Monday, December 15, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is to Leave a Message!

I called a friend of mine the other day, he wasn't available so my call ended up going to his voicemail. The voicemail designed by the cell phone company. Is it me or are the options you have when leaving a message becoming longer and longer? I think it's a conspiracy set up by the cell phone company to suck another minute from your plan. My call went something like this:

"Ring, ring, ring, ring. Click. 'Hi this is Bob, leave a message and I'll call ya back.'" (Lovely female computer voice) "To leave a message please stay on the line. To send a numeric page, please press two. To send a text, please press three. To send a picture of your new puppy, please press six." Ummm, what happened to four and five? What are those numbers used for?

My friend Gary's voicemail even gives me the option of sending a fax. Let me say that again, my friend's CELL PHONE asks if you want to send a his cell phone! Cell phones are those small devices that people put in their pocket, right? Fax machines are those huge contraptions that sit on a desk and make all sorts of racket when someone sends a piece of paper, right? I know cell phones are advancing with leaps and bounds (I'm even writing this blog from my phone) but I have yet to see a cell phone spit out an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper. By the way, who sends faxes anymore?

Maybe the long voicemail's are the reason people have been sending text messages more often than calling someone. They don't have time to listen to all the options. Remember when answering machines used tapes to record the outgoing and incoming messages? Ahh, the good ol' days. I still remember when my family got our first answering machine, I thought we were living the high life. It's amazing how far we've come. Who knows what the next technological advancement will be. Maybe some sort of machine that allows you to record a television show without using VHS tapes. We can only hope.

Good luck.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Celebration of Two Great People!

This past weekend my family and I made our way up to Baudette, MN for a birthday party. Baudette, MN is on the Minnesota/Canada border, it's north of the middle of nowhere, west of the sticks, and just south of the boonies. It's about a 6 hour drive north of good weather. This weekend however, northern Minnesota was blessed with sub-zero temperatures and about six inches of snow. The first three inches arrived Friday night (during the drive up to Baudette) and the last three inches arrived on Sunday afternoon (during the drive home). It ended up taking about eight hours of white knuckle driving each way. You may be asking yourself, "Why would you drive 16 hours on snow covered roads in the middle of nowhere just for a birthday?" Well, this wasn't just any birthday, it was my grandfather's 90th birthday and my grandmother will turn 87 in a couple weeks!

The big party was Saturday night at my Uncle Al's resort, Morris Point. It's a nice lodge located on Lake of the Woods designed for hunters and fishermen during both the summer and winter. As one looked out over the lake, there was already a small town beginning to sprawl out on the ice for this winters ice fishing season. All of my grandparents kids attended, a few of the grandchildren and even a great-grandchild made an appearance. My grandparents raised seven kids in a small farmhouse located on the Rainy River just east of Baudette. Those kids had kids and then there were twenty grandchildren. A few of those kids have had kids and now my grandparents have six great-grandchildren! The party was a huge success! Both my grandmother and grandfather seemed to have a great time! Plus it was fun to see some relatives that I don't get to see very often.

The next morning we went to church with my grandfather. Shortly after we walked in, one of the sound guys walked out and mentioned that the drummer who normally plays wasn't able to play and asked if anyone knew of a drummer that could fill in. For those who don't know, I used to play drums in a couple different bands so I said, "Well, it's been a while since I've played but I could probably help out." A few minutes later I was sitting up on stage behind a Yamaha electronic drum set. I did my best to play along with the band in front of a crowd of......50 people. I don't know if this counts as a "come-back" for me but it was fun to play drums again.

After the service we had a small birthday party at the church and then headed over to my grandparents house to say goodbye, because by now it had started snowing again. My grandmother was sitting in her recliner and my grandfather was sitting on the couch next to her. We shared some small talk for a few minutes and were getting ready to leave when my grandfather went over to the bathroom door and took off a post-it note that he had taped up. My grandfather is 100% Norwegian and on this piece of paper he had written "Det beste vi hat er hverandre". In a moment I'll never forget, he said, "This is Norwegian for 'The best we have is each other.'" He's right, we may love to drive a new car or have the latest gadget but when it comes right down to it, the best we have is each other.

This weekend was not only a celebration of my grandparent's birthdays, but a celebration of the lives of two wonderful people. Despite it being a cold weekend outside, it was a good weekend to warm the heart. Not knowing when I'll see my grandparents again, I said through the tears in my eyes that I loved them and I would see them again.

"The best we have is each other." Some words of wisdom from a guy who's been around for a while.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Freezing for Charity!

Every year a radio station in Minneapolis called Cities 97 puts out a CD filled with songs that various artists have played in their studio throughout the year. They call this CD "The Cities 97 Sampler, Live from Studio C". It's filled with acoustic performances from some of today's best bands. They only produce 35,000 copies and all the proceeds go to various local charities. I have a great love for music, so getting these rare live performances is a great addition to my collection (plus, I feel like I'm doing a good deed).

Five years ago they had the 15th Anniversary of their Studio C disc. The radio station was doing a call-in contest and if you were the 97th caller, you could win not only that years Sampler CD, but you would also win CD's from all 15 years! Since I have that kind of time, I called in one night and ended up being the 97th caller! I won all 15 CD's, plus a trip to the Sampler Release Party where Erin and I got to mingle with a bunch of celebrities. Well, when I say we got to mingle with celebrities, I mean, the celebrities were in one room and us common folk were in another, but it was still fun.

Ever since then, I've had to continue my collection of CD's, so each year when they come out, I make a special trip to Target (which is the only store that sells them) on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. In order to keep all the proceeds going to charities, they have to limit the amount of CD's produced, which usually means they sell out within minutes of the store opening. I've done well and either myself or Erin has been standing out in the cold to collect every CD for the past 5 years.

This year I was fortunate enough to have the day off, so this morning I made a trip to Target to pick up this years CD. I arrived about an hour before opening and there were already over 100 people in line. If you can picture the typical Target store, the line extended from one of the front doors and around the side of the building. By the time the store opened, the line extended to the back of the store. The temperature this morning was about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but fortunately the side of the building I was on was in the shade and the wind, so it only felt like 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Outside the store this morning, people were huddled in blankets and heavy winter coats. A few people had arrived at 5 AM, they brought sleeping bags and chairs. Between people complaining about how cold it was and how crazy everyone was to stand in the cold for a CD, there was conversation of how many Sampler CD's everyone had, how people got off of work for the morning. Usually though, the conversation came back around to how cold it was and how we were all crazy for standing in line.

Once the line started moving, it was amazing how well organized everyone remained. It was similar to standing in the lunch line in elementary school. Everyone was walking in a single file line, they were very quiet because they knew if they caused too many problems, they would feel the wrath of the 19 year old security guard. Once we got into the store, there were a lot of sighs of relief as we felt the warmth of the store hit our faces. A few people got their CD and left, a few like myself had to get some groceries, a few made their way over to Starbucks.

It felt good to know that the proceeds from my purchase were going to local charities. They said that this years CD would raise over $1,000,000! That alone is worth standing in the cold for an hour.

When I finished my shopping, I left with my CD in hand. I looked over to where they were handing out the CD's and noticed that they still had some left.....and the line was gone. So, despite standing in line for an hour, I could have slept in, walked from my warm car into a warm Target at 8:05 AM and still gotten my CD. That wouldn't have made for a good story though.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Relaxing at the gym.

I went to the gym this afternoon to workout and noticed they had a new contraption. I'm always anxious to check out the new equipment so I asked one of the trainers what it was. She told me it was a Water Spa. She explained that you lay down in it and it gives you a massage by blasting water against you. Actually, it blasts water against a tarp that's touching you, so you don't get wet. She also told me that for this week only, they were letting members try it out for free. Let me get this straight, I can go to the gym, lay down and get a massage for free. Sounds like I belong to the right gym.

After I got done working out, I asked her if I could try it out. She got it started and told me to take off my shoes and lay down in it. It looks like a massage table and a tanning bed combined into one. I lied down in it and there was a monitor below my face playing some very hypnotic images, actually, it kind of looked like a screen saver. Then she put some headphones on me, playing music similar to what you'd hear in a regular spa. She told me she'd set it for four minutes. I said, "Four minutes! I was thinking more like twenty." She said, "Okay, I'll set it for five." I told her she needed to work on her negotiation skills. Now that I think about it though, it's probably me that needs to work on negotiating because I was there for five minutes and not anything close to the twenty minutes that I was hoping for.

The capsule started to close and the water massage started. It actually felt pretty good. It stung my legs a little bit, but maybe that's because I had shorts on. I have to say, I've had regular massages before and they're about 1,000 times better than this. The five minutes went by pretty quickly and it was a great way to finish my workout.

I'm not sure what the cost difference will be between this and a regular massage, but I'd be willing to pay a little more for the human touch of a real massage. The cool part about this thing looks like a spaceship.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Liquid Diet.

Last month I decided to give up going to Starbucks for the month of October. I think I was becoming addicted. It got to the point that I was going almost every day, sometimes twice a day. It seemed as though I couldn't walk by a Starbucks without at least walking in to see how things were going, maybe check and see if they had any new drinks. I'm not sure if I was addicted to the caffeine or the ambiance. I think I liked the whole process; the ordering, the repeating of your order by the barista, then the delivery of your drink when they call your name and again, repeat what you ordered. I think I even liked walking around with a Starbucks cup in my hand. I guess it made me feel like one of the cool kids. There was one step of the process I didn't enjoy however, and that was paying $4 for the drink.

That was one of the reasons I wanted to give it up for a while, it was costing me about $120 per month, and that's if I didn't get yogurt or a muffin. I also thought I could maybe do without the calories and caffeine, neither of those two things were doing much for my diet. I think another reason I wanted to give it up though was to make sure if I was ever addicted to something worse than caffeine, like drugs, that I could hopefully quit. Although, I think being hooked on crack cocaine is a little different than being hooked on caffeine.

What's kind of funny about me giving up Starbucks for a month is......I don't like coffee. As a matter of fact, I hate coffee. I don't even like coffee flavored ice cream. Maybe that's kind of like a vegetarian giving up Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, pretty easy to do. I was hooked on my favorite drink though, a "grande non-fat no-water chai tea latte with a shot of sugar free vanilla". Yeah I know, it sounds like something a high maintenance girl from Malibu, CA would order. Well, I don't care, it's freakin' great! It kind of tastes like pumpkin pie. Yummmm, actually, now that I think about it, October is over. My liquid diet is done! Starbucks, here I come and this time, I'm getting a venti!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My definition of a good day!

A couple days ago I had a 25 hour layover in Los Angeles, CA. I usually spend layovers relaxing, reading, working out, and laying by the pool. A long layover in Los Angeles however means one! My good friend Mark and I rented sport-bikes from a company called South Bay Sport Bike Rentals about four years ago and despite a cold ride in the rain, we had fun. The weather this time of the year in Southern California is usually perfect, so I called Mark and asked if he'd be interested in renting bikes again. Mark taught me how to ride motorcycles and it's been a passion of ours for several years, so it didn't take him very long to say yes. We called Jeff, the owner of the motorcycle rental company, and made arrangements to ride all day during my layover.

We arrived in L.A. around midnight, Mark had flown in from Minneapolis and met up with myself and the rest of my crew to ride over to the hotel. Jeff picked us up in the morning and drove us to where the bikes were. Mark elected to ride the Honda 600RR and I rode the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Both are great bikes that put plenty of power in between your legs. Our goal was Angeles Crest Highway which is world renowned for motorcycle riding. It's located in Angeles National Forest and is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy Los Angeles area. After a quick 30 minute ride through the freeways of L.A. we made it to Angeles Crest Highway. After a quick stop to discuss how quickly we could become a hood ornament or end up plunging to our death if we weren't careful, we started the adventure.

I can't think of words that can properly describe what an awesome road we were on. Not only were the views spectacular but the road itself was a perfect blend of curves, straight-aways, and hairpin turns. We rode about half-way down the highway and then made a stop for lunch at Newcombsranch which is a popular restaurant among bikers. While we were there, we talked with a few locals about the road and what to look out for, as well as other good roads to ride. Since we were there to ride and not eat, we finished up lunch quickly and continued toward the end of the highway. We stopped at the end to relax for a little while and talk about what a great day we were having!

Over the next few hours we explored some more of the roads located in the park and ended up riding Angeles Crest Highway a second time. After we left the forest we braved rush hour and headed over to Malibu via "the 101" and Topanga Canyon Road (which is another awesome road for riding). We met up with the Pacific Coast Highway and rode south along the ocean to Manhattan Beach and ate fish taco's at a bar overlooking the ocean. By now it was almost 9:00 PM and time to return the bikes.

After an exhausting day, we returned the bikes and headed back to the hotel (as I was to fly the red-eye from LAX back to Houston, TX). Mark, who is also an airline pilot, accompanied me in the cockpit on the way back to Houston and after arriving, we flew home to Minneapolis. I slept the afternoon away when I got home but let's see, a day riding motorcycles on one of the best roads in the world with your best friend....yeah, that's a good day.

A sign of what was ahead of us! Looks like fun to me!

The bikes, a Honda 600RR (red) and a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R (green).

The only restaurant on Angeles Crest Highway, Newcombsranch.

A staged photo of Mark, taken especially for his wife. Funny, huh?

A picture of me contemplating life.

It doesn't get any better than this!

Me with the bike at the end of Angeles Crest Highway. Yeah, this is a good way to spend a layover.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Football With "The Boys"

Yesterday was a perfect fall day! The leaves are at their peak color, the air is cool and crisp, and I think everyone is trying to squeeze in the last of their outdoor activities before the snow flies. Fall is my favorite time of year and it’s perfect for flag football with “the boys”.

A few friends of mine and I met at a South Minneapolis park yesterday afternoon for a friendly game of flag football. We all showed up with varied skill levels. I hadn’t played football since the 3rd grade and have watched about five football games on TV since then. Most of the guys hadn’t played football in a while, but almost all of them frequently watch it on TV, so they knew the concept. One guy said he brought cleats with him, but I think when he saw another guy show up wearing jeans and sporting a beer in his back pocket, he realized it wasn’t going to be “that” kind of game.

We quickly established the rules and made up the teams. Fortunately for my sake, making the teams didn’t involve me standing there hoping someone would pick me before I was the last guy remaining. We just grabbed a flag and whatever color you grabbed meant you were on that team (although I think when some of the guys saw me grab a red flag, it wasn’t an accident that they “magically” ended up on the yellow team).

The first huddle was when I realized I know absolutely nothing about football. There were plays drawn out on people’s hands and guys covering their mouth while they talked so the other team couldn’t read our lips. I felt like I was listening to a foreign language when I heard terms like running block, sweep, trap, bootleg, and blitz. We’d usually break up the huddle by clapping our hands and yelling something like, “Go Team!”

I have to say, there were some great plays! A few long runs for touchdowns and a lot of great passes were made! At one point, I caught the ball and ran out of bounds as soon as I could to avoid getting tackled. Obviously, I didn’t trust that everyone was going after the flags.

We didn’t keep track of the score very carefully so about 15 minutes before someone had to go pick up their kid at daycare, we decided the next team to score would be the winner. Unfortunately the team I was on wasn’t the team that scored next but it didn’t matter. We all had a great time and came away with a little mud on our clothes and some sore muscles, just what you’d expect from a fall football game with “the boys”.

Pictured Above:
Standing in the back row are; Justin, Paul, Kyle, Me, Mark, Derek, and Brady.
Kneeling in the front row are; Scott, Ed, and Bob.
Not pictured is Clay who took the picture!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Weekend With My Grandparents...And a Few Pros.

I started my vacation last week and decided to spend some time out in Monterey, CA with my grandparents. I left Friday morning and flew to San Francisco, CA and was then going to drive down to my grandparents house (which is about 2 hours south of there). I arrived in San Francisco just before noon and decided to take my time getting down to Monterey. I got to San Jose, CA and veered off onto some really cool mountain road with lots of twists and turns, which is something I rather enjoy. I decided to see how well my rental car could keep up so let's just say, I was exceeding the speed limit.

I came around a corner and coming head on was one of California's finest Highway Patrolman. I knew I was way over the posted limit and the CHP quickly turned on his flashing lights and made a U-turn to come get me. I thought to myself, "I can either floor it and head for the hills, or just pull over". I've watched enough COPS episodes to know that they usually always catch up with people, and since I didn't want to be on the receiving end of a taser, I decided to pull over. I was actually pulled over before he was completely turned around. I thought that would earn some brownie points, you will soon find out, it didn't.

He came up to the car and asked for my license and registration and very nicely explained why he pulled me over. He clocked me at 53 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. I was going to explain that I'm dyslexic and am easily confused by numbers. He didn't look like the kind of guy who liked to joke around though, so I didn't mention it. He asked me why I was going so fast. Again, I wanted to tell him, "Because this is one of the coolest roads I've ever been on, and I wanted to enjoy it to it's fullest, and you're not helping." I didn't think that would go over very well so I stuck with, "I don't know." Without much discussion, he walked back to his car and wrote me a citation. Since I haven't pleaded guilty to it yet, I can use the line that the media always uses; "Paul was allegedly going 53 MPH in a 35 MPH zone." I can tell you though, I'm probably not going to fly out to California to go to court, so you can take the word "allegedly" out. Minnesota doesn't have traffic school but California does, I wonder if I can go to traffic school in California so it doesn't go on my record?

I continued my drive down this very cool road at a pace my grandma would get frustrated with, and after a quick stop for lunch in Santa Cruz, headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to my grandparents. I've always wanted to learn how to play golf and I thought since I was in the golf capitol of the world, maybe I could take a few lessons. My grandparents set some lessons up with one of the golf pros at their country club.

By the way, why do they call golf instructors "Pros"? Anyone that has a real job is probably considered a professional but that's not their title. When you ask a doctor what he does, he will probably say, "I'm an orthopedic surgeon" or "I'm a general practitioner." He's not going to say, "I'm a professional", even though he very much is a professional at what he does, that's not his title. For some reason though, a golf instructor can get away with a one word answer to what they do for a living, "I'm a pro."

Saturday morning I met one of the golf "pros" named Ryan. He was the definition of his title. He gave me some great pointers on how to swing the club with the hope that the ball will eventually go straight. When I say he gave me "some pointers", I really mean a laundry list of things to do. He didn't stop talking for 35 minutes! I literally took two pages of notes, just on how to swing the club! He did a great job (considering who he was working with) and that afternoon my grandpa and I went out to the range to hit some balls. I'm not sure if anyone has ever said this before but I'll go ahead and say it, golf is a very frustrating sport, and the more frustrated you get, the worse you hit. Like anything though, with a little effort and a lot of practice, I'll be playing with Tiger before I know it. Well, right now my goal is just to be able to play 18 holes.....period.

I took another lesson the next morning which had a lot less talking and was more about fine tuning my swing. I went out again and hit some balls that afternoon and again the next day. My grandparents have both been playing golf for more than 60 years so I think they were excited to see me finally get into it.

I love vacations and this weekend in Monterey was great! I got to spend some time in one of the most beautiful spots in the world with people I love, learning a game, that maybe someday I'll love.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Live Like You Were Dying

This month marks the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. It seems as the years go by, it becomes easier and easier to forget what happened on that tragic day. Even I had to think for a split second why the flags were at half-staff last week. I was quickly reminded later in the week as I watched a documentary on the History Channel that showed raw footage that normal people, just like you and me, filmed during that tragic day.

I don't think the severity of that day hit me until I watched this show. There were firefighters covered in soot and ash, trying desperately to call their loved ones. They knew this may be the day that daddy doesn't come home from work. There were screams from college age girls filming as the second plane hit the tower, they didn't know what to do or how many more airplanes there would be. There were cops yelling at people to move north up the island and away from the World Trade Center, trying to control the unthinkable. There was film of the clear blue sky that quickly turned into darkness as a tidal wave of debris from the collapsing buildings flooded the streets, instantly blinding and choking the hundreds of people trying to get off of deaths doorstep. Probably the most horrifying videos were of people who were jumping from the higher levels of the tower, close to where the planes had hit. They were most certainly trying to escape the fiery hell that existed in what once was their office, their home away from home.

What they thought was going to be "just another day at the office" turned into their last day at the office. All of a sudden, that fight they had with their spouse wasn't such a big deal anymore, their daughters new boyfriend with the nose piercing didn't bother them quite so much, and their sons soccer game that they missed because they were just too busy, seemed a little more important now. All they could do was try to make one last phone call, one last "I love you", and one last "good-bye".

Usually my blog is filled with lighthearted humor and funny stories. Sometimes though, the world isn't so funny. Family members pass away, bridges collapse, hurricanes hit, people get divorced, and planes run into buildings. It's easy to take everyday for granted when the next one seems to come as easily as the last. But what if tomorrow never comes? What if you were told you have six months to live? Would you do things differently? Would you spend more time with your best friend? Would you call someone you haven't spoken with in a while, just to tell them how special they are to you? Would you squeeze your kids baseball game into your busy schedule? Would you take your spouse on more dates?

What would you do, if you lived like you were dying?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Words are coming out of my mouth. PANIC!

Radio stations usually have a seven second delay when they're broadcasting live on the air. That way if someone says something inappropriate they can hit the "panic button" which dumps the audio and prevents any bad words from going out on the air. Sometimes I wish I had a "panic button" for the times I say stupid things.

For example;

Me: "When is your baby due?"
Obviously overweight lady: "What baby?"

Sometimes words just come out of my mouth and they're not attached to any part of my brain or thoughts. A few months ago I was talking to a lady. She was complaining about how she was getting old. In an effort to try and make her feel younger, I thought I would use the phrase "Women are like a fine wine, they just get better with age", except I was going to use it in reverse. That was a bad idea. Don't ever take a phrase that has been proven to work time after time and try to change it. What I was trying to get across was that she was young and that phrase wouldn't apply to her. That's what I meant, what I said was, "You're like a cheap wine." That didn't go over very well.

In times like that, maybe I should think of the phrase, "Silence is golden."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Signs That Protect Your Swimsuit Area

As an airline pilot, I spend a lot of time in airports. One thing that all airports have, are signs. Airports have signs directing you to baggage claim, your gate, a ticket agent, or even the airport chapel. I'm still amazed when someone asks me how to get to a gate and the sign pointing to their gate is right above their head. I like to think that airport managers try to make traveling as easy as possible and "dumb it down" for the traveler who maybe doesn't get out very much, sometimes I'm not so sure.

Today I saw a sign that made me laugh out loud. It wasn't actually in the airport, but it was on an airplane. I thought I knew all the signs that belong on airplanes. They have exit signs, seat belt signs, no smoking signs, but the sign I saw, was in the airplane lavatory. It read, "Do not flush while seated on toilet."

It got me thinking, usually those kind of signs are generated by someone who sued the manufacturer because they got hurt while performing the activity that the sign discourages. It makes me wonder, what happened to the person who flushed while they were seated on the toilet? Did their insides get sucked out? Will they ever be able to have kids? Did they loose any precious body parts from their swimsuit area?

I guess it makes me appreciate the little things in life, like being able to pee standing up. Good luck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The i-Productivity Destroyer

Well, I did it. I jumped on the bandwagon and bought an iPhone. You may be thinking it was one of those impulse buys, but it actually wasn't. When the first version came out, I thought it would be great for my use on the road since I don't carry a laptop. I could have all my music, my calendar, my address book, access to e-mail, the Internet.....oh yeah, and a phone, all in one handy device. I wanted to wait for Apple to get the kinks worked out before I bought the brand new toy. So I waited, and waited, then when I was finally ready to think about buying one, I went into my local Apple store to do some research. The kid working there told me that they're going to be coming out with a new one soon and that I should wait for the new version. More waiting. Finally, Apple announced the new and improved iPhone. All my waiting had paid off because the new version was not only faster (when it comes to Internet use), but you can download all sorts of cool applications to waste your time with, oh, and it was $300 cheaper. Kudos to the kid at the Apple store who told me to wait.

Ever since I've gotten my iPhone, I don't think I've stopped playing with it. They say it's supposed to help with productivity, I'd say it does the opposite. If anything, it's the most productive way to waste time. Now I am constantly checking my e-mail, I mean like every 10 minutes. When I get done checking my e-mail, I go on the web to look for......nothing. When I'm done looking at nothing, I'll play one of the games I downloaded. When I'm done playing a game, I'll check some stocks. What......stocks? When have I ever been interested in stocks? Well, I guess since it's one of the applications on the phone, I might as well use it. Then I'll check the weather in cities I'm not even going to, just to see how their doing. I don't know why I'm surprised when I see that every city is in the 80's and's summer, that's how summer works.

Owning the iPhone can really drop your ego down a couple notches too. I'm not any sort of big time businessman who actually has people calling and e-mailing left and right, but the iPhone will make you realize just how many people don't need to talk to you. I still find myself pulling it out of my pocket every five minutes to see if I've gotten a text message, or maybe missed a phone call, maybe I'll check my e-mail again. Sometimes I feel my leg vibrate where my phone sits in my pocket so I'll think I've received a message and when I pull it out.....nothing. I'm having phantom leg vibrations because I think someone needs to tell me something. The other day I was home alone and I could swear I heard my phone beep with a message. Like a kid on Christmas morning I went running across the room to check it.....nothing again. Now I'm just hearing things!

When I first got the iPhone I noticed if I sent an e-mail from it, it would automatically add a signature that reads, "Sent from my iPhone." Talk about great advertising for Apple. Since I didn't want to do any advertising for Apple, I changed the signature to a link for my blog........where I just wrote a big story about how great the iPhone is and how everyone should have one. Ummmmm, I guess this is advertising for them too, isn't it?

I guess if I needed to give a one line review of my new iPhone I'd say this; "I could not love a human baby more than I love my new iPhone." Kidding of course.......kind of.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reasons I'm Not a Mechanic

A few weeks ago I went to a bike maintenance seminar at one of the local bike shops. I figured since I've been doing a lot of biking lately, I should at least know a little something about how my bike works. I know the basics, pedal, you go, pedal faster, you go faster, etc. But there are a lot of things I don't know, like chain maintenance, how to know when your headset is about to fail and turn left when you want to turn right, and the real reason I to change a flat tire.

You see, I've already had two flat tires this year. The first one occurred while I was jumping over a curb and didn't jump high enough. My back tire landed hard on the curb causing the actual tire to rip. That resulted in a 5 mile walk home in bike shoes. For those who don't have bike shoes, walking in them is kind of like walking in downhill ski boots, not pleasant. That prompted me to go and buy a pack for my bike which contained a tube, patch kit, tire irons (which aren't iron at all, they're made out of plastic), and a fancy Co2 tire inflater thing.

A few weeks after I put that pack on my bike, I was out in the middle of a field (that I probably wasn't supposed to be in) and noticed that my front tire was suddenly much rounder on the bottom than it was 5 minutes earlier. Another flat! Well, at least this time I had the tire changing kit....of course, I have know idea what to do with it. I found a nice spot to flip my bike upside down and start working on it. Since the air was already out of the tire, all I had to do was take the tire and tube off, put a new tube on, and I'd be off in a jiffy. Well, for someone who's not trained in changing tires, it's not as easy as it sounds.

I made a call to my friend Kevin, who's an avid biker, and he patiently tried to talk me through the process. I really wanted to call AAA and ask if they helped stranded bikers but I stuck it out. After 3 broken tire irons and a frustrating 45 minutes in a hot field with no shade for miles, I got the tube and tire back on, I figured out how my Co2 tire pump worked and filled the tire up with air. I started packing up my stuff and before I even had my tire back on my bike, it was flat again! Ahhhhhhhhhh! I made a phone call to a friend of the family, told them where I was, and they came to pick me up.

A week or so later, I noticed the advertisement for a class called Bike Maintenance 101 at the local bike shop. I decided it would be just the class for me. The advertisement said to bring your front bike tire so you could practice changing it hands on. I showed up and found my place in the front row (yep, I'm a nerd). The bike mechanic spent the first hour going through basic chain maintenance and explained how to tell when something on your bike needs the attention of a mechanic.

The next hour was spent on changing tires. He talked about different types of tires, valves, and brake systems. I was very proud of my bike because I was the only guy with a tread specific tire (meaning that the tread is designed to go a certain way on the wheel), I was the only guy with disc brakes, I was the only guy with a fancy presta valve which is usually only found on high pressure road tires or better mountain bike tires. I was surprised they didn't have me teaching the class at this point.

He explained how to get the tire and tube off the wheel, which was really very easy (although it didn't seem easy when I was in the sweltering sun a few weeks earlier). Once we had the tube and tire off we inspected the tire for any foreign objects like thorns, nails, railroad ties, etc. Then he explained how to put the tube back in the tire, put the tire on the wheel while using the tire iron to work it onto the rim. Before I knew it, I had the tire put back together and was ready to fill it up with air. I pumped it up and was very proud of myself, now I knew how to change a tire. I decided, since I was pretty much an expert now, I would help the girl next to me who seemed to be struggling a little bit.

After helping this other girl, we got our tires and were leaving the store. I noticed that the air in my tire was a little lower than when I had filled it up. I didn't think much of it, but by the time I got home, my tire was flat. You have to be kidding me! There wasn't even anything wrong with this tire! There's something wrong about going to a bike class and coming home and not being able to ride your bike.

I couldn't consider myself checked out on changing tires if the one I changed went flat for no apparent reason so the next night I decided I would try to change the tire again on my own. I pulled out the tube and found a small hole by putting the tube in a sink full of water and looking for bubbles.....yes, the same sink I wash dishes in. I decided since it was just a small pin sized hole, I would try my efforts at patching it. I pulled out my patch kit, patched the hole, and put the tube and tire back on my bike. Well, that was going to work great, except when I hooked the pump onto the valve, the tip of the valve broke off in the pump which let all the air out. Time for a new tube.

Fortunately, I happened to have a new tube. I took the old tube out of the tire, put the new one in, filled it up with air, and put the tire on the wheel. Alright, now we're getting somewhere. Remember how I said my tire was tread specific, meaning it needs to rotate a certain direction. Well, I wasn't paying attention to that and only after it was back on the wheel did I realize that the tire was on backwards. Okay, so now I need to take the tube and tire off again, turn the wheel over and put the tire on the right way.

I took the tire and tube off (which I was getting really good at by this point) and realized I had it on the right way the first time. I thought it was on backwards because the bike was upside down it didn't appear to be on the right way....but it was. Alright, I put the tire and tube back on wheel and installed the wheel onto my bike.

The next morning I went for a long, well deserved bike ride with my new tube! It felt nice to know that I had changed the tube myself (even though it took me 5 tries). Next time when I'm stranded in the middle of nowhere, I'll know that I can change my tire.....of course, I'll probably go through 3 tubes and a patch kit before I'm ready to ride again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Duluth Air Show

Last month Erin and I went to the Duluth, MN air show! It featured some of the best performers in the air show circuit including the Blue Angels, Patty Wagstaff, a Minnesota local named John Klatt, among many more. Some of the show highlights included small aerobatic airplanes performing, a heritage flight with an A-10 and a P-51, an A-10 tactical demonstration, and of course, the Blue Angels F-18's and their C-130 which they've named "Fat Albert".

What was supposed to be a rainy, overcast day, turned into a beautiful mostly sunny day with a few scattered clouds that made a perfect backdrop for pictures. Here are a few of the best pictures I took, not bad for a little point and shoot camera.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Free Coffee

Last week in Chicago a police officer was suspended for 15 months and ordered to undergo counseling for demanding free coffee and pastries from six Starbucks coffeehouses over the last five years. Now, I know that demanding free coffee is probably illegal and immoral but I bet none of those Starbucks locations have ever been robbed. Do you think a criminal is going to rob a place that gives free coffee to cops?

Bad guys don't seem to hang out where police officers hang out. If I owned any sort of small business, especially if it was in a bad neighborhood, I'd be giving cops as much free stuff as I could. If I owned a bicycle shop - free tune ups, if I owned a quick lube - free oil changes, a dry cleaning place - free uniform cleaning.

I think police officers are the soldiers of our streets. They give us freedom and keep us safe from bad guys. For those who think cops are the bad guys....QUIT BREAKING THE LAW!!

Personally, I think cops should get free coffee. They work hard to protect us and get paid very little to do it. Now, there should be some rules about free coffee, no fufu drinks like a "grande, non-fat, no-water, sugar free vanilla, chai tea latte". (You may ask yourself why I know about that kind of drink, well, it's because I like fufu drinks and that one is my favorite.) No, cops get free coffee, maybe some cream, but no speciality drinks. Also, no $4 scones, those things are expensive and I'm sure even a monster like Starbucks can't afford to give those away to every cop in the street.

So, next time you're at your favorite coffeehouse and you see a cop starting the night shift, buy him or her a drink, then tell them where you live....those pesky neighbor kids might become less of a problem all of a sudden.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Joys of Driving in Minnesota!

There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the other day about roundabouts and how they are popping up all over the metro area to replace intersections that were once controlled by a four-way stop sign or by a traffic light. It indicated that Minnesotans were having a hard time dealing with these "new" concepts of driving. One person was even quoted as saying, "I've been driving for 30 years, and I don't really know how I'm supposed to go through it, I think a lot of people are confused".

Okay first off, WOW! How hard can it be to yield and then drive onto a curved road? I only have 14 years of driving experience but I've been through a few roundabouts in my life and I've managed to figure them out. I've actually grown quite fond of them. You have all the advantages of an intersection, you know, like turning, going straight, and most importantly....getting places, without having to come to a complete stop.

Not only do you not have to come to a complete stop but there is no worry of someone running a red light and slamming into the side of your car at 50 mph. National data shows that there are 35 percent fewer crashes and 76 percent fewer severe injuries during crashes when four-way intersections are converted to roundabouts. For those that enjoy the little things in LIVING! I would think you would appreciate a roundabout instead of getting airlifted to the nearest hospital after getting t-boned by someone text messaging their BFF.

For those who have a hard time figuring out how a roundabout works, let me explain. As you approach the intersection you should see a sign that has a bunch of arrows in a circle. That means you are approaching a roundabout. Once you arrive there is a yield sign, just like any other yield sign, it means that you should yield to other cars, once there are no other cars coming, you can enter the roundabout. Whatever you do, don't stop in the roundabout thinking you're going to let someone in from the one of the entrance lanes. You can drive around a few times to get comfortable if you'd like, you just exit on whatever road it is you want to drive on. If it's a two lane roundabout and you're going right or straight stay in the right lane, if you're going left, stay in the left lane. You can usually go straight from the left lane as well. That's it, that's all there is to it. Yield to traffic at the yield sign, drive around in a circle until you find the road you want to drive down, and you're done.

Good luck out there, and beware of people who've gone around the roundabout a few too many times, they drive like a little kid walks after spinning around in the backyard just for fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Full Moon? LOOK OUT!

Some emergency room doctors have said that their ER's become extra busy whenever there is a full moon. Skeptical as I may be, I'm starting to believe it. Today there is a full moon and late yesterday, I had to make my own trip to urgent care.

I spent a beautiful day inside doing a bunch of paperwork that I needed to catch up on. Toward the end of the day, I needed to shred a few documents that contained some of my confidential information. I thought to myself, "I'll shred these papers, then go for a nice long bike ride."

As I often do, I tried to push the 5 sheet limit of the shredder and it became jammed. I reversed the shredder so I could retrieve the jammed paper and my plan was to put the sheets in one at a time. Well, the sensor in the middle of the shredder had somehow malfunctioned and it wasn't working at all. I figured it needed to be cleaned out so I took my pocket knife and started picking out little bits of paper. I grew more frustrated as I cleaned out the paper and the shredder still failed to work.

As I grew more and more frustrated, I started to put more "oomph" into cleaning it out and as I did, the knife slipped and before I knew it, I had cut my finger open and there was blood all over the place. I quickly rushed to the bathroom to clean it out, thinking I could just throw a band-aid on it and call it good. Once I started running water over it I noticed that I had cut a big gouge into my finger and it was pretty deep. After I finished rinsing out my finger, I put a gauze pad on it (which I had to rip open with my good hand and my teeth, just like they do in the movies). The gauze quickly became saturated with blood. It was at this point that I thought I might need to go to urgent care. I took the saturated gauze off, put on a new gauze pad and drove to the hospital (hoping that I wouldn't pass out on the way).

I made it to urgent care without any problem and got checked in. I showed the girl at the front desk my finger and said "Can you fix this?" She said she would get me right in but first she needed to see my insurance card. I wanted to say, "Ummmm, my insurance card is in my wallet, which I'll need to retrieve with my hand, which happens to be where my fingers are, and I'm not sure if I mentioned that my finger is gushing blood." I awkwardly retrieved my insurance card and handed it to her. Then she wanted $15 for my co-pay. I was thinking, "Do you think we could do this after my finger gets fixed?" I gave her my co-pay and sat down in the waiting area trying to figure out what everybody else was there for. I mean, if there's a guy who just cut his leg off in a farming accident, I may have to wait a while.

Fortunately, I was brought back within a few minutes and the nurse asked what I did to my finger. I was trying to think of a cool story that I could end with the line, "But you should see the other guy." I told her what I had done and she had me soak my finger in some hot water which felt good, she told me I would probably need stitches and then left to find the doctor. The doctor came in and again I was asked what I did to my finger. I can't figure out why they need to know what you did to cause your trauma. I mean, if I don't tell them a good story, are they not going to put the stitches in as well as they would if I told them a great story? I think they just like to hear stories from stupid people who have hurt themselves.

I told him I have never had stitches before and he said, "It's no big deal but I'm going to numb your finger with a local anaesthetic which kind of sucks." I had to laugh a little because I don't think I've ever heard a doctor say to a patient, "This is really going to suck." He was right though, it did suck. Having a needle jabbed into your finger does not feel good. He asked when my last tetanus shot was and I confidently said, "Oh, I had one in college so I think I should be good." Then he reminded me that college was 10 years ago which made me feel old. So he hooked me up with a tetanus shot.

He put the stitches in, which by the way, also sucked because the anesthetic didn't reach all the areas of my finger. Then a nurse came in and put a huge gauze pad on and I got one of those cool braces to prevent me from moving my finger. Seems like a lot of pomp and circumstance for three stitches.

I left the hospital knowing that I had been well taken care of and am now another statistic that makes doctors and nurses think that more people hurt themselves when there's a full moon. Maybe they're right?

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Really Bad Day!

Earlier this week I read of a Sudanese Airbus 310 that crashed in Khartoum, Sudan. It was carrying 214 people including 11 crew members. Unfortunately a couple dozen people were killed. Apparently it veered off the runway during a thunderstorm and burst into flames. Do you think as the plane was skidding off the runway the Captain said something like "whoops-a-daisy"?

What I thought was entertaining about the article was the following paragraph:

"The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that 103 passengers and all 11 crew members survived. But it said some other passengers may have gone home directly from the crash on the rain-soaked runway after crew members helped them through the emergency doors."

Ummmmm, what? Some of the passengers may have gone home directly from the crash? Do you think they just stood up, brushed themselves off and said, "Well, this is close enough, I think I'll walk from here. Does anyone know where I can pick up my bag? No? That's okay, I'll just stop by tomorrow and see if they find it." I picture someone like Bruce Willis walking toward the camera as the airplane blows up behind him saying something like, "I've had a really bad day."

There is a joke in the aviation world that any landing you walk away from is a good one. I don't think you're supposed to walk away from a crash. I mean, if you can literally walk away, that's good, but just a word to the wise, don't leave the scene of an accident. I'm pretty sure someone will want to make sure you're okay.

Good luck.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fifteen Years of Great Memories!

My dad called me this morning and asked if I remembered what happened fifteen years ago today. Let's see, fifteen years ago I was 14 years old. What was I doing when I was 14 years old, besides learning how to use the potty like a big boy???

He reminded me that I took my very first flying lesson on May 22nd, 1993. I can't believe I've been flying airplanes for 15 years already, it makes me feel....well....old. If you asked me back then if I thought I'd be working for a major airline in fifteen years, I'd probably say, "No, I'm going to be running a major airline in fifteen years." Okay, so I was a little....we'll say, over confident.

I've met a lot of great people and had a lot of wonderful experiences along the way. Some of my favorite experiences include pumping gas and mowing the lawn at our local airport, flying 100 miles just to have breakfast with friends, flying skydivers (and jumping out myself), flying a corporate jet while I was in college (which is a pretty good gig for a college kid), my first airline job (followed shortly by my first airline furlough), and the day I got hired at a major airline. I have had the chance to meet some celebrities such as Matthew Perry, Bill Cosby, Sly Stalone, and Bruce Willis. I've even had the opportunity to fly some "famous" people incluidng the Secretary of the Treasury, the governor of North Dakota, George Forman, and even Miss Brazil.

All of those memories are wonderful to look back on but the best thing about my aviation career is all the friends I've made along the way. Aviation wouldn't be such a close knit community if it weren't for all the great people.

It's been a wonderful journey getting to the point I'm at now. All I've wanted to do is fly airplanes since I was a kid and I am still able to do what I love. I have to say that I wouldn't have been able to do any of it without the help and $upport from both of my parents, without them I'd probably be a bum wandering the streets of Minneapolis looking for a handout.

I'm looking forward to several more years of good flying, great memories, and even better friends.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hey Doc, Is exercise okay?

I've been spending a lot of time at the gym lately, trying to get into "the best shape of my life." I love it when people say that. I think anyone over the age of 10 will never be in the best shape of their life because when you're 10, you're in the "best shape" of your life. You could fall out of a tree, stand up and brush yourself off and keep on playing. You fall out of a tree today, you're done for the day.

When you're 10, your whole life is exercise. "Hey, let's chase each other around the yard until we can't stand anymore, then we'll eat a cookie and bike to the next town." Not when you're a grown-up (which I'm not, but I know some grown-ups), you have to schedule time to exercise.

One thing I've noticed on almost every machine at the gym are little signs that read, "Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program." Is that a special appointment you're supposed to make? I can just picture that phone call:

Patient: "Yes I'd like to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Smith."

Operator: "Okay, what seems to be the problem?"

Patient: "Well, I was going to start exercising but I wanted to check with the doc first."

Operator: "You want to check with the doctor to see if it's okay to exercise?"

Patient: "Yes."

Operator: "Okay, he's not available until a week from Friday."

Patient: "Well, I guess I won't start exercising until then."

It always makes me wonder, what doctor in his or her right mind is going to tell someone that they shouldn't begin an exercise program? "No Bill, I think you should continue to sit on your couch and eat potato chips, that seems to be working well for you. Your arteries are only 90% clogged and your blood pressure is 800/345."

I've actually been doing a lot of biking lately in preparation for a bike ride this summer in Glacier National Park. I guess I never asked my doctor if it was okay that I exercise, hopefully it's okay....after all, I'm trying to get into the best shape of my life.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Living a Wild Life

I recently read a book called “Into the Wild” about a young man named Chris McCandless who graduates from college and his whole goal in life is to escape the realities of life and live off the land in Alaska. I realized a lot of things after I watched this movie and I think we can all learn a few things from what Chris McCandless taught us by really living his life.

Chris was raised in an East Coast upper-middle class family and had plenty of money to attend college and even enough money saved up after college to attend law school with a little help from his parents. Chris drove an old Datsun. Sure it had a little rust and a lot of miles, but it always started and always got him where he needed to go. His parents offered to buy him a new car as a graduation gift. He responded, “Why would I want a new car? The Datsun runs great. Are you worried about what the neighbors might think? I don’t need a new car. I don’t need anything.” Our life isn’t defined by what we have or what kind of car we drive. It’s about who we are as people and what we make of our lives.

Before Chris headed up to Alaska he took his Datsun and headed west, set out on a great adventure. Before he left he donated his entire life savings to a charity, he cut up his drivers license, birth certificate, and social security card. He even burned the last of his cash. You see, Chris didn’t want people to judge him by where he was from or how much money he had. He made his own identity, befriending people as he met them, earning their trust and respect.

At one point in the movie Chris was eating an apple and talking to it. Sure that seems a little weird but what he was saying to the apple wasn’t weird at all. He said, “You’re really good, you’re like 1000 times better than any apple I’ve ever had. You’re so tasty, so organic and natural, you’re the apple of my eye.” Chris appreciated the small things in life. Something as simple as a good apple was the highlight of his day. I think we should learn to appreciate the small things in our life.

Chris met a lot of good people along his journey and was camping with a big group. He had met a young girl and they were really hitting it off. They had fun swimming together, reading poetry to one another, and playing music with each other. One day while the girl’s parents had run into town, she invited Chris over to her RV to be “intimate” with her. He said that he couldn’t do that because of the consequences that he might have to pay. Chris was responsible. He did the right thing, even when nobody else was watching.

One of the last people he met was an older gentleman named Ron Franz. The last of Ron’s family had been killed by a drunk driver so he brought Chris into his home and treated him like the grandson he never had. Ron stuck close to home despite Chris’ attempts to encourage him to travel. Chris brought him to a hill that the two had attempted to climb in the past. Ron was sitting at the bottom of the hill while Chris had climbed to the top. The two were talking about Chris’ trip to Alaska when Ron asked, “What are you running from?” Chris responded, “You know, I could ask you the same question. You gotta get back out in the world Ron. Get out of that lonely house. You’re going to live a long time. You should make a radical change in your lifestyle. The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences and there you are, sitting on your butt.” This inspired Ron to get off his butt and climb up to the top of the hill, once he reached the top, he realized what he had been missing. We need to get off our butts, get out of our routine, and realize what we’ve been missing.

The two of them were sitting at the top of the hill talking about life when Ron told Chris something that I thought was very insightful. He said, “When you forgive, you love, and when you love, God’s light shines on you.” We all need to be able to forgive one another so that we can love each other and let God’s light shine.

Chris finally made his way up to Alaska and started living in an old broken down bus, deep in the Yukon Territory. He made this bus his home for over 100 days. He survived on a big bag of rice that he had brought and an occasional squirrel that he killed with his rifle. Eventually though, he ran out of rice and wasn’t able to kill any animals. Then he accidentally ate a poisonous plant that led him to starve to death. On one of his last days, before he went out to collect berries, he posted a plea for assistance on the bus in the unlikely event that someone might come upon the bus. He wrote: S.O.S. I NEED YOUR HELP. I AM INJURED, NEAR DEATH, AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE. I AM ALL ALONE, THIS IS NO JOKE, IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE REMAIN TO SAVE ME. Sometimes in life, you need to reach out to others for help.

Unfortunately, no one came upon Chris until about two weeks after his death. However, he died after achieving his lifelong goal, living alone in the wilderness of Alaska. What’s more important I think is what he learned, and taught others about life along the way. Chris learned that life is truly a journey, not a destination. He changed many lives and left a legacy that can truly be admired. One of the last things that I think we can all appreciate is something Chris inscribed on a piece of wood found on the bus: HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

Well, today is that one day that occurs only once every four years. The day that always seems to bring up office rumors, little giggles here and there, questions about why the boss is only 7 years old.......leap day. Why is there a leap day? It's kind of a long story but I'll try to sum it up for you.

Before Ancient Asians realized the earth revolved around the sun they thought the year was 340 days long. They based this year on the passage of seasons and based the month on how long it took for the moon to go from full back to full. This was about 28 days and they counted 12 months a year, just like we do today. The Babylonians figured a year was 360 days which they divided into 10 months, 36 days each. Closer, but still not quite right.

By the time Julius Caesar was in charge, people had realized that the year consisted of 365 1/4 days. Caesar decided to make the calendar conform to this and he said that a year would consist of 365 days. However, 6 hours of each year would be disregarded for three years and they would have a "make-up" day every fourth year. That's how we get an extra day every four years at the end of, February 29th.

Scientists have actually figured out that a year contains 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. After some time, a lot of time, like hundreds of years, this adds up. In 1582 the calendar was 10 days out of sync with the seasons. For a quick fix, Pope Gregory XIII decided to erase 10 days from the calendar. So if you can find a calendar from 1582, the days between October 4 and October 15th should be missing.....let's hope you didn't have plans for any of those days.

The British weren't quite so quick to adapt to this idea and they clung to the Julian calendar until 1752, then they realized they were 11 days behind....oops. They had some make-up days between September 2nd and September 14th of that year. We finally got everyone on the same page in the early twentieth century and "they" are pretty sure they have it figured out. But what if they don't have it figured out.

Can you imagine if President Bush came on TV tonight and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, ummmmm......I hate to break this to you, see.......the calendar we currently use, well, it's off a little we're going to have to skip ahead 15 days. Tomorrow, it's going to be March 15th instead of March 1st. Good night, and good luck."

Sure, we'd eventually recover but what about that big meeting? What about my haircut I had scheduled? Am I going to get paid for those 15 days of work that I just missed? A lot of questions would come up. Makes me wonder a little bit about "global warming".....if 250 years ago they didn't even have the calendar figured out, how can they be sure that me driving a pickup truck is going to destroy the world?

Good luck.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Drug Dealer

Last month I purchased two tickets for a concert this weekend. I purchased these tickets before I had my February schedule and to my dismay I couldn’t get the upcoming weekend off. After weeks of trying to rearrange my schedule, my efforts were futile, there was no way I was going to get this weekend off. I asked a few friends if they were interested but they all had other plans for the weekend. I finally decided to post my tickets for sale on one of those on-line classified ads.

I received an e-mail from a gentleman this afternoon, it was very simple and it read something like this; “I’ll take those tix if you still have them. I can meet you today.” He left his phone number so I called him. While I was listening to him talk, I could tell that he wasn’t going to be running for political office anytime soon. There were a lot of phrases like, “Yeah man” and “I’m rolling with my lady right now”.

He agreed that he would buy the tickets. I asked him where we could meet, and he suggested a gas station at a location that was familiar to both of us. I asked him what kind of car he had and told him what I would be driving. We agreed to meet in 20 minutes, he ended the conversation with “See ya in 20.”

I grabbed the tickets and as I headed out the door, I realized that 20 minutes was a little optimistic for me to meet him there so my driving was, let’s say, enthusiastic. I pulled into the gas station and saw him parked in a back corner of the parking lot, he flashed his lights so I pulled up to his truck. He got out with a wad of money in his hand. It was at this point that I started to feel like a drug dealer. Here I was racing across town with the “stuff” just so this guy could get a “fix”.

We talked a little bit about the band and instead of sealing the “deal” with a handshake, we ended with one of those things cool people do with their fists, where they make a fist and bump them together. I don’t know when that became the thing to do, but apparently it’s what all the cool kids are doing. I don’t know if it would be a good way to end an interview with upper level management but, apparently it’s appropriate when selling concert tickets to a guy at a gas station.

So, next time you need a quick “fix”, feel free to call me, I might have the right “stuff”.