Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Picture of the Day

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures from the weekend. And I am sure you are ready for me to get back into some of my old pictures. I have a pretty busy week ahead of me, so I probably won't have much time to go into any old stories. I have my P.E. class tonight, soccer tomorrow, a kickball meeting (drinking) Thursday, and Friday night I am headed down to Las Vegas for my cousin's wedding. As I mentioned last night, Lola is number 3 on my list of all time favorite dogs. Here is a picture of the dog that is number 1 on the list. The greatest dog to ever walk the face of the earth. This is Sampson, named after the gorilla of the same name who was so famous at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More Bypass Stuff

I am quite sure than no one reading my blog cares any more about the Oconomowoc Bypass, the project I worked on last year, and the problems that it is having. Nor do you care if I am responsible or not for these problems. However, this morning as I was leaving the hotel, I took my complementary copy of the USA today for the plane ride. As I was paging through Section A, I glanced at the "Across the USA" page where they have a brief write up on top news stories for all 50 states. Low and behold the Bypass was mentioned. How about that, I made the USA Today. Here is a link to the write up.

Skiing in Colorado

I got back from Colorado this afternoon which happened to be a day late. I have been replaying the events of the weekend, and it seems like with all that happened to me in a negative way that it shouldn't have been all that great of a weekend. But in actuality I did have a great weekend. It began Thursday when I checked in at the airport and the airline screwed me and charged me for an extra bag. You can only have 2 bags. I had 2 bags and my skis. Next time I will take one of my bags as a carry-on and check it at the gate. That extra bag ended up costing me another $50. A great start to the weekend. I was basically tagging along on a trip that Krum and Russ had put together. So on this ski trip, was Russ and his girlfriend Mana and their dog, Lola. Then we had Krum and his girlfriend, Michelle, Trooper and his girlfriend, Shelly, Goob and his wife, Jen. And we also ran across Russ' roommate, Terry. Russ picked me up from the airport, then the two of us along with Mana and Lola drove up to the condo in Frisco. However, Lola had a bad case of gas. And I think that bad is an understatement. The windows got rolled down on more than one occasion. Friday morning, I woke up not feeling so hot. I am fairly certain that I once again came down with a touch of altitude sickness. We skied at Copper Mountain on Friday. On the last run before we were to meet everyone for lunch I really started to feel sick. I was following Russ and Trooper down the hill and I started to get the mad puking saliva flowing in my mouth. I got a bit lightheaded and had to stop. Once I stopped I began throwing up. But I am a gamer and managed to finish out the rest of the day of skiing. Saturday was another day and with it came another adventure for me. We skied at A Basin. I had been skiing with Terry, and we were trying to meet up with Russ. In an effort to get on the same run that Russ was on, Terry and I cut under one of the ropes that divides the runs. A ski instructor witnessed this and took our lift tickets. This was pretty much all my fault. Terry and I went down to the ski patrol to discuss this incident with the Ski Patrol Supervisor, and when I say Terry and I, I actually mean Terry since I let him do all of the taking. This is where we had the quote of the weekend.
Terry "We aren't here to cause and problems or be trouble makers."
Ski Patrol Guy "This guy is wearing a gorilla suit and you expect me to think that you aren't trouble makers?"
In the end, we did get our lift tickets back. Sunday we were back and skiing at A Basin. Everything seemed to be going rather well for me until the 3rd or 4th run. I was going down a rather steep run, but nothing that I can't handle when I caught a bit of an edge and went down hard. In the process I dislocated my shoulder yet again. Thankfully about 30 yards later as I continued to tumble down the hill, I hit my shoulder just right again and it popped back into place. The rest of that day of skiing was without any more major incidents. Although Trooper did fall off the chair lift while on the same chair as me. And no I didn't push him off. We headed back into Denver after a good half of a day of skiing, grabbed something to eat and then went to the airport. I got all of my bags checked and was waiting at my gate and I went up to desk and they told me that I had been bumped from the flight. Well this really sucked. Two other guys on the flight also got bumped. It was almost comical. There was nothing the three of us could do, we didn't have boarding passes and we watched everyone get on the plane and then the plane leave. I was willing to accept my fate, get my free night in a hotel, and my free round trip future flight. But these other two clowns were going nuts. They wanted to get the plane back to the gate, and when that didn't happen they wanted to be reimburse for all of their lost wages for the next business day. Then they called in the United Airlines Supervisor who went over the procedure for reimbursing people who get bumped from flights at least 5 times. The airline said that we could get our luggage but it would take at least 2 hours. I told them to keep it and that I would be back in the morning and I was going to smell bad. This would be a good time to mention that I decided not to change out of my ski clothes after skiing. Check that, I took the gorilla suit off, but that was it. So this morning when I finally got on a flight I was pretty ripe, even with a shower at the hotel. I got into Milwaukee around 2:30 and went straight to my office and worked until 5 still in my ski clothes. So to summarize my weekend, I got screwed by the airline twice, got altitude sickness, had my lift ticket taken away, and dislocated my shoulder. Nonetheless it was still a great weekend. So check out these pictures from the weekend.

Russ at Copper Mountain with Trooper in the background.

Russ dropping in at Copper Mountain.

Goob bringing in the mini van to the condo.

Krum giving Michelle a $100 bill to buy a Diet Coke.

Group picture at A Basin. Left to right: Krum, Me, Terry, Mana, Russ, Trooper and Shelly.

Russ and Mana at A Basin.

Me with Mana, Michelle and Shelly.

On the ride home from A Basin Saturday night, Goob mentioned that he wanted to be sitting in the hot tub with the smell of brats cooking on the grill. While I normally just make dreams come true for the ladies, this time I decided to help a brother out and I made Goob's dream come true. When we got back I fired up the grill and served up brats to those in the hot tub. As you can see, Goob on the right has a brat in his hand. Before serving Michelle and Paul, I made them keep their hands out of the water for a couple minutes so that they wouldn't make the buns all soggy. And that is Jen in the lower right corner.

This is Lola. Russ and Mana's dog. She was the trip mascot. As I mentioned she had some unbelievably powerful gas. Despite the gas, I will list her number 3 on my list of all time favorite dogs behind Sampson and Jolie. (Two of the dogs that I grew up with.) And in the event that anyone in my family is reading this, yes, Lola is ahead of Patches. Patches was my dog that got hit by a car.

This is the view from the top of A Basin.

On the way to the airport we stopped for some food. After eating Krum decided that the parking lot was the best place to organize all of this stuff for his flight. It looked like he was putting on a rummage sale.

This is me in my hotel room this morning in my ski clothes. I didn't feel like changing after skiing. And then when I got bumped I didn't feel like waiting 2 hours for my bags. So this is all that I had to wear. Those were some ripe socks. I debated about just throwing them out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Picture of the Day

Well before I get to today's picture, I have a bit of an announcement for you all. Unfortunately I will be away this weekend. That's right, I am headed out to Colorado to get some skiing in. I have been looking forward to it for a while. I am headed out there to visit Russ. And Krum will also be out there at the same time. So I will not be able to make any postings until either late Sunday night, or and most likely Monday after work. I am sure you will all manage a couple days with out me and my boring pictures. Speaking of which here is today's boring picture. This picture was taken on December 19th 2004. It is obviously at the Continential Divide in Colorado. That is me on the left, Krum kneeling and Russ on the right. Me, Krum and Russ. And for those who aren't familiar with what the Continentail Divide is, click on the link. I didn't know what it was until I asked Krum. For those that clicked on the Krum link, that is a link to Krum's business. Krum if you are reading this, although I doubt you are, you owe me a drink for the free advertising, but then I guess it wouldn't be free advertising if you bought me a drink. Anyhow I will talk to you all after the weekend.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Working at the DOT

May 18, 2005

Yesterday I asked Nura to lay out the Erosion Control for Lang Road. From station 588+00 to around 608+00, that is 20 stations. I gave her the instructions to lay it out in a manner that when the contractor gets on site he will know where to put the silt fence. So look at the plan and determine what you need as far as staking it out. Essentially what this task required was pounding in about 20 - 25 stakes that had "Silt Fence" written on them, so that the contractor would know where to put the silt fence. I assumed that this task would only take an hour or two at the most. I had learned yesterday at 3:30 that she had left for the day and that that is all that she did all day. So she spent the entire day pounding in 20 - 25 stakes. If you do that math, and I will be generous here, lets day it was 24 stakes, working 8 hours, that is 3 stakes an hour. Knowing all of this, in the morning I went to talk to her about her production. To me it seemed pretty simple to stake. She told me that she didn’t understand what some of the flags were. And I had told her yesterday that if she had questions to call me. So I went out to the area and I explained to her that you need to use a little common sense and in the area where the clearing and grubbing has been done, you just have the contractor put the silt fence along the tree line. I said to her “So this is all you did yesterday?” She said, “Yes.” To which I replied, “I don’t understand how this took so long.” And she replied, “I don’t understand either.” I told her that her production rate is horrible. Currently she isn’t doing any Inspector Daily Reports which she should be. She has one contractor to watch, who has been on the job only two days. And she is some how behind in her work. She is killing me.

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken on August 30th, 2000, in Huntington Beach, California. This is me pretty much just hanging out at the beach. I was just driving around site seeing. As I recall there weren't too many sites to be seen. Although you can see an oil platform in the background over my left shoulder. This picture was taken with a timer that was sitting on the trunk of my car. I will try to get some more exciting pictures. Maybe back to some of the ones that show more skin.

Amusing Link

Check out this link. If you like seeing people get hit in the face you will like it.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Working at the DOT

Before I hear of any more crashes on my old project, I thought I would dive into the stories that relate to the building of my last project. I was given two fellow DOT employees as staff on the project. Allow me to introduce you to them. Above is, Nura, and on the right is Sue. I know, two real lookers. They were commonly known around the project by the contractors as "Dumb and Dumber" or the "Two Dingbats". It was always amazing going to work, because I never knew when I would come across a jem of a story relating to the stupidity of these to people.

May 13, 2005

On this Friday, Nura and I were going to stake East Lang Road for Clearing and Grubbing. The surveyors had been through the area and put flags in the ground where the center of the road was going to be. All we had to do was measure off of these flags the distance to the right of way and mark it so that the contractor could remove all of the trees. We had to stake Station 608+00 to 630+00. Each station is 100 feet. It was a cold and drizzily day. Their wasn’t any real staking to be done from station 614+00 to 620+00. So we were just walking through this corn field on our way to the next station to stake. After a minute of walking, I stopped to see where Nura was, and she was about 30 feet behind me. I said “Are you OK?” She said yes. So I waited for her to catch up, it wasn’t a minute later and we went through the same thing again. Maybe I have long legs and walk fast, but she couldn’t keep up. We finished all of the stations and we had to walk back to the jeep which was at station 608+00. I began walking back, basically back tracking right back over the steps I had taken to get to station 630+00 because that was the fastest way back to the jeep. I was thinking about what I had to do next, and I was actually a bit cold. So I wasn't really thinking about where Nura was. I figured she was behind me somewhere. After a couple of minutes I stopped to see where Nura was. She was in the middle of the marsh. And I am not talking on the edge or barely into the marsh, she was in the middle of this marsh. It had to be 300 feet in diameter. I just stopped and looked at her. I looked around because I didn’t know what to say, or how she got there. Please see drawing to get an idea of how bone headed she is or was to be in the middle of this marsh. Then she asked me if there was a path over where I was. Yes there is a path over here, it is the same one we walked in on, the same path that the farmer used to get to the back corn field. The same path that has tire tracks. I could almost understand walking into the marsh if it had been the most direct path back to the jeep. But it wasn't, I was taking the most direct path back to the jeep. She walked out of her way to walk straight in to the middle of the marsh. I nearly felt sorry for her, since with each step that she took I could hear that she was in at least 2 or 3 inches of water. And she wasn't wearing boot, nope these were regular dress shoes that you would wear into the office.

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken on July 8th, 1995 at Solider Field, Chicago, Illinois. This was in the parking lot at the Grateful Dead parking lot. I believe that this was my first Dead show. The night before, as I recall we didn't have any place to stay and ended up sleeping in a parking garage in downtown Chicago. Real safe. The morning of the concert we got to the parking lot early to get a good parking spot. Around noon we cabbed it up the beach and we all jumped in the lake. By we all, I mean, Krum, Russ, Brown, Nate and myself. I think there was another guy or two but I can't remember. Anyhow jumping in the lake was pretty much the only shower we got that weekend. A couple hours before the show, this guy showed up on a Harley, his buddies had been parked across the aisle from us. You can't see it in the picture but he had the Grateful Dead Skeletons on the bike, they were small but I remember them being on it. I evenutally asked the guy if I could get a picture on his bike. At first I just sat on it. But then he said, "If you are going to get your picture taken on it, you have to loosen up. Put your feet up on the handle bars."

Internet Outage

To my faithful and appreciated blog readers, I must apologize to you. My internet has been down at my home. Time Warner Cable was never in the running to make it on to my Christmas Card list, but this will surely seal the fact that they will never climb on to it. I am hoping to get things working this evening and get back to providing you with the entertaining material that you have all grown accustom to. Thank you for you patience.


Friday, February 17, 2006

This picture was taken on October 17th, 1999. On the top of Mount Hood, in Oregon. I was out there on business. But then I stopped by my buddy Browny. Portland is a good time.

More Trouble On The Bypass

I had recently heard that from a number of people of another crash on the last project that I managed. I decided to do a little research. This is the article I found. If you check out the article, it puts a face to the tragedy. I find this very depressing. Any of you who are regular readers and actually read all of my postings know how I feel about the situation on this roadway. If you have not, please check a previous posting that I made on February 8th, 2006. I think I make my feelings on situation rather well known. I also realize that I did not have the final decision on this project. And hind sight is always 20-20. It is very easy for me to say, "I told you so." after the fact. I have also talked to anumber of people about this, and explained the situation. They have reinforced that I have done nothing wrong. Regardless I am struggling with this and carrying a lot of guilt on this matter.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

5 Blades?

I think I might be a bit behind the times. I was watching the Olympics last night and I actually took notice of a razor commercial. I still have a 2 blade razor. Maybe I will upgrade when I use up all of my blades. The thing is, I really really hate shaving. That is probably why I only do it about once a week. Check out the Gillette web site. I was pretty amazed at how elaborate the web site is, plus the chick is pretty hot. So they are up to 5 blades now. Any wagers on when they come out with 6 blades. Nate says that one day they are going to invent this thing that you just stick your face into and it shaves your whole face for you. Actually I wouldn't mind that.

Picture of the Day

I don't have the time on this picture. But it was back when I lived with both Nate and Andy. This is me and Mrs. Julie Josephs. Although I think this was when she was only engaged to Andy, but she does have a ring on. Now she is knocked up with Andy's kid. This was taken on my front porch, I am guessing it was just before Nate, Michel, Julie and Andy were off to a fondue party or some crap like that. Crap that Nate and Andy were always complaining about. Nate and Andy would complain about whatever they had to do with the girls and then as they were leaving I would tell them that I was going to have a couple beers and watch whatever game was on TV that night. Ah the good old days.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Picture of the Day

I have noticed that I have been posting a number of pictures of me with my shirt off. So I thought I would do what I can to keep my female readers interested. I know this is some pretty hot stuff. This picture was taken on August 17th, 2002 on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Hey what is that over there?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Picture of the Day

This is one of the oldest pictures from my archives. Taken September 24th, 1993 in my parent's upstairs bathroom. That is me standing over my dad. He is passed out on the bathroom floor the night before my brother, Jon's, wedding. I am guessing that this had to be around bar time, so no more than 14 hours before the wedding ceremony. That is my brother Jeff's thumb in the picture, and Kris Darragh's head. I give my dad credit. He bounced back alright and was ready to go the next day. But you should have heard us all laugh when we came home from the bars and saw my dad laying on the floor.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken May, 16th 2001 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is Truz, Me, Doug, Eric and Jay at Phil's wedding.

Why do I eat corn?

I will try not to get too graphic in regards to this question. And no I didn't take any pictures. I need to do some research on this one. But it is a pretty good question. I can't speak for each of you and your digestive systems. However, if I eat corn, it seems I digest nearly none of what I eat. Why is that? Yet I do still enjoy eating it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Website problems

I am having problems with my blog site and I haven't been able to upload images. I will get two "Pictures of the Day" up tomorrow if possible. Sorry for any inconvience.

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken June 25th, 2000 at Cleveland Brown's Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio. During the performance of the "3 Tenors" in concert. Yes I have seen the "3 Tenors" I guess that makes me cultured. However as you can see, I am was wearing my "Make 7 Up Yours" T-shirt so don't get too excited about me being classy. I recall that this was an ungodly hot that day. The old people that had bought $1000 seats on the stadium field were fainting and passout out left in right. As hard as it may be to believe, I am not that big of a fan of the 3 Tenors. So I spent a good deal of the concert checking out the newly completed Browns Stadium, and looking for good locations for photo ops. I had one of the two EMTs that I had been talking to take this picture. And just after this picture was snapped their was a call over their walkie talkie "ANOTHER ONE JUST WENT DOWN!!! GET DOWN HERE FAST!!!" I walked by one of the tunnels that leads out to the seats and I saw old people laying everywhere covered with sweat and dehydrated. I know I didn't get a picture. Anyhow can any of you name all three tenors? I am sure you will be able to do a search on the internet and find it so I will save you the trouble. Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and the other guy, who is actually Jose Carreras.

Yet Another Apology

Last night I attended my sister-in-law's sister's daughter's birthday party, or for simplicity sake, my niece, Lauren's birthday party. And I feel bad about some comments that I made. Lauren's grandmother, Annie, got Lauren a figurine of Saint Lucia. I had never heard of Saint Lucia, and I made some inquiries about her. Annie told me a story of Saint Lucy performing a miracle of floating or flying (without the use of a plane mind you) out to the middle of the Atlantic to feed some Swedish sailors pasteries. Other than David Copperfield flying over the Grand Canyon, I have never seen anyone fly before. Plus even if you could fly out to the middle of the ocean with pasteries, by the time you got there, I would think that they pasteries would be all soggy and salty. So I have some serious doubts into this miracle. Anyhow after hearing this story, I was a bit over critical of the story and Saint Lucia. And I made some negative comments. For that I apologize to you Annie. I am sorry it was a thoughtful gift. I was wrong to be so critical. If you are interested more in Saint Lucia click on the links to read about them.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Picture Of The Day

Taken nearly 6 years ago on February 13, 2000 on the street in front of my house, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The day I shoveled in Preston's car. Later Nate, Andy and I launched rockets at Miller Park. You can see how much area I shoveled to pile in front of his car door. Preston, looking back on this I realize, how childish and immature it was to shovel in your car. While I am sorry for doing it, I do not regret it and I would probably do it again, if the opportunity presented itself.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Picture Of The Day

In honor of it snowing today I have chosen this picture. I am sick of winter and I am ready for the weather to start warming up. I would just like it to hit 50 for a day or two. This picture was taken July 15th, 2000 in Dousman, Wisconsin. The annual Booth Picnic, a family reunion on my mom's side of the family. And I am not even flexing.

The Bar Scene

Last night I stopped by Nate and in a spur of a moment decision we headed down to Shepards on North Avenue to play some Golden Tee. At one point I went up to the bar to get a couple drinks and there were two girls sitting at the bar. Here is the conversation that followed:
Bartender: "What can I get for you?"
Me: "Can I get a large Captain and Coke with a lime and a Vodka Gimlet, please."
Bartender:"Coming right up."
Girl #1:"Is your name Gabe?"
Me:"No, I am Rickie."
Girl #1:"Oh, you look like this guy, Gabe, who I know."
Me:"Well I am guessing that this Gabe guy is one good looking guy."
Both girls laugh.
Girl #1:"I used to date a guy named Rickie when I was in high school."
Me:"Maybe it was me. What high school did you go to?"
Girl #1:"I went to high school in Illinois. Where did you go to high school?"
Me:"I went to Kettle Moraine."
Girl #2:"I went to Hartland Arrowhead."
Me:"I have a lot of friends from Arrowhead. What year did you graduate?"
Girl #2:"1997"
My intermonologue goes something like this "1997! Wow, am I getting old."
Me:"You don't by chance know any of the Klinks, do you?"
Girl #2:"Nope."
At this point I figured I was a little too old for these girls and headed back to Nate.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Picture Of The Day

Well this is easily the earliest post I have had. I have been on my computer all night. I was putting together a DVD for Jay earlier. You will find further down that I also did some real posting of articles other than just pictures. Please make sure you read the DOT story. And I have been looking for fares to Las Vegas for my cousin's wedding the first weekend of March. I cashed in some Frequent Flyer Miles and I got a ticket for $180. Nice, real nice. I leave late on a Friday (9:30 p.m.) and return real early on Monday (5:14 a.m.) I am pretty pumped about this trip. Plus I just got my taxes done. I am getting back a nice chunk of change. It is all going on black. Then I will double that up again with it all on box cars at the craps table. And since I will be a on a roll, I will spend the rest of that first night, spliting 3s and 8s and doubling down on 11s. And as I have mentioned in an email to my fellow Vegas travelers, I am going to be leaving that town with a couple large of Steve Wynn's money and Paris Hilton's cell phone. In case any of you are wondering, no I will not be putting any money on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Once bitten, twice shy. So speaking of weddings, here is one from my good friend, Jay's, wedding. I stood up in the wedding and was co-best man with Justus, be we all know I am a betterman than Justus. Just kidding Melon. This picture was taken March 22nd, 2003 in Madison, Wisconsin. Jay and Shelly got married at the church right on campus, and the reception was at the Memorial Union across the street right by the lake. I stood up with Traci Miller and here we are walking down the aisle at the end of the service. You can tell how happy she is to be walking next to me. By the way after the service and before the pictures, all of the guys who stood up in the wedding where in the priest/minister's office/library playing sheepshead. Gambling in church, always a good idea.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Big Reason For The New Job

If you are a normal reader of mine or you vaguely know me, you know that I am rarely on the serious side. Most of you probably think that I care more about drinking, going to concerts and video games than my job, ethics or morals. Well here is a little something that might change your opinion.

On December 1st, 2005 at 9:15 a.m. at an intersection on the highway project that I was Lead Engineer of this past year, there was a traffic crash, which involved 2 vehicles and initially 1 injury. However, on December 6th, 2005 that injured person died.

I use the term crash, because in the transportation engineering world there is no such thing as accidents. Accidents cannot be prevented, crashes can. This crash could have been prevented.

On August 22, 2005 nearly two months before the project was opened, I emailed my Project Manager and Team Supervisor urging them to reconsider the opening of the project under the current circumstances. The following is that email:

“I was driving through the bypass this morning and with the shoulders nearly completed on the mainline, I noticed how easy it is to go fast on the mainline. I also noticed how big the intersections are. It is my opinion that we should seriously look into seeing if we can get signals installed before the project opens to the public, or postponing the opening of the road until signals are installed. I have had conversations with a number of the contractors about what is going to happen once the road opens. We half kiddingly suggest that it will take at least one or two little white crosses for signals to be installed. I don't think we should wait that long. After all I always thought our job was to protect the interests of the residents of Wisconsin.

In looking at our mission statement I would like to take a couple phrases that we should think about and review before we proceed to open this road without signals.

"Provide a safe and efficient transportation system."

"Being individually and collectively responsible for the impact of our actions on the people we serve."

"The courage to do the right thing."

I know that on the Fond du Lac Bypass, someone was killed within months of the opening of the project and soon after signals were erected at this dangerous intersection. And mind you it wasn't dangerous for the way it was built or designed, but because drivers were used to a stopping situation that was removed when the project was opened.

I know that signals will eventually be installed at the intersections on this project. I think it should be done before the road is opened and someone gets killed.”

Soon after my Team Supervisor read my email, he and my Project Manger and myself had a conference call in which I was reprimanded for opinions and I was informed that this road will be opened. I don’t know that my email was distributed any further. But I am reasonably certain that my concerns were discussed with those further up on the organizational chart including my supervisors immediate supervisor the Project Group Staff Manager, and most likely up to the Director of the Southeast Region. The next step would have been to go to the Secretary of Transportation of the State of Wisconsin.

I guess my own personal guilt on this incident is in the court of public opinion. Did I do all I could to prevent a death? Should I realize that injuries and fatalities are unfortunately a side effect of my career? Would I feel less guilt if I worked for a weapons manufacturer? Sure on the record I toed the company line. During interviews I would state that with our current data, and with estimated traffic patterns, traffic signals were not warranted at these intersections. I would also state that this roadway was constructed to meet all state highway standards.

While constructing this project I can recall standing at the intersections and looking at them, and thinking how big these intersections are. It is approximately 150 feet to get across two right turn lanes, two left turn lanes, and four lanes of thru traffic. That makes 8 lanes of traffic a motorist has to navigate, with some of that traffic traveling at up to a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour, to get to the other side of the intersection. How often are people going at or under the posted speed limit? More realistically, speeds are reaching up to 55 miles per hour. That just seems like quite the gauntlet to run with a vehicle starting from a dead stop.

I feel that this is a safe roadway, unfortunately in designing any roadway, you cannot predict the human element. Is there any guilt that should go to the two operators of the vehicles? I have reviewed the accident report. This was a broadside crash between an 82-year-old man and a 62-year-old man. The cause for the crash was termed “Failure to yield the right of way”. I have learned that the 82 year old who later died, assumed that the intersection was a four way stop as it was during construction.

"Failure to yeild the right of way." That sounds like a violation that a set of signals would have detered.

Could I have stopped this crash from happening? Am I partially responsible for another person’s death? I believe that I am a contributing factor. Knowing a good deal of the factors in this incident, I know that if traffic signals had been installed before this road was open, as I had stressed to my superiors, this man would still be alive. Did I do all that I could?

I had told myself after the email to my supervisors and especially after the conference call with them, that if someone did die on my project due to a situation where signals could have prevented the death that I would step up my search for a new job. And that is a major reason for my employment change. I would also like you to read the second and final draft of my resignation letter to the state. I was asked to rewrite the original.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my resignation from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Under the rules of civil service I am required to submit this letter 14 calendar days prior to my last day of work. With today being Friday the 20th of January, that would make Friday February 3rd 2006 my last day with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. There are a number of reasons for my decision to leave my current position. I recently was offered a position with another company. I also have been increasingly displeased with the ability of my union to negotiate a raise. However, the chief reason for my decision to leave results from a situation with my last project. A situation arose in which a decision was made by my superiors based researched data and investigation along with knowledge of the risks involved with road building. I did not agree with this decision. I did not have factual basis for my disagreement, but my disagreement stemmed from my own engineering judgment, experience and values. I have enjoyed my stay with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, I have met a number of great people and the Department has offered me the opportunity to gain immeasurable experience and further my engineering knowledge.


Rickie Davies
Project Engineer

Those Aren't Pillows

I am actually a bit more of a Bob Vila than a Martha Stewart, although if you look at the number of times, I have shocked myself, plumbed things wrong or the number of home owners insurance claims that I have made in the past you may disagree. Irregardless, I actually have a Martha Stewart like question for the general population that reads my blog. I know that most of the people who click to my page are either afraid to post a comment or don't know how, or just don't want to. And that is OK because we live in the United States of America where we are free to make the choices that we want. But please help with this question. Anyhow the question is: How long are you suppose to keep a pillow for? I just threw mine out and bought some new ones. But the only ones I had for 7 years. I have a feeling that is a little too long to keep a pillow. I am also guessing most of you will also say that is pretty gross as well, and that makes sense since those pillows weren't exactly white when I threw them out. Let me know what the standard etiquette is. Thanks.

Picture of the Day

Yes, believe it or not, but that is me. This was taken on August 15th, 2002 in Puerta Varata, Mexico. I went on a cruise through the Mexican Riveria. My friend and high school prom date, Joy Gibbs got married on the cruise. Our first stop was Puerta Vallarta. And even though the people on the ship told us not to do anything crazy while on shore, specifically bungie jumping. When we drove by this place, I could not resist.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Picture of the Day

I wish I had some more interesting stuff to post here. But I really don't. In my week off between jobs, I haven't had much going on. I have told myself to buckle down and start studying, but I have been extremely efficient at procrastinating. Yesterday I managed to do everything but study. In fact, I actually cleaned my oven. First time in at least four year. Although I think I am the only person who cleans their oven with a shop vac. I always say how much I miss college, but I really don't miss the studying. Anyhow enough of my ramblings. This picture was taken February 25th 2002 in Doctor Stone's office at St Francis Hospital. This is about 2 weeks after my ACL replacement surgery. This was a great day for me because they took my staples out. And those staples were driving me crazy because as you may or not know, I am a really bad scab picker. And their were scabs around every staple. My dad drove me to the hospital and took this picture.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken on October 15th, 1999 in Coos Bay, Oregon. Sunset on the Pacific Ocean with me in the middle of it.

Dead Meat

My uncle has been lobbying to make it on to the blog. And I appreciate his faithful readership. Saturday night I stopped by to watch the bowling team, Dead Meat. Which is comprised of my sister, Deb, my brother-in-law, Tim, and my Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Dave. So here are some action photos, if that is possible in bowling.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Picture of the Day

In honor of the Super Bowl. I think I can say that without getting in trouble. I have chosen this picture. Taken on June 24, 2000 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio. Me with the bust of Vince Lombardi. Go Steelers, I still strongly dislike Holmgren for bailing on the Packers.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Picture of the Day

In honor of my skiing outing last night I thought I would post this picture. Taken January 16th, 2004 on the back side of Copper Mountain in Colorado. As you can see Tree is having a great time. Russ is taking the picture, and Krum has already gone down the hill. This is just before they put me in a sled and took me down the hill. I would like to point out that in this picture my shoulder is out of the socket which is very painful. I would also like to point out that, even in all of this pain, I am able to muster up a smile for the camera. In a word, Professionalism.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Picture of the Day

Tonight I am going skiing, with my Godwife's daughter, or another way of putting it would be my sister-in-law's sister's daughter, or for simplicity sake with my niece, Lauren. She is in the school's ski club. So I will be out at Alpine Valley tonight, so show up even though I know none of you will. If I remember to take my camera, I will try to get some photos to post. Anyhow here is the picture for the day. This was taken Decemeber 24, 2003 at my brother, Jon's house in Waukesha. From left to right, bottom to top. Lauren, Ethan, Me, Derek, Nick and Jake.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken September 29, 1997 in my parent's garage. That is me and my brother, Jon, along with the family dog, Dexter and Steve Nevermann's deer. In this picture, as a means of mocking Steve, we are comparing the size of Steve's deer to a dog. It is actually hard to tell them apart. But believe it or not I am holding Steve's deer. This was taken back when I worked for Merge Technologies. Steve and I worked there together. I had this picture on the outside of my cubicle wall for at least a year. On another topic, yesterday was my last day of work at the DOT. So I have then nexk week and a half off before I start my new job. When I was in college, in one of the first classes I attended, they said that the average person changes jobs 8 times in a lifetime. Well I am about to embark on job number 3.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Picture of the Day

This picture was taken Octber 12th, 2003 at Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin. It was a big game between Ohio State, then I believe they were one of the highest ranked teams in the country at the time, if not number 1. Joe, Rob and I tried to scalp tickets but none were to be had. We ended up sneaking in through the field house. It was pouring rain. The only seats we could find since we didn't have any tickets were in the front row. We couldn't see any of the game because the visitors bench was in the way. We were cold, wet, and couldn't see the game and ended up leaving at halftime. We drove back to Milwaukee and as we walked in my front door we turned on the TV just in time to see them interviewing Barry Alverez on the field as the entire crowd is rushing the field behind him. If we would have stayed we would have been out on the field. In retrospect one of the bigger mistakes I have made in my lifetime. That and the time I had an opportunity to give Justus a swirly and didn't. I had his head inside the cylinder of the bowl. Anyhow this is a picture I got with the Ohio State Defence.

P.E. Exam

My Professional Engineering Exam is April 20th. It is an 8 hour exam that is pass or fail. I need to score a 70 to pass. Last night I had the first of my 11 refresher courses before the exam. They handed out the review material. I really should have brought along a back pack to carry it all home. What a joke. The examination is actually an open book exam. And any and all formulas that I will need to solve every problem will be contained in the review material that was handed out last night. The only problem is knowing where the proper formulas are and how to use them. This is what was handed out last night. I need know be familiar with everything in these books.