Friday, April 29, 2005

Poodle block....

Occasionally, I'll sit back and take a look at my life and try to figure out how I got to where I'm at. Not that I'm unhappy with any aspect of my life, outside of my job, but I like to look at some of the decisions that I've made and see where they've led me. So, I'm going to go back through a few moments of the past 10 to 15 years of my life in a game that I call.... Good call, Bad Call.

1. Let's start out old school, no pun intended, and take a look at my Senior year of High School. Somewhere within the first few months of the 1st semester I found out that I had hit all of my requirements to graduate and could quit school after the first semester. It sounded like a good plan. I was planning on picking up a job to save up some scratch for my first year of college, and thought it would be great to not have to go to school anymore.

Well, as it all worked out, the job fell through and most of my friends ignored me for the last 4 or 5 months of what should have been the remainder of my senior year.

Result? Bad call.

I passed up quite a few good party chances (even though I wasn't drinking at the time) and gave up 4 months of prime screw around time just so I could sleep in every day.

2. After I dropped out of college in January of 1994, I took a job working for the Department of Revenue for the State of Wisconsin. The job was an LTE (Limited Term Employment) position, so I had 6 months to find a new job before I would be gainfully unemployed yet again. After pissing away the first 5 months of that job, I finally had an interview with a local insurance company, and was offered a job in their customer service department and I accepted the position. Later that day, one of my friends (Trevor) called me and told me that he knew someone that was looking for help at a small consulting firm in our home town. I had an interview with the owner, Harry, later that day and he offered me a job making the amazing sum of $6.50 an hour. I took the job and called the insurance company and told them not to expect me to show up on Monday.

Result? Good and Bad Call.

Good call - Due to that job, I got my first computer of my own and got my first experience with computer networks.
Good call - 5 months later, I met Sarah in an AOL chat room.
Bad call - I couldn't work with my boss, at all. Some supervisors are from the "My way or the Highway" school. He was from the "My way... period" school.

3. Three months after meeting Sarah, I decided to call in sick and go up to see Sarah in North Dakota. Within 2 hours of calling in sick, Harry was calling my house to find out where I was. About 1 hour into the drive, I was pulled over for having hanging clothes covering one of my windows. I should have known at this point, that things could be going wrong for this weekend. I got up to Grand Forks later that Friday and had a great couple days with Sarah.

I planned on leaving around 12 or 1 in the afternoon on Sunday, as it was a 11 hour drive back home. Well, I got a much later start than I intended to and didn't end up leaving until 2 or 3. Add to this that North Dakota and Minnesota were hit with a massive ice storm right around the time that I left. I was stuck driving on the interstate at roughly 30 to 40 miles an hour all the way from Grand Forks to the Wisconsin border. If you've ever driven through that part of the country before, boring doesn't describe it. Did I mention that I was driving a Geo Metro with only an AM radio, and that most of western Minnesota doesn't get AM radio? Yeah... it was that kind of trip.

I hit Wisconsin around 3 or 4 in the morning and was in serious need of some caffeine. I stopped and purchased some NoDoz and Orange Juice. To this day, I don't know if it was the combination of the Orange Juice and the mega dosage of caffeine or whether I was just allergic to NoDoz, but I got the shakes something fierce.

Within an hour of taking the pills, I had to pull over because I was shaking so badly that I was scaring myself. I stopped at a rest stop and called into the office to let them know that I was not going to be making it in to work that morning. Little did I know that a primitive version of *69 existed at that point and my boss found out where I made the call from.

I woke up an hour after falling asleep in my car and found myself feeling much, much better. I proceeded to drive into the office and actually make it there by the time the office opened. I was actually on time for work. Of course I was sent home while my boss decided what to do. I was glad to go home and get the rest.

I was woken up later that day with a call from him letting me know that I was being fired and that we could meet up later in the week and I could get my things then.

Result? Much better than a good call... a Great call.

Being fired from working with Harry was one of the best things that I can remember happening in my life. Shortly after I was fired, I drove back up north and spent a week or two with Sarah. Not that our relationship wasn't already off the ground, but it really took off from there. Also, a few months after that, I was hired to work at Best Buy, where I met a good deal of my closest and dearest friends in the world.

I really like this game.

I'll do a few more of these in the future.

Suit jackets and funny shorts

From time to time, when you see bad writing, a person will equate it to a monkey pounding away at a typewriter. When I was trying to come up with an analogy for my writing style, this was what I came up with.

It's like putting a keyboard at the bottom of a hamster cage and seeing what happens when they scurry across it while trying to get to their water bottle.

For the most part, none of it will make any sense, but one day, after a vigorous turn on the exercise wheel some hamster will stagger towards their food and by complete blind luck, you might actually see something that makes sense and speaks to you. Either that or you might find hamster crap.

Today is one of the latter.

I'm not what people would call a world traveler. My typical idea of an exotic weekend is choosing Olive Garden instead of TGI Friday's. I've only left the country once and it was to go on a week long vacation in Bermuda.

My sister was lucky enough to get a deal on a timeshare, that her boss owned, in Bermuda. So Sarah and I, along with my sister and her brother-in-law, all decided to go down there for a week in April of 2000.

Sarah and I did a lot of fun things during that week. We went on our first SCUBA excursion. We got a chance to spend some time up close with dolphins and I got to play golf on a course that overlooked the ocean. It was a wonderful week and I really don't think that Sarah and I have ever felt more at home, then we did during that week in Bermuda.

The one thing that really sticks out to me about that trip is one particular person that we met there.

Part of the deal with the timeshare that we were using was the fact that we had to spend a certain amount of money at either the country club restaurant or at the bar. I'll give you one guess as to where the two current and one former Wisconsinites chose.

When some people travel they have the tendency to treat every person from that place like they are some sort of servant that is there to service or help them whenever they need assistance. For Sarah and myself though, we actually like to sit and talk to residents when we travel so that we can get to know the people and the place where we're staying a little better. That's not to say that we walk up to any person that we see and start grilling them, but if we're out having dinner, or out shopping, we like to actually talk to the people. It's just something that we like to do.

One of the bartenders that we met while there was named Madison. It's pretty easy to remember the name of a person when he shares the name of the place where you live.

There aren't a great many people that I've met throughout my life where I can remember entire segments of our conversations verbatim, but for some reason Madison really spoke in a way that made you remember what he had to say.

One of the things that he said was just so entertaining that it's burned into my brain. It's one of those things that you could easily see someone saying to a tourist just to get a laugh, but you could also see it as something that they actually meant.

On our last night at the resort, we told Madison that we'd be leaving the next day, but planned on coming back in the future.

"Well, if you come back and I'm dead, don't bring flowers to my grave. You didn't bring them to me when I was alive, don't bring 'em to me when I'm dead."

The way my mind works, one minute I'm laughing at a fart joke on Family Guy and the next I'm trying to plan out how my funeral should be taken care of.

So, if you're around when I go and wonder why my will states that there will not be any flowers, now you'll understand.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Any hockey fans out there?

Sarah and I are pretty big hockey fans and have Friday and Saturday night tickets to watch the Badgers at the Kohl Center.

I'd like to think that we're both pretty knowledgable fans as well. After all, Sarah is from Northern Minnesota where she always says, "Kids come out with skates on." Also, one of the first reasons I knew that she was the right woman for me, was the fact that she knew how to pronounce Patrick Roy's name. You have to hang onto special women like that.

We went to a game, between Wisconsin and Alaska-Anchorage, earlier this year and were pretty disappointed by the officiating in the game. That's not an uncommon thing when you're a fan of a sporting team, but usually you at least respect the officials. You know that it's a difficult job that they're doing and you know that they're at least trying to do it as best as they can.

Don Adams
shows that some of them... have no clue.

If you're listening to this at work, you may want to keep the volume down.

BTW, is still available, if someone were so inclined.