Rants on Cycling and on Life


My Big Blue Truck
Owning a truck with character is an odd thing. Holding on strong to something that can fail me over and over again seems so illogical. Here is this old truck with a long list of imperfections that I have refused to UPGRADE. All the time I talk with people and they tell me that their bicycle needs some work and some replacement parts. When I hear the make, model, and year; I often recommend that they just spend that money to get a new bike with all the new technology. These people never listen. There is always some story about how that bike was here or there, or the had this great ride or survived a great crash. Strange how we clinge to material possessions. SHIT! If it were an old Windows 98 Machine or some old Apple II machine and someone tried to tell me that they were attached to "old faithful." I would have to laugh. While with cars and bicycles people think that they can explain their refusal to understand "the law of diminishing returns" with some sort of sentimental song; yet, with a computer we all get the picture. There is no retro geeks in the computer world....just el cheapos (of course that is not true.....there are SUPER MEGA GEEKS still using old machines hot wired and modified to their personal geek the cult of users that use the old Apple Newtons as their i admit I am wrong....there are retro geeks for all cultures) So why do I drive this old truck whose radio is not loud enough to be heard over the engine? Why do I drive this old truck that needs a choke and a three minute warm up on a summer day anda 5 minute warm up ona winter day? No air bags for me and the kids. No anti-lock brakes. No independant suspension. No power this. No power that. Just a crusty old truck.

Oh, by the you know anyone who wants to buy a 1984 Toyota Landcruiser?
It is fun to drive and super cool!

yes, that is my old truck parked on my busy DC street
with its Maryland tags and its Mount Pleasant sticker
right at the trailhead to the small loop in the woods that Dean has traded in for his bicycle sidewalk route to school each morning (daycare)

I love my Big Old Truck!
Dean was sad to hear I was going to sell it.
He has asked several times why I need to sell it.
I have had to make up mature adult reasons that do not make any sense to him or to me.
Oh well, guess it is time for me to grow up and move on....

The Umbrella!
sure it looks tame
but looks can be decieving!
Dean's grand pleasure brought me grand pleasure
we laughed and smiled at the views and the stomach tickling drops

(I posted this image upside down!)

and the long march to the top!

the ride!
off the burlap sack and back to the stairs to do it AGAIN!

the reaction


Montgomery County Fair
This evening I was able to convince Lisa that we should all go to the Montgomery County Fair. It was a battle for all involved right from the start. It seemed like a case of Father Knows Best, but once again...father does not know best. Lisa faintly hinted on Grant not being in the mood for such an event, but I did not take the hint...her hint should not be great enough for an "I told you so" attitude as it was such a silent and subtle hint. All in all it was worth it. Had we not gone to the fair tonight, we would have missed it all together. Sure, there are other fairs, the Maryland State Fair is just a month away. But, there is no guarantee that we will make it to that event either. Yet the approach could have been smoother....the turn around for a forgotten stroller...only to recall as we loaded the car that we had a stroller in the trunk already.
There were moments of great joy that out weighed the endless displeasure that Grant seemed to be experiencing. Dean was able to see all sorts of cows, horses, and chickens (there were also sheep, goats, pigs, lamas, and who knows what else) as well as ride some rides. We arrived as the sun was setting. It was getting late and no one had eaten dinner. Everyone was a tad grumpy the evening was a bit forced. Lisa seemed as if she was determined to have a good time, she got was she was seeking. The event was nothing shy of a festival; the lights, the sounds, and the smells....the endless barns filled with various farm animals, the vendors and their chicken on a stick, the game booths after game booth with the barkers barking trying to pawn off their cheap stuffed animals that only a child could love, and the rides! The rides run by toothless rednecks. Assembled with duck tape and shoe laces, swaying with the wind, settling into the ground, and somehow evading OSHA and EPA safety ratings. It was all very awesome.

Dean was drawn to anything and everything. I tried to guide him from the first booth to the next, then distracting him further. We played one of those squirt gun race horse games, where the water through the bullseyes propels the horse forward, yet in this case it was NASCAR. Lisa assited Dean, it was me and them. Dean edged me out in the end and won one of those crappy little stuffed characters that only a child could love, basically I bought it for 4 bucks (each of our 2 dollar entry fee) He enjoyed it, he liked the prize and the experience of winning. He was distracted from a sales booth with various balloons, including a spiderman balloon. From the games we went to the rides...Dean was drawn to some rides that seemed too violent, and others that he was too short for. I was able to convince him to try the Umbrella Ride, a ride I know he had enjoyed the weekend prior. I had the joy of riding with him. We were the first in line and the first in the chair. This gave us a chance to sit and view the park from above as the other people took their seats. Dean raised his hands in anticipation. The little daredevil was ready to take this ride no handed, hands in the air minutes before the actual ride would begin. We looked around and pointed out various things to each other. Dean was all smiles. Then once the ride started spinning Deans smile grew larger and he began to glow. Lisa smiled and waved as we circled around. We all shared the joy that Dean was experiencing...well....all but Grant who had to be walked around in the stroller to keep him from crying. Once out of the umbrella ride we moved among the crowds past more games and more rides. Again Dean was drawn to the first thing he saw. He did not want anything or everything. He wanted the first thing he saw and he was not to be dissuaded. On several counts I had to pull him away kicking and screaming only to rationalize with him to get him to stop crying. Dean is very good at rationalizing...but he is a better negotiator. Again, Father Tries to impose his feeling of what he feels is best.
Dean wanted to ride some odd canoe ride. I felt that the Super Slide would be a better option.
Again kicking and screaming....again distractions and rationalization...and finally replacement. The Super Slide quickly replaced the canoe ride. Dean took the burlap sack and like a little soldier he marched up the long set of stairs. Sure I was nervous letting him go all that way alone on those stairs that may not be up to code. But he went without fear and without hesitation. At the top he had to wait patiently for his turn and then the ride conductor at the top of the slide had to negotiate with him to get down the slide on the sack rather than just on his bum. Dean raced down with a Super Slide Smile; ear to ear. Eyes wide with the immediate...."Can I do it again?!?!?"
Sure enough!
Dean got to ride again.
With the same smiling results.
We had more tickets, but a line had developed. Grant's crying was back and Lisa's face showed that it was time to go. It was time to go.
We had to pass all the rides, all the games, all the food, and all the vendors. Dean did not want to leave. He was entertained by the fireman mascot. But he was not so sure he wanted leave.
We made that long exhaustive walk back to the car, unused tickets in hand. Loaded the car. Grants crying grew steady. Dean demanded that I put on a Fireman Temporary tattoo. I obliged, partially because I wanted to put in on and see how it worked anyhow. It was a long drive back. Grant cried the whole way. There was no consoling him. The car and all of things that lead children off to sleep did nothing to soothe Grant, Grant wanted his bed and no substitute.
The boys were up way past their bedtime.
Lisa and I got into a basic, "I told you so" sort of argument.
It was all blown out of proportion.
I will take the dog house, it is all worth it when I reflect back on Dean's face on the Umbrella ride, on the Super Slide, and when he was checking out the chickens and the cows.

Hope this evening does something positive to Grant's sleep cycle. We need him to sleep through the night. It will be better for him. It would be better for everyone.

almost midnight
I best got to bed
great Olympics again tonight
I am shocked how into this Olympics I have been into this year
less talk of performance enhancing drugs
but track and field has not really started yet
and they did not say anything about Tyler Hamilton being tested

here are a few images from last night to tell the tale

It is funny. In life there can be this small gatherings of moisture....not enough is broken down.....stop work order on the house.....nanny may be quitting....All of these little gatherings of moisture on their own are quite manageable. But together they form one big crippling black cloud. A daunting beast with such great mass that it seems like it will wipe out anything and everything that gets in its way. So rather than braving the storm I run in denial for cover.

Then a moment of clarity. If I can just approach one of these conflicts and see it through then perhaps I can see a ray of light poke through. With that warm ray of light I will know that this black cloud does not possess the power that I once feared and then I can break up that large mass, back into its many small gatherings of moisture and dispel them one by one.

some updates...

MR. Permit does not do work for STOP WORK ORDERS
so my work order is still in limbo
but primarily due to my inability to get my shit together and draw up some plans
guess I need to just sit down and do it
I have talked about it at length with friends who are contractors and friends who are architects
now it is time to get to the drawing board
hand drawn should be good enough

'84 Toyota Landcruiser for sale:
I am selling my old blue truck; end of an era. This old truck has been good to me. Most of the time it waited till it got in front of my house before it died. As I have entered a more adult stage of life I need a car that is more dependable, heat and AC would be nice as well and sure a stereo that plays louder than the sound of the engine would be a luxury.
Currently torn....the truck has a low Blue Book Value....but a high Coolness Factor...
I am trying to sell it via a FOR SALE sign and a posting on CRAIG's LIST, but debating with just donating it to charity so I do not have to contend with the issues of selling a car.

Dean and Grant are awesome. Grant is crawling like turtle hopped up on speed. He is here there everywhere. Dean is a loving big brother with the speech skills of a high school valedictorian. Dean rides his bike three short blocks to school each morning, asking for the training wheels to come off, but not at all focused enough for riding without them.

Lisa and I are dealing with Grant's sleepless nights. He wakes and cries; like fools we come to his aid...we know we are supposed to let him cry it out, but for some reason we can not let him cry like that. The sleepless nights are wearing on both of us, more on lisa than me as she is still breast feeding and some of those cries are alerts for feedings.

My initial intention with the BLOG was to post my race reports from various mountainbike races. The reports are normally written to my cycling team mates and shared with a few others. I had no idea how addictive this aspect of the electronic world could be. The BLOG has become a monster, a monster far more powerful than the movie, The Blob.
The Blog is so much for me. It is a journal. It is a theraputic outlet. It is a way to communicate with friends, strangers, and the world. It is an escape.
Thank you for coming into my world, now try and quiet down so I can get to work. It gets so bothersome to hear your voice in my head.... "the boss stepped out for coffee....time to BLOG"...."quick.....BLOG in that spare office where no one else can see"....."blog now while the work load is all stuffed under the rug."

I hate those dam voices in my head!

The Balance of Life
Simple enough....there has to be a balance in life. Priorities need to be set and there needs to be a constant check that all things are in order. At times there may be a shift in priorities so that a certain area of life may be either brought up to speed or taken to the next level. In high school during my one year of JV soccer coach Hostetler gave us each what he thought was to be our list of priorities.

1. God
2. Family
3. School
and then somewhere down the lower.....self

well....that is a good basic guideline...but I think that my current list of priorities may be a little different as I am not in school and organized religion is not really my thing.

so my priorities may look more like this...
(such a hard list to any man knows there are givens that need not be said; for example....keeping the wife happy is priority one, cause if the momma ain't one is happy)

so here is my list

1. Keep Lisa Happy
2. Keep Lisa Happy
3. Keep Lisa Happy

which at different parts of the day will mean that there are sub categories.....
as in this weekend

1. Keep Lisa Happy by having a baptism for our 6 month old baby; Grant (religion/god)
2. Keep Lisa Happy by being a good host to her family that will be in town from Pittsburgh (family)
3. Keep Lisa Happy by not losing my job (work; which was school of most people's youth)
and so on
and so on
and so on
then somewhere down the list I have to throw in cycling instead of soccer
then go further down the list and see if I can sneak my name in there are a priority

my boss just walked in
so it is time for me to concentrate on PRIORITY NUMBER THREE!

taking a break from the installation of the New Windows XP SP2

don't get me wrong...MY WIFE IS A MACHINE!
as that commercial once said...."She can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in the pan!"
and much, much, more
Lisa has an immeasurable amount of energy. She gets up early after a sleepless breast feeding night. She handles all sorts of things around the house in the am long before I even get out of bed. Lisa is more than the glue that holds our family together, she is the buttressing that holds up the house....the gas that fuels our cars....the food we have on our plates....she is all....she is everything. Lisa has always been a giving person. As a mother and wife she gives all she can and then gives some more. For this I thank her...and for her not reading my BLOG...I thank her again. Lisa is amazing, yet she is still a woman, so I am forced to contend with some of the basic conflicts of the Male/Female interpersonal relationship. We are different beasts with a different approach to life and a different way of communicating our needs and our wants.

Currently, I want to do a race this Saturday. My weekends have been bike-less for months. No dirt since the last Wakefield Race, and no real dirt since the 24 Hours of Snowshoe. Family and Deck have taken priority over the bike for all weekends since the 24 Hours of Snowshoe. Hey, I think I put things in the right priority....Family....then work (house work in this case) and then down the ladder...ME (excuse me, that is me.)

more in a bit
gotta jam on some work
these machines on my side have just caught up with me

this is getting super annoying is getting buggy
or at least on this machine
no I take that back is getting buggy!
At home and now at work I have had glitchy issues with my Posts Being Published

this post continued on with a sappy statement about how I love my wife and my family is lucky and all that

I love my wife Lisa
I appreciate all that she does for me and all that she does for our family
I consider myself lucky to have lisa as a wife and as a friend
Dean and Grant should consider themselves lucky to have Lisa as a mom
Roscoe and Brutus are lucky to have Lisa as an owner
to quote our third grade neighbor Kara as we were sledding down the hill at Klingle Mansion last winter, "lisa is cool for a wife"
yes, lisa is cool for a wife
our family is lucky to have her

I just remembered that I ended the original post that never got published with this statement
lisa is amazing, but she is still a women

The British Invasion Strikes Again!
New Dance Craze from Across the Pond!

check this out!

well worth a look
as classic as any Mullett Page!
stolen from the mind of Roblog


(Publish early and Publish often....some basic rules when you know your connection is tentative. Over here on a remote site at the State Department, the Verizon guys are working on the lines.....I had worked this story in a direction that it made all came together and now it is all draft saved...nothing but the skeletal beginings.)

In the mid-70's there was a soccer explosion and I was a part of it. The soccer invasion process was not at all gradual, it all grew rapidly into a grand monster. Pele was king and all the kids wanted to be number 10. Well, nearly all of the kids. My personal 'goals' as a soccer player were slightly different...Franz Beckenbauer was more my model player. Lacking the golden touch for putting the ball into the net as well as being devoid of the grace, speed, and agility to dance like a gazelle through a pride of lions I concentrated on defense, making me lion...the one who hunts, not the hunted. At a young age, like third grade, I moved from team to team....until finally our team had tryouts and cuts; we had gone select. With Mr. Flannery as the fitness stressing coach we ended up having an assortment of assitant coaches along the way. Assitant coach may be an over exaggeration of the situation, these were actually parents of some of the players who had a desire to coach, but respected that that position was already taken or perhaps did not have the time to devote to the tasks of a fulltime coach. Ariel Sabban's father was one assistant coach and John "Hilmay" Emikle's father was another. Each had a European background and had grown up with the sport of soccer. John's father was a stern man with dark skin that some of the parents called "Turk" in reference to his Turkish heritage. It was Mr. Flannery that stressed fitness, hustle, and focus while it was Turk Emikle that stressed forcing the man to the outside, get the ball, and why not take out the man.

These were the building blocks of sport for me. I played with these players and these coaches for many years and many more games all the way through grade school. As High School approached I foolishly quit my select team to allow myself to move from fullback to center half, and allow myself a little more glory as one of the key players. In the open league playing for Mr. Nolen we lived a soccer version of "The Bad News Bears." Each game was chock full of mishap and folly. Eventually, the Nolen team was no more. High School had begun and many of us had expectations of playing for our various High School teams. This of course is easier said then done. At this point in time Bethesda Chevy Chase's varsity team was on a roll. The had achieved near legendary status as a soccer powerhouse. It was niave of me to think that I could just walk up to tryout and become part of this team. Many of the would be players had spent time at soccer camps while most of the rest spent the summer afternoons playing pick up soccer and running drills. I showed up cold. Not in my best running shape and certainly not having a touch on the ball


Mr. Permit

As it turns out I am going to have to get in touch with Mr. Permit. Seems that he is the man to talk to in situations like this RED TAG AFFAIR. Before I even talk with this Mr. Permit I will have to get a better idea of what sort of plans I need to draw up for approval. There are all types of codes and regulations for such structures. Very odd drawing up these plans retroactively.

Wish me luck!


Washington Hill Scandal makes Washington Post Magazine


an·thro·po·mor·phism Pronunciation: -"fi-z&mFunction: nounDate: 1753: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics : HUMANIZATION- an·thro·po·mor·phist /-fist/ noun
definition courtesy of

Last night at a going away dinner for the former City Bikes Mountainbike Team Captain, Brian Kemler, I boldly teased a cute female friend of the host about her over rationalization of her dog's behavior. She was a good sport about it all, often my dry sense of humor can just be seen as obnoxious behavior, when more often than not it is nothing but obnoxious behavior. Apparently her little lapdog bit Kemler on one of their first encounters, the bite was not serious, yet serious enough to draw blood and to be a topic of conversation at this dinner party. The owner of this vicious little lap dog had a long list of reasons why her dog had behaved out of character and bit Kemler. There was the change of surroundings, the presence of the cats, the hair cut from the day prior....and the list goes on. Again rudely, I broke in..."you are forgetting the primary is a dog." My intention was not to be rude, but it did seem a little overboard to rationalize the minutiae of what changes in this dog's life may had caused it to lash out unprovoked on to Brian Kemler. Then I thought back to the events of the day and how my dogs had bum rushed a Rodesian Ridgeback in Rock Creek Park. After I was able to dispel the near attack I too gave off a list of rationales trying to excuse my dogs inexcusable behavior. The owners were pleasant, accepted my apology, my over rationalization, and we made good with some small talk about cycling and the Olympics.

This leads me to this question...

"Do our pets experience the same set of emotions that we experience?"

As a dog owner I can clearly see that my dogs do experience the same basic sets of emotions that we experience. Certainly the dogs get hungry, feel cold, experience pain, exhaustion, even loneliness, etc....but what about the more complex set of emotions that we feel; do dogs feel insecurity...vanity...compassion? (to name a few)

This is a difficult issue to approach. Each pet owner looks at the actions of their dog and ends up putting a greater meaning to the behavior then any stranger would. Is it possible that this girl's dog lashed out at Kemler because she was still in a bad mood about a haircut she had received the day prior?
When my dogs get their hair trimmed (not styled) they do behave differently. Roscoe and Brutus run faster and more free, but do they feel more stylish? The absence of the excess of hair gives them a burst of energy; they appear to be energized for the next few days after the trimming of their hair, is the behavior due to the light weight aerodynamics of it all or do they feel slick and cool? Do they care about how this haircut makes them look or just how it makes them feel? Do dogs think on that level? Are dogs that vain or insecure? At first thought I would answer no, but after a short reflection to the 6 plus years with these dogs and I can think of some humanlike reactions to various situations. There have been times where we have put hats, sunglasses, or bandanas on the dogs and they have wrestled their way out of them. Did Roscoe or Brutus dislike the feel of the accessories or did they not care for the look? In the case of the Elizabethan Colar I would have to say that there is some sort of deeper emotion than the basic physical discomfort. The dogs see the colar and the roll their eyes back, draw in their tales, and try to squirm away. Once the collar is on they look and act depressed. Or am I just another dog owner falsely putting unfounded human emotions onto the behaviors of a dog?

Can a dog feel depression? Do dogs have moods or mood swings?
I would say certainly yes. My dogs behave differently after they are well exercised rather than during the times when they are given just the short loop to poop and pee. These guys hit some sort of boiling point where they become more prone to what I call "an incident." An Incident can be any negative encounter where the dogs rush or attack another dog or even a person (the attack on a person is quite seldom, but the none dog person who runs and screams in fear draws attention to themselves. the dogs who may have previously been uninterested in this person then fall back on instinct; you run from the dog...the dog chases) In any case, it is vital to give the dogs some vigorous exercise so that they can exist "incident free." This may be drifting from the point, but when the dogs are well exercised they seem more even keeled or perhaps more well adjusted.

need to get back to work
this blog
as most blogs
is starting to blog on
guess I like to plant the seed
my intention is not to prove or disprove an argument
but to aid in presenting my side or another side
to aid in people thinking about these things
and hopefully people will respond to my posts in an effort to help me to expand my thoughts, opinions, and ideas

dog-ter: a pun about a dog owners over protective somewhat parental treatment of their dog; as in daughter. As in; My dogter did the cutest thing this morning...

as far as cats go...
cats are just furry fish that swim around their house