Friday, January 20, 2017

Life Without a Phone

Truth be told, I have never personally owned a phone.  Work has always provided one for me.  Due to this I guess I associate a phone with work.  No work, no phone for me.

It has been 6 weeks since I last had access to a cell phone.  I do have a Google number that I have been using for text and calls.  Works great and it is free.  I also use email more to communicate.  Carolynn was worried what I would do if I had an emergency.  Turns out 99.9% of the communication via a phone is of a non-emergency situation.  Still waiting for the .1% to show its head. If it does I can still make an emergency call from an old phone that I carry to take pictures.

What have I missed?  I do not think much.  Only my wife, mom and about 3 friends ever contacted me via my phone. The rest of the calls were work related.  Society now communicates via FB, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.   Everyone has to be in constant contact.  It seems they can not even go to the bathroom without being on their smartphones.   I decide to be in contact when I want to and I have really been enjoying it.  BTW, I never used my phone while in the restroom.

Now if I can only get my wife and son to put down their phones.   Every time the family is driving or sitting down, their faces are glued to FB or Snapchat.   Personally I now set aside a period of time either daily or weekly to check on social media or say check on stock prices.  I used to be constantly checking the Dow and other stock indexes.  It used to really stress me out when the market was down.  Now I rely on the financial plan that I created for Carolynn and I and  just check the market only once a week if I want to.  If I go back to day trading this might have to change, but for now I am really enjoying not reacting to every event.

How long can I last without a phone?  Who knows, but for now I am living in the moment and enjoying a Cage Free life.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 New Years Day Ride

Carolynn and I headed over to Lawrence for LMBC's annual New Years Day ride.  I believe this is our 17 annual. 
Very good turnout today.  I would say well over 50 riders.  As one would expect, turnout usually depends on conditions. Today we started at 29 degrees with a small amount of cloud cover.  
Trail boss Art King was happy to announce that the River Trails were all rideable until the sun started to come out. 
Gerard making the Mary look good.  I believe this is Gerard's 17th LMBC New Years Day ride also. 
Chuck I do believe you are a little over dressed.  And what is up with the boots and that helmet?  I will send you a new Rudy Project winter helmet to replace that god awful pink unit you have on :-)

Check out the 2017 LMBC New Years Day Ride album for more pictures.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Leaders Matter

A little over 15 years ago I was doing some research for my brother John who was a Quad (Stem cell research) and came upon a great Institute that wanted to change humanity and cure cancer.  It was led by a great man who had a dream.  I wanted to be a part of that dream which just so happened to be located in the heart of KC.

 I clicked on the Careers tab and as luck would have it there was a position in the Telecommunication field - a field that I was just starting in.  I applied along with nearly 100 others (Sprint had just had a massive lay off back then).  I really did not have the qualifications for the job but I did have the desire to be a part of this great Institute.  Through persistence I got an interview and 2 months later was offered the position.  I was so thrilled and ready to begin a new chapter of my life.  I thought at the time that I could help the Institute for the rest of my life and be a part its great cause.

The next 8 years were awesome.  The Institute invested in my career, I worked hard and enjoyed being part of this great Institute.  Fellow members had smiles on their faces and worked well together.  We got things done and we were making a difference.

When things are good at work you do not realize how important leaders are.  You take for granted how all the teams are working well together, how they share ideas and work hard together as a team. I was part of a very good team that, at least in my eyes, contributed to the success.  

Then things started to change.  A new CEO & COO came in with new policies.  We go from a culture that worked together to fight this monster called Cancer to a corporate culture based on greed, money, who's ass you need to kiss and nepotism at the highest level.  It was not about science anymore which is very sad.

The next several years things slowly changed for the worse.  The hierarchical structure that was created just did not work and "bad managers" took advantage.  For example, directors hired their old babysitter to work at the Institute - just an FYI, babysitters do not know anything about project management nor construction.

You know there is a problem when management start to test new technology, the technology that you support, and you are not involved.  They can not get it to work but they do not even ask for your advice (even though you know how).    

After 15 years of dedication and hard work my department was "absorbed".  Nothing in the budget for me or the services I supported - The "Cloud" and the new poisoned culture had ended my career. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

25 Years of Guilt

It is hard to believe how quickly time passes.  They say that time heals all, but that is not always true....

25 years ago my younger brother John was involved in an accident that left him a quadriplegic.  This destroyed my family both emotionally and financially.  Half my life has been filled with guilt, sadness, anger, fear and the ever constant WHY.

I have tried many times to "move on" but I always seem to go back into a mourning cycle.  I know it is a personal weakness of mine.  The question is how do I overcome it?  For 25 years I have failed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's an Old Man to Do?

Looks like winter is finally over and Spring is here which means a slowing of our Good Times Gravel Grinding series.  What a season it has been for gravel riding.   Some of our rides had close to 100 riders.  All of them out having a good time riding gravel.  I have used these rides to meet new friends and try to recover from my hip injury and gain some fitness. They have been fun but challenging. 

The 2016 racing season has officially begun for me.  What that means right now is not entirely clear to me. I had plans to race the Forward Motion Hare Scrambles series again this year along with some MTB racing. Round #1 at Milford Lake was packed with full "gates".  The course had just as much sand as the classes had sandbaggers. I can not remember a time with the winners from the previous season did not move up.  This year no one moved up and several riders moved down making the Veteran Advanced  35+ class full.  Maybe it is time to make a 45+ or 50+ Advanced class?

My new number for the year.  I sure do miss my brothers. Everyday I think of them especially when I ride.  #911 - John Locke : #103 - Joey Locke  Rest In Peace my Brothers.

I broke a cardinal rule when I bought new helmet to race in.  Dave Lafond reminded me of this and told Carolynn to drop my helmet in the dirt to prevent any type of crashes.  It worked for the most part.
I personally had a very bad race, results wise, but I rode well for my age.  Poor start due mostly due to my hip and the lack of power to get a good strong kick to start my bike.  I rode as hard as a 50 year old can against all the young Vet Advanced riders but only got a 13 place finish.  

Part of my problem on this day was coming to the realization that life goes on sometimes without the ones you love.  Christopher has decided he does not want to ride/race with me anymore. Why, I do not know.  I got back into riding motorcycles so we could do it together.  I may have to rethink things.
This past weekend was another double header for me.  Gravel ride on Saturday with the Kings of the Hill ride hosted by Kevin Nierman and his Dirty Dogs team.  Fun route with plenty of variety, tough climbs and of course a head wind coming back into town.
On Sunday Carolynn and I loaded up and headed to round #2 of the Forward Motion series at Walters Ranch.  I was on the fence about going.  When your head is not in the game it is best to not play.   I decided to go and ride and see how I did on a more demanding course.  Today's course was really rocky and hilly.    I again rode as hard as I could for two hours and only fared slightly better with a 9th place.

The only good thing on this day was Carolynn and I found a nice restaurant to eat at in Sedalia. Kehde's Barbeque just off the Katy Trail was awesome.  If you happen to be in Sedalia, MO stop by and enjoy lunch/dinner.  My only suggestion is to share a meal because the serving sizes are very large.  I guess I have some big decisions to make.  Do I continue on racing Hare Scrambles solo and maybe give another series a try like MORE that has a 45+ class?  Will that change anything?  Do I see if I can work through these injuries and get back in form so I can race bicycles again?  Or is it time to quit racing all together.  Maybe take up Masters Swimming or a safer sport. I know I can not run so Triathlons, which I used to really enjoy are out.  I do know that not being competitive sucks.  I do not like being pack fodder but that is what I have become.