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Ya Say Ya Wanna Evolution

 

So… the other night we were watching Discovery Channel because we were trying to educate and enlighten ourselves while expanding our horizons and learning to see the world in a different light…

OK… fine… “Dr. Who” was a repeat, we’d already seen the “Myth Busters” episode and there were no good movies on…

We ended up watching this program about evolution and on several levels, it was pretty fascinating… they talked about how nature looks at the environment, and how the environment affects the living organisms around it and all sorts of genetic things happen and they evolve…

Like, when fish first started coming out of the water, two things happened…

One, the fish looked around and said, “HEY!! <gasp, gasp> I CAN’T BREATHE!!” and evolution took over and the fish developed lungs and got rid of the gills… took about 100,000 years for that to happen so there must have been a lot of fish gasping like… well… like a fish out of water!

Well, that was all well and good, they had lungs now and could breathe air, but then the fish flopped up on the shore and then… well… nothing!!

Seems that they couldn’t go anywhere because… They had no feet!! They had fins!!

So, for the next 100,000 years, they sat there on the shore waiting to evolve feet so they could go somewhere…

How boring would that be?

Fish 1: “Hey… you got feet yet?”

Fish 2: “Not yet… how about you?”

Fish 1: “Nope… but my fins are getting kinda stubby… could be rudimentary legs… or not…”

Fish 2: “Hmmm, my fins look the same, but I think I see a toe forming… or it might just be a cyst… but my lungs are working good… smell that air… ”

Fish 1: “Yeah… it is nice… hey, what’s that over there?”

Fish 2: “Dunno… looks really big… Dinosaur maybe?”

Fish 1: “Could be… Maybe we should run away… oh… wait… we can’t! No feet… I hope he doesn’t walk over here and step on ….”

Fish 2: “Fish 1? Fish 1? You still there? Hey!!”

Bummer…

And that got me to thinking… how come other stuff hasn’t evolved for us humans? We’ve been pretty much the same for thousands of years and you would think that the environment and environmental conditions would bring some changes around based on the things that could be better…

“Like what?” you ask…

Well… how come we haven’t developed bigger bladders?? I mean, when you think about how much time we waste (no pun intended) in a given day, going to the bathroom, wouldn’t a much bigger bladder make more sense? Instead of 15 – 5 minute trips every day, why not one 15 minute trip at the end of the day?? Doesn’t that make sense?

Or how come we don’t have fur? We have two cats that develop this really thick “winter” coat when it starts to get cold… how come we humans don’t do that? Wouldn’t that make sense? Around September or so, our fur would start coming out, thick and lustrous and when winter finally arrived, all we’d need is maybe a jacket… Think of all the money we’d save on clothes, winter coats, heating oil and gloves…

Of course, that might be offset by the increased cost of shampoo and conditioner… hmm…

And to be honest, how cool would that be? Humans with fur? Speaking as a follicularly challenged person (bald) the idea of fur appeals to me… Although, shedding could be an issue in the spring…

And what is the purpose of “itching”? I’m not talking about the poison ivy/sunburn peel/mosquito bite types of itches… there’s a bona fide reason for those kinds of itches…

I’m talking about the “sitting there talking to someone you are really REALLY trying to impress when you suddenly get an itch in a place where you can’t scratch without getting arrested” kind of itch… The itch that happens for absolutely no reason! There are no bugs crawling on you, there are no rashes suddenly appearing… no apparent reason for that itch… What is the purpose of that? I mean, other than feeling really good when you can scratch it, what useful function does it have? You’d think that we would have evolved out of that by now…

And how come we never evolved into a 3 armed human? At least 3?? Two arms are pretty good, but think about how productive and happy we would be if we had 3 arms! We could steer, shift gears and change the radio station… we could eat Cheetos without getting the remote all orange… we could take phone messages without having to that “phone on your shoulder, head bent over holding it” thing… how cool would that be? Of course, clapping your hands would be confusing; shirts would look funny and imagine a keyboard for three hands…

And finally…

Why haven’t we developed wheels instead of feet? Think about that… if we are constantly evolving to make us stronger, faster and better, why do we still have feet?

Feet are very inefficient… they get blisters; they swell up, they smell funny, they look funny (take a look at your feet… NOT NOW!! When you get home!! You have to admit they’re funny looking…) and they hurt most of the time…

And walking is not real efficient either… basically, walking is the act of standing still, and then all of a sudden shifting your balance so that you’re falling forward, but then at the last second, you put your foot out and catch yourself and stop falling and just about the time you’re regaining your balance, you move the other foot and start falling all over again… so, it’s fall, catch yourself, fall, catch yourself…

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re walking, don’t put that other foot in front of the other… see what happens…

So, why haven’t we developed wheeled appendages instead of feet? How cool would THAT be…

Instead of shoe shopping, you’d be out shopping for some nice chrome caps for the side of your wheels… Plastic surgeons would specialize 20″ chrome spinners… Cars would be like Fred Flintstone cars… holes in the floor that you could put your wheeled legs through to propel the car… got passengers? No problem, they can help propel!!

Imagine a world with everyone wheeling around all over the place… there would be no gas crisis, no parking lots, and no stairs!

Karate lessons would be difficult though and it would be really hard to put your pants on…

Hmm…

Oh well, I’m going to go off and evolve now…

SAELIG!!

 

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks…

 

Thanksgiving….

Someone sent me something in the mail not long ago and it had to do with a poll that was taken by Newsweek magazine…

The poll indicated that a majority of Americans (67%) are unhappy with life in America…

Think about that…

2/3 of the country is unhappy with the way we live…

Wow…

And since we’re sneaking up on Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I am NOT one of unhappy people…

Having grown up in a military family, and then having spent a lot of my adult years in the military (I was 28 years old before I no longer had a military ID card… ) I got to live in a lot of foreign countries…

Trust me on this… America is a GREAT PLACE TO LIVE and we should all be thankful for the things we have and the things we DON’T have…

What I’m about to say applies to 94% of Americans… think about that…

94%!!

 

I am thankful…

That when I get up on Thanksgiving morning, I can walk into the bathroom or the kitchen and turn on the water. We don’t have to wait for the water truck to show up so we can get whatever water we can carry back…

We don’t have to carry buckets down to the dirty, polluted river to get water to cook with…

We don’t have to walk down to the community well in the center of the village and lug the jugs back to our home…

Nope, we can turn on the tap, and there it is… water!! Any time of the day or night…

Clean water!

We can bathe and shower and drink and make Kool-Aid and wash our cars and fill our swimming pools and water our lawns…

How cool is that? A big portion of the world doesn’t know what that’s like…

I’m thankful that I can walk into Wal-Mart or Meijers and gaze upon aisle after aisle of food… canned food, boxes of food, bags of food, bulk food, frozen food, junk food, healthy food… and more. We can buy cookies and cakes and steaks and celery and apples and peanut butter and Hostess Orange cupcakes…

There is a huge chunk of the world that doesn’t have that option…

I’m thankful that I can drive home this weekend to visit family and friends and I don’t have to worry about militia setting up road blocks along I-75. I don’t have to worry about bombs dropping in towns I’m passing through or explosions rocking the countryside… I know that the odds are overwhelming that I will arrive at the folk’s farm safe and sound, and so will most of my family…

A big chunk of the world doesn’t know that kind of security…

I’m thankful that if we do get involved in some sort of accident on the way home, that there will be people there who will take care of us… Good Samaritans will stop to see if we’re OK and help us… Police will show up, rescue squads will show up… even a helicopter if I need help REALLY bad will show up to take us to the hospital… and these are people that have given up their holiday to be there for us…

I’m very thankful for that…

A big chunk of the world doesn’t have this kind of support…

I’m thankful that I can go to my own church on Thanksgiving, and you can go to your own church, and everyone can go to any church or temple or synagogue they want to celebrate the holiday…

A HUGE chunk of the world doesn’t have that option…

I’m thankful that my family will be coming in from North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and Texas and not one single one of them will have to go through checkpoints, show papers as they cross state borders, or explain to anyone in a uniform why they’re on the road…

And they will find clean restaurants with good food, comfortable motels with clean rooms and friendly people all along their trip… A big piece of the world doesn’t know that kind of freedom of movement…

I’m thankful that there are men and women out there who take care of us everyday… Police, Firefighters, Doctors, Nurses, Soldiers… all sorts of people working hard to make our lives better… taking care of our health, our homes, our lives and our country… they do it because they WANT to, not because they’re being forced to do it… they’re there to help US!

A very BIG portion of the world doesn’t have that kind of protection…

I’m thankful for y’all too… friends, co-workers and associates that I see every day. People that say “Good Morning”, that smile and come to work every day doing their jobs, and making this place a better place to be…

I’m thankful for the people that make me think, that make me smile, that make feel good and that make me remember that I’m one of the lucky ones…

Thank you!!

Yep… I’m thankful…

Because, my friends… a big chunk of the world doesn’t have what we have… They will never know the freedom and the security and the peace that we know here in America…

Don’t get me wrong… I know that times are tough… The economy stinks, GM is in trouble, our investments are shrinking and

I’m getting older and balder…

But 94% of Americans enjoy a standard of living unknown and unimaginable to a very large portion of the rest of the world…

We are safe, and warm and fed…

And for that… we should ALL be thankful…

And with that, I wish you all a safe and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

SAELIG!!

 

 

 

 

Wireless, huh?

 

 

 

gftw4

CORDLESS APPLIANCES?

Like most Sundays, it started out pretty quiet… sitting there in kitchen, drinking coffee, listening to the wind howl outside and incredibly grateful that I was indoors while all the cold stuff was outdoors…

And then suddenly… the reverie was shattered… I heard that sound that all men dread…

“So sweetie… You want to go shopping?” she asked innocently…

Now, don’t get me wrong… Most of the time, I don’t mind shopping with my sweetie… we have a good time, get to talk in the car on the way, and almost always end up going out to eat somewhere… which for me almost always means… CHEESEBURGER!!

And so, at first, this wasn’t a bad thing… this going shopping…

So, I innocently asked… “What are we going shopping for?” and when she answered, I knew that this wouldn’t be so bad…

“We really need to replace that old DVD player” she said, “It’s getting to where it won’t play all the way through a movie anymore without freezing up… so we should get a new, better one…”

Music to my ears… WE’RE GOING SHOPPING FOR TOYS!”

And then… it all crashed and burned…

Nonchalantly, she added, “And while we’re on that side of town, I need to stop at JoAnn Fabrics… I need some floss and some 14 count fabric…”

Now, there are a lot of places that I really don’t want to wander around in… and JoAnn Fabrics is right up there in the top two… You see, there is nothing in there… NOTHING… that is of any real interest to most guys… Oh sure, we can wander around and look at the “paint by number” kits or the “Candle and Soap Making” supplies or the “Walnut Hollow Laser Cut Clock Wall Hanging” kit complete with decals, paint, decoupage and wiggle eyes… I don’t even know what decoupage is, but it sounds ugly…

But I could do this, especially if it meant going to shop for a new DVD player afterwards…

We entered JoAnn Fabrics and the first thing I noticed was that I was not alone… there were a bunch of guys in there… “Cool!” I said to myself, “Maybe this won’t be so bad…”

But then I looked closer… One guy was standing there with his wife as she spread material out over the top of the rack… “What do you think honey” she said, “I think this would look great in the living room and it would bring out the cranberry in the sofa pattern while offsetting the plain ivory carpet… don’t you?”

He had this glazed look on his face that told me that this was not the first bolt of material that they’d looked at this morning…

A couple of aisles down, there was another guy standing there behind a cart… the cart was loaded down with yarn… there was clumps (I was informed later on that they’re called “skiens”…) of yellow yarn, blue yarn, green yarn, orange yarn, white yarn, black yarn, red yarn and a bunch of other colors I wasn’t sure of… I’m talking a shopping cart FULL of yarn… he was standing there with the same glazed look on his face and his wife perused the “AISLE OF YARN” looking for… (her words) Periwinkle yarn…

I looked at Janet but before I could ask the question, she said quietly… “Purpley… kind of light…” and walked on…

She knows me so well…

Anyway, it turned out to not be so bad because Janet had a list (she always has a list) and was only getting what was on the list….

Cool!! We got about 12 colors of floss (easy because she had the DMC number, whatever that is…) some white material and we were outta there!! No glazing for me!!

It was sad though… on our way out, that same guy was there in the material section, still listening to “You know, we could just go with the patterned material for the curtains and look into recovering the sofa instead… let’s see what they have that would work with the sofa…”

He and I made eye contact as I passed by and I could see it in his eyes… “Please shoot me… PLEASE” his eyes said… I empathized…

Anyway, we went from there to… well… I don’t want to mention names, but they sell Circuits… in the City… and proceeded to look at DVD players…

Again, it’s a guy thing I think, but I pretty much knew what we needed and what I wanted in a DVD player and within moments, found a perfect player…

However…

Janet is a shopper… “We need to compare the models” she said, “See what will give us the best value… compare features, warranties, stuff like that… doncha think?”

I’ve been married now for almost 32 years and I’ve learned that there are instances where you can say, “HECK NO!! This model will do what we want, it’s in our price range, it will fit on the shelf above the TV and it’s a Sony! Let’s just buy this one… ”

This was not one of those instances…

So, we compared… we looked at every single DVD player in that store and I answered questions like…

“What’s the difference between HDMI and Digital outputs?” and “Why does this one have a USB port and this one doesn’t?” and “How come this one comes in silver and this one comes in black…”

And then we stumbled over one on the shelf… it was exactly what we wanted and it was marked down from $159 to $69…

“WOW!” I said, looking around for a sales associate… “I wonder why?”

Janet noticed the fine print on the tag… “Oh… it’s a floor model… it doesn’t come with a box… but it has the full warranty….”

“Heck of a deal” I said, still looking around for someone to help us… I waited and did my “we need some help over here” look, but I still couldn’t get any help… there was no one in sight… finally, after 15 minutes of looking and waiting, we got a young gentleman to help us…

“So what the problem with this one?” I asked, pointing the DVD player…

“Nuthin” he said, “It’s a floor model… ”

“With a full warranty?” I asked…

“Yep….” he said, full of enthusiasm…. <NOT!>

“We’ll take it” I said…

He scooped it off the shelf and handed it to me… “Just take it up to the register and they’ll ring it up…. ”

I stood there for a second… holding the DVD player… just the DVD player… no manual, no remote, no cables and… NO POWER CORD!

“Uh…. ” I said, hoping he’d noticed this too…. “There’s no remote, no cables and NO POWER CORD!”

He looked… “Yep…” he said… “It’s “as is”….”

“Is it a cordless DVD player?” I asked, figuring he would see the humor is such a question…

“NO!” he said, sharply… like I was an idiot… “They don’t make cordless DVD players… that would be stupid!”

“But this one has no cord…” I replied, “So, it’s broken?”

“No,” he said, “It’s “as is”….

I stared… “But it has a full warranty, correct?”

“Yep…” he said (this guy was communication personified…)

“So… ” I said carefully, “I can buy this and then immediately walk back to you with the receipt, hand it to you and say, “This is broken… it has no power cord!” and you’ll fix it by giving me a power cord?”

“Well… no…. ” he said… I could tell that I had him perplexed… “It’s sold “as is”…”

“But…” I said, hoping logic would win out, “It has a full warranty!”

“Yep” he said…

“And not having a power cord could be considered “broken”, couldn’t it?” I said.

He thought about that… “It’s sold “as is” he said, slowly, “That means without the power cord”

“But without a power cord, it won’t work… ” I said, “And it it doesn’t work, wouldn’t that be “broken”?

By this time, the people on the other side of the aisle were starting to chortle….

The kid is now seriously confused… “But it’s sold “as is” he said, “that means without a power cord… it’s missing the owners manual too… do you want one of those too?”

“Nope…” I said, “Missing the owners manual isn’t “broken”… it will still play DVDs without the manual… but it won’t play DVD’s without a power cord… that would make it….”BROKEN!”

He finally took it away from me and said loudly… “I can’t sell this to you… it’s broken!” and in triumph, he stormed away with the cordless DVD player…

Janet and I lost it… we both exited the unnamed store that sells Circuits in the City giggling and went across the street to the other BIG STORE…

There we found a gentleman who asked if we needed any help… we told him what we wanted and he showed us where they were and left… a few minutes later he returned… “Did you find what you were looking for?” he asked…

“I did..” I replied, holding the same model we found at the other place… only this one was in a box AND it had a power cord… and the price was $139… $20 cheaper already…

I thought to myself… “Worth a shot!”

“I like this one” I said, “But the OTHER PLACE has it marked down to $69 dollars for the floor model…”

The guys considered that for a second… “Tell you what” he said, “I’ll let you have it for $79, and you can keep the box… Deal?”

And so.. in the end… I got my DVD player, and… I got the BEST BUY!!!

And a good laugh…. remember that you can only get as upset as you want to get and that every situation has some element of humor to it… you just have to dig for it sometimes…

SAELIG!!

 

 

Go Fast… Turn Left….

 

 

gftw3 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok… there are times in all of our lives when we question our own sanity… you know, you’re sitting there wondering what possessed you to be in this particular place at this particular time, and whatever made you think that this particular thing was a good idea… you know what I mean??
I recently had such a moment….

It started with an innocent remark… I was sitting there in my living room, comfy in my recliner on a Saturday afternoon watching the Darlington 500….

“Someday, I’d like to do that” I said, watching these incredibly powerful cars blasting around the oval…

“Do what?” Janet says, looking up from her book…

“Drive a NASCAR around the track for a few laps…” I said…

“Really?” she said, “Why?”

Good question… “Why?”… Why would I want to strap myself into a 700 horsepower “stock” car, and hurtle around a race track like an idiot…

“Because” I said, “It would be incredible… To feel that horsepower, the acceleration, the raw power of a finely tuned racecar screaming down the track…”

It’s a funny thing with men… We think we can do anything and do it well… And sitting there in the living room, secure in the Lazy Boy, we have no fear…

Over the years, I made the remark several more times… “Someday I’d like to do that” and reinforced the comment by making motor noises when I accelerated through the tight turns of the on ramp to I-75, made squealing tire noises when I went around a corner just a little too fast, and getting even bolder with the remarks…

“I could do that” I’d say, when we’d be watching something on “Speed Week”, or, “Imagine getting paid to do that” I’d say when we watched a NASCAR race, or “That looks like fun” I’d say when they’d show highlights of some major race…

And the sad part is… I believed all that…

Last month, I celebrated a birthday… That morning, Janet said to me… “I have a birthday present for you, but I can’t give it to you right away”

Being a guy, I grinned and said, “Why not?? I can be late for work!!”

“Stop it” she said, smacking me… “It’s a surprise, and you have to wait until December and drive 1200 miles to get it…”

We had a vacation planned for Orlando for the first week in December so I figured that my birthday surprise was a new Mickey hat or a new Mickey mug or something along those lines, so imagine my surprise when Janet said, “But since you have to call to set it up, I can’t really make it a surprise…”

“Set it up?” I said, “What did you get me?”

“It’s something you’ve always wanted” she said, “Something you keep saying that you’d love to do… it’s called… “The Richard Petty Driving Experience.”

The Richard Petty Driving Experience…. this is kind of a “fantasy camp” for NASCAR…. what happens is, you show up at the race track, you go through a short class which consists of some videos showing experienced, professional NASCAR drivers slamming into the wall at 200 mph, then an instructor coming out and saying, “Don’t do that!! These cars cost $200,000 and we’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t hit the wall…” Then they give you some tips and pointers on how to drive a 700 horsepower Pontiac around the track and then… believe it or not… they actually let you DRIVE THE CAR!!

So, there I was… bright and early on a Saturday morning… the sun was shining, it was in the high 60’s out and it was a beautiful day… We arrived at Orlando Speedway at 10:30 am and registered for the class… Janet was there with the camera and I was there with attitude… I could do this!!

It was the week after Thanksgiving so the class was very small. Normally, there are 15- 20 people in a class, but today, there was only 4 of us…

We were ushered into the classroom where we all looked at each other, each of us confident that we could do this, and each of us absolutely sure that we were far superior drivers than these other turkeys… We sat down and listened to our instructor, Brett, who told us everything we needed to know to be a good NASCAR driver….

” Go fast, turn left, don’t hit the wall” he said…. “So, are you guys ready?”

We were…

We got up and each of us was assigned a fire suit….

 
 

 

 
From there, they took us out to a van where we did a lap around the track with Brett explaining to us, all of the subtle nuances of negotiating the tight hairpin turns….
 

“Don’t Hit The Wall” he said….

After the tour of the track, we returned to the pits where we got our “in-car training” which consisted mainly of showing us where the fire extinguisher is, how to undo the 5 point racing harness and exit the car in a hurry, and how to look cool while you’re driving around the track not hitting the wall….

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After that… we were ready to do some driving….

 

Ok… at this point, something strange happened….

As we headed into the pits to get fitted with helmets and harnesses and other cool racing stuff, something happened that totally altered out perceptions of reality…

The pit crew walked out to the line of cars, calmly climbed in, and….

FIRED THOSE PUPPIES UP!!!

HOLY COW!!!

It was like thunder!! This low deep rumble exploded from 4 cars, and we stood there, in awe, our mouths hanging open.

I glanced at the student next to me… I grinned at him, he grinned at me…

“COOL!” we both said, in unison….

We watched as they let the cars idle for a moment, then headed for the track….

“They’re gonna warm ’em up for you” Brett said, “Get the tires hot, and the oil pressure moving”

“COOL!” we all said…. “Warming ’em up for US!!”

For the next 10 minutes, we sat there while the crew got us into our helmets, our harnesses and the new HAN restraint systems… (HAN = Head and Neck… the new system developed after Dale Earnhardt was killed…) and watched OUR CARS flying around the track getting warmed up for US!!

And then… it was time…

They led us out to pit row… the cars were back in line now, silent except for the pings and cracks of the engines cooling….

We lifted our legs, slid them in through the window and then wiggled through until we were sitting in the fiberglass bucket seat…

“Comfy?” my pit guy asked as he started buckling me in….

“YEAH!” I said, fighting the urge to giggle… This was SOOOOOOO COOL!!

He buckled me in, tested the harness, then tightened it down some more…

Then he reached in and snapped the steering wheel onto the shaft….

“How’s that feel?” he asked…

I put my hand on the wheel, and fought the urge to make “Vroooom Vrooooom” noises…

“Feels good” I said, being nonchalant about the whole thing… like sitting behind the wheel of a NASCAR was something I did every day…

“You ready?” he asked…

“Yep…” I said, feeling the need to go the bathroom….

He reached in, flipped a switch, and….

FIRED THAT PUPPY UP!!!

Two things happened here….

One, the engine fired up and I could actually FEEL the engine in my chest, reverberating….

Two, my heart rate doubled, my adrenaline went into overdrive and I REALLY needed to go to the bathroom…

The pit guy looked at me…. “You’re grinning like an idiot” he said…

“Yeah” I said, “I know….” and then I giggled… I couldn’t help it…

I was actually strapped into a 700 horsepower, fire breathing, pulse pounding, NASCAR Pontiac, with the steering wheel in my hand and the engine running….

We waited for a few minutes while everyone got ready….

“Go ahead” the pit guy said, leaning into the car so I could hear him… “You know you want to do it…”

I looked at him… “Huh?” I said

“Blip the throttle… Rev it up” he said, “Get the oil pressure up”

I did… Jeez…. I thought it was loud idling…

“BRRRRAAAAAAAAAAPPPPAAAAAAAA…… BRRRRRAAAAAAPPPPPPPPAAAAA”

I looked over at the guy in the car next to mine…

Identical “I can’t believe I’m here doing this” grins….

A few minutes later, my guy came up…

“Your pace car will pull up in front of you…. ” he said, “When he does, get in behind him and follow him out to the track”

I stared….

“Make sure you’re in 3rd gear when you leave the pits and hit 4th gear before you get to the first turn” he said, grinning at me…

“K…” I said, suddenly aware that I was about to head out there… “Anything else I should know?”

“Yeah” he said…. “Go fast, turn left”

Wow…..

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My pace car pulled up in front of me and stopped… I put the car in 1st gear and repeated the mantra… “Don’t stall the car… Don’t stall the car….”

The pace car driver gave me a thumbs up and started rolling… I eased the clutch out and gave it some gas… “Don’t stall the car… Don’t stall the car….”

Suddenly, we were going very fast… these cars IDLE fast….the pace car was pulling away from me so I gave it some gas…

HOLY COW!!!

I was nailed back in the seat and there was this weight on my chest….

HOLY COW!!!

2nd gear…. the pace car is still pulling away down pit row….

Give it more gas…

3rd gear…. coming off the pit road and onto the apron…. and there it was…

The TRACK!

Suddenly, my pace car took off and I hit the gas to try and keep up…

HOLY COW!!!!

The car LEAPED forward and there was this sensation of weight all over… I was accelerating in a MAJOR WAY!

The noise level was unbelievable!! The car was now thundering under me and I was on the track… I shifted into 4th gear and we headed into the first turn…

You know how sometimes when you’re on the on-ramp to the expressway, and you get on the ramp a little too fast and there’s this sensation that the car is going to spin out of control or that the back end is going to break loose and that you’re being slid across the seat??

Multiply that by a hundred and that’s what that first turn felt like…

I had this overwhelming urge to let off the gas, back off and get through the turn, but my pace car was pulling away so I figured that it must be ok… so I kept on the gas and then suddenly I was out of the turn and on the straightaway….

Hit the gas…

HOLY COW!!!!

The car leaped forward and….

THE WALL!! THE WALL!! DON’T HIT THE WALL!!

Then we were into turn two…

Again that urge to hit the brake… slow down….

I followed the pace car down low and through the turn….. faster…. faster….

Out of the turn, and hit the gas again… come up high on the track and….

THE WALL!! THE WALL!! DON’T HIT THE WALL!!

AUGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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This is where that “Ok… there are times in all of our lives when we question our own sanity… you know, you’re sitting there wondering what possessed you to be in this particular place at this particular time, and whatever made you think that this particular thing was a good idea… you know what I mean??” moment occurred…
 

I have never been so terrified, so scared, and yet, so excited at the same time….

The wall was whizzing by inches from the passenger door, but I couldn’t see it… I was staring straight ahead… following my pace car… I was petrified and exhilarated at the same time…

If you have ever been on a high speed roller coaster, this is exactly what it feels like, only you can’t depend on the coaster rails to turn you…. it’s up to me to keep off the wall….

The 18 laps around the track went by way too fast…. and yet, it was way too slow….

I wanted to get out of that car, get out of harm’s way, get away from that wall and away from the speed and the noise…

And…

I wanted to stay in that car, go faster, push the envelope and crowd the pace car….

And then it was over…. We pulled into the pits, shut the engines down, and sat there…

The pit crew gave us all a couple of moments to savor the memory… to become one with the fear and the excitement…

Then they came over and got us out of the cars… and by the way… it is a WHOLE lot easier to slide into the window getting into the car than it is trying to get out of the car… but I managed…

I wobbled over to the pit area on the shakiest legs I have ever had….

The 4 of us stood there, grinning like idiots, high fiving each other, shaking and sweating and realizing what we had just done…

We’d done it….

We went fast, turned left…. and didn’t hit the wall….

Thanks Janet…. Best birthday present I EVER got….

SAELIG!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Password!

 

Back a few weeks ago, I was helping someone with their computer and after I got done doing what I needed to do, I had to reboot their computer… the logon screen came up and I figured I’d have to wait a few minutes for the person to come back so I could get their password, so I sat there looking around the office while I waited…
I glanced down at the monitor and what do I see but a Post-it note with the phrase… “lucky74”

Seems like a weird thing to have written on a Post-it note…

Hmmm….

So, I typed that into the password space and yep… the computer opened up…

Since then, I’ve been keeping track in my wanders…

And here’s what I’ve found…

Passwords are kind of a moot point for most people… I have found passwords written on Post it notes attached to monitors, written on keyboard trays, written with a sharpie on the bottom of the mouse, tacked to a bulletin board, taped right on the keyboard, written on the desk itself, and here’s my favorite…

In one office, stuck to the phone was a nicely typed 3×5 card with the following…

“Lotus pw – (the password was typed here…)

Logon pw – (the password was typed here…)

Gmail pw –(the password was typed here…)

Ebay pw-(the password was typed here…)

Credit Union pw-(the password was typed here…)

Comcast pw – (the password was typed here…)

Visa pw – (the password was typed here…)

Vonage pw – (the password was typed here…)”

And at the very bottom was hand written…

“Do not share…”

And every one of those passwords above was different with the exception of the Lotus Notes and the Logon passwords… they were the same…

Wow… great security…

Well, we here at GFTW are here to help you out with this password thing… I know that passwords are a pain to keep track of and all the experts tell you that you should change your password every 60-90 days if you want to stay secure…

And so over the course of one week (which included a weekend when I’m home and on the web…) I kept track of how many different things that I need a password for… I was astounded! (Yep… I really was… ASTOUNDED!)

74 different things required a password over the course of the week…

Of that 74, there were 28 different passwords because different sites and companies have different rules for how many letters, how many numbers and what combinations you can use…

No wonder we write these down! How can you keep track, especially when you have to change them all the time!

Oh sure, there is software out there that you can use (Roboform, Primasoft, etc), but that means you have to keep that software updated with the new passwords or it’s useless…

But here’s an easy, and fun password generator that will make this all a lot easier… and best of all, you can still use that Post-it note to keep track…

Most places require some combination of letters and numbers, and this meets that requirement…

For the numbers? Use your birth year… or some milestone year in your life…

For me, it’s my birth year… 1948 (yeah… I’m that old…)

Now for the letters…

Pick a song you really like… One of my favorites is “Hot Rod Lincoln”.

So, for this month’s password, we’ll use that song…

Take the first line of the song…

“My Pappy said, “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’, if you don’t stop drivin’ that hot rod Lincoln…”

Take the first letter of each word in that line…

“mpssygdmtdiydsdthrl”

Ok… It’s a little long, but you can shorten it to the first stanza…

“mpssygdmtd”

Then you take the first two numbers of your birth year and put them in front of that string… and the last two numbers at the end of the string…

“19mpssygdmtd48”

And that’s our password for the month…

“But Bill” you whine… “How am I gonna remember that? I can’t even remember the 3 letters and 3 numbers for GEMS!”

Ahhh…. Here’s where the beauty part comes in…

Remember all those Post it notes stuck to the front of the monitors?

Well, you’re going to put your own note up… only it will say something like,

“Commander Cody 1” or “HRL 1” or something that will remind of which song you used… the number “1” after the reminder tells you what line of the song you used… so that anyone sitting down will have no clue what it refers to or why you have “Commander Cody” written on a post it on your monitor… but you’ll know…

Folks… don’t use the actual name of the song… they may not figure it out but it will be a whole lot easier if they know the song… you’re just looking to give yourself a clue…

Now, some passwords require more numbers… if so; just repeat the birth year as needed…

Need 6 numbers?

19mpssygdmtd1948

See how this works?

Next month, we use a new song… Let’s use… Old Time Rock and Roll by Seger… and the second line…

So, our password now is… “19isalttbm48” (I’ll sit and listen to them by myself)

And our reminder post it note will read, “Risky Business 2” or “Seger Rocks 2”

And if you’re required to change the letters AND the numbers each time, then you can still use the birth year thing, only add 2 or 3 to the number…

And you’ll indicate that on your “reminder” post-it by add putting BY+2 or BY+3 on the post-it…

So our reminder for “19isalttbm50” would read, “Seger Rocks 2, BY+2

Someone could sit there at your computer and look at “Seger Rocks 2, BY+2” forever and not be able to figure out what that means… ya think?

How cool is this? Easy to remember, and fun… you could sing to yourself while you type it…

One of my favorite ones was Manfred Mann’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”…

The Post-it clue was…

“Shufflin her feet 2″…

The password?

“19sdwddddd48”

Never let it be said that the GFTW isn’t here to educate, entertain and keep you safe….

SAELIG

Enter PASSWORD!

 

gftw1

Who Fired That Shot?

 

There are moments of surreality that come along every now and then… when something will happen and for a moment or two, you wonder…I had just such a moment over the weekend…

My wife and I love the library and are usually there every 2nd or 3rd weekend, persusing the stacks and looking for literary gems among the garbage… We really like the local library… it’s not huge but it has a good selection of just about every genre of books and if they don’t have it, they can get it for you pretty quickly and so we pretty much do all of our library stuff right here in town…

And so, there we were this weekend..

Now, the first thing I usually do is peruse the DVD’s… they have lots of DVD’s and the price is right (free!!) so we pretty much get all of our movies there now… we’re pretty flexible in our tastes so we don’t really go looking for something in particular… we sorta look the selections over and see if anything appeals to us and we can usually find a few that work for us… and if they are bad movies, well… they were FREE!! So, we don’t care!!

Anyway, they have the DVD’s on these bookshelf kind of shelves that go from “eye level” to “down on the ground”, and it’s usually pretty easy to see what’s on the first couple of rows, but as you start getting down lower, you commence to doing the “library hunker”… there are variation of the “hunker” and I think that it depends on age, agility and dignity…

There’s the “Bend over at the waist and look” hunker… this is the most common….

Then there’s the “Squat down and peruse, then grunt your way back up” hunker… (usually favored by the young and agile)

There’s the “sit on the floor and block the aisle” hunker (however, this one is dangerous depending on age… I tried this once and found that I was having major difficulty getting back up again.. in an attempt to assist myself, I grabbed onto the shelves and attempted to pull myself back up and discovered that while the shelves are heavy and solid, they ARE NOT BOLTED TO THE FLOOR!! I was able to avert a catastrophe but ended up having to roll over on to my hands and knees and with much grunting and pushing, was able to stand back up… I have not attempted the “sit on the floor” hunker since… ) and finally the “bend sideways and turn your head sideways” hunker… which kind of makes you look like a curious ostrich but it works…

All viable and perfectly acceptable ways to view the bottom shelves in libraries…

Anyway, I tell you all of the above so I can share this with you….

There we were Saturday at the  library… Janet was off looking for an Ann Rice novel, and I was trying to find one of my favorite movies (“Hudson Hawk” with Bruce Willis… ) There were two other people looking at DVD’s… one was a young man about 5 years old, and the other was a lady in her late 70’s… I’m guessing her age because she was doing a modified version of the “bend over at the waist” hunker where you bend over but you place both hands on one of the shelves to brace yourself…

We’re both on the same side of the freestanding shelf unit and the young man was on the other side…

Just about the time that I had figured out that “Hudson Hawk” wasn’t there, something happened…

The lady, who by all appearances, was a lady of some dignity and polish, attempted to straighten back up from her modified “bend over at the waist” hunker, and in the process… well…

Let us say that… there was some escapage of bodily gasses… probably caused by stress, and muscle exertion…

Now, this could have gone unnoticed and you would not be reading about it in a GFTW except…

1. This was not a quiet, dignified escapage of bodily gas… Oh Noooooo…. this was a momentous historical event… it was LOUD, proud and a magical sound… it started out gently, built to a towering basso profundo, and after several seconds of flatulent magnificence, it just STOPPED! There was no tapering off, no diminishing of volume… it just STOPPED! And then…

There was a moment of silence and then a short, sharp epilogue…. almost like a period at the end of a sentence…

2. The performer… our quiet, dignified, little old lady… having straightened back up from her modified “bend over at the waist” hunker, appeared to be oblivious to what had just occurred… she moved a few feet down the row, and continued to peruse…

However, everyone else within earshot was now staring in our general direction…

3. I, in a moment of awe and wonder (and just a touch of jealousy… Hey! I’m a guy!! Guys find these kinds of things incredibly funny!!) looked over and did everything possible not to lose it right there… I could feel the laughter bubbling up and knew that I was about to crack up in a major way…

Now, you have to remember that a person of my age was raised to “Shush” in the library… no loud talking, no running and especially, no gales of laughter…. So, I did the only thing that I could do… I started to move away….

4. Remember the 5 year old on the other side of the shelf? Right about this point, he… consumed with curiousity and wonder at what had just occurred, moved around the shelves and appeared at the end of the row just as I was moving away, in obvious distress from suppressed laughter….

The boy’s mother, over by the “new arrivals” saw him moving away, and whispered loudly, “JASON!! I told you to stay where I can see you!”

To which he replied…

“BUT MOM!! THIS GUY JUST FARTED!!”

It got really quiet in the library and before I could say anything at all… the little old lady, looked over at me, grabbed her DVD’s and said, “REALLY!” and walked away…. and about that time, Janet came around the corner, looked at me and said, “Jeez… are you proud of yourself?”

At this point, it was useless to deny… no one would believe me, and I would come out looking like a jerk for blaming a little old lady… so I did the only thing that I could…

I TOOK CREDIT!!!

“Yes…” I said, “As a matter of fact, I’m very proud!”

Sometimes, life hands you the opportunity… it’s up to you to take it….

Saelig!!

 

 

 

Well, It’s About Time!!

Well, I don’t know about y’all, but this whole “daylight savings time” thing has me all confused again… I mean, what is the deal with this anyway? It’s like we’re fooling around with the time/space continuum, altering reality and generally messing around with the physical universe.  Are we allowed to do that? To begin with, where did that hour come from when we moved our clock backwards?

Yeah, I know… it’s the hour that we “sprung forward” back in April? So, where has that hour been all this time? Just hanging around like a bad smell?  Doesn’t it seem odd to you that we can just arbitrarily decide that it’s not 2am anymore, but it’s 1am… Just like that!! And if it’s that easy to do, then how come we can’t  do that anytime we want to? Why can’t we just decide on Friday afternoon at 3 o’clock that it’s suddenly 4 o’clock and we can all go home? And why just one hour? Why not 2 hours, or 3 hours? Why not at noon, just decide that it’s 4 o’clock and we’re outta here?

“But you would have to make up the time somewhere” you’re saying… Why? Who would care? But let’s just say, for the sake of argument that we do have to make the time back up…

Ok, so how about when we’re 96 years old and basically just sitting around watching “Wheel of Fortune” and not in any real hurry to do anything, we can add all those hours back in and the scales would balance? Doesn’t that make sense to you? By that time we would have accumulated a whole lot of “Friday Savings Time”  hours and to make it all come out even, we’d have to fall back a whole lot of time… so on August 1st it would suddenly be April 1st , and all would be right with the world… When you’re 96, you don’t care if it’s August or April… Just jump back a few months to make up for all those Fridays… It just seems so weird that we can mess around with time like that…

When I was a kid, I read a lot of science fiction books and stories (What? That doesn’t surprise you?) and a lot of them dealt with time travel… and how they would need all these cool machines that uitilzed weird physics principles involving tachyons and gluons and neutrinos and bizarre math to shift the time/space continuum  and I remember thinking that every time we shifted into “daylight savings time”, that somewhere, probably hidden deep in a hollowed out mountain, was a secret government base where the “time machine ” was located that made this daylight savings time shift possible… A whole bunch of scientist types in white lab coats running around with clipboards, writing down numbers off of dials and readouts, and lots of Army guys standing around guarding the “machine”…  And at the appointed time, some high ranking gummint official would pull down one of those really big electric switches and ZAPPP!!! The whole world would move backward or forward an hour…. and I wondered why they only did it for an hour… why not a day, a week, a month…   And why not? Moving forward or backward one hour… or one century is really the same thing… it’s just a matter of degrees!

Imagine my amazement and shock when I got older and discovered that daylight savings time didn’t involve time machines, or weird science or secret government bases, but rather it was…. A COMMITTEE!! Yep, a committee somewhere that decided that we should turn the clocks backwards or forwards an hour to compensate for the light of day and help save energy… That’s it?? That’s all it takes to travel through time? A COMMITTEE TO DECIDE THAT WE SHOULD??

Because of a committee, my body and my clock are out of sync with going to bed and getting up, I’m running around like a crazy man trying to reset all my digital clocks in my house muttering “Spring forward, Fall back”, my cats are demanding to be fed an hour early every day, and by the time every thing gets back in line, it will be time to move the clock ahead again and start the whole thing over… All because of a committee? But then…

This opens whole new possibilities… Like the whole Y2K thing… Everyone was worried about what’s going to happen on January 1, 2000… Are all the computers going to crash, and planes fall out of the sky, and the trains start running late (Wait… the trains are already running late… maybe they’ll start running on time?) and horrible things will happen with the banks and other institutions and….

The solution to this whole Y2K thing was obvious!! Let’s form a committee, and decide that on December 31, 1999 that we will officially make the following day the first day of 1955!!  I mean, a day, an hour, a month, 45 years… what’s the difference? It’s all about time… That will give us 45 more years to figure out this whole thing, get our act together, and I’ll be able to get a brand new 55 Chevy Belair Convertible, red over white with baby moons… of course, I’ll only be 6 years but I’ll be big for my age so it won’t matter…

Ya think??

 

SAELIG!!