Rants on Cycling and on Life



What was the first thing that happened to the Invisible Man when his wife had their first child?

He became apparent!

It is a funny thing. With as much work as children demand and all the sacrifices parents have to make it is hard to imagine that one of the first reaction to having children is.....I wish I had done this sooner. It is an odd phenomena. Parenthood is a club, correction, Parenthood is a cult. A cult where all the members are only permitted to talk about these three topics; children, realestate, and schools. To the outsiders we are a complete bore, but to the members of this cult...the well informed are the "bell of the ball."

Compare and contrast Pampers vs. Huggies?
To Diaper Genie or not to Diaper Genie?
What are the latest Safety Recalls?
some people get a little deeper into the magic by researching the philosophy of teaching a child to ride a bike without training wheels vs. learning to ride a bike with training wheels

well you get the picture....

but that is my life
I roll up to the toddler park
my older son Dean runs off and starts climbing on stuff
and I walk around with my younger son Grant in my arms and yap it up with the other parents
and that is what we talk about

that is why I had to turn to other people for information on what suspension forks to by and other topics I would have been more up to date with if I were not the father of two wonderful boys!

oh....right now Dean is really psyched about the bike
at times he likes to move from his two wheeler with training wheels to his tricycle....aka the three wheeled direct drive machine (a kids fixed gear)

VooDoo 29er Frame

Van Dessel 29er

Dirt Rag reviews Fisher 29inch Dualie

Dirt Rag also reviewed the Karate is a none 29er that fits the big guys bill.....and that bill/cost is quite reasonable
that is the Kona Hoss, as reviewed in Dirt Rag 105, guess they do not put everything online

oh well
that is enough linkage
as if I send you linking
you will not read my novel, Pretty Baby

I do not consider myself particularly superstitious, but I do try to pick up certain signs in life. The other morning I was up with Dean and Grant in the play room, I had the TV on to help entertain Dean as I was fully occupied trying to entertain Grant. The cartoon playing was something on one of those kids channels, maybe Nickelodeon, not sure. It was not the rug rats, but drawn in a similar style, the characters were all surfing, there was a big fat native Hawaiian adult was giving the kids guidance. One of the children, this little while dough boy of a child, could not balance the board well enough to paddle, the adult flashed back to his childhood and the same set of issues. It seems that the solution to the young boys troubles was his board, he was short boarding it, when he needed to be on a long board. Once on the long board he was cutting through the waves (and in this story...more importantly accepted by the cool kids.) After seeing this I knew that it was a sign! The 29 Inch Wheel Bike is my Long Board! The morning continued, Soledad came over to watch Grant, I dressed Dean, walked the dogs with Dean on my shoulder through Rock Creek, dropped Dean off at Rosemount Center, headed back through the woods, changed into cycling gear, went into work a few minutes late as usual, and finished my research on the correct 29 inch fork that I needed for the Karate Monkey.

Not sure if my LONG BOARD has been ordered, but am excited to be surfing the dirt in no time on a SUPERSIZED bike for a SUPERSIZED RIDER! But not sure if this purchase will give me any help in being accepted by the cool kids

In the 80's I owned a handful of SWATCHES....
an inexpensive accessory that I never bought
always got as gifts or acquired
more often than not someone got them as a gift and figured that they would never wear them
the coolest one I ever had was more 80's than all the rest with its Keith Harring graphics

does the RIBBON WATCH have the same accessory potential?

remember the accessories make the outfit!

Pretty Baby

years and years ago
well at least over a decade ago
in a time when I had much hair I would say that I could have been a hair farmer, there was hair on my head that draped down my spine three quarters down my back, long glorious blondish brown hair with a natural waviness from long days in the sun on my bike and in my convertible rabbit, swimming in the ocean, jumping off the cliffs into the potomac, or wading into the C&O canal with my family dog
my chest was nearly hairless as it was just starting to creep up from around my belly button and I could not grow enough facial hair to grow a respectable beard
I was young and vain
never knowing that genetics was going to be my Samson and clip my wig

in these younger freer times we rode our rigid bikes without helmets
it was humorous time
the mountainbike was young and the technology was just out of the gate
I was riding a Canondale SM600 a wonderful yellow bike with a 26 inch wheel in the front and a 24 inch wheel in the back
the brakes were Sam Cunningham's roller cams
the gears took muscle to shift with the Suntour top of the bar thumb shifters
(some people were going custom mounting them under the bar, inspiring the designers to create the rapid fire thumb shifter technology)
our feet bounced free on the pedals with loose harnesses that were called toe clips

I remember a day I was out riding with a few friends, rob and greg, we were out at Great Falls Maryland on the Gold Mine Loop. we were young and foolish and felt like outlaws with little concern for the no bikes signs. I may have been a courier at the time and greg and rob had each had been couriers at one time or another thus extending the outlaw feeling for times on the bike. we were running these loops through the woods, popping out at Old Angler's Inn, and spinning up Macarthur Blvd to the top of the hill at Falls Road and dropping back into the woods. It was a pretty solid routine. The wooded trails were short loops and a far greater pleasure going down than up. As these were the early days of mountainbiking, and we went under the training.
On this one ride in particular there was a strange encounter...
After one of our loops I came out of the woods before Greg and Rob, while waiting for them to meet me at the parking lot a tall beautiful women caught my eye as she unloaded her bike. Just before Rob and Greg got out woods I started up with some small talk...."oh I see you are running the FARMER JOHN in the back and the FARMER JOHN COUSIN in the front....personally..." the conversation went that way, she had no idea what I was talking about and deferred all the bicycle questions to her riding partner, the owner of the bike, a guy I did not see, notice, or care about. Then Rob and Greg exited the woods, I mounted my bike with a quick good bye and then we headed up the paved road for a some more fun in the woods.
We dropped into the woods and I lead the route downhill. we were hammering down a chattering section with our helmetless heads, our rigid bikes, and our feet strapped in tight with leather straps on our toe clips; when I see this same beautiful women working her way up the opposite direction. as we passed/nearly collided she said, "oh, deja vue!" I turned looked, checked her out and thought.."oh, death to us all if you don't get out of my way...cause I am not stopping" While in actuality, I could not stop as the braking power of that era was more a matter of decelleration rather than stopping.
we did the loop one or two more times and managed to connect with this women and her invisible riding partner as they loaded up the car
we chatted, laughed and giggled and had a pleasant exchange
rob and I took in her striking good looks as greg finished loading up his car
then she removed her helmet and pulled off her glasses and shook her ponytail free
in a classic teen movie sort of way this all happened in front of me in slow motion...a hazy filter softened that already soft features as her long flowing hair whipped from side to side and dropped softly on her soft round shoulders
at that moment rob evacuated with a cloud of dust floating where he once stood
figuring it was time to go, I said my good byes and got into robs sporty little capri
we looked at each other
rob was white like he had seen a ghost
I turned and asked, "was that Brooke Shields"
rob said, "I don't know, but that is how I am going to tell the story"
we pulled away with greg following right behind and we headed off to the Highs Store (a 7-11 style store of an era now long since past, think Slush Puppies not Slurppies) to get some Gatorade and Dorritos or maybe a Blue Flavored Slush Puppy for a guarenteed ice cream headache. As we shopped around for the right snacks to replace all the calories that were burned I felt a friendly slap on the back. I turned and looked and thought..."oh, deja vue!" sure enough it was that same tall beautiful brunette that we had established as Brooke Shields, she was still wearing a white t-shirt with a Guess print and black cycling other words dressed to kill...not wearing blue eyeliner and big hair as was the fashion of the day for these hollywood types. we again laughed and joked, I told her it was getting creepy having her follow me around like this, as if she was some sort of stalker, she laughed comfortably and touched my elbow in a friendly yet meaningless way, but then our laughs and exchange ended abruptly as her invisible riding partner became visible and snatched her away by the arm, confirming her hollywood status by saying to her..."brooke...I want you to meet a friend of mine"
rob, greg, and I paid for our goodies and went on our way

again I was tickled
it was all very silly and funny
not sure why meeting famous people is so interesting to regular folk like myself
but there are those times when regular folks get together drinking their regular folk drinks (usually beer straight from the can) and they sit around and exchange the answers to such questions as..."who is the most famous person you have ever met?"
and clearly my story of meeting Brooke Shields is more interesting than my story of riding in an elevator and making small talk with Richard Nixon or my taking a piss at a stand up urinal along side of Dan Rather and our small talk exchange as we each washed our hands.


I wrote these two Keith Bontrager entries after a very long news day...although I am the low man on the totem pole here at work (one of two computer guys.) When there is a big news story, as in the case of the death of former President Reagan, I have long work days with a situation filled with excitement and some stress.
For other TV BABIES (a quote from DRUGSTORE COWBOY) think of the film BROADCAST NEWS, that movie was based off where I work. I know some of the characters that the movie characters were based off of, and yes, they are characters. With that said, it had been a long day, I had spent too much time on the computer already, the Whiskey and Coke I poured when I walked in the door did not help I BLOGGED without revisions; my mind and hands were not nimble enough to get my point I am going to review things now

Keith Bontrager is cool! He has been cool for years; and I am sure he was cool long before I heard of him...and I heard of him before I could afford any of his parts and that was before Fisher bought him. The so called "sell out" is something that I have never disagreed with, this gave his equipment a greater audience and I am sure that it took his testing grounds from his garage to the lab! Keith in my mind is an engineer version of Henry Rollins....well of the Henry Rollins in Black Flag, and maybe some early Rollins band but maybe not; okay some modern day spoken word stuff may be cool. But not the cameo/extra king...again...not unlike Keith, I have no issue with anyone making a buck, but it is not clear if Rollins is trying to be an actor, trying to make a buck, trying to stay in the spotlight, seeking some form of immortality, or just having some fun with it. We can only hope that he is having fun with it, on an episode of JACKASS he sure seemed to be having fun driving a HUM V in the desert with SUPER JACKASS STEVEO got a tattoo of a smiley face on his arm, well a tattoo of a smiley face on his arm as the HUM V was driven fast and wild over off road terrain. I envy people whose lives have taken them in directions where they get to write their own ticket. Remember, I may envy aspects of people's lives, but I do not for a second wish to trade lives with anyone, but perhaps draw inspiration from other's lives and improve upon my own.
Years ago my brother did a trip out to California to race the Granny Gear 24 Hours of Donner Pass, on that trip, at a very grass roots 24 hours race I was very tickled to meet Keith Bontrager. No, we did not hang out at the campfire, share microbrewed beer, and then leave the race promising to write....nor was it me running up to him with a picture in a magazine begging for his was somewhere in between. I was tickled. He was friendly and cool, while I was tickled.....when he said something it came through a filter...Keith Bontrager Said This Filter.

read this article and you will agree that this guy is cool! He is cool in the same way that fellow parts guru Sheldon Brown is cool, or maybe the guys from Rivendale, Gary Fisher, or Tom Richie. There are many others, and these are just some cool folks who are cool in the cycling industry....there are other people making cool contributions to our planet who are not bicycle related, just can not think of any right now.

Okay, just thought of a few Jake Burton and Sims the two inventors that argue over the creation of the snowboard. Although it is super cool that these guys did this...there is a tad bit of irony, THEY TRIED TO REINVENT THE WHEEL! For some reason as they invented this tool to be used on the ski slope, they failed to look at the ski for some of the most basics strengths of its evolution....they created it without a metal edge! So as great as the early snowboard was, in so many ways it sucked! But it was stage one of the evolution of what is now the snowboard. A sport that I live too far from the hill to enjoy and a sport that I can not afford. In my mind, a week travel to a ski resort and all of its costs is pretty darn close to the price of buying another bike. Lift ticket prices have gone through the roof, last time at Vail I think the tickets were 60 Bucks, okay maybe 52, but you get the point. (oh, I did not pay for my tickets for Vail, my old friend katerina hooked my up with a stack of employee tickets and for Copper my friend Tim let my borrow his pass)

On another day I was tickled.....
maybe at work
I need to put my feet up
lets see if I feel like chasing this tangent in the morning.


okay...this entry was also after that long work day
now in the middle of another long work day; the funeral for former President reagan, I am going to take a break and spruce up this post a tad
not much
clean up and edits are not my thing, you should see my basement

this rider friend of mine that I have never ridden with before, nick, send me this amazing article on a KONA bike, the Kona Hoss Deluxe; it was an article in dirt rag. the article had some simple genius. it said so much, so clear.
this kona bike the HOSS DELUXE and this article from Keith Bontrager are about what we all dream the bike industry is about, but sadly this is not so. So much about the industry seems to be about making money, making it affordable, or making it....well, who knows what they are thinking. why does a 15 inch frame have the same fork as a 21 one inch frame? why do frames stop at 21 inch?
Why does the cycling industry thing that after 5'10" tall and 185lbs is ONE SIZE FITS ALL! When actually they are making a product where ONE SIZE FITS NONE!

not unlike snowboards....
snowboard lenghts are made for riders 140lbs-155, 155lbs-165, and then a longer board for 165-175, and finally a board for riders 175plus (and they tend to be wider for the taller bigger foot rider) Well, I think there is clearly a greater difference with 200 or god forbid 220 or 240, than 150 and 170lbs.

the 29 inch wheel bike seems to be an answer for the taller rider
perhaps it makes less sense for frames to get larger and larger and perhaps awkward for them to work with the 26 inch wheels.

I may be thinking of going 29 across the board
if I go DUAL SUSPENSION, dare I say it, it will definitely be 29 inch
and again
if nothing else because it will fit
it is like I have been wearing a size 11.5 shoe for the last 15 years
and just learned that they can make a 13
what took them so long to start making a 13?
when will there be more choices in a size 13?

yes it is true CUSTOM is an option, but not an option for me.
I can not justify the costs of some of these machines. it just does not make sense to me to spend so much money on anything, even a bike.
I had a discussion with a long time friend and Big Wheel Shop manager, Bennet. He said something that I agreed with about how the rider fits the bike, not that the bike fits the rider. In essence what he is saying is that we get a basic fit, and we adjust from there. It is a strange irony. In the sales situation there is always the TEST RIDE. And the customer rides many bikes. For the most part every bike should ride well out of the shop, and not much can be told in the initial moments of riding any bike. And there are always slight modifications that can be made to "customize" the machine, a shorter stem, seat height and position, riser vs. flat bars, etc. In the last many years I have made a number of bike purchases, never once has I ever seen or touched the model of bike that I was ordering. I had never even seen a Karate Monkey when I ordered one, I had never seen a Rocky Mountain Blizzard, I had never seen a Kona Huma Huma Nuka Nuka Ah' Pua Ah, nor had I ever seen the Kona Explosif. There was the reading of the reviews, a check at the frame size, and an a analysis of the components.
This test ride idea is extended to riding, racing, and training...
Most of my training is done on a 26" commuter bike, with and aluminum frame and rigid fork, then most of my trail riding recently has been done on my 29" wheeled rigid karate monkey, and then when it comes to race day I get on my 26" hardtail Rocky Mountain Blizzard. (well, that will all change if Mike can find the time to make the call to order my bike today)

with all that said
if I were a consumer without a hook up through a great shop and team sponsor, City Bikes
that Kona would be a no brainer
I am excited to check one of those things out
it comes in a 22 inch frame!
and it is catering to the needs of a bigger rider
I love it when the industry does something right!


both these forks seem resonable in price
but does either offer a DISC OPTION?


what to do
what to do

so I had this put a couple of bucks into my Rocky Mountain Blizzard before the 24 Hours of Snowshoe...Disc brakes were my main objective. After some math I started to think that I could get a new bike out of a box for just a little bit more...well a tad more than a little more, but not much. So I settled in on a Jamis Dakota XC , sure the DRAGON is a tad nicer, but it was a little more than this logical step wanted to take me....for that much money I may cross to the DARK SIDE and go full suspension. Well, all that dreaming of the Dakota XC was a waste of time, they do not have the 2004 models available, I could get a great deal on a 2003, but, the 2003 lacks the DISC BRAKES; the center of my upgrade decision. (neither had a fork suitable to my size and stature) Then I started to flip flop in all sorts of directions....Karate Monkey owners said get another monkey...but one said DON'T GEAR THE MONKEY. That one vote was my Henry Fonda among 12 Angry Men, he had presented a reasonable doubt. So I be bobbed around the net and started to get opinions from friends who ride, friends in the industry, people who made recent purchases, and from strangers all over the WEB. Soon I was thinking 29 Inch Double Banger. But I could not find the FISHER HOOK UP! And then I noticed...the FISHER LACKS THE DISC BRAKES! So even with the HOOK UP it would cost me more than I am looking to spend....yet there was no hook up so my dreams in that direction did not occupy much time. It is not that disc brakes are that expensive, but with disc brakes you need a disc wheel and a disc fork.

Now I am back to the MONKEY!
It offers so much what I am looking for!
I have ridden it and I know I love it! It is moderately cheap....not free....and this process is not proving to be easy, yet I chase this dream down just the same. CAN THIS ALL BE DONE IN TIME FOR THE 24 HOURS OF SNOWSHOE? Am I not learning from DT that you can not bleed your hydraulic brakes at 11:50 PM when the race starts at MIDNIGHT? Am I shooting for the impossible?

That reasonable doubt was the speed check that I needed....but hopefully I did not slow so much that I will not clear my obstacle (getting this bike for Snowshoe)

the main question is...
If so...I may make the call tomorrow
that is if Mike works on Thursday
not sure...but I think Thursday is his tanning day at the beach, Monday was his massage and facial day at the he was in a meeting at the downtown store.

Wish me luck!
Help me to get the bike I want and need
try to insure/assure me a dry race at SNOWSHOE because the Karate Monkey is a tad heavy and the 29 inch wheels are bigger and could hold more mudd
thus causing the risk of a hernia on the first section of muddy hike-a-bike

give me guidance
or a winning lotto ticket


A fellow Monkey owner, Timmy P, says that his monkey weighs over 30 pounds...yet it still scares me
that sounds like a heavy bike

any thoughts on the White Brothers Fork?

any other recomendations on 29 Inchers?

ABSOLUTE has a set of links for various 29 inch bike manufacrturers

went to the SEVEN CYCLES page after going to the ABSOLUTE page and noticed it was not listed....guess it was not listed because these bikes cost more than I hope to spend on my next car!

If my choice is a bike for over a grand that weighs 30 pounds or a bike that weighs 26 pounds for 3 choice is made
that is just unreasonable!


I need some help. PROZAC would be a start, but not sure if it would take effect in the few weeks before the 24 Hours of Snowshoe so I am considering another route.....

I need a new bike.
Some basic laws of economics...The Law of Diminishing Returns, may apply here. Basically my old and tired Rocky Mountain BLizzard could use some help. Was thinking of putting front disc brakes on it, but that would require a new front wheel. Then it also needs a new bottom bracket, then add on the new pedals that I wants...
Well, you get the picture. A bike out of the box is starting to sound like a more sensible investment. But what to buy? I do not want to get all GUCCI and go for a Double Banger, thinking I will stay hardtail.....BUT! and I have a big BUTT! BUTT, I was seriously considering going to another 29 inch wheel bike, but I fear that the Karate Monkey would be a tad heavy once built up.

Any thoughts?

Any recomendations?

Anyone know anyone who rides/races a Karate Monkey as anything other than a single speed?

and I gotta act fast!


give my fat ass the skinny!

So much happens in each of our everyday lives that we rarely take notice of it. We go through phases and changes, we exist on certain levels and think we will maintain there forever, and we hold ideas or memories and feel that they will always be there at the surface to be retrieved. Then one day we are sad to find that our memories and ideas have faded and have been replaced with more recent and relevant ideas and memories, this can be sad...whether it is the memory of a special day in childhood or the idea that was the basis of the All American Novel that was going to get you a couple of million bucks and the freedom for you to quote Johnny Paycheck and say, "take this job and shove it!"

There is a cameraman here at work....he is a nice guy....I do not know him well....but I have known him for years. When Dean was born he gave me a present, a hardback journal with blank pages. From time to time as we pass in the halls, and not every time we pass in the halls, he asks me if I have been keeping a journal, I try to mention my BLOG, he rolls his eyes and says, "you have a pen, you know how to use it, WRITE!" He may be right.

This weekend past my wife Lisa went to Syracuse NY for a ladies bonding session. One of her college room mates has been battling breast cancer for years, she thought she had beat it, but as it turns out the cancer that attacks the younger women is far more aggressive. The treatments with all of their successes have given way to the cancer. She is declining. Lisa and a slew of her girlfriends from college went up to spend some time with a near and dear friend. To allow for this to be a girl's weekend I took on the duty of watching our two sons; Dean who is rapidly approaching 3 years and Grant who is just surpassed the 3 month mark. She was only gone for 36 hours, but with a baby crying in my arms 36 minutes can seem like a lifetime. Durning that short span of time I lived through many lifetimes, even after calling in the reserves for gaps within the day.

One of the more memorable moments in the weekend was when it was rapidly approaching 10PM, hours past Dean and Grant's bed times, I was trying trouble shoot Grant's crying: his diaper was clean and fresh, he clothing was crisp and clean, the climate in the room was comfortable, it had not been that long since he last ate...but I opted to feed him again. After warming the 'pumped' breast milk to the appropriate temperature I was in trying to feed Grant. It was a very frustrating moment. Dean was at my side issuing orders...."he needs the breast milk from the bottle!....he is hungry!....let me feed him!" Then Dean and I started wrestling for the bottle, I could not break Dean from his objective, so I allowed him to try and feed his baby brother. Dean being just under three could not quite get the sublties of the situation, his angle was a tad off with the bottle and his efforts were not as gentle as they could be, but his heart was in the right place. We took turns, neither having any success, so I rushed everyone to the car. Dean had the responsibility of the bottle (the same responsibility I entrusted with him the next day, where on the departure of the front door he got slightly distracted and traded his younger brother's bottle of breast milk for a his baseball mitt and ball) We moved towards the car as if we were rushing a ticking bomb from a student filled elementary school. Once in the car I tried to drive down the road and feed Grant the bottle, all the while Dean was instructing me...."he does not want the bottle, let him be, leave him alone....he does not want the bottle." As you can imagine it was a moderately stressful moment. Grant never took the bottle, we had a nice drive through Rock Creek Park, Dean excitedly looked for deer and we discussed where they might be on this rainy night, oh, and more importantly, Grant fell asleep. With Grant asleep we pointed for home, mission accomplished. We were gone for such a short time span that the same parking spot on the street remained free right in front of our Mount Pleasant abode. I took the car seat out and put grant on the ground, unclipped Dean's harness, and leaned in to grab Dean. Dean turned mission accomplished into Mission Impossible and leaped to the driver's seat. I gave him some fatherly demands, grant woke up, I increased my fatherly demands, Dean told me that I scared him, but climbed out of the driver's seat, into the back seat, out the back side door, and into my arms. I carried Dean and crying Grant back into the house. Somebody needed to go to bed, well, that someone may have been me, but in this case it was Dean. It was late, way late. Some gentle rocking in the car seat and Grant was back to sleep, I rushed upstairs with Dean and enjoyed the few moments while Grant was asleep....was able to make the transfer from the car seat to the couch, he rested there in the 'boopy pillow" for a while, but when I tried to transfer him to his crib I was back to square one.

This continued. Finally I was able to get him to sleep on my shoulder as I walked the sidewalk back and forth in front of my house, then he slept as I watched an episode of KUNG FU the original tv series I have on DVD. Finally when he woke, he took the bottle and accepted the transfer to his crib. He fell asleep and so did I. Upon lisa's return I learned that I had forgotten to give Grant some reflux medicine, and that may have been the cause of his inability to sleep. Lessons learned.

Parenthood: A World of Pleasure and Pain (and Prayer)

Last week Dean was suffering some pain and discomfort, as it turns out he had a molar pushing through in the back of his mouth. In addition to the pain in the mouth there are a handful of other side effects correlated with this occurrence; sometimes fever,diarrhea, loss of appetite, and inability to chew food if you have an appetite. Dean was uncomfortable. He could not eat and had trouble sleeping. In the night he woke several times. I rushed to his aid. His shirt was covered with a mixture of saliva and tears, he cried inconsolably. As I tried to pull him close to comfort him, he pushed me away. No words or actions could break his tears. The Children's Motrin had been given to him before he went to bed, so he could not get any more medicine until morning.

When things like this happen I do my best to help Dean (or Grant), but more importantly I try to put it all in perspective. When Dean was an infant he cried a good deal, if I recall he cried for the first three months nonstop. Everyone but the doctors said he had colic. Putting a name to it made no difference, he was in pain, and it was hard to contend with. When we were going through this period with our first child for the most part I did not sweat it. Firstly, it was my first child and I had nothing to compare it to, so I thought that Dean's behavior was par for the course. But more predominant was the fact that my baby's tears and discomfort were slight in comparison to the other problems that a newborn may face. Lisa and I would be out to dinner and we would see a family with an autistic child, or a child with severe retardation....I would say a quick prayer for the family of that child and a quick thanks for the health of our family; after that I would say to Lisa, "so our baby cries."

This morning I called a friend of mine to see if he was back from his overseas adventures as a documentary film maker. He was back, but he had no time to chat. He was knee deep in a letter to a close friend whose baby is suffering severe brain damage from complications during the birth. His details were slight. The whole story effected me profoundly. Sadness overwhelmed me. I again gave thanks to the health and fitness of my family, for relatively easy births, healthy infancy, and for healthy futures. When I got back to the office I felt a need to contact this friend of a friend. He is my friend as well, but I by no means ever knew him well. On our infrequent encounters I always felt that he had a warm spirit, and I always found a special closeness to him. To contact him I went to his website to get his info. On his website I found a posting of the details of delivery and the complications. I wept openly at my computer station. Never for a second ashamed that I a 6'4" of 235 pounds could be caught crying at my desk. I am not ashamed of my emotions or how I responded to the news/information.

I called; no answer; so I left a message. Then I opted for the written word; rather than sending an email I chose to send him a note via the US Mail. When I went for something to write on I found a birth announcement for my second son Grant. A debate raced through my head about the appropriateness of this being used to send as my message. The message was coming from a father and a friend, and I thought that if the message was from the heart that there would be no misunderstanding of my intentions.

No need for me to recount the words I shared with this man and his family. The message was no more than a few paragraphs, yet it took two postcards to cover my point. I cried big round tear drops as I wrote, I was careful not to let those big salty tears drop and drench the postcard. Then I took a walk to the post office to mail the letters. After going to the post office I grabbed a piece of fruit at the corner hot dog stand when asked how I was doing I shared this sad news with the man who operates the stand. He is also a father and immediately shared my sorrow, he offered to pray for this baby and its family. I too prayed.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not religious. Perhaps a tad spiritual, but not religious in the least. For years I had a pact with god, I would not go into his house and he did not come into mine (okay that is a joke, every time I say it I fear a lightning bolt is going to shoot through the clear blue skies and strike me dead on the spot.) But as I got older and wiser I came to feel that there has to be something other than this world. Or at least something to hope for like a dollar lotto ticket and all the dreams it holds, or prayer (if there is a god) is a cheap form of insurance. Then as a father to be I found myself praying more and more often, never going to church, not even ever considering it, but praying. Prayning, praying not just for my wife to have a happy and healthy pregnancy, but praying and giving thanks. Giving thanks for the birds and the flowers, and for creating the woods for me to walk my dogs and ride my bike. It is all very odd and very confusing.
Oh, and I definitely thanked god for giving man the power of free thought and creativity.


this is a post that I have started several times, tried once to publish it unfinished
yet for some reason it does not appear
so I start to get the point across, again

there are two points

1. I am a dumpster diver, fred sanford is my hero
it is my dream for my life to be more like his, or at least my house
currently only my garage and basement have that moldy junk everywhere feel, if I had things my would be the whole house. lucky for me and the world, lisa IS IN THE HOUSE!

2. would I be a dumpster diver if I lived in a rural mountain village in Peru? We have enough money to buy stuff, so why do I feel compelled to gather all sorts of junk I do not need and will not every use. Do those two things mean the same? repetition is my writing style.

long story short...

I was driving in Northern VA trying to find my friend maggie's house. I have been there a handful of times, but I have a problem with Virginia. Something to do with not thinking I will ever go back there, so I do not feel like I will ever have to learn my way around. Some sort of amenesia effect. Well, I did not find her house, but as I drove down a street that I thought was her's I saw a pile of junk. At the bottom of that pile of rubbish, with Dean napping in the car seat I turned it around and pulled in closer for a look, once closer it look promising, I stopped the car , opened the door, and stood up and moved in closer, instead of instinctively closing the door, I moved to the hatch back door unlock button. I could see that this dive was worth taking. It turned out to be an OUTBACK aluminum frame, no rear wheel, but a nice XTR/XT mix. Everything is rusty and crust, but in good enough condition to meld with lisa's bike for a step up. The shock still had nice action, even if the headset was fused with rust in place. Today at Home Depot while grabbing some wood for the deck I also grabbed some powder pink spray paint, it was called rose something, but it was still the best of what was available.

this bike is definitely a keeper
and I have room for it as I took a handful of the other bikes that I rescued in the same fashion to Chain Reaction (as well as giving a mess of stuff to career courier Scotty as well)

in addition to dumpster diving I also make foolish purchases at yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores...friends of friends, coworkers...I can not pass up good deal...
although you rarely know it is a good deal until you get it home or until you pass on it
so I do not risk passing on it

onto the other idiot box