1.31.2004

it can take great patience to be a parent
your child will not always want to be a part of the activity that you plan
for example
last night at a wonderful Chinese New Year party, complete with a Lion Dragon Dance, we made more than tentative plans to join another couple and thier daughter Zoe for an afternoon of ice skating
Dean was in a mood
His mood put Lisa in a mood
and well, you can guess that these variables may have acted to put me in a mood as well
I lack certain patience with things
crowds.
I hate crowds. It is not the crowd per se, but rather the idiocy that those within the crowd are guided by
the in efficiency of the mob
well, on a winter weekend afternoon you can imagine that Open Skate will be a madhouse
but if you want to skate you have little choice
ah, the BLOG interface on the Mac is hosted best by NETSCAPE
in IE there were certain lacking features; spell check, link, BOLD, and ITALIC

1.29.2004

memories of nepal
several years ago, while lisa and I were just boyfriend and girlfriend, not the owners of two dogs, not the parents of a little boy named Dean; these were freer times as youth can often be. we were off in asia on a bit of a "walk about." we jumped from one country to the next like frogs leaping from lily pad to lily pad. in our haphazardly planned travels we found ourselves in Nepal for nearly a month. Just over three weeks of that time was spent trekking the Annapurna circuit. In the 18 days of trekking we were to covering all sorts of altitude, often encountering a different season and a different climate on each day. Along with the different climate came different environmental niches and often slightly different cultures. Some points of the trek offered little towns or villages, while other nights were spent in teahouse built to house the passing travelers, each house packed tightly in an agrarian world. There were long stretches of wide open mountains, always glaciers and hymalayan peaks surrounding us, and an occassional waterfall dropping into the icey cold blue glacial fed river in the gulley bellow. The wildlife was astounding, long tailed monkeys in a quasi-tropical area one day, then long haired yaks maneuvering the steep rocky mountain walls on the next. The route of the trek was not for the sole use of trekking, this was also the route of villagers heading to town to buy or sell vegtables, there were long trains of mules, donkeys, and massive SUV sized water buffalo. At times it was a tight path, I set a rule to myself, always be on the hillside of any passing animal train, To stand cliffside could send a person falling to a very painful death. (enough of the macabe) The trek was a joy. We were out in the world, much of the trip was more of a trekking experience than a Nepali experience, but I tried to get a taste of Nepal. In my own way I tried to politely encounter Nepali culture, in each of the various towns. if we arrived early enough I would stroll through the town and survey the area. Stand aside and take in the sights and sounds of the village, often chancing on a gathering of men or boys playing games. Whether it were game or sport after a short time I was invited into the action. In the backyard of a police station the standerbys got great pleasure as a young boy beat the tall bearded american in ping pong, or the older gentlemen drinking tea and playing Karem, which was often a more delicate situation. Karem was new to me, it was clear that I played more like a child than a man. It was fun to try and make combinations, and to evoke laughter, I cheered myself on in Nepali phrases that I now forget and congratulations my opponents on especially good shots with words I now can not remember. There were soccer games in one village and volleyball in the next, volleyball was a real treat, each of the stronger hitters slammed the ball as hard as they could alternating between Kumer and myself as we waited in the service recieve position, I was in the moment. There were no winners and there were no losers, no score was kept, just good play and good fun. The day of trekking and the hiking boots on my feet did not slow me down a bit. The trek was long and hard. I had carried my own pack and carried too much stuff. Many of the nights were spent playing chess with austrailians or drinking with the fins, sleep came, but was often short and cold. many mornings were early and many days were long. there was time to smell the roses and the yak, but there was some serious trekking to do. our pace and our timing were such that I had recommended that lisa's hire porter, Ravi (a story in itself), Ravi was the cook in a restaurant in a village that was our starting point, just miles from where the school bus had dropped us off. Ravi had never hiked the circuit was having a great time learning about the world from Kumer, a porter/guide for two british boys. Kumer told Ravi about the world and life, not that Ravi had not traveled, as a matter of fact he was in the routine of spending several months a year in india sewing clothes. Kumer was a Gurka, a village of Nepalis that have a long history of being mercenaries. Kumer had become my Nepali friend and my link to understanding a good deal of Nepali culture. We played cards once, we each held 7 cards, we were each playing a different game. I tried to explain my rules, he tried to explain his. I tried to play my game, he continued to play his. We exchanged stories about our lives and our homes. His english was not good, and my Nepali phrases were few. there were many points were were were not sure what the other was saying, this even came to simple things like direction or how far to hike. we could always tell when he was confused, his reply was always, "I think so, yes" Always with the same rhythm and pause just before the yes. This phrase to this day brings great joy to lisa and myself as it was so confusing for us. Because sometimes he meant it yes, other times he just did not know. Kumer and I had a friendly competitive relationship, he was very skilled at many things, great balance and dexterity, with strength I could not match. He carried a pack with a tumpline that I could barely carry across the room he carried all day. One day towards the end of this trekking circuit Kumer ran into an old friend. He let us walk ahead, the two me laughed, embraced, and caught up. On this day there was a long set of stairs, hard stone stairs, the longest set of stairs I had ever seen. the stairs winded and turned between a network of terraced fields with a sparse small structure from time to time. Long after Kumer was out of sight lisa and I heard some noise behind us, not quite a stampede, but fast footsteps rapidly approaching. We turned back to see Kumar and his old friend were running down this endless staircase, both carrying a load twice mine, in flip flops. it was quite a site. Both men were glowing with smiles and laughter, these men were having the time of their lives, what a moment. with a few more days and a few more different changes in seasons we were finally at the end. ravi had met kumer, hiked the annapurna circuit for his first time, got paid well, and got drunk for his first time on apple brandy in a small village that was famous for its apple orchards and their local alcohol. we were towards the end of the last day. the elevation had dropped significantly. rapid change in elevation gives me gas. dahl bat, the mainstay of our trekking lunches gave me gas. well, lots of things give me gas. we had finished the trek, there were may long days behind us and less than a mile or two to the bus station. we stopped to rest, as their was no rush to get to the station and spend our time there, when there was one last little tea stand to get a snack and take in the view. we gathered. and waited for a few lisa and the brits to catch up. kumer and ravi by my side and a nepali women with her small child and a women running the tea and snack stand, not really a tea house, but there were benches and some wonderful stone walls to lean upon, I rested my pack on the stone wall, lifting the weight off my back, and let my sweaty back breath, while resting my back without removing my pack I felt a gas pocket in my belly, it increase rapidly and was giving me a tad bit of discomfort. I thought that it would be slight and discrete if I used the wall to lift one of my butt cheeks and let this gas pass. I pivoted side to side, spread my cheeks, and let is sneak out. It snuck out alright, with a loud voicestruss rumble. The baby cried, the men and women laughed, and another laughing woman made a gesture with her fingers to the side of the head like horns and some words in Nepali. with her statement and gesture they all laughed harder. I turned to Kumer and asked, what did she say. Kumer said, "She thinks maybe that you are the Yeti." I laughed, we all laughed.

I tried to be an ambassador.
There had been no time for an "excuse me"...."pardon me" in english or Nepali. We were all too busy laughing.

hopefully they did not judge me and my gas as an american
but as a human
a human male or maybe the yeti with his mystical roar

Annapurna Circuit

Lonely Planet: Nepal

Gurkhas

Dahl Bat Recipe

.
here is a lesson in introspection
well
the results of this quiz are interesting

take the test

THE TEST

check your results

they may or may not flatter
they may or may not be accurate

you may or may not like the results of this QUIZ

for me it was a stroll down memory lane
it reminded me of past relationships and past actions
I have grown
I have changed
my actions are more intentional
but I still express actions as described by my categorization
winter arrived yet again
then the snow came
another winter ill prepared

so with no research
no knowledge of the subject
just a quick pick off the sale rack at an online cross country ski specialist
(or so they call themselves)
more than anything there was a price point
this package met my price point

as I have no real previous experience with this sport I will know no difference

let me know

does this look like a good purchase?

XC Ski Package

my brother fears that my purchase may not meet my personal needs
my needs as a larger athlete
a 6'4", 240 pound orc of an athlete

then anna questioned if it was a good investment for the 3 times a year when there is enough snow in this town for such an activity

that is exactly why I bought them
for those 3 times a year

the package should arrive by wednesday of next week
the snow should be melted by monday
food coma.
not a pleasure, nothing pleasurable about this sensation, well I guess it would be okay if I could lie down and take a nap this would be a great. but I can not take a nap. i have to work. or at least i need to stay awake at work.

note to self-
do not go to Greek Deli for Meatloaf Thursday

what are the secret ingredients?

barbecue sauce?
onion soup mix?
valium?

1.28.2004

quote of the day
the actual root of this quote is unknown to me
Frank Giles learned if from his father and passed it down to me


"it is tough to be consistent in life,
even an asshole tries to be nice sometimes"
this morning was a mixture of pain and pleasure

this morning was tough
dean was in a "mood"
he did not want to do anything
he did not want to eat
he did not want to sled
he did not want to play in the snow
he did not want to go to art class
he did not want to get dressed
well, getting him dressed is often as much fun as bathing a cat

there was plenty of time
and if he did not want to go sledding
that was more chill out time for me
so we put in the Disney film dinosaurs and hung out
he was mellow and pleasant

the dogs did not eat the cereal that dean had thrown onto the bench/chair so I cleaned it up
tossed the green apple that he specifically requested away
and ended up throwing away the fruit cup of mandarin oranges that he selected from the pantry

once dean was dressed
I got dressed
we headed out the door
crossed Park Road into Rock Creek Park
our house is in an excellent location, 20 yards from the woods
less than 2 miles from the White House
(get the Texan out before he brings down our property value)
loaded dean into the sled against his will
he enjoyed it as we meandered down the path towards "art class"
thought that he would want to sled, sort of get bitten by the bug
it seemed to have worked
he was grinning ear to ear
then
his smiles ended he wanted to go home
he tried to bail out
"man over board"
he did a high speed dismount
gloves were off
and his hands were cold
he definitely wanted to go home
brushed the snow off his 38 inch tall body
removed the snow from inside his gloves
and then got him on my shoulders and walked him to art class made the drop off leashed the dogs to the rail fence out front of Rosemount

after dean was dropped off
back to the woods with the dogs
got to drink my coffee
as I lack enough hands to juggle child/sled/dogs/and coffee
as I drank my coffee
Roscoe and Brutus took inspiration from the snow and leaped into a heated battle
it was like a chapter from a Jack London book
there was tugging and biting that would have surely sent any non dog person running
then, not sure what happened
the already heated battle got hotter
the tone of the growl went from play to actual fighting
I rushed the dogs and tried to break them free with verbal commands
seconds later I grabbed and pulled them apart
not knowing who was at fault or what had actually happened I kicked some snow in their faces and told them to mellow out
this sort of thing has happened before
my guess is that one of them got their lower jaw stuck under the other's collar
but who knows
they each walked behind me
keeping their distance from each other
I called each one to me independently
checked them over for injury
and gave them each a little love

in less than ten minutes they were back together
ah brothers
that wonderful relationship of brothers
first they ran off
soon enough they were back to that wrestle and chase game that they do
no grudges between this set of brothers
BUSH
BUSHISMS
an interactive BUSH page
Hear your favorite set of lies (and there are plenty to choose from)
Dress him up in your favorite outfit!
Have him say something stupid!

BUSH Action Figure

there is more to it than just the loading page
get interactive on it
and keep the volume low if your boss is a Republican

1.27.2004

this is clearly not the way that I want the world to view me or my country
it is bothersome that this person acts in any way to represent me or my country

I am not saying I am agreeing with the parallel
but I do think it is sameful that the stars and stripes are associated with Bush

BUSH/Hitler Posters

strange
looks like it is in Germany
what a night. what a night. the moon is not particularly full nor is the moon particularly visible tonight. yet the white lit snow was bright enough to do some hiking in the woods "sans" torch. the dogs loved it, and I loved watching the dogs love it. they were all hyped up. their personal game creation of wrestle and chase was in rare form, the volume was set at eleven. when they ran off trail on the open snow there was a loud thick thud with each contact of each paw to the several inch deep snow with its think coat of near ice with its thin dusting of freshly fallen snow. I closed my eyes and listened to the rhythmless rhythm of nature. the hike was short, just a dash across the street into Rock Creek and then the loop (Mark and Karin's Loop) behind Dean's Art Class, Rosemount Center. The trail is moderately steep with its conveluted terrain, the trail mixes single track wtih some moderately wide double track with trees young and old shooting out of the earth on each side. not exactly the old open hill I grew up on as a suburban kid. this network of trails would be classified as high intermediate to double black in the world of sledding in the world created in a kids mind. clearly some hills offer greater danger than others, sharper turns, steeper drops, less run off, no run off. dean and I opted for one of the more moderate runs this morning before I dropped him off at Rosemount. we did a handful of runs, went off the trail into a snow drift nearly covering him completely in light soft powder. immediate smiles and giggles at the rush of the whole crash experience quickly grew into displeasure and near crying. dean had refused to wear his snowpants. one of his blue snow boots was filled with snow. his little leg was already flush from the cold. he made it clear, "I want to go home now. I want to go to Dean's house!" but the direction we needed to go was the opposite way, Art Class. it was a silly game of my putting him in the sled and him popping up and out. "no, I do not want to go sledding." I tried one more time, first putting my (yes "my" not Dean's) backpack on the sled for back support. then put Dean in the sled and said, relax. Dean relaxed as I pulled him up a not so steep trail towards the school. the dogs off running not offering once to help pull.
guess it was a pretty good day from morning to night, well, if you subtract the 9 hours spent at work.
. .






The Billy Goat Trail (Great Falls, Maryland side)
and
My Secret Trail (a dense patch of woods)
(hiking)





. .

1.26.2004

it actually snowed last night
enough for sledding
enough for messing up the streets
enough for people to get off work
well
enough for people to get off work who get work canceled due to snow
I do not get off work because of snow

when i got to work this morning I rolled in the front door
and the guard asked, "how do you ride your bike in the snow?"
I replied, "better than most people drive in the snow
."
life is funny
the dynamics of women and men can be silly
especially when the two try to communicate as couple or better yet as a married couple
I am a beast, a big old beast, yet I am scared of my petite wife
why?
lisa is totally cool
as my 3rd grade neighbor Kara said last year as we were sledding at Klingle Mansion, "for a wife, Lisa is pretty cool."
Kara is right, for a wife lisa is pretty cool, I must consider myself lucky
but if lisa is so cool, why was I scared to tell her that I bought the Karate Monkey?
what would she do? ground me?
oh, it was not a matter of "to tell her or not to tell her..."
it was a matter of "when to tell her..."
so I waited
monitored her moods and her mood swings
watched for her sensitivity to various issues
and when the moment struck, I dropped the bomb

we were driving back from a hike with the dogs at Great Falls, right by Old Angler's Inn
Dean had spent the morning with my mom
Lisa had been able to spend some time to herself
she was refreshed and re-energized
so I said it....
we were talking about my BLOG
lisa asked who reads it
I said no one reads it, but rather it is written as an outlet
then I told her, "well, if you had been reading my blog you would know that I bought a new bike two weeks ago."
risky
but without any ruffled feathers

with that said

Married Men Must Unionize
Standing Alone we are getting Stomped Upon!

dogs

here is a short quiz on different breeds, their origins, and where they are from in the world

if you have the time and like dogs you may like this test

DOG QUIZ
it did snow
and being without cross country skies
I had to rough it on the bike
the streets were a mess
and the city can be a brutal place for the bike
I was being tailgated by each and every cyclist
only to catch a pack of cars
pass that pack of cars
and then be tailgated by the leader of that pack
only to catch more cars at the next light
pass that pack of cars
move forward fluidly forward
only to be moving safe, not speedy, yet faster than car pace
only to find myself being tailgated by some speeding car
exceeding the speed limit to catch me
and foregoing common sense
risking my life
and risking the paint job on their car
if only they knew i was acting as a pace vehicle for them
not intentionally, but by proxy
keeping them from slamming into another car
or worse yet losing control and running over a sidewalk full of pedestrians
to BLOG or not to BLOG
that is often the question
seems that at times I BLOG out of compulsion
rather than having a need of something to say

that synopsis of the weekend did my weekend no justice
thus proving
it is not what you say
but rather, how you say it!

many years back a friend of mine was involved with this girl from Alaska
on each meeting I would have her tell me anecdotes about life in last frontier
her tales had potential
but they lacked adverbs and adjectives

my BLOGS are lacking adjectives and adverbs
each plate needs a little garnish
or perhaps some condiments
there is a need to spice it up a bit!

with that said
my next entry best have some adjectives and adverbs
there needs to be substance
but if there is no substance
there better be some spice
KARATE MONKEY
this weekend past was "mas excellente"

after showtime I headed out the door
turned on my lights
jumped on my bike
and hit the trail
it was cold
but I was dressed for the weather
and loved having an excuse to go out and ride
I am lazy that way
motivation is weak
so I need to hide my workouts in errands or activities

on this day I was headed out to bethesda to walk my dad's dog
and put him in for the night

it was a good ride
met up with a roadie from a local riding club
my single speed was over spinning
and my legs were burning
but it was good to have company on this cold dark trail

upon arrival at my dad/'s max was excited to see me
he was doing his 3.5 vertical leap into the air
and then a series of spins
this dog is 99% enthusiasim
went inside
put some of my sweat soaked gear in the dryer
and took the dog to the nearest stretch of land so he could run
it was not much
but better than nothing

after the walk I cooked up some of my dad's food
ate, watched some tube, and kept the dog company

bored yet?

it is the tallest bike I have ever ridden
it has the tallest wheels I have ever ridden
it rides different than any other set up I have ever had
it is a fresh experience

all in a good way
this may be the first bike that ever fit me
as I am a 6'4" Clydesdale
many manufacturers stop at 20 or 21 inches
so that is what I have been riding (and toss in an era of some 19
inchers, not sure what I was thinking there)

1.25.2004

.


Saddam Flash Feature
a better example of some fun FLASH
than any substance
but funny just the same

1.23.2004

.



Michael Moore



.

he can talk for himself
enough said

http://www.michaelmoore.com/
(for those that do not realize that the words in COLOR are links ((hypertextlinks or some term like that)))
more on bikes
gotta bring it back to the bikes


THE MONKEY HAS LANDED!
it is everything I expected
and more!
(including more expensive and more weight)
well, also more in a good way as well
got it out on the road
the gearing is definitely for the dirt
and also got it out on the dirt
just a twist here
and a turn there
just so hungry
can not help but pointing that thing to shoot through the trees

my current work schedule, the cold, and me being a bit of a pussy have kept me from the woods
there has been some poaching*

*poach
Main Entry: 1poach
Pronunciation: 'pOch
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English pochen, from Middle French pocher, from Old French pochier, literally, to put into a bag, from poche bag, pocket, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English pocca bag
Date: 15th century
: to cook in simmering liquid
Date: late 20th-21st century
Pronunciation: 'pOch (dude)
Function: verb/noun/whatever dude
Etymology: Surfer/Snowboarder/Mountainbiker Slang
literally to step off the legal trail or path and explore ride further; often with no reguard for the law or rules


in my efforts to share my love and excitement for this new ride
a friend out in California shared with me the info on the makers of his (or one of his) single speed

thank you Peter Funk for this information
as a SOULRIDER I can appreciate their philosophy
good looking site
and a solid logo

SOULCRAFT

and while we are on the topic

FIXED
SKIP THIS IF YOU HAVE HEARD THIS TALE BEFORE
IT IS ABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE AND RETURN OF MY '84 LANDCRUISER



let me try to lessen the tone with a reprint of an early posting
a posting that was actually an email
an email in my Pre-Blog State, yes there was life before BLOG


how does this happen?
my life is not a movie

so I a heading up Lamont Street after a days work this new cross bike
has put a little zest in my pedal so I am trying to finish my post work
ride strong as I pass David, Sharon, their two dogs and their newborn
baby ZOE I give a half hearted hello I am distracted things are not as
they should be the spot where I parked my car the day prior is filled
by a cab

I turn back down the block
and scan for my big blue truck
no sign of it
this truck is hard to overlook

I pass David and Sharon again
they laugh and ask if I am trying to get a little more exercise I tell
them my truck was stolen or towed Sharon laughs and says something to
the effect of how stupid we can feel when we forget where we parked our
car but I know where I parked my car and it is not there

I do one more scan and even try one street over I resign myself to the
fact my car has been stolen my heart rate has not changed this is life
in the city getting angry will not bring my car back

I go home
check some emails
make sure I did not get the latest email virus then jump into the
shower get out dry off no real rush only just had my truck stolen I
scan the phone book for the nonemergency number to call the police and
in walks lisa with the baby and the dogs I tell her the news.....my car
was stolen she says she saw it going down lamont just seconds ago she
figured it was me driving she knew it was my car by the red bumper
sticker that reads, "follow me and my SUV to the next gas crisis"

she thought it was parking in front of the halfway house a second does
not pass I am on the line with the police as I search frantically for
my license plate information I give the police the information and rush
to get a bicycle to see if I can chance on meeting with my truck

no lights
no helmet
no geeky reflective vest
I rush down the block like that crazy little chicken only my
exclamation has nothing to do with a falling sky but with a 17 year old
stolen truck my rant seems almost as absurd

I get down the block and there is my truck

oh silly me

sharon is right
I do feel stupid

I head for home
and think about how stupid I looked
as I approach up pulls DC's finest
they are sent on their way with my humblest apologies

I walk in and tell lisa that I was wrong it had not been stolen it had
been parked it further down the block she assures me that she saw it
being parked and assumed it was me driving it

without a word I rush back
sure enough
the engine is hot
and their is a trail of various fluids still damp in the road showing
the curve of a well parked truck off to the neighborhood 7-11 to get a
flat foot no luck back to call 911 as I spot a black and white, only it
is red white and blue with graphics that would be more fitting on a
clown car, but go unnoticed since they have decorated the cars for
nearly a decade he is headed the other way he call it in it is my job
to go back and guard my car

things start to feel a little crazy
am I mad?
the facts are reviewed and reviewed again and again surely that car was
not there 10 minutes prior there is no way I could have passed it am I
high?
is this a scene from Memento?
what is happening here

as I wait for the police to return to the scene the tale and all of its
pieces are shared with any random passerby that will listen my rants
are mad one woman allows me to use her cell phone as I call 911 again a
suspicious car makes its third pass down the block she gets the plate

the police arrive
there are several cars
my story is told and retold
action is not happening
no one is interested in dusting for prints my story is unbelievable to
the officer the engine is not hot the drops of various fluid are not a
trail of clues in his eyes the engine does not appear to be hot to him
the doors are locked no evidence of forced entry no jimmied ignition
nothing just the rants of a bald bearded man

the story deviates very little as I tell it for the 50th time yet they
seem less than convinced the facts are there car parked there now here
engine hot I ride my bicycle to work

what more do they want!
my car was stolen!

all the long I am thinking
is my car stolen every day?
at times I notice the gas seems to be significantly lower than the last
time but it is always dispelled as my usual paranoia and the car runs
great for months and then something dramatic is different to me this is
the character of the car, but has someone been driving this car daily?

the car was well parked
a good parking job especially with the brakes failing as they are and
no disrespect to the car sure the steering wheel and the seat are in a
position for a much shorter driver but no trash or cigarette butts

it is all too weird
no X-files weird
but violated weird

the range of emotions have left me energized and confused

what was lost
is now found
that big piece of steel that I love so much is back thought it was out
of my life forever

wacky
truely wacky
BACK TO BASICS
or more clearly
BACK TO BIKES

VELORUTION!

check it out if for nothing else
all those great links!

as the saying goes...

"the revolution will not be motorized!"
MOVEON.ORG is back in the news
not sure if any of this stuff will make a difference
hope it does
I am sure glad that someone is trying
if nothing else history will record that this country was not behind the actions of George W

this organization MOVEON had a contest
the slate was clear and open
it was up to the artist/activist/whatever to create what they wanted to create
the winner of the contest would have their ads hosted on national television the night of the STATE OF THE UNION
and again on SUPERBOWL SUNDAY
the one basic notion was to express displeasure with Bush and/or his policy

here is a submission by my friend ROB

Bush and the Environment

it is very SOUTH PARK and well worth a look
the audio bits are all snipits of George W himself

and here is the winner of the MOVEON.org contest
and a write up about its being refused by CBS to be aired during the SUPERBOWL

MOVEON/CBS

share these movies and ideas with your friends
both that agree and disagree
anything to keep people thinking

oh, no
I need to tag this on as well
it seems that one of the entries (not a winner) has caused some outrage

Bush/Hilter Ad Response

the Ad is not available through MOVEON.org
did not see it
will not try to defend or attack it
just putting it out there
okay
I am not cool enough to be out in Salt Lake City with Britney Spears and Brian Kemler
but my wife was cool enough to turn me onto this site

SUPERSIZE ME

this looks like something worth a look
can not wait to see it
but I guess I will have to
MINOR THREAT
What a way to start the morning!
or better yet
What a way to start a work day!

as my morning was spent with the regular routine of hangin, playin, wrestlin, and dressin Dean
load an assortment of toys into the backpack and out the door
then a very brisk hike with the dogs
Dean left the house gloveless, but made a rapid request for the gloves before we were able to cross the street into the woods, they were in my pocket, just in case
he was excited to walk/hike his way through the woods as the dogs ran leashless about their merry way
but the wind was so that I offered him a piggy back ride to accelerate the process
we did the drop off at Rosemount Daycare, what Dean refers to as, "art class"


back to the topic at hand; Minor Threat

What a way to start a work day!
Two cups of coffee and a viewing of some clips from this MINOR THREAT:DC SPACE-BUFF HALL-9:30 Club DVD.
Something about the energy of these performances aided to bring up all sorts of adolescent anger. Not sure where it comes from or where it should go, but these guys definitely knew what to do with their anger....pick up some instruments and start a band.
Ian took it one step further, then another, and yet another. Ian (certainly with the help of those that surrounded him) started a band (or two), a record label, and a movement (or two). WOW! This stuff is powerful. Crazy Powerful!

I am not going to write a history of Minor Threat
it is up to you to reseach further

Not sure where to go with this
Guess I will sit back, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pop open a coke and take in some more of this DVD.

Man these guys ROCKED!
So young
so full of power
so DRIVEN (and yes, in an MTV/VH1 sort of way)
these guys not only had an idea
but they developed it and developed it well
the music is raw yet polished, so the sound quality is not that of one of their records
but it offers for that SING ALONG experience that we all grew up with!

Get your hands on this thing!
Buy it!
View it!
Live it!
(I was not at these shows, but the music was part of me while it was happening, so I do not get to relive these shows, but I do get to relive those songs. As this band and their music was a large part of my adolescence and the formation of my IDENTITY)

DISCORD RECORDS/MINOR THREAT
this is the place to start your shopping
cut out the middleman!

1.21.2004

the KARATE MONKEY has arrived
it is really quite a site (is that sight?)
sort of looks like a Hum V with a military paint job
it is a monster of a bike
towers over anything I have seen or felt ever in my life

the frame is larger than any mountain frame I have ever owned; 22 inches
and the wheels
did I mention the wheels?
the wheels are measured at approximately 29 inches in diameter
(a normal mountainbike has 26 inch diameter wheels)
this is one MONSTER BIKE! Sitting on this thing is like being on top of a wave
it will take some serious getting use to
the taller frame with the taller wheels makes for a sick stand over height

but in actuality
what is weird about this bike
it may be the first bike that I have ever owned that actually fits me
will let you know how it goes

for those techies out there I will give a basic breakdown of the machine
SURLY KARATE MONKEY FRAME
SINGLE SPEED SET UP
RIGID FORK
SALSA RIMS
XT DISC HUB FRONT/SURLY SINGLE SPEED HUB IN BACK
Deore Levers
AVID MECHANICAL DISC FRONT/DEORE V BRAKE IN THE BACK
an assortment of SALSA COMPONENTS (bars, stem, etc)
THUDBUSTER SEATPOST (Cane Creek)
Cane Creek headset
WTB MOTO Raptor 29 inch tires
WTB SPEED V saddle
okay
I am a little weak on the tech talk
there are also some other parts, cranks and such
guess I would prefer to get out and ride it or get back to work so I do not lose my job
180mm Cranks
32X17 gearing


here is a DIRT RAG article on the KARATE MONKEY!


Here are a few valuable links to offer some FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Take a moment a view some of these links

This site paid for advertising spots during the STATE OF THE UNION and for airtime leading up to it!

MOVEON.ORG

there are also some other interesting sites that I will point you towards

this FLASH animation gives an interesting account of Saddam's rise to power
I am not sure of its historical accuracy, but it is interesting to consider

Saddam's Rise to Power

well
that should be enough for now
both of those sites are littered with information
and Animation to make the info more entertaining

oh
and one more to the mix

VOTE DEMOCRAT
I am not a very political person
but, I do have an opinion


Last night was the STATE OF THE UNION
I missed it
not sure what I was doing at the time
must not have been watching TV, as it would have been on nearly every channel my limited DC cable has to provide
had I watched last nights speech
more than likely I would have been more intrigued by they different skin tones that are represented by each network
if just to bounce between NBC, ABC, and CBS you will see that each network favors a different hue
one may be more yellow, while another may be saturated with red
this goes unnoticed, unless you are a compulsive channel surfer (otherwise known as being male)

last night I did manage to catch some MOVEON.ORG advertisements
very clever

and did tune in for some reactions to the BUSH speech
but could not bring myself to sit and watch BUSH feed America a load of his BULLSHIT
this rant will be ended with a classic joke....

"How can you tell when Bush is telling a lie?"

"He is moving his lips."

1.20.2004

hmmmm
what happened this weekend?
so my sister inlaw (kathy) left for home (Pittsburgh) not talking to me
left without saying goodbye
well, my antisocial response to her ignoring me contributed to that
but there were many factors that built up to that moment
once she started to not speak to me, once I was being ignored
I took that as an opportunity to escape
my feeling, I wanted these guys to come down and have a good time
if they have a better time with me out walking the dogs or checking my email in the other room
well, I will cater to them and offer them a more positive experience


it is rather silly actually
well
her kids like the dogs; Roscoe and Brutus
well, three of her four kids under five like the dogs
(Carson is too young to care either way)
the cousins like the dogs sort of like dean liking the cat
they do not know how to behave around dogs
just like dean does not know how to behave around cats
(which I think is to just ignore cats and let them be)
so I am trying to keep the children from flopping all over the dogs
and when they do flop onto the dogs I make sure that the dogs do not over react
billy, a very spirited child weighing in at 60 plus pounds at 4 years old can be unpredictable
at one point Billy was looking like he is going to intentionally step on Roscoe
the routine with Billy is if you say "no don't do that"
he does it with great joy, he aims to displease
he has discovered that it is good to be bad
so while talking with others I just block his foot
he goes to kick again
I block it
now, my efforts may have been wrong
I should have verbalized my intentions and the guidelines for dealing with dogs
but, I am human, and well by this time the 4 cousins and dean had been swarming around me all day, and the day prior
so, my blocking billy's foot became a game to him, and he kept doing it
I did not mind it becoming a game
as it prevented any trouble between dog and child
well, I spoke too soon
apparently billy's mother thought my actions were inappropriate
she chewed me out and refused to talk to me the rest of the day
this was the second time I got attitude from her
earlier that day she was appauled by my lack of prioritizing Santa in Dean's holiday experience
(I will aid in perpetuating that myth, but I do not need to instill it or create it, his natural surroundings will handle that just fine)

in short...

when in a family group situation I feel that disciplining a child can be the duty of any parent present
that is not to say that I would hit another person's child, I would not even hit my own
nor would I be as firm in discipling another person's child
but I do think that certain behaviors should be stopped, and the inappropriate action should be discussed
especially if a child was doing anything unsafe, then I would take it upon my self to calmly approach the situation

with any child this can be frustrating
with a highly spirited child this can be real frustrating

Billy is off the charts for highly spirited children
he can not keep a deal or a promise
his actions are understandable, he is acting out
he is striving for attention, he is the oldest of 4 kids under 5
the baby demands constant attention, the twins are less than self sufficient
so he obviously feels that negative attention is better than no attention
so he can often behave inappropriately

one on one he can be an angel
he can also be a devil
but he can be an angel, I try to get him away from the crowd so that we can connect
it is not always easy or fun
but when he does behave it is a great relief and quite a pleasure

with that said
this was a weekend with the best intentions
we had all looked forward to having the "cousins" visit
Dean loves the cousins (and of course so do I)
but a house with that many kids can really cause some anxiety

note to self...
do not have 4 kids
especially that close in age

1.19.2004

CROSSROADS
as we travel the road of life we are often hit with a variety of choices
these choices are looked upon as crossroads

I am once again at a CROSSROAD
although most of my life is on a bit of an autopilot*
there are still some choices to be made from time to time

*I am married
father of one child and soon to have our second son
currently slaving for the man in classic 9-5 position
a wife, child, and job can act to script the decisions of my day to day life
there are routines and tasks or everyday life


my current crossroad is the decision of what to do with my truck
my 1984 Toyota Landcruiser is proving to have a list of short comings
winter is just not the season for this machine
the full size engine and its need to start with the assistance of the choke cause some inconveniences
well
the truck just does not like to start without the assistance of STARTER FLUID
well
actually the truck does not start at all, it has not been driven in over a month
(Napo "Napoleon Garcia" my mechanic has towed my truck away)
there are other issues
as a father I think that a safer machine would serve me better
airbags, crumple resistance side beams, and a functioning suspension system
plus, heat would be a nice treat in the winter
and a radio that played loud enough to hear over the engine would also be a bonus

with that said there may also be some need for some personal growth
as I am severely attached to the aesthetic of this old truck
although I do understand that it is foolish to cling to material goods
it is a major part of my existence
the character should not be able to outweigh it lack of functionality
yet I debate the issues further in my head
SUPERBOWL TIME!
or is it PLAYOFFS!
or is it the WORLD SERIES?
the Stanley Cup?
who gives a shit?


so I am supposed to work all week only to spend one of my two days off watching someone else do something?
I am not sure if I get that
actually I do not get that at all

most "sports fans" are not athletes at all
but I guess that is the point
they are living through the actions of others
wearing their jerseys
sporting their colors

I have better things to do
I have a life
I have a family
I have things to do

for me cycling tends to fill that space of time on Sundays
the standard procedure is for mountainbike races to be held on Sundays
and when there are no races I also have my family to hang out with or the house to work on
there is always something that needs to be done
I just do not see how watching someone else play a game will help me in any way
heck! Give me a backgammon board over an NFL Playoff Game anyday!

sadly I am drawn towards it
if I go to a bar and the blue box is glowing in the corner I turn my head and I watch
the powerful draw of that blue glow is too strong
it can not be fought
it is easy to get sucked in
but if given another option, any option I will take it


that is not to say that I can not appreciate good play!
highlights often catch my eye
the catch of the day or play of the game
that can occupy my mind, but a whole game
not for me

there are a few other thoughts that go with this rule
I will go to nearly any sporting event live
get me baseball tickets, I am there
but I have never seen a game on TV, not a second of a World Series
I just don't get it
football, sure, it is great to get out to the game
but once a year tends to be enough
the traffic getting in, the cattle call to file into the stadium, security, hassles, crowds, assholes, and then more traffic to get out
tailgating party seems like and oxymoron, or better yet, just a bunch of morons
sure I like to get drunk as much as the next idiot
but please leave your car at home
or better yet, stay at home

other sporting events also offer that once a year sampler pleasure
many of these events can be a people watching paradise
hockey games? sure
it is like a mullet convention
where do these people come from

live music is similar
most people would not be playing music if it were not for the stage
there have been enough days spent with my ears ringing due to an overly amplified concert/show
just don't need it
if I do go to a show now days there better be some space to dance
and no matter who the act is
I am wearing earplugs

why does it have to be so loud?

oh
and more on the TV thing
my actions are classically male
I decompress infront of the tv everyday
channel surfing takes up a huge chunk of my day
but I would much rather watch VH1 Behind the Music
or American Chopper than any of that other crap

(DON'T GET ME STARTED ON REALITY TV! I HAVE MY OWN REALITY! DON"T NEED IT! DON"T WATCH IT!)


man
my rants today are really not going anywhere
I really could be using my time more productively

but work keeps distracting me
so my BLOG is getting limited attention in between tasks

I need to get paid to BLOG

did I mention
I hate Reality TV!
Reality TV Bites!
and that Star Search American Idol Crap!
what is that?
never seen it
but when I heard the buzz about it
I could just tell
it is not for me
most of that stuff just pisses me off
(which is not hard to do)
It is about the MUSIC!
Remember, It is about the MUSIC!
well actually, nothing is that simple
people can often have an alternative agenda
even something as simple as a high school dance....

is it just about the music?
perhaps not, or people would just be playing the radio or a cd at home!

the music gets people together
it gets people moving
it can also help to allow people to express themselves
as well as allow two people to communicate
(often in ways that words can not convey)
the music can be very powerful, very very powerful
let it take control

everyone should dance
even if it is alone at home where no one can see
I seldomly dance
but I enjoy it when I do
let me take that back, I strut around the house like a miner who has struck gold or a rooster trying to get the attention of a mother hen, but these are more in an effort to get my son to giggle
guess it is dancing just the same, not pretty, but it is dancing

different music can ask for different settings
some music aids to excite
while other music may aid in relaxation
some music is perfect in a dimly lit room and a glass of red wine (choose your own poison)
relax
sink deeply into a soft sofa and let your mind unwind
create your own FANTASIA!
other music acts as a sleep aid

people often use music to make a setting more romantic or perhaps seductive
(I say try some classic 80's SADE or some BRYAN FERRY)

you don't even need to listen to the lyrics
but you should listen to the emotions
chances are the emotions are more powerful than the lyrics

give it a shot
let me know what you come up with!

hold on
I think I confused two things
all I wanted to say is GET UP AND DANCE
that 80's music stuff was a sidebar, I was not giving tips on hooking up or getting laid
go to barbitches.com
they will clear up your confusion

1.18.2004

Okay, lets give it a shot...
THE TOP FIVE CONCERTS I HAVE EVER ATTENDED

(the dates are rough estimations)

1.1981 THE WHO; Athena tour
I was in 9th grade and a big WHO fan. Had never been to a large concert before. There were plans to go with my brother and a friend Jason, somehow tickets got lost, tickets changed hands. There were two nights of shows, they ended up going a one night, I ended up going the night prior. My night was spent trying to figure it all out. The opening act of no interest to anyone, Davy Jo Hanson. THE WHO came on and I could not get close enough. The nose bleeder seats were not good enough for me. I made several successful attacks to get onto the floor, succeeded each time, also succeeded to get physically removed from the floor each time. Managed not to get kicked out of the Capitol Center for my efforts and decided the large venue concert was not where it was at.....from then on it was "shows" rather than "concerts."
so I revise that this list be...
MY TOP 5 SHOWS of ALL TIME

2.Minor Threat/Trouble Funk 1985 Landsburgh Culture Center (what was once the Landsburgh Department Store): The Funk Punk Spectacular
This goes without saying to be one of the best shows of my limited rock and roll history. If you have to ask, you will never know. Minor Threat, the raw power, the energy, the magic, and perhaps the honesty. There is no question about this band's influence on my adolescence and on modern music and the music industry as a whole. To be able to catch this moment in music history and to appreciate it at the same time is really something. And GO-GO, there is a piece of music history that gives Washingtonians much pride, that is our hometown sound, and that drum beat...it makes you want to get up and dance! It was great to get to ride the TROUBLE FUNK EXPRESS even if I had to leave before the set was over so that I would not break my already extended curfew for that evening.

3. The SMITHS; 1985 At Warner Theater, part of The Smiths first American/World Tour. This band goes in a very different direction than the prior punk band. The music, the composition, and the energy of this band is phenomenal, Johnny Mar rocks, and well, Morrisessy he ranks number one in my list of Whinning Whusses!

here is where my memory starts to fail me
it has been a long time since I have tabulated such a list
and much of my old memories have become blurs

4. A Memory of many outdoor festivals: RAR aka Rock Against Reagan and/or Lollopalossa (pick any one, well other than the first, I was in San Francisco, Johnny Ray had my ticket, but we did not connect till the day after the event, he still had my ticket, but I lacked the time machine to get me to the show on time) By this point in time my idea of a Concert/Show had become many things, both social and the show itself. The multiband experience, with the large show and the side shows offered a great opportunity to entertain my short attention span.

5. Okay I will have to cop out one step further. Hard for me to remember any one show from my misspent youth. There were countless trips to the Wilson Center in Mt Pleasant at the corner of 15th and Irving, or Pierce Hall, or even Sacred Heart Church. Black Flag, DOA, or even better, local heros and local greats; Rites of Spring, the never appreciated Marginal Man, Bad Brains (HR or any other incarnation), Scream and Beefeater, or the overblown bravado of King Face....but no one show stands out. As now these shows are not each individual memories, but rather just one whole memory. Many shows acts as a conglomeration to become one blurred memory. In my youth we went to hardcore shows as something to do. There were many nights were we would go to the (old) 9:30 Club to see a band that we were less than familiar with, but that is what music was about at that point in time. We would bring our skateboards and skate before the show, during the opening acts we had no interest in, and after the show. There were people who went to the shows with no interest of ever entering the front door. The steps of the Wilson Center was always crowded with a bunch of Circle Jerks (no the California Skate rock band, but a group of beer drinking lounge abouts that tended to meet and hang at Dupont Circle, then at night they would migrate to various shows or bars)

The DC punk scene was alive and well. But just as I went to the local punk shows I also went to high school dances, Go-Go was alive and well and pumping and bumping through the veins of the B-CC students. And when we weren't dancing in the gym we were heading downtown to some of the clubs who hosted DJs that played New Wave and SKA dance music. We were underage, but too poor to buy enough alcohol to get drunk. It was actually about the music and having a good time. We just like to get up and dance. With the DC drinking age being 18, being tall and 15 was often close enough, then after going enough times, the door men let us in.....chances are they knew we were good kids, not up to any trouble, and it helped to keep some numbers on the dance floor....no one wants to go out on an empty dance floor.

1.16.2004

more on music
growing up music was a huge part of my life
in the early years I use to run around the house while my mom cooked and cleaned, it seemed as if there was always some music playing in the background
Neil Diamond, Carly Simon, Carol King, or some other folk artist of the time

my brother and I were turned onto Jesus Christ Superstar at a young age
as our mother was (and still is) hyper religious we found this to be a way to satisfy her need for us to observe the death of Jesus on Good Friday

there are strong memories of coloring in coloring books to the Beatles
and when I began to discover music on my own independantly I would hear songs
as these song played my mind would reel
there would be strong memories of how I had heard all this music before
Tommy by the WHO must have been on the car radio, so many of those choruses were firm in my brain
there were odd songs by the DOORS, the not the obvious ones, but ones that must have also been on the radio as I was a young child
certain music would enter and exit my life at different stages
Led Zepplin was to be discovered, disguarded, rediscovered then disguarded, to only be rediscovered again and now is currently disguarded
the WHO some how rang big through my high school years, but gets little airplay on my system now days
well, other than some phases of QUADROPHENIA
back to where I was originally headed with this whole RANT

music was not just in the background
but it was in the foreground of pop culture
it was something that peers learned that they had in common or lacked in common
it created peer groups
and it created identity
this became more clear as early as junior high
the classroom started to split
there were those that like to dance to the pop music on the radio
those who were discovering the harder side of rock
even those who were headed for metal
as for me....
there was a great appreciation for all rock and roll
my records and my interests went back to the birth of rock and roll
there were investigations
and shockingly enough I was reading
there were great songs that the Beatles and the Stones or even Hendrix were playing
and I had discovered that they were covers
so I researched the history of rock and roll
and took it all the way to the presend day
it was the late 70's
not too late to catch the tale end of the brith of punk
aware enough to monitor the news
a Death at a WHO concert
the death of the WHO drummer
and the death of one of the Beatles
the day John Lennon was shot I stayed home from school sick
went to the local drug store and bought all of that day's papers
there were clippings to read and to be collected
it was impossible to sort out why.

then onto high school where grouping became more clear
many students were obvious to to peg as a fan of pop, while another looked like a Dungeon and Dragons playing RUSH fan!
the fans of a certain band would effect my choice as to whether I would listen to or allow myself to like a certain band
I have never to this day been able to listen to RUSH because of my lack of allegance to the RUSH fans in high school
and the same went for the followers of the Grateful Dead, but I lightened my feelings and accepted the music, but never the HEADS themselves
(as Ultimate frisbee and some other passtimes of the Deadheads were fun for me, I could not help but accept that soundtrack to that day, that era, or that memory)

music helped me to form my own personal identity

it is hard to sum up the formation of my identity on the fly
there are many factors that come into play
divorced parents/remairried father/being the youngest of three/moving around a fair amount
there was also the fact that I never was part of the "in crowd"
had some friends
but often was not accepted
often did not fit in

played all sorts of sports
select soccer
cyo basketball
rode my bike
I had my friends
but never really fit in

and with music it was pretty much the same
I ended up taking what I enjoyed of each subculture and leaving the rest behind
by 11th grade I was counter culture, perhaps post punk
my hair was cut funny
and when I had the opportunity to dye it, I risked the consequences of being grounded
and took that fashion risk
there was ridicule
but there was reward
in high school I was no trend I was all trends
I played soccer, volleyball, and ran track
went to high school dances, went out to bars to go dancing (clubs on the alternative night) and went to punk shows (DC Hardcore.)

rather than join any one sub culture I floated between all of them

having never really fit into any one group had given me a liscence to join any and all groups

this carried onto college where I skateboarded, played varsity soccer, lived on the lacrosse hall, sailed with the sailheads on big wind days when they wanted a big crew, played ultimate when the team hosted tournaments, and went to any party that had a keg

where is this rant going?
it is going to get me fired if I do not PUBLISH AND POST and get back to work
ah music
it can really set the mood for the moment
that advertising campaign that says, "what is the soundtrack to your life?"
is really onto something
there are times when the moment is right and then the music comes on
and that moment becomes better
when depressed I often choose depressing music
which can take me deeper into depressionstrange that rather than fighting that progression I would enhance it
when looking back to certain points in time I often am able to set the scene better if I set the right music in the background

in the same way a song may evoke certain memories or certain emotions

I am not sure if I can recall the top five concerts of my life
the emotion is forgotten
it is long gone
I would be more prone to retelling a story
than feeling the moment again, and sharing the sensation as I experience it again
most of those feeling are long gone
guess that is old age
Midnight
time to go to bed
good night

1.15.2004

Ah....
I have always love the tests.
Everyone loves the test. These are the questions you ask your new bestfriend in grade school and your first girlfriend in high school...
"What is your favorite color?"
"Where were you born?"
"What is your favorite type of pizza?"

well, you get the idea, these were not the questions asked
but you do remember the questions
and you shared the answers
with both you first best friend
and your first girlfriend, that is why it was all so confusing

now some of the new questions?
"what do you do?"
this is the classic DC\question
it is the first thing people ask
it often backs people back into a corner
for me I like to spin it to a more gentle tone, but only after an awkward pause
"what do you do for fun or for work? which ever is more interesting or which ever is more entertaining to talk about!"

then
"what is are the top five concerts you have every been too, and then why. a short answer to why (it could be the company, it could be the point in your life)
there are other questions
they are all evading me now
it has been a long time since I have been social
I tended to answer "I need to go to the bathroom to all questions."
in my earlier days I lived and awkward paradox
I was both social and antisocial
well more clearly, I needed to be social, but for the most part I did not like people
being social is more of a compulsion than a pleasure
talking can be a disorder
or perhaps an uncontrolable bodlily function like farting, vomitting, or diahrrea.
I try to hold it in, but it has to come out, and it is not pleasing for anyone, well other than me, cause it is better when it is out.

1.14.2004

oh
the makers of the KM (Karate Monkey) are BLOGGERS
Check out their BLOGGING
this week I am getting a Surly Karate Monkey

when asked how I selected the Karate Monkey (aka KM)
I answered this

as a taller rider I had been interested in the notion
of a 29 inch wheel since it was first introduced

not unlike a longer snowboard
I had always felt that it was odd that while I was
6'4" tall and riding a skateboard there was some guy
zipping past me on the same size board standing tall
at 5'4".

so why as a taller cyclist would I use the same wheel size as someone significantly shorter than me
there are a variety of wheel sizes for children
the sizes vary as the child grows taller
but for some reason this stops when a child is tall enough to stand over an adult size frame
why did they stop making taller wheel sizes for taller people?

even with the 26 inch standard mountainbike wheel I had always wanted a 180mm crank arm
but was too cheap
and with this size bike
there is no arguement
with a higher bottom bracket the clearance should not be an issue

so I shopped around
and was attrached to the versatility of the karate
monkey
as I not only like to ride bikes
but I also like to work on them
although my skills are weak
there is still great joy in riding a bike with some
personality that you built or crafted

(the KM has a horizontal drop out, which is vital for a true single speed, and entirely neccessary with fixed gear (just as with a track bike)
then with the taller wheel size this bike makes a great cross bike
and also has a deraileur hanger
thus allowing for the bike to morph into a geared bike

then there is price

it seemed more reasonable to me

some say "steel is real"
but it was as much cost as anything else
drawn to both the affordability and the functionality

getting the bike this week
will definitely let you know how it feels

my old quasi single speed is too small and the parts
are worn and tired and so is my back

this may be the first bike that actually fits me
this is a message that I sent to the folks at OFF CAMBER
they asked for a bio
so I tossed this together


where to start? where to start?

Bio: I am a 36 year old male, married with one 2 year
old son, another son on the way, two dogs, and many
bicycles. When I am not working in the salt mines
doing IT Help Desk stuff for CBS News I am hiking with
my dogs in the urban forest which is Rock Creek Park,
hanging with my wife and child, or trying to do some
riding.

Riding to me is a mixture of pleasures. My commute is
short so I try to extend it, usually on the way home
as my morning routine does not allow me to get to work
on time, much less take the long road. So I ride
around town when I head to a friend's house or a bar,
hopeing that I run enough errands that I will be
strong enough to hammer the trails in the area. Sundays
are often trips to a local race, there is some
occassional touring, but less as I am a family man
with a 9-5 lifestle. Trying to keep a healthy balance.
Cycling is my Prozac, although I may still need
Prozac.


1.13.2004

Links to Blogs

On the web there are various sites that offer a chance for a BLOGGER to have a link to their BLOGSPOT
Here are a couple of those sites
If you have some time there may be something of interest

there is a site in Colorado called OFF CAMBERIt is cycling related
there are some amusing rants

then there are a few others

METROBLOG which is pretty cool
they use the DC Metro Subway map to show the neighborhoods
my link is not listed
interesting just the same

and this one actually has my link
DC BLOGGERS

there is no real way for me to know if anyone is reading this stuff
but I would like to think that someone is getting entertained other than me
Brutus and his Health...
Lisa and I have two dogs; Brutus and Roscoe. They are an odd pair. These dogs are as similar as they are different. Born from the same father, but different mothers, born five days apart. Roscoe has a odd coat, it is a disturbed representation of his Austrailian Shepard's father's blue merel coat, while Brutus is black with white markings. The size of the dogs also is dramatically different; Roscoe has some weight to him, while Brutus is wirey, ribs visible.
That is just the differences on the outside, the differences on the inside are just as strong. Roscoe is mellow, totally mellow. Brutus is high strung, totally high strung.

more on this later
got to do some work
New Year's Resolutions!
or perhaps I should say
New Year's Resolutions?


Good thing that I did not make any New Year's Resolutions. This morning I slept late, rode my bike directly to work (no extended ride for elevated heart rate and calorie burner), got to work late, then stepped out to grab a bite and could not walk any further than the hot dog stand on the corner where I got the Number 4 Combo Special; Two Hot Dogs with everything, a bag of chips (I got Cheese Doodles) and a coca cola.

On top of that....
I have not been blogging
I have not been riding after work
the hikes with the dogs have been short

man
I need another cup of coffee
I am really dragging over here

1.06.2004

Single Speeds and a Dream
years ago as I was in my mid 20's I was trying to figure out what to do with my life
I had worked as a messenger, had worked in a bike shop, and was trying to see how I could make a living in the bicycle industry
this notion of what to do with our lives was shared with a friend and we came up with the an idea for a single speed

we shared the belief that most people (non cyclists) tend not to shift gears, if they do shift gears they are in the wrong gear
often they get stuck in the granny gear for years
and then end up walking the bike up hills any way
most riders only go for a few miles at a time
and then hang their bike up for the next few months

so we tried to create a single speed company
our visions were slightly different....
he wanted to take over the world
I wanted to create a cool bike with great functionality
He thought that every Jolly Jumping Grandmother that gets scared out of the bike shop by all of the shifters and levers could use this bike (he was right to a degree)
I saw a good looking machine that a cyclist would be able to afford so that they did not have to ride their main bike to get coffee on the corner
or that a student could ride to and from class
basically an updated cruiser
and there were going to be various versions
the METRO would have fenders and a rack, all black of course
and then there would be the TOWPATH (for the more gravel roads) named after the path along the C&O Canal
and so on
well
we had prototypes sent from China
and we could see our visions starting to differ
he was thinking profit margins
while I was thinking paint schemes
the prototypes were basically HUFFYs without using the derailleur hanger

then I went to an Interbike show and scoped things out
single speeds were starting to pop up
talked further with companies about building up something like this
most frames were costing more than I was planning to sell the whole bike for

we ended up tossing the idea aside
it was a fun dream
but more than likely would not have worked
in the end we realized that if we were able to get our product together for an affordable price we would still be fighting to sell a single speed for the same price as a 21 speed (that may have been the max at the time)
and it was too tough to guarantee a marked for our would be product

in end
Single Speeds have grown in popularity
but not in the lower end "niche"
but rather in the "sport" niche

it is a great addition to the already over categorized over subculture world of cycling
there are single speed cross bikes and single speed off road bikes
with shocks
without shocks
it goes on and on and on

with that said
this week I am ordering a Surly Karate Monkey

1.05.2004

This weekend past it was warm and sunny! What a way to start January 2004! We are continuing the winter informal cross training series. This most recent race was hosted in Takoma Park near Mark Drajem's house. The story is as follows...

On New Year's day the Gwadz family congregated at my father's house
in Bethesda for some dinner and some socializing. After over eating
and growing too full to chase the boys around any longer I suggested
that we all sit down to watch a movie. I selected SEABISCUIT,
although I had seen this film on DVD the week prior it seemed to a
movie that would occupy the adults, while the horses and the horse
racing may entertain the boys in between their new Christmas toy
related activities.

As I watched the film follow the race history of SEABISCUIT I looked
at my brother on the couch beside me and tried to look at myself. It
was clear that they were learning the strengths of this horse and how
to harness the horse's potential. In one of he earlier races (the
Santa Anna Handicap, I think) SEABISCUIT takes off fast and hard only
to burn out and get passed by the pack I could not help but think of
my cyclocross racing style and its lack of strategy, how I often
fight hard in the beginning of a race only to be drafted off of and
passed; then to finish midpack and exhausted. So I watched the film
and tried to document to myself what I could do as a racer and a
rider to race more efficiently and more effectively.

With a few days to review my new strategy I was ready to race. The
usual routine of a quick tune up, a dab of lube on the chain, a spin
of the wheels to verify that they only contact the brakes once on
each rotation, with my gear tossed in a bag I was done. Mark Drajem
had set up a course in Takoma Park Maryland just over the DC border.
The racers arrived one at a time, most showed in the family wagon
with bikes on top and babies in the back seat. We are all entering a
similar stage in life and trying to balance our love for cycling with
our love for our families. With the course set up and my list of
grips being so many that they were no longer valid we lined up to
race. There was a pack of 8 racers. I was in line midpack and knew
what I had to do. The time keeper gave us a countdown and we were
off. My chain skipped and then I missed my pedal the racers pulled
off gracefully as I clumsily moved forward. I gave it my all. Was out
of the saddle testing my limits, in no time at all I had stepped it
up and was keeping pace with my faster and fitter brother. So much
for a renewed sense of strategy. I was once again giving it my all at
the beginning and figuring I would see how long I could hold on.

On this day it was different. Some bad luck for my brother and some
good luck for me. This course seemed to favor me. Although it was
soft and slow there were enough sections to gain speed and then
momentum to force through the deep stuff. There was also enough
technical stuff to add the fun and creativity which also energized
me. There were some sketchy sections, but no one got seriously hurt
and I figured after a two lap preride what I should ride and what I
should run, and then added some more running after some sketchy
sliding out and a few new crashes off course. A great mixture of
grassy off camber turns, some steep out of the saddle climbs, some
run ups both stairs and grass, and then the wooded single track. My
brother had the misfortune of flatting out in the woods right in
front of me, while I was able to burn off the morning coffee, a can
of Red Bull, a shot of Hammer Gel, and even the water bottle filled
with flat coke.

In the end my brother was able to backtrack and steal a spare wheel
from the pits. Even with the setback he was able to reel all the
racers in and steal second from Ad Bax in and had there been one more
lap, he would have stolen the first place finish from me. I waited
for him to catch and pass. It never happened. But I was sure to be
ready for it when it did, I was going to make eye contact with him,
wish him luck, and quote the film SEABISCUIT and tell him with a
smile to "enjoy the ride."

Seabiscut Trailer