Monthly Archives: November 2013

This guy is sitting over on the other side of the 7th Floor here at Workday Salt Lake:


He showed up sometime before Halloween, with the money in his mouth; he didn’t don the Bama regalia until here recently, no doubt in honor of the Iron Bowl.

(If you’re wondering why a skeleton would be a Bama fan, well, think about it – if he’s DEAD,then he’s spent time with Bear Bryant, and if he’s spent time with Bear Bryant, then, ipso facto, QED. I’m glad we had this little talk).

Things are just a little nervous-making this week around Chez Puckett – wait a minute. Our new place doesn’t have a name. The place in New River was the “Chocolate House”, the first place in Purgatory was the “Love Grotto” while the second was the “Money Pit”, but our PC townhome doesn’t have a name….this won’t do…

….but it will have to do for NOW, since I’m not about to name it myself…

…anyway, this is the week of the Iron Bowl. And this isn’t just ANY Iron Bowl – this is #1-for-the-last-umpteen-months Alabama versus the upstart #4 Auburn.  I can’t find exact figures for the last time this happened; once, in 1971, both teams were ranked in the top 5, but I can’t find exact rankings (which makes sens, because “exact rankings” doesn’t mean anything in this context. It’s only recently that college football as a whole has agreed upon a ranking, and that’s the much-maligned BCS).

I have been keeping away from ESPN and such; they don’t need my help to hype this thing up any larger than it already is. I’m very grateful that the ski hill opens on Friday, since I’m off on Friday, and one thing I don’t need is to sit around on Friday thinking about Saturday.

This is actually rather silly; it REALLY DOESN’T MATTER. It will not change my life one bit – well, that’s not entirely true. It’s possible that, should we wind up going to a third BSC Championship Game in a row, Ethel might decide to sell some stock and buy tickets. That could have a major impact on my retirement plans.

But other than that, it REALLY DOESN’T MATTER. I had to learn, lo these many years ago, that simple fact, before I would even start watching fuhbawl after I got sober; the game can only matter when the game is on. Before, and after, it DOESN’T MATTER.

Just ask him. Whether we win or lose, he’ll still be dead.

If you’re going to drive a rear-wheel drive sports roadster up and down Parley’s Canyon in Utah in the winter, best get some good snow tires.

I got some.


The Hankook I-Cept Evo – what they call an “ultra-high performance snow tire for passenger vehicles”. I don’t want the “ultra-high performance” – I just want the “snow” part of the description. I live in Summit Park, after all.

It’s snowing right now in the Wasatch – I’m at my office in downtown Salt Lick Silly, and when the clouds lift a little bit, I can see the snow on the foothills. This means that it’s piling up up high. So I’m sitting here waiting to drive home and finish my work day from the house; I want to drive up Parley’s in the snow, but not in too much snow. I want to ease into this snow driving, given the rear-wheel drive, 6 inches of clearance business : )

This weekend, it looks like we might be staying up high – although Brighton and Solitude are already open for skiing. Perhaps we’ll come down and around and go get in an early-season day on Sunday.

But we’ll probably take Ethel’s Hyundai Santa Fe. Never mind the four-wheel drive aspect; it’d be difficult to get two pairs of skis in the Beemer : )

So this morning, I’m finishing up the 2009 SEC Championship Game on the FWD in the Media Room of Masochism while doing an hour on the bike (a “big gears” workout, where I take the bike up to 18th gear for ten minutes three times during the hour, at 62 RPM. This is almost as much fun as a root canal, except for the root canal you get anesthetic).

And what do I see with about five minutes left to play? Some fresh-faced kid with Bama Bangs angles into the view from the left:


Wow – look at that skinny kid. Hard to believe that those hands will be able to bear the weight of 3 Nat’l Championship rings – or that those skinny arms will be able to throw the passes necessary to earn ’em : )

(For those of you playing along at home – AJ McCarron has more National Championship rings than he has loses as a starter : )

Well, this weekend is Auburn/Georgia. If Georgia wins, we win the West Division and so we will go to Atlanta. And that’s important.

But I have mixed feelings about this game; I come from a mixed marriage, and I always want Auburn to win, unless they are playing us. This is not just goodwill or homerism – I also want Auburn to be ranked as high as possible when we play them : )

We play Mississippi State on Saturday night, and I’m not seeing any projections that give them much of a shot at the upset. But stranger things have happened – such as, just for instance, Auburn coming back from a 3-9 season last year to be ranked #7 this late in the game this year. I’d call that “stranger things”.


Here’s the southeast wall of our Football Watching Room:

wallA lot of these framed items came from the Colorado condo; some came from the Arizona house.  Like everything else in our lives right now, this wall is a merge of two other places in a new place. And, like everything else in our lives, it’s a work in progress.

My new job is a work in progress. Some days I despair of ever being productive again. I am aware that once one learns the ropes here, one can be amazingly productive in terms of how much “work” one can get done with this Workday tool set. Think “sewing machine” vs “needle and thread” or “tractor” vs “a plow and Ol’ Bessie”.

However, you have to learn to operate a sewing machine or a tractor. And this can be harder after you’ve already learned how to sew pretty well with a needle, or after you’ve already done a good bit of plowing behind the mule. You think you know what you are doing, and habits long learned and learned well can turn and bite.

I had lunch with an old friend today, and it was a delight indeed. Haven’t spent any time with her in almost a decade and it felt like a week had gone by – that sort of friend that one is completely comfortable around.

And I found while talking with her that I had a knot in my belly; one of those little places in my gut that whispers “don’t look at me! don’t look over here! Look over there – that’s where your problem is!”

But when you go ahead and look at those little knots, they dissolve, and when they do, there’s an icky feeling that comes up – but it comes with a whiff of the truth. And the truth that has been hiding in this little knot is this – “I’m not who they think I am”.

The “they” here is my new employer – my boss, my co-workers. And the “who they think I am” is the guy they seem to remember from years ago. I’m not sure that that guy ever existed. I’m afraid to ask for specifics as to just who they think I am, because they might tell me, and then what? Should I just shrug my shoulders and say “Nope, nope, not me. I’m not that guy.” and leave?

Ethel would get upset, no doubt.

So, like that wall, I have to take the best of the pieces of the people that I have been, and see if I can make something out of it.

…that is, unless you were Zach Mettenberger, the LSU Quarterback:

LtDannenbergerThis last Saturday, Alabama hosted the Tigers of EllEssYew, a team that has become (in my mind) our major rival. No, they aren’t the “little brothers” across the state, and they aren’t “I Just Hate Tinnasse” up north, but they are the team that has given us the most trouble (by far)

17-14 at the half, and then Coach must have made some serious adjustments (it seemed that when the team came back out after halftime, some of them were limping, and some were missing half a buttock) because in the second half, we outscored ’em 21-3, and they had -4 yard rushing.

By the end of the game, their quarterback was crawling off the field, his legs seemingly inoperative – he was later seen on the sidelines throwing a tantrum, though, and he seemed okay then. (I mean, minus the “throwing a tantrum” part). That’s what Coach wants – he wants other teams to say to themselves “I HATE playing those guys!”

For this game, for our ritual cannibalism of “eating the other team’s mojo”, Ethel makes srimp etufe (yes, that’s how I spelled it. For clarification, see Bubba’s monologue from “Forrest Gump’). Then we get to eat etufe for some days later. I’m hoping that she’ll make some more brown rice, so’s I can bring etufe to the office for the rest of the week : )

Now we’ve got Missippi State (yes, I know I dropped a syllable, but that’s how we say it, anyway) and then Chattanooga, then we play Auburn at Jordan-Hare; that’s our last real test of the season, and it’s surprising just what a test it is turning out to be – how did Auburn become a top-10 team? I think that they are currently ranked #7 in the BCS standings.

That’s just CRAZY. Looks like Gus is doing a pretty good job on the Plains.

The Auburn game will decide the West champion – unless Auburn loses to Georgia this weekend, at which point Alabama will have won the West. But if Alabama doesn’t beat Auburn, they won’t go to the BCSNCG even if they win the SEC in December. It seems crazy to say it, but a one-loss Alabama SEC champion won’t go to the big game as long as Florida State and Baylor win out.

I think.

If Alabama plays like they played in the second half against LSU, nobody can beat them. But note the qualification – the fact that they DIDN’T play like that in the FIRST half of their biggest game so far means that there’s no sure thing here.


The Den of Discomfort – aka the Office of Ouch – now has a 42″ FWD (Football Watching Device). It’s hooked up to cable, Blu-Ray and Roku, but not mounted on the wall yet – nor do we have it hooked up to a sound system yet; the sound comes out of the TV itself.

But that doesn’t stop Ethel from watching the January BCSNCG game against the Domers while doing her morning run:

mromThat’s the new (to us) Life Fitness 9000 she’s running on. Just past that you’ll see my bike, with the new clip-on aero bars. Everything an “active adult” couple needs at 6800 feet in the Wasatch Mountains.

The house townhome is slowly coming together. Something happened to the washing machine when we moved in, so after some abortive repair attempts, the home warranty folks delivered a fancy new washing machine yesterday, so the piles of laundry are diminishing.

We’ve still got a lot of stuff that needs to go on the walls (not the least of which is that 42″ FWD, seen above, although I’m not sure of the terminology here – is that sloped thing the “wall” or the “ceiling”?). One of those items is a large, heavy mirror which Ethel has determined needs to be hung on the southeast wall of the entryway; the problem here is that these townhomes are built from bodacious slump block, with drywall placed directly above the block. This makes the place very solid and quiet, but makes it difficult to get a deep anchor in the walls to hang things like “large heavy mirrors”. So I’ll have to get out the hammer drill this weekend.

All in all, it looks like a good, busy weekend, built around the centerpiece of LSU@Alabama tomorrow night – time to break out the etufe and the corn dogs. I’ve got a longish ride planned for tomorrow and a longish run planned for Sunday, with a half-hour swim to come after either of those (depending on when my new swim fins get here).

In the meantime, my car is in the shop. When I was in Arizona, I didn’t realize that my heater wasn’t working very well – of course. And, also of course, I didn’t need the windshield washer pump to work – never bothered me, didn’t think much about it. And it turns out that my driver’s side window doesn’t want to come down in the cold; when it warms up in the afternoon, it works just fine, but in the mornings when I pull up to the parking lot here at the office and try to roll down my window to wand in, it becomes an issue. So Pep Boys is (are?) working that out for me.

…caves in France, with great paintings on the wall, and a cool song by Steely Dan.

But also my new bike, a Fuji Altamira 3.0:

fujialtamiraIf you’re going to do a triathlon, you have to have a bike – or you have to borrow one, or rent one. Or steal one the day of the race.

But since I have to train for the race before I do it, then I have to have a bike for the next six months – and if’n I’m a-gonna ride it for 56 miles of hills (in between swimming 1.2 miles and running a half marathon) I want to be as comfortable and fit on that particular bike as I can be, so I had to buy a bike.

And since I hang out (virtually) with high-achiever well-to-do type-A personalities, there was nothing for it but to buy as inexpensive a carbon-frame furrin (‘furrin” as in “Japanese with a French name”)  bike with Shimano 105 components and all kinds of fancy things that I can’t even pronounce yet (why is it called a “derailleur”? Why not just a “de-railer”?) much less know how to properly use.

But the darn thing is pretty. I brought it home and wheeled it into the house, and set it up so that I could see it from my chair. I’m nothing if not immature : )

(The astute observer will note that the bike comes without pedals. The really expensive bikes don’t have pedals. This is allowed by the same sort of marketing that insures that yuppies will pay more for fish if it is NOT cooked. But don’t you worry none!…as soon as you buy the bike, the bike shop dude will show up with the pedals that you are going to buy, and the special shoes that fit inside of those pedals, because regular pedals and regular shoes are like fried fish – just fine and tasty, but not for the discerning customer).

Then I had to get a trainer (no, that’s not a guy with a whistle; it’s a stand for your bike, so that you can prop it up against a wheel that forces resistance, so that you can ride your bike indoors through a Park City winter) and riser for the front; The one day that I might have ridden out of doors, we had a social engagement that kept me from doing so, and this morning I had to wait for them to plow the parking lot at the condo before I could drive in to work, so I may not get to actually ride the bike outdoors until March or so.

In the meantime, I’m spending 4-5.5 hours/week riding the darn thing in place, then I hop off and jump onto the dreadmill (to simulate running a half marathon after riding 56 miles).

Then I go to the pool and splash for an hour or so. If I don’t drown, I log that as a swimming workout.

I have no idea if I’m going to keep doing any triathathingies after next year’s St George 70.3 . But this bike is (purportedly) high enough quality to have good resale value, which means I might get some money back out of this silliness.

In the meantime, I put on my dorky britches and climb on an expensive bike – expensive because we had to shave every ounce of weight – and then ride it in place on a trainer, where it doesn’t matter if the dang thing weighs a ton.

I said that my friends were high-achiever well-to-do type-As. I did NOT say that they were intelligent : )

…that’s what they said here at the office last Monday, when I got back here after five weeks of training in California.

They even decked out my cubical to be reminiscent of World War I:

Welcome to the TrenchesI’m not in the trenches yet, though; I still have more to learn. I’m still spending a LOT of my day learning, although just today I got the first concrete task assignment. And, of course, it’s terrifying.

Everything always is, the first time – except for jumping out of an airplane. When I made my first jump, we rehearsed the dive flow so many times that when it came time to actually make the jump, I knew exactly what to do and what to say and what to expect.

Here, not so much. Things at my current employer are different from anything I’ve ever experienced anywhere else; of course, that’s the POINT, but it doesn’t make it much easier when staring at that first “jump”. There’s no rehearsal, no practice – in fact, what I’m signed up to do hasn’t been done much before, as the first task is “figure out what that thing is and then go do it”.

It’s been a busy nine days since I got back; two weekends at home with KimPuckett, five days in the office, against a backdrop of beginning triathlon training; in addition, we’re still moving in to the new place, and getting everything laid out. The dreadmill gets delivered today; this weekend, we got the first bit of training equipment set up, my new Fuji Altimira bike on a Cyclops trainer in my office.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m supposed to head back into the trenches…