it is new year's eve

happy new year
happy holidays

love and luck to you and yours

as they say in grade school... see you next year!

some stuff that is entertaining me as I sip my coffee

a list from Bicycle West... you know you are a cyclist when

Absolut Vodka (moderately amusing if you have the time)
100 Absolutes is amusing
their slick magazine ad campaign continues to amuse me
I played with this page for a bit... but have let the music play in the background for nearly an hour


more hats...

a good year on the bike

gwadzilla archive from that week and that race

it was a good year on the bike
a better year on the bike than the year prior
better if for no other reason that I managed to stay out of the ER

there were more than fifteen races for me in 2006
it was a good year on the bike
although I race
I am not really a racer guy

as competitive as my spirit may be
I do not balance that level of intensity with appropriate preparation
maybe this year I will approach the start line with a greater level of fitness
but I doubt it

a photo from earlier this year...

a cinderella story

I have not seen this woman since that day where I retrieved her shoe

wonder how her trek in france went?

I can not weld... but adam can

winter project?
have always wanted to build something like this

well actually.. I want to build a three wheel cargo bike
but my friend adam wants to to build a chopper
adam can weld.... while I can not

so, I think I will join him on a chopper project
while the cargo bike or bike with side car have always been higher in my list
the chopper seems to be a more simple option

chopper cool pics

my pics are all in my head

and a blog of a guy named zeke has started to convert a Surly Karate Monkey into a CHOPPER
not sure of his progress
Zeke's Blog
Zeke at myspace
zeke photos

the first time I raced at the 24 Hours of Canaan I raced with a bunch of guys on a team called ZIEGENBOCK


but I was shopping for my wife...

how does this happen at work?

how does it happen at work?

here is how it happens...
a bicycle design web site
gets me to go to a furniture design website
one second I am looking at an unusual chair
then I am looking at thigh high boots or women's underwear
it is all very innoccent
innoccent in a dangerous yet classic sort of way

kiki de montparnasse

now with myspace... I should know better

blog blog blog

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

well... with my information
which was correct
I must tell them... there is at least one person
as that one person is me

stole this from clara joy
or is it clara bear or is it clara beard

found that site as I was reading over Mandy Lorenzo's site
which I chanced upon when scoping out the links on the Drunk Cyclists
that is
scoping out the links other than my own



do they make these in adult sizes?
that would be great those nights when I am rolling home from the bars


I need to try some of this
the throwies

when I take these Christmas Lights down off my house
they are going in the trash
only to be replaced by LED Christmas Lights

looking back on the year....

looking back on the year I can not help but glance at the low points after glorifying the highlights

just as I marvel at the growth and development of two young boys
I can not look back on this year without thinking about the death of my dog Roscoe
the days before his death were painful
the days in his absence are not without pain

before I had children my wife and I just had the two dogs
the dogs made our house our home
the dogs made our union a family

dogs are said to be man's best friend
roscoe was my best friend
sure.... I had two dogs
but my relationship with brutus is different than the relationship I had with roscoe

I miss that dam dog
my family misses that dam dog
brutus... who is part of the family misses that dam dog

I think it is time for the puppy
we do not have time for a puppy
but... I think it is time
time to start finding the right dog

roscoe and brutus

photo book: new orleans bikes

leadville.... I guess not


velo news has an update saying that Lance is not going to be racing in the Leadville 100
while landis is subject to the final decision of the doping allegations

too bad
it would have been an exciting race to follow


short commutes... short rides... no real riding to speak of

it is winter

with no races on the immediate horizon it is hard for me to stay motivated

a few weeks ago I had a short burst of mountain bike adventures
got out on the Surly Karate Monkey Single and was reminded how much I love riding that bike
the Specialized Tri-Cross still has a rear flat from the Capitol Cross Classic in Reston
much of cyclocross is about cyclocross racing
while mountain biking is pretty much about mountain biking
even if mountain bike racing is part of the equation

today I rode the three decade old Colnago that I frankenbiked into a fixie
the fixie is a good bike for crossing town when I am in no hurry and have no grand work out ambitions

right now my basement is a mess
things have hit a critical level
it is time to take control of the basement
an avalanche of junk has overflowed
it has gotten to the point where I do not know where anything is
the Colnago was out of the rotation for a few weeks because I could not find a single bolt that I knew I had
it is out of control

need to focus on gathering bike parts for the bike swap
getting rid of some stuff
donating what can be used
tossing out what is trash

which reminds me....
maybe I should call Tommy...
I brought that backpack of clothes to work the other day
about time I handed that stuff over

calories are being consumed
very few calories are being burned

some good hikes and some good walks
lots of chasing the kids
very little time on the bike
a few cross town trips
but nothing more
when things dry out I need to get out on some dirt

an image to sum things up?

this little photo montage says a great deal to me

it shows one of my boys (dean)
it has a bicycle
it is a photo that I took
it is at a mountain bike race that I was the slow guy on a fast team
it is a race that was also a family weekend

that picture is one of my favorites from the year

it was Dean's first mountain bike race
he is giving Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Laird Knight a high five after the race
it was a great weekend
it is the 24 Hour Mountain Bike races that have kept me on the bike all these years

there have to be words somewhere on that weekend

clean and lube your drivetrain on the cheap

this is a little piece that I started the other day
thought it was lost
now it is back

years ago I had planned for my blog to have more information like this
but... just like working on my bikes
I have let certain things slip down my list of priorities

this morning as I strolled into work
I ran into a friend on the sidewalk
he was finishing up his morning bicycle commute into work and walking the final steps to his office building

the morning was chilly which had me questioning his bare legs
the question was not verbalized
yet, I questioned his sparse gear in my head
the question floating in my head got bumped in priority as I noticed his bone dry chain
so rather than cracking on his pale chicken legs being visible on this brisk morning
I reached down and pinched his chain
there was no risk of any oil or grease marking up my fingers
maybe some rusty red dust
but certainly no oil residue

so I gave him a quick chain lube recommendation
used the terms "bicycle specific lube"
then I told him to apply the lube sparingly
make a few rotations
let it sit for a few minutes
then wipe the excess away
he thanked me for the tip then admitted to having a tendency to apply too much lube
a tendency which he had not performed in quite some time

when I returned to my office I scanned the Internet for interesting bike stuff in between my morning tasks
in my searching I chanced upon this mtnbikerider site
within a number of his posts I scrolled down to a post where the author spoke of a Mercedes Benz mechanic who had told him that they used transmission fluid for lubing chains and cables
this intrigued me

this immediately had me thinking of Tim Grahl of Blue Collar Mountain Biking

so here it is...


what you will need: bicycle, a low hanging tree limb, and an old t-shirt, an old cardboard box, then finally some degreaser and some lube

in the bike shops there are all sorts of "bicycle specific" lubes and cleaning products
I have had good luck with a variety of these bike shop products
never finding them to be too expensive
always finding that I am more likely to lose the container or spill the contents before I am ever able to empty things out from use alone
but... for those looking to save a buck there are some options for cleaning and lubing that should do the job just as well without the bike shop mark up and the bicycle specific label on the outside of the container


in an effort to save a buck and experiment with some alternate cleaning and lubing options we are going to shop outside the Local Bike Shop
no... this does not mean that we are going to order our stuff online... we would never do that
no... we are going to purchase non-bicycle specific products to clean and lube our bicycle

DEGREASER: as a degreaser I like SIMPLE GREEN
it was a number of years ago that I was teamed up for the 24 Hours of Canaan with a friend from Idaho, Aaron Couture
Aaron always knew the latest and the greatest
Aaron always mixing the old with the new... loving his thumb shifters... but swapping out from buytl tubes to laytex before the race and other such things
so when Aaron purchased some SIMPLE GREEN for the degreasing purpose I took notice
for my degreaser mixture I like to go roughly ONE to ONE water to Simple Green in an empty Windex spray bottle
then I mark up the old spray bottle with a Sharpie so that I know what the boys are spraying in each others eyes

CHAIN LUBE: for the LUBE we defer to the recommendation from MTNBIKERIDERS to use transmission fluid, Dexron III
again... the volume of fluid is greater in it s original packaging then we need for the lubing process
so we use an alternate bottle... MTNBIKERIDERS recommends the use of an old saline solution bottle from his contacts... use what you have

with our bicycle, our old t-shirt rag, and our newly acquired Simple Green degreaser and Transmission Fluid lube we head out towards that tree with the low hanging limb
an old cardboard box works well as ground cover to catch all the dirt/grime/and fluids that drop off the bike

we hang the bike from its seat on a low hanging branch
the wheels need to be high enough that they do not touch the ground
the bike needs to be far enough away from the trunk so that the cranks do not make contact on each rotation

spray a liberal amount of the Simple Green mixture on the whole drive train
this can be done with or without the rear wheel on the bike
if things are really dirty
it may be best to remove the rear wheel
as this will make it easier to clean the cassette as well as the rear deraileur

let the degreaser sink in for a few minutes
then wipe it clean
with the rag make a fist around the chain
pedal the cranks with the free hand
pulling the chain through the clinched fist
rinse and repeat
others may get out their brother's tooth brush to get things super clean
but that is not my style

clean the front and rear deraileurs with some focus
as a clean part functions much better than a dirty one

then... with things clean
lets try out the transmission fluid as a lube

again we apply a liberal amount of fluid
no need to soak the chain
but... we will put more than a few drops on
rotate the cranks so that the chain moves and distributes the lube
again... give it a few minutes to soak in

then with a clean section of the t-shirt rag repeat the closed fist process
removing all excess lube
the lube needs to be on the inside... not on the outside
clean the excess lube off the deraileurs as well
any excess lube will act like a dirt magnet
gunking stuff up pretty quick
so it is best to keep it clean

return the rear wheel if it had been removed
with the bike still resting in your tree stand go through the gears
do a few minor adjustments
then go ride your bike

it is not uncommon for there to be a third step in the cleaning and lubing process on my bikes
I like to put a layer of wax lubricant on my chain
as I am clearly not motivated to boil down a bar of paraffin wax
I go with the bicycle specific wax lube options
White Lightning or Pedros work well for me
again.... I apply it
let is rest for a few minutes
then wipe away the excess

MTNBIKERIDERS has another tip; Furniture Polish as Bike Polish
on muddy rides is helps to spray down the frame so the mud does not adhere
I recall in some muddy mountain bike races we would spray our pedals and cleats with spray cooking products like PAM... this would keep the mud out of the cleats for at least two minutes

any requests?

does anyone have a favorite GWADZILLA story from 2006?
how about a favorite GWADZILLA image from 2006?

I think if I create a best of page
it will not be limited to 2006
as I know I may risk going deeper into the archives

not sure if my archive links work on my page

blogger is asking me to join
but refusing me to join

accept no imitations

The Drunk Cyclist

there is a shout out to zilla on the DC page

this linkage had me scan the net on the LIVEWRONG concept
when I chanced upon an alternate LIVEWRONG bracelet
as mine lacks the skull and cross bones
it seems someone else is selling these bracelets
how very odd!

the end of the year and it BEST OF lists

here it is
the close of 2006
with the end of the year and the start of the year
come the lists of lists

I have considered putting together a BEST OF GWADZILLA LIST
then I realized
it would be easier for people to just do a GOOGLE of Gwadzilla for images

maybe I should create two more separate blogs and link to them from here....
I can add to them over the year
there is no way I could put together a legitimate BEST OF in the spare minutes of work

a conversation about MS had me thinking of Jim Rapp

a conversation last night had me thinking about Jim Rapp

a friend from college was in town and stopped in last night
he came by post work
it was a good little window into my world
the boys were being boys
no best behavior for my friend Shannon

Shannon is a man
much like there was a boy named Sue

Shannon is in a program for alternative medicine in Oregon
a program whose name I have shamefully forgotten

here is a gwadzilla archive with more information on Jim Rapp
if I only had a digital link to his City Paper cover story some years back
the story of FEATHERHEAD is a tale that sounds like myth or legend... but it is all very real


it is late... it is crazy late

it is late
it is crazy late

not late for you or for me
it is late for my two young boys
not sure why they are still awake
but they are

a late nap for still afternoon napping grant
the excitment of a friend from college visiting kept them bouncing off the walls later than usual
my friend has long since been gone
yet the boys are still awake

they were in a mood
the vote is a unanimous decision
two pacifiers down
okay... they are not babies
but they sure were acting like babies

neither of the boys would eat the pizza fro Radius
the crust was soggy as per usual
the topping were slipping and sliding till they slipped off of each piece
the NY Style floppy pizza that demands a fold is not for small children

it was a good walk to get the pizza
the box for a large pizza is in fact large
it was a long walk back with a backpack with a few full cartons of milk
a plastic bag of clothes and shoes that were in the backpack but were supposed to be passed off to Lamar the Panhandler in front of the Peruvian chicken joint
go figure... he is there every night I pass that point
except for the night that I bring the bag of clothing that I promised
there was also a dog on a leash and a small boy that needed coralling

on the donation tip...
this morning I rode with two backpacks

one old camelpak filled with an assortment of clothing and things I was going to pass along to Tommy
got his cell phone
will call to see if I can meet him mid day or even on my way home

the boys are still not asleep

it has been a long day of parenting for my wife
I know because the short time during the evening that I hung out with the kids has left me exhausted

bicycle lift?

fun sites

play around with that one

stolen from TIME's 50 Coolest Web Sites

Mother Fuddruckers!

Mother Fuddruckers!

it is time for lunch...

I just wrote a super cool post about Cleaning and Lubing a drivetrain on the cheap

was distracted by some hotties on the PEZ cycling page
and well
I closed out of my blog page

there was the clever use of the tree
there was mention of Blue Collar Mountain Biking
there was a link to a guy who recommended using Transmission Fluid to lube a chain
it was awesome
it is gone
serenity now


a quick adjustment than back to work

holiday lull.... holiday madness

the days after christmas can be crazy
it is always a strange time between christmas day and new years day
there is a surreal flavor to many aspect of the world around us

the workplace is vacant
parking spaces are available everywhere
the restaurants are empty
or maybe the restaurants are packed
there is no traffic

the pace of everything changes

this is a very strange time
it is the same every year
yet it is strange every year
it is strange again this year

life is not the same every year
so this few days of oddness is not entirely the same every year

now that we have two boys of an early school age the thought of school vacation dictates our vacations and our lives to a certain degree
this makes our oddness twist in a different way

right now we are trying to figure out how to entertain a few children for two weeks
the day after christmas
the first day after the holiday
the first day of the two week post holiday vacation break
on day one dean broke a window at the front of the house

not sure if we have the rule
no playing ball in the house
as ball sports are not either of my boy's primary interest
but there was always the fear that a window would get broken
well... it happened today
dean broke that window today
it is the first window he has broken

the replace and repair of that window cost us five hundred bucks
wish dean had learned the experience of cause and effect on a buck ninty eight pane of glass

it is no great issue
we are able to put these things in perspective
it is still no great pleasure
especially when we just had to pay for some work to be done on our furnace and lisa's car is in the shop
life costs more to live than most people make
that just is not fair

lisa called after it happened
I spoke with five year old dean
his remorse was apparent
I gave the textbook we are just glad you are alright speech
then delt more with things when I got home

dean was still crazy when we got home
there was very little change in his behavior
I thought he would be more humble for longer
but he leaped right back into high energy mode

in just a few short hours we covered a long list of activities

indoor bowling
remote control cars
indoor bowling with remote control cars

mario 64

bikes in the alley
games around the clubhouse
some time by the fire pit in the backyard

carry out thai

more mario

stories before bed
with some more effort, bed
after some effort and some arguement.... bed

a break for repairs in dupont

really liking this hat

loving this hat
will have to make an order
maybe a few extra as gifts...


google search.... blog search

Google Blog Search
this could be fun

scanning the Internet about the bike

Annie Londonderry
the first woman to tour the world via bike

PRI Interview about the story

from the Wiki Page

common sense...

it is clear to me that much of the world exists without common sense

what boggles my mind is that so many people are assigned various tasks at work
but they fail to understand the objectives

the other day I was getting donuts at Heller's bakery and watching the morning activity outside the window
there was a classic situation
a car was double parked while there were multiple legal spaces just steps ahead
the car that was double parked was the official meter maid car

I watched the short little soap opera unfold
the meter maid went to issue the ticket to the driver who had neglected to put money in the meter
the owner of the car stood a few feet to my left adding sugar and cream to his coffee
while just to my right outside the window the meter maid researched the registration information on the windshield

it was classic
the owner of the car walked outside then rushed the meter maid in a huff
not sure what his ticket was for
not sure if his registration had lapsed
but it was an amusing silent film to witness as I sipped my coffee and ate my donut

the back and forth continued
the meter maid went on her way
then the car owner got into his car with his elevated heart rate and went on his
had he just put twenty five cents in the meter.... there would have been no attention to his registration

with my coffee and donut no longer on the table
but sitting comfortably in my belly I headed for home
it was time for my house guest to head to philly for his holiday fun
a few blocks off the main strip I saw the meter maid's vehicle parked blocking an alley way
another illegal action by the same vehicle
the city employee exited a hair weave store within the Argyle building and moved towards her car
I mentioned in jest that if I could give tickets I would issue that car a ticket
to that she got smarmy in a playful sort of way.... well... I am the one issueing tickets around here... where are you parked?
parked? I said take it easy cowgirl... I am walking
we all had a laugh
it was playful
but I know better to mess with the meter maid ninjas
make enemies with them
and they could make your life miserable

the humor is that this woman may be good at her job in respect to the diligent issuance of tickets
but... she fails to see that her purpose is for a greater objective
to create flow
to issue tickets to prevent people from parking in such a way to cause blockage to the motion of traffic
not so much as to ruin someone's day or to collect revenue
but to keep traffic moving
all the while she is blocking traffic in an effort to ease the flow of traffic
maybe someone needs to explain to her the objectives of the job

I guess that is irrational
as in my efforts to calm traffic on my street I was amazed to see that the DDOT folks and the DC Metropolitan Police failed to understand that tickets do not change behavior
issuing a ticket does not change behavior
it is the threat of issuing a ticket that changes behavior
the ticket is punishment
that does not curb the behavior
it is the threat that changes behavior

people will park in front of a hydrant if they do not fear getting a ticket
if they get a ticket
they will cuss and scream then play the odds again
but... if tickets were issued each and every time someone parked in front of a hydrant
behavior would change
there are places where people do not speed or people do not park illegally
that threat prevents the behavior.... those who do not understand that this is a definite will learn this the first or second time that they act outside of the law

if we want to change behavior the law needs to be consistent
the intermittent issuing of penalties is not enough to alter behavior
that is why Red Light Cameras work
the car traffic knows where the cameras are
so they behave appropriately when within view of the camera
then speed away and run the next light

issuing a ticket is like hitting a child
it does not change the behavior
it is punishment
but not always the most productive method of guiding future behavior

world news and the bike

showdown in leadville?

PEZ Cycling

Leadville 100 Site


Lance vs. Landis?

I wonder if this could draw even more talent to this race
I imagine that there could be others that feel confident that they could beat either of these road power houses on dirt

I have heard that it is not that technical of a course
more fireroads than singletrack
which may let these guys race it like a road event

got dimples? rocket science?

got dimples?

rocket science?

rocket science sports

their water bottles have dimples
something about technology similar to the golf ball?

stole this information from the graceful edge


post work over spin

the morning walk with the dog often dictates the clothing for the day
that morning walk is in the woods which can also dictate my ride for that day

the walk was short
just the standard 15-20 minutes in the park
more than enough time to finish that last cup of coffee

when I suited up for the short ride into work I considered wearing work gear and riding the old Rocky Mountain Blizzard which is currently outfitted with flat pedals
but the misty muggy morning dictated the use of gortex
the warmth of the morning has me wear a short sleeve shirt, a very light jacket, shorts under the gortex pants, and three quarter finger fingerless gloves
that little gear had me sweating within the waterproofing by the time I arrived at work

got out of work early
could not waste the day light
so I decided to go for a ride around town
the karate monkey single is fun to noodle around on
but no fun to try and race traffic on
no issue with the bike
just that this bike is geared for dirt
which requires a much easier gear that the paved streets

rode around for a bit until the mist turned to rain
the gloves did not feel sufficient
started to feel as I had misjudged the day
the day started to feel like washington in december
it was wet
it was cold
the sky was bleak
and it was getting dark early

so I spun the monkey towards home

got home to a house of smiles
everyone was having a good day out of school and home from work
the christmas presents were still fresh and the morning was spent at the movie theater

lisa walked the dogs and ran an errand while I watched the boys
there was still some active interest in the various christmas toys
then a few young neighbors came over
everyone was playing downstairs
then there was a sneaky migration up the stairs
it was the Mario game
I gave them some space and listened for complaints
then poked my head in to make sure everyone was getting a turn
everyone was sharing nicely
I watched for a second then I joined in
then had to pull myself away
handed back the controls and got the two younger boys in on some funky alien weirdo mr. potato without the potato sort of toy

then lisa returned with pizza from vace

present time
more madness has taken place
the boys are all amped
not wanting to got bed

I am in the office standing guard

a greeting for the GIS map geek in you...


a season's greeting via satellite from around the globe


people suck...

manatees in the news in florida

a book by john lithgow

in short...
people suck

power boaters are way the worst
power boaters are lame

I feel the same way when I get in a power boat as I do when I step into a cab or a bus
like I just started sleeping with the enemy

is it too late to add this to a christmas list?

walz caps...

a friend got me one of these for christmas
a good score
even if my brother says I look like Tevye

peter... a brompton... my boys

peter... my boys... a brompton

nifty little bike
yet the novelty of colapsing does not suit my needs
although the bike was a thrill to ride
for me and for my kids

if only the city were more bicycle friendly
I do think I need a cross bar kid seat

peter also has a christiania

peter is involved with a project called

it was peter that gave me a cool cycling cap for christmas
walz caps

the boys got a card game whose name I can not recall as we have yet to play it
his boys thought think it to be good fun... we look forward to experiencing it

not sure about the after market attachment that the works for the kids

watching: The Man Who Skied Down Everest

The Man Who Skied Down Everest

watching this film
not sure if I will be able to stay through to the end
although it is wonderful this far

I have heard that the film should be titled

The Man Who Fell Down Everest

Wiki Page

this Yeti should sleep
as this Yeti has been over eating all day
this Yeti over ate all yesterday as well
this Yeti would love to go treking in Nepal with his family
I love lens flare I want to make documentary films as use lens flare as much as possible Unreal Wiki Page

made it to the end
got to see The Man Who Fell Down Everest
it was a beautiful documentary
a splendid part of the world


it is always a strange feeling

it is always a strange feeling

post party depression

most certainly the cross racers of the united states may be feeling some of that same emptiness that the parents of the world who celebrated christmas may be feeling right now

there was grand preparation
the kids have been asking questions on the topic of christmas for months
there have been letters to santa
questions about santa
the leverage of disipline that the concept of santa offers

now we have rock-em-sock-em robots, more magnetix, more duplo lego, star wars mr. potatohead that adds to our already impressive mr. potatohead collection
of course there us clothes
as unexcited as the kids can be about getting a box of clothes
this is the time when kids get slippers and a rob.... only to wear once or twice then then they outgrow it

more toys unmentioned
no bicycles
no puppies
but a good christmas just the same

the wife got some ear rings and a necklace from the family
while dad got some super casual pants looking knickers with chamois and some winter bib tights

it was a good holiday weekend
a good gathering of the family
was good to see some friends

this is a brompton

this is a brompton
grantman loved the brompton
it was not so much the brompton as it was the aftermarket kid's seat

we are breaking the no helmet no bike rule
yes... the rear wheel could use some air

brompton cycles
no.... I did not get one of these
29 inch wheel bikes... that is where my heart is at

tc at 930.... plus the hours before and the house after

saturday night the wife and I planned for the boys to have a sleep over at my mother's
the sleep over allowed for a later night than a teenage babysitter could provide
later.... but not much later
as we are old and married with an early bedtime and standard early mornings
so late nights are not as late as late nights once were

lisa and I were invited as guests of a friend to attend the theivery show at the nine thirty club
we were psyched to get on the list as this event sold out fast to an email warning
tickets sold out faster than we could have nailed down a definite babysitter for any single night
so when rob and vida offered to get us on the list... we took it

the day involved a fair amount of pre-Christmas madness
there were all sorts of christmas packages being wrapped
toys being hidden as boys crossed through the house
all the while trying to entertain the boys
which means feeding them and keeping them from getting hurt

while trying to get ready for hosting christmas eve at our house the next night
this involving getting the ingredients for Paealla
Paella being a dish that is becoming somewhat of a new years tradition at our house
as this is the third or fourth year in a row that I have cooked it and served it

seeing the dinner party start time arriving fast
I realized that I needed to snatch my window of opportunity
wanted to ride the bike
wanted to get some more time in the warm not quite wintery december day
needed to go shopping
so I got onto my Surly Karate Monkey with my oversized Camelbak on my back and over spun things across town to the Eastern Market

I love the Eastern Market
years ago I worked at a bicycle on 7th Street at Eastern Market
and well... that section of town became part of me
the various places to eat and all the things to purchase; food, flowers, whatever

the Market itself has its fan tastic food from the Market Lunch
but I was not their for a Crab Cake sandwich platter... as much as I would love that with cole slaw and french fries or maybe the green beans if they are not alread eighty sixed
nor was I anywhere there early enough for french toast on french bread or the best blue berry pancakes in the city
no... I was not there for a sub or a salad or even a cheap hot dog that is ready to be eaten
I was their to purchase what I needed to make Paella to serve six adults and six small children
although the thought of a Prego sub was making me salavate

one stop shopping is my way of thinking
christmas can not always happen that way... but once stop shopping must be part of it

The Market covered 90 percent of what I needed in the best possible form

the sausage selection can not be beat anywhere in the city...
no place are there as many sausage varieties each and every option awesome
there are a set of brothers
each with their own meat counter
I have always bought from one
never compared the selection with the other
considered buying a chicken curry sub while ordering my sausages
but managed to stay focused

went from the sausages past the vegetables and the poultry to stay on the hard to find vitals as they rolled through my head
at the seafood market at the market lunch I got clams and mussels
then had a hard time deciding between small and massive scallops
or the various sizes of shrimp
ended up getting medium shrimp and the massive scallops
there were no small shrimp
they lacked the smal tube of lobster meat
the packet of lobster tail was seventy five bucks
so I went with the lobster tails

for looks the lobster tails would work well
as the clams and mussels would still be in their shells
while I would clean all but the tails off the shirmp
the lobster does not get shelled until after it is cooked

with my backpack filling fast
and starting to get heavy I kept speed
onto poultry where I got half a dozen or so drumsticks
as I thought that the drum stick would not only be more pleasing to the eye
but also more pleasing to the hands of the small children and my often hungry brother

then vegetables
with about ninty percent of my hundred dollar bill spent I ate the free banana given to me as I exited the open market

the exterior had a great urban market feel
there was a friendliness of christmas floating about
trees and wreaths were still being sold
people were gathering goods for the parties they were planning
and of course
gifts were being purchased

there was no time for me to meander through the various tables of the Eastern Market fenced in section weekend market
sure there is handmade jewelry
beautiful photos and paintings of the city and of the world
yes there is all sorts of stuff
but my gift shopping was already done

so I went down the block to visit my old friend from Woven History
Mehmet is everybody's friend
but I feel as if we are like brothers
okay... maybe cousins
as I want to reserve the bond of brothers for when I really mean it
in any way... we are like family

although he is a few years older
he met and married his second wife at the same time I was dating and moving into marriage with mine
then we each had children around the same time
I watched his business grow
he watched as I moved through a series of jobs

that visit was also short
no shopping for rugs
just time for a hug and some quick catching up
his wife was there... she is pregnant with his third
the classic scenario of a ladies man having all daughters
not sure if a classic family name/family business thing had him yearning for a son

with an exchange of holiday wishes I was back on the bike
feeling a tad less spry with a backpack heavily loaded down with a hundred dollars of food and ice to keep it cool

curbs and stairs were avoided
so were cars

the streets were almost vacant for stretches
but there was no shortage of grinches on the road
I got some serious bah humbug from from buggers
as I went past malcom x park I heard the sound of skateboarders in the fountain
the sun was dropping fast but I still had some time before my next task
pulled out the camera to snap some shots in the low light setting
shit.. the only thing worse is BATTERY FAILURE
sure I could erase some shots... but did not want to go through that

chatted with the skaters as they took turns on the very low, short, tight transitions of the now drained and dry fountain
left with a reminder to them about the setting sun and the potential for sketch
they agreed then one of them passed of the link to his photo blog, cornphoto.blogspot
not to be confused with cornbread... a cycling blog I tune into from time to time

arrived home with plenty of time for a few games of Mario 64 with the boys
with bags packed for an overnight I loaded the little monkeys into the toaster and drove the other direction across town

the boys were excited for christmas and for the sleep over with grandma
grantman was crying with objection as he wanted his mommy
but, he is a rational little grantman and soon stopped his tears

after dropping off the boys with their backpacks full of too brushes and pajamas I headed home to prepare for anight out on the town
other than the show at the nine thirty club I was not sure what we had intended for all this free time

there was no hurry to get dressed as there was no reservation for any fancy place to eat
we just enjoyed the quite house and agreed to stop at someplace on the drive down to the show

once dressed we headed down towards the show
unsure where to eat we parked on U Street a few blocks from the club
headed down to John Solomon's place, Solly's
he was not there and the kitched was closed so we headed down the block
having our short plan colapse we once again needed a place to eat
chinese carry out carried back to the bar seemed like our top option until lisa proposed we try Ohhhs and Ahhhhs a Soul Food joint.... the place where the bartender had said Solly was grabbing some carry out

Ohhhs and Ahhhhhs delivered some serious Ohhhhs and some serious Ahhhhs
the food was epic
my blackened catfish, green beans, yams and sampling of my wife's food filled me fast
too much food for a couple headed out to go dancing
but I could not contain myself
I as per usual... am a member of the clean plate club

not sure of the band's start time we headed over to the show

we were early which is to be expected of geeky parents
but it was good to get a drink and settle in
we got to move about before the crowds came in
when the opening act came on I was shockingly stoked
at times the opening act can be a yawn
especially if you are a geeky parent
but not this time
as the opening act was frederico aubele
one of the several other acts on the esl label
frederico is on the downstairs cd player rotation along with nicola conte and fort knox five
it is good to find music that the father, mother, and children can all agree upon

frederico and his band put on an amazing show
the performance was full of energy

there was a healthy gap of time between the opening act and the main act
which allowed for some more looping about
by this time the downstairs was packed
a wall of people
my height left this as little issue to me
while lisa was feeling a little pinned in

we moved about the club settling in at various perspectives for various parts of the show
some spots gave better views of the belly dancer
good to see the belly and not just the face when watching a belly dancer
some areas were more about the awesome ambient light show in the background
while all spots allowed me to focus on my friend rob as he moved to the music
switching between guitar and sitar depending upon the song
he was having a great night
it was clear that the whole band was really having a good night
there was an awesome energy as the band played four nights in their hometown to so many people that are more than fans
so many of these people are friends

there was no after party for the geeky parents
it was a moment's consideration
but sleep sounded like more fun

the music of theivery was fantastic
the show itself was a blast
it was good to get out and dance even if the dance steps were only a little more than a sway or a bob
the arena was just too packed for the crowd to get as wild as the music was pushing for

got home to a house without children
had the pleasure of sleeping late... real late
not 8:30 or 9 late
I think I may have slept to 9:30

woke up and grabbed my coffee
tried to get focused on prepping for the party
the house was without kids so we wrapped the last presents and put stuff away to make room for guests

after picking up the kids from my moms I met up with a friend from high school
his mother's house is not far from my mother's apartment which makes for convenient fun
his boys are roughly the same age as my boys

called on my approach
his mother told me he was at the elementary school down the road with his boys
that was perfect
as we had intended on some frisbee golf as the boys played
to keep the boys entertained I arrived with four light sabers and two other telescoping swords with lights and sounds

sure enough...
the boys jumped right into the fun... and the mud
it was all fine
as the dad's were focused on some heated competition
things started off as an ultimate disc versus the gold disc competiton
at first things were being sold as a Casperoff versus the computer thing
but the tone mellowed after we each shanked a few shots

it was good to catch up
the kids played
we got to talk bikes
I had the pleasure of riding his brompton
grantman and dean loved the kid's seat
sure we broke the no helmet no bike rule
but... there are exceptions

that was my christmas eve day

once back from the frisbee golf olympics I returned home with grant napping
dean was excited to play with some of the preChristmas christmas presents he had already opened
grant was transfered from the car seat to mommy bed
I went ahead and started to prep for dinner

lots of vegetables to be sliced
clams and mussels to be cleaned
shrimp to be shelled

started the cooking process
my wife went with my kids and my mom to church
my brother dropped off his wife and kids at mass
then came over and joined me as I cooked
I made a fire in the brass fire pit on the wooded deck
stepping inside periodically to work the two pans of Paella.... one with yellow rice the other with saffron rice... but this saffron and the same ingredients... just different rices

the fire entertained us as we caught up
the family arrived and the kids ran out back
the kids tried to get me to chase and play with them
but I can not chase and play and cook at the same time
okay... I can chase, play, and cook at the same time
but that would prevent me from having a chance to relax with the adults

the kids played a bit out back then swarmed inside

the six young cousins mobbed the lionel train
which had me display how easy and quick the track can be disassembled

the kids were too wild for structured play

in fact...
the kids were almost too energized to eat
well... my boys ate, but not as much as the like to eat
there was too much focus on the young minds for the cousins and the presents

on a pass through the kitchen dean saw the mussels and wanted to sample one
he got to eat a number of mussels and a couple of clams
the sausage may have had too much spice for some of the kids and maybe some of the adults
the four lobster tails were enough to give all the adults a taste

(comercial for Garden State on IFC just aired)

this is too long to proof
want to veg

managed to take a nap this evening after dinner while the boys watched Power Rangers Mystic force
it was a crazy day with a great great energy
but it was exhausting