Brians Song, the Big C and “little” Mikey

I can’t really remember when I first became aware of cancer, but the first time it effected my life was in I’d guess 1972, or 1973. I saw Brian’s Song on TV. The original version, obviously. It had a profound effect on me as a 13/14 year old, that I think to this day I can’t forget. I sobbed like the child I was when I saw it, despite all my aspirations to grow up quickly, and all the confusion around me, I learned a lot from the film about friends, racial tolerance and intolerance, as well as cancer.

And so it was with some trepidation I set the DVR the other day to record the original film, which was on some channel or other on Time Warner Cable. It’s sitting there waiting to be watched, I’m guessing I probably won’t watch it until at least the summer is over.

Since then many people I know or love have been touched by cancer including my Mum. Cancer took the life of Wendy, Auntie Ruth, and has effected the lives of many of my Austin friends, including at least three female friends hit by breast cancer; and also “Iron” Mikey Thompson, from Jack and Adams Bicycle Shop in Austin. Mikey is trying to get a place in this years Ironman Hawaii through the Kona Inspired program, he is a 4x cancer survior, but much more than that he is an all round great guy, who is articulate, kind and compassionate. Please vote for Mikey here.

So it’s somewhat ironic then, that this week I got to meet the most well known cancer survivor of them all, Lance Armstrong, at his house. I took Ronnie along so he could get a signature from Lance and catch up after Sundays Galveston 70.3, Lance came out to introduce himself. I’m also heading to see my Doc this afternoon to get that annoying lesion on the back of my left hand, that won’t heal, looked at. Things that go around, come around.

The Bike Through Bank

New tube Sir?So, as I pulled into the drive through ATM at the Amplify Brockton Branch yesterday to deposit two checks, worth combined less than $2, something grabbed my attention out of the corner of my eye. Yep, there was a guy on a bicycle in the drive through bank.

Apparently it’s not all that uncommon, all I know is I laughed hard until I started to try to deposit the checks. Here is a zoomed version.

No Hassle Cash – My foot

I’ve got one of those CapitalOne No Hassle cards, instead of getting worthless points, I get cash back based on how much I spend. I can use that “cash” on the same sort of useless purchases as I could with worthless points, or I can request a credit in my CapitalOne card account, or, yes, a check. I elected to just get the credit, $67.18 as an account credit.

Seemed like a good thing, I clicked, confirmed etc. and then got the message

Order Number: 19330721
Order Date: April 4, 2012
Estimated Posting Date: 5-7 business days

I guess they send themselves a check, after all an electronic transfer couldn’t take 5-7 business days, could it?

Less than a buck, WTF

I continue to be amazed, saddened and I some ways angry about the inefficiencies in the US Banking system and the inability for big financial institutions to see how much this is costing the economy.

I’m sat in line for a drive up teller, coz the bank closed at 4:30 or 5pm, whatever, that’s not the point. The point is I have two checks to deposit, one for $0.07 from an IBM Share account I thought I closed 2-years ago, and the other, as attached my US GOVERNMENT TAX refund.

You’d think the government would save its money and the banks by just carrying this amount as a credit into the next year, or at least do a electronic credit. I could just rip the check up and let the government have the money but it doesn’t work like that in account the money just gets held in a suspense account for nearly ever.

Lets not even get started on how crappy the admin is behind the IBM share system that has been issuing ever decreasing amounts for the last 16-months…

The problem is the paper check. Its like many other things, when you don’t think the the system is broken, you can’t see how things could be. If nothing else, the processing banks, ie where I’m depositing the checks should be able to levy a processing charge from the issuing account, but not from mine. If issuing a check for $0.07 is the best they can do, and processing it costs $4.50, then they should be charged $4.57

Ps. If anyone from Amplify Credit Union is watching, that’s me sat out in the parking lot, your ATM workflow sucks if you are depositing more than one check. Oh yeah tell Sheryl I’m still waiting for a reply…

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Texas A&M Slides – Technical and Professional Careers

Here are the Technical and Professional career slides I used for yesterdays CSCE 481 Seminar at Texas A&M University. Thanks to Prof. Robin R. Murphy, PhD, IEEE Fellow; Raytheon Professor of Computer Science & Engineering; Director, Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue – for inviting me to speak, and to the students for all the great questions afterwards.

If I can be of any help in your future, please get in touch.

Fore music

The great thing about music is it brings people together in so many great ways, the great thing about sharing love of similar music with my kids, is I get recommendations on some great stuff, I’m totally hooked on this Jamie Lidell track after a 3 a.m. skype session with Oli.


Then last night Kathleen organized line dancing lessons at the Broken Spoke, all I can tell you is there was a lot of trepidation in this house before Ronnie and I left. I got to learn the Texas 2-step with Leslie Tom and she was a great partner.

Mentally, exhausted; outlook never more excited

When I posted the “A Man who does nothing” entry, I’d just got one of those corporate emails telling why they couldn’t help me. It went something like that.

Today, I ran 7-miles at my long race pace, approx. 10-minute miles; delt with a load of corporate BS including the man who says “no, I’m too busy”; given a disposition and a trial rehearsal up at the capital building; negotiated mineral rights on a property I’m buying next Tuesday; had a conference call with the first professional athlete for my Sports Management company; had the first board meeting for the new multisports 501.c3 I created; cooked 3x pretty perfect fillet steaks and am now cleaning up after a good dinner with 2x good friends. I’m not a superstar, I’m no different from you, I say yes, and see thing s the way they should be, you say no and can’t see beyond the way things are.

Is it so off to ask you just to do your day job Mr Corporate person? Sh*t happens to you, if you don’t make things happen.

Sven gets vocal again

I just ran the stats on my little Sandisc Sansa MP3 player, I’ve had it for 3-years now, it was a great buy and yep, cheap, and no it doesn’t work with iTunes. I’ve done a few file reloads and am starting to think about music selection for the marathon I have to run at the end of the Challenge Roth ironman-distance triathlon in July. Yep, MP3 players are allowed on the run.

Overwhelmingly, the number one MP3 played on my sandisc is my Houston dance-music friend, Sven Neers’ “sven gets vocal again” mix from February 2010. It’s a perfect, uplifting, uptempo, happy/vocal house mix. It used to be available via Svens soundcloud page, at http://soundcloud.com/neer-music/sven-gets-vocal-again but it’s been taken down. There is a track listing here on his old blog and you can find it online here.