10.17.2005

friday night leading into an awesome weekend

out of work early
only a few minutes early... but early just the same
out of work
out on the bike
though the city streets of DC
through the crowded streets of Georgetown
bumper to bumper car traffic on M Street
sidewalks packed with shoppers
across Key Bridge and onto the bike path
out past the airport onto Old Town and back
across the 14th Street Bridge back into DC
back on the city streets
more bumper to bumper traffic

racing the train
dodging a bullet
over to a friend's house to buy some used wheels
for a hundred bucks I roll away with some slightly worn wheels with one broken spoke
then over to the bike shop to get a replacement spoke
the mechanic replaces the spoke and begins to true the wheel before I can cut in
turns out a six pack covers the cost of spoke and repair
guess that is better than me taking it home and not finding the time to make the repair myself
head for home

return home a few minutes late to join some friends for dinner
our kids playing with their kids
carry out menu on the table
I walk the dogs as they place an order
there is a party down the block
down the block in shifts
some stay with the kids
others go to the party down the block with the kids
at the party our friends are hosting an art show
some very cool stuff very well presented

after I stroll through the party/art showing I leave taking the artist's two son's with me
upon my return home I see that one set of toddlers have left with their parents
dinner is gone and so are they
bedtime for the weee oneees
I set up a couch pillow fort to keep the kids occupied
the lights go off
Petzel headlamps go on
the blankets seal things off turning the pillow fort into quite the little hide away
after returning the artist's son's I stay for a Burbon on the rocks
one burbon turns into two burbons
two burbons turns into too many
the clock strikes 2
I stumble down the block for a late night snack
the artist stumbles up to bed
later I learn he fell asleep with his clothes off and his glasses on
not sure if he usually sleeps with his clothes on
I suspect the glasses are usually off

the next morning comes on fast
not much sleep
lots of hang over
the boys join me to walk the dogs while lisa heads off to yoga
after our hike we go to a different neighbor's house
when it is time for me to head for yoga I leave the kids playing with the neighbor's kids
return from yoga feeling much better than before yoga
immediately from yoga I go to a fair at Dean's school
we have volunteered to work one of the booths
there are rides and games
dean is in all his glory and so am I
lots of shaking hands.... kissing babies.... and getting votes
a mayoral canidate tries shaking my hand... tries kissing my babies... and tries getting my vote
then we head back for home
there is grilling and playing out back
we eat in the club house
hot dogs all around
Roscoe steals the lion's share of brat and kiabassa

that night I go to bed at the same time as the boys
8PM
wake the next morning pleased with my decision to for the early bed time
after the usual routine of coffee, clothing the boys, and dog walking we plot our course for the day
it is our sixth wedding anniversary.... a kiss is shared
grab the family and head to Cox Farm for a Fall Festival
pumpkins and alpine slides

the battery for my new digital camera is charged
in a short time my card is filled with images of smiling children
four hours have passed and we have not ridden all the slides
nor have we done all the activities
cox farm gets my vote
we head home passing through the Wendy's drive through
kettle corn and granny smith apples had not been enough to satisfy my hunger
had lisa been driving I would have been asleep along side of Grant
Dean mimics Grant's nasal snore

we return
the grill gets fired up
more kids from neighboring houses racing up the ladder and down the slide
steaks on the grill
the kids are in bed a few minutes after 8
I consider some of the same
but there are things to do
I walk the dogs and go to the store
the day has given me a bit of a rush
on my walk I talk up various strangers
wake for the work week routine
walking the dogs
on the bike and off to work

rinse and repeat
a good weekend
there should be more weekends like this

Cox Farms


10.14.2005

Urban Fashion/Urban Sensibilities-
normally when I travel to the bars at night I tend to go "stealth" on the bike
yet there are times when I am moving on foot these times I like to travel light
before going out I remove my ID, one credit card, and my photo ID
these items all fit comfortably into a little business card holder
(there is even room for a few business cards in there as well... but other than my BLOG... I have no business to promote)

why do I travel light when on foot?

cause if a less than friendly stranger asks me for my money or my life...
well.... the choice is clear
without arguement I should hand over my money

that said...
I was held up at gun point one time prior
there were two of us on foot
I had ridden my bike to my friend Rob's house and we walked to the restaurant together
on our return two very angry and aggressive young males approached us with fire in their eyes and guns in their hands
upon their approach I tried to expedite things by offering my money rather than handing everything over
my efforts became more of a fillibuster than acceleration of the process
but....
I did not want to deal with the hassle of canceling credit cards
worse yet I did not want to have to deal with the MVA (or perhaps what is known to some as the DMV)
it was a foolish interjection on my part
my effort to expedite things could have lead to my extinction
but... in addition to my wallet and its contents... this angry young urban gentleman wanted my whole bag which contained the basic bicycle tools, pump, and tube

come on.... a tube can cost me anywhere from 2 to 5 dollars!

that experience changed my behavior
since then I have wised up
I try not to travel with anything I do not need
more importantly
I try not to travel with anything I can not afford to lose
also learned on that night... do as they say... leave ego and other nonsense behind
if I live to see tomorrow I can buy some more bicycle tools

so I was thinking there must be a market for such a product
a niftly little wallet.... a sub-wallet of sorts
not the massive "BAD MOTHER F---ER" wallet of Pulp Fiction
but rather a small compact package that travels comfortably in a person's pocket
be that pocket the hind pocket, front shirt pocket, or front pant pocket

not to mention the wisdom in carrying something that would cause less pain to hand over...
there is not the discomfort of "wallet butt"
and
your manly bottom will be are attractive on the dance floor with just a slight container
rather than an over stuffed wallet that gives the appearance of "poopy diaper"

being that I am more an "idea man" than a "man of action"
I will leave my creation of the "sub wallet" along side of my double sided tooth past for morning and night (morning side having caffiene/night side containing some sleep aid) and my heated bathroom mat with timer
these are ideas
not pattented creations

oh....
the angry young urban gentleman would have served themselves better to chanel their anger into a Punk Band

bathing a cat
some mornings getting my son's dressed is like trying to bathe a couple of cats
although I am a dog person who has never tried to bathe a cat
I still feel that my measure of this experience is accurate

this morning Dean was a little slow out of the gate
he can dress himself... but there are days where I assist the process
Grant on the other hand... he needs my help
this morning he did not lend a hand
this morning he did not help
instead Grant gave me the pleasure of getting to know what it would be like to bathe a cat


tools: more specifically the specialization of tools
this morning I had some email correspondence with a cycling friend
in that email conversation this person spoke of some things he had witnessed while skating in a local skate park
he questioned the merit of a BMX bike whose seat has been lowered so much that the bike has lost its ability to do much more than jumps and tricks
he then went on to question the trials bike and other very specialized machines

well.... a Phillips head screw driver does not work in place of a flathead
a mallet is not used to pound nails
there is a saw for wood
there is a saw for metal
and it most certainly gets more and more specific than that

the specialization of the bicycle is no different
some bikes are "multi-function" while other bikes are designed for a singular purpose
here is how I responded in my email

the bicycle has evolved
the trials bike is not good for much more than trials
the downhill bike is not so good for anything more than downhill
a cross country mountainbike would not do well in a road race
while a road bike would fare no better in a XC event
the kids in LA make their low riders so low that the cranks can not turn
they need to kick their feet to move
but the specialization of the bike for function is different than adaptations for fashion

cars have dragsters that can not make a turn
sand vehicles that would not work well on the road
H2s that never do more than pick up the dry cleaning

the list goes on

as far as lowering the seat...
well there would be no other way for them to make the jump
I recall in snowboarding there was a movement that was very similar...
the removal of the "high backs" from the bindings made it impossible to carve good turn yetallowed for contortions on airs that could not be done with the rigid binding pressing against the calve
this was a change that I tried... enjoyed... then went to a lower back on my binding
so that I could still carve turns and still make grabs (what few grabs I was able to do)


I have no opposition to the specialization of each tool
there are skateboards for ramp
there are long boards for cruising
each may be able to attempt the task of the other but the specialized tool is the right tool for the task

the same extends to snowboards and of course bicycles

those who ride recumbents call standard bikes "wedgies"
try taking a recumbent off road
heck... try taking a recumbent off a curb

each specialized bike maximizes the potential for each task
pushing the limits of that discipline
we have seen that in the Le Tour de France there are different bikes for different stages
achieving the greatest speed with the greatest efficiency
should there be a rule that each cyclist must start and finish on the same bike with the same equipment?
I think not...

so as much as I can appreciate my friend's question of the BMX bike with its low seat and lack of functionality
I feel that not all bikes are designed to be utilitarian
I say embrace the differences
thank the specializations for their ability to expand the freedom of the bicycle
let their be competition
let their be solidarity

oh yea...
this friend also left the skate park craving his old BMX bike
which he may pull out of his parent's garage
which he may ride with the seat lowered such that he can not pedal comforably
but he will be able to play in the park with

10.13.2005

stumbled upon this today
looks like it may be an interesting resource
but
I did not get into it... so I am bookmarking it for myself and others here
Jim Langley

Hurricane Rita, Floods, Landslides, and an Effort for Aid
Guatemala Death Toll Rises
there is a mountainbike tour company based out of Antigua Guatemala; Old Towne Outfitters
Matt Hartel one of the owners is trying to lend assistance to people in his community
he is asking for your assistance
contact him if you want to make a donation
every little bit helps

Matt Hartel: bikeguatemala@bikeguatemala.com


10.12.2005

organized rides are not entirely my thing
Rotary Rock Creek Ride

that said
I have had a great time at some organized rides
Bike DC and BIKE New York are always excellent events
(although BIKE DC does not seem to be happening any more....)
SUMMER IS OVER
sad but true summer is over
fall is here...
my cyclist friends are talking Cyclocross
my children are talking Halloween
today I wore flannel
yes.....
fall is here

10.10.2005

alley cat/critical mass/ solidarity ride
it would be an amusing project to set up a race/ride through the city that links up a number of the locations listed on the DC Traffic Camera

DC Traffic Cameras

perhaps the event could select the safer intersections
or
choose the routes that would favor the speed of the bike
such as downhill leading to the intersection
or the bikes taking the route that tends to have the longer green light
then
there would be updates to the progress/leaders via the web
someone could record the streaming video
then splice it all together as a race video

take a look at the cameras
it is funny to see the urban activity....
-city workers sleeping in their trucks
-panhandlers doing their daily thing
and of course
-traffic
-human traffic
-people in cars
-people on foot
and
-some people on bikes
not enough people on bikes

critical mass dc

.

10.07.2005

KINGFACE
WFMU's Beware of the BLOG
dischord records
worth a look
and
this clip is worth a listen
as Kingface does Van Halen
taking the day off
as chance would have it on my selected day off the world has chosen to rain over Washington DC
perhaps it is for the best
sure I had plans to hike the Billy Goat Trail in the morning
then an afternoon dirt ride... maybe Schaffer, Cabin John, maybe something more local to me
but
my friends have all backed down from each independent invite
well...
the ride was still an option
road in the rain
but
I had to take the high road of chosing not to ride and muck things up on dirt
while not being drawn to getting soaked on the streets

should be a good weekend for Cyclocross
too bad I am not racing
PSYCH!
soft earth on a cross bike is painful for the CLYDESDALE
mud has its moments
yet I will request fast and dry hard packed first and foremost anyday

so....
after being stood up on two counts
now I have my massive "things to do" list to attack
right now I am working on getting two bike frames painted
an old OUTBACK mountainbike for Lisa
and
that old Colnago road bike for myself
the rain may keep me from spraying them down
but
that forces me to spend a few more minutes for prepping
while actually I would be more than satisfied to do a ghetto paint job not even removing the wheels
yet.... these are frames with no parts.... there are no wheels or tires to dirty with my sloppy spray painting

I can not recall the last time it rained
we need the rain
as much as I could have used a long hike with the dogs sans kids
as much as I could have used a social ride on the bike on dirt that is not a race
there are these "things to do"
best I step away from the BLOG and move forward with these tasks.....

last night Tom hooked me up with a CAMPY crank set
need to decide what bike gets what crank set
my Jamis Nova needs some TLC
the chain skipps under any tork situation
the whole drive train needs to be replaced
and well
as I plan on getting a new cyclocross bike
I do not want to spend too much money putting life back into a bike that will be downgraded to commuter/beater
that said.... this bike still has gear potential
mustache bars?
fenders?
who knows...
but
before I redesign the identity of the Jamis Nova I need to reanimate the Outback and Colnago frames into the status of ridable bikes

10.05.2005






bikesbelong.org
(more for the retailer than the common cyclist)



also more for the retailer

Bicycle Retailer
Quote of the Day from the Bicycle Retailer site-
“If bicycle saddles contribute to erectile dysfunction, then The Netherlands would be empty.”
-Thorsten Schaette of KHS Bicycle Parts. Thorsten added that his company has no saddles for sale.

in response to this article
also an interesting article on Timbuk2

while I am telling tales of my misspent youth...

when I was 21.... roughly a year after graduating from college I went cross country on my motorcycle
on this cross country motorcycle trip I zig and I zagged across the country

visiting friends and family in different states
dictating a route that appeared random to those not knowing about the places I stayed and the people I visited
the warm beds and the stocked fridges

while going cross country I passed through Yellowstone National Park
in this park I saw Old Faithful and lots of RVs
at one point I got off my motorcycle and hiked into the woods
once deeper into the woods I found a few lone Buffalo
I tried to follow them... but they moved quickly away

as I tried to follow them I got further into the woods but had no luck
they moved quickly away and out of view
I stalked blindly through the woods with my camera in hand
like a hunter I tried to move silently to get a good shot at the unsuspecting Buffalo
further into the woods way off trail I had no concern about being lost or the safety of my motorcycle or my gear
my focus was on the Buffalo

some time passed when I saw a man meditating on a rock ahead
before I could turn the other way to respect his solitude my foot cracked a twig at my feet
gently the man in front of me opened his eyes
with a nod he greeted me and welcomed me forward
we spoke and I told him where I was from, my ride cross country, and my immediate efforts to find the Buffalo
it was a pleasant exchange
as it turns out this man was a Native American Indian
a descendent of trackers
a tracker himself

he offered to help me find the buffalo and then lead me back to my motorcycle

this sounded wonderful
we walked a little further
the out of the woods and into a clearing
my tracker guide walked a few feet in front of me
he motioned for me to stop
then he silently crouched down to the ground
he then put his head to the ground and uttered these words... "oh.... Buffalo come."
with surprise I asked, "how do you know? can you hear their steps like an approaching train can be heard on the tracks?"
to that the indian tracker guide replied... "no... because ear stuck to ground."
tattoos
roughtly a decade and a half ago I rode my motorcycle cross country

while staying in the bay area I took a ride one Sunday morning from Mill Valley (the base of Mount Tam) to the Blue Buddha in Oakland
it was a trip more like a day at the dentist office than a tattoo parlor i
t took place on a Sunday morning not a Friday night
I was stone cold sober and had a clear head
my design came with me and not off a wall
not quite the story of a sailor on leave
but I have a number of stories that are told with that flavor.. so it is fine if this tale is told differently

there was pain... but not from a drill
got the back side of the Buffalo Nickel tattoed on the shoulder of my right arm
my little piece of America

my red, white, and blue
my American Flag
a statement of my love and distain for this beautiful yet ugly country
a country of freedom
a country of oppression
the Buffalo represents the great west and wonderful freedom
yet we nearly drove this animal to extinction
through hunting and isolation
this once wild animal that lived a nomadic life is now forced to live out its life in a more confined state

that said... around that same time I had considered getting a stamp with a postmark with the year and location on the postmark
this was not the stamp in my head at that time
yet this stamp gets the idea across just the same

not sure why I am telling this tale
guess the Jefferson Nickel has me jumping from tangent to tangent


New Nickel:
It is not Jefferson's facing forward... it is the hair!
the US Mint has just announced that it is going to release the first coin with the presidential image facing forward
I have no objection to eye contact with my coins....
but
what is up with Jefferson's hair?

he looks like Owen Wilson in ZOOLANDER!
Did Jefferson's hair ever look like that?
if so fine....
if not... WHAT THE F---!

more coin info

and to complete the geek collector idea while bringing it back to the bike... Bicycle Stamps

10.04.2005

classic image with a twist
from the brains of Cal-tech Commuters
THE JOKER
he looks more like a King to me
but
since he is on a bicycle his status gets re-evaluated
I know how he feels

buses, cars, bigger cars, and even motorcycles pass bicycles like they are obstacles in the road
like those on bicycles are second class citizens blocking progress
never is my right to life taken into account
never is my tax contribution that goes to these roads taken into account
for some reason I am downgraded from husband and father to something on the level of an orange safety cone

perhaps the folks at Bicycle Playing cards can redesign their cards
putting the Joker in a Hummer H2 rather than on the bicycle
clearly the SUV stuck in bumper to bumper traffic is more of a JOKER than the cyclist zipping cross town with the wind in their hair... burning calories, taking in the day all while shaking the stress of the work day
moving forward rather than standing still
realeasing stress rather than building stress
(most of the time)

the Joke is on them...

Joker T-Shirts
Bicycle Playing Cards
Quisp


10.03.2005

Recovery....

here are some articles about post work out recovery foods
something I have been neglecting
my sore calves may have something to do with this

recovery foods
same article.... top ten recovery foods

this weeked past I was scheduled to work which had me miss two races
each that sounded very attractive to me.... the Lodi Farms mountainbike event and the Ed Sanders cyclocross event

Future Cyclocross Events
I better tune my bike and get ready for future cross races

Bicycle Sales
on the RISE!

some words on BICYCLE COMMUTING by Grant Peterson

9.30.2005


Link

link to this blog and get a free sticker
I want a free sticker
but
did I make the deadline?

worth a look
http://www.cyclelicio.us/
bicycle blogs are hot with stories from Vegas

I blew through town just days before Interbike
which is fine
I had a grand experience
my experience would have been different had my bachelor party plans had the chance overlap with Interbike
dcbike.org?

does DC have something like bikeportland.org
well
it clearly should

the funny thing about this expression
this expression is not in response to the BIG SHOT ride
this expression is just the standard response to the statement that was just uttered....
"hey... next week at this time you will be married!"
the ride was relaxing after that taste of reality
this has nothing to do with bikes
but... if you have a minute
it may amuse you
movie
this is quasi related
also funny
got these from MADDOG
not to be confused with Hounddog
The Stratosphere:
among the list of highlights from our Vegas Adventure,
The Stratosphere ranks high along side the "all you can eat" buffet at Cravings
the rides were awesome....
the four rides each had their value
if I were to go back... I would re-order them
-High Roller
-X-Scream
-INSANITY
and then
-BIG SHOT
then BIG SHOT again
that ride is a rush
what is so great about that photo is the expressions on each person's face
I may not look as scared as I am in that photo
that pose was held and locked for 5 minutes waiting for the ride to start
the BIG SHOT is a Thrill and a Half.... it is so scary that it is comical

not everyone wants to have an epic mountain bike adventure with the folks from Escape Adventures
but everyone should ride these rides at the Stratosphere
the view is awesome
the rides are a rush

one warning...
we rode the rides on an empty stomach sober
I recommend the same
tip-as I will never grow up
don't ask me to hold your camera
don't leave your camera sitting around
the temptation is too great for me to control
in this modern age of digital photography it is a tad less obnoxious
snoopy left his camera in the room
so when I went to bed earlier then the rest of the folks in our group... well... he got a little pictorial
this was just one of the shots
but
you get the basic idea
perhaps I should have used the timer
but
the mirror and the extended arm shots tend to be my favorite
belligerent drunk
there is this guy

he is a friend of a friend
we are friends
neither on the other's A list
friends just the same


he is a good guy
yet at parties he roams around all loud and obnoxious

his train of thought in conversation is somewhat random

at times he is moderately aggressive and in people's face

it is really quite a performance


my main issue with his behavior is that he is not actually a belligerent drunk

after all he is clean and sober

I can not recall what he was like when he was a drunk before he stopped drinking

now I just feel like giving him the old.... "I need to go to the bathroom" or "I need to get another drink"
thinking he will forget
but as he is not drunk he will not forget

is his behavior forgivable
?
we forgive the antics of someone who has had one too many
the lampshade on the head

the dancing on the bar

the public urination
the awkwardness of hitting on the boss' wife or better yet the boss' daughter

but what is to be done about the sober man's misbehavior at party?

9.29.2005

.
more crap....
gawker.com... sometime it is nice to fill the day with fluff
.
DC Underground Film Fest
DCUFF
this weekend
Bugs Bunny once said...
"so... she's mechanical?"
guess that is the popular response in Vegas these days

ten cents a dance- Ruth Etting


Mountain Biking in VEGAS!

as mentioned before I was hesitant about a trip to Vegas
in addition to the expense of this trip
there was also hesitation due to the whole
"what happens in Vegas.... stays in Vegas" ad campaign
so... in an effort to keep myself honest I arranged that a few of us on this trip would go mountain biking
certainly the thought of an afternoon in the hot desert sun would get us to bed earlier and keep us from ordering those last few unneeded drinks

the only other taker on the Vegas Mountain Bike Adventure was my college buddy and co-bestman Snoopy (aka Kevin... a name he started using in his quasi-adult life... still Snoopy to me)
which was fine... as it was not a free adventure and the less waiting the better

the trip was booked through a company called Escape Adventures
there was one other rider aside from Snoopy and myself
we were skeptical of his skills... but he was traveling with his own pedals which says something and the tour company assured us that he was confident with his technical abilities

the Escape Adventure company picked us up at our hotel with a fleet of Santa Cruz Blurs on top of the white van with Escape logo painted on the side
the third member of our ride was already in his gear riding shotgun
he was in his early 50's but clearly looked fit
we drove the 45 minutes off the strip to Red Rocks Canyon

it was good to get off the strip
as mentioned previously the Vegas Strip does not make any sense until the sun sets
there is plenty of shopping to be done for those that seek out such things
such things do not entertain me
there is also the pool.... but more pale middle age folk than bronze beauties
no need to spend my time there
so spending an afternoon on the bike fit into my desires perfectly

we were scheduled for pickup at one in the afternoon
our driver/guide arrived on time
nothing shy of professional.... not the rusty 1971 VW van I had expected
we loaded up our gear and jumped into the van
my heart started to race and energy began to build even before I opened up my can of Red Bull
our driver/guide, Chad, was a transplant from Minnesota
our fellow 51 year old tourist was from Michigan
most certainly Chad never knows what to expect from his riders on these day tours
we talked about our desires and our abilities as we drove out of downtown through the rapidly growing sprawl which is Las Vegas

in our discussion I made it clear that I would enjoy technical but was not looking for any "major drop offs"
sold myself as a fast sport rider or a slow expert with no boasting
there was some talk of recent races
the other riders gave ideas of what they were looking for on this day
everyone being humble
everyone under selling themselvse

once at the trailhead I suited up in my gear
after pounding my can or Red Bull and popping a few E-Caps I was suited up in head to toe City Bikes gear and ready to ride
this was to be my innagural ride with the new City Bikes jersey... flames and all

I went to the top of the first rise to releave my bladder as the others finished getting ready

Chad was on his single speed
the three of us were on tour provided full suspension Santa Cruz Blurs

there was a gradual grade at the start
then it moved into a slight descent
that would be the tone of the day
moderate up and moderate down
a roller coaster ride through the desert
a path meandering between cacti and a wide variety of other prickly plants whose names do not know
in the distance we were surrounded by a variety of mountains and various mesas
it pleased me that we went around the mesas and not so near the mountains
the roller coaster was far more appealing to me than a long steady mountain climb
although I never mind a screaming down hill

it was good to have Chad as our guide
he worked well as a pace vehicle
always giving a little forewarning to obstacles, barriers, and change in grade
our pace was brisk
but not hectic
too fast on the soft squishy bike was sure to slide off the soft squishy trail
running off trail would certainly end up in a prickley mess comical to all
well... comical to all other than the human pin cushion

there were moments of serious smiles
after warming up and getting a feel for the bike and the earth beneith me I really enjoyed myself
it is always great to get out on the bike
the trails were awesome
there was desert wildlife swarming around me
hummingbirds, well bird
some ground birds... maybe a quail of sorts
some desert lizards
as far as plants
all sorts of interesting desert plants.... all of them prickley
some of which got stuck in my leg
while others just stabbed me in my arm

at one point we had a unintentional breather when Mike from Michigan had some pedal/cleat issues
we managed to set things right and get back on the trail after a little hassle
nothing that tarnished the day
as such things are all part of mountain biking

the three hours of riding went by pretty fast
the desert sun was not as brutal as we feared
actually with the breeze it was rather pleasant

late in the ride both Mike and Chad flatted out
it was so close to the end that they continued riding rather than breaking for the repair
bummer for Mike as the final miles were a bit of a rush

the ride left me wanting more
the loop was described as an Intermediate/Expert loop
having ridden with Chad on this set of trails I wished I had booked him for another day
as he knew a little more of my capabilities and could certainly take me to some alternate loops that may have offered a tad more technical
that is not to say there were not technical sections
there were many.... most of which I had to stall on or dab on as the trail was unfamilar
and
the desert terrain is not my native riding ground thus offering a different set of riddles to solve

it was an awesome ride
Chad was an awesome guide
he was mellow and fast
a great combination
a guy who loves to ride and does not mind getting paid for it

it worked out well linking up with the third rider
Mike definitely held his own
there were never any worries that he was over his head
as he was fast and steady on the bike

if you are headed to Vegas and you love to mountainbike
contact Escape Adventures
you may want to request Chad
but I am confident that all of their guides are equally as qualified and equally as cool

Red Rock Canyon
these trails would be great not only for riding
but also for the elite trail runner
the runner would want to do a shorter loop
but the vistas and views would make it worth while
oh... one last thing... wear amber lenses... the desert is always more beautiful with the amber lenses
Chad called them Prozac Shades

photos to come
Chevy Chase's Trash or Treasure-
so....
after counting the loot and debating with the notion of doing another drive through Chevy Chase, Maryland's biannual Trash or Treasure day I opted not to collect any more trash for my basement

the Tiny Tikes toy work bench is a hit

the Stan Smith tennis racket is making the young tennis stars I always dreamed of raising

the trail a bike is another bike to step over in my basement

there is no need for any leaky aquariums or fish bowls


after reviewing in my head what remained
the odds of a decent bicycle still sitting on the curb seemed slim
the imagry had me thinking about a few other things...

I thought about all of the computers and monitors I saw in these piles of trash

so I called the Town of Chevy Chase's offices and spoke to a few people
left a message
then sent an email to restate that such things are not to be collected as trash
with that I sent a link to Montgomery County's computer recycling options

no... I am not a do gooder

I am someone who tries to do what everyone should do
the basics to keeping the world safe and clean for a livable tomorrow

this was not blowing the whistle or even telling someone what to do
it was just a matter of opening their eyes to the situation
they were aware of the rules... they had informed the neigborhood of the guidelines of what should be placed on the curb
but
they did not drive through after people set stuff out for collection

perhaps they should have trash and recycling pick up for these events
as there most certainly will be other hazardous waste in addition to the computers and monitors


9.28.2005

three things that need to be invented....
lets make that four.

-a saw blade that stops when it touches human flesh

-a toilet that does not accept childrens toys (extend that to cell phones and tv remotes)

-a sink drain that stops the falling wedding ring

-a device that gives a car four flat tires when it exceeds the speed limit on a residential road by 15 miles an hour


last week I went to Vegas for a bachelor party...
honestly… the "what happens in Vegas…. stays in Vegas" ad campaign had me a little worried
it all turned out to be some good clean fun... here is the tale


highlights from Vegas
it was my old friend rob's bachelor party
also another member of the party was getting married as well
(actually a handful of members of this fifteen man party were getting married and one that just eloped)
stayed at the Mirage with two grooms to be and one other
I am one of the best man at one of the groom's weddings
the other odd man out is the best man at both of the upcoming weddings

okay... Vegas highlights....
the strip makes little sense in the day
it all explains itself once the sun sets
while the lights dance against the black sky while it all becomes more clear
like shooting pool in a smoky dive bar at noon... just not as comfortable when the sun comes in the front door

since shopping is not high on my list of pleasures I traveled to Vegas with a Frisbee and some mountain bike gear
lots of mountain bike gear
more mountain bike gear than all other gear combined
although I have many frisbees I only brought one
asking all others to pack a frisbee

the afternoon of day one after arrival was set to be a Frisbee golf day
there are something like six Frisbee golf courses in the Vegas area….
golfing in Vegas seemed like a good plan
three members of our large bachelor party went down to the pool
as four others went golfing proper
others were checking in
others were yet to arrive
after some time at the pool three of us made our move to get a cab to go golfing… Frisbee golfing
just as we were about to step into a cab... our plans got high jacked by the would be golfers…
golf ball golfers not frisbee golfiers
apparently there was hectic traffic
bumper to bumper
they dissuaded us from attempting this mission
so we gathered for dinner

we went as a group for dinner at Frontier
two different parties recommended Frontier for the best Mexican in Vegas
well… don't go to Vegas for Mexican food if Frontier offers the best… then Mexican in Vegas sucks
(but… I am sure that there are great places to get Mexican… just not at Frontier... can not explain the dual wrong advice)

the first night in Vegas we discovered that a party of 10-15 people has about 100-150 different ideas of what should be done
eventually we all had to disband and move in separate directions
most went to gamble at different tables
one guy went back to his room to recover from a cold
we had a party of five that went down to Circus Circus for some fun at the Midway games
on my first morning in Vegas I walked the strip going into various casinos trying to get a feel for things beyond the slot machines
Circus Circus had a really "kitschy" feel to it
the boardwalk style games kept us entertained but we realized we had set to meet back at the Mirage at a designated time so we cut our games short
mistake….. we should have kept the multiple groups rather than one large amoeboid mass
we managed to win a few stuffed animals
as well catch some circus style performance in the middle ring with a spot light completeing the stage
it was impressive
some classic acrobats from the old school
then there were some muscular men doing some poses that were very Cirque du Soleil
only with a little less attitude
a little less mime (pandamonium)

we did not hear about the indoor amusement park till it was too late
saw it later from the Stratosphere
yet did not manage to fit it into our trip
bumper cars would have been fun
go carts may have been more fun

we marched the strip back to the Mirage
the night went on including drinks and confusion
we still were not clear what the agenda and desire of the whole group was
our final decisions tended to frustrate me as the group's goals were not always my goals
being a team player I went with the pack
only to abandon everyone once my fears were proven true

as a group we went to Tangerine
a swank night club at Treasure Island
personally I had not desire to go there
I am 38 and married while most of the people there were in their late 20's and single
everyone at Tangerine was dressed in fancy club gear and well… I was dressed like me
our party was also less "club".... more "casual"
there was no meeting of the minds in this place for me
my interests were of no interests to the folks at Tangerine and vice versa
so I evacuated
spending more time in line then I spent in the bar… and we were not in line for that long
luckily we had free passes that were given to me by one of the Vegas Kooks barking on one of the corners of the Vegas Strip
end up going back
doing some simple math realizing that late in Vegas is even later for someone functioning on Eastern Standard Time
on the way back my bad habit of the midnight snack seemed to have more pull than the calling of my bed
my college buddy Tim and I shared an eighteen dollar sandwich…. sharing added a three dollar "sharing fee"
ah…. VEGAS!
it is all about the dollar in Vegas… well in most cases it is about the twenty

after a late night on the town I thought that I would be sleeping late the next day
now way baby…. I was up and active before 9am….
was it the OXYGEN being pumped into the room?
no… as that is a myth
it was more a matter of my circadian rthyms being set on Eastern Standard Time as dictated by the wakings of my two young boys
with two members of our party still sleeping I dressed and went down to the casinos to scope things out
the buffet at Cravings looks quality
after a little stroll around the casino I found two members of our party trying to earn back the money they lost the night prior
made a call up to the room
we all met at Cravings for a spectacular breakfast into lunch feast
after food we moved around town killing time till our afternoon mountain bike ride at Red Rocks Canyons

the strip in the day was filled with tourists hustling and bustling about
taxi cabs trying to lure people into their cabs which would then drop people off at clubs
corners filled with men and women handing out flyers, brochures, and business cards… all with wonderfully underdressed women drawing men's attention
these same flyers littered the sidewalks and the streets
like the passing of a ticker tape parade
only this is everyday
the paper trail covers the strip
most certainly the wind blows and carries these glossy advertisements into the desert
somewhere a canyon is becoming an unintentional landfill
yes…. disgusting
especially after measuring the effectiveness of these flyers….. as everyone is done with them seconds after they touch their hands

snoopy and I were the only members of our party that were going mountain biking
rob and Trevor are also cyclists…. but… neither has been riding that much so they let us go at our pace
the van arrived on time and took us out to Red Rocks Canyon for an awesome ride through the desert
more to come on this later as I will try to create a full report on that ride and that ride alone

we returned from our ride refreshed and covered in dust
each of us had a number of pin holes from the cacti… but nothing that a rinse off and a dip in the pool would not repair
we cleaned up and went to the pool
from the pool we went to the hot tub and then gathered with our party…. our party that was expanding as people arrived and checked in

almost failed to mention of the greatest
highlights of the trip
that was the rides at the STRATOSPHERE
ontop of the Vegas version of the space needle are four rides
it was a rush
a total blast
good thing we did this before our Samba dinner
picture to follow!
this story of the stratosphere will be expanded upon along with the mountainbike ride
both were an awesome rush


there was enough time to ride all of the rides
even enough time to ride the best ride twice, THE BIG SHOT
making it back just in time for our reservations for a Brazilian feast at SAMBA

at samba
we had a table reserved for the full wedding party
Kurt made the reservation and he made the right choice
the restaurant is in the Mirage so we did not have far to travel
we gathered for feast of various meats and Mojitos and Campirninas
everyone got full…. so full that even with these stiff drinks no one was getting stumbling drunk
there were some corny party favors floating around the table… some novelty handcuffs… a midget blow up doll… and other similar contraptions to set the bachelor party mood

after dinner there was more confusion of what was to happen next
again there were a hundred and fifty different agendas
not everyone's needs could possibly be met
at first we tried to migrate together
but then we lost various individuals to different draws
some went to play craps… others sought out Texas hold'em… and some even sat down at the slot machines
I moved with a group that wanted to try going to a club
so I went and got the free passes for a Club across the street in the Venetian
upon meeting up with the group I informed everyone that the "free pass" is only good before midnight
we crossed over the Venetian just the same
once in line at the club I looked at the line and I looked at myself
midnight being three am eastern standard time did not help my mood
the option of a cover made no sense to me
so I again abandoned ship
one other member of the party joined me….
we went downstairs to the casino to get a feel for slots and tables in slightly different arena

in no time at all my phone rang…
the group in line also lost heart on club Vivid at the Venetian and came downstairs
some people gambled
some people drank
I drank more Jagermeister and did some people watching
occasionally I dropped a quarter in a slot machine… but not much more
actually very few machines accepted coins…. most did not pay out in coins
it saddened me to see the arm of the one arm bandit slowly become a vestigial structure
ah… if people do not use the arm…. they will not make the arm
so much for the one arm bandit

some time passed and I was able to sell the option of the Midway games to our larger party
like fools we bypassed the cab option and made that same long trek down the strip
people were growing tired as it was getting late
when we finally arrived at Circus Circus I was saddened to learn that the midway section of this casino closed at Midnight
luckily the drinks were cheaper than at the other casinos
so people got drinks and sought out the gambling options that met their desires

I too was growing tired…
before knowing that the Midway was closed at Circus Circus I had one of our friends start his march solo from the Mirage where he was glued to the craps table
I called him and told him to stop walking… that we would meet him half way
other members of our party were leaving as well…
two guys were grabbing a cab before us… I gave some advice… "be open to the options that the cabbie presents to you… who knows what fun you will find... we are in the desert... let the wind blow you like the tumble weed"
or something to that effect
maybe without the mention of the tumble weed
so the three of us marched out of the casino…. back to the strip… pointed back to the Mirage
a cab pulled up
a familiar nasally voice came out of a cab window as it pulled up along side of us
I had heard his sales pitch on several corners before
this same guy... this same voice
each time waving him away
snoopy told me to take my own advice
we got in
we called for our waiting friend
got his exact location and picked him up

the cabbie wanted to take us to a club
he had a deal
he would pay our cover and not charge us for the cab
this deal sounded too good to be true
this kinda deal sounded like it would have us face down in the desert with a bullet placed in the back of each of our heads
but
we got in and took the ride
there was also fear that we would be dropped off at some seedy cinderblock square where all the should be retired dancers worked
but I was wrong

the cabbies gets paid 50 bucks for each person they bring to the clubs…. bachelor parties being the biggest suckers
with a thirty dollar cover he would only make 20 bucks off each of us
but
that is 20 more than he would have made if he had picked up no riders at this time
along with paying our cover he also gave us some drink vouchers
the club was called Treasures… girls dancing… girls working the crowd
it looked like some sort of palace
while the women were doing a modern dance of the seven veils

we took some seats near the stage and took in the show
it is an interesting study
I of course took on the whole event not as a participant but as a sociologist
like Jane Goodall it was Gorilla in the Mist… or perhaps I was a Gorilla in the Mist of a Smoke Machine
it was fun even if we followed the rules

our energy tapered we got a cab home
we all climbed into our beds only to wake for another day

I woke refreshed again
again wondering about this Oxygen being pumped into the room myth
went downstairs and found our main bachelor at the slots again
again I petitioned for the buffet at Cravings… the price went up on weekends to 22.50
campagne brunch
after doing the math on an omelet, coffee, and orange juice it still seemed like the best deal in town
called up to the room
the late sleepers met us for breakfast
it was awesome

again not knowing what to do with the day I wished I had booked a second mountain bike trip
but
did not have the gumshion to make the call to try and setthings up this late
so I talked about the Frisbee golf option with the group
come cell phone calls were made
we had five more players interested
I volunteered to get Frisbees while they lounged poolside

after a fulfilling breakfast I hit the strip….
not one sport store in the mall
not one Marshall's
not one Ross Dress for Less
not one souveneir store had a frisbee

I had covered some serious ground
did the Circus Circus loop and then some
only to return to the group with no Frisbees
a party of three grabbed our two lone Frisbees and then a cab
only to make a two minute stop right at Target
to our pleasure they had a solid 175 Wamo Ultimate Disc
it was effortless
just as well we did not drag the full party along
three is better than 8 when playing Frisbee golf
although I did wish that he main bachelor would have been able to attend

we arrived at Sunset Park and took in the lay of the course
it was flat and green
not the desert setting I was expecting
yet it was beautiful just the same
we were right by the airport with the tall buildings of the strip not far within view and mountains in the distance surrounding us
the wind was blowing hard
planes were landing overhead
that was a variable that we all had to contend with... the wind... not the planes
although there were a few wild tosses

it surprised me how many people were out playing disc golf
we were the only players who were not using "golf specific" discs

I am a single speeder version of a Frisbee golfer
a rigid single speeder at that
all three of us played with Ultimage discs intentionally
as it is our way
we played all 18 holes
Trevor and snoopy taking a few holes to warm up
I shot pretty much par across the board
maybe a poor putt or two throwing me over
our scoring had the lowest score on each hole set par
as we initially had not intended upon writing down anything

we drove from the Am rather than the Pro distance due to the wind
I felt we all carried our own with the Ultimate Discs
even if we did get looks and laughs from the locals with their golf bags with discs for dog leg left, dog leg right, putting, and driving long and straight
just as I do not know how to use the tool of the full suspension bike
I do not know how to maximize the potential of any of the various golf discs

after eighteen holes
or should I say... after 18 chain baskets we decided to get dinner at the strip mall across the street
a mom and pop pizza joint served our needs well
it was no Cravings… but I still had the next morning for the all I cared to eat buffet
after our Strombolis we called a cab and moved to the parking lot for some more Frisbee
we got into our "70'style" with spins, jumps, and grabs
after some time I called a cab from another service
then continued to throw the disc in the remaining light
the late cab arrival gave us over an hour of fun chasing a Frisbee as the sun set over the mountains behind us
with planes landing over head
not a bad sight
the lights of the strip turning on as the day ended and the night started
it was a nice approach
revealing casinos we had not seen before.... Paris... New York New York... MGM Grand....
all sort of amusement park rides and excessive archetecture

we returned to the hotel with only a little time to shower and change before our bus ride for the bachelor grand finalle
we were going to another "gentleman's club"
we went to Treasures the night prior… this night we were going to Sapphire
ah….
not only do I get to play sociologist again
but I also get to play travel guide as I get to compare and contrast the merits of two very simialr yet different clubs

this night much like the night prior
only with a larger party
luckily the music was loud and the lights were dark so no one could tell how geeky and nervous we all were in this setting
we spent a few hours at the club taking in the sights then got a cab to take us back to the main strip
once on the strip we marched on to a variety of other casinos
we went in some of the smaller ones and then a few larger ones
getting a drink
the service was better but the waitresses were not as hot
and the gentlemen's clubs were no buffet at Cravings

then back to the strip
at the Bellagio we got to see the beautiful people
at the Flamingo we got to see the sleeping flamingos and the African penguins
there was gambling
finally enough was enough
it was late and we were all tired
more would have just meant more of the same

we went back to the Mirage
some did some more gambling
some went off to bed
I went off to bed

only to wake for the final morning for a quick dash down to the pool
the wedding party chatted
a multitude of pale bodies never intentending on getting tan
we exchanged tales from the night prior
some boasted about how much they won
others boasted about how much they lost
we compared flights home
we laughed about the clubs
then with a hearty handshake I was back to the room then to catch a ride to the airport
but…. only after hitting Cravings one last time
sure I risked missing my flight
but…. all I care to eat buffet! it would most definitely worth it

rather than a cab I caught the shuttle
the indirect route caused additional anxiety
check in lines kept my heart racing
I move through the airport speedily only to hear my name on the loud speaker

in the end I make my flight on time
not being the last person to board.... but pretty darn close

fly home
where I get to sleep in my own bed
wake to the routine of being a dad in Washington DC
ah
home again
myth or no myth.... I think I would like a shot of OXYGEN to help me wake up each morning

Vegas....
it was awesome
glad that I got to experience it
next time....
book a second mountainbike trip
and
play a desert frisbee golf course... if there is one

9.26.2005

fred sanford's fantasy
only.... without that cool old truck
and without that cool soundtrack in the background

tonight lisa had a work dinner
which left me playing the roll of mr. mom
I knew this day was coming so I had a mental picture of hanging at my dad's
the pool season is coming to a close
I was seeking a few last swims before the pool closes
still some exposures left on that disposable underwater camera

the change of season forced a change of plans
cool air and rain made things less flexible
the early darkness had Dean asking to swim at night
my little four year old was expressing the same yearning for the pool at grandpa's as I was
yet adding the excitment of swimming in the dark with the lights
this is something he has not done this year
amazes me to think that he is basing these ideas off his memories from last summer
it is curious how much a young child remembers from the years before
sometimes i think that each year they experience things for the first time again
but then they come up with a reflection that reveals memories from long ago
well
long ago in their life span

it is a short drive from my house to my dad's
a few miles max.... maybe 4..... maybe 6
while working with rush hour traffic towards my father house I noticed a pile of trash on the curb as I turned down bradley blvd
country club on one side... beautiful million plus homes on the other....
this trash was not recycling, bags of leaves, or the basic trash can
it was what looked more like the product of some "spring cleaning"
then further down the block there was another pile very similar
a wide smile cloaked my face

I turned back to Dean and Grant and told them that we would be making a pass through this neighborhood on the way home for a little Trash or Treasure
twice a year... once in the fall and once in the spring this neighborhood has a bulk trash pick up that ends up being a scavengers's dream

the evening at my father's was a pleasure
my dad loves to play host
he cooked various finger foods for me and the boys
it was a strange combination of some frozen foods, some left overs, and other pantry snacks
milk in spiderman cups or juice in an equally cool Nemo cup with a built in accordian straw

after dinner there was a movie
dean wanted power rangers
I vetoed and requested Dr Suess
dean objected
I held my ground
my dad blamed me when dean protested
grant had no interest in the tv screen
young grant took a moment to bond at my side then back to the various toys a grandpa's
his selections were noisy
bam bam was doing some slamming so loud with a toy hammer as he forced the square pegs through the round holes
(well.... not really.... but more interesting to say that than to try to describe the toy he was playing with)

so even as dean's interest got peaked he could not hear the dialogue

so I moved grant's attention to some less audible toys
his favorite'....... "cars"
at grandpa's there are some metal cars on the shelf
the lesser models are permited for play

with grant entertained my father and I discussed the film quizing him on what may happen next
dean has never seen he film
but we have read the books so he answered accurately with detail and pride to each question
we all watched
my father and I discussed the morals of each story
dean watched and asked vearious questions while answering various questions

with the Sneeches, the Zaxs, and Green Eggs and Ham behind us we said our good byes and pointed for home
well... pointed for home with a detour

I made my way towards the host of this Trash or Treasure experience with the anticpation of a kid trick or treating in a neighborhood rumored to hand out full candy bars at each and every house
with very few houses skipped in between

Dean and Grant were in the back seat
thunderball's first record was playing on the cd player
dean amused me when the songs changed and a familiar voice started to "toast"
dean informed me that the man singing is the man that painted our house
sure enough
Hutchie was doing his thing
I asked dean if he knew his name.... he did not
I told him his name was Michael Hutchinson (no... not from INXS)
but that some people call him "hutchie"
dean is a very four year old sort of way asked why people call him that

as we talked and listened to the music I weaved my way through the affluent suburban neighborhood
the rain fell steady and slow
I weaved my car in an effort to get a better visual of piles of rich man's rubbish as I traveled down the block
there was a curious number of people walking their dogs
unfamiliar with the daily events of this neighborhood I am not clear if they are on a regularly scheduled walk or a curious cruise through the trash or treasure themselves

there is a weber kettle at every other pile
a gas grill with potential good years in their future at every third pile
that is a lot of grills
there are doors that have never been hung
lugage and chests are almost as popular old shelves
my eyes scan for circles and pipes
yes... I am transparent
I am shopping for bicycles
this is not to say that bb guns, surfboards, and acoustic guitars are not welcome as well

a tiny tikes kids play work bench is my first score
it is not long before dean is playing with an old tennis racket
in good shape
more than likely the venir had been in tact before the evening's rain
grant and dean giggle as they take turns using the racket as a mesh mask

the car stops as soon as it starts
the small wheel fools me... it is a golf cart carriage
the wheelbarrel is obvious
the tricycle is missing a wheel.... making it a bicycle but not useful to me

not sure which came first but they filled the car fast
skiies and trail a bike
the folding alley cat trail-a-bike looks like a good score
although the mount may be more a hassle to find than just buying a new system
the cross country skiies are beautiful wood.... norwegian wood like the beatles song
well norwegain skiies.... which is not a beattles song.... but they are from norway
too beautiful to let go to the dump
I think of a corner to put them or a wall to adorn

a few more loops a few more turns
the norditrack is tempting
not to mention sticking with the xc theme
but I know myself well enough to know they will not used
I consider calling my brother
but that would take testing and trying the old work out gear in the rain
then giving him my word that it would be worth his time
I forgoe the call
there are other tempting stops
a stray wheel
some road tires
lots of other stuff I will never need or never use
all left behind
even after the thought of Chain Reaction

on my indirect way back to the city I see a full bike with a small adult frame
too small for me but worth a look
fenders and rack
bent tubes for the old frame
as I get closer I see it is an old three speed
not a thumb shifter... a three speed gear shifter is mounted on the top tube
it was an old Hercules
red paint
no rust
air gone from the tires but in solid shape
I lifted the old beast onto my thule rack
the connection was not good
but
it seemed like it would hold for a short trip

I got back in the car and argued in my head if the bike was solid without it locking in place
I slowly rolled forward
the bike fell lose from he rack
I quickly stopped the car and got out
trying to save my car and my rack
as I removed the bike from the rack dean started to yell
he wanted this bike
I explained that it was too large for him
that it did no work for this rack
he thought the bike looked cool
I had to be more persuasive

in and effort to distract him i tried to make it clear that our big scores were the trail a bike and the toy tool bench
that this bike did not work for us
I returned the bike to the sidewalk
not the same rubbish pile
a pile across the street and down the block a house or two

with a glance at the car and the rack I felt better to know I did not trash my new rack in an effort to collect some trash

we drove home
grant was asleep before we crossed the dc line into rock creek park
we were minutes from home
after I put the boys to sleep
I then unloaded the car
hid my score in the basement
as I do not want to push my luck
dumpster diving and las vegas is too much pleasure for one man to have in one week

ah....
if only I owned a barn
I would swoop on through grabbing all the fishbowls, all the doors, all the shutters, all the old bathroom vanities, all of those things that I would never use or never need
but grabbing them just in case