Thursday, March 10, 2011

Buried, but alive!

Listen! Did you hear that? Wait. There it is again. Did you hear that rumble? Look over there. Did you see that mound of dirt move? Accompanied with much creaking and groaning, the pile of dirt slowly gives way to the figure of a man. Rising up out of the ground he sits up and looks around. Finally he stands. What's revealed is a man in a rumpled 'Stich with a motorcycle helmet tucked under one arm. A little worse for wear. Buried, but alive.

That has been my life, lately. This blog has been sorely neglected. It cannot be totally ignored, however. Like a cat rubbing against your ankle, the blog demands attention. Or, in my case, like a 14 month old blond haired blue eyed cherub who chases me around and lifts his arms up for me to hold him.

And so I return.

I heard a saying recently.

"If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough!"

If that is true than I am near escape velocity.

This has been a common sight in my life, lately. Corporate has decided I should be be sent around the country for management and leadership training. Up the proverbial ladder a vacancy will open next year. I am heir apparent. I'm leaving my options open but preparing as if it were to take place.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee have been on my itinerary. Yes, Nevada included Vegas. I was one of several held captive for a week in Vegas. Sounds like a great time. We were told that what happens in Vegas would not happen with us. To increase the odds of compliance we were tasked from 6:30 AM until 10 PM.



This is from the window of my hotel room. I was on the 19th floor of Planet Hollywood.



Which was pretty much my entire view of Vegas. Why plan the training in Vegas if they didn't want people on the streets?

We did get out one night. Our handlers took us to see the Blue Man Group. Which was a stimulus rich experience.



Especially for the folks in the first few rows.



The establishment kindly provided plastic slickers for them. Security was pretty proactive about preventing people from taking photos during the show so these are all I have.

I did decide to walk back from the theater so I got an hour or so to see the sights.

One great thing was getting to meet Dick Vermeil. He spoke to our group for a little over an hour and then we got to mix socially. Dick is still a very dynamic person at 74 years young.



There was this whole Star Wars, Yoda, and The Force theme to this training session. There always has to be some sort of gimmick, doesn't there?



Training of a different kind is in full swing here. Both in teaching motorcycle students and train the trainer modes.

As if there isn't enough going on already, I'm going to start the book I've been threatening to write forever. Krysta keeps kindly offering to help me edit the thing and I may take her up on it. She's certainly been a motivating factor in keeping the idea alive. There are a lot of interesting and funny stories from the years of training. It will be fun to relive them as I work on the book.

I'm also chasing a modified RV around the Pacific Northwest. The corporation I work for is an industry leader in developing electronic security products for the commercial door world. The RV has been converted into a mobile showroom. Rather than one large event, the plan is make a lot of stops and hold smaller show and tell sessions.



This was taken at a community college on Monday. Yes, it does rain here in Oregon.



Inside the RV it's very nice.


I find the blue glow very soothing.



Besides being busy as all get out, one of the reasons I let the blog rest is that I felt I may no longer have much of value to share. I don't want the blog to become a newsletter of my life. I know blogging is a great way for people separated by long distances to keep in touch. I totally applaud that. Personally, I don' want to take up space without there being value added.

Interestingly, as we age our perspectives keep changing. Sometimes it's like getting a bad stain on a shirt and letting repeated washes set it in real good. On the other hand, a lot of times it's for the better as we gain wisdom. We also find new ways to apply the things we've already learned. This is what has happened for me with what seems like an accelerated pace lately. I find myself brimming with new insights. All the time on a plane has provided a lot of opportunity for reading and reflection.

In addition to all the training I've been to, I've also had the chance to spend some time with other people who have shared their insights with me. As my view of the world expands I have found much of value that applies to motorcycling that I would like to share.

As you may remember, my grandmother had her right leg amputated above the knee due to cancer. She is 91 years old. During her recovery and physical therapy she has been in a care center. I've spent a lot of time there with her. At 91 she's learning to walk with a prothesis. She has taken it in stride, no pun intended. Got to admire her courage. She has made friends in this place.

I am a big hit with the very elderly women. I mean, what's not to like? I'm male, not all the way to ugly, ambulatory, and alive. Besides, sometimes I make chocolate chip cookies and bring them along.

It's been enlightening to ask these people to share their insights, regrets, and wisdom with me. They're looking down the barrel at their last years on this planet. It's a unique perspective. One older guy named Del lived in this facility with his wife for many years. They had been married 70 years. Del shared a lot with me in the past month. Last week he passed away. Some of his soul will live on with me.

One thing I am bringing to motorcycling is that our motivations for riding have a lot to do with our attitude towards rider training. As well as influencing the decisions we make while riding. I'll share more later.

Speaking of training and riding, as I've reflected on training riders I've come to realize that there are four steps to competence. I'm looking forward to writing about these steps. The fourth step is critical for successful riding. I've counseled many of my students on getting to the fourth step without really realizing it was the fourth step in a process. Now I know and it won't sound so confusing next time!

Something else I've become very aware of is how cognitive dissonance affects our lives in so many ways. Both in how we deal with other people and how we react to events that unfold while we're riding.



Upon further reflection, then, it seems there may still be things of value to be shared after all.

Miles and smiles,

Dan


12 comments:

Raftnn said...

A well written blog Dan, You still have a lot to share, but I know where you are coming from, I am not wanting my blog to become"this is my life" kind of thing.

A book! Go for it, you know you have to do it, and once accomplished you will be a very proud amn.

RichardM said...

Welcome back. Blue Man Group is a pretty good evening entertainment for a meeting. Saw them years ago as something the conference organizers did for those volunteering for an IT conference.

I'm looking forward to hearing about those four steps..

Richard

Allen Madding said...

My heart sank when I saw the oh too familiar image of the aisle of the coach section. I spent so much in the exact same spot for two yrs at my last job, now when I see it or hear someone that is spending a great deal of time flying for work, I get a lump in the back of my throat, a knot in my abdomen, and feel a little flushed.

Hopefully, this too shall pass and you will get to be home more than away. I now appreciate being at home during the week.

On the other hand, I rejoice with you that the possibility of a promotion is on the horizon and will hope and pray you will get it.

I strongly encourage you to write your book. I think it will be well worth the time and effort that it will require.

Regarding the blog, if you for some reason were to never ride a motorcycle again, you would still have insight and wisdom that you could share with the rest of us. Your point of view and life experiences are highly vlaued with the loyal readers of your blog. I hope you will continue to write even if it is not as often as in the past. You might not always realize it, but your writing provides value to both the writer and the readers. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

-Peace

Mike said...

I was wondering where you were. You've covered a lot of ground here. I hope you get the promotion too. And a book sounds great! It's hard to tell which community college the RV is visiting. I saw the Blue Man Group a few years ago in Orlando at a company function too. Very impressive entertainment! Welcome back!

bobskoot said...

Irondad:

welcome back. we missed you. Hope you are a shoe-in for the Promotion. Just remember that we knew you when . . .

can't wait for you to write more sage advice

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Arizona Harley Dude said...

You, me, Bloggers in general seem to be taking a break. When the time is right the words will come and until then we will lurk....waiting....waiting and hopefully riding....it is all about the ride anyway. Isn't it?

Oh, and the educational value of your blog shouldn't be overlooked. But, grandfatherhood and a promotion might have a bit of priority in life.

irondad said...

Raftnn,

Thank you for the compliment. And for reading!

Richard,

I've always wondered if the members of Blue Man change out or if it's been the same three all along. Can't imagine the same three keeping up that kind of schedule.

The four steps aren't a big mystery but I think it's important to be aware of them. Stay tuned.

Allen,

For now the air travel has settled down. There's still a week in Seattle coming up but I can drive ( or ride ) that.

I really appreciate your encouraging words. They mean a lot to me. Seriously.

Mike,

I hadn't been posting but I have been reading your blog now and then. Glad the melanoma thing worked out like it did. Neglected melanoma is what got my grandmother into her current condition.

The photo is Lane Community College in Eugene.

Bobskoot,

Glad to BE back! You will always be on my list of friends, no matter what.

Arizona Harley Dude,

Tnanks for the comment. Congratulations on your retirement!

Take care,

Dan

Circle Blue said...

It is good to hear your voice again.

Been in that buried place. Didn't like it, but it always seemed to pass.

Loved this sentence and the image: "Or, in my case, like a 14 month old blond haired blue eyed cherub who chases me around and lifts his arms up for me to hold him."

Looking for more,
~Keith

Charlie6 said...

Good to see you posting again Dan....and congrats on being groomed for that promotion. Does it come with a new motorcycle perhaps? : )

As to riding in airplanes....bleh.

That was a nicely outfitted RV, now if only you could talk them into partitioning the rear half as a motorcycle storage for when you're not riding.....

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Bryce said...

Yes, I too am still here. You also.
Somehow reading your comments am thinking "if the promotion happens Dan may well have to rethink many things. His life, his motorcycling and yes this blog and his teachings." Best he start on his tome, thinking down the road of life changes will happen.
Still not motorcycle season here, for me have confirmed, ne'er again.
The time when riding season was something of anticipation is now one of reflection of a time that was.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

I wondered what the hell had happened to you. I am delighted to see that not only have you held your job through the worst recession in history, but that you have managed to advance as well. Regretably, a lot of business travel is the side-effect. Hopefully, it will shake out to your great advantage.

There is norhing like a writing a book tro put life in perspective. I look forward to reading yours.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

david said...

Good to see you again!

Just want to add i love the picture at the top, the wide blue sky an openness, with the bike waiting patiently.

peace man