26 March 2006

Work is, in a word, awful...

Here I thought that my hard work days (60 or 70 hour weeks) were going to be over once we launched this new program we were working on since about, oh, last July. Boy was I wrong as hell. It's been worse, because operating said new program has been a pain in the ass. Why? Oh, defects out the ass, phone calls from customers, more bad parts, sorting of bad parts, and on and on and on. It's just been, well, bad. And it doesn't appear to be getting any better honestly. Every Sunday for the past 5 months, I start cringing around 6PM or so, because I know it's not long for me to get to bed, and to hear that alarm clock ringing in the morning indicating that indeed, it is time to go back to the job that I am starting to loathe. OK, well, not starting to loathe, as I already loathe it, but more like, starting to dread going there. There is an air in the office space when you walk in there in the mornings that says that I'm not the only one feeling like this. The pressure is on, on hard, and it's not getting any less. Mind you, I've been paying so much attention to our new propshaft manufacturing program, that I have paid little or no attention to the halfshaft side of the business that I'm also responsible for, and well, I'm way the hell behind on that front as well. There are so many things for me to do, and not enough time to do them, which is why most days I stay late these weeks. And end up working 40 hours before Wednesday, and of course being a salaried employee, there is no overtime, maybe just a little pat on the shoulder from the boss, but that's about it. Damn, I'm tired of working so much, and tired of not getting anything out of it except more hassle, and more problems. There appears to be no light at the end of this tunnel, I can assure you of that. Everytime you see a little blip of it, you were mistaken, it was just a firefly that snuck in there with you. And what this has done for my health being stressed all the time, not having time to exercise, well, I'm definitely not fit right now. I can say that's for sure. Bike racing is not going to happen for me this year, that I can tell already since I really haven't trained and it's almost April, and the season started, oh, a few weeks ago, I won't be around riding in circles this year. It would be a miracle if I could even get back into shape again before the year is over the way things are going now. Yeah, you could say that work sucks. I have said it before, but the job search might have to be renewed here in the very near future. I don't know how much more of this I can really take before it really starts to get to me, not that it hasn't already, but it's not getting any better like I thought that it would. Ah well, it still pays the bills and all, so I can't complain too much right?

Time to go and take a shower, and start the day I suppose.

19 March 2006

Late to the party, as usual...

I know that there will be folks out there who may chastise me for this, but this morning I finally downloaded my first Dropkick Murphy's album from good old iTunes of course. And look, I know, like the title of this entry says, yes, I'm late to the party. Not wanting to be "that guy", I decided to go in reverse on this one, and instead of buying the latest album, I went back to their first studio LP instead. 1997 I think the release date was. I've got to say, good stuff, good stuff indeed. They being an Irish punk rock band, of course there are some bagpipes in there, but I can live with that I think. They're Irish, we'll let it slide in this case, they're OK to throw some damn bagpipes on there. Anyone else though, you can forget about it. If you're not Irish, or Scottish for that matter, leave the damn bagpipes off of your records. It doesn't make you pseudo nerdy cool, it just sounds stupid. So this first record that I've got from them though, called Do or Die, got to say, me likey, me likey very much. I got into this whole Irish punk rock thing (the later version) a few years back when Rob Notti at the bike shop turned me on to Flogging Molly, and then from there, I just started finding albums that I liked. The Dropkicks are just the latest "find". Like I said, I had known of them before, but for some reason, hadn't gotten anything of theirs yet, so today was the day. Time to refresh the music collection. I've got 30 GB to fill up on the old iPod, got to get it moving here. I'm sure that Jason "the fart sniffer" will make fun of me for just running into this music, because he's on top of such things. But oh well, what can I say? My taste in music is what I like to call eclectic, or as my friend Chad would say, downright sucky (he's just basing that on the fact that yes, I have some Dave Matthew's Band CDs, and yes, a G Love CD or 2 hanging around, they were big when I was in college). If you don't have any Dropkick Murphy's, get yourself some, I don't think you'll be sorry about it.

Meanwhile, the President has taken up making trips around the US again, trying to explain to everyone why we're fighting a war in Iraq. According to the President, "Our goal in Iraq is victory." Wow! Thanks for making that clear chief. What kind of crack is this guy smoking, and does anyone believe anything that he says anymore? I mean, the poll numbers, that he says he doesn't ever look at, say he is down to around a 34% approval rating. Just for a comparison, Clinton, same time during his second term was at over 70%. Now, I'm no mathematician and all, but I'd say 70 is a lot better than 34. Call me crazy and all. So the biggest problem with Iraq is that we're not battling the people that attacked us on September 11th. No, those guys are running around between the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, still hiding in the small villages and mountains that afford them cover. Right now, we're fighting it out with Iraqis who don't want us in their country. And now our Secretary of Defense, Rummy boy himself is saying that if indeed, the country falls into civil war, they're on their own. We won't straighten that out. Even though by our military being there and invading their country, we made said civil war possible, if it does happen. And of course, their most recent reason about why civil war seems imminent over there (bear in mind it's not the dozens of dead people they keep finding every single day, or the busloads of people who have been tortured and then brutally murdered), it's once again the media's fault for just reporting the bad things that are going on over there instead of what might be going good. Let's think about this critically shall we? In the United States, when a little girl falls down a well and is trapped for half of a day, the entire country stops what they're doing and pay attention to the little girl who fell down a well. Same thing for a victim of kidnapping and probably murder in Aruba (Natalie Holloway anyone?). Let's pretend, just for a second, that a busload of say, 20 people were found somewhere on a city street in the US, their hands bound, their eyes covered, their mouths gagged, and they were all strangled or shot dead. How do you think the general population of the US would react? There would be holy hell to pay for such a thing, especially if the people were white, but I digress about that. Now imagine something like that happening a few times a day every day for weeks on end. Yep, things are going peachy over there, just going fine and dandy. Never mind the man behind the curtain, just close your eyes and pretend he's not there. Our fearless leader will let the country devolve into total and utter civil war, and then he'll pull our troops out, and say, we're not there for that. Hey asshole. We caused it. Stay and keep the peace now you dickhead. Frustrates me it does. How in the world did we re-elect that nincompoop anyway? The whole bunch of them are corrupt, and getting worse. I don't know if we can handle another few years of this guy in office. Let's hope we complete and investigation, and find out that indeed he did commit crimes against the Constitution, and then maybe we can get him to quit, or we can impeach Bush. That would be like a dream come true. I keep running into these people who are blind. These are the same people who were out for blood when Clinton was found to have perjured himself, but when Bush conducts surveillance against US citizens without a warrant, they let it pass, and say stupid things like, "Well, if you're not doing anything wrong then you don't have anything to worry about." Which is not the case. I hate it when people say that. Oh well, I guess there is a reason why the stupidest man in the world got to be the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, and he is almost, by himself and a few of his cronies, dragging the US into the gutter. Look at how the rest of the world looks at us right now. We're getting laughed at all over the place. It's sad. We need new leadership. I can't wait for 2008.

18 March 2006

Women who look like Oompa Loopas...

I was at the meat parade last night (also known as the Brazilian steakhouse in Greensboro) with the SO's parents, as they were in town to take in some basketball games. When I sat down with them, I noticed something very funny behind the SO's right ear. Sitting at a table not more than a few feet from us where 2 women who had obviously spent way too much time in the tanning bed. They were orange colored and looking like fruit. I'm not sure if they thought that this new glow that the tanning booth placed on them was a good thing, but in this case, it most certainly wasn't. What I wanted to do was to lecture them about skin cancer, and things like that, but instead, I couldn't help staring at their orange faces and wondering what they looked like. And then it came to me. Oompa Loompas, that is exactly what they looked like, well, minus the green hair and the short stature, but other than that, that skin tint did nothing for them. I can tell you that much. It sort of reminded me of Kevin Underwood who also looks like an Oompa Loompa, except for Kevin, he does have the short stature thing working for him. Still, no green hair, but I'm telling you if he made it green for Halloween one year, he'd be the spitting image of those freaky little orange guys in the Willy Wonka movie (the original with Gene Wilder, not the stupid re-make, please). But these women, it was kind of distracting. I know that they're probably trying to look all tan and better, but damn, they didn't look better, they looked like they were on their way to making their faces look like old catcher's mitts before the end of this year.

Which brings me to another point. Is there no creativity left in Hollywood? Do they have to re-make movies that were already good to begin with? Such as Willy Wonka, and a few others that have passed through in recent years. It seems like everything is a re-make these days, or a campy take off of an old TV show (ie Dukes of Hazzard). It sucks. There have got to be some creative folks out there, I know there are, they throw out a handful of movies every year that aren't too bad, but then you get the parade of re-makes. I heard this morning that indeed, Hollywood is doing a send up of Dallas, the TV show, and bringing that to the old silver screen. Ah hell, that show sucked when it was on TV. Why make a movie out of it? Damn, just damn...

It's getting nice outside now, so time to wrap this up really quick, and take a ride outside in the sunshine and the cooler than last week's temperatures. We were treated to some 80 degree weather last weekend, which wasn't so bad. Good to ride in, good to bask in, and well, just good. We're back around 60 today, which I'll take. That's not so bad really. Slight breeze. Sunny skies. It's all good.

Oh, and as a spoiler, Filippo Pozzato won Milan-San Remo today. Again, the dominance of Quick Step shows. He almost got chased down on the via Roma in San Remo, but held off Petacchi and a few others to take the win. Boonen was up there, and rolled in 4th, with Petacchi taking 2nd and Luca Paolini taking 3rd to round out the podium. Good stuff those Quick Step boys are pounding out this early season, good stuff indeed. Hope to see more from them as the year rolls on, and something tells me that we will.

03 March 2006

Riding and other maladies...

So it has been about a good 5 months since I last really rode the bike, like for training purposes, and now, I'm way out of shape, and not feeling very good at all. Work has been a pain in the ass the last well, 5 months, or since about August, so it has left me little "me" time really, or none at all. What is that they say about all work and no play? Well, that's the situation I think I've been in for, well, close to 6 months now. Race season has started, and pretty much already, I've decided that racing is probably not going to be for me this year. Maybe a few select events here and there, but for the most part, there won't be any racing coming on down the pike for me this season, well, at least if I keep up the pace of training that I've run into so far since the year rolled over to 2006. The riding gods have not been pleased with me I don't think. Which reminds me, I've got to renew my club dues for 2006, anyway.. Yeah, riding, not good, or haven't been doing it at all. I keep telling myself, OK, this weekend is the weekend where it all starts again, and then, well, nothing happens. And then the next weekend is going to be the weekend, and again, nothing. I've been doing this to myself for the better part of, well, 5 months now. There were some weekends when I would ride, and then get a ride in on Monday and Tuesday, and then, nothingness for 2 weeks after that, and then ride again some weekend, and let's face it, anything you had gained, has now been long lost, and hence the slow, one might call it molasses like, return to racing for this kid. And hey, if I don't race much or at all this year, this cycling stuff can be a lifetime sport, I can always go back and do it again next year with the expressed intent of doing it right again. In the meantime, I think I'll ride as much as I can, maybe do some running (gasp!), and dig out the old hiking boots, and take long walks in the woods with the SO, and The Bea (Bea being the dog). I think that would make for good weekends really, almost as much as riding the bike around industrial parks in circular crits week in and week out.

Back when I started racing on the road, in 2000, there were tons of my friends and people I liked being around doing it. We all traveled around together, and really had a kick ass time of it. We crammed 4-6 people into a hotel room, shared rides, expenses, and broke bread together, and like I said, it was a lot of fun. Then, people got married, had children, went away from the sport, and now from our original crew of fun loving assholes, there are like 2 or 3 of us left, and maybe just 1 or 2 if you count me out, and it's not as much fun as it used to be. These things, I guess they happen. I still love bike racing, but the best part of it was the cameraderie, and the friends being around all the time. I loved racing then, and I love racing now, but it has taken on a decidedly different flavor. Anyway, it will come around and be fun again, I know that it will be, and I'll be there to ride in the races again, and travel to strange and exotic locales like Brooks Georgia, or Rock Hill South Carolina, you know, those places on the map that I'm pretty sure I never would go to, if it weren't for a bike race being held there.

Also, today is my Dad's Birthday. He's a bright and shiny 73 years old today. Here's the old man!! Here here!

Crazy things were happening in town today. A guy drove his car into a bunch of people, ran over 9 people, on purpose, phoned in a bomb threat on the apartment complex he was living in, and things like that. It was surreal seeing Chapel Hill, NC on the national news, and even more surreal because I knew the place where this thing went down, and most surreal because the SO works right next to where that happened, and she was walking around the spot where the incident occurred not long before some dumb ass came barreling through in his rented SUV. Not that I would wish anyone to get hurt, but I'm glad that it wasn't the SO. It's kind of shaking though, and her students are affected by this, and freaked out. I mean, Chapel Hill is generally a pretty darn safe place to live, and these sorts of things don't happen around here, except this time, they did. Check out the story about this happening on the Daily Tarheel website, they've had the best reports about what happened by far compared to the rest of the media outlets around the triangle area.


Crazy days indeed...