I’m Right Proud Of Myself

This afternoon while surfing through the movies channels looking for something to watch I came upon That Damn Pirate Movie (I guess I need to add TDPM to the acronym list), it was about 45 minutes into it, and I managed to not get sucked into watching it. I only stuck around for about 5 seconds, but had I stayed, say 30 seconds or so, I bet I would have been hooked.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 207

Somebody Was Trying To Tell Me Something

And I think I listened.

Donna and I used to bicycle a lot. It was nothing for the weekend to consist of a 50–60 mile ride on Saturday followed by a 15–20 mile easy ride on Sunday. Then we were riding to work, 12 miles round trip, a couple three times a week. But a medical issue for me back in 1993 put a damper on the fun. First it was once a weekend. Then they changed bike parking policies at work so we quit the commuting. Then it moved to 25 miles every other month and so on until our bike mileage decreased to next to nothing. I bet we haven’t even been on a bike in over a year. We still plan a spring vacation around the Tour de Georgia to follow that race and we pay for upgraded cable so we can watch the Tour de France on OLN, but active participation was nil.

On Saturday as we ate our lunch at the Atlanta Bread Company who should walk in but Doug and Alice Walker. Doug and Alice were at the center of the Aiken Bicycle Club when Donna and I started with the club back in 1991. We enjoyed many a ride with them before they drifted away from the Club. Doug was the newsletter editor for many years before he “retired” from it and I took over. We probably haven’t seen Doug & Alice for a half dozen years or so.

Sunday as we left Goody’s, were I was swapping out a shirt I had bought in the wrong size, we ran into Jay Noonkester and June Crawford. Jay and June joined the Aiken Bicycle Club somewhere around the middle 90s are in still members. We chatted a bit before heading our separate directions. I bet we hadn’t seen Jay or June for a couple of years.

The Tour is on TV and just like Sunday at the halftime of an NFL game, watching a sport on the tube, if you are a fan, makes you want to go out and participate. So instead of taking our second hike of the weekend this morning, I dusted off the bicycles, pumped the tires full of air and Donna and I went for an 11 mile ride. Not much compared to the glory days, but it is a start. We both had fun on the ride, now let’s see if those old pains return that sucked the joy out of riding in the past.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 208

Tongue-Tied Tuesday

I thought I had a left over blog post rattling around in my head from the weekend that I could use here, but can’t seem to find it tonight. I guess I’ll just head into the living room and see if TDPM is on one of the movies channels.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 211

Morbid Fascination

As if living through the eighties once wasn’t bad enough. I found a channel on the digital cable channel line up that I swear wasn’t there before, VH1 Classics. And like our natural reaction to a car wreck on the highway, I slowed my channel surfing to watch. What was with the little aerobic instructor headbands on guys. Rod Stewart was very feminine back then. Yikes, who dresses Stevie Wonder, a pink v-necked cashmere sweater!?! The last video I watched on the channel before I sped away was by a group called Scandal with Patty Smyth singing, appropriately entitled “Goodbye To You.”

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 213

Holy Cow

In downtown Aiken we have an ice cream parlor called the Sweet Cow Creamery. They have something called The Holy Cow, eight scoops of ice cream in a waffle bowl, if you eat the whole thing by yourself you get a free T-shirt. Every time we have company in town we invariably end up there for ice cream and Donna tries to get someone to try and eat one. Her bigger brothers, her younger brother, my brother-in-law, my sister, her sister, me, but no one wants to do it, whether for fear of failure or tossing their cookies or maybe permanent brain freeze, but no one has volunteered to take the challenge. Yesterday she finally got a taker, a friend from the old Navy days was in town and her 15-year old son said he’d do it if she would too. The contest was on.

As a warm-up, Donna and Mike walked the 3 miles into town together while his mom Chris and I chatted on the screened porch for about 30 minutes to give them a head start. Nervous energy must have caused them to walk a little fast because they actually beat us to the The Sweet Cow. Chris And I had to make a run to the ATM while the Holy Cows were being prepared, as they cost $11 each. Somehow we forgot the think that they might actually charge for the thing.

Donna actually finished a few minutes ahead of Mike, but he too managed to devour heaps of ice cream and waffle bowl. They each are now the proud owners of T-shirts that say Holy Cow on the front with a cute little cow cartoon and on the back in big letters it says, “I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing!”

I forgot the digital camera, but Chris had her SLR and promises to send us some copies. If it won’t cause irreparable harm to my marriage I’ll post a picture or two. While there is possible embarrassment in the photos, I think Donna is more worried about when they post her name on the big list that is in their front window…

Update: The Sweet Cow Creamery printed up the new window banners — photos here.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 215

House Cleaning

I killed the the three old blogs, The Miata Diaries, Brian’s Daily Rant and PLOG. I had left the archives hanging out there in case anyone had them linked, but decided to just go ahead and delete them. The internet is full of broken links, what is a couple thousand more among friends. If any one had the blog’s home page linked they will get redirected to here.

Went on another bicycle ride this morning, a whopping 8–1/2 miles. This ride was just an easy jaunt which included a stop at the New Moon Cafe for some of their fantastic muffins. We brought them home and ate in front of the tube while watching cyclists only slightly more in shape than us ride the Tour de France.

Management Lessons From “Star Wars”

Got this via email today:

Despite all the whizzing lightsabers, dazzling space battles and political drama, it was clear what “Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” really is. It’s case study of bad management.

Why does Anakin Skywalker turn bad? It sure seems like it’s because he didn’t get a promotion. He really wanted that title, Jedi Master (and the company car would have been nice).

But, you say, maybe Anakin wasn’t ready for that promotion. Maybe he was still too immature, too easily angered, too likely to furrow his brow at the slightest provocation.

So why didn’t his managers give him a clearly defined path to promotion? Not a bunch of Jedi mumbo-jumbo about using the Force and examining his feelings, but a concrete list of job skills he needed to improve (Using time more wisely? Prioritizing better? Keeping the Jedi break room cleaner? Thinking up better dialogue?)

The worst Jedi manager had to be Mace Windu, who, when things got hairy essentially told Anakin to just stay put, don’t worry, and by the way we don’t need your help right now.

That’s not the way help an employee feel empowered and invested in the task at hand.

And it was disastrous for Yoda to tell a troubled Anakin to give up that which was most important to him. That sounded suspiciously like “Don’t expect a raise any time soon.”

Obi Wan Kenobi wasn’t much better. A boss should know enough about an employee’s life to know what they’re worried about. Obi Wan didn’t realize his apprentice was having a child (well, twins, actually) with Padme until it was too late. Those sorts of personal issues worried Anakin to the point of obsession, yet Obi Wan was mostly oblivious.

And sure, Palpatine appealed to Anakin’s ego. But what smart boss doesn’t, from time to time? It’s not enough to tell an employee that he’s the chosen one, yada yada. Obi Wan should have realized that the constant “you’ve got more to learn, young apprentice” stuff gets old after a while.

If Obi Wan and the council had chosen Anakin for a few crucial solo missions, maybe he would have been too focused on Jedi business to be tempted by Palpatine’s Sith pitch.

Still, Anakin must bear the responsibility for his eventual decision to join the staff of Dark Side, Inc. He was seduced by a boss who promised much, but actually withheld vital information that would have affected Anakin’s most important decisions.

Those kinds of bosses — the ones to hold on to information and use it like a weapon, all in an effort to manipulate employees into doing their bidding — are usually very articulate and seem like your buddy at first. They seem like they’re looking out for you. Then, one day, you’re cut off at the knees. Dependent on them for everything. And have nowhere to turn, especially if your old bosses kind of want you dead.

So the lessons for bosses and employees everywhere? Give your employees a stake in the enterprise, and if they want to move up, use constructive feedback to tell them how they can do so. Motivate their best qualities by giving incentives for good behavior, but be willing to accept criticism when it’s warranted.

And don’t become the kind of boss who rules through FEAR, INTIMIDATION, SECRECY and appeals to GREED and ARROGANCE.

Unless you’re really good with a lightsaber.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 221

I Got My Stuff

In an effort to keep our country’s economy going strong, I’ve made a few purchases recently. My Camp Mazdamiata T-shirt came in the mail yesterday and is in the wash as I type, for wear this weekend. This past Monday both my WTF stickers and my LOB sticker came in the mail.

One of the WTF stickers is on my cabinet at work and the other I may stick on the car. SWMBO has decreed that it can’t go on the bumper, so my only other option is to put it on the inside of the trunk lid with the other assorted stickers.

The LOB sticker was printed off center. There was a white area on the left between the edge and the black oval outline while on the right the black was touching the edge. On Tuesday I used the Cafepress contact form and complained. Within a couple hours I had a reply that was apologetic and said they would sent me another one. It also said, “You may keep it or give it to a friend; or perhaps you can donate it locally.” Right, I’m sure the Salvation Army would appreciate something like that. Today, Mr. UPS Man dropped off the corrected sticker and it looks much better. For a change, excellent customer service from someone.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 227

Is This A Great Intenet Or What?

Next July 20th is World Jump Day. Remember that old joke about what would happen if all the Chinese jumped up and then landed at the same time? Well we don’t want them to do it because it would throw the earth the wrong way. But if we can get 600,000,000 (right now they only have 212,482,665 people signed up) residents of the western hemisphere to jump at the same time, we can change the earth’s orbit just enough to stop global warming according to Pro. Hans Peter Neisward of the Department of Gravitationsphysik of ISA/Munchen. The time for all of us in the Eastern Time Zone of the US is 06:39:13. So you won’t forget you can sign up to get a one day warning email. Tomorrow morning one year in advance of the event I will be in my back yard doing a practice jump. Oh, yeah, while you are waiting don’t forget to buy the T-shirt.

I discovered World Jump Day at a web site called Oh So Random, home to weird news, funny photos, and other random stuff. Here you can learn how to make your own machine washable menstrual pads or find an ebay auction of a french fry that’s shaped like the Nike symbol or learn how to hack those pesky WALK/DON’T WALK signals so that they change at your command.

For some good clean fun, check out Threadbared where you can find out the true stories behind the photos on the cover of sewing patterns. While you’re there don’t forget to buy a T-shirt.

I saved the biggest bit of lunacy for last. Here is a site that is having a photo contest for people who own a certain small Japanese convertible sports car. “My Favorite Miata Picture” Contest. First prize is a T-shirt. 🙂

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 233

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

There is a big hole in the cycling world now. Lance Armstrong has hung up his professional bike for good. It is going to be strange when next July rolls around and it won’t be, “Will he do it again?”, but who is the heir apparent. I certainly hope for Americans it is another fellow countryman. Not because I’m jingoistic, but more because it raises some awareness in Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public that cyclists are human and you shouldn’t try and run them off the road for sport.

During one of the “Chasing Lance” shows on the Discovery Channel last night, at one point Lance show us a gym bag with some of the Tour de France’s Yellow Jerseys he’s won in it and he calls them Mellow Johnnies. A play on the French term for them, maillot jaune. In honor of Mr. Armstrong’s accomplishment of seven in a row, I have created a special T-shirt: Seven Mellow Johnnies. Buy one and I’ll donate the $1 mark-up to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

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Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/05: 239

What Car Is She Driving?

I just got my hand-me-down copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition of Car and Driver Magazine and boy is there a lot to read in there. Guess that explains why I got got it and it has been out for around a month now. There is a fold out of a 50 year respective of covers from the magazine that is very interesting. You can download two different versions in high rez here. I printed a tall one 4' long on the plotter at work and stuck it to the side of a cabinet in my cubical. The August 1976 cover is of particular interest.

What Car Is She Driving?
CandDAug76-thumb.jpg 1. Alfa Romeo Spider
2. Cadillac Eldorado
3. Fiat 124 Spider
4. Jensen-Healy
5. Jensen Interceptor
6. Mercedes-Benz 450SL
7. MGB
8. MG Midget
9. Rolls-Royce Corniche
10. Triumph TR-6
11. Volkswagen
Click on the thumbnail for a big ol' version