Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Work. Work. Work. Bleh.

Alright, the last two weeks have been hella busy. In fact, if you weren’t in Madison, Wisconsin during that time, then you most likely did not hear from me. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just because I don’t like you. I just got home two hours ago and am trying to make the most of my 12 hours here until I have to leave again for Hotter’n Hell down in Texas. I’m seriously dreading getting up at 5:30 to start driving, only to arrive there and start working in the oppressive heat at one of the nation’s biggest cycling events. In fact, the only thing keeping me going right now is the fact that I’m home for approximately three weeks after this.

As usual, I’m too lazy/tired/stupid (pick one) to write actual paragraphs about what’s happened since my last post, so I’ll try to hit the high points in … list form! I swear, next time there will be no list, only a series of coherent, well-planned paragraphs. I still figure I’m doing better than Sarah who only copies and pastes quizzes on her blog in a blatant act of comment-whoring. However, that’s another matter entirely. On with the list:

- I’ve been consuming way too much alcohol lately. It’s not my fault. The beer was free and it’s rude to turn down free beer.

- I have not slept much in the last two weeks. But I did manage to sleep about 10 hours last night, so I feel pretty good about that. And you can bet your sweet ass that I’m gonna be averaging about 13 hours a night as soon as I get back from Texas next week.

- I spent about two days agonizing over a career decision that, in retrospect, was actually a pretty clear choice.

- I remembered how much I like Madison.

- I met some really neat new friends.

- I had a glorious reunion with some not so new friends.

- I did no fishing or kayaking or fishing from my kayak whatsoever in the last two weeks, and I can’t wait till next week when I can get back to it.

- I wore my favorite pants (my IR board shorts) five times. For those of you who are wondering (and I know you are), I did wash them twice. I think it’s time to order more pairs though.

Okay. That’s enough. I’m incredibly tired and I have to get up ridiculously early. Here are a couple photos to tide you over till next week:
Me doing what I do best ... leaning. Oh, and rockin' my favoritest pants.

A thousand freakin' bikes. Long story.

It was pissing rain and Julie was thirsty, so it all worked out.

John was kind enough to point out Brett's weiner to everyone. Brett didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Essentials for the Road.

Those of you who have been loyal readers of Stop Fooling Around have probably already noticed that I tend to make a lot of lists. Actually, anyone who knows me very well at all would know that I am obsessed with putting most information into list form. I don't know why. I just do.

So anyway, I'm leaving for another trip in about 36 hours, so I was thinking about what all I need to do before I go. That got me to thinking about all the things that make life on the road so much easier/enjoyable/better for me. You can see where this is leading, can't you? A list!

So, here you go. These are things I never leave home without. There's also a few things that I tend to look for while I'm out and about.

My Samsung Blackjack: Like a BlackBerry, but way cooler. It uses a Windows Mobile operating system, which is handy because it automatically syncs with my Outlook e-mail, calendar, and contacts. I don't even have to plug it into my computer. The Blackjack just communicates with the corporate server on its own. It also features a full internet browser, so I can pull up the weather, MapQuest, or the Starbucks location nearest to me at the time. Speaking of Starbucks ...

Starbucks: It's not the coffee I care so much about, it's the consistency. I can find a Starbucks in most of the places I go, and I always know what to expect there: decent coffee, comfy chairs, wireless internet, and clean spacious restrooms. Every Starbucks is the same, so I'm never having to guess at what I'm getting.

Hampton Inn:
In keeping with the consistency theme, I have to mention Hampton Inn. I try not to stay in hotels too often, since it's expensive, but when I do splurge, I like to do so at the Hampton Inn. They are noticeably more expensive than a lot of hotel options, but the beds alone are worth it. Every Hampton Inn features the Cloud Nine Experience. That's right. Experience. Go ahead. Click the link. They are not exaggerating. The beds are that good. I try to make sure I'm going to have plenty of time to spend lounging in the bed when I stay at a Hampton Inn. I also try to make sure I'm not going to have to get up early, as the amazing beds make it nearly impossible for one to get out of them before say, 11am. As if the beds weren't enough, I've never ever had less than the absolute best service at a Hampton Inn.

My MSR Hubba Tent: I do try to keep the hotel stays at a minimum. So I often stay with my dealers or sales reps or friends. I also camp quite a bit. $10 bucks for a site at a state park sure beats $110 at a hotel. So, my tent comes in handy quite often. I can set it up in under five minutes. It keeps me dry in the rain. It keeps bugs off me. It's light and compact and doesn't take up much room when I'm not using it. The only catch is that I wish I'd have gotten the 2-person version instead of the 1-person version. The extra space and versatility would be nice.

My Thermarest: Great for sleeping in the tent, the back of the car, or in the floor of someone else's hotel room.

My Immersion Research Board Shorts: They are just the right length, not too long, not too short. They fit me really well. They dry quickly. They have a side pocket that holds just enough stuff. They are extremely durable.

My OR Mithril Stormshell: Quite possibly the most awesome soft shell jacket ever made. It's warm enough for chilly winter days, but not too warm for sudden summer typhoons. It's breathable, but doesn't leak, thanks to the taped seams. The sweet hood tightens at the back of the head instead of at the chin, allowing for a nice snug fit without blocking my peripheral vision.

Downey Wrinkle Releaser: This one should be pretty obvious.

A Camera: As of last week, my Olympus dumbass-proof camera (see the post from last week). You never know what you're going to run into that might require documenting on film.

Patience, A Sense of Humor, and the Ability to Adapt: Enough said.

That's my list so far. There's a good chance that I'm leaving some important things out. Of course, there are numerous other things that I need on the road, such as credit cards, toiletries, sunglasses, shoes ... the list goes on and on. But those things are obvious. The point here was to highlight the stuff that is specific to myself and not so obvious.

That's all I've got for today. I've been at home this week, so the last couple of days have been relatively uneventful. Although I guess I should mention that my cell phone (yes, the awesome Blackjack mentioned above) is, for the most part, broken. To make a long story short, it's following the same road as my recently departed camera (not the sweet ass Olympus). I tear things up. This problem I have is best summed up by a quote from Helen:

Me (telling Helen about my sweet new camera): Yeah, so it's waterproof, freeze proof, crush proof, and can withstand being dropped from 5 feet off the ground. It's virtually indestructible, for a digital camera, anyway.

Helen: You'll manage to break it.

Ahh, Helen. Such a downer. But honest.