Road/Attitude Repair

Road Rash Maker

Just another dip in the road

Hello, City of Cupertino. There’s a dip in the road you really need to fix at 10554 Santa Lucia Road. I know it’s there because I crashed my bicycle after hitting it .

In years past, it would have never been there. With today’s budget crisis, there are potholes everywhere.

This particular dip gave me a lot of road rash, black and blue marks, and a really sore shoulder. It also made me to go buy a new helmet, since the old one cracked when I hit this baby and slid (and slid and slid.)

I was limping around, feeling sorry for myself, while slowly walking my dog near my house. That’s when I got the wake-up call. My neighbor who is recovering from cancer came past, walking with his wife, and keeping a faster pace than I was.

That’s when I realized, I don’t have it so bad. Miners in Brazil who don’t get out of a collapsed mine until Christmas… They got it bad. Me? I’ll be back on my bike as soon as it gets out of the shop.

About Time

Just relax. There's time.

Relax. There's time.

   At some point, I crossed an imaginary line. Time, in my lifetime, became finite. Suddenly, I didn’t want to talk to uninteresting people, read uninteresting books, or take boring vacations.

   It was as if I had x amount of time left, and y number of things to do in that time. I didn’t want eat crummy food, drink bad coffee, or write uninteresting blogs—though I probably will.

   I became obsessed with maximizing my remaining time. Even while doing something “worthy,” I was anxious about not getting to the next worthy thing. In short, I wasn’t enjoying life.

   Then I remembered a lesson I learned while traveling. If you visit  an interesting place, like London for example, there are so many must dos and must sees—the Crown Jewels, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, ad infinitum. No one has enough time in one trip.

   So, I told myself, “Do what you can do comfortably (comfortably being the key word) and do the rest the next time.” If I never returned to London, it still made the current visit more enjoyable.

   I think it’s the same with life. I’ll do what can do comfortably, and then do the rest in my next life. If there is no next life, I’ll never know. And if there is… well, perfect.

  It allows me to enjoy the moment. This moment. And that’s all any of us really have.

Three Ways to Know You Hate Your Job

Is it just me, or is this normal?

There may not be a litmus test for how much you dislike your job. However, I’ve done some intensive research at past jobs. (BTW, this research is on-going.) The signs include:

You would rather be at the dentist. Any time that sitting in the dentist’s chair is preferably to sitting at your desk at work, you have a problem.

You never whistle at work. I heard someone walking down the hall, whistling and realized, I never whistle at work. This may not be a valid test if you can’t whistle. You could substitute singing.

You volunteer to be laid-off. The order is out at your company—after all, it is Silicon Valley. They want to reduce your department by 10%, and you are waving your hand like a kid in first grade who needs to go to the bathroom.

Now that you know the warning signs, you can’t do a thing about it. It’s a recession, for heaven’s sake. There are no jobs out there for you. Just the lousy one you have already.

You can either reassess your situation or you can take some tips from the characters in my latest novel, OLD HU$BAND$’S TALE$. HINT: Play the lottery or plan a bank heist. Empower yourself!

Too Much Money

 “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

– President Obama to Wall St.,  4/29/2010

     It’s a real danger in Silicon Valley. I’ve seen it happen to my neighbors—but not me. <sigh> Now the President is warning us of this rare, but terrible, plight. Just so you don’t fall into the “Oh, no, I have more money than I need” dilemma, I’ve gathered some helpful hints.

Don’t let it happen to you. Check for the following signs, most courtesy of Jeanne Sahadi of

Signs you have too much money:

  1. Bling H2O bottled water-$38/bottle for the limited edition bottle decked out in Swarovski crystals bottled in Tennesee.
  2. Silver sleeve for your Haagen Dazs– $1,057 from jewelry and silverware designer Theo Fennell. It slips over a pint of your favorite flavor. The sterling silver tub is engraved with the words “Haagen Dazs.”
  3. BMW 3-series wagon – A man in California reportedly purchased one for the sole purpose of having his housekeeper take his dogs to the vet.
  4. Girl’s bed – $47,000/Designed like a coach available at Posh Tots.
  5. A Gucci chainsaw – Gotta have it.

Finest Author’s Moment

Train in the Salinas Valley

Hold That Train

     In my former life, I was a journalist. Once, I had decided to write a news article on train travel, and Amtrak had comped me three tickets to do it.

     The travel required that I ride the Coast Starlighter from Salinas to San Luis Obispo, wait 20 minutes, and catch the train back. My daughter, 4, and my mother-in-law accompanied me.

     It was a great experience, but we were delayed on the first leg, which meant we would miss the connection home. To my surprise, when we reached San Luis Obispo, they had held the train that would take us back to Salinas.  Apparently, Amtrak didn’t want a “fun train travel” article to turn into a “when you miss your train home” article.

     The best part of having a train held for you is walking the length of the train with everyone staring  at you. For a moment, we weren’t just Grandma, mom, and little girl, we were famous people.

Virtual Cyclist

Black and white image of cyclist

Feeling Blurry

     It’s not easy living the virtual life. It’s now Spring in Silicon Valley and the sun is beckoning. But that puts such a glare on my laptop screen, I am inside.

     There’s blogs to write, Facebook posts to answer, and I must follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter. Somehow, he finds a way to live a virtual and real life, but then, as a cyclist, his balance is better than most folks’.

     So, I need to install some app on my computer that allows me to virtually ride my bike and tweet, update my website and burn calories.

     Until there is, I am anchored to the sad fact that one must go outside to ride a bike. Maybe that’s a good thing. Though I think falling down in an application and virtual road rash would be easier to take than the real thing.

     Don’t honk if you see me out there. It always scares me.

Fearless Flying Furrini Family

Squirrel Crossing Sign

Beware of Clumsy Squirrels

     The squirrels of Silicon Valley are like no others. They love to cross the road on telephone wires. I have always wondered if one day, one wouldn’t slip and land spread eagle on my windshield. I guess that’s why you have windshield wipers.

    Back when I was a newbie commuter here, I remember the first time I saw the true expertise of Silicon Valley drivers. A squirrel was running in circles at the intersection of El Monte and El Camino. Why he lost it at that time (the morning commute) and the intersection (one of the busiest in Mountain View) is a mystery. Maybe he was drunk and slip off a telephone wire. To my surprise, my up-until-now heartless fellow commuters were doing a great job of not hitting the squirrel.

     It inspired me enough to add it to my book, “OLD HUSBANDS’ TALES” where a group of eclectic, high tech coworkers, who will bet on anything, lay money on the odds of a squirrel surviving in the intersection of De Anza & Stevens Creek.

4 Ways to Survive Bill Belew’s Blogging Workshop

Who can learn with these classmates?

To serve my bloggership better,
I gave five minutes of my copious spare time
I found it was harder to survive the workshop than to blog. Maybe that was just me.
Here’s few tips you could use in your next workshop. . . ANY WORKSHOP!
  • Realize that your fellow workshoppers are idiots – This will lessen your stress level considerably.
  • Bring your own coffee – If you don’t bring your own,  you won’t get any. You’re too busy misunderstanding what’s going on and suffering the stress of incompetent classmates to get up and get a cup
  • Take a friend – This helps you do reality checks . Is it me that doesn’t get this, or is it everyone else? (For me, unfortunately, it was me.)
  • Prepare to do the real blog later – You will notice when you write the test  blog that you are only competent to write a blog about how NOT to write a blog.

This workshop could change your life.  For better or for worse? That’s up to you.

Queen of the Lottery

     For all the time I’ve spent collecting lottery from my coworkers, you would think I would be a heck of a lot richer than I am. At least we are doing our part for California schools.

     However, all this “loan me a dollar” and “let’s-play-these numbers” inspired me to write “OLD HUSBAND’S TALES,” a novel about a group of eclectic, high tech coworkers who hit the big one with their office lottery pool and end up with a reality TV show.

     This was all wishful thinking. Every time my real-life coworkers and I had an impossible deadline or their were lay-offs, we all looked to the lottery as an oasis. Like the memory of a vacation, or the dream of one to come, it took us from our despicable reality to our new “happy place.”

     Next time life isn’t working for you, go buy a lottery ticket. It will work wonders-at least for little while.