Rants on Cycling and on Life


screaming man
here it is 11:07 in the evening
rapidly approaching midnight
screaming man has just passsed by my car parked across the street from my house
where is he coming from?
what is in that bag of his?
why does he walk with a limp?

more importantly.....
who is screaming man?
where did this screaming man come from?
what incidents in life brougth him to what appears to be a mentally troubled state?
was it a sequence of bad choices?
was it mental illness that sent him to living on the streets or was it living on the streets that lead to mental illness?
why is it that a homeless man can live in the woods, but when I get caught camping out of season I get a ticket? (then sent on my way)

oh.... you don't know what I am talking about? have you ever seen this man who walks up and down the heavily trafficked road outside my house?
he lives is a ricketty little poor excuse for a shelter just a block down the street, no more than 20 yards off the main road.... a few yards closer to Jay Rockefeller's house than to mine

here I am living in Northwest Washington DC less than two miles from the White House on a block where houses are being sold for numbers I will not bother to share with anyone who does not live in NY, SF, Seattle, or Washington, DC.... as only these people would be able to understand the ever inflating real estate bubble that we exist in.....

so... riddle me this....
how is it that with property values so high and property taxes equally obnoxiously high... how is it that there are people living in the woods within ear shot of my house?
how is it that when I call the police they interrogate me like I am a criminal?
how is it that there ae still "halfway houses" scattered throught the neighborhood?
how is it that as our older son approaches school age we are forced to contemplate private schools?

and lastly.....

why am I still on this computer when I should be in bed asleep?

good night

scroll down to the images with the snow......
you will see where I live
and if you look at the curve going down the hill
if you look closely into the woods.... you may see our own little urban sasquach..... SCREAMING MAN!~

I have yet to do COUNTERS
I have yet to get all involved in TRACK BACK
I have yet to get involved in BLOG ROLLING or BLOG EXPLOSION
I have found great pleasure in doing an IMAGES GOOGLE for GWADZILLA
after doing my own
I have done a few of my favorite BLOGS
would be a great way to see thumbnails of your favorite Photo Blog, or an ex-girlfriend, or who ever you are stalking this week

and for no reason at all BARBITCHES
if you are single.... you need to go there
if you enjoy bar life.... you need to go there
if you want to reflect on what you did wrong trying to pick up woman for the last many years.... you.... you get the picture

and completely unrelated again... got this link off FAT GUY CYCLING
need to get back to this COMIC later... so I will bookmark it with my BLOG
maybe I should draw comics rather than BLOG?
leaving me wanting more.....

support your local bicycle shop...
if your local bike shop sucks!
come on over and check out my local bike shop

the folks that work at City Bikes are good people
the owners of City Bikes are good people
they are informative
they are helpful
their shop is well stocked

take your bike their for repair
buy your next bike there
call for information
have them build you something custom
you will thank me!
these guys are like bicycle monks
(okay... that is going a little far..... but they are quasi-vocational)


One Less Car
One Fewer Car
be more gramatically correct?



HR 807
not to be confused with this HR

image from BANNED IN DC

the same words about HR in DR

if you don't subscribe... you should!
do it now....


Velorution will be back!

one of my favorite blogs
it is not an everyday blog visit for me
VELORUTION is a BLOG that I always go to and always enjoy
when velorution comes back.... I will be sure to savor the flavor

keep checking back
once you check it out you will be hooked!

Yoga Class

this morning in Yoga Class our instructor Gail tried to have us do this little move that she simply called SURFING....
this may or may not be an actual Ashtanga move..... but this is an OPEN class things frequently flows a little more free form than a standard Ashtanga class

it was fun to try....
it was fun to watch...
it was fun to imagine that I was surfing on my Yoga mat
it was fun to see the speed and agility of my friend the Yoga instructor

once again my Yoga instructor, Gail, reminds me of another strong and inspirational woman, former surfing pro Rell Sun
there are so many things that make one resemble the other
the way people are drawn to Gail
the way people respond to Gail
Gail's wide variety of althetic pursuits with high level of achievement in many of these activities
these are the traits that are often used to describe Rell Sun

Gail is inspirational
she is healthier and stronger than most people half her age

in so many ways Gail reminds me of this person Rell Sun
a person I never knew, but only learned about through a PBS documentary

in addition to the personality, the zest for life, and the healthy athletic pursuits... there is also the battle with Breast Cancer

Gail is a cancer survivor
ask Gail about cancer... and she will tell you... "that was last year!"
Gail is all about moving forward
the hair has grown back and her strength seems to be fully back to normal
the treatments are behind her and so is the cancer
sure there are check ups and doctor's visits
but for the most part cancer is behind her... and hopefully cancer is behind her for good

Gail was inspirational as a person before cancer
but to see her take things in stride has made her that much more of an inspiration

Rell Sun was not so lucky....
she was younger when she was diagnosed
it is said that the cancer is more aggressive when it develops in the younger person's body
Rell Sun died after a 15 year battle with cancer
yet.... her approach to dealing with her cancer was as inspirational as her free diving or her surfing
take a look at my review that I posted on the PBS viewer review site
take a look at the links
this movie is sure to inspire you

Joel Gwadz
Washington DC
The film moved me. I had no prior knowledge of Rell Sunn and her life story. I was "channel surfing" when I stumbled on the beginning of this film. I was drawn in by Rell's life philosophies and by the epic surf footage. Then when the story started to unfold I was so attached and touched by her. I wept openly, I weep now.
Her life was an inspiration.
Her battle with cancer was an inspiration.
My life carries no great burdens, her life example helps me to appreciate the wonderful life I have and hopefully will aid me to live life to its fullest.
I am going to buy this film so that the feeling does not fade and so that I can share it with others.
Heart of the Sea is a film that can change people. It is going to go in my DVD collection right next to BARAKA.
After this film I feel as if I lost a friend that I never knew.

go to this PBS Page and read about Rell Sun, check out the preview, and see if it is playing again soon

buy the film Heart of the Sea
this would be a great movie even with its sad ending for anyone who is going through a battle with cancer

to sticker or not to sticker?
that is often the question...

when purchasing a new car or even a car that is used (but new to you) there is often the question of the Bumper Sticker...

whether or not you are adorn your car with certain stickers to spell out a certain message
perhaps an effort to personalized the identity or your car.... a car which after all is a bit of an extension of "you"
to make such that you can identify your less than unique car when roaming the crowded parking lot at Ikea
so that you can recognize your car from others as it is being stolen from in front of your house

last fall I sold off my old Toyota Landcruiser; round headlights not square
forfieting personality and style for a car that started, stopped, had a radio that played louder than the hum of the engine, had lights that illuminated the road in front of me, cools the car in the summer, warms the car in the winter, etc..... did I mention that this new Honda Element starts? No need for popping the hood and tweeking the engine or more likely spraying STARTER FLUID into the carb
ah.... I do not miss a car with character at all!

what I lost in character I gained ten fold in safety and reliability
I thank my two children for taking me to this level

when I purchased this shinny new scratchless Honda I rolled off the lot with pride of my new purchase
all Hondas were my brother
all previous Honda achievements made me proud
as I rolled down various roads and streets I debated that question.... "to sticker or not to sticker the exterior of my shiney new car?"
before getting home it was decided... I would in fact apply certain stickers to my recently purchased new car... the first and only new car that I have ever owned!

these are just stickers..... not a vanity plate..... just stickers
after all it is my car...
we are not thinking about resale
we are thinking of using it and having fun with it

let the fun begin!

the first sticker to adorn the back end of my Honda Element is my MtP Euro Oval sticker...
some years ago I contacted a sticker company and had some stickers made for my neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, hence MtP
this idea was not entirely original.... OBX has been pasted on every SUV bumper on the east coast
but at this time when I had these stickers made.... there OVAL STICKER explosion had not occured....
in some ways it was early in the neighbohood identity/neighborhood pride as stated through the moderately corny Euro Oval sticker
it seemed like a good idea...
there were some notions of using it as a networking tool for my now defuct graphic design business
in the end it was fun to make the stickers, break even, and be the father of a creation that can involve opinion and even controversy
(gwadzilla likes opinion and even controversy)

so this is where is starts.....
where does it end?

in a recent Honda Element commercial there are two young me traveling the world from "extreme" sport hot spot to "extreme*" sport hot spot. Acquiring a new sticker at each local... then adorning the back end of the car with that sticker as some sort of memento of their adventure

today I did the urban dad version of that Honda Element ad.....
I decorated the back side window of my Honda Element with my Baltimore Aquarium Member sticker and my FONZ sticker as well. (FONZ: Friend Of the National Zoo)
is this the beginning of something I can not control?

*I hate the word "extreme" as much as I hated the term "generation X"
I hate the word's over use
I hate the word's attempt to over simplify
I just hate it
normally I would not use it
I was explaning a commercial
and well, that is what the commerical was trying to say... so I said it.

here is a random message I sent out to my mountain bike race team.....
a message not to Elite Racers, but to us regular folk who try to balance life with some bicycle racing... which in my case is the occassional semi regular mountainbike race

this monday I am doubled booked....

my wife and I are headed to the National Geographic for the first night
of the Banff Film Festival

so I will say what I may want to say at the team meeting now...

In the Sci-Fi Cult Classic BLADE RUNNER there is a moment where
uber-android Roy "meets his maker"

In this emotional exchange Roy questions his mortality or more
specifically Roy questions his "expiration date." Eldon Tyrell; founder
of the Tyrell corporation and metaphorical father to this race of
androids, responds to Roys question with this poetic statement....

"the light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.... and my you
have burned so very, very brightly"

Welp may identify more clearly with the character Leon Kowalski, but the
rest of us can reflect on this quote directed to the bad boy antagonist
Roy Batty as portrayed by Rutger Hauer and see how this may apply to our
lives, our cycling, and our training...

in an email exchange between my brother and myself there was some
discussion about the rapidly approaching mountainbike season and my lack
of base miles...

well, not so much the"lack of base
" but more specifically... the slight
envy for all of those who have been logging long and hard miles this
early in the preseason (including all sort of winter trail riding)

to this idea my brother shared with me a little Pearl of Wisdom that he
heard/read from the mind of a roadie

"winter hero... summer zero...."
(or something to that effect)

there may be some truth to that...

the season is like one long race
just like on race day it is important not to leap out of the gate too
fast... remember

"set the pace... win the race"
(I admit my race strategy is go out hard and hang on... burn all ya got in the tank and hope the finish is around the next corner!)

so many of us end up feeling burned out come August, when there are
still so many mountain bike races to do in the late summer on through
the fall

not to mention the pleasure of cyclocross season!


take a look at your season last year
study what you did
study how well achieved
carry with you the things that you did right
shed the things that you did wrong


slightly modify your training/lifestyle so that this season your
performance will be better than your last

as for me.....
I am not sure what I did
I am not sure what I am doing
there is no coach over here
there is no training log
I have no specific diet
(unless you consider the Fried Fish Box from YUMS to be a racer's diet)

but I do know that I had a good ratio of input and success

my intention it is to try and repeat a healthy performance this year

not so much measured by victories.... as I can not control how fast the
opponent races... I can only control how fast I race.... be certain I
will give it my all... there are those that are faster than me... that
is to be expected... but I can still be satisfied with my efforts and my
personal achievements!

yes, go out and ride
yes, go out and ride those long miles and long hours

keep it in perspective
keep a balance
keep a good healthy pace
a healthy pace with your cycling and with your life

my life is by no means a model to live by
by no means am I telling anyone to not do that long ride
I am just presenting some FOOD FOR THOUGHT
eat up or spit it out
most people have more than likely already hit DELETE without making it
this far

no worries

I get paid whether you read this message or not!


Torn on this issue....
okay, not torn.... as I know how I feel

alternative transportation
don't take the subway
don't take the bus
actually I hate buses almost as much as I hate the cabs
but.... in theory I like the alternative transportation concept

motorized scooter, motorized skateboards, and motorized bicycles are all great ideas
as they are each potentially forms of alternative transportation
yet.... they all bother me

there are times when I am on the bike path or the C&O canal I either pass or am passed by some motorized vehicle that has no right to be on a non-motorized vehicle path
now it

dr. dale.... my man with a tandem sent me this link about motorized bicycles
the bicycle paths are already like the streets of Bangkok
add a few motorized idiots approaching variable faster than they can think and faster than the machine is created to respond

more in a bit
got to put Dean to bed


here is a great little story in VELO NEWS about a few Road Rage incidents involving cyclists

snagged this link off my Colorado buddy Cross Tim
who is not to be confused with another Colorado friend TimmyP

the moral of the story?
you tell me.



Sheldon Brown

A Recent Listing of Articles by Sheldon Brown


Sheldon Brown's Web Journal


Sheldon talks about the History of Bridgestone with some cool images for a cool history
also great reviews
as well as a great resourse for some unique parts and unique ideas

Karma is not always so immediate
take a look at this clip....


sometimes people get what they deserve

the accident could have gone another way

the kid on the bike could have taken an unusual fall that caused great injury

but instead the kid in the car took one to the head
and that is no modern light weight car
that bumper is attached to a good old american car made of good old american steel

on a lighter side from the same source

Bike Rack

here is a little information that my brother just shared with me......

Need another good reason to start commuting by bike?

Two bills in the U.S. congress could let you earn as much as $100 per month for riding to work.
The Bicycle Commuter Act would allow an employer to add bicycling to the tax code's definition of "transportation fringe benefit." That's an incentive to get more people to use alternative transportation for commuting -- reducing traffic, pollution and wear on roads.
Under H.R. 807, your employer could grant a monthly cash reimbursement of up to $100 if you pedal to work. The company would get a tax break while you smile all the way to the bank.
The League of American Bicyclists has the legislative details at


I thought we talked about your driving
-gwadzilla out


listen to your body.....

we all need to listen to our bodies
we all need to listen closely

there are times to ride and times to take off the bike
there are times to sleep late
there are times to go to bed early
there are times to take it slow
there are times to get off your ass and get to work

just listen
listen closely
don't fall for alibies and complaints
really listen... ignore the alibies and complaints
just listen to your body

when deciding whether or not to ride
ignore the weather...
it is always too cold... too hot.. too humid... too nice... tooooo something
listen to your body... your body knows if it can survive in that weather
but remember... don't listen to the alibies and complaints
ignore everything other than the worst case scenario
don't fear... respect...
if it is "maybe" it should be "yes"

when riding hard.... listen to your body... your body may complain
keep trying
keep listening
keep pushing
don't listen to your ego
ignore your ego
listen to your body
factor the issues of gain versus loss
tell the ego to shut up
the ego is "now" and may cause injury
listen to the body.... the body is thinking long term

there is a time not to listen to your body

when you are drinking may be one of those times
this is a complex time to try and listen
your body may lie to you
your body may give you mixed signals
what sounds like your body may be the alcohol talking

the alcohol will claim to be your body telling you what you need
the alcohol will tell you that you need another drink
the alcohol will tell you that you need a steak and cheese
the alcohol does not know you are on a diet
the alcohol is not on at diet and the alcohol wants to eat
the alcohol may tell you it wants to.....
the alcohol does not know you are married
the alcohol is not married and the alcohol wants to ....
best just get that steak and cheese
ignore the alcohol and its desire for hot tubs, strip poker, and coming in for a drink

the alcohol often says... "do this now.... deal with that later"
be careful when listening to the alcohol
the alcohol mixes the lies with the truth
the alcohol talks with a forked tongue
the alcohol is more limited in "the now" than the ego
the alcohol and the ego fuel off each other aiding to have part become the whole

perhaps it is best not drink
your body only tells you "No More" after it is TOO LATE!
but more rationally... those of us who drink are going to drink
best not to drink too much
best to avoid getting too drunk
best not to try and walk that line...

I will just have another steak and cheese
then hopefully I will hear my body
my body all bound and tied with a gag in its mouth
the body's muffled voice knows it has lost the fight of "the now" but is still looking for tomorrow.... listen and you will hear.... the body is telling you to take an aspirin and drink some water

have I ever blogged about the theory that I am going to base my PhD off of after I win the lottery..... "Man, Alcohol,and the Fight or Fuck Response *"
alcohol can fool it user
what appears to be a truth syrum is actually lies
what appears to be strength and bravado is actually stupidity
just as vision is blurred so is judgement
for the most part.... the ability to listen to the body is lost
(*with the Steak and Cheese side clause)

please excuse the cussing
that is not me
that is the alcohol talking
I am trying to ignore the alcohol... it is saying I need a slice of pizza
while my body is saying I need to go to bed
the alcohol is working some weird vantrilaquist game claiming to be my body
time to listen to my body...

the alcohol won
the pizza was tastee
I stayed up way too late
better drink some water, take some asprin, and go to bed
well.... at least drink some water and go to bed
two glasses of wine is not really enough for the part to become the whole

this was taken from Arliegh's blog page
"What sex dessert are you? *quiz*"

your like it nice...but know just what you want, where you want it...IN YOUR CHAMPAGNE!

her rants, perspective and poetry are better than that quiz


did a GOOGLE of GWADZILLA for images not for web

I was amused with what I came up with
no claims at being a PHOTO BLOGGER
that is one very amusing collection of images
at least to me!

the order is odd to me
are they ordered by number of hits to that page
I think that is how GOOGLE does it
a great way to get into a random archive of my BLOG entries
what a great little story board to my world

they say a picture is worth a thousand words
that is the average for an average person
for a spaz like me..... a picture can be worth ten thousand words


A Chopper story in Dirt Rag.... a GOOGLE to learn about Bicycle Jousting in NYC
this old
Dirt Rag Issue 99... they had an article on how to build a chopper... this chopper story had me thinking of some folklore about bicycle jousting in nyc ... type in BICYCLE JOUSTING, NEW YORK CITY... hit enter..... there seems to be a number of links to this topic of Bicycle Jousting in New York City... some place called New York Metro was towards the top of the list... then another link took me to a very interesting NYC Bicycle information page called a very odd past time as described further when this link talks about a team called Black Label that is comprised of bicycle messengers who make custom several level bikes then there is an awesome image here at but see several of the jousters on their tall bikes at the home of these images (hit NEXT for other jousting shots)

there were some other great articles in that issue of dirt rag
I need to make a mental note to myself
as convincing as the advice to use Circus Peanuts as an endurance energy source... it is an April Fools Joke..... hmmmmm..... tastiest placebo I ever used as an endurance energy source in my life!

this of course took me to this Bad Candy page... this kid is a freak.... and not just because he can not appreciate the fine American Spangler Product that everyone knows as Circus Peanuts
this kid is ranking candy?

I may start my own web page and start rating sausages and hot dogs..... there could be domestic, local, and international reviews....

when I travel I am often victim to tasting the indigenous cuisine
in Chicago or even suburban Illinois.... like the time I rode the Prarie Trail from my uncle's house in Elmhurst out to Elgin or maybe it was Aurora... I can not remember what the water tower said.... either way I went about 30 miles out.... stopped at a Vienna Sausage hot dog stand... got two dogs with everything including the celery salt and hopefully without the ash from the cooks cigarette.... guess health should not be a concern when gorgeing myself on two of these all beef beasts... yet, I can not help but say that the cigarette may add to the experience... to a non-smoker it does not add to the flavor.... took these dogs and a large soda and walked to the side of some man made riverlike thing where I took a seat... then after watching a few men fishing on the bank I got back onto the bike... where I rode this straight line of a path and managed taking a wrong turn towards the wrong water tower, maybe a few miles up and a few miles back... but luckily caught myself before I rode too far in the wrong direction.... good food and even a few great encounters... bob smith, I think it was, was over 70 years of age and took my pace to a higher level... all in time to spend the afternoon with my cousins who were all a mixture of high school and grade school.. it was a window into their world.... eldest girl with boyfriends..... youngest boy with soccer and tae kwon do and middle girl with chello (that has all changed as two of them are well into college already).... and I am not sure if I ever rode my bike up to Gray's Papaya in NYC.... but maybe I will the next time I head up north for Bike New York

just thought I would try and bring it somewhat full circle...... new york?
DC is not known for its Hot Dogs.... yet I eat them all the time...

I wonder if the guys at Dirt Rag have ever done any food reviews of the local resturants in Pittsburgh.... everytime I in downtown Pittsburgh I try to head over to The O or Primanti's for some local flavor.... let me see what GOOGLE brings me

it would be great to build a concept bike for Bike New York
something stable enough so I can ride one handed
one hand on the handlebars
one hand on a hot dog
can of ice cold coca cola in the water bottle cage clanging around

this is not a PHOTO BLOG
this is not a WRITER'S BLOG
a bicyclist with a wife, a family, a full time job, a little camera, and an addiction for BLOGGING

a few photos to correspond with the words of the few days past
that snow left as quickly as it came
as I said in the comment section of some random blog...
"other than a rise in milk and bread sales.... this snow did nothing for the area"
in the morning the world around me was covered in velvety snow
by the time I mounted up on my bike to head home that afternoon.... the streets and sidewalks were clear and dry while only a few patches of snow remained in the heavily shaded or wooded areas

these photos were taken the morning after of the snowfall
come this same evening
there was no sign that it had ever snowed
well... other than the mud



great photo within a great photo blog


Flip Orley is Appearing now at the IMPROV in DC

Flip Orley, Comic Hypnotist, is doing his hypno thing for the next two weeks at the IMPROV here in DC
Go check it out!
I guarantee you will enjoy it
(no money back, but guaranteed just the same)



Single Speed Outlaw and their cast of Merry Cranksters took off into the woods this weekend past for their version of the PUNK ENDURO (SSPBE aka the Single Speed Punk Bike Endouro)

Pics from the Event!
RickyD walking that line between pirate and 80's style New Romantic... glad to see he did not forget that no puffy shirt should be worn without eye liner.... SEXY!

and of course the SINGLE SPEED OUTLAW perspective

take a poke around... there are sure to be more links to tangent hop within

wish I was there.....
an emotion that I need to remember when planning my weekends in the future


I have always loved to waste my time
as a child it was coin operated video games
then later in life it was various Nintendo systems
now it is the BLOG!

there is a classic quote from the advertisment that was pushing the game Dr. Mario

"if you liked tetris....... you will love Dr. Mario"
(or something to that effect.)


if you liked Velorution...... you will love bikelanediary

you get the idea
check it out
you will thank me!

(and yes.... it may be more clear to describe my actions as "an escape" rather than "a waste of time." I have always like to escape into different things!)

where are lev and lodi when I need them?
they were always good for a snow filled night hike
we have years and years of night trail hiking memories

will phone tom and hutch one more time

either way...
contemplating taking roscoe and brutus out just the same

I think they could use it
I think I could use it
I know I need it
I still have not shed the tension of the day
red wine is not always the best cure for yension release
let me stand up and look outside

wet and cold=no
winter wonderland=yes

let me scope it out
putting on and taking off gear can get so old

it is a WINTER WONDERLAND.. so yes... we are headed out

back from my winter wonderland experince
both wooded and neighborhooded.....

the snow was not that wet but was real crunchy
the type of snow that one would see in a Benny Hill skit
the type of snow that makes a sound with each foot step
leaving a perfect foot print with each step... whether it be dog, cat, deer, bicycle, car, or man
man or beast could be identified and easily tracked in this snow

yes.... back
no... I still have not taken off my gear
will take all this gear off before I fall into bed....

the sight of the streetlamp out front my house drew me closer
staring out the front window from the inside was not enough
after greater concentration I realized that these moments are fleeting
grab them when they are here
just as a sailor needs to follow the wind
a hiker needs to follow the peak moments of each season
the changing multi colored leaves of fall
the natural flowers in bloom the trees budding green each spring
the hot sweaty humid mosquito filled afternoons of summer
the velvety snow covered leafless branches of winter

night hiking in the city is very different than rural winter night hiking
even with the cloud covered sky and the world filled with falling snow
visibility is still good
the city lights the clouds
and the reflection off the clouds light the city
the surface of the snow covered woods reflects back
everything is a light soft glow

the Petzl headlamp with its blue halogen glow was on my head, but for the most part was unneeded and went unused

had I had a camera and known something about long term exposures and large format film I would have been able to take some epic shots from various vantage points on my hike

my hike was short
never far from home
so I meandered to extend the duration
still never going far from home

my first objective was to check out my handiwork
where I had done rogue maintenance on a renegade trail earlier this day
Dean even helped out
at one point in our trail repair Dean complimented himself by saying...
"hey... I am getting pretty good at this..."
and he was!
every little bit help
just understanding that trails need repair and that someone needs to take action is "getting pretty good at this"
everyone could do to get at least a little better at this
the steps were good....
more natural than stairs
really too large for anyone to call stairs
even a giant like myself needs to take large deliberate steps
but it is a trail
not a sidewalk

I doubled back over my own footprints and headed over to the Rosemount Loop
a loop behind Dean's school, Rosemount Center
a building that is historic and beautiful
currently being renovated
hopefully will continue to be historic and beautiful

too bad I did not take those Ansel Adams-esque photos before they started the addition
but I still lack the know how and the equipment
(my Canon EOS film camera is so new age that it lacks a bulb setting, while my little Minolta digital camera lacks the flash capabilities to take any decent night shots)

change is not always better
even if change is better is some cases
it is not always better all around
there is something sad about renovations
all those memories being stripped away
the character
the history
the unspoken stories
stories that can easily be seen
stories that to some can easily be heard

then once out of the woods I realized that not too much time had passed... maybe not even a half an hour.... okay.. maybe a little more
so I kept to the streets
with the dogs on leash I took an alley route meandering through Mt Pleasant then looping back down Park Road
the sidewalks were well pounded by a wide variety of unidentifiable foot steps unlike the pristine trails
the roads were not plowed, yet they were far more clear than just a few random tire tracks... well other than the tire tracks that went wide fast and out of countrol causing then to hit the curb

not sure what this means..... but...
the city looks like a "village" when the snow is falling down
the hard edge is softened and everything becomes a little more simple a little more gentle
each house takes on a different feel, warmer, more cozy
trees lean with a fluffy white fur coat; leaning and hanging further than any wind has ever made them bend before
lawnless lawn are a blanket of white rather than a blanket of weeds
cracked concrete's imperfections go unnoticed
the street lights and porch lights add their orange, their white, their light pink glow adding to the gentleness of the atmosphere

I Blogged enough
time for bed
no time to reread... just publish and post... never time for Spell Check
just like college... burning the midnight oil
glad that I got out and experienced this moment
tomorrow I will bring my little digital camera and take a few shots of this winter wonderland

quick commute
well.... a direct commute
direct snow filled commute
a short ride....
a short ride that was long enough to let this pressure cooker get steamed

the weatherman was right
it snowed nearly all day
massive snowflakes
massive fluffy snowflakes
at other times
steady snowflakes
steady small fast falling snowflakes
for the most part it was wet snowflakes that did not add up to anything
wet snowflakes falling on warm ground
all day not one flake stuck to the ground until slightly after six in the evening

remind me why Dean did not have school again today?

the whistle blew at he end of a Monday that felt confusingly like a Friday
not entirely in a good way
I suited up in all my Gortex and polypropalean gear, lights a flashing, headlamp beaming, various refectors waiting to shine back light, all ontop of the Karate Monkey pointed the most direct route home
trying to keep my bicycle vertical and out of the way of all the idiots and assholes on the road
confident... not cocky
self assured... not stupid

this is not a time to show off
this is not a time to prove anything

let me tell you.... the IDIOTS AND ASSHOLES were showing their colors!
H2 here
H2 there
like the multi colored ass of a babboon... strutting around all inflamed
BMW driving too fast sure to crash.... a sight I would like to see, as long as no one gets hurt
cars spinning out displaying no understanding of how to drive in snow or slush
who would have thought that.... that Mercedes does so poorly in snow... oh.... it is not the car..... that idiot can not drive in snow! technology in a idiot's hand can not only be useless.. but it can be dangerous!

people pass with the same lack of consideration on snow days as they pass on anyday

"you are three inches from my handlebar are quite far enough over for me! slide over please!"

so, the full lane is as far to the right as I feel I must be
an unexpect opening of a car door or an assertive pedestrian stepping out from between two parked cars could demand more rapid response that I could mustard with the snowy conditions

so,let me make the decision for you
as I am smarter and faster than you.... let me remove the need for you to think
as you are more than likely to make the wrong choice.. perhaps a selfish and foolish choice that could endanger me
as you cars behind me are sure to make the wrong decision just as the few cars before me did
as I am more capable of thinking of both our our needs than you are.... as you have yet to consider considering mine
as always it is vital to stay vertical as they may not be able to stop
as they may not be playing close enough attention to notice I fell in time to stop
after all there are XM radio startions to select from, less than vital phone calls to answer, emails on the blackberry to check, porn DVDs to watch, and of course my beloved iPOD Playlists to scroll through (don't get me wrong... i have a phone and an ipod.... but I try to be courtesy and safe when I do stupid things)

I slide by the same cars that just past me so close so fast, risking my life did not get them to their destinatin any quicker... I am past them again.... if they were in my backpack they would get home more quickly... under my breath I curse at those that have endangered me.... foolishly I let the anger steamroll.... on near situation that could be avoided....... then another near sitiation that could have been avoided
with some I am making eye contact
maybe putting a human element upon it
some look at me in question like they never saw me..... like then never almost ran me over a few blocks back
other look back aggressively
while others are even more combative and competitive as the locked eyes are enough to fuel the battle
all the while to these select few drivers I mouth ugly words through my balacava
more than likely the words are seen in my eyes as I can hear the words in theirs

the roads are virtually vacant for a monday evening
well... backed up for sections
and vacant for others....
cars getting bunched behind grandmother's who should not be driving on the street today... behind grandmothers who should not be on the street anyday! traffic gets blocked by the parked car that should not be parked on this stretch of road during Rush Hour! causing a bottleneck causing traffic to nearly stop as cars have to merge

I stay on the streets away from the sidewalks and move my way steadily home
for the most part sidewalks are good for a quick cross cut..... but never more than a block and never at speed
and never never downtown in the snow and rain
too many stretches of sidewalk infront of buildings downtown are marble not concrete
altering body position and braking are enough to throw a bike down when you combine snow and this marble sidewalk
then the pedestrians deserve the sidewalk
when I walk... I hate getting buzzed by a biker.... especially when I see they are lacking brake pads, braking power, and braking skill
best not to be a hypocrite
best to stay on the street
leave the sidewalk to the pregnant mother or mr. mom pushing the stroller.... the young kids learning to skateboard... and the elderly woman with the walker
it is not cool to move like Walter Payton heading for the endzone

back to my ride...

it is a short trek, but long enough for an idiot to do something to put my life at risk
so I stay alert the whole way
as I move from New Hampshire past Dupont I roll one block the wrong way on a one way
then onto 16th Street
for a second I consider the sidewalk
then I realize I am still moving faster than the majority of traffic
with extra care I move the wrong way down this one way street
anticipating any cars coming out of their parking space or any car turning my way
also looking to the light at 16th and U
how should I set my pace..... speed or slow or bust a move?
the light is against me so I move to the head of the queue
not sure how that metro bus feels... but he has a stop just ahead and there looks like parked traffic is taking the lane before that poing
green light go, but only after making sure it is clear
the lights say one thing... yes... the cars just like the bicycles often do the other
at the base of this less than hill climb a variety of unskilled drivers spin their wheels looking helpless like turtles on their backs
I laugh out loud
up 16th with Malcom X park just to my right I stay the same pace as the car to my side rather than risk moving faster than traffic and having to reintroduce myself to the car to my left
as I pedal the single gear up the hill the same rate as traffic I feel the hum of a car feet behind me
I begin to ride foolishly one handed
the one handedness is not the foolishness of my efforts
the extended middle finger is the short sighted response to anything
a potentially suicidal action on the bicycle
sure enough
a car passes on the left with the window down and a man saying something in a language I did not understand
in a completely serious, not rude.... perhaps stupid.... but not rude I said in a sort of bewildered questioning sort of way... "In English Please?"
the car continued forward, rolling the window up, getting stuck in car traffic 15 feet ahead as I rolled to a stop and waited for him to roll down the window
not in an arrogant asshole aggressive sort of way... no... I just stopped and waited, then as he turned then started down the window I turned to the side and turned off my headlamp so we could talk without me obnoxiously flashing a 15 watt old school Niterider Dual Classic Pro.... the water bottle style..... any way.... we get to talking.... perhaps I start..... we talk... there is mention of respect...... there is mention of rights.... there is not much back and forth.... then I am reminded.... what about the finger?
for a minute there I had forgotten what I had done.... I was still fixated on being tailgated on a snow covered street as I am moving faster than traffic on a yet to be plowed section of road. but somehow I had forgotten about giving him.... that car... that car's driver the finger.....well, until he mentioned it... again I responded just as calm just as sincere, don't you think you were following me a little close back there.... all I am asking for is for you to give me as much respect as i would give you. to that the male passanger of this female driven high end honda with extras. this was a conversation that took seconds. it went well, but it could have gone another way. this guy was rational this guy was cool. most people are not rational. most people are not cool. on another day this person may have responded differently, hopefully not.... hopefully he has grown from this experience just as I am trying to grow from this experience. that was only seconds.... seconds that maybe added up to a little less than a minute.

back pedaling forward.... passing this same car giving a nod and rolling past..... cutting through a clear space.... across the center lane of traffic..... behind the left turn lane... across head on traffic on16th Street... and right onto Mt Pleasant street being more than aware of the lights.... what the lights are.... what the lights are going to become..... where the cars are...... where are the cars going... what will the car do next..... I have to know what the car will do next before the car knows.... so that I will be someplace else... the same goes for pedestrians..... I need to see that that pedestrian is going to step out as they have not looked for me as they may not have looked to check for a car......
left turning car
red light ahead
pedestrians in a pack snailing in the middle of the road
cab parked on the right
oncoming car trying to take a left
car coming out of a space
metro bus unloading passangers
metro bus passangers stepping into traffic without looking
more double parked cars
more cars pulling out of parking spaces
more pedestrians doing something without looking
stop sign ahead
thread the needle very little reason for me to slow down
pop... a snowball explodes on my hand.... wow.... did not see that coming!
no blood.... no foul!
I raise the hand that has just been hit and give a thumbs up! Good Shot! Would have never expected that.....
then down Park Road still faster than the standard flowless flow of traffic
park road is a little more clear as it is a little more trafficked
right on 18th
not too fast
not feeling too confident
not feeling like falling down
the whole ride home was a series of connected Drag Races
even with the front disc brake I take caution about approaching and set of variables too quickly
also the rear brakes were making a serious Canada Goose HONK!
so braking was not only sketchy
braking was also embarressing... never want anyone able to hear your brake pads
especially on a downhill!
so where was I right on 18th then left on Monroe then slow to a near stop at 19th street before I dip down into the alley behind my house
taking it all very cautiously
being happy I made it thus far without falling
laughing at myself for my excess caution and my drag racing style
then again....
just as I am asking that car driver to respect me
it is vital for me to respect him by not giving him the finger
it is vital to respect myself for trying to respect the dangers that surround me
it is vital not to become a statistic

must mellow
must let it out in a different way....
cabin fever?
road rage?
years of baggage?

yes, D: All of the Above
but I am working on..... most definitely working on it

this post took longer to type than it took to live through.....

tough day?
not sure why I was feeling so much tension all day
especially after such a great weekend.... such a weekend that involved so much activity

weekend gone
new week begins
rinse and repeat....
rinse and repeat
repeat again if you do so desire
those of us with no hair..... we can save on the shampoo and conditioner and spend our money elsewhere

another weekend behind me
another work week has begun
another tic of the clock somehow adds up to be another seven days on the calendar

last weekend was very similar to the weekends past...

worked late on friday night bringing me home just as the boys were winding up their baths
which allowed me to aid in getting the dressed and into bed
only after the requisite..... no splashing in the tub.... I said.... no splashing in the tub
Grant with his kisses, his waves goodbye, and his new found love for foot steps
walking just weeks past one
Dean with his need to be coerced into going to bed, he can be such a riddle, always wanting to be solved.... never wanting to be simple...
in Dean's mind... everything is up for negotiation

Dean was read a few books then tried to weasel his way back downstairs....

"read me another story"
I just read you "another story"
"read me just one last story"
the last story was your one last story
as it was one more story than we agreed
I would read you
"I am scared of the dark"
no you are not scared of the dark... back to bed Dean
"I need to go to the bathroom"
okay.... go to the bathroom.... then back to bed
"I want to come downstairs with you"
back to bed Dean

this process can continue until everyone involved is entirely exhausted

actually... this process occurs nearly every night until both sides are entirely exhausted
it is exhausting
not complaining.... just describing

once both boys were down and asleep there was time for a glass or two of red wine
okay, maybe three glasses of red wine or just two really big ones
red wine aids in losing the day and losening up all the anxiety which is life

red wine..... good in the evening.... bad the next morning
always trying to find that perfect balance
almost always going a little too far and falling over the edge

saturday morning usually comes with a blink of an eye
head to the pillow then time to get up
as if someone has changed the clock
then sometimes that blink of an eye is cut in half by some mid night trauma... a wet bed, a bad dream, or something randomly insignificant as needing a particular toy

unsure if that blink was cut short...

either way after a short night's sleep it is morning and time to be dad again
lisa is up and about motoring around with Dean and Grant as I try to steal that last second of shut eye
lisa is a machine.... some sort of high powered machine.... high powered super efficient machine
with a gentle nudge lisa gets me out of bed so she can go to yoga
with lisa off to yoga it is my duty to walk the dogs and entertain the boys
easy enough
breakfast bars all around then out the door
well, easy enough... out the door after everyone gets suited up for a wet winter morning
snow suits all around!
grant is so stuffed in all of his gear he can not walk or crawl

with the boys dressed and the dogs leashed we drive down to Pierce Mill in a hope to cut through the Melvin Hazen for some sledding at Klingle Mansion....


mother nature has been kind and cruel all in the same motion
she can give and she can take away
that snow that covered the earth just days ago has now been taken away by some pleasant sunshine
well, other than a few random patches of snow in the open areas there was still good coverage in the woods
so with Grant in the backpack and Dean on the sled I went up and down the trails of the Melvin Hazen
the hill at Klingle Mansion was also patchy and not worth sledding

so back into the woods where the dogs ran free
up and down the hill
in and out of the near freezing water
after the trails I took Grant out of the backpack and put him in the sled with his brother
then towed them both in circles as I ran as fast as I could on what snow remained at Pierce Mill
loaded the Element then zipped across town for the changing of the guard
Lisa walked out with yoga mat in hand, we exchanged a few words and exchanged the keys
my turn for yoga... lisa's turn to entertain the boys.... my turn for some yoga

back to the house to the age old riddle, "what do we do now?"
saturday afternoon was a mess
toys were thrown everywhere
dean was feeling less than productive
stuck in a funk
not wanting to do anything
not wanting to play productively
not wanting to go to the zoo
ask him what he wanted to do....
and his three year old response was nothing shy of adolescent..."I don't want to do anything"
then.... anything you suggest gets a no
dean do you want to go to the zoo?
dean do you want to walk up to the park?
"dean do you want to go for a hike in the woods with the dogs?
dean do you want to....

finally lisa was able to coerce him into riding his bike while she pushed grant in the stroller

I tried to take a nap, but had no luck
foolishly lied down during a window of opportunity, but Dean had all sorts of questions
which required my attention but did not require any real answers
window of opportunity closed

no time and no ambition for a bike ride
guess I will make myself useful and tidy up after hurricane dean
for some strange reason I concentrate on grouping toys...
army men with army men... legos with legos... lincoln logs with lincoln logs
baby toys over here
balls in this basket
costumes, masks, helmets, and hats in this boxy container
a few broken toys into the trash
only a few... I hate to throw anything away

that night lisa and I had the pleasure of a double date
off to Glover Park to get a tour or Rob and Vida's hip house before we walk over to Wisconsin Ave. for a little Indian food
it was good to get together with good friends
perhaps a last viewing before this boy friend and girl friend become husband and wife
the people with kids just don't get together with the non-parent people frequently enough
two very different tribes whose lives are dictated by nothing else.... bedtime and waking time

good to get out of the house
good to get to eat with someone who is not throwing their food or issuing some sort of demand
we had to wait an hour and six minutes to get our table, even with our reservation!
no worries... we had good company, a bottle of wine, and a competitive session of backgammon
to me it was no different if we sat there in the waiting area by the bar or at our dining table
sure it did seem a tad long as many multi-cultural families walked straight in without a word
guess not having an member of our party from India may have caused some discrimination
if only Rob had his sitar with him!
where is that sitar when you need it?

the food was excellent and so was the company!

we were all home and in bed before midnight
yes... no... maybe so?

but it is vital to go to bed at a reasonable time
there is no rationalizing with young children that you need a few more minutes of sleep
children wake and are revved and ready to go

that morning Dean's best buddy Elijah crime came over
Elijah and Dean are not seeing enough of each other lately... renovations on their house have Elijah's family sleeping across town
there was plenty of catching up to do with these boys
mischief to be had
trouble to cause
as they played pirate ninja turtle I built a fire in the chimeria and entertained Grant
lisa walked the dogs
once the fire was a blaze with clippings from the christmas tree that I have held onto for just such a purpose it was time for hot dogs
Elijah and Dean helped grilling the dogs over the hot coals
then ate hot dogs, grapes, baked beans, and apple juice
kids love apple juice!

after hours of healthy play in the back yard I thought it was enough outside and time for some inside activity
once inside playing for a while with Hot Wheels cars and various track set ups I figured enough playing for a while
time to slow things down a bit
with the boys crying out for Power Rangers I offered some Bugs Bunny
rather than using the 34 inch wide screen I pulled out the 6 inch portable DVD player
they got in close and shared a bean bag
there were pillows everywhere
and not an inch between the boys
by the end of the second little cartoon feature Elijah was asleep and Dean' breathing pattern was calm and sleep-like although his eyes were still open and awake
they watched a number of short cartoons.... all Warner Brother's Classic.... none of them Bugs Bunny, although all of that same genera..... maybe a few more cartoons than they needed.... but they each had had a full morning and it was good to let things slow down for a bit
good for them
good for me

then once Elijah left we were not sure how to use the rest of the afternoon
until Dean reminded me that I had promised to take him out in the bicycle trailer
kill two birds with one stone!
I get to ride!
I get to give Dean what he wants!
Lisa gets to chill while Dean is out and Grant is napping!
all parties are satisfied

how often does that happen?

I hitched the Burley Trailer to the back of my Cyclocross bike and then suited Dean up for the two wheeled adventure..... well,... four wheeled; two on the bike and two on the trailer

just as I had expected in less than 10 minutes Dean was out.... flopped over like a rag doll
something about riding in the trailer knocks him out every time

I peddled forward and further planning about an hour and a half on the bike
25-30 minutes later I hear Dean talking to me
not sure if the sound icy ground woke him or if he had just needed to recharge his batteries
Dean made observations and comments as we rolled down the unpaved section of the Capitol Crescent Trail
with the wind in my ears and my focus ahead I was not sure what he was saying
I listened for complaints and requests while asking if he was good from time to time
once on the paved section it was all..... "excuse me," "on your left," "heads up..... on your left"
as I meandered at a healthy pace through all the weekend traffic
lots of strollers parked in the middle of the trail
I try to exhibit trail etiquette
now if only they could exhibit common sense

I listened to Dean's observations and checked that he was okay as we moved down the path at a healthy pace
miles adding up quickly behind us
it was a good pace... a pace not too much slower than if I were moving without a trailer in tow

it was cold
not fridgid
but it was cold
maybe brisk would describe it best
Dean was a good sport
as we passed Fletchers he let me know that he wanted to go home
I told him we were on our way, but there was still a little further
then in an effort to distract him I stopped the bike for 20 seconds to give him a juice boxes then slammed out the final miles
there were a few more "I want to go home" but never a whine, never a complaint, never a tear.... just a statement of fact
that is not to say he does not whine or complain... he is a child of three and a half
whinnying and complaining are part of their nature

finally we rolled into the alley behind the house
with the trailer stopped Dean then let me know that he had to go to the bathroom
I opened the trailer, removed his helmet, unclipped his belts, and watched him tear down the stairs of the deck into the kitchen and up the stairs to the bathroom
dropping gloves, hat, and jacket as he moved up to the second floor to relieve himself

once downstairs I could see that his chin was a tad discolored from the cold
blue not red
but he was fine
nothing that a little snuggling with mom could not help
momma lisa offered hot chocolate
dean asked for fresh meatballs instead
I got the hot chocolate as mommy made it anyway
lucky me... replace the calories I just burned!

I asked if he had fun...
to that Dean replied.... " I want to go in the trailer again..... when it gets warm"

the evening went its usual course of trying to feed, entertain, clean up, and put to bed the two boys....

parenthood is a strange vocation of servitude...
hard to explain to those who are not attracted to it....
hard to explain to those who have never had an opportunity to experience it....
but it is magical!
not sure if it is hypnosis
I am sure that it is magical
moments that add up to a lifetime

crazy to think that these kids who I love so much are both going to be giving me the finger as they take the keys to my car when they are sixteen!

Crash Video

One of the City Bikes Mountain Bike Team members, Eric Welp, sent me this link to a CRASH VIDEO.....

it is intense....
puts a little perspective on things
it does not take much more than being on the edge to go over the edge

here is the video
here is a play by play


secret weapon
my life contains several secret weapons
in an effort to be a faster cyclist most people would train
me... it is all about chasing my two sons and sometimes they chase me

saturday morning while lisa was at yoga I walked the dogs
well, I walked the dogs and I hike with the dogs
with Grant in a backpack and Dean in a sled we went down to Pierce Mill then over towards Klingle Mansion
upon arrival to Pierce Mill we were saddened to see that most of the snow was gone....
Dean was persistent so we pulled the sled.... portaging over the snowless sections
once in the tree canopy of the woods there was plenty of snow on the trails to pull Dean behind me
he was loving every minute of it, digging each obstacle that we cleared, each rock or root he bounced off of, and laughing hysterically each time he was tossed from the sled into the snow
once at Klingle Mansion we were saddened to see that the hill had just a few patches of snow remaining
yet.... Dean was inspired to run on the grassy sections, he told me that the sun made it beautiful
he is correct
the sun did make it beautiful
since there are Park Service offices within Klingle Mansion I felt that it best that I move back into the woods with the leashless dogs
back to hauling Dean and carrying Grant.... there was an occassional slip but I never fell
Dean on the other hand... he fell a few more times out of the sled than he cared to enjoy
his hands were cold and he had had enough.... it was time to for me to head to pick up lisa so I could go to yoga anyway
once out of the woods and back into the playing field at Pierce Mill I pulled both Grant and Dean in the sled
many times they got to slide down a small embankment, Grant grinning widely the first two times
finding it to be fun but old hat for all the times that followed
then into the car
once at the car I loaded up the boys and the dogs and tried to politely exit a parking lot filled with roadies getting ready for a group ride
a wide range or riders filled the small parking lot
most over dressed
many with bikes far beyond their needs

I can hear lisa is out of the tub with the boys
time for me to aid in the bedtime routine

yes.... it is early
we can try

grand weekend thus far...
still not over yet.

here it is Sunday afternoon
Dean is sharing his bean bag chair with his buddy Elijah
they are spent
now they are kicking it watching some classic Bugs Bunny style cartoons on the portable DVD player
not sure of the sense in having them watch a 6 inch screen when there is a wide screen tv in the same room
somehow it just made sense to me
there was no arguement from either boys...

ut oh!
Elijah's mom just came over
time to log off and take Dean for a winter ride in the Burley Trailer
more updates to the weekend's event later