July 25, 2002
Tour update - Stage 17
I don't get Outdoor Life Network at home, but I do at the beach. I've been following the Tour live every day, and it reminds me how much I like televised sporting events that happen in the morning.
About 15 years ago, I was in San Francisco during one of the rare years when the Falcons made the playoffs against the Redskins in Washington. In California, the game started at 10 a.m., and was over by around 2, leaving a big, useful chunk of the day to wander the City.
I also liked the recent World Cup matches that happened early in the morning. I guess it's asking too much of the participants to start playing at 9 or 10 a.m. in their regular time zone, but it's nice when it happens.
July 24, 2002
The doctor is out....
I'm on vacation ... somewhere very sunny and sandy. I've just set up dial-up access (through an Airport Base Station, so I can surf from under a hut with a cool drink in my hand), so I'll be posting again shortly.
Probably about vacation-y things....
July 19, 2002
How do I become a Wizard Without Portfolio?
Here's an interesting interview about the thinking behind Apple's Rendezvous technology.
Spotted on Slashdot.
Tour de France Stage 12 update
You may already have a job...
So I posted my resume on Monster last week. I had two responses immediately: One was from a "consulting" company, clearly a recruiter looking to enlarge his resume pile.
The other was a little stranger.
It started out innocuously enough:
My name is (redacted) a Regional Vice President with (large financial services company), a member of (gigantic multinational), Marietta, Atlanta.
Your resume was very interesting and I would like to personally extend and invitation to attend our company overview which is the first step to our interview process. We are offering a Career Opty.
The overview is designed to answer any questions you might have and give you a chance to acquire more information about our company and what we have to offer.
For more information go to our website @ www.(gigantic multinational).com and follow the link to (large financial services company) or you could just email me at (redacted)@mindspring.com
The date, time and directions to the overview will follow you response.
Thank You and I Look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
I replied that I was available to attend an overview, but something already seemed strange. Why was the e-mail from a Mindspring address? There were 4 weekly sessions to choose from, and when I scouted out the location, it was in a nondescript building in an aging office park. When my wife had interviewed with the large financial services company, it had been on a corporate campus on the other side of town.
My greatest fear was that I would be pitched to sell Amway.
I arrived a little early and went in. The only seats available were in the corner diagonally opposite the door, where it would be hardest to escape. The "overview" was in a room smaller than an average classroom, with a boom box, two external speakers, and a 27" TV. Everyone was provided with the same brochure about the company -- all 90s buzzwords and growth, growth, growth.
The presentation was all about money, sometimes in the guise of "making your dreams come true." Our presenter, a pleasant and evangelical black woman, asked the 30 or so people jammed in the room and overflowing into the anteroom who had a dream. One person said they wanted to work for Pixar. "Pixar?" she asked. "What's that?" When he explained that it was an animation studio she said, "How would you like to own Pixar?" Hmmmmm.
We finally started to get glimpses of what this woman actually did when she wasn't giving overviews: She "helps people achieve their dreams" by "letting their money work for them." Okay.
Finally, about 60 minutes in, she introduced the person who had sent me the e-mail, the Regional Vice President. She explained that she had worked in restaurants for 18 years, 13 of those for McDonald's, but had been given the opportunity to work with large financial services company in 1996, and had made the most of it. She told us what she had made the last 5 years (close to $100,000 last year) and that she already had pulled down $68,000 through June. "Are any of you with the IRS?"
It turns out that large financial services company has adopted the McDonald's method. They need the financial services equivalent of fry cooks to work their formula (they call it a "financial needs analysis") and sell insurance policies, mortgages, and securities, all under the umbrella (oops) of their parent company.
Regional Vice President runs an office for large financial services company, one of about 75 in Atlanta, and has employees at 4 or 5 levels, each earning a slightly higher percentage of instruments they write or (better) making a percentage on instruments written by their subordinates.
I wasn't that amazed that financial services have been de-skilled (I read The Electronic Sweatshop), but I was somewhat amazed that franchisees were allowed (possibly encouraged) to literally bring people off the street (and the presentation suggested we could be working in a matter of days) to sell policies.
An early breakaway by Laurent Jalabert (who did the same yesterday) has the soon-to-retire, but never retiring, French rider in the King of the Mountains jersey. In a repeat of yesterday's scenario, Jalabert's breakaway couldn't hold once the locomotives of Armstrong's US Postal team (aided at the foot of the last climb by the ONCE team of Joseba Beloki, currently 2nd overall) started to drive the train.
It appeared Armstrong wanted to give his teammate Roberto Heras a stage win on the final climb, when Armstrong broke away from the few riders (including Heras) still on his wheel. Heras marked Beloki, and a few minutes later, tried to break away and rejoin Armstrong for a US Postal 1-2 finish. Beloki chased Heras, and was gaining time on Armstrong, riding less than all out, before USPS team director Johan Bruyneel called off Heras' bridging move, opting instead for Heras to shadow Beloki to the end of the stage, then nip him at the line for a 2nd on the day.
Lance Armstrong 46:47:47
Joseba Beloki at 2:28
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano at 3:19
Raimondas Rumsas at 5:15
Santiago Botero at 5:44
Marcos Serrano at 7:14
Roberto Heras at 8:01
Jose Azevedo at 8:24
Oscar Sevilla at 9:05
Francisco Mancebo at 9:10
For more, visit the Tour archive.
Battle for the green jersey
Erik Zabel reclaimed the green sprint jersey yesterday by leading Robbie McEwen through an intermediate sprint. At the beginning of today's stage, Zabel led by 3 points in the competition.
Today, McEwen outsprinted Zabel at the only intermediate sprint that mattered (the members of a breakaway earned the points at the other), but by only 1 position, earning 6 points to Zabel's 4, so Zabel will hold on to the jersey for at least 1 more day.
Some diaries of Tour riders
Somebody has to be last
Another interesting tradition of the tour: Even the last-place rider gets some attention. Like the caboose at the back of a long train, this rider (at the end of Wednesday's stage, it was Christophe Oriol, interviewed above) is known as the lanterne rouge.
One can become the lanterne rouge by spending too much time in the groupetto, literally the "laughing group", the group of riders who are working together just to finish within the time limit for the day's stage, and getting to ride another day.
Brazil's Luciano Pagliarini is now the 177th and last rider, 7+ minutes behind No. 176. Oriol has moved up to 171st, 1:01:03 (yes, a little more than an hour) behind Lance Armstrong.
A Tour de France primer
Everything you always wanted to know about the world's greatest sporting event but were afraid to ask.