Saturday Lunch Isn’t Easy

OK–let’s hit pause for a second. In this life the lowest form of low is the person who says, “Don’t you know who I am?”

I’m not sure how to tell this story. I got a call Thursday from my friend Mike. Mike and his wife Patty were coming to Connecticut from Nashville. Would we like to have lunch Saturday? Uh… yeah.

There are lots of reasons to like Mike. Yes, he’s my former boss and the guy who brought me to Connecticut, but that’s not enough. America is littered with guys (and women) who used to be my boss. He’s a really good guy and, in my presence, has always done the right thing.

Mike is gregarious. He laughs spontaneously more than any person I know. I can still close my eyes and hear him cackling after I said something moderately funny on the news. He was also into computers early. I remember his (and my) mid-80s obsession with “Seven Cities of Gold” for the Commodore 64.

Finding a restaurant for Saturday lunch isn’t as easy as it sounds. I called Assaggio in Branford where I’d gone for my birthday. Nope–dinner only on Saturdays. I continued down my list.

As I was finishing my next call the phone rang back. Assaggio. “The chef will be there preparing for the evening. He insists you come,” said the voice on the other end.

OK–let’s hit pause for a second. In this life the lowest form of low is the person who says, “Don’t you know who I am?” I won’t do that. But I understand why this offer was made and that it might not be available to everyone. I get it. So, I was uncomfortable, sure… but this restaurant is so good and they were being so nice.

Our lunch was great. Unfortunately for Mike and Patty they also had dinner plans. I have no idea how they’ll do that without waddling back to Tennessee.

Rest assured–Ryan, our waiter (excellent) got somewhere between a 40 and 50 percent tip.

More From The Tech Support Guy

He sighed the kind of sigh of relief people reserve for hearing the doctor say, “It’s benign.” A burden had been lifted from his shoulders. I smiled.

Stef came home to pick up her laptop. Within an hour of touching it she accomplished something I wasn’t able to–its CPU is running at a constant 100% again! No good. Tonight I will wipe that sucker clean and return it to its factory fresh state. I’ve already backed up her important documents and music.

Not every story ends tragically with a reformatting. I just got off the phone with my friend Mike in Nashville. I would crawl through the desert for Mike. He gave me my job here in Connecticut, but I look upon him the way Larry Sanders looked at Artie (Sorry–cryptic reference. If you haven’t seen the show, don’t worry.).

Mike had a problem with Microsoft Outlook. He couldn’t get at his email and though an error message told him to run scanpst, he couldn’t find that nor did he know what to scan once he did.

Why Microsoft can’t write this utility to be friendlier, maybe even autonomous, is beyond me. MS Office costs a lot of money and has been in development for years. Maybe the Apple commercial with the stacks of money for advertising and development is right?

I used LogMeIn’s phenomenal tech console to enter Mike’s PC. I’d done an entry about them for AppScout, so I have a demo account. You have no idea how much easier tech support is when you can just tell someone to go to a website, enter a pin and -voila- you’re controlling their machine while in pajamas!

After I found the file and rescanned Mike’s mail folder he opened Outlook. His email messages were intact. He sighed the kind of sigh of relief people reserve for hearing the doctor say, “It’s benign.” A burden had been lifted from his shoulders. I smiled.

I tried to relate the story to Stef. Maybe when I retire I’ll become a tech Johnny Appleseed–walking up-and-down Boynton Beach Boulevard fixing PCs for retirees. Nothing.

“Don’t you know the story of Johnny Appleseed,” I asked?

I explained how Johnny walked the roads carrying on his shoulder what, in the Fox house, is known as a “hobo stick.” He’d stop from time-to-time to plant an apple tree before moving on. Today we’d look at him as a strange homeless man and call the police.

That’s where I’m headed.

Attack Ads – I Hate Them More Than Ever

I understand political attack ads, because they do work. I wish it wasn’t so – it is. However, this election cycle, I’ve become more refined in my distaste for them, because so much of what I see is so obviously ‘half truthiness’ and facts presented way out of context.

I was watching an ad for a local poitico and wondering, if this is the respect shown me in public (I am trying so hard not to let on which politician this was), how much contempt is there in private? Remember, this ad is really targeted at me, not the opponent who seems to be the target!

And, again (repeating, because my prose looks a little convoluted today) this is based on the obvious half truths and out of context statements used to sell their candidacy.

Originally I thought, maybe if politicians were forced to speak on their own behalf while trashing their opponent, that might quell some of this vitriol. Nope. I watched just that scenario transpire yesterday and it was still reprehensible.

TV stations are by-and-large powerless to do much more than collect the money (not that they’re complaining about that). That doesn’t leave them off the hook for getting criticized, as my friend Mike writes is his blog from Nashville (talk about contentious political battles).

What can we do? I don’t want to see free speech thwarted. Candidates should be free to speak their minds, but is there no humanity? Must the singular pursuit of political office be so demeaning?

Here’s my ground rule on this post – comment, but no candidate names or political parties. I have an obligation to my actual employer to remain non-partisan and I will.

On To Monument Valley

Our base of operations is now Kayenta, Arizona. It’s a quiet, dusty town with two traffic lights. Kayenta is entirely within the Navajo Nation and the statistics I saw show over 95% of the people who live here are Native American&#185.

We left the hotel and drove north a bit over 20 miles. It didn’t take long to see the monolithic rock formations that make Monument Valley what it is.

Before I left, when I mentioned I was going to Monument Valley, most folks shrugged. They recognize the pictures or remembered where all the Road Runner cartoons were set. They didn’t know the name.

Monument Valley isn’t a National Park. Being on Navajo land it is a Tribal Park and for that reason probably gets short shrift as far as publicity is concerned. That it’s far away from everything doesn’t help either.

From AZCentral:

Monument Valley’s towers, which range in height from 400 to 1,000 feet, are made of De Chelly sandstone, which is 215 million years old, with a base of organ rock shale. The towers are the remnants of mesas, or flat-topped mountains. Mesas erode first into buttes like the Elephant, which typically are as high as they are wide, then into slender spires like the Three Sisters.

The valley’s earlier inhabitants included the Anasazi who also built Mesa Verde, and archaeologists have recorded more than 100 ancient Anasazi sites and ruins in the valley dating before 1300, when the ancient tribe abandoned the area. Navajos have herded sheep and other livestock in the area for generations.

The valley was added to the Navajo Reservation in 1984, and the tribal park was established in 1958. Harry Goulding and his wife, Mike, founded the trading post in 1924.

It’s possible to take guided tours. We decided to go it alone instead in our rented Impala. The 18 mile Valley Road is all dirt. It is rutted, puddled, potholed and jarring. Trust me – you’ve never been on a road like this.

It is not to be driven by the faint of heart.

I’ll let the photos speak for themself.

&#185 – Any public reference I have seen here has eschewed Native American for the less politically correct Indian. I’m really not sure which way to go.

From Monument Valley
From Monument Valley
From Monument Valley
From Monument Valley
From Monument Valley

What To Do About Comments

I read my friend Mike’s blog&#185 and noticed all the comments he gets, and how he often responds. Usually that’s something I won’t do.

This will sound strange – I wanted to avoid starting a dialog with my readers. Why, you may ask? I’m not 100% sure.

Part of the reason, certainly, was because that makes it easier to disconnect my blog from my work. This blog has nothing to do with my work. Still, people comment from time-to-time and relate their comments to my work.

When people ask questions that relate to work, I’m in a tizzy. Let sleeping dogs lie, is my motto.

There’s also the question of how to respond to comments. If I write a personal note, you don’t see it here in context. If I respond online, I never know if the sender has seen it. There’s really no easy way to do both at once.

Like I said, I saw Mike’s blog, with comments answered, and decided to answer some tonight. We’ll see how it goes from here. There must be a happy medium somewhere.

&#185 – Mike is the general manager of the ABC affiliate in Nashville. He also hired me in Connecticut 22 years ago. We were both in elementary school then.

His blog is amazing because he is in a position of power and still writes entries that are freely spoken. Candor – that’s the word to describe his blog. He speaks with candor. He’s must reading for me.

Another Perfect Day In Nashville

IF I ever say I want to play golf with you – say no. Do not encourage me.

I’m not sure I want to say anymore, except, in a fair and just society, some law enforcement entity would swoop down on my house, take my clubs and burn them – publicly.

I am not exaggerating. This is not hyperbole. I should not be allowed on a golf course.

‘Nuff said.

The rest of the day was very nice, including a drive around the Nashville ‘burbs. There are a boatload of new, huge, beautiful homes going up. I guess I was surprised to see that.

Tennessee, with no state income tax and labor laws that favor business, has become a mecca for economic growth.

My hosts, Mike and Patty, have been more than nice to me. I called Helaine on the phone and told her, if they keep this up I might try to get myself adopted.

No Radio – I Never Even Got Close!

With the light snow, and numerous traffic accidents, I left about 20 minutes earlier than I anticipated to get to the radio station. Helaine always worries in bad weather, so with clear pavement under my tires, I called while on Route 40, approaching I-91.

I told her things were fine, but as I was saying that the traffic stopped. I’m not talking about a slowdown; the traffic totally halted. It took about 45 minutes to go from the top of the entrance ramp to the bottom! Take a look at the photo on the right. The road is totally free of snow, ice or any moisture – but no one’s going anywhere.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. I was in touch with the producers at WTIC, letting them know of my plight. But I wasn’t alone. Tens of thousands of motorists were stranded too in a multitude of tie-ups and road closures.

By 9:20 AM my fate was sealed. After speaking with the traffic reporter, Mike the producer decided that I’d never make it to WTIC in time to be on the air. By this, he didn’t mean I’d be late – he figured I’d miss the entire two hours.

This had never happened to me. In all my years of driving in to work, going home for dinner and coming back, I had never missed a broadcast.

I guess as the weatherman it’s doubly embarrassing. Truth is, this was such a confluence of unlikely weather events that given the same situation tomorrow, I’d sill miss it.