Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rain Rain...

Have you ever noticed that when it starts to rain, during the heat of the summer, that life just seems to slow down a bit? I don't mean the idiots behind the wheel... they only get worse. No, I mean that you step outside and just kind of relax? Maybe I am the only one that does lol.. The smell of rain on hot pavement is nice.

Spent the weekend working. Not the relaxing work at home work. No, this was spent with 200+ of my favorite co-workers and dozens of vendors. I had to come back to work to get some rest. The one consolation is that we don't have to do that again for another year. Don't get me wrong. Seeing the new products and vendors is always good. I like to sell and seem to be pretty good at it but you can't sell what you don't have or don't know about. I got to see Malcolm Smith again this year. For those of you that are not familiar with that name; Malcolm is an icon. The powersports industry would not be what it is without Malcolm. MSR is Malcolm Smith Racing.

I have decided I want a dual sport bike to add to my collection. I have been keeping up with the Go Big Ride (facebook or google) and they look like they are having a REALLY good time. That is what "being off the beaten path" is all about. We get off the main artery of highway when we travel but they get off the pavement. PERIOD. I know a few roads I have seen that looked like a lot of fun but you didn't dare take the cruiser down them. Maybe I am getting like Benjamin Button, getting younger by the year? That would be cool. If you haven't seen the movie, I won't spoil it for you. Good movie, but not as good as "The Bucket List".

I think that is what started all this. My daddy had a bucket list. He never got to finish his. I don't want to end up like that. I started a year or so ago, marking things off of mine. I learned to ride a motorcycle. I traveled to Japan. I traveled across country on a motorcycle. I rode the Blue Ridge Parkway. I won't name them all. I have a really long list.

Last year, I got to mark off the number one slot. See, in 1984 I had a son. I was not in a position to raise him so I gave him up for adoption. Something I have never regretted.

Last October, Ben found me. I have been so blessed. I bring this up, because today is Ben's birthday and for the first time in 25 years, I personally got to wish my son Happy Birthday. Thank you Ben. You have filled that hole in my soul and I can honestly say that I am happy.

Ok that's all for now. I guess I should get a few things done today. Check back this evening and I am sure that I will have more for you...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday again...

Well here it is, another Sunday and I am still not ready to go back to work tomorrow. Weekends are never long enough, yet when they are, I still don't wanna go... This week starts our annual sales meeting. That's fun. You get to see the other reps and catch up. Of course being downtown Fort Worth, it is nice and close to home... No discomfort on my part. Except having to be at the breakfasts at 6:45 AM. Who eats at that hour? Yuck.. Oh well, the coffee should be good lol..

Temps have finally stayed below 100 during the day... We even got rain today... still need alot more. Was driving around downtown yesterday and crossed the Trinity River in a few places. Wow! I cannot remember seeing the river that low... I mean it is only puddles in some spots. Scary to see what we have done to the waterways of this country.. All in the name of progress. I personally don't see that it was worth it. I mean, YEARS ago, you could boat the Trinity.. Hell now I can walk it... I remember when I was a kid there was water in the creek beds you crossed. Very rarely were they dry. Now? Most are dry and your surprised when you see water... When I was little, my Uncle Pat and family would come down from Oklahoma. Of course when they went home, at least half the time, I tagged along.

Now to get to where they lived, you went right up 81/287 and across the Red River. Uncle Pat used to challenge me that I couldn't hold my breathe all the way across the bridge. LOL Of course when your 10? That bridge seemed to last forever, but I did it and boy was I proud. Funny thing is, we did this EVERY time we crossed.. By the time I outgrew that challenge, he nearly had to stop on the bridge for me not to be able to lol... I miss those days. I miss being a kid.

I miss the people of my youth more than anything I think. I miss living down the street from my grandma and aunts. I miss the family caravan to grandpa's on Thanksgiving. I guess that's all part of growing up. I can only assume that most people feel the same. I heard a saying a while back that is very true...

You don't quit playing because you grow old. You grow old because you quit playing.

LOL I think I resemble that remark. I would like to think that since my kids are grown that maybe I can start my second childhood now. I keep trying but the real world keeps getting in the way. Work and bills. Bills and work.. Cross your fingers that if all goes right, (ie.. no emergency expenses), the annual 2 week bike trip is planned and ready to go. The tires for the bikes are bought and will get put on in two weeks.

From Fort Worth all the way to Sturgis, SD. And no, not for the "Sturgis" rally. I want to see the sights without the 10 million motorcyclists in the picture. We will go from Sturgis over to Wounded Knee and Custer Park with everything in between. I plan on burning ALOT of film this time around. Quite a bit digital too. Then we take a left and head South through Yosemite and Grand Teton. Down through Colorado and onto home. Did you know there are very few KOA camps anymore? For some reason that surprised me. We will stay a few of those or camps the Parks.

Well more tomorrow..

Friday, July 17, 2009


Have you ever noticed, we say that all the time. TGIF.. We are so glad to be away from the everyday grind of work. But have you ever noticed that when a holiday rolls around we complain that it seems like it was just the other day that it was Christmas or something to that effect? I truly believe that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end the faster it seems to go?

My mother retired last year. In all honesty I think her generation is going to be last that can do that at a decent enough age that they can still enjoy a life before they die. It is sad to say but I look down the road and what I see isn't good. I don't want to have to work until I am 75 years old. Hell I don't want to work until I am 65. I make a good living and I pay my bills. I have tried to save up some money for later in life. I know that social security will be just a memory by the time I retire.

Back when the gold standard was in place, there were times when the economy got rough, but you damn sure weren't printing more money than you could back with gold. Now we have a president who is just throwing good money after bad. Need more? Just print more. It is almost to the point where the paper it is printed on is worth more than the denomination.

Did I miss something in accounting 101? Pay as you go... That is how you do it. If you pay as you go, you don't get overextended. What happens when something is overextended? The definition is:

verb (used with object)
1. to extend, reach, or expand beyond a proper, safe, or reasonable point: a company that overextended its credit to diversify.
2. to extend for too long a time: to overextend a stay.
3. to obligate (oneself) to more activities, work, etc., than one has time for or can accomplish well.

Hmmm, you mean overextending is what usually happens prior to FAILURE? So the way I see it, we have overextended our nations finances and therefore are subject to failure. I know I am not the only person who understands this situation. So if I, Jane Q Citizen, who does not have a economic PHD, understands this, why don't they? They being the government officials in charge of the bank?

Our government consists of a group of people, that we pick every few years. If that is the case, why do we still have the electoral college? Or why is it that money speaks louder than 350 million dissenting voices? Because, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."... Lord Action (1834-1902)..

When you give that kind of power to a group of people who, by and large, have money and are backed by people with more money, then you have a HUGE problem. You end up with a top heavy government that benefits a select few. Not the larger group which consists of the average ordinary Joe who toils aways his days making his boss more money to back the politicians with.

All things great and small that are top heavy, eventually fail. Maybe not immediately. It will last as long as the lower infrastructure can support the weight. Just like a building covered in snow. As long as it is evenly distributed and is below a certain weight (just like the government), the walls (just like the people) will maintain. But once you pass a certain limit, the walls will eventually give way and collapse. What happens then? You have injured people, you have chaos.

You no longer have the support of that which drives the economy in the first place and that is the people. The conductor may steer the train but the coal and the coal handler drive it. I don't know if it is possible for this government to back up and get us out of this mess. I don't think there is time enough before a complete collapse occurs. I only hope that when the collapse occurs, we don't attempt to do "business as usual". That is what got us here in the first place.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pondering and rambling...

I have about decided that to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway no longer takes any intelligence what so ever. I travel down two major highways and interstates to go to and from work. I travel them every day and after a while you start noticing the same people about the same place every day. I say this so that you might understand that I am full well aware that these are not tourists or people who are unfamiliar with that roadway.

When you exit off of 820 going East onto I35W going North, it is a left exit. This is not new. This hasn't changed in, oh lets say, 20 years? Maybe it is that the sign is cleaner? Oh hell lets just face it. Your too busy eating, putting on your face, READING??? Dear God I passed a man literally reading the newspaper across his steering wheel WITH A CUP OF COFFEE IN HAND!

Now knowing that this is a left exit to go North, common sense says this is going to bring you down onto the left hand side of the interstate. Right?? Well the state of Texas was even kind enough to give you your very own lane to come down onto so as to keep traffic flowing. Now this third lane travels for about 1.5 miles. That gives traffic plenty of time to merge with the flowing traffic, safely. It works like a zipper. I am sure your familiar with those right?

Now a good and conscientious driver, within that 1.5 miles, has already gaged traffic ahead and is noting approximately where he will merge. Please note, I said good and conscientious driver. At the halfway point, I have already noted that there are nothing but brake lights up ahead. OK, that tells me it is going to be one of "those" mornings.

"Those" mornings are, the ones that prove my original point. Now I understand that we are all just racing to get to jobs we absolutely love to spend our daylight hours toiling away at, appreciated and loved by management. They prove that by paying us. Hey I can't speak for everyone but I am damn happy to have a job in this economy.

You meet a number of different type of people in this situation and being a people watcher, lots of fodder for the blog. There is the:

1. Mr/Ms Greenpeace... I drive my hybrid car at EXACTLY the speed limit. I move to the right lane as that is where the slower traffic, by law, belongs. (BTW? I love these guys). I signal, I pivot my head in both directions and check for blockage PRIOR to changing lanes. Hell I even signal when I exit on an exit only lane.... I am also the one with the baby on board, save the whales stickers...

2. Mr./Mrs. Executive... I am the one that is driving my high end sedan at whatever speed I chose. I have my blue tooth in and I am doing business on the fly. As a result of my blue tooth I am unable to pivot my head to check for blockage but you will slam on your brakes so as not to hit me because it is obvious I am better insured than you. I might use my blinker if I am not too busy writing a note with the other hand.

3. Juan Gonzales' and all 19 of my cousins. Legal address: Mexico.. Need I say more?

4. Blue collar John Q Citizen.. Late getting out the door, company truck, cup of coffee and cig in one hand, cell phone in the other. I am in a hurry to get to the job site so the boss doesn't know I was laid out late last night and overslept this morning, damn I hope he can't smell the beer.

5. Mr./Ms. Junior.. I haven't been driving long but you can't tell huh? I am in and out of lanes at the speed of sound. Was that a horn I heard?? Dunno, the bass speaker drowns out everything including the lights and sirens coming up behind me. Blinkers?? What blinkers? Were those that expensive option? Or maybe I am out of blinker fluid? (serious tongue in cheek here)

6. Mr. 18 wheeler... Now most of these guys, I try to cut some slack.. I really do. Some if not most of them might never have been down here before and they are truly "tourists". They are hauling TONS of stuff that will not stop on a dime and people cut them off without a second thought. These guys are busy trying to read the road signs and avoid the previous 5 types of people.

Now as you will note I said, most of these guys..That does not include the local haulers of rock, lumber, and other various types of products. These guys, some are good drivers. Unfortunately, I have not had the privilege of meeting too many of those good ones at that hour of the day. Most of them are smart, know the traffic pattern, and find another way around. No, the ones I meet are talking on their cells while driving a multiple ton bullet at a high rate of speed through congested traffic. They are on a deadline and damn it your in their way... They will cuss you, throw things at you... If your blonde and hot?? They will run down anyone to get another look.

Now my last one hits the closest to home for me...

7. Mr/Ms Motorcyclist..There are two kinds of us.. There are those of us that wear a helmet (or not in some cases), bright colors, we use our blinkers and we watch what is going on around us. We ride safely and we make it to our destinations in one piece.

Then there are the ones that make me shake my head. These are the guys with the $400 helmet but they are wearing shorts and a tank top... Oh so you want to protect your noggin but don't give a hang about the rest of the body? Oh your not gonna go down? Then you don't ride. If you ride regularly, you are going to go down at some time. Be it your fault or someone else's it won't matter.

Oh and dude? Yes, that is a woman riding that motorcycle.. Big F'n deal... No, I don't want to wave at you... and if you don't mind? GO ON! The last thing I need is to be too busy making sure you don't run me over, to not see the other guy coming up behind me fast.

I think that covers most of them and I am sure there are some I missed... must have been a slow day on the interstate.. As tomorrow is Friday, that must mean I will get to meet the other interesting drivers I missed on today's blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another day and another day of it...

What exactly is "it"? Is "it" chasing the American dream? What has that become? "It" used to be home ownership (wow how's that going?), kids off to college (ah the no child left behind?), grand babies and retirement (oh that's good).. Well I guess we all know how this story goes so I won't bore you with my rant on that tonight.

People say that times weren't easier when we were younger. They just appear so as a result of the wisdom of the ages... well if that is the case, I must be REALLY wise.

I read an article today about a man who put a flag outside his home. Nothing odd about that... I have one up myself. I remember being a kid and seeing flags, lots of flags. Now? Not so much. And why is that? Is it a lack of patriotism? Apathy? I think it is all of the above and then some. I guess being a military brat, maybe my patriotism bone is bigger than most.

I was privileged enough to be raised in a family of individuals that made up Tom Brokaws "Greatest Generation". And they were all that and then some! My grandmother was 66 when I was born and my daddy was her youngest child! I had cousins and more cousins. My brother, myself, and one other cousin, are the youngest grand babies... Wow that sounds nice. Been a while since I was one of the "youngest" of anything.

I saw a funeral procession the other day. I pulled to the side of the road and waited respectfully until it passed. I was raised that way and I know a lot of other people were too. But what happened to everyone else? I was the ONLY vehicle that pulled over. I even watched as some person in a pickup CUT THROUGH the procession???? What the hell was that?? My daddy would come back and haunt me till hell froze over if I was to ever do that. Oh and take off your damn hat... good lord.

I think they were the greatest generation for more reasons than just their outstanding service to their country and each other. I think they were one of the last generations who knew what respect and responsibility meant. They worked hard. Very hard. They saved their money and they hoped for a better life for their kids.

I know that every generation hopes the same for their children. That is just human nature. But somewhere along the way something got lost in translation. Something turned off or just disappeared altogether. We got greedy and we were consumed with an immediate gratification mentality. Wow look where that got us. We have products made overseas, in third world countries, and others that are not fit to use. We throw away EVERYTHING when it wears out, which, by the way, is quicker than the "old" good stuff. You remember the TV your parents had? It was a piece of furniture, literally. That thing lasted longer than some marriages.

I guess I just can't get my thoughts together today. Just kind of rambling around about everything and nothing. I hope I haven't bored you to tears. There will be more tomorrow I am sure.

Drop me a line, gimme some ideas. I am sure that most of you know I have a ton of soap boxes that I can get going with... Good night for now...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Well this is a start!

This is the start of something that I hope people can understand. Something that you are more than welcome to contribute to.

I know that we have all gone through our days and we see people do things. Some good, some bad, some so smart that your in awe.. or like most days, you see something so innately stupid your just left wondering what the hell someone was thinking??

I was reading something on the net the other day and it was an article about a teenage girl that stepped into a open manhole while texting. She really wasn't injured. More her pride than anything I am sure. Now at first read I thought how irresponsible it was for the manhole to be uncovered on a busy walkway in NYC... Aha, but of course upon closer inspection, there were workers present. They were in the process of blocking off the area so that no one would accidentally step off into this open manhole. So this teenager, who is not paying attention to her surroundings, in a big city like NYC, with no parental supervision, is texting as she is walking. She lost one of her shoes to the manhole when she fell... a few scrapes and bruises and now the parents are considering a lawsuit.


Ok, here is where my rant starts. Just a warning. The only one you get...

In this day and age, don't you think that the teenager in question might hold the ultimate responsibility for the "accident"?? Or even better the parents?? These are the same people that gave the child the cell phone in the first place. Maybe remedial training in paying attention is required here. I am sure at some point, (ok I am a optimist), the parents told the child about being aware of her surroundings? In case something happens? What if that had been a stranger that reached out and grabbed her, not a open manhole?

Oh and the parents want to sue? Who do you think they should sue? The city for the open manhole? Maybe the cell phone provider for the texting?

I am thinking that maybe Parenting 101 is in order. Your child does something clumsy / irresponsible and you want to sue? What kind of lesson do you suppose that sends to the child? Your only furthering the lack of responsibility issue that this recent generation is already suffering from.

If, just once, you forced your children to take responsibility for their actions, you might find that this world is a little nicer place to live.

Back years ago, a very old and wise man I once knew, explained to me that when you get in front of something, immediately, you can head off any trouble that might have ensued should you tried to have avoided it. For those of you that are younger than I am (I am only 43)... Getting in front of something means taking responsibility for something you did. Not dodging it.

I can honestly now say that the adage of common sense is gone. It really is true that if sense was so common, more people would have it.

I will continue to add to this over time. Please feel free to check back and see what I am pondering today... Feel free to drop me a comments and give me some ideas.