Sunday, July 30, 2006


My new job: I wanted to wait a week before I posted anything, sort of get a feel for what I was getting myself into. Well, it has been a week.

I tell you what, it sure ain't tard wranglin! Let me just start by saying that. The difference? I LIKE this job.

But seriously, folks, I'm here all week. Basically, this is the sort of job I have been looking for. I wanted to manage something, without getting a business degree. I wanted to be around sports. I wanted some damned responsibility.

The managing part is done. I am the manager. That was simple. I didn't need a business degree, but it helped that I was supervisor of a couple places first.

Being around sports means more than just selling epuipment. EVERYONE who comes into that store is a fan of something. I have spent seven years without a range of people to talk sports with. Now, it's my job. People will just come in and ask, "Did you see last night's game?" Damn right I did, and now, finally, I get to talk about it.

Responsibility is key, though. So far, the owner has been taking it slowly. He let me alone at the store for a couple hours, then a full day. I am doing some inventory stuff, and learning the behind the scenes stuff. I did a purchase. But more is coming. He is leaving for Chicago soon, and I will be in charge until I go to Chicago. While there, I will be ordering our boxing and weightlifting epuipment: those are already my departments. I have already started working with an employee to make him better, and soon I will be in charge of all of the part time guys.

But really, the key so far has been he trusts me, he asks for my opinion, he communicates, and he listens. And, really, he is a HE. Honestly, working for two females was rough. This guy is a guy's guy, and we are on the same wavelength. He doesn't want a long story, and we don't have to debate. It's this, then this, then that, the end. I like that.

In other news, Bil, I brought home the bike this weekend. I am now a rider, officially. I will be sure to post pictures very soon.


Monday, July 24, 2006


So, a few days a go a buddy from boyscout camp contacted me over MSN. "Do you have a GPS?" he asked. Why yes, yes I do.

Thinking he needed to borrow it for the boundary waters or something, I offered it to him. "Are you free Monday?" He asked next. My curiosity could take no more.

Turns out he needed it for geocaching. What's that, you ask? I know I did.

Basically, you get a starting point, a longitude and a latitude, and some clues, and you go looking for a cache. The cache has various bobbles in it, and a log, so you can let people know you found it, what you took from it, and what you left behind. Apparently, these things are hidden all over the world.

So today we went out into our little corner of that world and found three caches. I won't say where, lest I ruin it for someone looking for geocaching and stumbling upon this site. Suffice to say they were all in Bemidji, this time.

The first was very easy to find. In fact, that was the point, sort of a tune up for future cachers. We got our waypoint, and walked around trying to figure out the clue. Turns out we really didn't need it, as the hiding spot was sort of obvious.

The second one was a bit harder. We actually looked about half a mile in the wrong direction at first. A quick check of the GPS, and a couple former scouts debating about which way North was, and we found the spot. Blake, the aforementioned buddy from camp, went in search of it and actually stepped on it. Since they are hollow, we knew we had hit our mark. We took a couple trinkets from the first one, but the second one was so low we just added a bunch, and took nothing. Still we left our names in both logs, and went on our way.

The third one was very clever. Not only was it off the beaten path a bit, and on a much more obscure pathway through the woods, but the hiding spot itself was amazing. I really don't want to give it away, but the guy used nature in a very unnatural way, and the clues were terribly ingenious. It was a micro-cache, meaning it was a film canister, and that added to the difficulty of finding it. Since it was so small, it had no "treasure", but we logged our visit, and left a coin.

The cool thing about this, besides finally finding a use for high priced GPS units, is the idea that this whole time, on paths we have walked and biked countless times, these little treasures have been hiding. And you can look in the log and see who has visited them, what they left, what they took, where they are from. It is a living treasure, right in your back yard (sometimes literally).

It is such a large concept, with caches hidden in varying difficulties around the entire world! To be a part of that is special, and fun. We got to get outdoors, enjoy the wonderful weather (Thank you , Al Gore, for inventing global warming), and be a part of a much bigger picture.

Of course, the day wouldn't have been complete had we not left our own cache. Simply labeled "Blake and Joshua's First Cache", our cache is in a difficulty rating of 2, in both hiding spot and accessibility. The clue will require some knowledge of American History, and some clever phrase spinning. I look forward to seeing who finds it, and what they think.

For more info, if you haven't already hit the link above, go to www.geocaching.com. You might be surprised at how fun a hobby this can be.


Friday, July 21, 2006


to put up pictures of the wedding and Jamaica, once they were all processed and sent to me. They have been, so here goes: **warning, there are a lot of pictures here**

You would think we would be more exciting in Jamaica, but we just played a lot of chess. My record 4-0-1

But Chad was a good sport about it, and kept playing me, on bigger and bigger boards.

That game didn't turn out to well for him (I was pink).

After that we went swimming, and tried to pile ourselves on to an all too small platform. I wish we had pictures of THAT!

Something attracted me to this statue, but I couldn't quite put my finger on them...it. Yeah, I like art.

Can you believe Chad is still single?

Hey, that's us doing some kareoke.
I was kung-fu fightin'

We played A LOT of pool volleyball. This one was boys against girls. the hot one is my wife.

Boys won.

I don't have any idea who that dude is. But we climbed this. It was the most beautiful part of the island, besides getting married. Just look at that scenery. I don't have any idea who that dude is.

Here we are getting washed by the falls.

And this was just cute. Enough said.

But the trip was really about the wedding. I am going to post a few of my favorite pics later this weekend, so they will be on top instead of way down here. In the mean time, though, you can go here and watch a slideshow of ALL the wedding pics, set to music. COOL!


Thursday, July 20, 2006


The job, that is. He called me back in for a second interview, and told me he had another very qualified (much more qualified than I am, actually) applicant, but he was unsure what he wanted to do. Then he asked why he should pick me. I told him to get the other guy in and we would arm wrestle. But seriously, the answer is easy. Personality. This is a sales job. Not so much for the customers, but for the vendors. I can chat with anyone about anything, and then get down to getting their product in our store. It's really that easy. As far as running a business, nope, I don't have an MBA. But I can learn from him everything he wants me to do, and at the end of the day I still have personality. Can't get a degree in THAT.

But I took a gamble. I told him this, "You should hire me because you want to. Or else I wouldn't be here. The other guy is qualified, but you like me better, and you are looking for a reason to hire me. You don't need one. You are the boss, you get a good feeling from me, hire me." OK, I told him that PLUS the other stuff. And it goes back to who I am. I am honest. Sometimes (see the post before last) it is a liability. This time, it was an asset.

I start Tuesday.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I wait all day, and tell myself not to call, and seem too eager. And I wait and I wait, and I watch the first season of The Office. And I decide to call. The owner of the business I applied to be manager of is home with a sick kid all day.

And tomorrow, I will wait and wait and wait.


Monday, July 17, 2006


We just got our carry-on back from our trip to Jamaica, so pictures will be posted in the next couple of days. Further, our photographer has informed us that the full DVD of her work has been mailed this morning. Expect those pictures a day or two after the first.

And until then, I have a couple things to share.

First, I think I have figured out what it is about my personality that rubs one out of every ten or so people the wrong way. It is honesty, I would like to say. But that is only partially true. I think it is unfiltered, matter-of-fact honesty.

I came to this revelation today when I went to confront one of my bosses about a recent write-up she made about my performance. For the backstory: She wrote up everything I had ever done wrong since being employed with her December '04. The list had 8 things. That, in and of itself, should be a damned commendation of how little I mess up, but it was not. Further, every item on the list had been discussed and fixed since. And one of them was checking email on company time. Seriously. Anyway, I just wanted to see where I stood, as Carly and I have talked about staying here, and doing the overnight work, even though I most likely have a new job (see this blog tomorrow for confirmation or a HUGE rant). I wanted to know if it would be a stable work environment for the next 6-12 months, at which point we fully expect to buy a house.

Her write up was rather matter-of-fact, as well, but when I talked to her she was uncomfortable and waffled. This is a common occurrence with me. I wish I could say it is because I am physically imposing, but at 6 foot 190, I doubt many people cross the street when they see me coming. I had previously decided these 10% were just pussies, and couldn't handle face-to-face, frank discussion. I am sort of right.

Part of the reason, though, is the way I present it. Instead of leaning into it slowly, like most people would, feeling it out, making it easy on the other person, I jump right in. I just said, right out, what is wrong with me, do you think I can fix it, or do you want me to quit. That doesn't offer a lot of latitude, does it? In fact, it right away backs her into a corner. Not very diplomatic. Even though I am being honest, and wearing my heart on my sleeve, and further being no nonsense, I am not getting to the root, and I doubt that approach ever will.

I am not saying this to condemn myself, either. I like this about me. I might point out that most men do, too. It is easier, and at the end of the conversation both sides know where they stand, no excuses. Some women, though, seem to wrankle at this approach. Moreover, they get the wrong impression of my attitude, or intent. They think I am coming in to start a fight or push them around. When really I just want an answer without a lot of discussion.

It was interesting to figure this out today, and I can look out for it in the future. Already, it has applied to a past altercation with a professor (feminist, I should point out). Maybe pointing that out is part of the problem, too.

In happier news, I spent about 150+ miles on a motorcycle yesterday. I did some city driving, in town driving, and even went on the highway for a stretch. It went very well, and I actually felt confidant. Bil, you were right, 500cc would not have been big enough. I was, once again, on my Father-in law's 750. But when I got back to the garage, he had a surprise for me. He had asked Carly if it was ok to sell it to me. She said she felt a lot better about it now, and it was ok. So he offered it to me. 1100 is what he has invested and that's all he wants back. I am going to buy it, I think. Since we are not moving, we can afford a silly purchase like this. And I can still ride for the next few months.

The picture above is not of the actual bike. It is damned close, though. This one has full dress, which I may or may not take off, otherwise they are the same. It is a very nice runner, and was easy to handle/get up to speed, stop. I still have some getting used to on the clutch, but by day's end I was running through town without stalling the damned thing out. One more weekend and I think I can take it back to Bemidji, and the horrid traffic we endure.

Stay tuned for real pics of it (Mike has a compressor, so I might paint it and put some ghost flames on it, who knows) as well as the much anticipated Wedding Pics!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I said I would post more about the wedding and Jamaica, and I will. But right now I have two things on my mind, I want to get out there.

One: I have been getting a lot of traffic from this guy's site about the dawes bicycle. I commend him for doing his research, and it seems he has nailed the fact that the bikes being sold on ebay are probably not from the British bike maker. Good for you, dude. Honestly, I thought they were. But, and I would have asked this personally, had you left an email address, who cares? Those bikes cost hundreds more, and have the same components. Most likely, as you even point out, the frames are made in the same factory. Who cares what logo they put on them. I stand by everything I said (I want it known he agreed with me and this is in no way a retaliation post to something negative he said--he said nothing negative about me at all), and I think the Dawes Lightning DLX is a good entry level bike with good entry level components found on other bikes that retail for hundreds more. I would still recommend, if you are just starting out on road bikes, you buy one.

All that being said, I still commend this guy for doing the digging. He didn't have to clear it up for people, and he did. Some people have brand loyalty, or want named bikes, and they should get that if they expect it. Now they won't. And ebay ought do something, because they ARE fraudulently using the names of other companies, and that is illegal. But again, it's still a hell of a deal if you don't care what name is on the bike.

TWO: Is this guy serious. He is suing Michael Jordan. For 837 MILLION DOLLARS. For, get this, looking like HIM. He is saying it causes him mental anguish to look like Michael Jordan, is suing him, and NIKE for promoting him.

You could start by not shaving your head. Or wearing AIR JORDANS, idiot. Or, you could just suck it up and say, "I should stop whining and ride this out" I bet you have, at least once, used it to get trim in a bar. Admit it. For that, you should be paying HIM.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Congradulations, Congrateulations, Congratelations.


There, now we have THAT figured out, and we can move on, people.

Honestly, though, thank you to everyone who sent me congrats on my recent marriage, no matter how you misspelled it. We both appreciate every single one of you.

OK, I don't have my pictures back, due to a mishap with our carryon (we left it in someone else's car) and my personal photographer wanting to make things perfect before sending hers to me (damn perfectionists). But I thought I could at least write about the trip, and I will write about the wedding when the pics are in. Deal? Too fucking bad, I am doing it anyway.

We arrived, very early, at the airport on Wednesday. Because Bil reads this blog, I will say we arrived at MSP. We thought we would have a lot of check in to do, but the place was dead (it was 5am) and we went right through the queue to our gate. Only o find our flight had been delayed, and we would be sitting for a good two hours. Now, I am a morning person, but it is hard to be chipper at 5:30, when you know you should be on a flight to Jamaica, and instead you are in a friggin terminal. Anyway, they decided to switch planes, too, so we had to go to another gate to hop our flight. Late. Again. The departure time and estimated travel time meant we would be 5 minutes late for our connection in Memphis.

But what can you do? We hopped a DC-9, and we were on our way. I credit the pilot, as he said over the intercom "I know some of you have a connection, and you won't be late" "Pshhhaww", we all said, "we would be late." The two hour flight took one hour thirty five minutes. That was one fast mofo. And, considering he was flying a DC-9, which I am now convinced is the Winnebago of the air, double fast mofos all around.

We made it to the airport just in time to hear the final boarding call for Jamaica. Look folks, I know most of you weren't around for the OJ Simpson rent a car commercials. I wasn't, either, but I have seen clips, over and over, and I know what he had to go through. That was me, in the way all the way accrossed the airport. To all the children, old ladies, and attendants I knocked over, sorry. I made it to the desk and let them know I had people trailing. We made the flight.

The Jamaican airport turned out to be some guy's field. Honestly, goats were walking around. I am not kidding. And the air conditioning was broken. But that didn't stop them from making us wait in immigration lines for two hours. It was a fast two hours, though, I am sure. I should point out we flew to Jamaica on an A320 SR. It is a much nicer, bigger plane, and the wings do this cool fold up thing that impressed me.

So we get our bags and wait in the Sandals lounge. It was nice. Air conditioned, free booze, and we met another couple going to our resort, for a honeymoon. Some guy, not with Sandals, grabs our bags and brings us to our shuttle. We had not yet hit an ATM, and had nothing to tip the guy. He kept saying "it's customary, it's customary..." To which I could only reply, "If I had it, I would give it to you, man, now give me my bags." He was, needless to say, pushy. I would come to find they all are. We would make it a policy to only tip people who did not beg for it.

But we finally made it to Sandals Inn. The place is NICE. I mean, they had just updated it, and everything was brand new. We got an orientation in the lobby while our bags were brought up for us. And we got the best room in the house. Dead middle of the resort, top floor, overlooking the ocean. I was very glad we did not upgrade, because they gave us the room for free.

We met up with Carly's sister and her husband, who had already been there for three days, and they told us the lay of the land. Then we met Anthony. He is a "playmaker", which is Sandals code for motivator. He was in charge of getting us lumpy white people active. He was also the self proclaimed international champion of just about everything. Ask him, he will tell you. When we met him, he was just going over the five titles he held in pool volleyball. Mike, Hjalmer, and I would take that title from him before the day was up, but not without plenty of trashtalk, fanfare, and general merriment. The guy was hi-lar-ious. We instantly liked him.

We had a nice laid back dinner, once the rest of our guests (sans Erica and Chad, who would not be arriving until Friday) were all together. Some drinks at the bar, and an early night. We were all pretty tired. We booked some reservations, and that was that. Day one in the books. Later, I will talk about days two and three, then probably skip the wedding, talk about the rest of our stay, and get back to the wedding with photo illustration.

I do want to describe the grounds for anyone who stumbles upon this blog while looking for Sandals Inn reviews. The property is small, the smallest of the resorts. It has 52 rooms, and the best pool of all the ones we were in. It is not the largest, but was by far the cleanest, and most accessible. The beach is public, and the amount of locals will keep you from swimming there. No worries, there are private beaches at all the other resorts, and a shuttle will take you there for free.

The room is big, but not huge. The AC is on a switch that turns off when the door opens, so disable that right away, or your room will be sweltering. Big bay doors open up to a private patio, which is perfect for breakfast by roomservice (which we did about half the time). To the left of the resort proper is the bar, commons, and two of the restaurants. We never ate at the Carlisle, but Nibbles is awesome. Jack's jerk chicken will, as he tells you, "burn your ass lips off" Just keep telling him it is not hot enough, and by the end of the week he will have you crying. We ended up bringing home some of the sauce, special ordered from Jack himself.

The other restaurant, the bayfront, is located both inside and out, and has a nice variety of food. Be prepared for European portions, and you will be fine. This isn't Applebee's, the appetizers are for one person, and not meant to do anything but wet your appetite. The meal's are good, not spectacular, at the places that do not require reservations.

Try to do as much as you can, as often as you can, while you are at this small property. You can always go to the larger ones for more to do, so you might as well see everything this one has to offer right away, and make it feel like home, before shuttling accross Jamaica all the time. Meeting people is as easy as sitting at the bar, and this was the best place for that. We felt like a big family, and everyone knew everyone. The bartenders are all great, but Milton was the best. They will take the time to get to know your drink, if you have just one, and they are great to talk to when everyone else is passed out (early morning or late at night).

That's it, for now. I will review the other resorts on the other days, as we did not get to them on day one.