Saturday, December 27, 2008

Most poignant thing I have read on the Internet in weeks:

"People put too much of themselves into the Internet and not enough into real life."

Posted By Clint, Salem OR : December 26, 2008 2:12 pm

Read the article here

The poignant comment is in retaliation to some of the slander the readers were making about Wal-Mart. I am a fan of the place (didn't used to be a decade ago, but like it now).

Not sure why I posted this, but the thought seems poignant. So much of the Internet is based on an ideal--a free ranging playground, a place where people can comment without fear of being identified. Anonymity is the bugle call of the Internet. I remember some retailers used to say "shop in your underwear!" as a slogan. And the slogan works, because it is true. Do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home, no one will know what you are doing.

I am curious--if an id (name, rank, and serial number) were displayed on each of our e-tracks, would this phenomenon of anonymous bashing continue? If Joe Schmoe, your neighbor, could be easily identified as an aficionado of all things women's hosiery, perhaps it would put a kink (no pun intended) in your neighborly relationship. Anonymity breeds contempt (and in a case like Joe's, you could even say familiarity would breed contempt as well).

On a separate but mildly related note, I am in management and hear stories of managers/HR folk quashing applicants after checking out their applicant's myspace page and finding that the person represented in the interview was someone quite different in real life. The practice has become more common, and the trend will probably become fully commonplace in the next ten years what with everyone being so connected and all nowadays.

This post is really just a musing, if you agree or disagree, reply. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

-Jay

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Seneschal

'Cry Hell, and loose the dogs of war'
on all these abundant accessories underfoot

oft I wish all these toys and things--
untidy bits all--could be given away (what a surplus M'Lord!)

and all my children, smartly dressed and hair
perfectly parted would sit and read silently, no mess!

if it were my world the three of them, all Athenas,
would be leaping from my head fully armed so!

but my temper on this is mainly mercurial
coruscant in it's orbit, quickly hot and done (thank God!)

oh what complications and complexties are presented
in owning and being owned by their things!

truth told, my talents never hid in the dirt, lodged there~
no, they are a gainfully employed silver note

and in accounting them, one needs compound and amortization
tidy red and black tickmarks, all marching in exercise for progeny

the consideration, the toil, the getting -- (whew!)
all but a baton to be passed, mycelium to spore

this investment is the thing, capital turnover--
the neccesary part of cultivation for handsome yields

and yet I find myself considering aptitude again, and
if a possible audit may be struck, a revision on my prior thought

perhaps my talent does reside in the soil afterall, though different--
and the parable, the steward, and God will one day balance it out

-Jay
12/26/08

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

For Bruce

Todays trip to the mailbox bore me strange fruit indeed
I went hoping for a package, yet found something unexpected there
the previously unknown avuncular writings of a Blair
and I found scion-fresh words; all moreover, still, too, & yet.

In my hand a manilla envelope stared back at me, iris periods by the initials R & B
peeking past an overdue car loan bill, they shyly implored me to open the packet
I scooped them all up, letters and packages--and R.B.'s origin was debated all the way in
I found myself standing at the table: so still, breathless, halcyon, & composed.

"Merry Christmas!" the simple card saluted, picnic words hiding
the thick evaoprated prose the package still yet unbeknownst bore.
"from one Blair poet to another" finished the card (Spartanly), and beguiling,
the package entreated me to open it: to undo, tear, rend, & disclose.

I obliged, and space and time transcended~strange moment of lucidity!
you were there then, and I knew you all my life--the picture on the cover was you,
and I was there. comprehension ran together, a
raging torrent of thought; swolen river in flood, cataract, torrent, & surge.

A bare five sestinas I read, then ate, digesting words with meat, bread and thought
mingling until one and one were same, noumenon and nourishment, clay and clay
pith that formed the nerve and eye and wrinkle of brain. 'lo missing! 'lo prodigal!
misplaced man, too like me; all matching, paralell, kin, & resembling.

You and dad and I, three similar, three diferent. one bohemian, one doctrinal, one marking
yet cut from the same soil. I felt for a moment the disorientation
of a funhouse mirror--reality was skewed, foothold inverted.
metamorphosis transmogrified it all into pomes; the shoot, vines, petal, & leaflet.

And now I am changed, feeling the weight of progeny as perhaps my forebears felt
wondering how close to the quick my own guises cut, cloaks and faces all~
the same which other Blairs were akin to, more than blood I mean, but persona
habiliment, and accoutrement; that embodiment, identity, stricture, & self

Thank you for your words, unexpectedly shared and secretly mailed
I marked them today and will mark them again, strong running heralds all
the leagues they cross on toiling legs are light~and the space between is eclipsed
overstepped by pen and ink: brave voyager, wayfarer, albatross, & nomad!

-Jay
12-24-2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

9/18/2008

I went to see you today alone
not the sort of visit
where I bring along the children

you were in the hospital
heartsick, soulsick, aching
I sat with family there and we talked

at thirty, a man expects
certain things, altruisms--
but broken, he reverts back to clan

and soon you were discharged
forms, wheels, doors all working
I felt a glimmering of hope, despair

twins in my breast, twins~
which first would breach?
what hand to lay claim to birthright?

thank God for family, oh God
when all seeming fails around
they wrap about me, a minken mantle

tears then, in the retelling
pains revisited, wrack reborn
and yet new life, resurrection! tiny spark

soon now night too shall arrive
not the dark of eternal sleep
just one of momentarily blinking, staved~

succeded by another dawn again
in God's burning eye, the sky
trailing onward, on, till rightful day of rest.

-Jay 9/18/08

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Day the Earth Got Tired of Hippies

We went and watched The Day The Earth Stood Still tonight with Jim & Angie Simmons, Andy & Shanna Hernandez, and Cory & Darla Yeates. I supposed I should have been a bit prepped by the fact that it was an old Hollywood remake we were going to watch, but the big names in it had me thinking it could be OK.

Well, the usual hippie environmentalism cropped up, and the aliens were going to erase all human life, and we were all touched and weepy because the little boy's dad was dead.

It was a bit typical of the environmental slurry Hollywood has grown accustomed to serving us. Instead of us living peacefully with each other (ala 1951), we must now live peacefully with the earth (and donations to Greenpeace are one way of doing that. Greenpeace regularly shoots tear gas at 50 foot robots and Japanese jackalope hunters to scare them away).

I left the movie feeling vaguely nauseated, wondering what the hell Keanu Reeves' character Klaatu's death meant (death by silica/carbon based robot locusts probably didn't yield much to his energy being reused elsewhere), wondering what the extent of the sacrifice the survivors would have to make to save the planet (I am assuming some Kyoto-on-steroids would suffice), and wondering how Jennifer Connelly and Jaden Smith's characters were going to get to whoever the hell was in charge and tell them what happened and why the alien, Klaatu decided to let them live (he had the change of heart over a vague amalgam of Bach, a math formulae with a cool Nobel-prize winning John Cleese, tears over a dead parents grave, and allusions to verve--the alien somehow grew "human" morals).

Now, lest some alien earth wardens read my post and sweep on in, killing everyone except for Al Gore (the perfect environmentalist poster boy and Nobel Prize Winner, except for the Chilean Sea Bass incident), I do want to say that I do care about the environment. I personally feel that the earth is part of our stewardship. I think we will need to account to God in how we treat it. I also believe we need to find ways to take care of it. We need to try and not intentionally poison it, or at the very least use common sense and not poison ourselves or our children. Do we need intervention? We do. Are we at the brink of a precipice? I think not.

The shrill voice of Hollywood would want us to believe so. If the new administration thinks raising taxes on gas/oil/gasoline will fix it, they are mistaken. If they think making gas too expensive to use so we'll clamor for the Chevy Volt will solve the issue, they are wrong. We need to stay the course, get the economy back on line, continue to find new (feasible) alternative resources, and keep moving in a green direction.

All ranting aside (it is late now, and quite past my bedtime), the movie is OK to watch once. It has some very cool ideas--the alien adapting to the earth by being "born", the "arks", the special effects (all kinds of stuff eaten up by the little robot locusts), the idea that a higher power/entity is interested in our planet (I am of the opinion this is true, just that God is the higher power interested). But if you are planning on buying it, I say go with the 1951 version. There is a reason why it is a classic, and that 57 years form now, the new version will be a footnote.

The original may be campier, by today's standards, but it is far less preachy. And I fear the upcoming administration is going to get more shrill and throw its weight around with some very deep pockets in order to cram more of the same hippie slurry into movies. You heard it here folks, get ready for X-Men 6 Rise of the Oil Slick Cleaner-Upper Guy, and the like.

But then again, in thew words of the late great Phil Hartman: "What do I know, I'm just a caveman!"

-Jay

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I sat down and wrote a letter to my long-deceased grandmother earlier this week, and felt wonder at the comfort those impulsive words brought. I hadn't planned to write her, and everyone knows that email isn't typically received in Heaven (unless they get some great wireless broadband coverage), but I wrote her all the same.

I even emailed it to her, knowing it would most likely reject (and it did, the false hope I engendered in you momentarily for great posthumous broadband is now gone...so sue me). The surprising thing to me was the outpouring of emotion and built up feelings I experienced. I had figured my feelings about her passing were grown over, solid skin over old wounds. Instead I found them fresh and painful, newly split open like a sixteenth century sailor's scurvy while at sea. My grandmother has been dead for twenty-two months, passing on after fighting several strokes. I shouldn't have cried tears for her now, the funeral being so long ago, right?

These surprising words and feelings made me realize how much I hadn't said to her--those busy last few days where I only visited twice (afraid in my boyishness and hybris that if I didn't go by, she couldn't pass on, not yet). Oh how I wish I would have stopped by her small apartment to chat her up for a bit about work, life, all the seemingly mundane things that really are the glue of life. I would have shared that extra sharp cheddar/gorgonzola wheel with her instead of by myself in the emptier weeks after (my wife won't touch the stuff, not that I am complaining). None of that could happen now, much as I wanted it to, so I sent my one-sided conversation knowing it would reject, and I missed her with every keystroke.

You may brace yourself for a cringeworthy cliche now, as you may have seen it coming. Every mediocre bit of writing has at least one cliche, as Mr Harlan, my first year english teacher pointed out (I can still hear him: Blair, the best writing has no cliches whatsoever. The best writing is all original, even if writing about your old socks). Well here goes Mr Harlan, proof that my writing is truly mediocre, if nothing but passionate: love them before you lose them.

There. The timeworn saying hackneyed once again for you.

But it's true.

I miss you grandmother, I miss your smell, your laugh, the treasured back and foot rubs. I miss that you strengthened mom. I miss that twinkle in your eye when you thought something was funny, that way you washed and stacked your dishes (I know, random), and the way that you spoke with your southern gentlewoman twang. Mostly I miss how you made me feel. MOst kids would say their grandmother made them feel loved. You were no exception to that, and did it with such zeal that I never doubted. I miss that you love me, and miss you telling me that.

Not that I am feeling ill-loved in any regard. I must clarify that point. Melissa and the kids absolutely fill me up with love and hope and life. I just feel a bit less full if you will. And that makes me think of one of my favorite poems of all time:

http://www.online-literature.com/frost/742/

The line which gets me every time:

"And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree~
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."

And so I close this post, missing my grandmother still, yet feeling in my hearts that I will see her again. In that regard I am glad I wrote the letter to her.

Finally, some social commentary--some of the scholarly skeptics (on Frost and his poetic virtues) would offer their students hemlock in earthen jars (their Freudian speculations on the meaning of his poem), but I believe it to be honest and true. Frost meant what he wrote, and one day I'll climb my own birch tree and won't descend from it (as will all of us), but continue upwards into the sky; on and on till I reach Keats' Eremite and pass away into the stars.

-Jay

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love BYU football even more tonight...

Even after this game. Even after 5 TOs, 5 sacks, and all these damn penalties.

I am going to go buy a damn jersey and wear it to work on Tuesday, or get a flag and fly it all year. Something.

There is 5 min left in the game and BYU is down to Utah 24-41.

I realize tonight that I am turning into my father; cussing, kicking the chairs, and yelling at the radio. I offended my brother Dan, thought murderous thoughts about every Utah fan (for about 50 minutes), cursed the BCS money that every fan is going to say will be good for the conference (for about 50 minutes), and hoped for a great payback game next year. For two payback games actually, one with TCU and the other with Utah.

And now...I am cool with it. Win some lose some, keep the chin up, and "The Quest" continues.

Here's to the Bowl game that BYU is heading to! It will be either the Poinsettia or the Las Vegas, and most likely the Poinsettia.

-Jay

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Cunning Worker

in siderial days like these it seems
my well-built constructs evaporate
and deftly woven artifices fail 'till
all's fleeing; gasping, naked, shipwreck'd

this sand at times so firm underfoot
pr'haps dampened and bound by cement
'tis but sand, and shall revert still
eroded by time; attrited, eaten, windwreck'd

so many castles built of these grains
erections of fallacy, aether and wind
are stormbeaten and on and on 'till
ruined by seas; leveled, lost, shatter'd

the clay Daedalus sought in which to roost
with feathers twisted in wax and hope
plunges silently, a single scream then still
on the surface; sinking, slipping, ruin'd

these tinkling honied lips, mark well
the brazen call of cymbal and coronet
"Buy not the spurious thought, trappings ill!"
time settles all; clarifying, distilling, resolv'd

-Jay

Friday, October 17, 2008

I still love BYU Football

Even after last night's game. Even after the funk that Max Hall seems to be in these last 3 games. He's forcing passes into double coverage, and playing as if he was carrying around a great weight instead of the calm calculating game he usually plays. Must be the great big ranking hanging around his neck like a millstone.

True, we may fall completely off the top 25 with this loss, and we're most likely out of the BCS bowl bid, but honestly I can say I don't give a rats ass (And most likely we'll be number 23 or some such). The focus now can be a bit more relaxed. Now instead of every single competitor seeing a top ten team on their home field, the cougars can now focus on trying to finish the season off with 5 more wins chalked up. A bit less stressed by the burden, a bit more loose, a bit more motivated. Carrying around a ranking all the time can be heavy. If they can do this and chalk up 5 more wins, that would be close enough to a BCS bowl bid to satisfy my BYU football expectations this year.

Here's how I see the rest of the season shaking out:

10/25 BYU vs UNLV....win by 21
11/7 BYU vs Colrado State...win by 19
11/8 BYU vs SDSU...win by 28
11/15 BYU vs Air Force...win by 13
11/22 BYU vs Utah...win in OT by 3

Utah will beat TCU on 11/6, and TCU will have a hard time at Air Force. The final game of the regular season will be bitter at Rice-Eccles. BYU takes home the trophy after a hard fought season and ends up ranked 19th in the nation. As to a bowl game, they are eligible, and could end up anywhere. If they do pull off a win against Utah, its the Pioneer Las Vegas, but the MWC has four bowl game bids, and BYU may play in one of the four.

I dearly would love to see a rematch this season between BYU and TCU, but this will not be a BYU-UCLA revisit. If only, if only. BYU adapted the second half. A rematch this season would be very interesting.

All the ranting and speculation aside, here's to the rest of BYU's season!

Boys, after you realize no one will be gunning for you count this a good thing. Now is the time to practice hard, get that Quarterback option/draw defense smoothed out and lets move forward. It is time to get ready for the next five games and work towards that 6th!

GO COUGARS!

-Jay

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day IV

Last night finally yielded some sleep, the warm delicious kind that comes and bowls you over and you succumb to it with a smile. I still have the cough, but now I am hawking up globules of pistachio pudding (that is if Jackson Pollock were to interpret the said pistachio), and feel perhaps 20% better. Why quantify it at 20%? Because I feel somewhat better, marginally, and feel the will to live springing back, like a small pine tree buried under thew weight of feet of snow.

I got to sleep in today. Bless those heavy drapes Melissa bought a year ago last spring! I climbed out of bed, noting how my nose felt like so much shoe leather, brushed aside the pile of tissues on the floor and made my way into the kitchen. I put on a pot of water to boil, not for tea, but for recharging the heat in the bathtub, seeing as how it is cast iron and cools the water in it quickly. I walked away from the pot, and nearly into Melissa, she coming in the back door from taking pictures of the kids out in the early snow, She agreed to bringing the hot tea kettle down when it was ready and I retired to the tiny broom-closet of a bathroom we have downstairs.

The water was hot, amazing. I slowly lowered myself into it, grinning at the though of a metaphor--the one about deliberation and care--like a fat man easing himself into a hot bath. I am about 15 lbs overweight and know it, and the irony of the situation made me laugh, then cough uncontrollably for about 2 minutes.

Hot water is a gift from on high! I slipped under the surface of the water, tucked fetal in my body shape in order to fit the cramped confines. Hot water on sore ear canals is, I decided, one of the most underrated feelings in the world. Definitely under appreciated, and considering the average adult misses two work days form this virus per year, should be on the list of appreciated things.

I was pondering this and much more while in the water--the phenomena of time getting stretched out due to the limiting factor of a cold. It seems that all else falls off into a remote pain filtered interest, and only immediacy is present, crashing down like a great ice shard and washing out all else through an imperfect lens.

I sat and contemplated how the tub spigot looked like a proboscis monkey with stalk eyes and a snorkel (the shower head running from the spout and up to where the head rests in a cradle, actuated by pulling up a knob and routing the water up the snorkel tube and out the shower head). I thought too about my children as I could hear them carousing upstairs , full of life. Thankfully they, save for Miles, haven't been exposed to this tough strain.

Melissa came with the teapot then and my mind went blank in the newly hot water, only feeling the comfort of it, and listening to the whoosh of my breath through the weird amplification of the bathwater. I don't know how long I sat there then, time meant nothing, Melissa was there again, and I jumped, startled. She poured the teakettle of hot water in again and I thanked her, refusing another, luxuriating again in the water with a blank mind until it cooled, and I arose to take a shower, lightheaded.

She came again as I was showering, my movements slow and deliberate, my head woozy from lying in the water, I talked with her in whispers, afraid to set off another round of coughing. I yearned for the time when I could speak again, not realizing how verbal a creature I really am. Studies show stereotypical males say a half to a third of what females say in a 24 hour period, I wanted to shout and sing at that moment, instead finding my voice a weak whisper, tried to make up for the lost words and bring myself back to the proper ratio. It of course didn't work, I fell into a fit of coughing, and Melissa joined me, for what person with a cold can hear another cough and resist the growing itch in their own throat?

The air outside the bathroom was cool and felt good, I made my way upstairs, regretting that my sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt were dirty, instead I dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt, layered over with a grey wool sweater, and finished with socks.

I watched a lot of TV last night, afraid to sleep as we were out of NyQuil. Melissa had promised to bring me some after her shift at Archivers, which ended at midnight. I watched Mexican infomercials, "Man versus Wild", the news, and some political TV. I was most fascinated by the Mexican infomericals, some had superimposed Stereotypical Mexican folks sitting in on the product blurbs. One had a overweight lady, her face lined by frown lines, and a cigarette with the worlds longest ash stack on the end. The camera panned between her and an blonde oohing American girl, suggestively comparing the two, and I marveled at the contrast. I also marveled at the speed at which they made pesto. Amazing! Yet I still didn't pick up the phone, or my wallet.

So here I am, 20% better, still hacking, but this time wetly, and wondering how long this will take to move on through. I dread the Dr visit, but if my ears feel no better by Monday I am going in. He'll prescribe me antibiotics, and I'll take them, faithfully until the last one is gone, then wait for the cough to pass too in a few weeks.

On the up side of this whole thing, I am no longer cursing the cold. I have moved to the acceptance phase of it, grudgingly allowing this ill mannered bedfellow some time until it moves along to the next person. These colds really should come with a list, in chain-letter format, of who has had it. That would be cool.

-Jay

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Damn cold...

Yup, you guessed it, I have a cold. And not just the garden variety either--no I have a damn cold, quantified by this dry hacking cough, the alternating congestion in opposite orifices, and the parchment-dry throat which never seems to be slaked by umpteen visits to the drinking fountain.

It's damned cold indeed. Thrice damned by my writing and reckoning, and the damnability outlook is near limitless at this moment. To add insult to injury, Madolin, Miles, and Melissa all have one too (Hyrum lucked out somehow, thankfully).

Tis the season! Not only does this time of year allow me to enjoy the pre-Halloween Christmas decor, but the bite in the air allows the annual pilgrimage of the mutated rhinovirus into my upper respiratory system and I get to enjoy that Christmas garland hanging in Macys all blurred by my itchy watery NyQuil blurred eyes. Who needs illicit drugs when you can take a trip to the mall and see some weird shyte like that?

All kidding aside, I truly am suffering a cold (and it is my annual one!) and can think of absolutely nothing more interesting between this stuffy nostril and stuffy ear to write about. So apologies, .5 reader, for this rant about my bout with coronavirus.

It's time to head to the mall and Macys to see if that decorated tree and those craaaaazy wreaths will do that funky dance for me again!

-Jay

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Monday and I still can't believe that John McCain says ABBA's "Dancing Queen" is his favorite song. Seriously? You are a mans man, survived 7 years of the Hanoi Hilton, label yourself as a Maverick, and like ABBA?

I am shocked. I expected something like "For Whom The Bell Tolls", or "Smoke on the Water"--not ABBA.

Obama's favorite song was something by the rap group The Fugees, and elicited a great big yawn from me. The Fugees? At least he is in touch with his inner blackness. But ABBA? C'mon McCain!

At the very least I can say I am glad neither of them said they dug anything by Bjork. I'd have had to become an ex-pat and moved to Australia!

-Jay

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was cleaning the apartment/cooking dinner and thinking about my growing up years...my mom home schooled us for 2-3 years and also ran a day care. I was particularly remembering the alphabet people she had, and my favorite, "Super Socks". Well, I thought I'd search for it on google, and lo! I found it! My kids were glued to the computer for 3 playings. Ahhh the memories!

For your viewing pleasure I give you "Mr S" aka "Super Socks"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jg8Q6bxrg0&feature=related

If I ever learn to play guitar, this will be the first song I jam to...

Jay

And one more version (has the Sesame Street version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvh6Pto4ke4&feature=relatedg

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Coldplay - "Talk"

Oh brother I can't, I can't get through
I've been trying hard to reach you, cause I don't know what to do
Oh brother I can't believe it's true
I'm so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you
Oh I wanna talk to you
You can take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that's never been done

Are you lost or incomplete?
Do you feel like a puzzle, you can't find your missing piece?
Tell me how do you feel?
Well I feel like they're talking in a language I don't speak

And they're talking it to me

So you take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or a write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that's never been done
Do something that's never been done

So you don't know were you're going, and you wanna talk
And you feel like you're going where you've been before
You tell anyone who'll listen but you feel ignored
Nothing's really making any sense at all
Let's talk, let's ta-a-alkLet's talk, let's ta-a-alk

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I found a very good story about the BYU UW game last Saturday with comments posted by the UW kicker Ryan Perkins. Very insightful. I also thought a majority of the comments posted in the blog entry were classy, regardless of which side the comment came from.

This really shows that ESPN is motivated by some sort of adgenda. They put a spin on it, sensaionalizing the story and trolling for a breaking news story (and their efforts look like they paid off in dividends for ESPN).

What they need to remember is that when someone cries "The Barn is on FIRE" and the damn building is not on fire, people tend to frown on that. They'd be better off to just suck up the fact that they didn't get the MW conf contract, and report the news.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/huskyfootball/2008/09/09/perkins_view_of_final_kick.html

As to today's game against UCLA, Go COUGARS!

-Jay

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Work Work Work

I got a promotion at work three weeks ago. Before you go all confetti on me, please know it was only a 1% raise, not the 10-15% you migt have been expecting. The interview process with my manager, and the position that was open really got me thinking about what my motivations were for applying for it. I knew the raise would be pretty small, especially considering I was moving to salary versus hourly, and my manager gave me a heads up on the fact that we currently have a pay freeze in place for management. I also was well aware of the challenges on our team of low morale, buggy new tools, and high call volumes. I have been a 2nd level tech and escalation point for 5 months. Despite the challenges, I felt that I could bring consistency and stability to the team, through the adversity, so I talked with Melissa and I took it.

So far I haven't regretted it at all. I don't anticipate regretting the move either. Oh, I know there will be days of pure hell, but by and large those days will be few. I am excited to take my work to the next level and help shape my Techs into the power houses they all can become. And that is exciting to me.

As an aside, my days have flown by these past three weeks--busy learning new process, staying longer than 8 hrs per day, working on bringing issues into compliance.

Despite the small grumblings I have heard about procedural change stuff, the experience has been very good. I feel I am helping the team in a direction that will add meaningful procedures, timely updates, and better support. And that will eventually lead to a raise greater than 1%.

So all in all, I am just happy to be here.

-Jay

Thursday, August 21, 2008

08-08-08 Tag (Better late than Never)

Posting this in reply to Amber Wolf's blog, thought it would be fun to show ya'll what goes on in my brain. Sort of a Secret life of Walter Mitty thing. Read on and taunt, barf, laugh, whatever. :)

8 TV shows I Love to watch:

Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe
Mythbusters
Survivorman
Man vs Wild
It Takes A Thief
How It's Made
Modern Marvels
Cities Of The Underworld

8 restaurants I love:

Landry's Seafood
Olive Garden
Zuppas
Sushi Ya
Red Robin
Carls Jr
Wendy's
IHOP

8 things that happened today:

Snoozed the alarm 3x
Woke at 2:45 am
Showered/Dressed
Gathered food
Came in to work
Worked my backlog
Read online news
Checked in on my buddies blogs

8 things I am looking forward too:

Sunday! The beginning of my weekend
Nap time @ lunch
Payday
That clay bar from Griots Garage
Dan's birthday
Melissa's birthday
Miles' birthday
Christmas


8 Things I Love about Summer:

T shirts
Gardening
Crickets
Driving with the windows down
Kids playing in the back yard
BBQ
The cool mountain air
Camping

8 Olympic Events I want to see (and got to!):

Opening Ceremonies
Phelps
Torres
May Treanor
Men's Volleyball
Gymnastics
Marathon

8 things on my wish list:

House
Cars
Be a business owner
Dream garage
Travel to Britain, Europe, China, Alaska, Hawaii, Tahiti, Caribbean
Own a cabin
Have an in-house chef cook for me 3x a week
Have a personal trainer

8 people I want to do this same thing:

Melissa
Paul
Burke
Nate
Lynn
Beth
Jody
Andrea
Way to go May-Treanor and Walsh!

http://www.nbcolympics.com/beachvolleyball/news/newsid=241310.html?GT1=39003

It was a lot of fun watching them this year. 108 consecutive wins and back to back Gold medals (2004 and 2008). This is what the olys are all about :)

-Jay

Monday, August 11, 2008

U.S. Men's 4x100 Freestyle Relay

I got to watch the Olympics last night and witness that record breaking race. Amazing! Incredible! What a feat of Herculean ability! To see the come from behind victory was an Olympic experience right up there with watching Mary Lou Retton in 1984. Simply amazing. And simply too great for words. 

Many others have written words of greater eloquence about this event; the media loves things like this--a firestorm of writing will have been posted about it by the time I type this. My tiny words here are to pay a homage, albeit a small one, to the greatness of their deeds. These men did something last night that was truly remarkable. They shattered the old record (set a year ago, if you can call it old) by four seconds. That just doesn't happen every day.

When Lezak started to close at the 40 meter to go mark, I jumped up and was yelling at the TV in my front room. When he slapped that wall at .08 ahead of the French team, the reaction on Phelps' face was classic--a legion of emotion washed across it. I saw a moment of fear, a moment of incredulity, and then raw elation unleashed. It was one of those Walt Whitman "Yawp" moments, and was caught and recorded and will be replayed for years to come. I wanted to call someone, to yell too, to laugh and sing and express my pride over such a thing. A New Olympic record! Five teams beating the old record, and a new record for the 100 meter, and the fastest time in a 4x100 freestyle leg! What a race!

And I am very glad to say I was "there" to see it live. Fantastic!

I sure have enjoyed the Olys this year. Have been watching every night for hours on end.

Heres a link to NBC's website with a video clip just in case you missed it.

GO USA!

-Jay

Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's The Little Things...

I realized today, after a very long week of daddy detail (Melissa had CKU, a scrap booking convention from Wednesday till today, Saturday), that I find much of my joy in the little details of day to day life. I've compiled a short list, please feel free to add things that you find simple and amazing in the comments section.

My List:

Achieving the perfect part in my daughters hair (got it today for the first time!!)

The way the stairs look after having been freshly shampooed

The taste of pickle and cheese sandwiches (a special thanks to Wendy Malan for introducing me to them ten years ago--yes, I'm still eatin' them!)

The absence of things in those tiny clutter spots through the house

A freshly bathed and fed nine-month-old fast asleep and on clean bedding

A balanced checkbook

Minty-fresh and clean toilets

The laughter and fascination of my two toddlers and their excitement over bugs, weeds, and piggyback rides

Soft chairs and the sore feet to gratify them

Chowing down on food someone else has made (ahh...Carl's Jr, Taco Time, and Olive Garden, bless you this week!)

Catching the opening ceremony of the Olympics at 2 am today

The lovely feeling that came after realizing the grudge I'd held for two different folks had melted away. It feels almost cliche to say, but it's such a relief to not harbor ill feelings to these two anonymous folk from my ward (no one any of my readers would know). It went away after talking with them (not about anything remotely related to my feelings) and realized that I just didn't want to carry around those icicles any more. It was simple and wonderful to set the icicles down and allow them to melt!

That's about it for now...after all, the post was about the little things (the last thing mentioned was hardly a little one, in it's philosophical connotation or in its discourse, but I felt it was worth mentioning (so there, go stuff that in your pipe and smoke it, angry anonymous editor guy...or...whoever).

-Jay

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Batman Tonight at 10:30 on the Big Screen...

The very Big Screen!

I am headed up to Jordan Commons to watch The Dark Knight on an Imax screen with two buddies from work. I have been pretty tired all week, getting approximately 5 hours of sleep per night, so this feels a bit impetuous and ill planned, but it's sure to be a fun outing. I am going up with a boss and colleague, and by the time the move is over and I am back in bed it will be 2 am. I work at 5.

I have taken two naps today, and so have really been banking a few hours. I just wanted to tell my wife, who reads my blog, and my brother, who doesn't peruse the internets save for online banking, thank you. Melissa for being excited for me to go, Dan for being willing to watch the kids for an hour before going out to party with his buddies.

I don't know exactly what I am anticipating in the film. I hope all the hype about Heath Ledger doesn't spoil it, the sheer Juggernaut of cash it has brought in thus far is astonishing, especially when compared against what the first film netted entirely.

Here's to hoping it will be a gem and worth the loss of sleep!

-Jay

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Memory "Tag"

I usually don't post these, but want to put out a gratuitous troll to see who still reads my drivel...

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember that maybe brings a smile to your face!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It will be fun to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you are playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

New Car

On Thursday night, we bought a 2008 Mustang Coupe V6 with the Pony Package in black with a black leather interior. We purchased it from Larry H Miller Ford just of 13th south and I-15. Cory Bennion was the salesperson and we were able to obtain a significant discount as we are Costco members and own a 2005 Ford Freestar (customer loyalty cash).

It has been quite a while since I had a car that was a joy to look at and to drive (my Jeep Wrangler was the last one, traded it in back in 2003).

Distinctions for this package include; Pony grille, fog lamps, rear spoiler, 17" painted cast-aluminum wheels/bright rims and Z-branded tires.

This thing is amazing!

And for the goods, a tiny picture compliments of Ford.com (nearly identical, albeit our Pony has the white trim down the side, not the bone colored).
Here's an open invite for my friends and acquaintances; call me up and we'll go for a drive!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things I Have Been Digging On...

Mexican Soda Pop in bottles (Coke, strawberry cream, orange cream, horchata)

Anything by the author Gene Wolfe

Viva la Vida by Coldplay (it took me 8 years to warm to this band...late bloomer here!)

Through the Fire and the Flames by Dragonforce (prog rock, makes me want to go 600 mph)

The album Inquisition Symphony by Apocalyptica

Black, white or gray Ford Mustangs (anything 1998 and up, though a kick arse 68 would do just fine)

Home-made rock climbing walls

Atomik Climbing Holds (great cust service, hellaciously fast shipping, and they even threw in some free holds!)

Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo at Olive Garden

http://www.edmunds.com/ (all the info you could want about car shopping--great resource)

Old Navy and The Gap (These two stores are about the only places we shop for clothes anymore. We get 10% back on all purchases, free price adjustment within 1 week, and *!BONUS!* The Gap's fashion sense is finally normal again!)

Now go! Try some of that. Get converted & you'll thank me later. I expect a card, maybe a fanfare of trumpets...

-Jay

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Brief Writing Exercise...Exerpt From My Manuscript

The only other kids in the store were a teary-eyed toddler in a shopping basket (with a very harassed looking woman pushing it, her hair whisping every which way) and a kid sweeping out the produce section with one of those big floppy cloth push-brooms. Every other human under eighteen appeared to be doing something else, probably hiding out under rocks with the oppressive heat that was already forming outside. Yannick peeked out the front door at the shimmering heatwaves already distorting the image of their rental car. He turned back to look at his dad at the queue to the counter, then the lady pushing the shopping cart, and finally back to the broom kid. At least the broom guy looked like a kid, he was blonde haired and had a baby face, but a slight transformation happened as he drew closer--and Yannick felt one of those brief moments of disorientation--a pale goatee shimmered to life on the man's chin and upper lip, and wrinkles formed between his furrowed eyebrows as he scrutinized the floor. The only people under voting age in the store were the little tyke and Yannick.

He turned back to face the booth. It had a large orange plastic sign suspended from two dusty chains hanging over it titled Service in bold italic trebuchet font. David was now standing in the front of the line, the lady with the walker who had been in front of him was walking away clutching a carton of Camel Crush cigarettes with a shuffle click, shuffle click. David asked a question, then cocked his head sligtly, listening now to the woman behind the glass window reply. Yannick could see she wore an olive green cap with the letters Chaco stitched across the front, a white polo shirt, and a red vest over it with a name tag. He couldn't see her pants, but he bet they were shorts, and the same color as the hat she wore. Her feet probably had been tucked into sandals too, judging from the hat. She seemed like the kind of lady that would accessorize from her hat--bolstered by the fact that she was very tidy, her clothing impeccably pressed. Yannick could see the creases in her sleeves even from where he stood. Her name tag read Cheryl, and Cheryl was obviously describing directions. David held a Red Rocks map in one hand, a Moab map in the other, and his day pack had been dropped to the floor and kicked to the side. They'd come in to pick up a few goodies; some Gatorade, a pack of batteries (the ones in Yannick's flashlight had died last night on the way back from the bathroom), and get some directions. Yannick knew his dad was lonely, he could see it in his eyes when he met a woman he thought was good looking, but David never went out on any dates. David leaned slightly in, placed the two maps on the small counter between the glass panels, and put his elbow on the counter, never breaking eye contact.

The trail maps he'd held were the glossy laminated ones, the ones that never seem to fold up correctly. Yannick preferred the paper ones, but after their trip to Zion last month, David now swore by laminated ones. The Zion Narrows had put the kibosh on the paper maps, their only one had been soaked and torn in half when unfolded 30 minutes into the hike.

He asked a question, Yannick just outside earshot to catch it clearly, only hearing a slight murmuring and a few lower tones of his dad's vocal registry. David had said something that obviously excited the lady, she began gesturing emphatically with her hands. She took the Moab map from the counter, flipped it over and traced out directions, pausing and narrating at key points. Then she leaned in too. Yannick yawned and turned back to looking around the store. He walked the few steps from the magazine rack to the service booth, tapped his dad's shoulder and pointed to himself, then gestured back to the store. David continued their non-verbal communication and nodded in reply to his gesture. Yannick turned away and began to walk, knowing David would be busy for a good ten minutes talking shop with the tidily dressed hiker-woman behind the counter.

He walked past stacks of kidney beans and crackers on the aisle ends, turning down one that seemed most likely to have camera and camping gear. Yanick wandered along displays of fishing lures, egg holders, portable toilets, and hunter orange clothing, then found himself in a section that had some rock climbing stuff. He read the tags on the boxes; carabiner, rappel ring, jumar, crash pad. He looked at the pictures of the climbers on the tags, read the descriptions of each device. Some of the photography was really quite good. He thought back to the girl who he had watched climbing that boulder that morning. Maybe he could go take some photos and see how they turned out. That spot by the outhouse seemed to have a nice setting, good light, good landscape, even the outhouse was mercifully blocked by the scrubby juniper trees. It was a definite possibility. Tomorrow he'd have to go ask some of them if he could take their pictures.

He walked back around the far end of the aisle, heading back toward the service desk where his dad and the lady would most likely still be leaning over the map talking. As he turned the corner back onto the main area in front of the check stands, he spotted his dad. He was still talking with the lady behind the counter. Yannick grabbed a pack of trail mix and some Wrigley's spearmint gum. He paid the checker, a tan thin woman also wearing a red vest over her white blouse and tan shorts, and walked back to the counter. He heard Cheryl laugh as he was approaching, watched as she wrote something and handed it to David, clicking the button end of the pen before tucking it up under the band of the cap she wore. She stood and smiled, looking at them both, arms folded under her breasts.

David watched Yannick and pursed his lips out for a moment. He turned back to Cheryl, nodded and fire off a quick thank you, not one of those professional kind of niceties, but sincere, and nodded again as he left. He joined Yannick again and they walked past the magzine rack, past the paper maps. Yannicks hands twitched momentarily and he chuckled to himself ruefully. They walked together to the drink aisle, grabbed a tin of powdered Arctic Shatter Gatorade, and made their way perpindicular along the aisles, trying to find some AA batteries. David broke the silence first. "You know, there's a lady at work from Ecuador who says if your shoes squeak that they're complaining they've been stolen." Yannick turned to look at him, puzzled, lost at his train of thought. "What do you mean? Are my shoes squeaky?" David laughed and nodded. "Your left one, and every step." Yannick looked down at the pair of hiking shoes he wore, gray Asolo hiking boots he'd gotten before their trip to Zions. A lot of things had changed in that trip. He never had hiked before that time, never really talked with his dad, certainly hadn't joked with him for several years. They found the batteries, a ten pack with a bonus Shrek flashlight, and went to the checkout. The same thin woman was at the register, she winked at Yannick like he was a five year old as David paid for the groceries. Yannick put the stuff into the backpack, and they walked out the door into the heat.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Internet's False Carte Blanche

This morning I wandered into the comment section of a news article on ksl.com. Normally I avoid the comment sections like I would avoid the plague, but today for some reason I wanted to check in to see if the ugliness was still as rampant as I remembered. A bare ten seconds into the read confirmed it was.

It never ceases to amaze me what anonymity will embolden people to post. Hatred. Anger. Stereotyping. Ill humor. Small mindedness. The most appalling thing is the hate. People spray it all over the place, their cheeky comments reeking with oily sticky hate.

If you were to put these same folks in a room and make them talk about these things face-to-face the reactions would be vastly different. Sure, the feeling of an Internet forum would lead one to believe that a knife or two might be pulled, but I have to believe that is a false impression. Most of them would behave like a group of embarrassed seventh graders at a school dance. There'd be a lot of embarrassed shuffling of feet, no dancing out on the floor, and not a heck of a lot of interaction. The truth is, all the hubris hack posted out in the ether has to be due to the false sense of security the Internet allows us to engender.

The real troubling thing to me is that it fosters hate. Especially across demographic, space and time. We have folks who would never speak uncivilly to one another face-to-face airing their thoughts out for all of cyberspace to see. It's a false pretense, yet to the people posting it, and receiving replies to it, take it as a very personal affront. A scene from Romeo and Juliet comes to mind, and the scene where the Capulet and Motague boys, fueled by testosterone, find an excuse to pounce on one another (Act I, Scene I).

Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR

ABRAHAM
Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAMPSON
I do bite my thumb, sir.

ABRAHAM
Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAMPSON
[Aside to GREGORY] Is the law of our side, if I say
ay?

GREGORY
No.

SAMPSON
No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I
bite my thumb, sir.

GREGORY
Do you quarrel, sir?

ABRAHAM
Quarrel sir! no, sir.

SAMPSON
If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.

ABRAHAM
No better.

SAMPSON
Well, sir.

GREGORY
Say 'better:' here comes one of my master's kinsmen.

SAMPSON
Yes, better, sir.

ABRAHAM
You lie.

SAMPSON
Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

They fight


'Not so!' you might say, claiming that the Internet empowers people to be honest in what they're thinking. Whereas a muttered-under-the-breath comment may have been spoken and discarded, now one can, with full a breath and aided by the diaphragm, sound his YAWP from the rooftops of the world. And relive/rehash it ad nauseum. There's the true honesty. There's the truth unpainted, unfettered, unrestrained and in a ten second sound byte.

I read an article in the April 2008 The Atlantic titled The Britney Show. The author, David Samuels, meets up with and runs around with several paparazzi while they chase Britney for that million dollar shot. It goes over the well documented melt-down and raises ethical questions separate from this posting, but I took a key point from it. Mr Samuels talks about how popular gossip websites proliferate the media frenzy by creating forums and allowing the readers to comment and hash it out for their favorite celeb. All in the attempt at getting us to buy into it. All in the attempt to sell us the news and make some cold hard cash. Pretty slick method, yet nothing new. Gossip rags have sold for years at the newsstands. The e-form has also been around for close to a dozen years in various listserv and forum guises. The issue I have is that it's widespread and may be consumed wholly as reality for some folks. Where will the balance come from?

Don't we need a little restraint? Especially in today's busy road-rage-filled society?

Imagine if we didn't restrain ourselves a wee bit. Everyone would be pulling guns on one another on the freeways. The checkout lines at Wal-Mart would be a constant brawl. Disorder and anger would reign everywhere. Sounds very Bradburian doesn't it? But still...it could happen. If we become a nation of narcissists, bent on our own opinion and not concerned about the feelings or views of others, it could happen.

Order is built on the fact that we need to suck it up, swallow the snide comment, beg pardon when bumping elbows in a crowded space. Society demands it, propriety demands it, tolerance understands it.

So lay off the hate. Tolerate.

-Jay

Friday, June 06, 2008

Your Random Tidbit of the Day


I saw this Western Tanager from my kitchen window today while I was preparing a bottle of formula. Perhaps you, like I was earlier, are wondering what a brightly colored (nearly tropical!) bird is doing at our chilly parallel. I figured him for an escapee, but Utah falls in his native area. Point of fact, that native area stretches across most of the western US. Also of note, the riot red coloring on his face is not produced by the bird, he has to get it from the diet of bugs he eats.
I call him a he, the females are harder to spot; they are olive colored and more camouflaged. This specimen is not in it's mating season colors either. As mating season approaches, the blaze can cover the entire head. I am pretty amazed that I've not seen one before, garbed like a road worker in tux and tails. It just goes to show me that if I stop and stand still for a moment, hidden things like this reveal themselves.
And that's your random tidbit of the day.
Jay

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Up To Date

This is going to be a posting designed to bring you up-to-date. Expect ramblings. Expect loose association, if any. Think of this as a journal entry.

Saturday before last I bought a couple of rock climbing walls from a fellow off ksl.com. He drive them down from Bluffdale at the song of $100 a pop, free shipping. I've wanted a bit of a rock climbing wall for a while now, and between the lumber, the screws, the holds, assembly and delivery the single Benjamin price tag seemed reasonable.

They've been great. Two weeks of climbing on them every day, two weeks of getting Melissa and Hyrum out there, two weeks of climbing exercise (which I normally don't get, seeing as how my exercise has been limited to a radius of 5 miles from home). The ability of going out to the garage for a short crank session is fantastic. The fact that Melissa can climb, Hyrum too--well that makes it downright priceless. Well, OK, maybe not in the literal terms of an ancient artifact, but valuable nonetheless.

The past three Saturdays I've been running. Ogden was the 17th, then the next Sat was a 3.25 loop by my house, the 31st the same loop. For some reason it just feels right to get out. So I continue, slowly running, breaking it up with sections of walking, no grand intentions involved. Exercise merely for the sake of exercise. It's nice to get out and do it.

Work is going pretty well--we're continually growing and learning new ways of helping our customers. We've gotten a new batch of hires this week (on Monday), and that alone is a challenge. But this group of folks seems pretty sharp so we'll see how they all fit in with the batch of Engineers we currently have.

I interviewed for a Team Manager position, a series of three interviews, ending in a pleasant talk with the Site Manager, Jeff. Cool guy, never felt the sort of camaraderie with the previous Site Manager. Will be finding out shortly how that shook down. The extra income would be fantastic (and that segues beautifully into my next section).

Melissa and I have been house hunting for months now. We have been a bit on-again, off-again as the price of the things is a bit scary as hell--we will either make an offer and get slapped by the owners (for a not-unreasonable offer nonetheless!), or be interested only to find we were beaten out by an earlier offer. We hae our eyes on a beauty of a home in our ward boundaries now, but even after getting an unofficial offer accepted, we're having second thoughts due to the sheer cost of a place. All those zeroes staring back from that paper may as well be gaping mouths of hell hounds for the amount of fear they instill.

Funny that, but it keeps on happening.

I'm not really intending to come off completely discouraged. There is a great fact in the truth that we will find our place, and with the debt to income ratio as a more balanced number.

This makes me think back to the whole income thing, and Melissa's job. She has been interviewing for a Supervisor position as well, one which would bring a $2.40 an hour raise. That's pretty dang significant. If I get a raise, and she gets a raise, well then. That's more money! Opens a whole set of doors to fight all those gaping maws of zeroes on the mortgage.

The kids are growing like crazy. Maddy and Hyrum are pretty much toilet trained, occasionally they'll have an accident if outdoors and having fun for an extended amount of time. They continually surprise me with what they say, how big they are, how much they love to be learning, exploring, and searching out bugs. Miles is rolling around all over the place and is eating lots of solid foods (both a bit of old news I'm afraid). He is such a smiley kid.

It's 6 am now, and I am tired...will probably go out to the break room and get a bite to eat from the vending machines.

See? I told ya this was going to be a rambling post.

-Jay

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fear

I have been contemplating lately what holds me back in regards to incidents and interactions in my life. The conclusion, which may be a result of my mind tyring to sort and organize and compartmentalize all my daily experiences, is that fear has a place in my psyche that can strangle my motivation.

Let me explain. Scenario: my church calling is to contact people and ask them to go talk with the Bishop so they can renew their temple recommends. The niggling thought in my mind is that most of those people are probably not wanting to go in for an interview and confess that they haven't paid tithing, that they haven't lived the commandments, etc. So I let the opportunity to fulfil my calling slip through the cracks because I fear to offend.

Yes, better to fear God and do his works than to fear man and do nothing.

So I am trying to face the fears, the small worms at the core of the issue, and act responsibly. Not that I am exorbitantly irresponsible by any means, I just feel like I can skate on by on some things--wrapped in a cloak of apathy or non-involvement. Again, please note this is a self-critical evaluation. I am a damn fine housekeeper and I am a major part of my children's lives. I write this lest some greater power believe I sit naked in front of the TV covered in cheetos and stale sweat. Let me re-iterate then that I feel I am an involved husband/father. I merely hope to be more connected.

I have plenty to worry about, between the kids being smartly dressed/fed/educated, spending time with my wife since we both work, and maintaining a good ethic at work. But on top of that all I worry about my book, currently rolling into it's fifth year of composition. I don't like to air out my laundry in public, for fear of folks realizing my underwear has holes in it. My ideas are my own, and not owned by anyone else. I fear the critic, and even fear the potential for shoddy work, but mostly fear the idea of never finishing this. I loathe the idea of living a life of punching the clock instead of being my own boss.

The resolution to this, for me, is to write. Everyday. I write the beautiful, mundane, daily stuff; breading and seasoning and cranberry accompanying the meat of my life. I write it down, force my will onto paper (or e-paper if you will), and face the fear of criticism. I thumb my nose at the face of the sneering critic & I write my words, brave soldiers they are, to fight the hatred of the sprayer on the forum. In the lines of my verse I beget hope to father life in the desolation of the opinion. My words are like a seed to me--full of potential, bursting with life and wanting more. They want to grow and take root and develop.

And these things fight my greatest fear; that what I do and who I am does not matter. Oh the great falsehood of that belief--the destruction these words have on my psyche! What a strange line of BS for a successful hard working father of three to have! The truth is, any of these steps I take to fight the fear in my heart make me a better husband, a better father, a better human. As I grow and fight the fear in me, it bolsters the belief that what I do matters. It fortifies the truth that fear and belief cannot coexist, one yields to the other, for they are diametrically opposed.

Yes, I know, compartmentalized thinking. I told you. My thinking of things as belonging in a box, of holding commonalities between them. But they do. And the trick in life for me is seeing how they are related, no matter how tenuous.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ogden Marathon Relay

I was able to run in the Odgen Marathon Relay on Saturday with Lynn, Karol & Dave Henry. My leg of the relay was the 4th section, from The Oaks restaurant down to the mouth of Ogden canyon. Melissa was to run the last 3 mile section, but she opted (smartly if I do say so myself!) to not run due to a sore back. I ran both of our assignments with my two untrained legs, cramping only in the home stretch.

I am not much of a runner, yet still enjoyed the experience. There is something fulfilling in physical activity that wrings me out, leaving me exhausted. And those 8.2 miles wrung me out pretty well.

The humbling thing for me was feeling hammered and stumbling around the "Welcome Runners" area at the end of the race while many of the solo runners were laughing and having a party. It took me 50 minutes to feel some semblance of normalcy, after a visit to the loo (which had no TP incidentally) and a hot shower at Connie and Earl's house. By the time I threw a leg over my motorcycle and pulled onto the street in front of their house, (nearly running into and scaring the death out the blue haired lady driving, due to my tired legs) I was ready to be home.

I rode back to Orem from Ogden in 50 minutes (no freeway closures, yay!), stopping in at Timpanogos Harley Dealership in Orem to say hello to my younger brother Dan who just got a job there last week & to schedule a 1000 mile maintenance. I got home and hobbled in to be with Melissa and the kids, and have been hobbling around for the past two days. This morning is the first day that stairs haven't about killed me.

The parts of my body which (still) hurt from the run:
thighs
glutes
hamstrings
calves
right heel
left pinky toe (was still numb yesterday)
trapezius muscles.

The moral of this story? Running in an event requires training. But then again, that'd ruin half the fun. I would be rid of that key element of suffering!

-Jay

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stole This One From a Friends blog...

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

- CS Lewis

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Feeling of an Old Age

I found a new definition for old today, found it in my pocket, under my pillow as I tried to snag a nap, written on the backs of my eyelids as I blinked. Old is a mindset brought on by uninvolvement and disconnectedness with what you used to do.

I felt old earlier today. I look at the myself of earlier today through the lens of a bit of fresh enlightenment--I was debtor to my obligations, swimming in my lack of downtime, dressed in the suit of responsibility (which never should be dirtied in the sandbox of enjoyment). I say was, as my enlightenment from a few moments ago shows me a new perspective. 

Oldness is something we allow in the mind. It is a state of thinking, and it strikes us when we are not involved. It is insidious as it creeps in under the guise of car payments, a larger than we need mortgage, the crushing accumulation of household crap (that we just have to have). 

I feel refreshed in breaking from the mould of the routine. Tonight I went out to the back yard in the biting wind dressed in a hoodie, beanine & sandals (I gotta have some yin to the yang, it's March for petes sake!) to cast the empty line of a borrowed 8 foot Browning fly pole. 

The simple act of casting, trying not to snap the line like a whip, and putting the opaque trembling leader where I willed were liberating. The small break in the routine has me refreshed like a thrown open door in a mausoleum. That biting wind chased me indoors after about twenty casts, but the point is I went out. I went out. I did something I really wanted to do despite the fact that I could have done a dozen other responsible things.

The interesting thing is all my commitments were already filled. It was the fugue of fatigue which I needed to reach through to grab at something fun. I have left nada lacking today; I went to work, I fed the kids, I vacuumed. I have just slid into this comfortable womb of justification and denial anytime I feel half motivated to do something. Talk myself out of it. Tonight I talked myself into it.

I've pretty much given up on cycling these past few months. Instead of getting out on the skinny or fat tires to pedal away my frustration (and expanding midsection), I ride the motorbike on my precious downtime. I've neglected the physical motion and the accompanying release for mechanization. True, the motorbike is a blast. But I need balance in my life again. I need to get out and make my body move. 

Age is a relative factor of the mind. These past weeks I've felt old. Tonight's few casts in a new discipline have stirred me, for which I am thankful. Now to stir myself into some sort of momentum!

OK then, I am off for the treadmill. Mental (and physical) love handles be damned!

-Jay

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Untitled 4-30-2008

I saw this morning's leaf
and exultant bird
both were chased with the morning sun
both sang "wake! wake!"
in the chill dawn
I nodded to them in passing.
I plucked a blossom
pink in my possession
in its crisp scent
the color was bright
against the deep of the canal
where I dropped it
fluttering to rest.
It lazed under the bridge
and I waited to meet it
on the far side, searching
for the petals on the water
sweetness on the wave.
A wing I saw then
dark purple with peachen breast
swallow swift against the bank
he'd come with the water
and brought his chittering cousins.

-Jay

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Whirl of Emotions

I am sitting at home with Hyrum and Maddy playing in the front room and Miles in his bouncy chair (with one leg held up in the air and his usual three fingers in his mouth) sitting beside me. After the wash of emotions I experienced yesterday today feels quiet, serene. Melissa is truly at work now, and the babies and I have the afternoon to ourselves. We'll probably head to the Harley Shop to exchange a shirt for a larger size (an unfortunate truth I've accepted about being 30--hah!), then perhaps mosey on over to Cabela's to pick up a fishing pole and a license.

Yesterday Melissa had me completely fooled about a surprise birthday party. She was supposed to work from 6 to 12 at one of her store weekly crops (an event where folks get together for a scrapbook party), and even rushed off leaving a cake freshly done which was supposed to be for the trip to Grandma Jensen's on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Melissa and I went to eat sushi at one of our favorite places Sushi Ya. I'd been planning on doing this for months for my birthday lunch, and the food did not disappoint.I even texted Dan to tell him I wished he was there to join me. Dan is a sushi buff too, and the last time Melissa and I went out to sushi was with Dan. We ate so much I nearly hurled, and it was all because any leftover uneaten pieces would have to be paid extra for. What a great memory. The image of Dan dry heaving on his umpteenth piece of yellowtail is burned into my memory. 

If you ever go to the restaurant on 1400 South State in Orem, don't be fooled by the older slightly run down facade. The building may need a fresh coat of paint and few weeds pulled, but the fare is top notch. Their food has a great reputation, and they always had people sitting to eat their fantastic rolls when we've gone in.

I will be honest, I felt mopey all afternoon after the sushi trip. I took a nap as I had a bit of a headache (I had donated plasma in the morning...I know...I know, on my birthday--but hey, $35!), and when I woke, I asked Melissa if she minded that I went to look at guns at VanWagenens By the mall. She knew I was in a bit of a bummed mood and let me go while she was making my cake.

The drive down to VanWagenens was intereiitng, I listened to Arrow 103.5 on the way down (It's been my favorite station for about 7 years now), and was really touched by Kansas' song Dust In The Wind. I've heard it probably twenty times before, but for some reason the fragility of it came across to me today. Most likely because I realize that my youth is fully over now (isn't it odd to think of 20's as still in "youth").  Life passes by so quickly!

I looked at 22 caliber pistols (I'm considering a Walther P22 or a Ruger Mark III), as I want something fun to shoot for plinking cans. After hanging out in the pawn shop for about :30, I picked up and headed home, Van Halen blasting on the radio of the Suburban.

After getting back, I helped Melissa get ready for work, cleaned up a bit, and called my brother Dave and my father in law Lynn to see if they'd want to hang out with me. Dave said he'd come over and work on my bike with me, Lynn said he needed help with moving a piano at the church for a meeting.

Lynn came over, we hung out and talked guns for a bit, and then we headed over to the church. Little did I know when he opened the door into a darkened gym I would be jumping nearly out of my skin! One of my nephews, Curtis, reminded me of gollum from Lord Of The Rings with his no-holds-barred, leap-from-the-shadows approach. I nearly soiled myself in surprise at the ensuing clamor when the lights flipped on.

The people there:

Melissa, Hyrum, Madolin, and Miles
Darren & Anna, Blair, Tanner, Josh and Madison
Dave & Toma, Colton, Brody, and Reanna
Lynn & Karol
David & Kara, Xander, Maxton, Griffin and Aubriana
Chip & Michelle, Curtis, Lauren, Carter and Caden
Bob, Becky and Savannah
Jody & Beth, Taylor and Mason
Oden & Shirley
Rod & Mom
Connie, LuAnn & Ranette called me from Hawaii during the party to wish me a happy 30th!

The night stretched from 7:15 on to nearly 10:30. I talked, laughed, played a little basketball, tied balloon ribbon on all my nieces and nephews under 5 feet, and had a great night. Thanks to Melissa's stealthy organizational skills, everyone made it my best birthday ever. 

I just wanted to thank everyone for such a great night; for their kind words and gifts, their presence both actual and virtual, and the outpouring of love I felt.

Here's to the next 100 birthdays!

-Jay

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Snow? On Freaking April 24th?

Its April 24th 2008 @ 4:00 p.m. and the weather is stormy and snowy. Who would've thought we'd be having snow a month into this 2008 spring season? Wow. I mean, I know we're in a desert and all, and all the moisture we can get is a good thing. But honestly! Rain should be falling, not snow! April showers bring May flowers n' all. I think the nursery rhyme is confused today.

To add insult to injury, I am off on PTO today. Days off are supposed to be sunny--where birds sing in the trees, butterflies follow you around when you step out the door, and manna falls from the heavens. It's a day off after all.

OK, OK. In all reality today has been a nice day off. I got to hang out with Melissa and the kids this am. I talked with Dan-o on the phone. I rode my motorcycle down to Provo and got to lift/work out with Dave at BYU.

Variation on a primary song:

I just looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on every tree. Spring has brought me such a nice surprise, popcorn falling just assaults my eyes. I can take an armful and make a treat, a snow cone ball that would taste so sweet. It was really so, and it seems to me, snow is falling when it should be spring.

So really, I did just look out the window and the sun is pushing through the clouds. In the south they say when it rains and is sunny at the same time the devil is beating his wife. When it snows and it's sunny, well...why don't you post something about that as a reply. Keep it clean, this is after all a family-oriented blog. :)

Anyway. I just wanted to post something today, tomorrow is my 30th birthday (holy crap when did I get that old). I am glad to be spending it at home with Mel, Hyro, Mad, & Milo. I look forward to saying hello as well to all (five or six of) you readers of my blog as well.

-Jay

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Power of Music Association

My shift is from 5 am to 1:30 pm. So by the time I come in, I am hiting the back end of the Grave guys shifts.

Today, one of my colleagues named Greg was playing some music. Nothing too unusual to note, considering Greg loves music and often has it playing (and also millions of people all over the U.S. own iPods). The interesting thing from this morning was my reaction to two of the songs he chose to play.

I heard "Wipeout" by The Fat Boys (1987), and "Mmmbop" by Hanson (1997). These two songs are some I haven't heard for years. They're also songs I have some serious memories of. "Wipeout" was one I remember from grade school--I remember watching the music video on MTV, and I remember a friend talking about how cool it was. This same friend Gabe had a vivid imagination, and he swore he'd seen a "special edition" of the music video had naked girls sunbathing on it. We watched the video a dozen times and never saw his "special edition". "Mmmbop" just completely reminds me of my younger brother Dan. He was a skinny young kid (just like the Hanson brothers)that year after I graduated from High School, and I look back on those weird popular music years (think ChumbaWumba if you doubt me) with some nostalgia.

I even texted Dan this morning to send him a message about how the Hanson song reminded me of him. Hopefully he won't be offended, instead I hope he'll laugh and remember some old times. It'd be even better if he makes an association with the song and shares it with me.

To me, this is what music is all about...the memories. And with almost any song I can remember people, places and times.

Is that crazy?

-Jay

Friday, April 18, 2008

I went for a walk just a moment ago in the Friday afternoon sunshine. It is a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l day outside. Balmy air, no wind, clean skies.

I walked along a green sward of trees along the back side of the complex here at work. A landscaped section of trees and grass and hill hocks which I can only assume serve as a buffer against the neighborhood directly adjacent to the property.

I find them a buffer for my spirit against the necessity of working in a building and sitting in a cubicle.

I strode fairly quickly, trying to keep within my allotted 15 minutes break, but making sure I observed the life around me. Two quail walked across the parking lot, their strut-like walk cautious even from afar. We have many cats living on the site here, I see them often lounging in the bushes at several points where a ill strange (I think at least, who the heck does this?) cat lady feeds them in the wee hours. But that is another story.

Other birds sang in the trees in the green swath. I walked past a spring-burned section of weeds along the canal bank, wound my way along the trees by an entry road which bisects the campus, and only breached my self-steered grassy path to cross the road and string my walk out a little longer under some crab apple and blue spruce. I strolled in front of the cafeteria and caught a whiff of fragrance from the hyacinth and crocus there. Its amazing the things we can see if we'll open our observation up to them.

I noticed something too about how I observe others during this time. The runner behind me along the gravel path by the canal was first noted at a distance by the crunch of his shoes. The man who exited from building N unnoticed and also walked behind me by the canal wore a green and blue rugby shirt. After walking through the perfumed flowers by the cafeteria, I noticed a woman walking towards the building with a cigarette burning. Se held it stiffly upright and away from her, at arms length, between her right index and middle fingers. Last of all a man wearing green tinted sunglasses crossed the street two steps in front of me. He had a security chain looped from his belt to his wallet and trembling sine waves rolled along it as he walked.

I moved on through the last copse of landscaped green and looped back around toward the rearward of the building. I noticed a bee on the sidewalk, almost underfoot and too worn out to fly. I stopped to him, put my finger down in front of his head, and invited him on. I did it before I even considered the possibility of him stinging me; it turns out he didn't even consider it. He walked right up my fingertip and waited, his stinger remained sheathed. He and I regarded one another for a moment before I set him gently on a short aluminum signpost. His compound eye and shined dully in the sunlight streaming around me through the new leaves. That aisle way of trees between buildings is weird--the light bounces off the mirror polish of the windows in a strange way, reflects up and through and around. It comes from multiple directions and lights up the tree leaves, making them transparent. This is where he was when I found him, this was where he was when I set him down. It was a moment of dappled lucidity.

I left the bee and walked back into the building, wondering at the veracity of nature and the two edged sword of technology: will one be sacrificed at the expense of the other? Will my grandchildren be able to enjoy days like I enjoyed today?

I hope so. If it is to be, its all in the details that we care to notice. These lasting moments of inflection, of nature, of self study will last longer than any technological perpetua of the moment. Bees and trees and the earth have been around longer than any of us. And it's good to remember that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good Morning

I haven't posted up in a few days and wanted to make sure my handful of readers had something new when they typed in my blog address.

So good morning friends and readers, thank you for for stopping by.

I am huddled under both a blanket and jacket in my cubicle this morning, the 6 am outdoor air still frigid and cracking with frost. Its supposed to be spring, but old man winter is fighting back a bit after getting jipped out of those two weeks we had of early spring which snuck unnoticed under the umbrella of winter.

"In the spring, I have counted 136 kinds of weather inside twenty-four hours" -Mark Twain

With Utah, if you are bored with the weather, wait a few hours as it will change. Sunday and Monday were in the high 70's/ low 80's. Yesterday had high winds, blown dust, and snow. Today? Who knows.

“Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather, He whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop.” -Alfred Polgar

Fantastic quote. Makes me wonder how often I use the "waiting on things" mentality--I just have to get through, put my time in on, or make it stretch out till payday? The attitude that accompanies these delays is not one of mutual tolerance. They are arduous and usually frustrating.

This post is taking a direction which I had not anticipated. Oh, sure I've thought of these things before, but why today? Why now?

Melissa and I want our own house and have been stymied in that area (long story, I'll tell it sometime). We're working with the kids in the potty training war (mostly good days now, few accidents!). We both work to both pay the bills (which surmount so easily yet pay down so very slowly). How do we celebrate the weather around us when all we see is the storm?

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” -John Ruskin

Attitude then is the key. And hope. And faith. Belief that what I do matters to four people still sleeping at home right now. And those four are my world.

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien

-Jay

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

http://icanhascheezburger.com

So I stumbled onto a very funny website here at work:

http://icanhascheezburger.com

Hillarious pictures of cats, animals, etc.

Try not to overthink the spelling, they call it LOLSpeak

My favorite picture today:

March Wireless Bill

Last night while checking email, I saw my wireless bill. Pretty ordinary you might think--and normally I would agree with you. But this month has a been a bit hectic, with chasing medical insurance claims, trying to house hunt, and traveling for work.

My cell phone bill was twice it's normal amount. Painful.

I read through the log of calls and tried to reason out the charges, and unfortunately they all jive. My better half's and my family share plan consists of 700 minutes, with free in-network calling. Where the disconnect happened this month was on all the calls out-of-network. Proofing the reams of virtual paper showed calls to family, calls to real estate agents, and calls to medical insurance specialists. All of them non Verizon. All of them costing me my precious minutes.

Normal usage for Melissa and I over the past twelve months has been well inside the 700 anytime minute mark. Verizon doesn't roll over minutes, and this month we exceeded it by approximately 250 minutes. And that's billed at .45 cents a minute. Ouch.

So the question is do I bump our family plan up? It's really only an extra $20 a month for 700 additional anytime minutes. If I break out the overage charges by the additional cost computation, that's six months of potential service wasted on overages. Seems like a no-brainer when looking at it that way.

But is this month an anomaly? Traditionally, Melissa and I are within the 700 minutes our plan allots. Seems to me that this just might be the troll which hooks many a folk into biting on a more expensive plan. Unless of course we suffer through another month of the potential cancer-causing phonegluedtohead syndrome. Another set of overages will snap my theory of our trend usage right in half.

I am by no means independently wealthy. And an additional $120 heaved on the pile of monthly expenses is a tad frustrating. It fosters one of those "I just worked overtime for Verizon" sorts of thoughts. I suppose I will bite the bullet and go for the 1400 minute plan. I can make the adjustment with no extension to my contract, etc. Verizon is pretty decent about that.

I need to text more now--what a great price! 500 out of network text messages, plus free in-network texting all for the low monthly price of $10. With the sheer number of texts I send to Melissa and Dan, the primary recipients of my cellular shorthand, the .50 cents a message monthly fee is far far cheaper. if I break it down per text, it's about one fourth the .50 cent per message cost. That's a bit better.

Then again, I may skip the plan upgrade entirely. I may just go all Scrooge on the phone company. I could even go completely nuts and borrow other people's cell phones when I need to call out; impose a self-regulated wireless drought where I call out on my cell only on odd days and weekends. Never during the heat of the day, always from the lee side of a rock or shade of a copse of trees.

So if I don't answer your call, don't feel slighted. I may text you back, I might just write your message down and try to send a reply via carrier pigeon or bottle. At the very least I can try them face-to-face--have a half dozen conversations with you (all in descending chronological order) when I see you again. Just try to keep up eh? Remember I will be taking notes. So nobody plan on dying, having any children, seeing the virgin Mary, or having any experiences needing immediate feedback. I'll get back to you in 24 to 48 business hours.

-Jay

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ran/walked on the treadmill just a moment ago. 
I've got a relay section in the Ogden Marathon coming up in 1 month and I am in no shape to speak of. 'Sides that I've been feeling tired lately and have been having headaches. 
Exercise helps me to feel better. 
I stepped off the treadmill five minutes ago and wanted to log an entry about being out of shape. Just to illustrate my point, consider that I used to go for 20 mile pedal bike rides for fun. 
Today I did:
22 minutes
1.22 miles
At least it a start...
-Jay

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

4-3-2008 00:23 a.m.

Ugg...it's night number two for me in the Raleigh-Durham area.

To give that to you in different terms, I've eaten out for six meals straight. I've been lost on the roads here today on three seperate occasions. I have used five different toilets, showered twice in a stall not my own, and dressed from a duffel bag twice. Travel, when not with loved ones, is oddly painful--like the way I imagine an invalid feels when reaching for an itchy missing limb.

The trip has not been purely awkward. I've found some strange beauty in a business park surrounded by a forest. I've watched a mother Canadian goose, who built a nest out of pine needles in a work parking lot defend her choice of location. I've seen green leaves peeking out of hundred year old live oaks, pink wisteria braving the stark boles of the denuded trees, and heard the night chorus of spring frogs against a backdrop of stars and points of far off city lights. I've met some fine folks and I am getting valuable training to foster more knowledge of all things NetApp. The beauty and the business are hand in hand here.

It's past midnight in this tri-city of trees and no mountains, and I need to sleep. I am missing Melissa and the kiddles something fierce right now, and they're too many miles away. I just want to put the kids to bed with songs, slip into my sweat bottoms, and go to sleep with Melissa's feet tucked right on top of mine.

North Carolina is lonely tonight.

We fly out after training wraps up on Friday. We'll be sprinting for the door after 3:30 pm Eastern Daylight, driving to the airport with our bags in the back seat, and dropping off the rental car (all in one breath) while making for the check-in counter. A quick Delta flight to Cincinnati, where I'll eat something healthy (I swear it), and then home home home to the mountains and the dry air--the stunted trees and my babies, and my babe.

Oh Lord, hear my prayer and get me home. I know that can't happen this instant, but maybe I can go home in my mind for just a few hours tonight--to the front room where Hyrum and Maddy have been all morning watching PBS, and the pillows are everywhere. They'll have scattered bits of crayola'd notebook paper, along side their empty sippy cups holding leftover traces of chocolate-strawberry milk from breakfast. Miles will be laying on his play place and smiling like he wants to grab and hug everything, and Melissa will be there with her smile and her eyes and her smell will surround me.

That's what I want. That's where I belong. And Lord, that's where I wish I were tonight.

-Jay

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

4-1-08

The flight this am was interesting. As we boarded onto the Delta 738 flight, I sat near a woman who I later found hailed from Buffalo. We spoke very little over the first few hours, mere niceties, Spartan courteous comments about the in-flight movie (an excellent film, August Rush) or the turbulence.

Silence is golden.

The seat next to me was occupied by a cliché—a very heavyset woman in a flower print muumuu. Her right arm was at the perfect rib-jabbing height, and I consequently held my own awkwardly over the next 3 hours, as well as a slight grudge with her over her ease at relaxing amidst my discomfort. Thankfully, Mrs. Buffalo was understanding in her taciturn nature, and adjusted enough in her seat to view the ceiling mounted LCD display where our movie was playing. I took some of her space, my elbow claiming the armrest.

We landed, and I had my only conversation with muumuu lady for the entire flight—the touch down was rough, and upon her comment, I laughed with her and made mention of how nice it was to get a free roller coaster ride. As soon as we stopped, she stood and I lifted her previously claimed armrest and took the previously occupied chair over, amoeba-like.

I made small talk with Mrs. Buffalo as we waited for the cabin to empty (we were situated on row 31 of 36 on the 738), our exchange of four sentences revealing she was from Buffalo and was headed home. Finally the aisle cleared and I bid her safe travel.

I met up with my colleague Jeremy Larsen (who I realized, despite the early-flight-rush stupor fo this am, is married to an old friend from Nephi—what a small world), and we walked to a bookstore so I could buy a couple of paperbacks by Frank Herbert. He’s a recent discovery for me, his 40-year-old writing about the world of Dune fresh and new. After the bookstore, we made our way to a sit down restaurant called Max & Ermas. The chain is somewhat of a Cincinnati staple. I found the ambience agreeable with its tarmac views and pilot memorabilia on the walls. I had an excellent fish sandwich, the daily special (which I never pick and always feel a tad guilty about since the waitresses spend the time rattling it off), my colleague had a blue cheese hamburger. We hastily ate, hastily paid and ran for the terminal, only to arrive (albeit unknown to us at the time) outside the boarding time for flight DL6313 to Raleigh. Delta states we must be on board 6 minutes before the flight leaves. Plan ahead people! The doors were shut and I should’ve known something was fishy, but instead I answered a more basic call and went to the bathroom, as I detest the necessity of using a toilet at 21000 feet. Man wasn’t made to poop mid-flight like a bird.

After voiding said bowels, I sensed something was amiss, mostly due to a change in the destination on the marquee above terminal A22 instead of any innate sense and it’s subtlety. The flight hostess at the desk was not pulling a joke on me when she informed me we’d missed our flight, as I was initially wont to believe. She was in somewhat of a bit of ill humor, but upon viewing my incredulous face, had compassion on us. She steered us to a courtesy booth between gates A3 and A4. Thankfully, the lady behind that booth (who was walking out the door, presumably for home—she sounded ill) was very helpful and helped us to get re-booked for a 4:45 flight to Raleigh. She helped us with narry a comment or condescending eye, and I wished her well in her getting over her cold. She seemed genuinely surprised that I noticed she was suffering from a stuffy nose and responded very brightly when I noticed.

We walked now, a bit abashed now at our previous Hollywood-esque run for the airplane, for the C terminals. Our flight was no longer located in the A terminals, instead we had to cross to the far side of the airport. We caught a shuttle and rode the tarmac at bug eye level to the taxiing planes. Very cool. I like to think it was a heightening of the overall experience, something I would've missed out on had we been on time. The C terminals were all at ground level, and we got to walk out to the smaller ERJ plane, like reinacting a scene from Hawaii Five-O (minus the leis and the grass skirts, and also the baggage handler smelled like mushrooms and had a look on his face like he wanted to hurt me).

The smaller plane accelerated and decelerated faster, it also had prevalence for bouncing across the rougher air pockets. The up side was that I now had a barf bag (the bigger 738 didn’t), and a couple of copies of Sky and SkyMall to read. There's nothing quite like imagining how I’d look under that cool LED lit sunshade while bouncing at 21000 feet above the earth’s surface.

We got to the Raleigh/Durham International Airport without any incident; in point of fact the landing was downright smooth. The pilot was pleased with the flight and he met all the passengers at the door to greet them with a little southern hospitality and wish us well in our trip to the area. We found our bags without any trouble, and even picked up the rental car without any trouble (amazing considering the last business trip I went on had a two hour delay in both those departments, damn LaGuardia). The absolute bonus of it all was when the Avis guy asked if a two door would be OK. I was amiable to say the least, and he gave us a convertible Chrysler Sebring. Score! We drove to the hotel with the top down and 75 degree air whipping past.

Thus far the trip has been a success. The glitch in missing our flight was not a problem at all. The check in with the TGA, the rental car, the hotel, everything has gone off without a hitch. And to top it all off, I get to be in a city/state that is experiencing a full-on late spring feel, complete with spring peeper frogs calling, 70 degree balmy humid air, actual leaves on the trees and a great bunch of people at NetApp.

What more could a guy in training ask for? OK...maybe one of those LED lit hammocks that also trim off excess nose hair from the SkyMall catalogue.

-Jay