Not much fun …

I like to post light hearted things, some are important, some are important only to me.  Some are fun to read, some are boring.  Some mean something hidden behind a Scott induced riddle, others are pretty much what they say.  Today, no matter how hard I try to make this a fun, happy, good to read entry in my blog, I can’t.  It just won’t work.  I’ll save you reading to the end – I’m okay – I did not lose my job, but many of my friends, co-workers and people with a lot more time @ my company did.  That makes me sad.  Some of them were every bit as competent as me, if not more so.  More experience, more time, more everything … just in the wrong place at the right time.  I’m all twisted up inside.  Relieved, sad, excited, scared, confused… all of this is running through my head.  I have lots I could say, but in a day where social media can instantly make or break a carreer, I am reluctant to post many details.  I will tell you that I am happy to be an employee of Micro Focus – which is ironic to computer geeks as I used to pick on cobol programmers – now I work for a company that was built on cobol!  I truly enjoyed working for Borland and always – from day one – felt as if I was part of something special.  I’ve put a lot into making Borland better.  The product I support has been rebranded to Micro Focus, which is a good sign! It’s time to help Micro Focus!

To quote Buzz Light Year …. “To Infinity & Beyond!”

Tomorrow, I plan to wake up with renewed enthusiasm and hit the ground running!  If I can help some customers tomorrow, I am well on my way to making it a brighter day!

The Madison

When I first became intersted in track racing, I always wanted to be a sprinter.  I was fat.  Sprinters were fat.  It seemed fitting.  No hills, go super fast, get it over with.  Girls love it, you can ride crazy and get away with it… yeah, sprinters are cool.  I don’t like sprinters much any more.  I mean, they are fine people and all but the impression of sprinter romanticism is all but gone.  I love watching sprinting at the world cup or even sometimes national level, but I’ve seen enough 12.8 sprinters give it a go for at least the rest of my life.  Some how, in all of that, I found a new love.  Points racing and more so – the Madison.  There is something incredibly tactical, something exciting about racing a points race or a madison on the velodrome.  The points aspect adds a certain “fourth dimension” to the equation.  You may be in the lead, but you are last… you may be last, but win the bike race… there is a lot more to it than all of that, but … it’s just fascinating to me.  To see a world cup or world championship madison is better than watching the super bowl.  It’s incredible!

Some of you may not know exactly what a madison is.  It’s a 2 person team race, in which on a regular basis, each person takes a “relief” lap.  While you are on relief, your partner is racing.  You use either a hand sling, a butt push or even a ‘love tap’ to get the other person into the race.  For the most part, it’s a hand sling.  Follow me on this…. I’m riding along on the track at 25+ mph.  My partner comes down the track to about where I am.  They put their hand on their hip.  As I go by, I grab their hand and we do a little diddy called a hand sling.  My arm goes back, his arm goes forward.  We get a bit extended and I do EVERYTHING in my power to launch my partner up to my speed or better.  Keep in mind, there are at least a few… up to 18 other teams out there going at it!  It’s chaos – but when you are in the thick of it – you can sort things out better than you can from the side.  While this video isn’t very good, it will give you the idea:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg-XgFlg78g

SO… why am I rambling on about all of this?  Well, last Wednesday night – I rode a madison.  It was the “Featured Event” at the velodrome that night.  That … and $2.07 will get you a large coffee at Starbucks … but anyway, I paired up with my friend Pete Antonvich.  Early in the race, one of the fastest teams had an issue and I killed myself to put a gap on them.  Pete handled the sprint and we got second place.  I exploded and took a while to recover – but got back in the game for the final sprint.  I poured my heart and soul into an attack with 3 to go.  Pete went in with 1 to go and won the final sprint giving me my first ever madison win.  It was truly and exciting moment in my life.  It’s not really that big of a deal, but I really tried hard… my form is coming on and that made me feel great!

Now – my database restore is done – and I must go ride my bike!

Today is Banana Day

So as you may have gathered from my status, my company is no longer called Borland – or … well, maybe it is. I don’t know. Borland – was purchased by Micro Focus today. Odd… an old C++/Turbo Pascal company purchased by an old Cobol company? I’m sure we will have more information on that as the days unfold. I still work at the same desk doing the same job … so that’s good (I think).

Well ANYWAY – this actually does have something to do with bananas… believe it or not. I was headed out of the office and I ran into the President of Micro Focus North America and one of his guys. I held the elevator and said “gotta make a good impression”. One of the guys said “Bring in and apple”. The other said “Maybe a banana”. With all of the energy and excitement about my new found banana pealing technique, I could not even hold back. In the 16 floors of the Platinum Towers, I told these guys about the banana technique. They were pretty excited about it as well. I then learned that eating green bananas will give you the runs… So we are up to banana story number 2 on the day…. (well, 3 … if you include the poop part!)

My boss told me about Banana Ice Cream … not so sure about that, but she and others indicated it was “to die for”.

Finally… another banana oddity… Did you know you have a banana on your tailpipe? (Folks of my generation will recognize the weak reference to the Eddie Murphy – Beverly Hills Cop movie).

I couldn’t have planned a mis-placed banana so well! I was just driving down the road and look what I found!

Look on the left side of the bumper...
Look on the left side of the bumper...

Now I’m not entirely sure what that trail down the bumper is doing to the finish of that car, but it can’t be good!

Henceforth and furthermore … July 27th will be the Day of the Banana!

How do YOU open a banana?

For years, I have opened bananas like I was always taught to. Grab a hold of the banana, wrestle with the stem for a bit, it will pop and then you peel and eat. Well, this system works, but you know, it does present some issues. Sometimes you have to wrestle with it a bit too much, sometimes you have to get a little violent with it. This can leave the top 1/2 of your banana almost gelatinous. Nobody likes that!

This weekend my eyes were opened! My brother-in-law, Frank, told me of a technique that is apparently quite popular in the monkey community. While monkeys do have certain hygiene issues that should not be overlooked (poo tossing, public “pleasure sessions”, etc…) when it comes to eating bananas, I think we can all agree, they are clearly the leaders in the field.

I have been opening my banana the wrong way … you should open it from the BOTTOM!  Yup, that’s right – the bottom!  If you gently squeeze the banana “buttocks”, it will pop open.  You can then just peal it right apart leaving the entire banana in its fresh, firm consistency!

I liked this so much, I had my co-worker video a quick clip for your watching pleasure.  It’s so easy … why didn’t we think of that?  I believe those 2 extra chromosomes have clouded our banana judgment.  I am glad Frank has helped to clear this up for me!

Have a seat – this could take a while!

So … i’ve been uncomfortable on my bike for a while.  My saddle just hasn’t been right.  I decided to put on another saddle and it was better, but not great.  I got a saddle from a friend that I had been meaning to try out, but I just hadn’t got to it.  Last week, I put it on the track bike as the track bike was 10x worse than my road bike.  I liked it!  Crazy – eh?  So … I like to have the same saddle on my track bike and my road bike – just a thing I like to do.  I find another saddle on ebay and win the auction – great price.  I get the saddle, but don’t feel like changing it… you see, I want the one on the TRACK bike on the ROAD bike and the new one on the track bike.  Yeah… you are probably going “He’s a little worked up about this – isn’t he?”  Well, the “new one” actually has steel rails that tend to BEND rather than BREAK.  The Dick Lane Velodrome is a rough track and has a “whoop-dee-doo” that is known for breaking saddles.  Steel often bends before it breaks.  Titanium just flat out breaks – *pop* – all done!

This morning, I saw the saddle and said – eh… not today!  Ooops!

One broken saddle
One broken saddle

This is the product of my lunch ride.  It didn’t come COMPLETELY apart until I got it off the bike.  I was able to ride home, but it snap’d, crack’d and pop’d down there a lot.  Not a good sound between your legs.

Given all that happened and having a desire to ride tomorrow – I had to do some work on my bikes tonight.  I’m happy to report all is well.  My track bike is sad – it’s Wednesday and it’s just hanging out with the gang… not being abused and beaten on at the DLV, but it now has it’s semi-perma-temporary saddle – so it is at least one with the universe.

Got Saddle
Got Saddle

As you can see, the road bike now has a saddle on it that is all in one piece – no begins the “acclimation period”.  I think it won’t last too long.  I did race this saddle on the track and it was quite comfortable.  The track has a ‘special’ way of letting you know if your saddle is going to work for you or not.  Something about pulling G’s in the corner that makes sure you are “in touch” with your saddle.