Saturday, June 17, 2006

I don't know where the time... days... went

Strangers are stranger….

Well, the last week or so, felt like a month or so!!

First, and probably most importantly, Maryan came through her surgery just fine. In fact the Doctor’s words to me immediately following the surgery were “It could not have gone better”.

She’s recovering slowly, but on a very steady track. Although she’s still pretty uncomfortable, I believe she’s already in less actual pain than she was before the surgery. I could be wrong as she’s (understandably) a bit “guardedly optimistic” with respect to her pain levels. She’s definitely moving around like she’s in less pain, despite moving slowly, the limp she’d developed prior to surgery is gone, and has been since she started walking after the procedure!!

Thank you all for your well wishes, thoughts and prayers, they were very, very appreciated!!

I’ve been very busy with taking care of Maryan, keeping up the household, dishes, laundry, housecleaning, cooking meals, grocery shopping in addition to having an added work load on the job… there’s just not been any left-over time for blogging. I’ve missed you all and hope starting this week to get back on a more ‘normal’ schedule.

Now… on to some of the strange parts of the past few days….

Motorcycles… helmets…

What in the hell is the matter with “Big Ben”?

I heard on the news that, Ben Roethlisberger (the 24-year-old Steelers quarterback) was in serious but stable condition after a motorcycle wreck on Monday, and then later in the week that he’d been released.

It turns out he rarely, if ever wears a helmet. As I was watching the newscast, I found myself wondering what would compel someone, who wears a helmet “at work”, to not wear one when riding?

I suppose, under it all is some sort of misguided macho bullshit, where it’s ‘Ok’ and plenty masculine to wear a helmet on the field, but where just the opposite is true when riding his bike.

That thought got me thinking even more about why one would be ‘Ok’ and the other not so ‘Ok’…. Maybe it’s because the dangers of the ‘game’ are perceived as real and less controllable… going back to what I’ve said before about perception, and reality… it would make some sort of twisted sense I guess.

‘Big Ben’, fell victim to what is probably the single largest cause of Car/Motorcycle accidents (without alcohol involvement), and that would be where the car turns left, into the path of the approaching motorcycle. Had he been wearing a helmet, he would have spared himself a lot of pain and suffering.

According to the article I read:

“He broke his jaw and nose in the crash. Doctors said the multiple facial fractures were successfully repaired during more than 7.5 hours of surgery”

Seems like something *I* would want to avoid, but then again, it’s much, much more cool to ride without a helmet.

There are many, many reasons for motorcycle accidents, among them:

• Lack of basic riding skills
• Failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics
• Failure to appreciate the limitations of the motorcycle
• Failure to use special precautions while riding
• Failure to use defensive driving techniques
• Lack of specific braking and cornering skills
• Failure to follow speed limit

Of course, virtually all of these would be contributing factors in any accident involving a motor vehicle.

One thing is universally true however in motor vehicle accidents.

“The larger, heavier, vehicle usually wins”

If you’re going to ride a motorcycle, and you all know how much I love to ride, you absolutely must be aware of this fact of life.

You are usually the smaller, lighter vehicle. You have to ride defensively and you should always be ‘geared up’. No amount of ‘cool points’ will make up for a road rash that covers 40% of your body, or several skull fractures.

The whole point is to arrive alive, motorcycling, the more you know, the better it gets.

If you break this down logically, the helmet on the field would probably be less ‘important’ as everyone involved is a professional… there are very, very few professional drivers on the roads with us everyday. Things are a lot less ‘controllable’ out here, in the real world, than they are on the game field. On the field, there are many, many rules and a whole staff watching each play to be sure everything meets every rule… not quite the same out here…

Folks, control is an illusion… anyone who rides a bike and thinks they can control everything, is operating in an altered reality. You see, in the past month, one of the safest riders I know of, died, while riding back from a conference.

His bike and he had an incident, with a deer, and, he lost.

Larry Grodsky, who wrote a column, "Stayin' Safe," for Rider Magazine was the “father” of safe motorcycling as far as I’m concerned and wrote a number of articles every month on riding safely. If an accident (and a deer) can get him, it can get any of us.

I’ll miss Larry and his insight. I’ve learned as much about riding a motorcycle from reading his articles, as I have actually riding, or taking courses.


I’ve also been getting set up for a possible gig up in Connecticut. It seems there’s a shop there getting ready for a major forward thrust with an xBase/FoxPro initiative. I had my phone technical interview on Friday.

The interview was scheduled for 30 minutes, and it went on for over an hour. The recruiter seemed to think that was a very good sign, as always at the end of an interview, especially a technical one, I never have a clue what they thought.

I have no problem with the technical aspect of the interview, hey if I can’t ‘tech out’ after doing this for 20+ years I should find something else to do! It’s the application of the knowledge aspect that is the issue. There are probably at least a 100 ways to do anything, it’s knowing ‘how’ you might choose to approach a problem, and a solution, that is fairly subjective sometimes.

I have very strong opinions about the how and why, and I can tell in the interview that my feelings do not always agree with the company’s existing tech folks. Interestingly enough, that’s been a good thing, as often as it’s been a bad thing… so, like I said, I rarely have any idea how the interview went.

Time will tell I guess.

I’d like to be part of a forward push in the FoxPro arena… it’s been a long time since I’ve been heading into anything FoxPro related that wasn’t an ‘upgrade’ so simply straight up maintenance coding.

I’ve done a ton of interesting things (in FoxPro) on the current gig; unfortunately none of that development gets to be part of the actual production systems. It’s used to ‘front end’ things, but not to actually be a component of the day-to-day operations.

I’m actually on the fence about the Connecticut project as I have no real desire to move north again, however, if the money’s right and I can make it work so that I can be home say one week out of four or five, it might be just the ticket to replenish the reserves, and get things moving forward again.


A contractor friend of mine stopped by today ad we discussed a number of things, personal and business. It turns out he’s got a car project he wants some help on, and would like to swap some time and help on my project, which would be nice. Also, he thinks he can help me with some ‘grading’ I want to do, if I can be patient, and we can split some equipment rental costs after he’s done with the equipment on his work site.

That would be a very welcome deal! We’ll see what happens there as well.


All in all that’s about it, thankfully Maryan is continuing to recover, she’s a little better every day, and in less ‘discomfort’ every day too!

I’ll try to keep y’all posted as things progress!! I’ll be stopping by your blogs as soon as I can!!


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3 comments:

Lorna said...

you must be relieved about Maryan's surgery. Strange you should post about motorcycles---today I saw a kid on a motorcycle, taking a long right curve about 4 inches off the pavement. I know the rush it can give, but couldln't understand why he would take that chance. He was helmeted---the law in Canada, but had no leathers. If he'd overbalanced, all the skin I could see, and there was a lot of it as he was wearing shorts and a tanktop would be gone---it was chilling.

Bill said...

Lorna - I am relieved... and fairly optimistic of a 100% recovery for her.

As for motorcycles... they are a passion of mine, and I've been guilty of riding 'on the edge' at times, and back then, often without 'gear'...

I've since learned a few things, without losing too much skin or getting killed... many activities are dangerous... and I definitely think youth, and a feeling of invincibility all contribute to what you witnessed.

Hopefully he'll find himself feeling even more invincible in leathers at some point soon... it doesn't sound like he could get much farther on the edge!

Firehawk said...

Bill,

Glad Maryan got through the surgery well. Hope she recovers quickly and has as little back pain at the end of it as humanly possible. There are no perfect solutions with the scapel, but there can be some pretty good steps.

Riding without a helmet is not smart. It happens, though, especially when someone is "just going around the corner". It doesn't feel like it's worth it to gear up for a really quick trip sometimes, and you tend to feel safe near home. That's misleading, however. Most of our accidents happen on those short trips.

I feel that there are accidents that can be attributable to lack of skill, judgement, or forethought on the rider's part, but there are probably more accidents as a result of poor, inattentive driving by other people on the road. The quality of driving on the road is often unspeakable. People have such a small percentage of their attention focused on navigating the road that they miss most of what's around them. Smaller vehicles, like motorcycles, are often in that group.

You're right, as far as the motorcyclist needing to be responsible for his own safety. The rule that I live by is this (driving or riding)--assume everyone else on the road is a moron. Let's face it, we're all morons at some point. We're tired from work, distracted because we just got into a fight with someone...and we're not driving our best. If you assume that everyone's in that state, and stay far enough away from them to take evasive action, you're pretty safe. The biggest and best part of vehicle safety is giving yourself that margin of extra space and time to avoid the accident. Sure, you need that strong-framed car, that good helmet and leather jacket on a bike, but you hope you won't have to use them.

I went to watch the AMA Superbike event here in Salt Lake this weekend, and you only have to see these guys pop up after a 100+ mph crash to know how much the gear can protect you. I wouldn't ride without a helmet anymore, or in shorts or sandals. I'm not partial to road rash or facial surgery. Still, you see people do it all the time...

I identify with your short time for blogging. I've had a hard time keeping up with it recently, too. Oh, well. It's the attempt, I guess, that matters.

Take it easy.