October 2006 Archives

The Crazy Life

Those of you who have read my blog for a while have a general understanding that I travel a fair amount. This year, however, I haven't traveled as much, largely due to a change in positions and bosses at work; my new boss doesn't really want me traveling that much. That said, "not much" for me may still be "much" for someone else. At any rate, I didn't go anywhere from mid-August to mid-October of this year - probably the longest I've gone without travel in 2.5-3 yrs (I don't remember). When I finally left, I had what I thought was a planned and specific trip ahead of me. As usual, that got changed while I was out and I had to cancel/postpone some plans and work some pretty long hours (including the weekend). Of course, if you read my last post, that wasn't all bad :). Plus, the customer I was working with was great and worked hard right along with me and what I went out there for went smoothly. At the end of the week, I drove up to NYC to visit some friends and had an enjoyable and otherwise uneventful trip, if you ignore the evil tree. Yes - there was quite a wind storm going on over the weekend, and as my car was parked, some giant branches from a large, mostly dead tree came crashing down onto my rental car and the two cars next to me (for some reason all Ford Taurus models, hmm). I probably sustained $4k-$5k worth of damage, but still came out ahead of the other cars. Here are a few sorry pics I took with my phone: some of the broken branches that landed on the cars, and one of the neighboring cars (note the smashed windshield and large dents in the roof and hood):

Here's the evil tree:

Here's the ammo:

Here's the car that was next to me (Note the smashed windshield and large dents in the roof and hood):

Oh, and to keep things crazy, I got home late Sunday night and was supposed to leave this evening for a two week stint in California (<24 hr break!). However, late this afternoon, the trip got canceled. Then as I was typing this, I was told it might happen tomorrow. I guess when it rains it pours and I'll keep my bags packed.

Comfortable zones


Every once in a while I wax philosophical about myself and why or how I do things. I've longed maintained, humorously, that I'm socially schizophrenic. At work, I'm frequently outspoken, assertive or otherwise extraverted. I enjoy meeting and getting to know customers, and am generally well-liked by them as they get to know me. Now, switch over to my personal life, and I've historically been quite the introvert. Fortunately, that is changing at a pace that pleases me, but I still have a ways to go and I'm not the best at siezing an opportunity, preferring instead to wait for an opportunity to present itself on a plate before me.Even in seemingly unrelated areas, such as participation in Sunday School, I've also noticed some similar behavior. For those of you not familiar with the LDS (Mormon) church organization, it is a very organized, global church. You can go just about anywhere in the world and generally hear the same lesson in Sunday School as you would back home. Thus, when I travel and I'm on the road on a Sunday, I seek out the local LDS chapel and while the faces are new, I get to hear the same material I'd be hearing at home (sometimes in a language I don't understand!). But anyway, I've noticed that when I'm in a new or different ward (a geographically defined LDS congregation), I'm more apt to raise my hand and offer input and thoughts to the lesson. The longer I'm in the ward, the less I actively participate. This principle was reenforced yesterday when I went to a ward in the DC area and not only participated several times but also did something else I'd probably never see myself capable of doing.Another way of saying all this perhaps is that when I'm in my "comfort zone," I'm complacent and not really comfortable going outside my little zone. However, if I'm pushed way out of my comfort zone, I'm much more comfortable being socially active and assertive. My hypothesis for this action is that when I'm out of my comfort zone, I'm subconsciously thinking that I've got nothing to lose - that nobody knows me so it's not a big deal if I "mess up" so-to-speak. At the same time, I think it may be that the longer you're in an environment, your typical self starts to shine through and take over. I don't really have a perfect theory. Does this make sense to anyone? Does anyone have similar behavior, or am I really just schizophrenic or otherwise in need of a brain scan?

Smart wipers

I've owned my current car for a bit over 2 years. You'd think I'd know it pretty well. Well, I was both happy and a little embarrassed then to discover a feature I've never known existed: smart wipers. I don't know if there's an official name or anything, but I found out that when my wipers are in intermittent mode, they will automatically slow down in frequency when you come to a stop, and then go back to the set speed when you move again. I'm not sure why I haven't noticed it before except maybe because I usually have my wipers slow enough I don't notice the difference. At any rate, today it was very noticable. Go Honda!

I went down


This is in the context of cycling. Basically, I crashed. But don't despair, I'm actually somewhat happy about it, and I'll tell you why.In the miniseries Band of Brothers, there's a quote that hit me which goes something like,

"The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be able to function as a soldier's supposed to function - without mercy, without compassion, without remorse."
So, in a less dramatic sense, I took a similar approach with cycling, realizing that I'm going to crash inevitably, and each day I don't is basically a free day. The fact that I didn't get hurt that much (relative to what I feared) is what makes me happy. I might be more careful going around corners for a bit, but I'm not stopping cycling.It happened last Monday and just Jason and I were out for a lunch ride. At the time, I was in the lead with him on my tail and cruising down a street at a speed that was probably in the mid-20s (mph). We came to an intersection where we were turning left and I signaled that to a car waiting at the intersecting street to turn left onto my street. I leaned into the turn and was partway through the turn when my bike just shot out from under me and slid across the pavement until it crashed into the curb on the other side. I followed in roughly the same path, though I didn't make it as far as the curb before I stopped and jumped up to my feet. Fortunately, Jason made it through fine and I, being pumped - full of adrenaline - grabbed my bike, waved off the now-concerned witness/motorist, and started to go. Jason stopped me to check out the damage (which didn't appear too bad), and then we set off to climb a big hill. Concerning why I crashed, Jason says I was leaning too far, but I really don't think I was. I can't think of anything else that could have been a factor, and he definitely had the better view of what happened, but I didn't feel that steep.Oh well, as I mentioned, the damage wasn't too bad. The handlebar tape on my bike is a little shredded, and there're some deep scrapes and missing chunks of metal from by pedal and rear quick-release bolt on the rear. As I slid across the intersection, I wore holes through my left sock, left glove and left hip of my shorts, along with some layers of skin, but again, it could have been much worse. At Jason's urgings, I've posted some pictures of my hip wound, but I'll warn you they are a little gross. I've tried to edit out anything that might be deemed inappropriate, but they are flesh wounds with outstanding bruising. The gauze embedded in the wound doesn't help either ;). Well, you've been warned. The pics can be accessed here.

Bubble 2.0?

"A profitless Web site started by three 20-somethings after a late-night dinner party is sold for more than a billion dollars, instantly turning dozens of its employees into paper millionaires. It sounds like a tale from the late 1990's dot-com bubble, but it happened yesterday."
This is from this article on Google's purchase of YouTube for $1.65 Billion. By the way, that's a lot of money.Is the boom/bubble of the 90s back? Obviously, there is a difference betweeen a boom and a bubble, but such an exorbitant price is suspicious. I gotta say that I found this paradoxically funny:
"YouTube's founders decided to have lunch on Wednesday with Google's co-founder, Larry Page, and its chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt...at Denny's near YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, Calif. The Google executives threw out an offer of $1.6 billion..."
$1.6 Billion at Denny's? Who'da thunk?

Crash at 37K'

When two planes crash in midair, you generally don't get to hear from the survivors - there just aren't any. But this is an amazing story about how a brand new private jet was hit at 37000 ft by a large Boeing 737 over the Amazon and was able to land. Tragically, the 737 didn't make it, losing over 155 people.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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