for the most part, because I started thinking about that, and that’s just bad policy for me to do that. I’ve heard the horror stories of people getting the axe for doing such things, and I don’t want that to be. So I stopped writing at work, well, at least I stopped publishing at work. I’ll crank out a gem or 2 here and there, and e-mail them to my Hotmail account, and then post them when I get home, but as far as publishing from work, done with that. Another good reason to go to work in the morning is so that I can hear Tina’s stories from the previous day. I used to hate them, but they’ve grown on me now, and I can find some serious humor in her daily diatribe that is her life. If there is a woman in this world that can make something dramatic that is so not dramatic that would be Tina, and the funny thing is, she knows it, and doesn’t pretend to not know it.

It cracks me up the things that she is concerned about. Wintertime. If there is even a hint of snow in the air, she’s checking weather.com every 10 seconds to see what it’s doing near her house. You can check the old Doppler radar and all, and she does. Religiously. And if there is a snowflake to be seen outdoors, she’s out the door and down the road before that thing even hits the pavement. She is freaked out about snow, and driving in it, and or having to deal with it even a little bit. It’s funny to me. Then again most people in the South are like that. Not growing up with it all of the time, they just don’t know. Then, same sort of production if there is going to be a big rainstorm or some kind of “weather event” as the meteorologists like to call them now. Damn if she isn’t glued to the internet to see what is going on with the weather, and how soon she needs to get on the road, and headed home for her to miss it whilst driving back to Raleigh from Roxboro. The other thing that this poor woman is petrified about are terrorists. I shit you not. Every time there is an upgrade to the national terror alert, back onto the internet to see what’s happening, who’s getting bombed (almost always nobody), and is her house OK back in Raleigh. Yeah, prime terrorist target right there, Tina’s townhouse. I don’t think so girl, just relax. Terrorism, yes, it’s a serious issue, but there were a lot more people killed in the US last year by the damn flu than there were terrorists. So maybe the real terrorism comes from germ ridden kids who spend all their time around other germ ridden kids at dirty day care centers, and then their parents get infested, and bring that stuff into work with them. Those are the real problems right there. OK, maybe not as real, or even close to real terrorists (like our buddy Osama), but damn, keep the kids and your damn self home if you’re all sick and snotty. I certainly don’t want what you’ve got, trust me on that bubba. Keep that ass in bed. But alas, these folks out of some certain stupid loyalty thing come into work even when they’re deathly ill, spreading their illness in the office, and then making others sick. If you’d just stay home for a day or 2, everyone would be better off. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Tina’s worrying.

Tina’s worrying is so famous around the plant that the ladies that work out in our quality assurance area ask me pretty much on a daily basis what the main concern of the day is for her. I’m actually quite surprised that Tina doesn’t have an ulcer the size of my head yet. She downs the pink stuff like it was Yaegermeister, and eats Rolaids like they’re breath mints. Then there come the pressure headaches that she gets about 3 or 4 times per week. Good thing our other cubemate, Trevor has a Costco sized bottle of Tylenol style painkiller at his desk, she’d be in deep shit. This morning she rolled into work hungover after partying a little too hard at her friend Monica’s wedding. A little too much red wine, and a little too much beer to follow said red wine, she got after it. On a school night even, and then rolled into work at around 8:30 or so, after calling the boss and telling her that she was going to be late because she was hungover. As much as I sometimes dislike the boss, she’s good for something like that. If you’ve been off getting hammered the night before, she’s willing to cut you a little slack the next morning and you can show up a bit late. As long as you show up. Our other old colleague Erik, who doesn’t work there anymore, used to show up still mostly drunk like 4 or 5 days per week sometimes. Now that kid could drink some beer. His personal record, when last I saw him, was 8 weeks of a 6 pack or more a night. No matter how you slice it, that’s a shitload of beer. Dare I say, a shit-ton of beer? Oh yes, I dare, and so did he. His liver was living in a squalid section of his body that was no doubt slowly being killed, and probably still is now. I don’t think he got any better when he moved back to Boston, and started hanging out with his old buddies who did that sort of thing everyday since they turned like 14. That kid is a wreck. He’s definitely going to end up one liver short someday within the next 15-20 years I’d bet. That’s what he gets for being an Irish Catholic kid from Boston, he was probably predisposed to something like that anyway. Doesn’t make it any less sad and kind of pathetic, but there is a good chance I’ll never actually see him again in this life, so what are you going to do? Nothing I can do about it. I actually talked to him once about his drinking, and he rebuffed my “talking points”, and kind of just blew me off. There wasn’t much I could do about it. I tried to talk to him about it a second time, and the same thing happened. Denied. I let it go after that, and he shortly moved away from North Carolina back to Beantown.

He had to get out, his girlfriend of many years ended up dumping him and kicking him to the curb, after they had purchased a house together, and he didn’t take it too well. The straw that broke the old back though, was the night he was at a Durham Bulls game with some of his friends, and he saw his ex, out with a longtime friend of his, and they were smooching away. That didn’t seem to sit well with him either. It was pretty much the next day, and he was heading back to New England. Sad but true.

Let me just clarify something for some folks out there. I previously wrote about Joel and Melissa getting married. For the North Carolina folks who don’t know my brother Joel, his fiancé’s name is Melissa, I am NOT confusing Melissa with Marla who is Joel Darden’s fiancé. OK? Better now Graham? Bueller? Hello? Bueller?

09 October 2005

Ah weddings...

Steve-O and Sarah got married yesterday. It was a long time coming. Those 2 have been together since I moved down here back in 1999, actually, I think they were together even before that. So I've never known a separate Steve-O or Sarah. Those 2 kids finally made it all legal and such yesterday. I knew that the death knell was ringing for Steve-O when they bought a house together last year, that's pretty much it right there. You get a house with someone, you might as well get married as well. This is a good thing, they're just great together. This summer, and Spring, and Fall have been another season of weddings for me. You know how you get to that certain age and it seems like all of your friends, and people you know are getting married? Well, this is round 2 for me this year. My sister and Doug earlier this Spring, cousin Lee and Jeannie, Jason and Amy, Steve-O and Sarah, and then coming up next year we have Joel and Melissa, and Jeremy and Jill at the least, and who knows what else will pop up somewhere along the way. Ah yes, it's weddings again for me this year.

This one was nice though. Good time. Lots of people I hadn't seen either in awhile, or infrequently, and people that I like a lot. So it was good to get out there and mingle with folks and all. The wedding was held at this farm retreat just outside Chapel Hill. I think it's called Snipes Farm Retreat, or something like that. Nice little farm setting. They had the ceremony, and the reception in the same place, which was cool. Catering by Crazy Mae's, a local eatery in Chapel Hill that features some good food, and plenty of it. On the menu I think we had spanikopita, spinach artichoke dip (which was soooo good), tomato dip, pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, sauteed mushrooms, and a few other goodies. Essentially, everything there was really tasty. Oh, and they had vegan barbeque chicken sandwiches as well. Unique, and delicious. Semi-open bar, meaning wine and beer. This is becoming more common I think, or it's what I've seen become a little more common these days. And it's not a bad idea. Booze costs so much money to feed the drunks at your wedding. A keg o' beer, and a bunch of wine. How does one go wrong with that? That's right, I don't think that you do. Yuengling in the keg, good stuff. They even had their own cups individualized for the wedding. It was a high class keg party. It definitely wasn't a throw down kind of wedding reception, more of just a good time, lots of good conversation, people roaming around the place talking with one another, drinking beer. It was just very nice. So my hat is off to Steve-O and Sarah, one hat off for getting married. Congratulations! And another hat off for throwing a nice party to top it all off. You guys did well this weekend, and I'm sure that you're going to have a great life together, and have many great times and adventures ahead of you. Congratulations once again. I'm happy for you two.

OK, that's my sentimental rap for today. I also have to mention that the woman who used to live downstairs from me, Sarah List this time, got married this weekend as well. Since I could only attend one wedding, she and her fiance Craig made it legal this weekend as well. So now they're all tied up, and hitched, and living in a house together, and all of that jazz. I think there is something in the water this year making everyone get married. Ah well, it's a good thing. I once thought that marriage was a bad bad thing, but then again, I was severely jaded about it since I was supposed to get married, and the woman that I thought loved me and all, kicked me to the curn unexpectedly shortly before we were to be wed, so that was a little bit of a shocker. But in hindsight, which is always correct right, I wouldn't have the life that I have now if it weren't for her doing that. If she hadn't done that, there is a damn good chance that I would be married, living in upstate New York somewhere, and would probably have 3 kids, a wife, a cat, a dog, and a serious need to strangle myself. So if Chrissy is reading this (doubtful as there are only about 2 people that read this)... THANKS!!! Thanks for kicking me to the curb. It is without a doubt, possibly one of the best things to ever happen to me. Didn't think so at the time, but now, oh hell yeah!

Here are some more pictures from the wedding. First up we have Jason and Amy who got married earlier this year, and I missed their wedding as I was deathly ill and dying on the couch the day that they got married. Sorry guys... I wished that I could have been there for that one. Second picture in here is Jill and Jeremy, they are to be married next June. I think he said it is the 4th maybe? Right near my birthday. Ah yeah. Double parties once again. And then one more picture, this one is of Sasqia (I hope that I spelled that right), and her and her husband Ben's little boy Jonas. This kid was actually pretty cool. He was just hanging out with the rest of the folks, kicking it, not being too fussy, at least that I could tell, and just seemed, well, damn happy to be there. He's cool. Ben and Sasqia is an interesting story for me actually, as I can say that I was there at the start of their relationship, no, really, the start. Their first date I found myself intruding upon more or less. The night they had their first date, I was in Emerald Isle with my friends Scott and Tahe, who also just had their first baby, and we rolled over to Wilmington where Ben lived to hang out with him, and go see a band play (Guns and Roses tribute band Appetite for Destruction). It happened to be Ben and Sasqia's first date that night. I can now lay claim that I was there when it all began. Yes indeed, at the onset of it all. That's pretty cool I think.

Overall, good weekend wedding. Can't complain. I was fed and watered, and the couple looked marvelous. More to come later on this year and next I assume. Congratulations once again Steve-O and Sarah. I hope that your lives together bring nothing but happiness and joy.

08 October 2005

I hate it when it's soggy outside...

I hate it when it's soggy outside, as it tends to make me unmotivated to go and do what I should be doing this morning which is to ride the bike around the countryside, but alas, here I sit writing this instead. I guess it's not a bad trade off for the most part. I do have a wedding to attend this afternoon as well, and I'll be going stag as the SO had some other things and or plans for this weekend which included visiting with her Mom and her sister, which is not a bad thing at all. That's what Steve-O gets for telling me about this whole wedding thing last weekend as opposed to say, getting an invite out or something like that. But I can't blame the kid, it sounds like something that I would do to some of my friends, and it is probably something I will do to my friends when the time comes for me to get hitched. So instead of riding the bike, here I sit typing away at the lappy. It's not like it's raining outside or anything like that, it's just not dry out there, and there is an 80% chance of rain, so why bother? It's still too early in the off season for me to care about riding when it's crappy outside, but later on this off season and into the new year of 2006, I'm sure that there will be days like this where I will indeed be riding my bike out in the crap, so I can slack off for today, and well, yesterday. I rode the trainer (yuck) on Thursday evening for a short while to keep the legs loose. Anyway, yeah, I'm sure down the road I'll be riding in the crap more often than not, so it will make up for this one day of indiscretion, and whip my ass somewhere down the line. I just poked my head out the door though, and it's still not raining, and it's still wet out there. I know what will happen should I suit up and venture out onto the roads of Orange County. As soon as I get out about an hour from home, the rain will come fast and furious, and I'll be completely sopping soaking wet by the time I get home. Like I said, I don't want to be miserable riding right now, I'm still in the phase of trying to find the love for riding again, so better not push the motivational levels. I did ride 5 times last week, which for me, is a great amount of riding compared to what I've done in the previous 2 months. Next week, 6 days, but that will of course mean riding tomorrow regardless of said weather. Yeah, I can do that. I like that I'm talking about riding so much, it tells me that I'm getting obsessed with it again, and this is a good thing. Also next week, I'm going to start running in the mornings. Yeah, running. Can you believe that shit? I can't.

I finally got the watch I was bitching and complaining about. It only took me about 3 weeks of trying to get the right one to finally actually get a watch, and of course, the entire time that I was trying to get said watch I was wearing the old watch, which wasn't actually telling time so much as telling me well, not what time it was. Gladly, I have the new watch, and it does kick ass, just for the pure looks of it. See previous posts for pictures of said watch. Nike is making some seriously kick ass watches these days, and I can't help but to get one. Another thing that I'm going to get is another laptop case. Yes, I already have one, but I found one that I saw last week that I want a lot more. I'll hold out on it for a little while though, just because. It's not that expensive though, so maybe I'll get it today. While I was thinking about money, I dodged off of this blog for a few minutes and just paid all of my bills. I love technology sometimes, OK most of the time. But there is still something very cool about the written word. I look at my logbooks from work, and sometimes I even amaze myself at how much stuff I'm able to write out in longhand over the course of a year. Right now my notes and or logbooks are averaging around 300 pages a year, which is a lot of writing. I'm actually kind of amazed that the habit of writing just about everything down during working days has kept up with me. I started in during college when I had a professor who made us keep logbooks for our labs, and it continues to this day. Professor Dvorak, thanks for instilling a good habit. Funny thing about that is that Dvorak wasn't even in my department, he was in the EE department, and I just happened to take a class in programmable logic controllers, and he taught it. Yeah, I know, I'm a dork. I can't help it. I am en engineer after all. Still trying to shake that mojo after all of these years. Which reminds me, it is now official. I've been out of school for 10 years now. Seems like yesterday I was graduating, had long hair, and no job prospects. It's good that times have changed that's for sure. I don't know right now if there is anything that I would do differently. At least for the time being. I of course would have liked to have had partied some more whilst at school, but then again, I didn't. Can't go back and do it now. Well, I could, but now I'd just be the scary old guy hanging out in the corner. And this is something that I can abide by at all. I'm just way past that now. Which in and of itself is a good thing. How did I start this paragraph writing about a damn watch that I bought, and end up talking about the "old days". Yeah, I don't know either.

Things in the political world right now are starting to go the way I've been wanting them to go for a long time now, well, at least since 2000 when Bush stole the presidency. It only took 5 years for the American people to come around and realize that he's an imbecile. Not a smart man, not a good leader, and all of that other jazz. His approval rating right now is in the gutter, and staying there no matter what he tries to do, and this pleases me. Last time I checked, it was hovering in the 39% overall approval rating range. This coming from a man whose former approval ratings, at times, were above 80% (post 9/11). Now he's tanking, and I'm hoping that he's taking the rest of the Republican party with him down the tubes which it appears that he is. This isn't to say that I don't like Republicans at all, this is not true. There are some out there that have had some good ideas, and have done great things, and I can't deny that. It's just that Bush and all of his loyal followers are not the the ones that have done great things. Bush almost singlehandidly is bringing the US way down, and it's going to take another 20 or so years of hard work to bring it back to where we were when he took office. Yes, it's true. This isn't some blip on the second term radar though, look at Clinton. Even after he was impeached by the witch hunting Congress, his approval rating was still over 70%. I guess getting oral sex in the Oval Office really isn't the same as say starting a couple of wars, and bringing the deficit to all times highs, exporting jobs, and playing strongly to your special interest groups. I just wish that people had been actually paying attention to the real issues during the election last year instead of listening to the rhetoric of both sides. Bush has never had a firm stance, or a firm control of any of the issues. But as I've said before, he won on the simple premise of fear, God, gays, and guns. Fear from the fact that his folks kept trotting out ads that essentially said if you vote for the other guy, we're going to get attacked again from terrorists. Funny, I seemed to remember that he was in office when we were attacked on 9/11. Nobody paid attention to that. God by invoking the name of God and religion as much as possible. Gays by coming out for an amendment to our Constitution that would have banned same sex marriage nationwide (who said Republicans were for smaller government anyway??). Funny, I thought our Constitution gave us our rights, not take them away. Guns by playing strongly to the gun lobby, and making it appear as if the Democrats wanted to take your guns, and bibles. The best bumper sticker that I saw during the campaign was Sportsmen for Bush. Totally an oxymoron just from the mere fact that Bush would pave everything if his corporate cronies told him to, and there would be nowhere left to hunt and fish. Bush has been extremely bad for the environment, and continues to be bad for the environment. Just the other day, the House passed a bill pushed heavily by the Republicans for taking away some of the laws and requirements to build refineries, and to take away environmental restrictions to those refineries. The vote was supposed to be open for 5 minutes, when the Republican leadership saw itself losing that vote, they kept the vote open for almost an hour, and squeaked it by with 2 votes after twisting and breaking arms on the floor of the House. Tragic. I hope that the American people see him for what he really is after all is said and done. Someone controlled by corporate greed and money, and essentially the rich kid that always got everything he wanted. Even the Presidency of the United States. Sad.

I was listening to talk radio one day, and heard someone float a theory on there, that I thought was weird at first, but then as I thought about it, it started to make sense. Bush is tired of being President. He's tired of the responsibility and power that he wields, and tired of everything demanded of him. He's tired of running the country, you can sort of see it on his face. He looks exasperated all of the time. And by all indications, he's not working that hard. He had a damn 6 week vacation just a month or so ago. When was the last time anyone you know got 6 weeks off at a time? Yeah, that's right, never. Bush actually holds the record now, right behind him are his Dad and Regan for taking the most vacation time during his presidency. Wait a minute? Isn't he supposed to be running the country? How does one do that being on vacation half the time? I don't get it. But yeah, if he could resign the Presidency tomorrow, I think he would do it. Well, I mean, he can resign if he wants to, but if it were really realistic. And just like every other "business" that he's run, he's run this one into the ground. Except this time, it's an entire country instead of a State (Texas), or actual companies (Harken Energy and others). How did we get here? Oh yeah, it's also good to see the Republican goon squad up on the Hill finally getting their due. Delay, indicted. Frist, under investigation. Rove, possible indictment. Scooter Libby, under investigation and possible indictment. Michael Brown, removed from his position. The list could go on and on, and only make me happier. Still though, there are those on boards that I visit that keep defending the administration no matter what happens. Tooth and nail. I have got to admire their loyalty, but isn't there some point in time when you do realize that there are things going wrong? I guess they have the old rose colored glasses on tight mister. Very tight.