Saturday, December 7, 2013

Don't even ask

Earlier tonight, our company hosted its annual holiday party, the Seasonal Celebration.  I've talked about this event in past posts, so I won't go into detail about it here.  Each year for some time now, during this party we've played a video to sum the year.  As our studio team has become more and more superb, this annual video has become more and more...interesting, particularly for Bill and me, because each year's video typically has a little fun with us.

In this photo, I'm holding one of the stars of tonight's video.  Instead of the shirt he wore in the video, though, he's dressed up for the event.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Nope, I won't answer.  Don't even ask.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My weather algorithm needs work

Where I grew up in Florida, weather was simple.  It was hot, or it was too damn hot.  It was raining, or it wasn't.  That's it.  Sure, a few times in my life a hurricane trashed us, and once a June storm caused flooding, but those events were more like visits from political candidates than regular weather:  Everyone talked about them, and you had plenty of warning they were coming.  I consequently grew up with a simple approach to the weather:  It was what it was, and it didn't matter to me.

I've now lived far more of my life outside Florida than in it, but my fundamentally blase attitude about the weather has stayed with me.  I've sharpened my weather-planning algorithm only slightly:  In spring, I switch to short-sleeve shirts; in summer to shorts; in fall back to long pants, and in late fall to long-sleeve shirts.  When it starts getting cold, I add a light coat when I notice people around me wearing one.

This approach generally works for me in my part of North Carolina.

Today, it did not. 

I'd upgraded to a coat a bit ago, when the weather turned cold, and I knew it was December, so I figured I was done thinking about the weather until March.  I'd noticed over the past few days that the coat was a bit much, but I figured that situation would correct itself soon enough.  In case I was wrong, though, I left the coat on the hanger this morning and wore a heavy long-sleeved shirt.

Bad choice.

Today, the high was something like 77.  The day was glorious, the weather the perfection of a late September or early October afternoon.  I should have been in short sleeves.  Everyone else was. 

I definitely need to improve my weather algorithm.  The problem is, I can't be bothered.  Doing that would just add overhead to my day. 

Yes, I know I could look at the weather app on my phone, and I do that every now and then--but only when I've dressed inappropriately.  I could check it before dressing, but I won't, because, well, I'm stupid that way. 

Maybe I'll just leave a coat in every car we own and at my office.  That would cost more, but only once.

See?  I told you I'm stupid that way.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A wonderful, terrifying moment

I'm driving down the road, listening to the radio, enjoying this simple experience that has given me so much pleasure ever since the day I got my driver's license.

This song comes on the radio.

I know it very well, of course; it's been popular and out for a long time. 

I find myself singing along to the words.

Inside my head, the refrain feels real, appropriate, strong--I am young.  I burn with the energy of my youth.  The music ignites and engages that energy and my passions, as rock and roll has always done for me, and for a wonderful moment I am a young man singing along to music that speaks to his youth. 

But of course I am not young.  I am 58 years old, less than a third of a year away from turning 59.  My hair is mostly gray, my beard, white.  In the most optimistic moments I can wrangle, when I picture myself living as long as anyone in my ancestry has ever lived, I still have far fewer years ahead of me than behind me.  I have so much I want to do, so much passion, so much anger, so much love, so much of everything that I cannot possibly have so few years left, cannot possibly be so old, cannot possibly no longer be young.  Yet I am.  The terror of my oldness, of my mortality, hits me harder than any beating I have ever taken, and I have taken hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them.

The moments--both the wonderful one and the terrifying one--pass.

I lift my hand to turn off the radio.

Fuck that. 

I return my hand to the steering wheel and let the song play on. 

I go back to singing along with it. 

I don't care that I am 58 years old.  I don't care that my hair is gray, my beard, white.  I am young inside.  You can call it delusion, or trying to turn back the clock, or stupid, or whatever.  I don't care. 

If I live to be a hundred, I hope songs still light the passions in me, bring back my youth, and leave me happily singing along with them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gina's sabbatical

I've talked in earlier posts about PT's sabbatical program, and in one entry I gave a bit of detail about how we handle sabbaticals. 

Now, we've posted another video about the charity work that one of our staff members did on her sabbatical.  Check out Gina's story.

I'm incredibly proud of all the PT folks who have used part of their sabbatical time to help make the world a better place.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Check out the new Blue Rodeo album

If you've read this blog for a while, chances are good that you know that Blue Rodeo is one of my all-time favorite bands.  Outskirts, their first album, is still one of my desert island top ten picks.  These guys have been playing together since the late eighties, and they're still making wonderful music.  Now, their new album, In Our Nature, is in the stores and available online.  I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but from just this opening song I can't wait to hear the rest.

If you want more samples from other albums, you can find great songs in earlier blog entries of mine. 

Do yourself a favor: Spin a little Blue Rodeo, and then pick up both Outskirts and In Our Nature.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tesla redefines great automotive service

When I went to drive my Tesla Model S on Thanksgiving day, I noticed it had not charged overnight.  I figured I had failed to plug it in all the way.  No problem; I had plenty of miles of range left.

That night, though, when I plugged it in, I stayed to make sure it started charging...and it didn't.  I tried several times, but each time the car's display told me it was unable to charge. 

I had a problem:  an electric car that would not charge.  I did some online research and learned that this had happened to at least a few other Model S owners.  I wasn't happy that my six-month-old Model S had a problem, but I also wasn't greatly upset; it's new tech, and I'm willing to live with some debugging in return for the greatness that is the Model S.

This problem also gave me a chance to test Tesla's service, admittedly under warranty--though I paid extra to have the same level of service for the first eight years I own the car.

Very late that night, I emailed my local service center and, for good measure and because I'm that kind of guy, I also left them a voice message.

Late the next morning, I awoke to a phone message from the local service center.  I called back.  The rep offered to have a service tech bring me a loaner, pick up my car, and bring it back when they were done with it, which he guessed would be very late that day or early the next day.  It sounded great to me.

The tech showed up about an hour later.  Describing the problem and filling out the loaner paperwork took about 15 minutes.  The tech said they would fix my problem, check to see if any other fixes were appropriate, install the latest software, and "clean it up" for me.  He drove off in my car, and we headed out for a family lunch in the loaner.

Late that afternoon, the rep called back to say my car was ready.  Before 6:00 p.m., they brought it back.  They had fixed my issue; the tech stayed to verify that fact.  They had installed the software update, as the tech had promised.  They had checked the tires to make sure they were wearing well--I have sport tires, and I do drive the car like a sports car--and gave me an estimate of when I would probably want to replace them.  They had also scanned all the other Model S owner complaints and made about eight small changes to the car to reduce noise on turns, eliminate a potential click in certain situations, and so on.  They replaced my front brake rotors because newer, better ones were now available.  Finally, they completely hand-detailed the car, inside and out.

Cost to me:  zero. 

The tech noted that the software update had not captured the correct tire type for my car.  He also asked if my dual charger was using Tesla fuses.  It was not.  He recommended them as being the best.  He offered to come out the next morning to update the software with the right tire type and to put in Tesla fuses.  I said, sure. 

He did those things the next morning. 

Cost to me:  zero.

I once owned a Lexus LS400, which was a superb car.  The Lexus dealership's service was fantastic, easily the best I'd ever experienced. 

Tesla's service simply blows away Lexus' service. 

I already loved the car, which is amazing.  Now, I love the service, too.

Disclosure:  I own a Tesla Model S (duh) and Tesla stock.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I dreamed at length last night

about the word "consternation."  Mind you, I was not feeling consternation.  My subconscious simply decided to focus on the word.  It was all a-twitter about the term itself.  With relentless focus and a surprising amount of passion, my brain explored the many ways people use the term, and I more or less watched it work, a spectator to my own thinking. 

To some people, and in some dictionaries, the feeling of dismay the term includes must be paralyzing or at least something that gives you pause.  Other sources characterize the word as simply referring to strong feelings. 

Similarly, most sources I checked today seem to agree that the feeling must hit suddenly, though exactly how quickly seems up for grabs.

So, too, is the degree to which the feeling is negative.  Google the term, and on just the first page you'll see feelings ranging from anxiety to dread, and from confusion to dismay. 

What's fascinating to me is how broad a range of reaction the many definitions of this single term manage to encompass. 

Nothing really is simple, not even consternation.

And certainly not my brain's odd dream-time obsessions.


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