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When cars collide

June 22nd, 2009

Car Accident

Lansing Car Accident

On Thursday I was involved in my first car accident (while I was the driver that is). I will no longer be able to boast that I’ve never been in one. I used to pride myself on that, not even as much as a little fender bender before Thursday.

My nephew Sloane was with me. I had just gotten back from taking photos at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek and picked up 9-year old Sloane to take back to the Upper Peninsula with me so he could stay with my parents for a week.

I was leaving work from Seymour Street in Lansing and drove 1.3 miles. After the construction zone I had merged all the way into the left lane on Saginaw (a 4-lane one-way street) headed eastbound. I was ready to start the 400 mile trip to Marquette.

A white two-door car was in front of me on the lane to my direct right. Out of the blue he tried to cut over two lanes at once, as he tried to make a left hand turn at Mahlon Street. Cutting over two lanes at once he never looked and the front right corner of my 1998 Escort Wagon went square into his driver’s door.

I was driving about 40 mph.

My car stopped in the middle of Mahlon Street. His car shot up onto the sidewalk.

I’m proud of my instinct. First I made sure to see that Sloane was okay and started dialing 911 immediately. He was fine. I was fine. They had to remove that door of the other guys car to get him out and hauled him to the hospital. My guess would be a couple broken ribs at worst.

My only concern was Sloane. I was terribly frustrated not because of the accident, but because Sloane was in my car. The last time I had a kid in my car while I was driving was probably three years ago. So why does my first accident have to happen when I finally have a child in my car? Big props to Sloane for staying so calm and patient. He’s a trooper, not to mention an 8 hour drive back to the Upper Peninsula following it. Hopefully he wasn’t too terrified and hopefully his mother won’t hate me too much.

After seeing the damage on the other guy’s car I was scared to look behind me at my own car. I couldn’t believe what I saw, how minimal the damage was. No extra squeaks, rattles, or anything. Only aesthetics. The only minor thing was being able to open the hood, but that was taken care of at home.

Well, car accidents happen. I hope the other guy is alright too. Thankfully I’m a very calm guy and keep my cool. Was mostly frustrating just because I was starting a 400-mile trek to the U.P. But I still made it.

Quite the week it was.

Why the Red Wings will be the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions

June 2nd, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs

In the next week or so the Detroit Red Wings will repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Although the Red Wings are up two games to none just as they were last year at this time, that really has nothing to do with the basis of my argument. My argument has to do with what you hear in the media, from the announcers, and the makeup of the two teams.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are talented, no doubt. But from the start of the playoffs until the finals all of the talk has centered around two plays, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. That’s all. Crosby this, Malkin, it’s all you ever here. At the end of the day they don’t have depth. The Penguins are as dependent on Malkin and Crosby as the Cleveland Cavaliers are on Lebron James.

Down in Detroit it is a completely different story. The Red Wings have outscored the Penguins 6-2 in the first two games of the finals. Not one of those six goals has come from Datsyuk, Hossa, Zetterberg, or Lidstrom. Datsyuk, a nominee for the Hart Trophy MVP award, hasn’t even played. The goals have come from Filppula, Ericsson, Abdelkader (2), Stuart, and Franzen With the exception of Franzen none of those players are typical goal scorers.

Datsyuk has received some criticism this post season for his lack of offensive production. But that’s what makes the Red Wings so great in everyone of their championship runs. When a star player is out or on a cold streak there is always someone else who is on a hot streak. It doesn’t matter who. The Red Wings don’t get 100-point seasons from players due to their depth. Everyone has a role, it’s not just one guy.

For that reason the Red Wings will have their 5th Stanley Cup Championship in 12 seasons in the next week.

You know I love my hockey! Stanley Cup Finals season is my favorite season of the year, especially when the Red Wings are involved. Go Wings!

P.S. Not only is Osgood going to be a Hall of Fame inductee, I’m starting to make the argument that he should have his number retired.

Teamwork rules!

May 29th, 2009

Have a friend in need? Perhaps a baby squirrel? Teamwork is amazing. Teamwork solves all sorts of puzzles from small to large. This is one of my favorite videos. Determination and creativity can solve anything.

Four red dots

May 26th, 2009

Abbott Road, East Lansing, MI

Imagine four little red dots on a map. One pair of the red dots work together as of a week ago. The other pair of red dots have been working together for a few years. The older red dots with more gray hair have both been incredibly influential and instrumental in the success and drive of each of the younger red dots.

These four dots have never all been together before. A month ago these four little red dots tried to all come together, but one of the red dots (I won’t say who) decided to go on a date instead (a date that was not worthwhile).

The two younger red dots were unsure if they wanted to attend a networking event this one particular night, but they decided it was for the best. After the two red dots enjoyed a couple beverages they agreed it was time to go.

One red dot spotted one of the gray-haired red dots. That old dot was shaking hands with the other old dot. A quick u-turn was taken (it’s beyond me that at this incredibly busy intersection there was actually no car coming the other way). These four dots, bonded by creativity, all came together and crossed the exact same point on earth within a matter of seconds.

Coincidences happen all of the time. Especially small world run-ins with say two people. But with four? I have never ran into the gray haired dots in public. Tonight I ran into both of them, two of the most influential people in my life. It was a situation where at least this young red dot acknowledged that something like this has never happened to him before. Both young red dots will be going to bed ecstatic and excited. There was a grand amount of amusement.

Bonding Five Seconds at a Time

It is my strong belief that some of the greatest bonds between people in life are built five seconds at a time. When people have a mutual respect and look forward to seeing this other person, that’s all the time it takes.

Having a mere 5-second random walk by with is enough to elicit smiles, enjoyment, and a feeling of joy because you ran into someone you truly admire and respect.

From my opinion, I say that these little 5-second moments build and build and build on each other. This entire encounter that the other young red dot and I had lasted only a couple of minutes (there was a high-speed pursuit that followed). But the enjoyment of those two minutes grew more on to the relationship between the four of us. And it all started with a 5-second decision between the time we say the first gray-haired dot to the decision of making a u-turn.

From the standpoint of networking, business development, and relationships of all sorts there is a priceless value to it. I’m happy with the social life I’ve found in the last week. If I wasn’t out and about, if I wasn’t pro-active, of if I was a hermit none of this would have happened.

I’ll never forget it. These are four very specific red dots and a few seconds is all that was needed for them to finally all be in the same spot.

P.S. Is it a requirement that Yoopers must always know where to find a barrel of hay?

My first week at work

May 25th, 2009

2pm Office Nap
Photo by The Pretenda on Flickr

I successfully finished my first week of work. A few of my co-workers asked if I would be returning to work now that I put in a full week with them. And yes, I’ll be getting up at 7am and headed right back to it.

I think the last time I worked a 40-hour week for someone else doing the 8-5 thing was the summer of 2004, that’s five years ago! But the transition has been great so far. Monday was a big adjustment, I was overdressed (yes, even I dress up once in a while), didn’t know where anything was, and was concentrating on just being able to remember everyone’s name.

Remembering Names
As a side note… this is one of the skills I’m most thankful for obtaining on my trip. Before my trip I had a much more difficult time remembering a person’s name when I first met them. That is one small thing that my trip solved. I had to meet so many people that I just found a way to better remember everyone’s name from the start. It’s very helpful.

Anyways… what a great first week of work. My desk had a basket full of various Post-It Note products and I’m very happy to have a sticky note for every purpose. I had my first meeting. I had my first day of travel where I went to Detroit to learn about the digital transformation the Detroit newspapers are making. I had my first co-worker birthday party, we went to P.F. Changs for lunch (I went with the chicken lo mein). And today I had my first BBQ with co-workers including the owner.

A good week.

Learning My Boundaries

The biggest challenge for me at the moment is not the work itself. I understand the work, am confident with my abilities, know what needs to be done, etc. But what’s new to me is the work environment. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve had an employer that wasn’t myself.

I’m a little cautious and uptight perhaps. Being careful not to overstep any boundaries, step on anyone toes, etc. And I’m busy stressing about what’s appropriate to wear to work, because anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a very casual guy, though not without a keen eye for fashion.

And in reference to the photo, yes, I am happy to say I have been having a little fun as well.