Friday, January 16, 2009

Lotsa Thoughts on a Friday Night

I like to give my co-worker Tim a hard time for his blog posts about the weather but today I find myself making a passing mention of what we've been dealing with in our corner of the Midwest. Temps of -35f last night in Lakeville. This is way beyond getting old. It's not enough that we've had such frigid temps but there's also a layer of snow and ice on the side roads which is making driving somewhat treacherous and bicycling nearly impossible.

Rachel has been thrown into the deep end insofar as winter driving is concerned with the road conditions she's had to negotiate. We say a lot of prayers for her. My truck hasn't been out of 4-wheel drive in the last month. There is some relief on the way though with temps forecast to be in the lower 30's in a few days. It's gonna feel like short sleeve weather.

It appears that Charlie is no longer on probation and has earned his place in our home. Hurray for Charlie! I never had any doubts he'd make the cut. Toby and Allie are slowly learning to adapt to his presence but they haven't really warmed up to him all that much. They've played together some in the form of chasing each other through the house but that's about it. Mostly they try and avoid him. He does puppy stuff which isn't cool. He eats his poop. I don't suppose I'd want to be seen hanging around with the kid in school either who was known to eat his poop.

I came in the house the other day and found stuffed animals all over the family room floor and into the kitchen. Charlie was enjoying some time free time from his kennel. We're finding it necessary to use the kennel more than we thought we'd need to as Charlie is still working on the potty training thing. It's not been easy with the cold temps. The poor guy just sits out there and shivers with peeing and pooping being the last thing on his mind. He's a work in progress.

I had a day to kill today so I climbed aboard my bike and knocked out a century ride on my rollers down in our basement. For you non-biker types that's a 100 mile ride. I had my Greg LeMond DVD's to keep my mind occupied as well as the Pink Floyd concert DVD Tammy got me for Christmas. It's difficult enough for most people to do indoor training of this sort as there's a tendency to focus on the pain rather than the beauty of the world passing by because there is no world to view from the trainer other than the TV. It seems to work alright for me. As I commented to a fellow rider, Steve, the ride really began at 75 miles. I found myself having to dig deep at that point.

Today's effort gives me 212 indoor miles for the week. Call me crazy but it's my way of coping with this harsh winter.

Tuesday is inauguration day. Have I mentioned lately that change is coming? We had a bit of change today within the FAA with the departure of Bobby Sturgell; Bush's appointee to run the agency. I have to wonder if he's proud of his service, as nothing more than a puppet and a tool of the Bush administration? Do you suppose his father is proud of the job he's done? I don't see how he could be. I've never admired 'yes men'.

A supervisor at work confided in me this week that he's friends with one of the negotiators on the FAA's contract negotiating team which failed to negotiate in good faith with our union, Natca. The failed negotiations back in 2006 allowed FAA management to force their work and pay rules on the bargaining unit. He spoke with Terry back in the fall of 2006 at the St. Louis indoctrination and he said Terry told him that they went into negotiations with orders that they weren't to negotiate. The outcome was set in stone before anybody sat across from anybody at the negotiating table. When he told me this it simply confirmed all that I and thousands of other air traffic controllers across the country felt about what went down with respect to 'contract negotiations'. Still, it was sobering to have my suspicions confirmed. I can't say for a fact that this is true but I cannot imagine this particular supervisor fabricating this. That would be out of character for him.

Is there any chance of hauling this pseudo negotiator and others from their contract negotiating team before an investigative committee and have them swear to tell the truth before asking them a few pointed questions? This needs to happen.

I knew Terry when we worked together in the 1980's. He was a professional sort of guy who wore nice clothes and was always neatly groomed. He was a good controller. His cologne may have been a bit strong at times. A company man for sure which has apparently worked well for him as he's the facility manager at an east coast facility. I remember he drove a blue Honda Civic of some sort about the time Honda was becoming known for building a reliable car. His brother would go on to become a professional baseball player and 7-time All Star for the Houston Astros.

Terry was one of several players who made up our Friday morning (or was it Thursday?) hockey league at the Farmington ice arena. For $5 we'd get 90 minutes or more of ice time. You couldn't beat that deal and the price remained unchanged for as long as I played up until 7 or 8 years ago when I hung up my skates. My brother Keith also used to play with us as our group wasn't limited to air traffic controllers.

You aren't going to find a nicer guy than Keith. There's never anything cheap about his tactics on the ice. The same couldn't be said for Terry. I remember taking a breather next to Keith on the bench during one of our scrimmages and him commenting to me about Terry...'what's with that guy?...he keeps hacking me and taking cheap shots'. I watched and sure enough Keith was right. The last thing Keith needed was for me to defend him considering that he's bigger than I am and can take care of himself but he's my little brother and that seemed to matter more.

Terry wore every piece of protective gear imaginable. It didn't take long for me to find an opportunity to send Terry a message. I skated up behind him along the left side of the rink and positioned myself to take a cheap shot of my own. I don't even recall if he had the puck. I worked my stick in front of his ankles before giving it a big yank and bringing him down hard like a sack of potatoes. He got up and threw his gloves down ready to fight. Yeah, like I'm gonna get through all the armor he was wearing. Anyway, before it could go any further, Mark Mullane got in between us and that was that. I believe Terry got the message.

Those were some fun times.

I'd guess that the vast majority of Viral Videos come about unintentionally. Sure, there are some that are simply great works of production which rise to the top but most V V's are freak events caught on tape. My friend Tim, who I mentioned earlier in my blog had a V V of his own this past year when he submitted a small clip his wife had filmed years earlier of their son during a baseball game. The clip was showcased on the front page of Break.com for several days giving it great exposure and launching it to a significant number of viewer hits. As I write this it stands at 561,335 views.

I attempted to make my own V V this past week. A lot of V V's are animal related and I thought I had the perfect footage for the makings of one thanks to Charlie. I submitted it to Break.com and waited to see if it would catch on. I'm still waiting. Edit...I actually pulled it off Break.com and I'll embed the YouTube link below.

So, if you're so inclined please send this off to all your friends and see if we can get this little puff of a cloud video to become a towering cumulus and mature into a cumulonimbus and rain down on everybody.

Yeah, I know, that was some corny composition.

1 comment:

jtormey3 said...

The Bobby Sturgell saga:

http://www.BobbySturgell.com
http://www.BobbySturgell.net
http://www.BobbySturgell.org

http://www.TheHappyHarbor.com