Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Exit 44 and the Voice of Reason

Today I was traveling across the overpass of I-80 in Oakland. When I got onto the 880 freeway going to the Oakland Airport, I passed Exit Number 44. As I approached that exit, it suddenly dawned on me that the 44th president was going to be someone that I did not vote for and this was an exit I had to take whether I liked it or not. (How Ironic)

After watching the concession speach delivered by John McCain, I was stricken by a sad situation that the stigma of George W. Bush has put into the minds of everyone. I watched a war hero turned-Bush fall guy deliver the most impactful speach of the year. He moved me in such a way that I had no other choice but to believe in Barrack Obama. John McCain is truly a professional nice guy, and I will always remember the fight he had to battle. For every step he took forward, there was always some sand pit, or swamp, or hot dessert, or deep pit, or aligators pulling him back. It was a cliche of a campaign-in that McCain already lost before the election. For every step forward he took two steps back. Mostly, the two steps back were directly related to the dogma/stigma of being so close to the adminstration that over 69% of America did not approve of.

Shame on you America for not deciding for a man who could have provided change. The change we needed.

I will not leave you on a negative note, because like you, I was truly uplifted by the presence of hope that the elated faces looking upon Barrack Obama had. I told my cousin, who attended the Grant Park historic event that I fealt overwhelmed with feelings of being Patriotic after the announcement of the President Elect on Fox News. The sole reason, I think, is because of the barriers it breaks for a great number of people. American People! The People of the United States have spoken. I may not agree, but nevertheless, I feel patriotic about what happened.

I hope that Barrack Obama can live up to his Tiger Woods-esque expectations for his, our's and our children's sake. We do not need a let down, after so much uplifting hope has filled over 57% of all America. I hope the 57% is the Voice of Reason because exit 44 is a road we ALL have to take now. Let's support our President and serve our country to the best of our ability. I know McCain has, I know my dad has, and I know I have. Have you?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Economy Sucks When..... go to Las Vegas and you can barely move around because there is no room. Why is there no room? Everyone is spending money on drinks, gambling, smoking, dancing, sporting events, concerts.... go to Olive Garden and there is a two hour wait. But as you walk up to the can sit down and eat right away....

....the Suns Season tickets are sold out, even before the season starts.

...people keep using all the fuel but complain about conservation and global warming.

...people blame government for their mistakes.

...when people want more government when they are still on welfare.

...people go out and spend their tax return check, but then complain about taxes.

...the Dark Knight makes a record $155 million dollars in its first weekend.

...Hollywood makes more money in the three day weekend the Dark Knight opens...ever...

I have really been trying to stay away from the political unrest that is the Media of our upside down 2008. The democrats have really condescended the idea that an outsider cannot bring in new ideas(Speaking of Palin). I watched Bill Maher last night on HBO and his panel were really inserting feet into mouths. Janeane Garofalo was the epitome of backfire. I think that the democratic party is shooting themselves in the foot by belittling the candidates of the republican party. The media feeds fuel to the fire, by showing and asking all that they want to here for their audience. Show the whole story, not just the stuff you want to here. I can't stand the editorial-isms from the liberal media.

It has been this way for democrats for a long time. Bring somebody down to bring themselves up. When Garofalo said that Bush did not win either election...hmmm I think he is in office now...I know that she is just a liberal hippy that looks for the first weed machine in downtown L.A. when her depression kicks in, of course, it was the federal government that was responsible for her depression in the first place. Damn the federal government for not creating a psychological disorder for what she has...she may need it when she files for federal reimbursement. Of course, which needs federal oversite to make sure that the money is being appropriated to people that actually filled out the right applications.

I am definitely being sarcastic but I am just sick and tired of people complaining. It is not the people making a case about the issues, it is the people that take things to a personal level. Like, Garofalo. She needs others to make sure her low self esteem can be picked up once and awhile. The economy sucks when people like Garofalo are concerned that there isn't enough government to make the economy better. Sorry, Janeane IT IS THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THE ECONOMY GREAT, NOT GOVERNMENT!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

17 Years of Bliss

In case you might be wondering, I have not traveled for a week and am home for another week. I have decided to skip talking about traveling and talk about my wonderful wife who, I met 17 years ago August 31.

As I relax today; Sheila and I went on a long awaited date lastnight and we had a great time. We went to a restuarant/bar called Barcelonas in Scottsdale. We ate, drank and danced. But, neither of us figured out it was our 17 year meeting aniversary. You see, we met 17 years ago.....Here is the story:

There was this Maroon 1985 Ford Escort driving in circles on Camp Pendelton, California Marine Base. We happened to intercept the car. What's more, there were three ladies in the car. Funny thing was, you could not see the driver over the seat. But for me and my buddies, there were some chics in the! As we followed them, they get lost, we get frustrated, and we continue on. But now, they make a u-turn, and they start following us.

Our final destination was the Del-Mar E-club. You see, the term E-club means, enlisted Marines club, so we knew there would be a lot of horny drunk marines there, but what the hell. I liked to dance, and there were women to be had! Until......

These three young women came up to me and my friends and asked us to sign them in. Civilians cannot get into the club unless they have an escort. Here is the irony, these three ladies were the ones in the Maroon Ford Escort. One of them was Sheila. My wife. We drank, we danced but we did not eat. Sheila had to get home with her sister and cousin. We invited them to Dennys but we got denied. I thought that would be the end of it. Sheila went to work the next day, and I hung out with my friends. I call Sheila that evening, and she thought my name was TOM???!!!?? So I corrected her. Of course, she didn't tell me this until 16-17 years later.
As you can see in this picture, this is 17 years ago. Damn we look good. I have had the most memorable 17 years of bliss. We have two wonderful girls Courtney, 14 and Camryn, 10. We have a gourgeous house in Mesa, AZ and we both love what we do. What more could you ask for? I would ask for, 200 more years just like the 17 years of Bliss we just had.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ithaca is Gorges

Instead of complaining about traveling, I decided to post a positive note this time. I traveled to Ithaca, New York on Monday to deliver a couple of overview sessions for Safestart. The company was Borg Warner who manufacturers several components for engines, transmissions and many other items for cars and trucks.
Between sessions, the host (Training Manager) Steve Waight drove me out beyond the finger lakes into an area that had many gorges and waterfalls. When I typically think of New York I automatically get a vision of Times Square or Taxis bustling around town. Well, that image is now changed forever. The waterfall in the picture is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi river. It is called Taughonnock falls and the area was incredible. If you wanted to say something about the majestic areas of the United States, you would think The Rockies, or the Grand Canyon. This area was truly majestic and belongs in the same sentence as the aforementioned.
I have ended my week for the last training class for Terra Industries. They manufacture Anhydrous Ammonia. There location is in Woodward, Oklahoma and is near the pan handle. When I left Phoenix on Monday it was already 92 degrees at 6am. When I got to Ithaca it was 56 degrees, and when I arrived in Oklahoma it was 74 degrees. What a relief from the desert heat. Whats more, is I played a game of golf on Thursday, but it started pouring and there were lightning strikes within less than a couple of hundred feet. So, the golf game was suspended. But the company was incredible! Justin, Scott and Mr. Ellis, all employees from Terra, were awesome. So within the last couple of weeks, I have played golf in Aliso Viejo, Anna, Ohio, and now Woodward, Oklahoma. What a treat. It makes the whole traveling in an airplane worth it. More importantly, I get to meet nice people like Steve, Scott, Eric G., Brian, Justin and ole' Smokey.
Just as Ithaca is "Gorges" so are the people I get to meet each and every time I go to work. If it weren't for the people, this job would be meaningless.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Next to Last Nail

I cannot believe my Thursday this week. Well the first 1/3 of the day was great. I performed observation and feedback training to TAM International in Houston. Students were awesome and the southern hospitality was incredible.

On the way into Houston, we were flying about 1 to 2 hours ahead of Tropical Storm Edourd. We landed and there were no problems. Unless you want to consider 40 minutes to get your checked bag a problem...

After Thursday's class I had a 4 hour break between the class and flying home. Regrettably, I had a bit of anxiety getting home. Never-the-less, it does not excuse US Airways' behavior on this evening.

The incoming flight arrived in Houston an hour late. This was the typical, oh no big deal, it happens all the time simple "it's okay" error. As we were lining up to get onto the airplane, the gate agent (who worked really hard, it's just that he had that logo on his shirt that said US Airways) was told by the pilot that there was a tray table that would not lock in the upright position. So we had to wait for maintenance. There was another problem with the aircraft, a seat was stained from a previous passenger so they would not let anyone sit in it. I would say that would be about a $350 error (the cost of a one way flight from Houston) Literally, it was already 9:40 when we started loading. Now we are sitting on the airplane and the engines won't start, so now we have to wait for an air cart, to manually start the airplane engines.

Finally in the air. 8pm Phoenix time. 9:45pm we start to circle over the border of Arizona and New Mexico. We circled in the air for about 45 minutes. There was a storm on the ground in Phoenix that forced the closure of Sky Harbor airport. UGGGGHHHHHGHHGHHG.

We run out of fuel, and we have to divert to Tucson. Oh, well. Wait, there are all of the other airplanes that were supposed to land in Phoenix here on the ground in Tucson. 17 aircraft waiting for fuel. We ended up being 12th in line. I was an optimist and said, "at least we weren't last." But o contrair mo'frare. We were on the ground for 2.5 hours in Tucson. We received fuel 12th in line just like we were supposed to. But! Wait! Our engines wouldn't start. Well they wouldn't start in Houston.....why would they start in Tucson? So we had to wait for an air cart again. Last plane on the ground, and wouldn't you know it a passenger looses their cool. She just HAD to get off the plane. So they let her off. There is another story here for another time, but my gosh, we were ready to leave, and she spazes out now????

So what do I do? Is US Airways at fault here? DO I call them up and complain?

Comment me back and let me know what my next steps are. I am sure this is the last time I keep my composure. This is the Next to Last Nail that will keep the coffin shut.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

US Airways, Nickels and Dimes

As I returned from Columbus, Oh. I am absolutely frustrated beyond words.

I read in the USA Today last week that US Airways lost $567 Million Dollars in the first quarter of 2008. First of all, I find this hard to believe, because every flight I have been on these last four months have been full. The first few months of the year, I received incredible customer service. Recently, I have felt betrayed and raped by US Air"WORST"

1) I used miles to fly my daughter to Cleveland, OH (50,000miles) they charged me $50 to use my miles. Seriously?

2) I get to the airport, and they charged me $200 to fly her because she was not 15 years old yet. Now most major air carriers UM (unaccompanied minors) age limit is 14 or 13; not US Air"WORST" their's is 15, and low and behold, they just changed their UM policy to charge customers $100 each way of travel. Seriously?

3) As of July 1st, they are charging $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second bag checked. Now this isn't a big deal to me, however, the ripples in the water are. For example, since there is a fee to check a bag, travelers are now NOT checking bags, and carrying on. This does a couple of things, one; it overloads the overhead bin space, so the last few travelers are going to be forced to pay either way. Two, now the aisles are more stuffed than before, causing flight delays and all other kinds of abnormalities. Seriously?

4) To top it all off, US Air "WORST" is now going to charge each traveler $2.00 to receive a soft drink, water or coffee. In addition, they are increasing their cost of alcoholic beverages to $7.00 per drink. Seriously?

Now, the big problem! I have been traveling with US Air "WORST" for the last 14 years. Even when they were America West. I have been trapped at an airport with America West Employees during the blizzard of 2006 in Denver. I have had flights canceled. None of which has caused me as much frustration as I feel now. What Knucklehead thought of the brilliant idea of charging $2.00 for each soft drink? This is the person that does not know the strength of long term investing.

Let me explain. These little short fixes for US Air"WORST" will only cause harm in the long run. Since I have been traveling, I have seen the likes of Southwest, United and Continental. I simply refuse to fly NorthWORST for customer service reasons. Organizations like Southwest really inspire me to travel with them for the long term. Southwest builds a relationship with their customers, to keep them coming back. US Air "WORST" is just in it for the money.

I use a business philosophy, if you nickel and dime, you will get nickel and dime! US Airways is nickel and diming their largest customer base, their frequent fliers. This will harm them in the long run. I will now avoid US Airways when I travel on long halls. Simply because they are blinded by the dollar. They want to fix now, and not the future. You want to know why? Well! They cannot see the future. They are blinded by their losses. They are blinded by nickel and dimes. SERIOUSLY!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Powerspace, Ace and Danger

At the end of my last trip, which I was going to call Anaheim Chronicles II, I decided against it. On Friday when I returned to Phoenix, My trip was capped off with a concert with my daughter, her two friends and Ashlee my Niece.

We saw Powerspace, Ace Enders and a Million Different People and Danger Radio. Cute is What We Aim For was the title band who played at the end, but I went outside and talked with Ace Enders.

The week started off with a golf tournament in Aliso Viejo with my good friend Mike Medina and went through to be one of the hottest weeks in SoCal.

I commenced to play Eric in tennis on Tuesday and again on Thursday. I thinked I faired better on Tuesday because my serves were going in. Thursday, Eric smoked me in two sets. I think I just got too frustrated and got too mad to play correctly. Overall, it was a pretty active week for me.

Now for work, I just did Traffic Control training all week! I topped it off with a one hour presentation at an auditorium in Huntington Beach. It was a very good presentation. I had a bit of a challenge on Friday with some of the students. They were having difficulty picking up the math in the traffic control set up phase of the training class. To top it all off Marjorie brought lunch to class and it might have served as a bit of a distraction to the students. Oh well, we recovered and I got really good reviews.

To finish off the week, as I alluded to it earlier, I went to a concert on Friday. What a blast. Courtney was on the stage side of the bar and I was on the "Adult" side of the bar. It seemed to be the right thing to do because I did not want to get involved with the teenage wasteland of stagedome. The kids were crazy in the middle of the dance floor. So, I just hung out at the bar. Come to find out, so did all of the band members from each band. What a kick! I hung out with Max and Kevin mostly from Powerspace. And then Alec and the keyboardist from Danger Radio. Courtney was now looking at me going, ha! my dad is hanging out with the band members, what a cool dad! To top the night off, I saw Ace Enders, yet again. In March, Eric and I saw Ace in Anaheim at the House of Blues with Angels and Airwaves. This guy is great!

He was sick this night, but he signed my Volcom shirt and all was good.

I think to top it all off, as I was walking out the door, Courtney asked if I could get her Danger Radio bag signed and I said okay. Walked right up to the band and they signed it right away. These guys are really awesome! Thanks Powerspace Ace and Danger Radio for a great night and to cap it all off an overall great week!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Ends of 10

As I leave Jacksonville, Fl. I just realized that I am going to be at the each end of Interstate 10. From Jacksonville to Los Angeles. ( I will be in L. A. next week)

This week served as one of the worst sleep weeks I have had. From working third shift at Honda to training first shift in Jacksonville. I was still stuck on midnight training and could not make an adjustment. I stayed up until 1-2am each morning in Florida. Now it is 4:30pm EST and I am on my way home, via a connection in Charlotte.

I am due to arrive in Phoenix 12:00pm EST. I think I will sleep on the Aeroplane!

Well, I suppose I can describe my time in Florida. First, I purposely avoided visiting with my cousin. After a disagreement between My Aunt and Mother, I just decided I could not handl the drama.

My two days in Fl were with IFF International Flavors and Fragrances. They manufacture chemicals that help flavorize things like doritos, chips, and odorize dryer sheets, and household deodorizers. What a plant! Many chemicals.

The students went through a Train The Trainer for Safestart and it was incredible. The Union is strong and not a big advocate for behavior based safety. The Steel Workers Union. Hmmmm it figures. 20 people, 20 excited reviews. GREAT! I think I was hitting a grand slam the entire time. I enjoyed. Loved the southern hospitality!!!!! It is 10 after on the 10th day, I digest, it is the end of 10......

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Columbus Red Eye

After connecting in Las Vegas at 11:00 pm, I arrived in Columbus, Oh at 6:30am. The flight was rather long and it was very difficult for me to sleep. For those that know me, I usually fall asleep without hassle. Well not this time. My internal clock is really messed up today, I slept till 1:30pm today and feel overly tired. Oh well....

I am here for a reason and that is to implement Safestart for Honda of America. The groups I am teaching are for the second an third shifts. Which ends around 1:30am.

On Monday, I received a call from a good friend in Bismarck, North Dakota. He is the Safety Manager for the DOE Western Area Power Administration in North Dakota. His phone call was not good news. He told me on the phone that another real good friend and the Safestart Administrator had died in a car crash. The crash happened at work on July 1, 2008. He wasn't speeding, he wasn't out of control, he wasn't frustrated. Brian Morris was neither of those. However, he was driving in a large dust storm with low to zero visibility and he could not see the dump truck in front of him. Brian will be missed.

From the Red Eye flight to the information about Brian, it has been a tough week already and it is only Tuesday. I leave for Jacksonville, Fl on Wednesday, I think things will turn around....I hope.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Wonderful People of the South Pacific


So My oldest is home from a 21 day trip to the southern islands of Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. She came home with the 2nd wind of an exhausted lion waiting for a kill. She had many stories and gifts from the visits to those islands.

I wiped away a tear when I saw her coming down the exit ramp from the security area at the airport.

The parallel here is that I went to the South Pacific too. I remember a trip in the Marine Corps when I went to Micronesia on and around the Equator. This trip was so self gratifying that I hope Courtney got to experience that culture as well. My trip earned a Humanitarian Service Medal. We (The Marines) went to Chuuk, Truck, Pulau, and several other little islands to recon their water wells, after most of their wells went dry in a long drought. We took sea water and desalinated it, my job was to inspect the water and test the pH and other contaminants.

The locals, when I went, were very cordial. I think Courtney, for the most part, witnessed high levels of civilization, however she did spend some time with locals in Fiji and the Maori in New Zealand. She did go to a museum in Australia and watched a Aborigone tribal dance. Metaphorically, Sheila said something to me that has stuck, The U.S. is the only country where you can be poor and fat at the same time.

These countries that Courtney and I visited did not have any evidence of that. Which should tell you something. Of course, I shall refrain.....but understand this, these people find a way to survive. The people here in the U.S. look for the next thing to complain about. For example, the price of gas, the cost of food, how far away your friends house is, what are you going to have for dinner what did George Bush do now.....etc, etc, etc. Quit complaining, make something happen. TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mesa in the Round

Well, I am finally home for a total of 8 straight. This comes after a week in Orange County and Riverside County. I finished my week off at the Cox Communications Corporate Building. The class was great. The Host Elise Fischer was awesome and the students were the type of students you wish for in every class! These guys were network techs, construction specialists, and safety professionals. The class was traffic control in Rancho Santa Margarita, home of Carson Palmer and my good friend Mike Medina.

I have come to realize throughout the last few months that I rely on Eric Garcia to keep my attitude straight! There are so many things that need to get done and Eric is the one that does all of that. For example, not only does Eric have to do his job, but he literally follows up on open ended items for me. Doing last minute things for people is what he is does best. Someone calls up and presto Eric takes care of it. Thanks Eric! Eric even created my Blog Picture. Isn't it awesome!?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Anaheim Chronicles

Today I finished a 24 Hour First Responder Technician Class for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California outside of Temecula, California. I have learned so much working with MWD that my brain hurts. Today we were discussing potential failures in a chlorine evaporator system and one of the students mentioned that engineers during the desing phase "Cut and Paste" their designs from one building to another. Inherantly this causes many internal issues becuase of location, elevation, material flaws, employee strife, and many others (too many to list). The Cut and Paste dilema is in just about every industry I have visited by none more important than the folks who treat and distribute our potable water supply.

It is important for me at this point in my career because I am writing a technical MOP (manual of practice) for the Water Environment Federation that directly relates to Design for Wastewater Treatment Plants. Now if safety is forgotten, then, there will be unmistakeable problems later on during treatment well after construction. Could you imagine how compounded the problem becomes if the engineer who designs the facility just decided to Copy and Paste from the last design used? And you wonder why I live in Arizona?

Well, I am off to do a Traffic Control Class in Mission Viejo for Cox Communications tomorrow and I am home for one whole week (8 straight days) WOOHOO

Monday, June 23, 2008



It has been quite a while since I posted. But since Eric has posted a blog, I am going to keep this updated as frequent as possible.

Since I last blogged last, I have been to

1) Salt Lake City
2) Las Vegas
3) Roanoke Rapids, NC
4) Anna, Ohio
5) Holland, Ohio
6) Detroit, Mi
7) Anaheim, Ca
8) Decatur, Il
9) Chicago, Il
10) Sacramento, Ca

Most folks usually ask, "Do you ever go home?" I say yes I am home every weekend. However the travel time is offset by trying to get the word of Health and Safety out. I really truly believe that I am a traveling advocate for health and safety. Those ten listed visted spots were for clients mostly involved with Safestart and Safetrack. This is a behavior based safety program that looks at peoples human error and tries to illuminate the errors as "these things happen" Just try and fix it so it does not happen again. It also provides folks with a little accountability for there own actions. Take a look:

The work I performed were for clients like Honda, Crown, Kapstone Paper, and many others. You can go to my web site to see what type of services I provide. Site created by T-Atoms.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

North Dakota

Well, I went to North Dakota (Bismarck) for the Western Area Power Administration. (Department of Energy) and man was it cold!!! I was shivering. Jim Miest was a great host as was Mr. Brian Morris. Most of all, I enjoyed my presentations that day and there was really favorable response!

Thank you Troy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Travel to Houston and Woodward, OK

Well last week, I went to Texas City, TX and Woodward, OK. The visit to Marathon Petroleum in Texas was quite interesting. The visit was only for one day, but I got to meet 38 people for Safestart. The refinery was a vast array of pipes, tanks, stacks, fences, and ocean. The point of contact was extremely excited to have Safestart which makes my job so much easier.

I left for Woodward, OK to finsh an implementation for Safestart. The training was gonna be a rough one until I went to Walgreens to purchase Zytec. When I left Texas, I had an allergy attack. Mostly due to the dryness and windy conditions. As soon as I pulled into Woodward I felt so much better. The southern hospitality in Oklahoma was fabulous! Thank you!