Thursday, August 7, 2008

1000 Days! Congratulations, Reid and Critical Mass

It must be Thursday in the suburbs. I was walking our pups this morning and SUV after SUV came driving by with its lone occupant; usually a woman in search of the next garage sale around the bend. Garage Sale Thursday. Garage sales serve a useful purpose and we've hosted our own in the past but I have one request for those in search of bargains. Please show more concern for other motorists and pedestrians who you're sharing the road with than for what may be for sale in somebody's driveway. I thank you in advance.

Let's hear it for Area 5 at Minneapolis Center! We've reached a milestone of 1000 error-free days. Let me qualify that. As an Air Traffic Controller, we have to get it right all the time with respect to separating aircraft. That's not to say that we don't make errors because we do; we're only human. The key is in catching and correcting a mistake before it becomes a problem. It's what we're paid to do. But that doesn't mean a little something given to the Controllers who made this achievement possible wouldn't be appropriate on management's part to show their appreciation.

[rant] The fair natured part of me would expect that management would do the right thing but even the most naive' of us in this organization know that what ought to happen and what will happen will likely be two entirely different things. I expect that those in management will take home the spoils of time off awards and bonuses and the Controllers who actually did the heavy lifting to make this achievement possible will be left with vanilla sheet-cake. Cynical? You betcha. I've watched for the past two years as management within the FAA has gone on a drunken spending spree with money taken from the pockets of Controllers while continuing to enjoy their yearly raises and whatever other bonuses they ingratiate one another with, leaving the controllers to look on in disgust at their hypocrisy on display. [/rant]

Some more good news. I'd like to give a shout-out to my trainee, Reid Beucher, for fully certifying as a Controller. I've been working with Reid for the past 15 months as his primary trainer. He's a natural and the FAA is damn lucky to have him in their ranks. It's my hope that they'll soon begin to treat him that way. They could begin by apologizing to him for requiring him to shell out 70K for a college degree they said he needed but now no longer require. A lack of quality candidates to choose from has caused them to rethink their need for this unnecessary and expensive requirement. They could also reimburse Reid for his expenses while he was away at the FAA academy in Oklahoma City because they didn't feel it necessary to pay him any sort of per diem even though he was an employee. Upper management has also seen the error of their thinking with respect to the latest new-hires and so they've begun paying them per diem. Too bad for the others who came before them. You're outta luck.

Congratulations, Reid! You've been a pleasure to work with. Enjoy the other side of the week and hopefully, we'll still manage to bump into each other from time to time. :) That's an awfully large bottle of wine. I see the celebration has begun!

I've been contemplating getting a new saddle for my bike for some time now. I finally went out a couple days ago and purchased a Selle SMP Evolution. I've been having some concerns with my other saddles and the sporadic continuing prostate problems I've been experiencing. Are those problems simply a part of the aging process (quite likely) or are they more associated with the amount of riding I do and the saddle I've been using? The Evolution saddle has a cut-out through the middle which relieves pressure on the perineum while placing weight on the sit bones where it belongs. It's a firm saddle which is what I was looking for. I imagine most people think that squishy saddles would be best for comfort but that would be wrong. Squishy saddles may be fine for people who ride infrequently over short distances but they're not desirable for any sort of long-distance cycling.

I was able to get out yesterday for a shakedown ride with it and after making a couple of adjustments I could easily tell that it's going to work really well. My sit bones will have to get used to bearing the weight more than previously but I don't expect that to be a problem. I'm sorry I waited so long to make this change. I'm curious to see how this does or doesn't affect my little problem.

Have you heard of Critical Mass bicycling rides/protests? They began in San Francisco in the early '90s as a way of bringing attention to riders' concerns that automobiles share the road with them as well as their desire that we all become more dependent on bikes for transportation. That's all good but the rides have morphed into anarchy on wheels for the most part. Whatever concerns the riders may have are lost to their actions of disruption. No way are they going to win the hearts of motorists by irritating them.

Many large cities around the world now have some form of Critical Mass rides on the last Friday of every month. Minneapolis, near where I live has experienced problems with the riders. I sympathize with both the motorists affected by these malcontents and the police who have to try and keep the peace. It's my hope that people are able to differentiate between those sorts of bikers and people like me who peaceably want to share the road.

Here's a disturbing video from a recent Critical Mass ride in New York. I'm not sure what this cop was thinking but I can see no reason for his actions.


Anonymous said...

That's what I get for taking some vacation!

I missed Reid attaining FPL status (congratulations, Reid!).

And so as not to taint his accomplishment, I will add in a separate sentence: and I also missed the sheet cake (that I'm sure wasn't eaten in the area!).

Kevin Gilmore said...

You haven't missed anything yet. Apparently Pat S has something in the works for us. Great. I also want to know what he has in the works for management.

David Bryan Gilmore said...

Catch the Zoobombers as they break the law. The mayor actually looks the other way on this.
Good managers know that recognition of good work goes farther than an increase in pay.
It doesn't sound like these folks went to management school or really learned how to properly manage people. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

All of our "managers" came from the controller ranks. These were the "best and brightest". Most worked less then two years seperating airplanes. My manager hasn't worked an airplane in over 18 years but he still thinks that he can "talk the talk". Their management training the last couple of years has been to keep the over paid, whiny controllers in check and everything else be damned. They have no formal management training, just the tripe that the FFA spews.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to publish this comment but, what the hells up with the blog owner approval of the comments?!? Are you trying to squash my first ammendment rights?

Kevin Gilmore said...

What pdog said. These days in the faa it's not so much about managing people and trying to get the most from them. It's much more about trying to break a union and force good people out who are eligible to retire and replace them with somebody making considerably less money. Ah, but when it comes to replacing management types they've got huge raises for them with yearly increases.

Kevin Gilmore said...

No...I was having some spam from one of the guys at BestBuy who I'd written about in a post from last year. He wasn't too happy with having his name mentioned in my blog but I felt it was important that when he did a google search on his name he would find the story about the treatment he gave me there for all to see on the net.

Kevin Gilmore said...

I've turned the filter off. If the unhappy one returns with more comments I'll write another blog about BestBuy and feature him again. Maybe he'll get the point.

David Bryan Gilmore said...

What's that guy's name at Best Buy? :<)

Kevin Gilmore said...

Here's the blog post I was referring to. It's one of two guys but I can't be sure which one. Read on to learn their names.

What I like about keeping my blog is that stories such as this one are hit on through internet searches where people are looking for personal experiences such as mine. If I can sway somebody from doing business with BestBuy it makes it all worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Best Buy is the greatest!!!