Warrior Dash Refreshes Soul with Mud

The team before the run

The team before the run

At my age, I sometimes feel like I am in a state of decay. Wow! What a way to start a post! Truth is, I am pretty active, but the weight is harder to keep off and the idea that my brain sometimes says to do things my body says “no” to can be a distraction.  In steps my sister Kim.

Warrior Dash MudShe’s 6 years younger than me, but has done the Warrior Dash 5 times. I admire her for doing it solo, with friends, with spouse and getting it done. Through her inspiration, I signed up this year for the NorCal Warrior Dash. In an effort to make sure I wouldn’t bail on my own idea – I published a challenge to the Ducati North America office to join me. I had one taker. Then I had the spouse of a co-worker commit as well. Team “Duc-Duc-Goose” was a reality.

To train, I began walking near daily, mountain biking, and the occasional short run (3-5 miles). That was it – nothing crazy.

Yesterday was the day. We joined up at Melanie’s house and squeezed into my VW Beetle Convertible. 2 hours later we were on a shuttle bus down a dirt road to the Warrior Dash Festival. Once there, I immediately was at ease. Sure there were athletic people dashing about… but there were also incredibly friendly average people mulling about as well. We checked our clothes into the gear check and headed to the start zone.

Warrior Dash RewardA few quick stretches, and little comedic banter and “poof” we’re off. Jet blasts of flame overhead tells us its time to run. The path is near vertical and extremely dusty, but the pace is self-governed. Melanie and I stuck together as a team. As we approached the first of 12 obstacles, I thought how in the world am I going to drag my 230 pound body over that? A minute later – I was over it and giddy as a schoolgirl.

An hour later I was in the shower line and a cold Shock Top was directly after that.

Who DO We Think We Are?

Image from: http://thehackernews.com/2012/11/hacking-united-states-politics-and-why.html

Since a very young age, I would sit in class and wonder “Who do we think we are”. I would read about how we would, as a country, tell other countries what they could do or not do. Let me set the tone here correctly before it spins out of control. I am not a proponent for abuse, cruelty, slavery, or any of that. Where I am confused is – why do we think we make the best police force for the planet?

Logistically, there are concerns. Back in Grade School I wrote President Jimmy Carter. This wasn’t your normal grade school letter… rather a letter that asked why we send aide all over the world when we have a deficit and starving poor children right here at home. The response was cookie cutter and stamped with a non-caring signature. Even as a kid I knew this thing was rigged. But here we are – nearly 3 decades later, trillions more in debt, and we send aide and funding to countries trying to sway the way they “do business”. I am feeling more and more – this is not our place.

Let’s look at some recent (some ongoing) events:

  • Flight 370 Malaysia Airlines LOST?
  • Flight shot down over Ukraine
  • Israel and Hamas
  • Syria
  • Somalia
  • Children immigration at Southwest Border

The Malaysia Airlines events floor me almost the most. They are commercial endeavors that occurred outside of our airspace. Is it a tragedy? Absolutely. Do I feel for the families that lost loved ones? Absolutely. That’s where it ends for me. The one that got lost – if it was really lost – is just that, a lost airplane out of our space. We have no immediate threat to people on the ground in America and the airlines should be properly set up with insurance and the like to compensate it’s financial responsibilities. Not our issue.

The one over the Ukraine is a bit tougher. You (we) see a commercial airliner shot down over an active “military zone”. At first we gasp, but then some things should come to the forefront of our thoughts. Why would you fly your commercial airliner so close to an “armed conflict”? Even if Russia shot it down, who are we to demand and put them to task over it? Bear with me here for just a minute – imagine the United States taking some type of weird action here in the states and then people from all over the world saying “You need to turn that over so WE can investigate it”. Bugger Off! is what they’s hear.

On the Middle East conflict I heard one Palestinian say on radio something that drove it home for me. “Cease fire is not peace – it is compromise. Peace is your relationship with your god and a cease fire is not peace”. I hear lots of people in our country blame God for this. Or they act more “Politically Correct” and blame religion. This is not God’s fault – this is man, politics, and the mis-use of faith and God to make a power move. The idea that the world looked to this area 50 years ago and said “2 states in one region – that should work” is ridiculous.

Another ridiculous talking point on this war is the idea that one is stronger than the other. Journalists are saying that the death toll is horribly imbalanced and its not fair. Really? That’s what that whole childhood saying is all about… war isn’t about being fair and I struggle to accept what it has become. If you are in a war and you are the leader, you should leverage your power, assets and relationships to WIN. You owe it to your people to squash the opposition quickly and end your casualties ASAP. This weird hostile vs. civilian vs. friendly vs. some strange rule of war (?) is bizarre. Go in – blow stuff up – Win. Done.

Hamas is fighting for rights as an occupied people — that is laughable. Think about what that statement truly translates to. Imagine… Guantanamo votes one of the suspected terrorists as president of the terrorist jail. Soon they are behaving like a civil society and forming their own governmental systems while in our prison — which isn’t even in our country. They demand to be recognized as the country of Guantanamo and have rights to come, go, and build commerce within the jail. Does that make sense? Remember, I am not writing about how I feel about the individuals in the issue – but our role as Americans in the conflicts. Could you imagine how reactive our government is to smaller countries questioning our techniques in dealing with suspected terrorists? Israel and Hamas both agree that the Palestinian territory is occupied – that’s it – we out.

Before you say that wouldn’t happen here. Before you assume we are above occupation or treating people poorly… look to the Native American… look to the WWII era Internment Camps where we unethically held Asian Americans in camps for years. War is not pretty — and we don’t need to be in everybody’s conflicts. If we join a conflict, we owe it to our own people to make it swift, deciding, and restore our society ASAP. If its a cultural issue of non-compromise, we owe it to our own people to unplug.

Syria? Why did I bring it up? I brought it up because its still going on and none of the media has covered it since Israel heated up. Is war about the numbers the media can get to watch it? Think of all the conflicts going on now: Ireland, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Mexico, Honduras, Many spots in Africa. If human injustice were the real cause to be involved – we’d be in some other places right now.

Immigration. This is tough. Did the majority of our ancestors in this country come here legally? How do the Native Americans feel about that question? This country, like it or not, is money driven. If I pay extra I can skip the TSA line at the airport. If I pay extra I can use the faster lane on the highway. If I pay extra I can get better education. If I pay extra I can get better healthcare. Over time and through settling of this nation, we’ve spoiled ourselves. Poverty here in no way resembles poverty in other regions of the world. Violence here in no way resembles violence in other parts of the world. If we open the floodgates and grant asylum to everyone looking for a better life… guess what? The whole world would equalize into mush with even greater spans between the have’s and have not’s.

I personally struggle with this one. On one hand I feel we need to protect our way of life for future generations and strive in fact, to make it better for them. On the other, I pity the children of underprivileged regions and wish to have mercy on them. After much thought, here is my decision — it won’t be popular.

We have become a nation of laws, and there are laws in order to enter our country legally. I can’t just fly over to Italy and get a job, move in and live there. There are policies and rules to follow. I can’t just take a job in Germany – they have rules. We have rules too and the idea that we tried to make amendments to the rules (2008) to favor one region over another is sickening. We are all equal in our creation. From the basis of existence Mexicans are not better that Hondurans, or Haitians, or Russians. If you are an Illegal Alien – you are ILLEGAL. Our government owes us the respect of following our laws and deporting these individuals.

By giving these kids a false hope of normal living in the USA they see on TV, we are assisting an industry of abuse to get them here.

 

Long post – lots to say.

 

Lots of Distractions

As the days pass I find that many people are vying for the space in my brain. I have a friend for example, a close friend. He works in the education field in New Mexico which is commonly pointed to as one of the worst in the Union. The odd part is though that when we lived in New Mexico, we must have had the luck of the draw… all of our teachers – except the one at the Charter school rocked. But back to my friend. He is posting all these posts about being angry with the Governor and her “Cronies” for belittling the teachers of the state. They are instituting Pay for Performance metrics and the like, handing out evaluations and not being clear about the evaluation process.

Now the business guy in me is running this through my own head. If I were to take over a state with a documented poor operating school system… how would I attempt to repair it? I would probably try to aggregate some data and have my management team on the ground evaluate the field staff (teachers) using different matrices to formulate an opinion. The way I work on companies is very similar. In order to goal build I first need a snapshot of where the organization is, then formulate a plan for growth. Not everyone on the base levels knows every piece of every process but the key is that there is a process. I know my friend and other friends I have in the system do not want to hear this from me, but it stresses me out to see them so unhappy.

When it comes to politics, I have tried to stay quiet lately but its too hard to not voice an opinion of some kind. Listen to the Right Wing news for any time and you can’t believe how long they stretch something out… listen to Left Wing radio and tv and be shocked at how they stretch or omit facts to prolong the victim mentality. Being sold out to any one topic out of balance greatly clouds judgement. My teacher friends are in a group, my Mother in Law is in another, my gay friends have no patience and are quite vocal. We need balance.

Speaking of distractions… what about this lady at McDonalds that beat the other lady unconscious in front of her toddler. Many things occurred to me as I saw the video that went viral. Why is no one helping? Why are they egging on the aggressor? Something told me deep inside – the hispanic lady must have done something to spark this type of rage. As the story unfolds a week later, we are learning that the victim has been harassing the aggressor for over a month, daily, at her place of employment. I have no idea of the details, but people can only take so much until they snap. Now how this became a White vs. Black racial thing? I will never be able to figure that out.

Hobby Lobby? So the company pays well, has a full benefits package, supports a healthcare package that covers 15 types of birth control, but the entitled want more and more. I can’t help but think about my migraines. Insurance will cover Maxalt – an oral medication that works slowly but will not cover speedier remedies like my old favorite – Liquid Imitrex. The self-served shot would clear a migraine in minutes, but blew the budget and now its off the list.

The real thing that gets me about the Hobby Lobby issue is the use of the word “Contraception”. Contraception means the prevention of conception. Preventing the egg from being fertilized. “Emergency Contraception” is technically defined as many as abortion. Strange how this becomes a women’s rights issue when its a 50% chance we’re killing future women with abortion. Some of the very same people screaming about women’s rights and abortion on demand would be the same folks raising a stink over animal rights. You have to admit – a Vegan that supports abortion is pretty stinking ironic.

Now if this is the content that is getting promoted to us… what is really going on?

Be Prepared

DaytonaTraining

Me training the interior of the engine.

Its for more than the Boy Scouts. Be prepared should be the moto for everyone. In an era where the economy is still trying to fluff itself back to life and job security is a snicker, you would think people would go out of their way to “Be Prepared”. I really want these pages to be inspirational and positive, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make that proverbial omelette.

My new corporate life has me teaching mechanics in the field. I redesigned the training curriculum to introduce theory online and then follow up with Hands-On courses to prove out the theories. The online material is mandatory prior to coming to class. So how to you endure that the individual completed the mandatory online material? You test on day ONE!

Guess what?!?! An overwhelming percentage of individuals show up for class and fail, by more than just a little. This idea that you can not prepare for an event and succeed is rampant in our culture. Look at events like Warrior Dash, or the Elephant Rock Century bicycle ride… how many show up thinking they are going to compete — finding they need a van ride back to the start/finish area?

Life is hard. Its an exercise we can choose to win or lose. I am inspired by those that seize challenges as motivation to succeed. I watch American Ninja Warrior and am so happy for those that have put in the work and show results. My point is this, whatever you chose as your path is your own “American Ninja Warrior”. Stop doing life by accident. Embrace life and do it on purpose. Be Prepared!

A Call to Excellence

Northeast-20140127-01771What happened to the days of knocking it out of the park? Remember back when there was pride in a job well done? It seems that as technology and the distractions of the modern day have crept in, pride has snuck out. When I give my training courses, I try to be inspirational and full of energy. The idea I promote (which is not my own, I stole it) is if you consider that what you do is back accident… imagine the power and success you would experience if you decided to do stuff on purpose. Its an abstract idea and one that begs you to look inside. We see movies and celebrity and wonder “Why them and not me?”. I believe we need to look inside. Have you really applied yourself, not given up when the fun was gone and concentrated on a plan that would foster success? Few can honestly answer yes. That is why I beg you to consider this… Are you experiencing a Call to Excellence that you are ignoring? The gentleman pictured above is Eric. He is a Service Writer in the Ducati North America network. He took training that I facilitated and I knew he was seeking excellence… so much so that he relocated from Minneapolis to Austin in search of it. What will you do for your success?

Tuning Forks – Will Travel

Yamaha TTR125

Visiting my sister in Maryland, I was drawn to the Yamaha TT125 that belongs to my nephew. He doesn’t ride it much and it needed a bit of TLC. Sis and I went to the Auto Zone and did a little shopping: new spark plug, check – fuel additive, check – Carb Clean, check.

After about 6 minutes of prep and looking things over, I kicked her three times and she barked to life… alright, alright, it was more of a whimper. In any case, it runs.

I went on with the Sales Manager style tune up process, revving the pee out of it. Cleaning the carb as it ran caused all kinds of sputters… but I didn’t thing the machine had sat long enough to warrant a full off carb clean. I broke into my brother-in-law’s tool chest to find a few screwdrivers and a spark plug socket.

Well with just a few twists and turns after a new spark plug, the bike starts first kick and almost holds an idle. I suspect that running out the existing fuel and replacing with Premium clean fuel should do the trick. I buzzed around the neighborhood a bit and had a grin from ear to ear. Hope he enjoys it as much as I did.

It Took a Year to Settle In

San Lorenzo Valley-20131221-01687Just over a year ago, Manana No Mas was closed in Albuquerque and the driving force of the growing business moved to California — pursuing a dream job. Good news — it is a dream job.

All that practice helping others launch businesses, market businesses, and draft communications paved the way for a training career with Ducati North America. It’s a year done and it would be hard to picture it better.