31 January 2007

Look, it's simple...

If you happen to be out driving on a back road of Durham, NC, and you see a tiny light coming towards you in the opposite lane, do not, I repeat, do not hit the high beams.

Why you might ask? Well, let me let you in on a little secret. That small little light coming towards you, is me. Riding my bike. At night. When you shine your high beams, it hits me directly in the pupil, and I can't see. Seeing, is important when you're riding a bike at night, because you can't see that far down the road at night (obviously), and if I can't see, I might fall down, and tear off some skin, or maybe concuss myself. These are things that I don't want to happen to me.

So for the love of all that is holy, stop hitting me with the high beams. If I had something heavy to throw at you, I would. I'm just a guy, trying to get a training ride in after work, in the middle of winter. Give me a break will you?

One last thing, stop honking your horn at me. I can see the lights approaching behind me, you don't need to lay on the horn to let me know that you're there. This goes for the daylight hours as well. It scares the crap out of us when we're riding, and we're more apt to swerve into the lane of travel when startled, so knock it off. I mean, a quick little staccato "beep beep" when you're way behind us, is OK, it's a warning beep. But creeping up right behind us, and LAYING on the horn, you're likely to get an ass kicking for doing something like that, so stop it.

OK, one more thing. We all don't think we're "Lance" so stop shouting that at us out the window, and stop yelling to "GET OUTTA THE ROAD!" because contrary to what you might think, we paid for the road too. Just because we're riding our bikes at the moment that you see us, doesn't mean we don't own a car, or 2 (probably everyone I know that rides also has a car), and guess what? We pay insurance, gas taxes, vehicle taxes, and highway use taxes just like you little morons that yell at us that we don't deserve or pay for the road. Guess what Gus? We pay.

That's it for now. Seriously. That's all I've got.

Except for this evening, forecast is for "wintry mix" tomorrow. Which means, the whole State is going crazy in NC. Buying bread, milk, and eggs at the grocery store, and canceling everything in sight (even before stuff starts to fall from the sky). Now, I've been living here for almost 8 years now, and I've seen this all before, but it still never ceases to surprise me how insane people get when frozen precipitation comes down. I'll go to work tomorrow, just like always, except I'll be one of only about 20 people there. I almost guarantee it. Ah well, that's just how it goes.

OK, now that's all that I've got for now.

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28 January 2007

In response to Mr./Mrs. Anonymous...

Anonymous said...
If you really hate america so much why don't you just leave! Russia's middle class and black market are thriving, Canada's broken health care system is improving the quality of life, and the human rights of our chinese friends is a shining beacon on the hill. But you won't because America is still the best country in the world.

Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, leaving now would could destroy us, and the terrorist would win. Come up with a plan besides cut and run or shut up. if you don't understand that freedom isn't free than america is no place for you or you're opinions. You shouldn't even be allowed to speak.

See the above comment that I had from my last post (you know, the one before this one). This one of course has been sticking in my craw for the most reason because it is every single republican talking point about people who don't like the war, or this current administration, that has been going around since, oh, 2001 or later. I feel like I need to speak to this comment mostly because it is wrong, and the person who wrote it, is wrong.

#1: I don't hate America. I hate George W. Bush, and I hope for him to be gone from the White House as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there is this little document standing in the way of him leaving right now, and it's called the Constitution which says that the President shall have a maximum of 2 four year terms as President, unless they are impeached (I could only hope), or said President resigns (not going to happen mostly because he's a stubborn arse). I don't hate America. I actually quite enjoy living here. Although I can't compare it with anywhere else because this is the only place that I live. I hope to someday move to another country to experience different cultures, different people, and to expand my world view, but I do believe I'll always remain living in America, because it is indeed the best country in the world, I think, and many others think as well. So myself and the unknown commenter can agree at least on this one point, that indeed, the US of A is the best country in the world. Although I highly doubt that Mr. or Mrs. Unknown has lived anywhere aside from their parents' basement, maybe my friendly commenter should move around somewhere else as well, and maybe get a better grasp of what might be happening outside of the US, and indeed see for himself whether or not this IS the best country in the world.

Russia, not a place I'd like to live ever.

Canada, I would live there. Indeed, their "broken" health care system does indeed work, for the mere fact that ALL Canadians have health care coverage regardless of creed, wealth levels, or place in society. What's so bad about that? I'm sure it's not perfect, but at least when someone is sick, they can go and have it taken care of, unlike the US, where there are millions of people (mostly lover socio-economic class) that don't have health care, and can't afford health care. Oh, and every other democratic country in the world has a single payer health care system, in other words, socialized medicine, and gasp! Their economic systems and health care has not collapsed and been doomed. There is no reason, none at all, if America is indeed the greatest country in the world as you espouse, that we shouldn't have every single person in this country covered by an all encompassing health care system. Are we or are we not the last remaining world superpower? And we can't get everyone health care? Now that's just sad. Take the $500+ billion we have dumped down the drain in Iraq, and that would have fixed the health care system, and other innumerable issues facing the US, but I digress. I still like living here. Just because there are things that need to be corrected, and fixed, doesn't mean I hate America. It means I want to make it a better place for everyone (in my opinion and views), and if I leave the country, what kind of American would I be? Not wanting to stay around and debate issues, and try to fix things that I think are broken.

We the United States have also had some black marks placed onto our record as far as human rights go in the past few years. Extraordinary rendition anyone? Taking people to countries that will torture them because we won't do that on our own soil? That's pretty freakin' bad. Gitmo? Anyone? Stashing people away, saying that they're "bad" people with little or no proof at all? When do those people get trials? When do they get justice? Will they ever see a lawyer? And we're trying to be the bringer of light? The shining beacon? Mr. Bush, and his cadre of criminals have dimmed the light, and turned off the beacon since 2001.

How would leaving Iraq now "destroy us" as you so put it before? Is there some huge Muslim army waiting to invade the US? Why is Iraq the central front on the war on terror? As has been reported, investigated and debunked many times since our invasion in 2003 (and actually before as well), Iraq did not harbor terrorists who were trying to attack the US. Iraq became the central front for the war on terror simply because we invaded a country that posed no threat to this country. When we did that, we opened up the largest and most vast training grounds for terrorists and mujahadeen in the world. The small percentage of Muslims who identify themselves as radicals came flooding into Iraq to shoot at Americans. There have been many plans other than your so-called "cut and run" and President Bush has disregarded them all every step of the way. You tell me. How does sending in more troops help the situation when study after study, and general after general has said that more troops just won't do the trick? How? I proposed cut and run? No. That's just false. I never wanted to go in the first place. I suggest you read the following 2 books. Ghost Wars, and Fiasco. Containment of Saddam Hussein was working even better than we thought it was. His military was basically shut down, they had little functioning equipment, no air support, and not many loyal troops. Our no fly zones in the North and South and sanctions were working. Saddam Hussein, and Iraq posed no threat at all to the United States. They didn't support terrorism (since terrorism is a fundamentalist belief and Iraq, under Saddam was generally a secular country), and they couldn't mount an effective offensive against anyone in the world, let alone the US. How are the terrorists going to destroy us? Answer me that. They're not.

Militarily, they can't inflict enough damage on a country the size of the US to even make a dent. They don't have enough followers, or near enough power to invade the US and "destroy us" as you so say. We have been cowed into a fear by this administration that the terrorists are hiding behind every corner. That they're out to get us. They're going to destroy our cities. At best, they could only hope for another 9/11 tragedy. And even then, how many Americans were lost in those attacks? Under 3000. It was a large loss of life, and again a tragedy, but statistically, you have a better chance falling in your shower and getting killed that way, than you do from being killed by a terrorist attack. Please, get real. The chances of a common person in the US getting killed by a terrorist is so astronomically low, the percentage is just about 0%. Statistically speaking, it's not going to happen to the 99.999995% of people living in the US. We've been sold fear, and most people, such as yourself, have lapped it up.

Freedom is not free? Again, I ask how Iraq was threatening our freedom? I figured you wouldn't have an answer. I know freedom is not free. I have had relatives serve in the armed services, and they have actually protected this country when indeed, we have been actually threatened. Iraq, was not a threat. If we really wanted a good target in the middle east post 9/11, we should have rallied against Pakistan after taking out Afghanistan. Why? Pakistan my friend is one small military coup away from being a highly radical Islamic nation that already has nuclear weapons. And they continue through back channels to support the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and supported them when they were in power, and helped to hide away Osama Bin Laden.

Also, if Iraq was so important Osama must have been hiding there right? That's why we invaded, because they were harboring Bin Laden? Oh wait, no, he's probably in Pakistan (see above paragraph). Why haven't we caught the mastermind of 9/11? Because the Bush administration has actually ignored the fight against terrorists in lieu of invading Iraq (for no good reason) and wasting our resources there.

Oh, and I hate to break it to you Ms. Unknown, but the vast majority of this country now agree with my position of taking troops out now, and ending this war in Iraq. And also Mr. Bush is now a lame duck President with approval ratings in the low 30's and some ratings say into the high 20's. Public opinion now more and more agrees with me, and less and less with you. So maybe YOU should leave this country? As it no longer supports your world view in general.

People like me shouldn't be allowed to speak? What in the hell are you talking about? That's how you want to run a democracy? You want to pick and choose who gets to talk? Who gets to state their opinions? That would be great. You know, we call that a dictatorship, and if America turns into that, which it won't, then I would be leaving town. Luckily, for me, and for you, we can spout off just about anything we want, because we do have the 1st amendment in that pesky little document called the Constitution again. You know, that little scrap of paper that seems to keep getting in the way of King George from actually just doing what he wants when he wants (even though he pretty much does already). I'm glad that we live in a country where everyone can have their opinions and make them known. I'm even glad that you get to talk your nonsense, even though you can't back your arguments with actual facts most of the time I'm guessing, you still get to have an opinion, and that's a wonderful thing.

Luckily, I disagree with you on just about everything. Luckily for me, the majority of residents in the United States agrees with me. I say it's a good thing that Bush is in office for another 2 years, because come 2008, whoever wins the nomination for the democratic party will be ensured a victory, and we will take back the White House. And on one last note, I do wish that Bush's strategery would actually work, and that peace could reign in Iraq, but you know, I'm not going to hold my breath.

If you wish to post comments on here, please do so, I won't make that impossible to do. But if you're just going to pour forth from your mouth Dick Cheney's favorite talking points, save your breath. Come up with a coherent (and properly spelled) argument, and we can debate, but until then, maybe you should just shut up? It's just a thought, as I hear your talking points over and over again in the media everyday, and it's getting tiring. Do you have an independent thought in your head? Or do you just repeat the daily Rush Limbaugh show and take his point of view as gospel? Because that's what it sounds like to me really. And remember, as one of our founding fathers once said, "Opposition to tyranny is patriotic."

Oh, and one last point, do yourself a favor, and actually read the Constitution. It might be a good wake up call for you.

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13 January 2007

I'm so mad...

I had to wait a few days before I posted this up here post George W. Bush's speech the other night about Iraq. Of course this damn mastermind, his big bold new plan was to, get this, as if you haven't heard yet, was to add more troops to Iraq. And to make it worse, he's only adding 20,000 troops to the country. First, that's not enough. Second, just about anyone who is anyone in the world of military strategy has been telling him that more troops isn't going to really do anything. And of course what does he do? He ignores everyone, and looks for answers that he wants to hear. The other thing is, we had this big how to do about the Iraq Study Group, and what did the big old dumb ass do with that? Nothing. Nothing at all. He has ignored every single recommendation that they made back at the end of November. Everything. He ignored it, all of it. You can download the report and recommendations with this link. Check it out for yourself, completely and utterly ignored everything.

Now, during his speech the other night, he mentioned Iran and Syria. You know where this is going right? He is going to expand this damn war into the neighboring countries, and we're going to be fighting 2 more countries in this region. And you can be sure as shit that for good measure, Iran is going drop a few bombs over the border into Israel, drawing them into the conflict. Lebannon, might as well count them in with everyone else. And of course Saudi Arabia has to protect their interests, and so on and so forth. The whole region has a good chance to fall into total chaos and disarray, and we stand a good chance, if we follow Herr Bush, to lose more American lives on the ground there, and to suffer greater losses for the people of Iraq, and the middle eastern region in general.

The other thing that really caught my attention, and most people seemed to have missed was the call for at least 90,000 new recruits for the armed services. Now, since recruiting is low and going lower due to the on-going war, where oh where do you think George W is going to get another 90,000 recruits? Can you say draft? That is the thing that could happen. If he doesn't get the men and women that he needs to continue this war, where else is he going to get them? Draft, in full effect. Expect the lottery to start as soon as Iran starts attacking our troops because we dropped some bombs over the border. Kids, aged 18-40 probably will be available looking at the new requirements. Now, this might not happen, but if you're just getting on towards graduating from high school, and don't know what you're going to do yet after you graduate, just get into the Air Force now so you don't get drafted into the good old infantry. While there is nothing wrong with being an infantry soldier at all, they are the ones who get shot at the most.

What it boils down to for me is that the pure arrogance and ego of this asshole George W. Bush, astounds me to no end. Just today, he was calling for people who oppose his plan to submit their own. Hey George, check the link above, we had this whole Iraq Study Group thing that went on before. Remember them? Again, they had a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't correspond to your plan. And again, what did you do? Ignored it. Turned up your little silver spoon nose at it. Jack Murtha, also had a plan for a phased withdrawal of American troops. Nope, you didn't like that either. There were and are plenty of options out there you goon, but you choose to ignore them. And by ignore, fail to register that they exist. This has got to stop because you my friend are pulling down the entire country because of your arrogance, pride, and your ego. You are the most dangerous President ever. I'll take Clinton getting a BJ in th Oval Office any day of the week compared to you. You are a walking disaster, and I hope that the new Democratic Congress takes oversight very seriously, and starts to crack down on you, and let you run unimpeded through the country.

I had a friend of mine describe this new plan to me, and he put it best. The way he described it, and I agree with was as follows, "This new troop "surge" is just 'stay the course' in a nice new shiny wrapper." I think that he's right. I'm mad, I'm discouraged, and feel like now the country is heading into almost certain war with not only Iraq, but with Iran and Syria.

09 January 2007

I have decided...

I have decided that I do actually like riding my bicycle at night. It's quiet, it's cool, and it's dark. It's good stuff. I actually think it makes you a better bike handler as well, since you have to "feel" the road a little more than you would during the day. Feel the turns, feel the road. If you don't, then you might crash. I catch more "smells" at night as well. The folks in their homes cooking. The smell of wood fires burning, and a bunch of other stuff. If you don't have snow on the ground, and it's not too cold outside, get a light, get a blinky for the rear, and go for a ride. It's 10 times better than the trainer.

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06 January 2007

Good times...

Went out riding today, it is now over 70 degrees (according to my dashboard widget, it's 71. Now, that might not sound that warm and all, but damn when it's January 6th, that's plenty o' warm folks. Plenty. Today, I was shooting for a 3+ hour ride, it being Saturday and all, and the weather being damn fine. I got out in Orange County, NC, and found myself flailing on the bike, feeling like absolute and utter shit. Yeah, I was cracking about an hour into it. I caught a few guys going about my pace, a little slower, but decided to jump in with them. It worked out nice. Good conversation about welding and other things, and I managed to roll in with a 3.5 hour ride. Which considering how I felt about an hour into it, which was like death, it turned out all good. Met some new people out on the road, and got the ride in that I needed to get in.

Now what I really need to do is start really buckling down, and get out on the bike during the week. I have to suck it up, ride more, train right, and eat right. Yeah, I'm starting to get obsessed about riding again. Just for the mere fact that I would like to race the bike again, but even more than that, I want to look damn find at my wedding come December of 2007. Especially since it's going to be on a beach. Got to have that "swimsuit" figure and all. Maybe, someday, I'll get fit again. Start of the race season ain't too far off now, and I don't think I'll be making it to the annual start of the season brouhaha in Greenville, SC. Might be more like Rock Hill weekend. Although, daylight saving starts early this year. 2nd week of March and all, so the light will be going on longer and longer earlier, which makes for more training time outside, well, training time outside when the sun is out. Which is always a good thing.

I'm thinking that this season, we'll give the old Pro 1-2 category another shot, if things don't go well, we might see a downgrade to cat.3 at least for a short while to get some race fitness back under me. We'll see if I can pull it off. My first season racing as a cat. 2 things went not too bad really for the most part, until mid season when I started slacking off and not doing what I was supposed to be doing for training, and then at the end of the season came back strong again. I know I can do well at that level, just have to drop about 50 million pounds, and gain a ton o' fitness. I'll report back on progress as things move along during the off season, and during the season.

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02 January 2007

Work? WTF???

It has been almost 3 weeks since it was the last time that I set foot into work, and I'm better off for it. I took off from work on the 15th of December through some fancy footwork with my vacation schedule, and by sorting of fibbing to my boss a little bit. I didn't actually have 10 days left of vacation, but the days that I did have left, added into the days that I had from working those 90 hour weeks from July through October finally caught up with me. Leave work on 15-December-2006, and return on 2-January-2007. That's a good break right there, and frankly, one that I needed. The burnout factor on me was approaching scorched Earth policy (ala Sherman in the Civil War). The downside to being out for so long? Going back after being gone for that long. For example, I get to work today, log into the work e-mail, and what doth my eyes behold? 375 new and unread e-mails. Yeah, I said it, 375. I spent most of the morning getting over sticker shock, and then triaging the e-mail inbox. Here is the order that I went in. First, delete all work e-mail that didn't appear too important. You know, company wide notices, safety training schedule, network down notices, power is out notices, daily customer scorecards, and things like that. After I got through that stuff, I was left with about 365 e-mails. Next on the list, read all personal e-mail. Meaning, stuff from friends and family, and reply to that stuff appropriately. Yes, I know, it's work and I should be working on that, but go back a few sentences and read again that I have been out since the 15th of December, and I'm not really in a great mood to be working. I've got to ease back into this mess.

Now with personal e-mail out of the way, I can start going through the work e-mails and prioritizing things there. Let's see. Toyota Japan, nothing but issues there, we'll save that for tomorrow. In-house sweatshirt distribution... Why didn't I delete that one in the first round? To the trash bin with you my friend. Let's see what else here? Hmm, some e-mails I can write one word answers to (maybe up to 3 word answers as well), yes, let's hit those ones up first. The answers I wrote to these e-mails were as follows:

1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Yes (again).
4. Maybe.
5. Crap.
6. You're joking?
7. Trash those.
8. Scrap it.
9. I hate SDS (SDS is a sister company of ours that is constantly screwing us).

Use your imagination, and think about me going through about 50 e-mails with answers like you see above in 1-10. Like I said before, got to triage everything, and work as fast as possible here. Lunchtime was approaching.

I did get to walk around the production floor a bunch this morning, re-connecting with some of the people that I work with, you know, the more "blue collar" folks who I really do enjoy being around. Most of the folks that work up front with me, well, I could take or leave them (leave most of them), but for the most part, the folks on my lines out there on the production floor I admire a lot, and enjoy a lot.

I do wish that I could take another few weeks off from work, but alas, now, I'm looking down the barrel of almost 11 months with little or no vacation time, but this will be OK, because then I get to get married in December in St. Croix, and take a couple of weeks off there, go back to work for a week, and have another week off at the end of December 2007. I just have to keep moving towards that day with that in mind. Focus on the wedding, focus on the wedding.

I did find out something interesting about my wedding today though. It turns out that the wedding coordinator, named Misty Hyman (no porn star jokes please) is indeed an Olympic Gold Medalist. Yes, it's true. She won the 200m butterfly swimming event at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, which is pretty impressive I must say. And, a friend of mine that moved down to St. Croix lives right next door to her, and is trying to work out some deals for myself and the fiancee for when we do roll on down there for the wedding and all. It's good to have an "in" on the inside so to speak. So yeah, Misty, she went into her event as the complete underdog, she wasn't supposed to win at all. An Australian was supposed to be the end all be all in that event, but alas, the good old US of A took down Australia in that meet, and at that time. Check out this story about her win. Yeah, that's our wedding coordinator/planner, it's pretty sweet.

Anyway, it'll be back to work tomorrow to fit the remaining horde of e-mail remaining in my inbox. I can hardly wait, maybe I'll go back there this evening? Nah, on second thought, probably not.

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