Fa-ra-ra….shut up.

Dear Internet,

Yes, it’s true. I’ve never seen “A Christmas Story“.

There. I said it.

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Nighttime bike ride

I went on my first nighttime mountain bike ride last night. Yep, we rode bikes, at night, in the woods. Cool, huh?

There are some pretty good trails near my house so my friend Charlie and I rode them last night. He had the headlights for the bikes so I just had to bring my bike and my gear. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous. I hadn’t been on my bike much and have never ridden at night…in the woods…at night It was a blast!!

The weather was a bit chilly but once we got into the woods, I forgot all about it. The headlight let me see about 8 or 10 feet in front of my and about 2 to 3 feet on either side. Other than that, it was pitch black. You sometimes had to guess where the trail was going, but we both played it smart and didn’t fly through the woods. The coolest part was how quiet it was. The only thing I could hear was me wheezing and gasping for air and the crunch of leaves under the bike tires.

I think we rode for about an hour or so. I really wanted to do a second loop, but was also pretty tired and we had to ride back to Charlie’s house. Uphill. A mile. In the snow. 🙂

I will definitely be doing more of these rides. It was great training for my bike handling skills and also an excellent cardio workout since you’re constantly pedaling. Plus, it’s a bit more interesting than road riding because it’s a challenge with the trees and rocks and narrow trails.

So, Santa, if you’re listening. I want a headlight for my bike and one for my helmet, a new blinky, an underlayer t-shirt, and a winter riding jacket (in case Charlie needs his back). If it’s not too much trouble.

You want a what?!?

I’ve just been given the most insane, asinine, and ridiculous request that I’ve ever been given. A user at my company is asking for quotes on a 30″ flat-panel computer monitor. Yes, you read that right…a 30″ monitor. Thirty. Inch. The thing weighs over 25lbs!

But wait…it gets better. If the 30″ is too expensive (or too large) they’ve asked for quotes on two 22″ monitors. Two. Not one, but two. Did I mention he’s asking for two monitors? Of 22″ or more? Two.

I mean, we already have a one group with 24″ monitors…and there is absolutely no reason for them to have them…none. Not. One. They don’t do CAD/CAM work, or video editing, or anything that would require monitors of that size. The reason (excuse) for getting them was so they could view multiple windows at one time. The only thing I’ve ever seen them do is have a single email open that is 24″ wide.

The very idea of having a user with a 30″ monitor on their desk is just ludicrous. That’s bigger than the TV I have at home! Geez, people…and if it gets approved, I think my head might explode.

And just you wait…if one person gets it, you know the rest of the users are going to want one. We’ll have an entire company of nothing but 30″ monitors.

Idiots.

Scotland recap

It’s been a little less than a month since I got back from Scotland and I realized I’ve never shared much of the trip with you. Several folks who were part of the trip have blogs and they pretty much covered the day-to-day part of it, so I won’t rehash that, but I will try and share with you my experiences.

First off, if you ever go to a foreign country, you need to stay with local people. I was incredibly fortunate to stay with John and Mandy and their 3 kids, Jack, Ruth, and Catherine, also known as Fred. Yep, Fred, which I thought was pretty cute. Oh, there was also Mog the cat and Molly the dog. Of course, staying in a house with a dog was an added bonus.

The neat part about staying with these fine folks was that I was immediately treated like one of the family. I’ll admit that I was a bit concerned about staying in someone’s house for various silly reasons, but within 5 minutes of meeting them, I knew I was in the right place.

I’ve also got to mention that I could not have been with a better bunch of people for the entire trip. The teams from Jackson and Scotland were awesome and we all got along really well. We spent hours and hours together and it really was a pleasure to get to know these folks.

So…Scotland…If I could get a job in or around Kirkcaldy and get to spend time with my Scotland friends, I’d move tomorrow. It was that kind of experience for me. Scotland, for me, is like summer camp used to be. I loved summer camp. I couldn’t wait to get there and didn’t want to leave. I looked forward to getting up in the morning because I knew the day would be filled with good things. That’s how it was in Scotland.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was doing something worthwhile and meaningful. Getting up wasn’t a chore, I didn’t dread the events of the day, I didn’t worry about having to listen to people whine about shit I just didn’t care about. Scotland also forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and do things I don’t like to do…pray out loud in a group, knock on doors, talk openly about religion to others. And you wanna know the weird part? I didn’t die from it, I didn’t break out in warts, and I didn’t end up looking stupid. And…I liked it. Well…most of it.

I’ll admit, Dear Reader, that the first day was hard for me. I just sort of wandered around because I really wasn’t sure what to do. My head started thinking that maybe I’d made a mistake, maybe I shouldn’t have come. It appeared, to me that everyone else had been assigned tasks and I was just kind of left hanging. The other part of me, the smarter part, told me to quit whining and go do something. Just jump in and start…so I did. I don’t remember what it was that I did, but from that point on, I knew I was in the right place.

The one thing I didn’t get to do was go visiting with Neil, who is the pastor of the Kirkcaldy Free Church. Neil (and Andy too) is one of those guys that you want to be friends with. He’s that guy from high school or college that everybody wanted to hang out with. I think this is why he’s such a great pastor…and why I think Andy will be good too. It’s the reason I really like the pastors at my church. They are people I can relate to as guys, who just happen to be pastors. Anyway…I wandered off the topic. I wanted to go into the Council Housing (the government housing) and watch Neil interact with the people. I don’t know why I wanted to do this, and never really shared it with anyone, but I think it would have been good for me. Maybe next time.

So. I truly believe that I was meant to go on this trip. I don’t know the reasons for feeling that way, but it feels right. In many ways, Scotland was a life-altering experience for me. It taught me that being outside my comfort zone won’t kill me. It taught me that there really is evil in the world and it will do whatever it can to distract you from doing what is right and good. It fueled my desire to travel and meet other people. It allowed me to meet and spend time with some truly incredible people.

I miss my new friends. I miss a truly beautiful country. And I miss doing something meaningful.

Rock the Vote

So I voted yesterday, which isn’t unusual for many of you, but it is for me. I don’t normally vote, but then, I also don’t bitch about people who are elected. I can’t…if I don’t exercise my right to vote, then I can’t bitch about who gets elected.

Why haven’t I voted? Well, the simple answer is I don’t trust any politician no matter who he is or what he says. I get sick of seeing the bazillion signs saying “Vote for me!”, the countless ads that say “he did this” and the corresponding “no, I didn’t, but let me tell you what HE did”, and all the other bullshit that goes along with voting and elections. I’m jaded by the whole thing.

But…I did vote this year so we’ll see.

They suck, you don’t

I got a back-handed compliment today. A laptop for one our Executive VPs died today so I had to get him a temporary replacement while I get his other one fixed. While I was talking to him, another EVP came in and asked about getting more memory for her laptop. We talked for a few minutes about it and she said she’d put in a project for this. I took the dead laptop and headed back to my office.

When I went back upstairs to deliver the laptop, I stopped by the 2nd EVP’s office to ask her a question. As I was leaving, she called me back and we had the following conversation:

EVP: I went ahead and put in the project for memory for my laptop and for my secretaries’ desktop.

Me: Oh. Good. Memory is relatively cheap, like I mentioned earlier, and it’ll really make a difference.

EVP: Right. Um. (pause) (pause) Listen…uh…do you…um…

Me: (interrupting) You want me to work the project and get the memory?

EVP: Um. Yes, if you would. I would appreciate it. The…uh…well…the other…

Me: (interrupting) It’s cool. I understand. I’d be happy to.

It ain’t much, but at least I know people want me to work on their stuff.