Friday, June 28, 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Friends, it's hot, DAMNED hot here in central Kentucky right now!  It's been that way for most of a week, that is, when it hasn't been raining.  I swear, I don't think I can remember a wetter spring and early summer!

I have some followup items I wanted to touch on....

I believe I mentioned that on our auto trip to Colorado in late May/early June that our car, MY car, sustained a fair amount of hail damage when we stopped for the night in Kansas on our way west.  I didn't think it was that severe until I had the car washed and could really see all of the pockmarks.  There were MANY.  So when we returned home I called our insurance agency, just to get their opinion on whether I should file a claim.  It rested on the amount of damage, so I had an informal estimate done, and found that we were looking at a pretty good amount to repair all of it properly.  I filed a claim, the insurance company sent an appraiser out, and we had a check for a somewhat larger sum in a short period of time.

During the discussion of this I mentioned to our son that I was going to have this fixed and he recommended a body shop he had found through a friend.  So I went there with this recommendation just this Tuesday, liked the way the shop owner came across decided to give him the business.  Called the insurance adjuster, as I needed a rental car ASAP.  He connected me with their preferred car rental company and in a short time the company had a guy there to pick me up and take me to the agency office.

Car was finished today, a little sooner than expected, and I have to say, it looks GREAT!  I suppose we should have parked in a hailstorm sooner if this was the outcome!

In the interests of full disclosure, the insurance carrier was Travelers, the body shop was Meadowthorpe  Body Shop here in Lexington, KY, and the car rental company was Enterprise.  All get a big thumbs up on customer service and responsiveness!

Just an aside, but isn't it a shame when we're surprised by good service and a smoothly handled process for anything?

Anyway, that's been a central part of my activities this week, as things have just been a little "off" because of driving a rental instead of my car.  But the replacement, a Dodge Avenger, was a solid little ride, if not as spacious as our Honda Pilot.

My wife and I took some time out and saw "Man of Steel" on Tuesday.  Best thing I've seen this summer.  Fulfilled my hope of a different take on the Superman legend, without negatively impacting what we all know about this superhero.  Well thought out, well cast and acted, and just a very solid and entertaining picture.  Nothing else on the horizon this summer that I can think of that I'm eager to see.  But that's par for the course, since I'm not a twelve-year-old boy (the alleged target audience of the majority of movies now)!

Speaking of that, I read an interesting article recently on the film business.  I posted the link on my Twitter feed last week (@richardlexsmith) if you're interested.  Turns out that the folks in Hollywood really don't know what they're doing, if the article (written by an industry insider) has any credence.

How'd you like to wreck your knee in February and become a millionaire in June?  That happened to former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, who was drafted by the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers last night.  Good for him, he seems like a good kid, from all public indications.

In case you're wondering, my job search process is ongoing, and I've made a number of contacts and have several possibilities in the pipeline at this point.  But with next week a holiday week, I imagine that the momentum of my activities will probably slow a bit for the moment.  But I remain optimistic!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go towel off now.




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Out, but not down

Top of the morning, neighbors.  It's a good day to be alive, isn't it?

It is.  Even though I was separated from my job last Friday.

I cannot share specific details, but last week my supervisor and someone from our human resources department let me know that my position was being eliminated.  The details of this process were outlined for me, and that was that.

So, as you can imagine, I've spent the past couple of workdays networking and contacting those whom I think can help me connect with my next opportunity.  Given the tumult in the employment market since 2007, I count myself very lucky indeed NOT to have experienced this until now.  After all, I'm part of that dying breed of "middle manager, " an endangered species, to be sure.

Onward and upward, I say.  Companies do what they must, and while it is certainly personal to the affected parties, it cannot be to the company itself, as its actions are driven by an entirely different set of priorities and needs than the individual.  In fact, when I was a college freshman in 1978 I took a freshman seminar that was titled "The Corporation, the State, and the Decline of the Individual."  Fascinating course taught by a man who was apparently something of a hippie, but who nonetheless was also an attorney.  The centerpiece of the course was "The Fountainhead," by the controversial author Ayn Rand.  That particular book deals quite a bit with the power of individuality over the power of the collective aspects of society.

I've thought about this a bit since I received the news on Friday, but I prefer to think that we're all connected somehow, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.  And I've also come to understand that  today's adversary is tomorrow's potential ally.  So you have to be mindful of the interconnectivity of such things in your dealings with people.  I'm pretty easy to get along with overall, and most of the people for whom and with whom I've worked would agree with that statement.

I'm fortunate to have a good many contacts in my chosen industry, and most have probably either been through the same thing or know someone else who has.  And they're pretty quick to help.  Thanks to a number of these contacts I've been directed to potential opportunities.  None of them are sure bets, of course, but they represent a place to start.

So, when you think of me for the next few days and weeks, think good thoughts.  Or, as a fellow blogger often says in his posts, "expect good news."  I do!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Sea level

Friends, I'm back with my wife (and a granddaughter!) from the wilds of the Front Range of Colorado!  Great to get away, but also very nice to be back at home.

Actually, we had an extremely nice vacation, although the time just flew by with various family activities and such.  Drove out on the last Thursday and Friday of May, and encountered some severe weather a couple of times (and my car has the hail damage to prove it, although it's not THAT noticeable).  Nothing like what the folks in Oklahoma and elsewhere have endured, mind you, but if you're driving, heavy rain and wind is no fun indeed.

Speaking of wind, the wind farms that have sprung up along Interstate 70 in central Kansas and northwestern Colorado continue to be a source of fascination.  I read online that the Kansas "farm" produces enough electricity to power something like 77,000 households annually.  No mean feat, but since the wind apparently always blows on the Great Plains, that's a good use of a natural resource.  One wonders why this hasn't been developed more thoroughly in the past.

One of the more notable activities my wife and I engaged in was to ride the light rail from the southeastern Denver suburbs, where our daughter and her family reside, into downtown Denver to explore the area and just have something a little different to do.  I had only experienced true "light rail" service once before, unless you count the subway in New York, but not in the Denver area.  And I was a frequent visitor to the Denver area when most of the southern spur was under construction, so believe me when I tell you that this was money and time and inconvenience well spent.  If I lived in that part of Denver (and almost did, but that's another story for another time) and planned to go to see a Rockies baseball game, or a Broncos football game, or had a job in the downtown area, I'd ride that train every chance I got.   Clean, fairly quiet, not very crowded during the middle of the day (which one would expect), and the total round trip price of our fares was much less than the fee to park in downtown Denver, not to mention the cost of the fuel needed to take us there.  Deal!

Had a great lunch at Wynkoop Brewery, which, incidentally, was founded by John Hickenlooper, who is currently the Governor of Colorado.  Good food and great beer (thanks again, Amy!) and a very comfortable atmosphere.  This place sits in the shadows of Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies (ironically, they were in Cincinnati, where I frequently attend games. while we were in Colorado), so if you're heading that way, I heartily recommend it.

I also recommend Duffy's Cherry Cricket, in the Cherry Creek area.  Hands down the best burger I've EVER had (that I didn't make myself, of course).  Great bar, but it's pretty kid-friendly during the day, as I've seen servers dote on our grandchildren more than once.

I think I've shown you enough vacation slides....back to reality!

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