Author Archives: puckpuck

Missing Links

This is the 2nd blog in about a major change in my family’s life.  This is the first one.

Moving to California certainly has its benefits. The weather is always great, you feel like you are in the center of everything, the weather is always great, wine country is around the corner, the weather is always great, there’s just so much fun stuff to do, oh, and did I mention the weather is always great?

The problem with moving is just that… moving. Just over 2 years ago, we built our dream home, an entertaining and family friendly environment. If you have never seen my home before, well that’s too bad for you. I certainly like to brag about it; after all I did design the entire basement, which would pass as a top nightclub in many cities. We were ready to settle in and retire. Then I came up with this crazy notion of picking up, leaving it all behind and doing it all again.

But that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the friends and family whom I will only get to enjoy their company in very limited doses for as long as I’m a California resident. Sure I can call them, but not having their company is tough. I’m gonna miss going for a “DC” with Q, Montana with his crazy sports antics, and Squirrel for being the fuel of the fire. I often think about what I’m leaving behind, and often second guessing if it’s worth it. Life’s decisions are never easy, and this one was certainly the hardest to make.

Before the move, I made sure to spend extra time with them, and I really appreciate it. The cross country road trip with Dave was awesome! I got to spend a lot of time with him, reminiscing, and having fun. Seeing the country, and crossing the desert with him, is certainly one of the most treasured times, and best experiences I have ever had. I’m gonna miss you guys… a lot.

Poker nights will be a thing of the past. The occasional party where standard board games for kids, turn into drinking games will certainly be something I’ll want to repeat, but it won’t be the same doing it with people I barely know. I had an awesome group of friends, and will miss every single one of them.

This isn’t just about my friends either. We had great neighbors as well. The best we could ask for. To the people whom will eventually live in my old home, you will be pleasantly surprised at how nice and awesome they can be.

So things aren’t always happy go lucky. It’s tough, but I know I must persevere and push through it. I now will have an increased dependence on technology (as if I didn’t before). Facebook and FaceTime will certainly become part of my daily life as I try to stay in touch. All you people back in Windsor remember I will always have a couple missing links, and will always miss you.

The Dream

I wanted to blog about what is going on with my life. Many changes, many things happening, mostly for the good, but with the good does come some sacrifice. Although I’d love to write everything into a single blog, given our society’s short attention span, I decided to break it into multiple parts. Here’s part 1 of 2.

Summer of 2009, I’m at a company event, doing what I do. I have a good position with this company; I do what many call “magic”, while I call it my job. I have always been good at what I do, but I constantly set expectations high (where I can), and over deliver. Maybe that’s a sales trait, but I have been doing it before I joined a sales organization. Confidence is what I like to call it, sometimes cocky, but never with people I’m unfamiliar with.

At this company event, I win an award. It’s not like I haven’t won these before, but this one was followed by a slightly drunken conversation with a co-worker, and finally it clicked. I need to quit being so fucking damn humble.Stand up and proclaim “yes I can, yes I will, now move the fuck over and let me get it done.” My co-workers have always instilled confidence in me, but it took this person to make me realize, that this isn’t a freak accident, or a seldom occurrence. Many of my works turn out into some type of success. It was time to take my career to the next level.

The following week, I flew my wife into California, to vacation. This was the best spontaneous vacation I ever had.We spent 7 nights in 6 different sleeping accommodations. We toured the bay area, like I have never toured before, and had an absolute blast.Within 24 hours of landing, and experiencing the wonders of the bay area, my wife, already mentioned how it wouldn’t be so bad living there. On the last night there, I just happened to run into my company CEO, mentioned this to him, and his eyes lit up like fire: “We can make that happen”.

Fast forward a year, to the 2010 company event. Having endured another year of successful work with my company, where I won an internal competition, and was in line for even more awards, even making the CEO’s “party invite list”. I had dinner the first night with some staff from senior and executive management, where I proclaimed I was ready for a move to the bay area. After kicking his chair out, and asking “are you serious”, I knew I had sponsorship from the executives.

For the next few weeks, I worked my wife into understanding the benefits of living in California. We were 32 years old, and already achieved all previous life goals. We were living the dream, but not in a dream location. It was time to make it Awesome! She’s still not convinced, but we already moved, and committed for at least 18 months. Hopefully by then, she will be fully supportive, as my new life goals have become staggering, and the new dream is something that will take lots of work, blood, sweat, and I’m sure some tears. I believe in myself, and my friends and colleagues, whom I am close to and work with me all agree; one day I can, and will be a Chief Technology Officer. That’s my dream, my goal, and moving to California was the first step in realizing it.

Is it lofty? Yes. But if you don’t set the bar high, you will never try harder. I don’t need to be a CTO tomorrow, nor the next year. But I do want to strive to become one. With time, experience, maturity, and exposure to the right people, I will ultimately achieve the dream.

Mind you not achieving this goal will not make my life a failure; I’ve already achieved everything I wanted to do, and it was time for a new dream.

And this line is for a co-worker and friend whom I have much confidence in, listen to attentively, and heed his advice every time we are together.

Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

Actuate Bus Party from Hell

So this day started off like any other Actuate sales kick off day…. tired and possibly still drunk from the night before. Gathered around in the hotel lobby, waiting for the bus to take us to Lake Tahoe, out comes Pete, Heinekens in tow, it must be afternoon somewhere. Upon entering the bus, the signs begin to emerge immediately. For some reason we are unable to make the 4600 combined watts of amplifier power, turn on more than 2 speakers, nor could we get the A/C system working. Eventually we get these seemingly small issues resolved, and get on our way with packed coolers and a merry tone. Bottles were popping, glasses filling, even jello decided to make an appearance.

It becomes quite clear within minutes, that charter buses can induce motion sickness. Mixed in with stop and go traffic, a bus driver whom is clearly clueless (more on this later), and you have a recipe to stop in Vallejo for some Dramamine and more booze of course. Back on our way we go, more stop and go traffic, and more of a bus driver whom refuses to slow down well in advance and would rather come to abrupt stops as the passengers are getting their drink on. Nothing like spilling mimosas and red wine on white clothing.

Given that the night before I was tormented by my roommate’s constant desire to snore, I partied and received little sleep. Eventually my eyes became heavy, and I dozed off, waking frequently to the sudden jerks and stops from our incredibly talented bus driver. One of these such jerks, was the driver’s desire to pull off at an exit, only to drive through it, because the water temp of the engine was rising. I understand your concerns, but if you are going to signal like you need to stop, fucking do it, and don’t keep going instead… fucktard.

After a while, I shake the heavy eyes, pop up again, and head straight for jello. Booze is still flowing, my boss is trying to get me to do shots of sipping tequila (I proudly refuse), and all seems well… kinda. Besides the smell of something burning near the back of the bus, the toilet was also nearing capacity. When the booze is flowing, the pisser is filling. We stop at a rest stop, about 75% of the way through the trip. Then it all started to come together, or undone, depending on how you look at it. The back of the bus was covered in oil.

This is when the competency level of our bus driver sets new lows. First we watch him struggle for a few minutes to open the back hatch (bus engines are in the rear), then he realizes, he should open the side hatch, and hit the lever to unlock the back hatch. Ok. So now what, its open, and its obvious, there’s oil… everywhere. The look of “duh” on the driver’s face was priceless. Now imagine a bunch of drunk men, looking at a diesel bus engine, covered in oil at a truck stop. After a few minutes of this, we realize that our problem is the result of someone forgetting to put the oil fill cap back on, or put it on incorrectly. Last I checked, since emissions became popular, it was a bad thing to have a large 2″ hole coming from any a tube in the engine bay. After confirming with the stickers indicating oil fill location, out comes the dipstick, and sure enough we are low on oil. This would also explain the rise in engine temps.

Christina, tall, blond, and bountiful, walks over to a truck driver and persuades him to give up some lubrication. We top off the engine oil in our bus. One last issue, we don’t have an oil filler cap. Out comes a rag, and some duct tape. The fix is perfect, done MacGyver style… created by a bunch of drunk men. Just when you think we are all in the clear, the idiot bus driver forgets how to start his own bus. I’m not kidding. We sat there for about five minutes while he read the owner’s manual, trying to figure out how to start the bus… the same one that he picked us up in, and apparently drives for a living. Again, I’m not kidding.

Finally the engine starts and on our way we go. Eventually we crest the Sierra mountains, and yes even more can happen. You see this bus, well it seemed pretty new. Sure the radio didn’t work, and the oil cap wasn’t on, but the jack brake system was also not working. Jack brakes are used to help slow down large diesel vehicles, without using the normal brakes. Once we crested the mountains, all we had to slow the bus down, were the standard brakes, and by the time we got to Lake Tahoe, the left rear brakes were s..s..s..smoking. So at this point, we can continue the 10 minute ride around the lake to our hotel, and risk falling into the lake due to faulty brakes, or wait a few minutes to let the brakes cool.

After another nearly blown stop light (maybe our driver was drunk?) and a few more jerky turns, we finally arrive at our hotel, ate dinner, drank some booze, and laughed and lived to tell the story about the Actuate Lake Tahoe Bus Party from Hell.

Pure Craziness.

PS: The growing conspiracy theory is that Pete planned this entire set of mishaps, to bring the attendees closer together in real life problem solving situations…. hmmm