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Not Sure I Can Take Anymore Memories

Mark Lovelady Class of 1989

Stephanie Cresswell Class of 2015

Jamie Sandifer

Jon Paulson Class of 91
died by suicide 2013

The messages pop up on my Facebook feed unannounced. Some familiar. Most not. All of them tragic. Many of them jarring.

Raymond Estores Class of 2012

Scott Crapo Class of 81 or 82

Nick Walker Class of 84
A fishing accident with his grandfather

I graduated in 1983. My generation grew up with computers. We remember our parents buying their first microwave oven. And we remember our first computer.

We are the “old” people that are the reason the current generation abandoned facebook. But us? We are all over it. We use it to keep up with our grandkids (who are too young to know it’s not cool.) We are friends with our neighbors and church members. We plan our reunions with it. And we use it to keep track of our friends from high school.

Some friends from high school created a new facebook group and invited me. It’s called Timberline Blazers Gone, Never Forgotten. As you’ve probably realized by now, it’s a memoriam group. It’s a group dedicated to remember those from my high school who have passed away.

The crazy thing is that my high school is younger than I am. It opened in 1970. In May this year there’s going to be a celebration of the first 50 years.

What that really means is that most of the people who have passed away are close to my age or less. Despite my earlier comment I’m not old. I don’t consider myself old. And people who aren’t old shouldn’t die.

A couple of the posts in the group hit kind of hard.

Brad Tullis-Class of 83′ in 2012

Brad was part of my group of friends. It wasn’t a huge high school. We had about 350 in our graduating class. I haven’t seen Brad since high school. But, knowing he passed away was a shock.

Some of the posts were personal.

Lavel Godwin – died a few years ago from brain cancer

Lavel was my brother’s sister. I wrote about it a few years ago. I actually didn’t know her. But, knowning she’s gone was a shock.

One of the posts hit closer than any others. I knew it would be there, and yet it was still sad to see it.

Danny Murdock – Class of 83′
While attending College, in a car accident

Danny was the first to die. He passed away before the first reunion. The posts in the forum sometimes are just a name. Sometimes they incude a graduation date. And sometimes they include a cause of death.

My class is in our 50s now. We are dying of the things that people die of. Some are sickness. Cancer mostly. Some suicides. Murders. And accidents.

Danny died in an accident. He was attending BYU. . .the same school I attended. I think I was possibly on a mission for the Mormon church at the time. Danny was driving down Provo Canyon. It was a winding mountain road. Two lanes with a mountain on one side and the river on the other. It winds for 20 miles from Provo to Heber, Utah.

Danny was headed back toward Provo. As he came around a curve, a car coming from the other direction crossed the center line and hit him head on. His car flipped into the river. He died immediately.

Danny’s family and mine were very close. We were in scouts together. We went to church together. We were in classes together. In fact, my brother and Danny’s brother married sisters.

I added an explanitory comment to the post about Danny. He’s buried in Utah. I’ve been to his grave a couple of times. I didn’t think Danny’s death could affect me. I was wrong. Several people posted fond memories of Danny. And there was one post,

It was tragic I was in Utah at the times and saw his obituary, later i met the dude that hit him it was tough.

The group has only been around for a few weeks. People are still joining. I invited a bunch of high school friends to join, just as someone had invited me.

And because it’s new, many of the names keep getting posted for the first time, and some for the second time. And each time a new message pops up on my Facebook feed I have to wonder if it will be someone I knew, or just another stranger that sat through classes in inside the same four walls where I spent four years.

Not sure I can take too many more memories.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

I Hate Waiting

Inigo: Hello there! Slow going?

Dread Pirate Roberts: Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but this is not as easy as it looks, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t distract me.

Inigo: Sorry.

Dread Pirate Roberts: Thank you.

Inigo: I do not suppose you could a-speed things up?

Dread Pirate Roberts: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.

Inigo: I could do that. I still got some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.

Dread Pirate Roberts: That does put a damper on our relationship.

Inigo: But, I promise I will not kill you until you reach the top.

Dread Pirate Roberts: That’s very comforting, but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.

Inigo: I hate waiting.

I once wanted to sell a car. I had a friend who was a car salesman. I gave him the details, and he offered to list it for me. I think he listed it at $5,000.

My problem was I needed the money quickly. I went to talk to him about the timing.

Just be patient Rodney. It will sell.

Is there any way to make it sell faster?

Sure.

Okay, how?

Just lower the price. It would sell today for $4,000.

And that’s how I lost $1,000 selling my car.

I understood what I was doing. I really needed the money and sad as it is to say, it was worth the extra money to get the cash sooner. My friend was happy to help. He was going to sell the car for me for free. As it was, he made an extra thousand dollars. (I presume. I didn’t actually ask him what he got for the car.)

Long time readers of this site know that I used to have a car named Ironman, or as the license plate said IRONMN.Unfortunately, IRONMN had to go. But, I kept the custom wheels I purchased for him. They don’t fit my current car. I finally decided to sell them. Of course, they are no where near what I paid for them. I think they were about $1000.

I recently listed them on Facebook Marketplace for $120. That was for all four of them. . .plus the tires. It’s okay. The tires have wear on them and the rims served me well and have some minor scrapes and fading. It’s a fair price.

Fair, but not lowball. Fair but also not too high. I’ve had the wheels listed for several weeks. If you list something on Marketplace, interested buyers can ping you with a message,

Is this still available?

It’s encouraging, right? It’s like fishing when the line giggles a little. It’s not a bite, it’s a nibble. It’s tempting when you feel that slight tug on the line to immediately start to pull on line. If you do, you’ll lose the fish.

No, you have to be patient. . .a lot of patient.

Good things come to those who wait. Only those things left by those who hurry.

The early bird gets the worm. But, the second mouse gets the cheese.

Patience is hard to learn. Sometimes it’s impossible. But, typically the amount you are willing to wait translates into better bargining positions.

It’s been weeks. And while I would like the $120 for the wheels, they’ve been sitting in my backyard for quite over a year. I can wait.

Tomorrow I am meeting a guy. He wants the rims. . .probably. If not, I can afford to be patient.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

When 7:00AM is 9:00AM

Rodney, I noticed you typically take off around 3:00. Why is that?

Well, I generally start at 7:00.

Yeah, I know. Kind of early isn’t it?

Depends on where you’re at.

Global business, global economy, yesterday I talked about global virus.

The world is getting smaller and getting bigger. When does the day start? Dolly Parton did a song called “9-5.” It was about a typical work day. Those times have even permeated our culture. Alan Jackson has a song called, “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere.”

But, does the day really start at 9? Does it end at 5?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : Answer as quickly as you can… how old is a man born in 1928?

George Malley : Still alive?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : If a man is born in 1928, and he’s still alive, how old is he?

George Malley : What month?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : If a man was born October 3rd, 1928, and he’s still alive, how old is he?

George Malley : What time?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : 10 o’clock… PM!

George Malley : Where?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : Anywhere!

George Malley : Well, let’s get specific, Bob! I mean, if the guy’s still alive, born in California, October 3rd, 1928, 10 PM, he’s 67 years, 9 months, 22 days, 14 hours, and…

[takes Bob’s hand to see his wristwatch]

… and 12 minutes. If he was born in New York, he’s 3 hours older, now isn’t he?

– Touchstone Pictures “Phenomenon”

And even if the day does start at nine, 9:00 where? Your time zone? New York time? California? Toyko? Sydney?

Most middle and senior IT managers are salaried employees. That means that we get paid by the day. Work 5 minutes and you get paid for the whole day. Work 12 hours and you get paid for the whole day. So, if you are working with teams all across teh US or all across the globe, your day might “start” with a conference call from Manila at 4:00 AM and “end” with a conference call with London at 8:00 PM.

And since you are salary, you get paid for the entire day. All 16 hours of it.

What do you do about it? One option is to insist that “I put in my 8 hours and everything else will have to wait until tomorrow.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard an IT person, salaried or not, make that statement. If someone had that attitude, they’d go into a different line of work. I’ve seen desktop engineers that literally worked themselves to the point of exhaustion. I do not recommend it. In fact, it’s often one of the things managers have to guard against their teams doing.

How do you do it? How do you figure out when to start and end your day? Often it’s governed by the job. You put in the time that is needed. But, you also figure out when to not put in the time.

You have to deliberately choose to step away at times. Sometimes that means sleeping in the middle of the day because you were up all night on an outage. Sometimes it means taking time in the middle of the day to attend a kid’s soccer game. And sometimes, it just means hanging up your apron at 5:00 pm.

After all, it’s five o’clock somewhere.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The World From Home

Kerry, do you think anyone will object to our training being scheduled the same time as the CEO broadcast?

I don’t think so.

Okay, by me.

You realize that a worldwide CEO broadcast is the most expensive meeting you will ever be part of?

What do you mean?

Well, if you look at how many thousands of people will be attending and then you figure the cost of all those people, the hour long broadcast is the most expensive meeting you will ever be part of.

Never thought of it that way.

Ultimately, the people who were scheduled to attend the training, didn’t join. None of us were actually in the same room. Many of us were even in different countries. Most of us were dialing in from home.

Since the training was rescheduled, I joined the CEO broadcast. We are a worldwide company. I have no idea where the CEO was broadcasting from. I’m not even sure aht country he was broadcasting from.

And yet, I was as comfortable in the meeting if he were sitting in an office in Salt Lake City. Even if he’d been in Salt Lake City, I would have been dialing in from my office on the other side of town from our management office building.

But, instead I was logging in from home. I was completely connected to all the tools I needed, email, Microsoft Teams, the Zoom software that was hosting the conference.

The CEO holds regularly scheduled broadcasts. It’s something I like about my company. While it’s a worldwide organization, the company works very hard to promote a family atmosphere. And that starts with the CEO.

So I settled into a PowerPoint slideshow about success, challenges, competitive market forces. The presentations are always informative, enjoyable and occasionally funny as the CEO who is not a native English speaker will use his sharp whit to keep the mood light.

As his presentation was wrapping up he addressed the Coronavirus. As I said, we are a worldwide company. We are a telecommunications company. We have call centers, all over the world. From a few hundred to over a thousand agents in each center. Obviously, the health of our employees is a great concern.

The CEO talked about the efforts we are making as a company to keep our employees safe while also keeping our business running.

And I realized as I looked around my office, that what I had seen as a convenience I now saw as a part of a larger corporate effort that could help our company.

The virus is affecting businesses all around the world. I realized how fortunate I was to have a job that I could do completely from home.

Wherever you are working, I hope that you stay safe from the virus and that the scientists and the World Health Organization can find a vaccine or cure quickly.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Just A Picture. . .Told In Slightly Less Than 1000 Words

Today’s post is just a picture. The thing is, the picture, as near as I can tell, only exists in my head. It exists somewhere or at least it did. I saw it long enough ago that I can’t remember when I saw it, but recently enough that I can remember the image.

The image centers around a deer. He’s obviously an old buck. He has a nice rack of antlers. He’s standing on a hill. Down below him, are two young fawns playing in the middle of a moutain road. Off in the distance, visible to the buck, but hidden from the fawns, a car is headed their way.

The caption reads “How can he warn them?”

The message, of course, is the idea that the buck, oh, let’s call him the dad just because I’m a dad, understands the danger. He’s seen it before. Maybe he’s even had kids hit by cars in the past. If he could only convince the fawns to leave the road, he can save their lives.

But, the fawns, probably teenagers, don’t need him to warn them about anything. They are convinced that they have it all figured out. And they don’t see the danger. In fact, they don’t have a word to describe the danger.

What is this thing called “car?” Or “truck?” Or “Stopping distance?” Or “reaction time?”

Okay, maybe the dad deer might not understand those terms either, but many dad’s understand those terms and others as well.

The problem with the poster is that it asks the question, but it doesn’t provide any answer.

And having been a dad for years, I can tell you that after all these years, I still don’t know how to warn them.

That’s why I decided today I wasn’t going to write anything. Just post that picture, or meme if will.

Sorry to not offer any context around the picture, but it’s just that kind of a day.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Make A Legacy. . .Whether You Want To Or Not

Conan O’Brien, the talk show host, will someday be forgotten. That was the point of an article I recently read. And since he’s going to be forgotten anyway, he shouldn’t worry about leaving a legacy. In fact, Conan himself has suggested he won’t have a “grand finale” show when his time is done. Again, no lasting legacy, so no point.

With all due respect to the funnyman, he’s wrong.

It’s true that very few of us will have an impact that will be remembered beyond our own lives. There were hundreds of musicians in the 18th century. A quick view of wikipedia shows dozens from multiple countries. And yet, how many do you know?

Mozart? Sure. Beethovan? Of course. Vivaldi? Yes. Salieri? Ah. . .he was in that movie, right? Anyone else? Umm. . .

We could do the same thing with painters, or sculptors, or storytellers. Do you think Homer was the only writer in ancient Greece? Or that Shakespeare and Ben Johnson were the only playwrights in 16th century England?

Each of these men (and, of course, there were famous women through history) left a legacy. They created art that will last through the ages. And the same continues today. American presidents will be remembered as long as there is an America.

The Beatles will be remembered as long as there is music.

So, we should each attempt to rise to the level of Beatles, or Mozart or Van Gogh or Shakespeare? No.

(Yes, I know Van Gogh was never famous during his lifetime. That’s the point.)

Van Gogh wasn’t worried about a legacy. Neither were the Beatles. In fact, one of the issues that John Lennon had with Paul McCartney, was Lennon’s feeling that the Beatle’s music was not transcendental of other genres.

But, each of these artists was trying to create their very best work. They were not focused on legacy, they were focused on their art.

What does that have to do with you? After all, you may not be a painter, or a writer, or a musician. You might not think you have any artistic ability. And you don’t need to.

But, you are a father, or a brother, or a project manager, or a bus driver or a fisherman, or a talk show host. You can attempt to do your best in whatever role you choose.

Many years ago, I worked for WordPerfect corporation, I needed some dentist work done. I needed a lot of dental work done. I decided to wear a suit to the dentist. There was no specific reason. I just wanted to make my dentist appointments unique.

It was unusual to wear a suit to work at WordPerfect. Typicaly you only did it when you had a job interview. No matter how much I insisted to people that I only had a dentist appointment, they were convinced that I was interviewing for another job.

Years later, I was working for a non-profit in Utah. One of our coworkers showed up in a suit one day. Again, it was not a place that many wore suits. Another coworker said, “So, got a dentist appointment?”

They had no idea where the phrase came from. And they had no idea that I was the origin of that story. In fact, they didn’t even know there was a story at all. Just the reference to a dentist appointment.

I was not attempting to leave a legacy when I was dressing up for those dentist appointments.

I will admit that this was a somewhat silly and very inconsequential legacy. And it is by no means the only legacy I hope I leave.

Do you know if you had relatives living in the 18th century? Or the 15th?

It’s a silly question. Of course you had relatives who lived througout every century. Will you be forgotten years from now? Most likely. Will your works live on? Absolutely. The Internet is forever. A story you write will remain. A stupid youtube video you create will remain.

And if you are fortunate enough to have children, they, and their children and their children will always have you to look back on. Not on the life you try to make for eternity, but on the life you make today.

So, I don’t think we should be obsessed wiht our legacy. But, we should certainly understand that we are making one. We make it everyday by the choices we make, the things we do and the places we go. . .even if it’s just to the dentist.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Grateful For Broken Down Cars On The Side Of The Road

We’ve all seen them, right? The car pulled off to the side of the freeway. Maybe the hood is up. Maybe the flashers are on. Maybe there’s someone sitting on the ground, or in the car if it’s rainy or dark. Sometimes the cars are abandoned.

Perhaps you drive past them without a thought. Maybe you glance to make sure that no one is injured and then continue on. I’ve started to see those cars in a whole different light. A personal light.

My word of the year this year is Grateful. I’ve been exploring what that meant. Yesterday I talked about the things about my job that make me grateful.

But, we can find gratitude, like the hand of God, in everything if we look for it. I find gratitude when I see a car broken down on the side of the road.

This was me in April 2015.

My car died on the side of the road. I didn’t know how serious it was at the time. Turns out it was pretty serious. We, my neighbor and I, ended up rebuilding nearly the entire engine. It was a weeks long job that taught me a lot about cars.

One of the thigns I learned about cars is that I enjoy working on my cars, but I don’t really trust my mechanic. Maybe it’s like watching the sausage being made.

Maybe you know that there are shocks that connect your axles to the rest of the car. There’s four of course. And the entire weight of the car is resting on those four shocks. I once had to replace the shocks on my car. Turns out those shocks, that are holding up your entire car are secured by three bolts. That’s it. And not great big lug nut type bolts. No, three fairly medium sized bolts, and gravity hold it together.

I drove very timidly during in the weeks after I swapped out my shocks. I mean, three bolts!

So, when I’m driving down the freeway, and I feel my car “lurch” I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Is it just a bad spot on the road? Or is it the engine going out? Or is it one of those three bolts failing? (The last one is not really an worry. More of an irrational fear.)

And I drive old cars, so the chances that some critical part of the car will fail while on the freeway at 70 MPH is not outside the realm of possibility.

So, why am I grateful when I see a car broken down on the side of the road?

This might sound insensitive, but I’m glad it’s not me. In fact, I will often say,

There’s someone who’s having a worse day than me.

And that’s something to be grateful for.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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