Rants on Cycling and on Life



cause hootie was so obvious of his recent sell out....
does that make it okay or even cool?

my web surfing skills are weak
how come I can not find this ad on the web!??!??!!?
what was once cool now costs... before my answer would have been on
but don't bother going to .... it costs these days

I think I know what I saw.....
it was almost weird enough to be cool

did this commercial come out some time ago?

and is that guy going to do SUPERSIZE ME II?
he could go to Burger King for a month instead.... they have better toys

as for selling out....
I would do a few Burger King commercials if they paid me....
better than working at Walmart, panhandling on the corner, or calling grandma for a loan


mt nittany wheel works

on my morning ride into work from Mount Pleasant a few zip codes south just past Dupont yet not quite Foggy Bottom I saw a truck, well an early model SUV, not sure what we called them before the term SUV was officially coined
not a pick up truck but a larger car with truck like features.... a 4X4.... or an pre SUV SUV
a macho station wagon that gets driven in the snow a couple of times a year... well... in the grass roots bicycle mecca sort of way State College, PA more than likely a little more than a few times... not sure... they may have a real winter there in State College
(not my ride into work today....
today is saturday....
normally I do not work on saturday...
today I worked...
today I drove into work...
I do not usually drive to work
today I am sick
I am sick and and the car just seemed to make more sense on this cold saturday morning)

it is my very short ride into work
as Zip Codes are not much an accurate measure of miles but maybe a better measure of population, but what do I know what is the ruleing for starting and stopping a ZIp Code...
either way.... it is just a few random zip codes away... definitely the same area code
but in this area it is often 202, 301, or even 703 and don't be shocked about the 410s either
so, I had passed the same truck parked in the same place several days in a row

it is one of those late 80s Broncos or Jimmys, not sure, as I am not really a car buff
in any case
this old truck with its bicycle roof rack attracted my attention
most cars with roof racks gather at least a moments attention
if it is one of those saffari roof racks I wonder "why?"
if I see a kayak on a roof rack I am reminded of my desire to learn to paddle
to use that kayak that I own and never learned to use
snowboard and ski racks evote a similar emotion.... a sort of yearning
this year I managed to sneak in a few local dc in my back yard cross country ski adventures
if we are lucky Dean and I will be sledding monday and I may have the petzel and the skiis

there was a time when a roof rack meant that there was a chance that the driver of that car was less likely than other driver's to run over a cyclist
those days are long gone
I have been buzzed by people with their bike on top of their car coming back from a ride
when passing the truck I glanced at the back end of the truck and saw the Mt. Nittany Wheel Works Logo sticker
a very large sticker taking up nearly the whole rear window

then after a closer pass at another time while walking the dogs past this same truck in the same spot I saw the PA tags

all this left me wondering....

is this Eric Roman's truck?
I think I saw him some time ago rolling down the city streets in courier gear
are the winters slow at the shop sending him down to the winter for some messenger work
maybe Eric just likes to keep that "messenger edge"
there is most certainly a style of riding that could flatter his racing
money in the pocket and a little more speed off the line acquired from some "urban intervals?"

then I think finally...
maybe it is just some guy with a sticker on the back of his truck

a riddle that could easily be solved with a note or the truck or an email to Eric Roman
a riddle that may never be solved
a riddle that may not be that interesting

Mt. Nittany Wheel Works
Eric Roman

a story from Eric Roman on the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms
a course that I have raced a handful of times
raced it last year on my rigid Karate Monkey single in an effort to answer to myself the question of the Speed of the Single Speed vs. the Speed of a Geared Bike.... can it be equal
(on that weekend of racing I felt that I was not disadvantaged by having just one gear and no front suspension, but on a different course with more climbs and less roller coaster.... I like my gears!)

I am also very amused by the people who chose to permanantly keep a rear mounting trunk or hatch back mounting bike rack on their car
sure they may be on their way to pick up a friend and their bike
more than likely they are just idiots

there are plenty more potential variables and explanations
I am bored, not that bored

Bicycling Science
a book published by the brains at MIT

at work people are often sent books for review or for a potential story idea...
actually I can not give a solid answer as why they are sent these books
just giving you my basic speculation
occassionally a book will come in and it will go down the chain and end up on my desk....

some times there are a stack of cycling magazines on my chair without a note
other times there are some books that cover the topic of cycling

METAL COWBOY was a book that ended up on my desk....
it was a good read, not life changineg, but neither is my blog
more recently I stumbled upon BICYCLING SCIENCE
admitably, I have not yet had the brain power to even scan the pages of Bicycle Science
currently battling a bug that my older son was kind enough to pass on to me

this book may be over my head
I will page through it
maybe read some history, look at some pictures, read some captions, blank out each time I see a chart or some sort of mathmatical equation... then pass the book off to my more brainy brother
my brother not only has the capacity to appreciate and understand such stuff.... but he tends to seek such things out
I would doubt it if he has not already seen this book, as it is in its third edition

we are both cyclists with different goals and very different approaches to the sport
he trains
I ride
he prepares
I complain
our approaches are very different yet our results are very similar
in cross he destroys me
in long distance road style stuff... again he distroys me
okay, maybe our results are not that similar
on the average mountainbike course last season I was just a tad faster

his reading various books to develop talents and strengths amuse me
whether backgammon or bicycling.... my brother reads some book and applies his knowledge to give him a desired result
even his croquet style is more advanced due to his background reading

my guess... if the book is from MIT PRESS... it may not be directed towards me
unless they are publishing coloring books


another failed PUBLISH AND POST

although I am not feeling particularly creative at the moment I still feel the compulsion to blog....
the blog is funny that way
just like any addiction

an alcoholic drinks to drink not to get drunk
a blogger blogs to blog not for any actual result
just fulfilling that basic compulsion

grade school
more specifically my grade school
Our Lady of Lourdes... OLOL... Lourdes
a strange place in my life
a strange place in time

my experience was lucky
while I was there I was fortunate enough to experience the end of an era
half way through my time served at Lourdes they phased out the nuns
not sure why, but they did
it changed everything and not always for the best
sure there were "lay people" as teachers
the nuns only made up a fraction of the teaching staff
but their presence was significant
a presence that was more than just the black and white habit and black and white uniform
the nuns themselves seemed to have some sort of "super human" powers
some had great strength
some had great speed; which was a sight to see and the sound of those heels on the polished floors as they closed the distance behind me was quite fearful
most had keen unhuman hearing and vision.... some sort of sixth sense
often I wondered if it was the rims of Sister Collumkill's glasses or a hidden mirror
but somehow she could always sense who was doing what...
all the nuns had great teaching ability

then one day they were gone.....

just realized that my previously lost post was actually floating in cyber space
so I will go ahead and chase that tangent down before I finish up with this one


oh.... let me drop a name...
Baltimore Mayor Martin O' Malley went to Lourdes... a year or so older than my sister
we just knew him as Marty...

my grade school was a timewarp....
or just plain warped!

Oh what fun we had
But, did it really turn out bad
All I learnt at school
Was how to bend not break the rules
Oh what fun we had
But at the time it seemed so bad
Trying different ways
To make a difference to the days.
-MADNESS from the song BAGGY
TROUSERS ( from lyrics freak)

When I moved to suburban Washington DC from Suburban Atlanta , more specifically from rural redneck Stone Mountain, Georgia to semi-urban exploding fast Bethesda, Maryland... I was introduced to a nostalgia like I have never experienced since. All of the second grade students were unable to appreciate the young and energetic second grade teacher Mrs. McCambridge, with her Dorthy Hamil haircut and her aqua marine blue Datsun B210 for what she had to offer because they were too busy reliving the glorious times with Sister Marie Josephine from the year prior as first graders. Then when they were not looking back at the finer times with Sister Marie Josephine they were looking forward with great anticipation for the year when they would get to experience the teaching of the church organ player who never missed a note, Miss Mann. It was funny to have these young children discuss with great anticipation and fear that Miss Mann may retire before they get to sit in on her fourth grade class! Such an adult set of concerns... what was their source... where were they getting their information.

To our grand pleasure we did get to experience Miss Mann before she retired. It may have been all that the students had anticipated and more she was a sweet women and perhaps even a solid educator.

This great nostalgia created a great bond. This group of second graders had already created their little "in" group.... a group that I was never able to penetrate. But that is a bitter rant for another time... at this moment I am just trying to introduce a basic outline of my grade school and its quirkiness in an odd and quirky time.

The 70's were an odd time... Our Lady of Lourdes was an exceptionally odd place.

While downtown Bethesda was experiencing the 70's with a wonderful small town flare with record stores, headshops, rug stores (why so many rug stores?) video arcades popping up everywhere... there was growth and development.... the GRAND UNION which looked more like an aircraft hanger was flattened and a Dart Drug boxy warehouse building was put in its place..... the A&P on Arlington Road also got a facelift so it could compete with the GIANT food store that operated right across the street... there was talk of a subway system that would be called the METRO, but that was just an idea that became a huge hole in the ground, a hole in the ground for what must have been a decade... the frozen in time, the never aging, never evolving always old; Our Lady of Lourdes.. the walls of Lourdes had a feeling that may have been more similar to the 50's then the approaching decade of the 80's. Their were hints of the outside world during gym class when the hip and the cool were able to sport their Sunshine House t-shirts, but for the most part we were all forced to look like little parochial soldiers.... exactly like how the students had dressed for the past many decades before us.

The boys with their dark blue pants, dark blue ties, and light blue shirts with some flexibility on the selection of shoes. As it was the 70s.... earth shoes and desert boots were the shoe of choice in the early years.... but as the North Eastern Preppy Phenomena invaded pop culture and yes, even the walls of OLOL it became more common to see children with either Penny Loafers or Sperry Topsider.... yes... boat shoes. Then there were the girls with their white blouses with the odd rounded colar and the green plaid jump suit..... a jump suit that was modified to skirt option around the time when my class reached the 7th grade. They came to realize that this uniform was awkward, uncomfortable, and unbecoming for any young lady that was starting to develop as a woman. (that britney spears private school girl appeal does not happen for the young ladies until later on in life, perhaps in high school for some... perhaps in the adult film industry for others.... the kids at Lourdes had an awkardness to them... awkward and uncomfortable)

The building was simple and square with all sorts of rooms and hallways that seemed more an era of 1441 than the year of 1941. But, in looking back the secret passageways were not ancient tunnels leading to ancient catacombs, but rather bomb shelters as fear was the temper of the time when this structure was built. The gym was small and far from gym like. The windows were stained glass, not ornate stained glass, just large orange or yellow stained glass rectangles. The basketball net on one side was fastened to a chain link fence that enclosed a balcony, a balcony that had seats for a chorus and an operational organ. A room that was still used for choir classes.... in seventh grade I recall that our entire class spent their choir class writing the definitions of words on their hands so that they could pass the vocabulary class that Mrs. Collins was adminstering in the next period. The gym or gym class was not one of the strengths at Lourdes. Well, Lourdes had very few strengths... actually... I do not think that Lourdes had any strengths, unless of course you want to consider quirky a strength.

At OLOL or Lourdes the world was still using a manual copy machine that worked somewhat like a carbon copy, but for multiple copies. I can not remember what that device was called, but I can remember that the metal barrell of a device with a large crank arm on its side and the ink when still wet offered quite a buzz. Tony Altamont's mother with her foot tall bee hive hairdo was perhaps the only person who know how to operate this device without splattering the room with that semitoxic ink. The XEROX machine had not yet hit the market and most definitely was not planning on hitting the economically deprived arena of pororcial education that was Lourdes.

Ode to Sister Collumkill...

How many kids could Collumkill kill?
if Columkill could kill kids

this was some little rhythm that we would utter out of ear range
it may have been longer
it may have been more clever
but this is all I can remember

Sister Collumkill was my fifth grade teacher....
she was an ageless nun... so old that I am sure that people stopped counting
I figure that she was a a century younger than Sister Garlth and maybe a few decades older Sister Marie Josephine (who is not to be confused with Sister Michael who was often torn between two callings.... Sisterhood and the FBI)

Sister Collumkill was a freak... I mean that in the best of ways
or at least in any sort of way that would prevent Sister Collumkill from feeling just in sending fire from the sky to punish me
it was Sister Collumkill that taught me to Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally!
A mneumonic device for solving math equations.
(while it was Mrs O' Grady that taught me Roy G. Biv which was far less clever.... but she was far more appealing to the eye. Roy G. Biv is of course the colors of the rainbow)

the nuns were a rare breed...
As much as we feared the nuns we were all sad to see them go....
it was hard to understand how or why a Catholic School would operate without their Franciscan nuns! But that is how it happened.... when I was in 6th grade at Our Lady of Lourdes we no longer had nuns. A long history of teachers with a vocational calling was over.... it just was not the same. They had taken our nuns out to pasture and changed the dynamic of the school entirely.

I was sad to think what would happen to all the nuns that we all grew to love and fear. They all had an amazing ability to instill fear yet to exhibit compassion. I always feared my trips to the principal's office, but Sister Francis Paula always delt with things fairly.

not only am I feeling less than creative
I am feeling like it is time to slide down the dinosaur
the task of the afternoon have not been completed either
most everything is done....
there are some things that keep failing me

it is Saturday morning... I am at work in between REBOOTS of various machines I make edits
in between REBOOTS and EDITS I make mad dashes for the Men's Room
it seems that me and the boys all have a bug....
my stomach is not feeling right... not right at all

I made some long revisions last night....
these long revisions did not make it through the PUBLISH AND POST process
I felt as if I had been able to bring this rant together
like I actually said something
as if I had brought all the ideas to a cohesive end
but... that set of revisions have been lost
I did go through and make a few changes this morning....
as my fellow graduate of OLOL Helder had made some corrections via the comment section

what are these things?
are they bicycles?

The Windcheetah seems to be the Rolls Royce of recumbents....

the bicycle culture is a diverse world.... a world divided
there is great competition that is often less than productive

I have heard these recumbent riders call the standard bicycle Wedgie Makers!
now that is not very nice!

it is true
the bicycle seat can be a tad uncomfortable
but it is a bicycle... not a Lazy Boy Chair!

trek seems to be getting the idea with the SOLE RIDE


dopers suck!

lance goes for 7th!
(discovery news release)

transgender athletes?

What is cheating?
There is full agreement that the use of banned substances is cheating...
But what about the use of substances yet to be banned....
the use of stuff that would be banned if the user came forward and told the world what the team of doctors in the lab have been pumping into the individual's system...
sure every athlete is looking for that "edge"
but at what cost?
at what ethic?

if the athlete feels that the use of this unbanned substance (whether it be vitamin or some strange supplement, or some strange molecular compound that can not be found on the periodic table) is fair and legal maybe all athletes should present some sort of yearly update of what sort of special diet/supplementation they are using season/year
that way everything is out in the open....
no one would need to be shooting up in the shadows
no one would need to be sneaking bags through customs
no one would need to be making midnight rondevues to the dumpster to discard used syringes

the transgender discussion was tossed in as an after thought...
although I like to be confrontational.... I do not want to be making anything that appears to be an accusation.....
if I want to make and accusation.... I will just make an accusation

*I am just a recreational athlete....
just a tad more aggressive than your average weekend warrior
one of those racers who is uncomfortably stuck between Sport and Expert (mountainbiker)



here is a long list of links of interest
some bicycle... some not

FUH2... an anti-HUMMER site
story about BLOGGING MOMS
Metro bike... a bicycle version of ZIP CAR!
collection of various Single Speeds
CROCS clogs

some bicycle related links
from Bicycle Advocate Jason Meggs (Bike the Bridge in San Francisco)
Jason Meggs... Wheels of Change
car free city
East Bay Cycling Coalition (another SF thing)
World Car Free
Berkley Critical Mass

The Neistat Brothers

a fellow blogger (ashwinearl) commented on one of my previous posts....
sending me to a film clip "Bike Thief" (actually this is a link to all their movies)
that clip send me to the source..... I immediately recognized the name, The Neistat Brothers

The Neistat Brothers are the same cats that brought us the film iPOD's Dirt Secret!
(it was this little film that improved the APPLE response to the irreplaceable iPOD battery)

good stuff...
check it out

it seems that they may have been trying to give us some education in the BIKE THIEF film
maybe about civic duty or something to that effect

Tip of the Day

Tip O the Day

You probably carry a chain tool in your bag of tricks, because walking home is pretty beat. If you�re a single speeder, better stash a few chain links while your at it 'cause chances are you don't have enough play in that chain to afford a link if you lose it. Fits in a patch kit mighty nice.

(Chris Redlack shared a linke to purchasing such a thing; spare links link)


an experience that usually adds up to be so much more

the bicycle is a simple machine
the single speed is a simplified version of that simple machine
(the fixed gear is even one step further into simplicity, but the fixie is not my world)
on a simple machine like the bicycle most every aspect of that machine is vital
if one part breaks the integrity of the bicycle as a whole is disrupted
sometimes the bike can still be ridden... other times it may not be
most of the time.... the cyclist will be traveling with the proper tools to repair the bicycle
or have some sort of McGyver-esque know how to get rolling again
traveling with the basic set of tools is essential in the utilitarian cyclists approach to riding

there is a worst case scenario for the breakage of any individual part on the bike....

the broken part can be a major hazard or a major hassle depending on the situation
a flat tire can cause a disastrous crash.... or maybe just a major inconvenience if the rider is without a tube/patch kit and pump
a broken seat or seat post could result in a serious injury if the rider just happens to be cruising along no handed when the failure occurs (as happened to an elite cyclist friend of mine)
a failing rim could allow the wheel to collapse and the tire to roll off leaving the bicycle wobbling out of control, depending on speed and terrain a variety of things may occur
no need for me to go down the list of each and every part on the bicycle and what could happen if that part were to break...
but rather skip ahead to the chain....

a broken chain will in most every case be potentially hazardous as well as a certain time delay and perhaps a hassle
last night I experienced a broken chain
if there is a god.... she may very well out for cyclists
or at least she was looking out for me or maybe it just is not yet my time
there may be some service left for me to do before I check out
this chain could have broken as I ran a red light
as I busted a move in traffic
as I was timing myself to be in and out of a "situation" in a fraction of a second
lucky for me the chain broke under the stress of stepping out of the saddle to accelerate while under the Memorial Bridge on the Mount Vernon Bike trail in Northern Virginia after I yielded to an oncoming cyclist allowing them to pass through the tunnel-like passage only wide enough for one pedestrian; runner, walker, bladder, or cyclist

there was a moment of panic
there was a moment of fear
there was a moment of helplessness
it was only a moment
but at it was the only moment that mattered
at this moment there was no concern about unpaid mortgage bills, back due visa bills, where Dean is going to go to school next year, or any of the other stressors that tend to occupy my mind each day
if this moment were not survived there would be no moments afterwards
this was clearly the only moment that mattered in my world

within that moment I heard the snap, crackle, and pop; unsweetened
then everything moved into slow motion
my knee smacked the stem and then the top tube of the bicycle frame
my left foot came out of the TIME pedals and my foot buckled onto the ground within my winter cycling shoes
my bike no longer pointed straight
the bars pointed into the metal guard rail that separated the bike path from the fast moving traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway
my equilibrium took on that strange helpless floating sensation that a person feels when they lean back in a chair too far, no longer having control to move forward and not yet falling back
the bike and my body slammed into the metal guardrail
my body collapsing over the bike, but not falling to the ground as the railing aided in keeping me vertical
painfully vertical as my upper body had awkwardly slammed on that metal railing... perhaps the best thing that could have happened
at a different angle my head could have slammed against the bar or worse yet I could have flipped over the bars into fast moving commuter traffic...

the speed was low which kept this incident from becoming a major accident
the location of the incident and the timing of the incident was perfect to keep me from colliding with another cyclist or worse yet a car

I knew exactly what had happened as this is not the first time I have experienced a broken chain
on the trail just a few feet behind me coiled like a snake was my now broken chain
I gathered the chain and moved off the trail to begin my repair
out of my pack I pulled my CRANK BROTHERS multi tool
then dug deeper for a 15mm wrench
my hand scanned blindly through the pouch of my pack
past various size tubes; 700c road tube for road or cross, 26 inch mountain tube, and 29 inch mountain tube
around the pump several times
sifting through dust, dirt, lint, and spare change
with a heavy and over dramatic sigh I pulled my hand from my pack and plotted my next move

without a 15mm wrench I could not move the rear wheel forward enough to compensate for the removal of the broken links
without a 15mm wrench my hands were tied
there I stood in Northern Virginia miles separating me from home, not an extreme distance, just some inconvenient miles

as I looked over the Potomac River at the Lincoln Memorial my mind became an ariel mapping program
the latest and greatest technology with 3-D animation
my mind soared over the river swooping down over the Memorial, then higher over the city as I plotted my course towards home

do I bisect the city through the urban streets?
do I cross the river and stay on the bike trail along Beach Drive?

the city route may be less miles, but more "stop and go" of the red lights and traffic as well as more hills for off the bike walking as I climbed
I figured if I took the bike path I could do a one legged scoot all the way home
coasting down the slight grades
letting the large 29 inch wheels roll rather than forcing my large size 13 feet walk

with cellular technology I told lisa I would be running late
as any good wife would.... she offered to pick me up... I declined
this walk would be part of the process... the education and the punishment
no lesson would be learned if I did not suffer for my lack of preparation

it was a tedious process to push, pump, and coast
more times than I can count I made an effort to pedal
my mind knowing that there is no chain
while my body knows the ballistic motion of peddling a bicycle

during my chainless traveling I had expected a cyclist to pass and offer assistance
to which I would ask to be towed
this did not happen
the only way I would get home on this evening would be on my own power; foot power.... foot power without the pleasure of a bike.... just the dead weight of a chainless bike

other than the occasional pedal to the back of the calve it was a pretty easy cruise
the path was pretty much flat all the way home
any hill I had to walk up gave me a coast down
the choice of the bike path proved to be the right choice

once home I was hungry and tired
it was later than dinner time
with a glance at my watch I accelerated the process of getting out of my gear and into some clothes
as I passed through the kitchen I stuffed my mouth with VACE eggplant Parmesan
chewing and swallowing as I marched up the stairs
maybe bypassing the chewing and just swallowing.... it was late and I was hungry
upon reaching the top floor I was greeted by lisa and two clothesless boys
each being dried after an evening splash in the tub
with a towel on the banister I jumped into the bedtime process

lisa dressed grant while I dressed dean
grant and lisa said their good nights while dean and I talked about his day
lisa and I laughed about Grant's new haircut... his aweful new haircut
then made Dean's bed while he picked out some books
we read from little bear and then the great little book, Toby the Toucan (with snapping beak)
after I read the toucan story to dean... dean then read that same story to me
much time had lapsed
what was going to be an early bedtime had stretched into a late bedtime
our reading moved to a discussion of being afraid of the dark, a new development as of this week
the light was left on and dean closed his eyes to go to sleep

like the common fool that I am I put off my repair until the next morning...

Dean woke in the middle of the night afraid of the dark
lisa had turned off the light before she went to bed
we need to find a strategy for explaining and understanding the "afraid of the dark issue"

and I need to fix my bikes in the night rather than waiting until the next morning.....

this post was finished yesterday
the details were move clever and clear
but somehow the BLOGGER did not accept the PUBLISH AND POST PROCESS
hate when that happens

it is again morning
my coffee is done
need to put on some clothes so that I can walk the dogs
so that I can take off that clothing throw on some gear so that I can ride my bike to work only to take off the gear and put on some clothes again so that I can work
after a day of work the clothes come off and the gear goes on
only to get home to get out of the gear.... into some clothes where I can join my family for the evening's events go to sleep only to wake the next morning where the process gets repeated


Valentine's Day is Grant's Birthday
on this day my younger son turned ONE!

there are so many resources on the internet (excuse me Internet... that is Mr. Internet to you)

if nothing else....
I may do this to get free shipping with my bike on flights...
it would make sense if I am going to fly more than once with my bicycle this year
the LINKS section of the Bike League is well worth a look!

here is a link to bicycle education for urban cyclists

darn.... I had a bunch of links from Jason Meggs and BIKETHEBRIDGE that I wanted to post...

oh well
another day

a simple thought

a simple thought that went through my head as I cycled past a few runners this morning on the Mount Vernon Trail
the runners looked like Pentagon types... high and tight... lean and fit
and well
I was close to Pentagon which added to my deductive reasoning...

Peace through superior fire power?
(I think that is our objective... only not in those words)

that is not PEACE..... that is domination!
Peace would mean no need for fire power on either side.....
we are in no way shape or form at "peace" with our enemies.... we just happen to be in a point in history where we are dominant and they are in fear of us
now I am not saying that we should dismantle our army.... I say we just call our actions what they are...

from a simple thought to simple shoes

while I am out dropping names of people from my high school...

yesterday Dean got sick at school... apparently he vomited twice
the teachers and the kids said he "spat up" which I guess means that he vomited
in the morning before school he complained about his stomach hurting
then once at school he had that volcanic eruption that is so common among children
as I child it seemed like one of the school janitors; Mr. Jim or Jimmy, were in our classroom with a bucket full of some funky green sawdust to clean up and scoop away some sick child's vomit
so.... I had not left for work yet so I went and scooped Dean up
it was a bummer that he was going to miss Valentines Day at school
I played through my mind how I could entertain him.....
we drove out to Potomac Yards in Virginia to eat, shop, and catch a movie
on our approach we went straight to the marquee
sure enough there were several somewhat age appropriate films
we settled in on RACING STRIPES
the timing was perfect
before the 12:50 film start time we could go to TARGET to get Grant another birthday present.... this one from Dean
then I could zip over to Del Ray to grab some tacos (Dean was still not eating)
then arrive once the previews have run their course

Racing Stripes was a good film*.... sort of a Zebra Sea Biscuit
which brings me to one last name dropping..... the author of the New York Times best seller, Sea Biscuit, Laura Hillenbrand was in my home room in high school
wonder if she will go to the reunion?

*Racing Stripes was a good film from the perspective of a father hanging out with his three and a half year old.... The Incredibles is a film for all ages!

Seabiscuit the book
Seabiscuit the movie
Seabiscuit the documentary
Seabiscuit the zebra

this game ROCKED!
when it came out I was just years away from being that same ambitious paperboy
only I was not hip, cool, or cute on a BMX bike with a shoulder sachel
I was a tall lanky geek on a Sturmey Archer three speed with a Brooks Saddle and a Shenadoah Pride milk crate strapped to my rear rack with bungee cords
it was a ricketty old machine
fenders were always rattling loose
gears were popping
the brake pads usually lasted about four or five pulls on the brake levers
luckily they were only a buck fifty a pair

in many ways my reality was not far off from these fantasy games

as I delivered the papers I would set personal challenges....
scoring of sort....
timing myself on my high tech LCD watch with stop watch function
monitoring my progress at different stages of the course
cursing the houses with special request.....

"rubber band my paper"
"please put paper between screen door and front door"
"please no more news papers in my box bushes..."
"can I get my paper dry?"
"can you make it so the wind does not take my paper away"

racing as quickly as I could to beat the worst request..

"deliver to my house first rather than last...."
anticipating and escaping that leashless dog
moving stealthy up and across the lawns of customers who I know would frown on such behavior

maybe if the tips were better people would have been able to get their unique requests
the Washington Star had its advantages....
it was an afternoon paper...
it was a thin little paper.... even on Sundays... (weekends were mornings)
the paper boy had to collect from the subscribers (an advantage with devious results)
the Washington Star was less popular than the Washington Post so the customers were not every house... they were not even every other house.... the Star customers were a random splattering about!

it was a fun job
as parents claim.... it was a character building experience

looking back I really enjoyed it
it was not uncommon for Paper Boys to actually be boys in that era
times have changed

in suburbia....
news papers are delievered by men in station wagons...
which in my era only happened when the paper boy over slept, when the weather was completely aweful, or if the paper boy had a convincing whine (oh, I do not think my dad ever gave into any of those things, but I remember seeing other fathers fall for those excuses)
during that era as well..... local neighborhood boys cut the lawns and shoveled the walks
there was still a tad bit of that Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn left in society
kids were more like the gathering of kids in the Our Gang films than the children of X Box and Sega...

a handful of years ago I was at a wedding in Boulder Colorado and some random bar had a fully functional Robotron machine
I played some college kid
he had skill
without playing that game in over ten years.... I challenged him to a game betting 20 bucks...
he beat me and his personal best in one move
glad I could inspire him and take him to the next level
if I recall....
he bought drinks with that money
so we both won!

and of course.... DEFENDER was perhaps the best of the best.....
those were the days when with enough skill you could play forever
twenty five cents could be shared between several players
then the industry wised up
the next wave of games were more of a coin fed rather than coin operated mechanism
skill would take you to higher levels
duration was still limited
addition coins added to the mix was an inevitable process

video games were an excellent escape
not entirely unlike a drug
a trip to a different world leaving this earth behind
it was a wonderful place

I can recall being late for grade school so I could play Asteroids at Dart Drug in the old Grand Union location...

coffee is in my belly
best I put on some socks... walk the dogs.... and head off to work
too wet to feel the urge for a prework ride, yes I will ride, but not an extended ride
my throat hurts and I am feeling lazy

I fear the internet resourses....
as I realize that there are all sorts of internet game sites that have computer versions of these games that run using SHOCKWAVE
years ago I recall some of them lacked the power to be played on a Mac (but not I have a PC laptop from work... so I guess if I was really curious)

the coin operated box was much more organic than the home computer
the joy stick and the fire buttons were far superior to the keyboard and mouse
the burn marks on the video game dash board
the cracks in the plastic from a passionate punch
the dents and dings on the machine from an eager child who craved their quarters back


some more random blog routes that I took over the last few days....
let me see if I can retrace some steps....
yes... it was that girl from grade school's husband... mr. joel
from there I went to the web presence of jenny toomey
who had that day been mentioned in the sunday source of the washington post
something about valentines day at the black cat
somehow I was within jenny's web world when I stumbled upon another graduate of jenny's high school which happens to be my high school as well....
michael zapruder is not my high school... bethesda chevy chase or b-cc is my high school
my high school where I graduated from in 1985
michael zapruder not to be confused with another b-cc graduate that I thought was teaching at st mary's college of maryland... but maybe not any more... matthew zapruder..... michael's brother
smc is where i went to college
honestly.... a blog is so different than a web presence
some of these folks have a web presence
which is funny cause I was talking with a journalist friend of mine
and well
this guy seemed to have a hang up about the concept of a BLOG
like.... since he is a journalist..... the blog would discredit him as an actual writer or something
the blog is many things
for him it would be a great archive
for me it is a great outlet
for him... it would be a great way to reference his work

ran into Luis of ATOMIC MUSIC in college park... another local boy from high school
lisa and I had my mom hang with dean and grant while we went out and actually chewed our food before we swallowed it then lisa kicked my ass in Pool at Bedrock Billiards (who also owns Atomic Billiards, not associated with Atomic Music) need a guitar..... the have what you want or almost exactly what you want at a better price than you thought you could find.....
or if you need to make rent.... or need to get a one way ticket out of town.... they buy guitars as well.... luis and I talked about out 20th high school reunion this year as well as a wedding we will both be attending this summer in Colorado.... Matthew Zapruder is also a good friend of the grooms.... I don't know him..... but I am sure to see him there.... who else will be there? weddings are good for pulling people out of their caves

where else have I been?
who else have I seen?

oh.... while talking with Luis he mentioned that Thievery Corporation had filmed a video in his music store.... I asked who was the camerman.... Luis did not recall... last night I spoke with my friend Rob who plays sitar and guitar with Thievery (also played sitar at my wedding.... also records on his own label Fort Knox) When speaking with Rob I asked if he had worked on this video... sure enough Rob was the cameraman in question.... How could Luis not know or remember Rob? Rob is all over the place doing so many things... wearing so many hats!
oh... I think I recall Rob mentioning that the Soundtrack for GARDEN STATE won a Grammy... Thievery had a song on that album... a song that revolves around Rob's Sitar noodling

here is a place to get a taste of some of the sounds of Thievery of ESL

I need a glass of water
now is as good as time as any to cut the shit and head off to bed
before I am too tired to brush my teeth


there is one thing that I am always curious about.... that is history
oddly enough I am most curious about local and contemporary history
the spoken word is often good enough for me
as I tend to be too lazy to read

wonder if there are any good historical books about Mount Pleasant
with that in mind... I may want to contact my friends from Lamont Street and see if they have any old photographs of the Mount Pleasant area that I could blow up and hang in my house....
one Valentines Day some years past Lisa framed a topo map of Rock Creek Park
while currently we are planning on getting a print of that Washington Post cover from 1985 with me sledding at Battery Kimble Park with three high school friends....
a few more things and we could have a great theme going up a stairwell or even in one of the rooms

books... did I say something about books?

Tally's Corner
(elliot le something or other)
I should go through my college text books, as some of the books may still be in the wrapper
among the books read and unread from my college should be a copy of Tally's Corner. It is about street life in Washington DC during the 40-50's. It would be fun to read it now as I am older, know the area better, and have a different perspective on life.

Rock Creek Park

(by some Gail something or other)
This is great... as Homer gave Marge a bowling bowl..... I gave Lisa a book about Rock Creek...
okay, actually I gave the book to Lisa and Joel from Dean, Grant, Roscoe, and Brutus. She is excited about it.... as well am I. This link has some great images.

and why not....

the dc punk kids year book....
a great collection of photos
but just like any year book.... it is just the year book committee's perspective

let me take this tangent a little further in an odd semi historical direction
the history of the DC band Government Issue in an interview with front man John Stab
If I had Joy Ride in front of me right now.... I would definitely put it on my iPOD


this is awesome
in theory it is awesome
I am always trying to keep things in rotation
whether it be sharing with neighbors, giving to the homeless, or placing things ontop of the trashcans in the alley rather than in the trash cans
but... this sounds like a more reasonalbe way to do this....
I wonder if their are any crazy junk collectors or horders would abuse this service for collection and sale rather than for use and contribution.... well... not my work......
I may have to check deeper into this

my blog is often an effective book mark or even internet things to do list
oh yea.... you still need to order your brother those clogs!
his birthday was a month ago!

TRASH OR TREASURE DAY in Chevy Chase Maryland is a dumpster diver's wet dream!
although I have not had a good score in years
like an old prospecter
I still have faith in my secret spot!

FreeCycle sounds like a good addition to the world of CRAIGSLIST



these were inspired by a Shaw Blogger's links
yet honestly..... their blog was not my thing
blogs can be so topic specific


not sure how recent this is...
but thought I would share it just the same
it reads like a little Washingtonian Magazine TOP TEN list
it is a TOP THREE
it is a review of several guys that mow lawns in his neighborhood...
bicycle lawmowerman who drags his lawnmower behind a bicycle
wheel chair lawn mowerman who drags his lawmower behind a wheel chair
regular lawn mowerman who pushed his lawnmower regular in front of him

check it out

it is a year old
I hope he has given the workers a raise since then

okay... here is today's post.... this guy is a modern day Archie Bunker

but there have been times in my life where I feel like IF MY LIFE WERE A MOVIE? WHAT WOULD PEOPLE SAY?
there was a series of months where I learned my truck was being stolen and returned like some sort of community ZIP CAR
our house/condo was broken into when we were away for a weekend.. dogs and all
then held up at gun point somewhere in there......

there are times when I think about moving......
there are times when I am angry.....
there are things I hate about the city
there are things that I love about the city
that or this guy is really cheap
so I see that the BLOG is a good place to vent a little emotion


tangents, small world,
and what should be happy days can be sad and lonely days

sunday morning as lisa walked roscoe and brutus in the woods of Rock Creek I entertained dean and grant

dads do it differently....

the story of Mr. Mom or an episode of the Simpsons where Homer is left alone with the kids all fall too close to home
in minutes the house is a wreck
children's clothes have been swapped for bathing suits and halloween costumes
the sink rapidly fills with dirty dishes
the dogs go from being pets to being wild animals
food gets splattered on the walls
the children are eating the baby food
the baby is eating the dog food while bathing in the dogs' water bowl

immediately there are Lincoln Logs and Legos everywhere
matchbox cars litter the floor and cause great pain when stepped upon shoeless
all of the cushions are off the couch
all the spare blankets are out of the closet
dean and grant roam through a labrynth maze of pillows, blankets, children's chairs, and the sofa cushions
the cushion fort or the cushion maze usually stand for a few minutes
unlike the cardboard boxes and duct tape fort that stayed in our living room for months
it is a process of me building and the boys tearing it down

in between cushion, pillow, and blanket construction projects I scan the internet for random information
something that does not command my full attention
but something that entertains my Adult ADD
electronic tangent takes me to electronic tangent
some tangents more interesting than others

in my tangent traveling I occassionally make a comment
usually I just breeze through without a word
on Sunday morning I stumbled in a Blog/Website about the local music scene
for whatever reason, perhaps it was the authors name being joel I was compelled to leave a message
later that day joel emails me back
the real world and the electronic world once again prove to be very small
it seems that that joel is married to a women who this joel (aka gwadzilla) went to grade school with.....
the world is too small
that is a random connection

after I posted a comment
the other joel emailed me back
turns out other than both knowing stephanie
both our families drive VW Passats
both of our families have two children (although they have girls and I have boys)
both joels are bald
both joel's are loser enough to find email entertaining on sunday morning, sunday afternoon, and again sunday night

since then joel's wife and I have had email correspondence...
it is a random connection that brings amusement and pleasure

today being Valentines Day and making contact with someone who I knew from second to eigth grade brings back many memories....

being unpopular can be sad...
for the most part it is a liveable pain
for some it is just everyday an everyday that we learn to endure
yet there are some days that are clearly more painful than others...

not having someone to drink with on St. Patty's Day
not having someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve
not having someone to "oohhhh" and "ahhhhhh" with during the fireworks on the fourth of July
all of these can bring lonelines and lack of popularity to the surface

as a child Valentines Day had that same potential for a painful reminder of one's lack of popularitiy

children can be mean
children are mean
children are mean even when they do not intend to be mean

I can recall on Valentines Day as a child that there were some students in my class who got a disproportionate amount of Valentines Day cards
then within the selection.... there were always cool cards in the variety pack and uncool cards in that same variety pack
my collection of Valentines Day cards was always a selection of very few cards... seldom were these cards the coolest from the pack
these things do not go unnoticed
these things are rarely forgotten

a party may happen on a saturday
but if there is no whisper of it on friday then it may go unnoticed until all the popular kids are retelling the events of the day on monday
if lucky the uncool or univited can escape without hearing that whisper
but on Valentines day.... the stack of cards versus the handful of cards can be visible by everyone in the class
the incestuous in crowd
they had it all.....
on days like Valentines Day the obvious became painfully obvious
no more ignoring the lack of popularity
no more rationalization
just the facts

enough with this therapy session
I am over it
actually I quite enjoyed my loniness
it prepared me for life

valentines day...
grant's birthday....
and love..... how love can be fickle!

grant is one today....
finally valentines day actually means more to me other than the stress of what should I buy or what should I do to celebrate valentines day with my wife
now it is settled... we will celebrate valentines day by celebrating grant's birthday
valentines day is the day that lisa and i had our second child
today Grant is one year old!
yes.... valentines day is a romanitc day... well... it is now that we have grant to help us remember this day and its romantic significance

all this concern for grant's birthday may have distracted us from preparing dean for school today
dean is headed off to school without any valentines for his classmates....
I am considering rushing to the store to grab him something to share with his classmate
it would be aweful for him to miss out on sharing
there are strong memories in my past of feeling left out
no one wants to be left out
I was left out... now look at me!

some time ago I blogged on about bicycle love and what is love in general
then more recently I dragged on in various posts about how great it is to be reuninted with my once long forgotten Rocky Mountain Blizzard....
well, my bicycle love is fickle, quite fickle
last night the TIME pedals came off the Blizzard and were slapped onto the Karate Monkey Single Speed
love is many things.... love is often fickle!

with plans for teaming up with some speedy single speeders for this weekend at a bicycle scavanger hunt in Avalon/Patapsco I had to get my Karate Monkey Single Speed rolling again
in less than a year I managed to kill my bottom bracket...
what happened to my bottom bracket?
I happened to my bottom bracket!

so after a morning at the zoo and lunch at a sidewalkd cafe at Woodley Park with lisa and the boys I rushed off to a meeting about the Rock Creek Watershed, a meeting I thought would be more trail oriented than biodiversity
Rock Creek Protection Group was the listing I had read...
in all the email correspondence I never saw the speificity of their focus
a group that I thought was more land than water based...
my focus would be trail repair
less on life in and around Rock Creek
this group is more focused on the ecosystem that lives in the water which is Rock Creek
not that I am not interested or concerned in this aspect of the park
it just is not where I feel my energies should be placed
it was frustrating....
frustrating because I had not known the objectives of this group
frustrating because I hate these bureacratic meetings
frustrating because I wished I was at the Chinese New Year parade with my family
frustrating because I wanted to ride the Metro train with Dean and Grant
frustrating because it was two hours of a weekend that is never long enough

luckily for me I had already loaded my bike in the back of the Honda Element
was already cleared for my approach to the the City Bikes Chevy Chase location
it was originally planned as a drop off situation
but upon my arrival the Sunday shop traffic had died down and it looked like they may be able to service my bike on the spot
after all.... it is a single speed... what could it need?

a young college racer, Frank, put my bike in the stand before Chevy Chase Parts Manager and bicycle culture jack of all trades Sean Bega could offer up a mechanic to do the repair on the spot over dropping off the bike (also Bega related.... dc courier) ((and quasi related
although it was close to closing time it seemed that the shop was clean, caught up, and ready for closure
my bottom bracket was toast
so Frank quickly, cleanly, and methodically removed the cranks and the bottom bracket
in his roadie precision sort of way he pulled out some calipers for measurement
then he dug around to find me the right part to fit my Clydesdale needs....
heavy and durable!
they lacked what I needed but they had something that worked
a little more expensive
a little more light weight
they had something the correct measure/fit so we went with it
the wear on the front chain ring was sever.... that part was currently out of stock
there were other 32 tooth chain rings that would have worked
but those rings all had ramps for the triple ring we figured we could wait for the single speed specific part
so we placed an order to Quality
I could ride a few more days on this ring... had frank had not said anything it would be a few more months maybe years

we all chatted about various bicycle related things
frank, sean, and I talked about the WABA event
an event that Frank and I both volunteered for while Sean was there in black tie James Bond fashion
while there was some converstation shared between former Big Wheel Mechanic Dave
the topic of Mike Sendar never ceases to entertain me
we talked shop stuff
we talked bike stuff
we talked.....
we talked about that same style of stuff that would create either a bicycle shop documentary or a CLERKS style feature film based in the bicycle world

my repair was more of a replacement
it was speedy
frank was done in seconds.....
which included cleaning the threads and the used of plumbers teflon tape.... steps that I may not have taken at home, okay.... I would have cleaned the threads
it may be the shop quality vs. basement quality
it may be mountain biker style vs. roadie style
or it may be my old school back yard style!

we checked the front disc brake with a spin of the wheel and a grip of the lever and I was free to go
that was a tad more similar to my usual pre-race preparation

so with no concern or care for the feelings of the Rocky Mountain Blizzard I snatch the pedals and the usefullness of the Blizzard away and direct my attention to the Surly Karate Monkey
ah the pain of being tossed aside
on Valentines Day no less
the Karate Monkey's gain is the Rocky Mountain Blizzard (steel not scandium) loss


coffee is in my belly
caffiene is in my brain
best I walk the dogs
suit up on the bike
and head into work
better to be on time to work
more later (of course)

do a GOOGLE on Sean Bega or check out those links.... he host some great events, he sponsors a very cool team of very interesting people, and he use to own and run a courier company that had a strong employee ethic (or so it seemed from the outside)

as for Frank.... we may want to ask him why American Universtity does not list cycling on their sports website

and Dave?
well.... not sure if he has an internet presence