12.31.2004

I am a Bicycle Geek....

Bicycles are and have been a part of my identity...
recently I have come to notice that I have become a bit of a bicycle geek that wears his bicycle identity on his shirt sleeve, not intentionally, but obviously just the same....

The other night when Tom and I rode our bikes one zip code over to go to the new and improved neighborhood bar, The Wonderland Ballroom, a friend of a friend alerted me to me obvious and outward bicycle geekiness by simply asking, "are you into bikes?"

Before answering this question I took a step back in my head and looked at myself. In addition to arriving on my bicycle, having my NUTCRACKER lights and all strapped to my camelback commuter pack stuffed with my helmet, headlamp, and gloves, I was also wearing a MORE t-shirt, an old Big Wheel Bikes baseball cap, and cycling shoes. I took a seat, took off my hat, and said, "yes, I am into bikes." (without getting defensive...)

The next day I took a look at the clothing in my closet, the clothing in my dresser, and the clothing on the floor. Most everything I saw was bicycle related.... beyond the various lycra and gortex bicycle specific stuff including multiple helmets and many bicycle specific gloves, socks, and hats.... every baseball cap I owned either had my current employer's logo or some sort of bicycle industry logo stamped on the front..... then the t-shirts from races and various events.... there is not infinite space for storage of clothing so occassionally there needs to be some cleaning.... some stuff stays and some stuff goes... it seems that everything that was not earned at a race or an event related to the bicycle industry has been donated to charity of downgraded to rag status for cleaning my many bicycle chains.

Never thought I would become this guy with such a transparent identity....
guess my next step is a vanity plate and a chainring tattoo
(okay.... never a vanity plate.... )

12.30.2004

Where is the best place to make a donation to the victims of the Tsunami?

yahoo article on donations
how to help....also on yahoo

here is something for DOCTOR'S WITHOUT BORDERS
it is odd that the site is not updated with any mention of the Tsunami victims
my wife lisa thought that it would be a good place for us to send our money

donations through American Red Cross

and as recommended by Chris Redlack....USAID Donations

even AMAZON.com is doing more than lending a hand in collection (I think their money is directed to The Red Cross)

please let me know of any other good places to make donations and I iwll try to update my list
and of course
there are donations that are more direct to each individual country

people need to send or offer cash
clothing and food cost as much to ship as the items would cost overseas.... if not more
no sense in carting bottle water over there

I think that the food and clothing donated should be sold so that there could be more cash to help the causes

here is a WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE that has a list of recommended donation site/locations

and GOOGLE has a good link to information on the same topic
I have now given the same information to you in 17 different ways
choose a way
go that way
I am sure that any contributions to any of these many orgainzations would be appreciated an helpful

I personally am cautious on who the money is given to as I fear that people there are "kleptocrats" out there in different governments
morning coffee...
let me finish my morning coffee and let my feet warm up after a quick hike with the dogs before I put on my commuter gear to take that miniture ride into work
it is funny... I had BLOGGED that I spent 10 minutes to get dressed for a 20 minute ride
well.... I timed it... it takes me 5 minutes of efficient superhero in the phone booth style dressing to get suited up
then I am COMMUTERMAN!
then there is the other end where I have to peel off the suit... so 10 minutes cumulative

just got in from a hike across the street
it should not depress me
but it does
the National Park Service sent Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber in to do some trail work
for some reason they felt it neccessary to cut down a fallen tree that bridged over the trail
it was ascetically pleasing
as well as entertaining for children and dogs to climb on
sure taller folks like myself had to duck when going under it
but
this is hiking in the woods
going under, stepping over, managing off camber footing, and other such things are par for the course
let the mindless walks be on the urban sidewalks not the urban wooded trails

looks like time for another call, another message, another set of emails
all to be sent but never responded to

so frustrating

who is running the show over there?

I think they are out of touch with the trails and the trail users

okay...
time to chug the coffee and go to work
more once at work
as it is moderately quite... well.... aside from the long "things to do list" I can see in my INBOX
better busy than slow
hate it when it is slow
less efficient when there is little to do

12.29.2004

Bicycle Shop Version of "CLERKS"

Some years ago there was this movie "Clerks" where they created a feature film which may have well been a well edited reality show of a few people working in a 7-11 style convenience store and the antics that surrounded their day to day activities.

Well, in my life I have lived a Sampler Packet of the cycling culture....
Comuter, Mountainbiker, Racer (but not like the real racers, but someone who races,) Touring (not tourist,) Messenger, father towing a trailer, and Bike Shop Employee. Each and everyone of those aspects of the cycling culture is a story in itself. But the most easy film to create would have to be the Bike Shop Version of CLERKS.

The bike shop is an odd place.... it is something a tad different than retail stores, mostly because the employees tend to be moderately disfunctional, the shoppers can be more unique, and the owners of bike shops tend to be a little less than conventional themselves. The bicycle shop can be an interesting place filled with interesting people. Although I may shop at the GAP, it is less than likely that as I wander through a strange town I figure I will kill some time as I check out The Gap in ANYTOWN USA.... but... I may wander through the local bike shop to see what there is to see in that particular shop in that particular town.

One thing about the bike shop that may not happen in other retail establishments is the development of locals, regular, hangers on, and groupies.... yes GROUPIES..... well, maybe more hangers on than groupies, but an odd thing just the same. Each shop will over time develop a regular clientele as well as a few characters who find that they enjoy killing time passing through the bike shop. Most regulars come by to come by rather than to shop or buy. One shop in Georgetown, The Bicycle Pro Shop has gone so far as to honor one of their characters, Mr. Herman, with Mr. Herman's Lounge. While at Big Wheel Bikes in Old Town Alexandria, the shop manager there Bennet Moore has become the puppet master of sorts molding and directing the futures of some of his regulars.

The Bennet Moore Big Wheel Experience may be one of the more interesting prospects for the Bike Shop Reality TV Show as Bennet has taken years to cultivate his cast of characters. In some cases I question the ethics of his effect on some of his major players.

let me see if I can recall some of these characters....

well, although Mr. Herman may be a Pro Shop regular.... he may also be a bike shop whore! As I have seen him at Big Wheel in Old Town and have spoken with some of the mechanics at City Bikes and they are more than familiar with him. Seems that he may have a tad more time on his hands than some. I have also seen the long and tall 70 something year old Mr. Herman chatting up the flower salesman on the corner by my work as well as the hotdog salesman..... so he may be a flower and hot dog groupie as well as a bike shop hanger on.

"Boxcar Willy" would be a great example of one of Bennet's oddball regulars....
Willy is an older toothless freak (late 40's or early 50's , maybe 25 years old....tough to say... the years have been hard as he is well weathered) that opts for the streets of Old Town Alexandria rather than the perhaps more dangerous and competitive streets of Washington DC. Willy is on welfare... perhaps more lazy than crazy... but laziness may have enabled some craziness... so he is plenty crazy just the same. Willy goes from living in the woods, passing out in the streets, to hanging at the shelter, to accepting getting arrested for a pety crime during the winter months so that he has a warm place to sleep and meals provided for him.

The highlight of my Willy experience was the day that I put a guitar in his hands. This once moderately annoying town drunk became a colorful and charismatic performer. His singing was a tad whistlely as he had no front teeth, but his ablility to transition from classic blues to Prince's 80's classic KISS to tales of the road made for grand entertainment while working on the bikes. It also centered his energy and kept his temperament at a more even level. Bicycles enter and exit his life like that of an irresponsible child who can not respect that these things cost money. Willy panhandles and gets funny money from the government and may even get some cash from his family..... no matter where he gets it... he seems to have enough that the liquor on his breath is always somewhat fresh and the clothing on his back tends to be dry and moderately clean. Willy has the same documentary potential as Jesco the Dancing Outlaw.

((the Outlaw Page,))

One of the more interesting studies that floats through the Old Town Shop from time to time would have to be "Fast Eddy." Eddy's age is also a bit odd to guess, he too may be late 40's or early 50's, lives on his own but may have some sort of assistance as he is not entirely there, not mentally retarded, but definitely something quirky happening in his head. Bennet may have done more work on Eddy than he did on Willy, but he had his effect on Willy just the same, whether getting Willy on a bicycle or passing on an an old acoustic guitar. With Eddy the impact is more obvious as Eddy's ability to separate fantasy and reality is a tad blurred (I suffer this same sort of confusion as my brother will confirm) Bennet has over the years planted certain ideas in Eddy's childlike head. Bennet will race Eddy around the block in the same way that I may chase my three year old son. Eddy always wins and the crowd always cheers, it is not teasing or patronizing.... it is playful and enjoyable for all. But over years of these races and numerous times of Eddy hearing his name uttered in the classic Eddy Merckx videos Eddy has grown to understand that he has a history of great races. He has met Greg Lemond at an autograph session, but somehow thinks that he raced and trained with him. There are paper clips on Eddy's handlebars that he thinks give him turbo speed. Much of this Eddy created on his one.... much of this was created and fostered by Bennet's guidance. All with the best of intentions, but with perhaps a questionable.

The cast of characters expands well beyond the likes of Eddy, Willy, and Mr. Herman. Bennet is a fast cyclist with a love for riding hard. Years ago he started the tradition of the MISHA'S MORNING RIDES. Where cyclists of various levels would meet at Misha's Coffee House in downtown Old Town for a pre-work workout. Bennet had a history of trying to pick up the pace to an almost race pace with riders and racers who would much rather store their energy for the work day or for the race that is approaching that weekend. So there will be a rotation of serious road cyclists in need of a special order or perhaps just killing time to visit and chat. Bennet in years past has developed a business relationship with a Mountainbike Tour Company (Old Towne Outfitters) in Guatemala where he lived for over a year as a tour guide. This also draws attention to the shop and will bring in another interesting cast of characters. So there will be local champions who are local characters. Fast guys trying to take it to the next level. Or just family men who are seeking to keep the sport part of their lives.

The rotation of employees.
The conflict of employees.
all of that is as entertaining as the floating though of the various characters

Shops will always attract the geeks and freaks that are passing through town. Someone who wants to rent a bike or someone on a tour who wants to tell someone their tales from the road. The bike shop may not pay that well, but it is always an interesting place to work. Most definitely I feel that the world of Reality TV or Documentary Film makers would do well to put their 'focus' on certain aspects of the bicycle culture and in this case I think that the bike shop and it idiosycracies would entertain many.

In addition to the documentary film idea.....

I have always thought that a Coffee Shop/Bicycle Shop Mix would do well.....
if these folks are coming in to hang out....
well
give them a place to sit
have a couch or two with some cycling videos playing or the tour if it is happening live
work on their bike while they wait
and let the put some money into the shop by drinking a caffeine filled coffee drink

in Sedona AZ I did see a place called Bike and Bean that did this to a certain level
but
I feel that an urban setting may flourish with such a business model
but what do I know
I am a consumer
not a business owner
full of ideas
absent of action

*the names were not changed to protect anyone
let me apologize to anyone I may have misrepresented here
this is not a historical document
it is my BLOG, my opinion, my set of rants
send corrections and comments
I may make additions
but never expect me to delete anything
as I am just putting it out there
I have nothing but respect and love for all that were mentioned here
I am sorry if I have written any innaccuracies here
if you feel you have been misrepresented type a comment and let me know
if anyone is in closer contact with these people
please fee free to finish these thoughts and set the record straight in the comments section
peace

12.28.2004

Tsunami and the News

the photographs in the newspapers are over the top
perhaps a tad gratuitous
yes, it is vital for us to put the human emotion onto the numbers
but do we need to see it on the cover page of every newspaper?
could the story be told with the emotion on a grieving person's face?

gotta sell papers?

please!

this is a disaster beyond comparision
just as the earthquake sent waves of water that have altered the sea, the land, and the human lives
the deaths and the disappearance of young and old will sent waves of change in the lives of future generations to come
the numbers of orphaned children is phenomenal
parents are lost at sea
the mother and fathers that fed these children that earned the living so that they could feed these children are gone
the houses that so many families lived in are gone
lives are changed
business, possessions, goods, and people's livelihood
not just today... not just tomorrow.... but forever
the direction of so many lives has just been altered
not just for those that died, but also for those that survived
those that survived with injury and those that survived the loss of family

this is important

we need to be informed

but
what about the imagry
yes I want it to be strong enough to move me emotionally
but if these bodies, these lines of bodies were being photographed
would the faced of these dead children, dead babies, dead adult women and dead men be spread all over the color images of the daily press?
I think not
we need to respect the dead and the families of the dead the same way we would want our dead to be respected
shit.....BUSH wouldn't let us see caskets.... oh, that was for a different reason
okay, take the photos and release the photos, but let the reader dig past the surface that we can see it by our one choice
not so our young and our impressionable have to see it on the front stoop as they are taken off to the park, daycare, or school
even National Geographic comes in a brown wrapper

then some of the stories that are told
or the priorities of the stories
yes it is an interesting story, but it is any more news worthy because this person was maybe famous, maybe rich, and maybe attractive? the victoria secret model's story is a tragedy, but hopefully it does not take priority of the story of a mother who lost her children, or the children that lost their parents...he lost is grand.... as well are her injuries..... but no more vital just because she is hot.

even the numbers are oddly stressed
the number of Americans is hardly even a measurable percentage, but it seems to be a stressed part of the story
villages lives have been altered
not just a family
but villages

yes, we want each person who is lost to be found
superstious or what ever
people want to say goodbye
they want to touch the body
they want to bury them at home
american or native to any of the countries that lies victim

to have to try and find and identify a loved one seems like it would be such a painful journey
not knowing
foolishly hopeing

well
it is human nature
we are all a tad egocentric
me first
then my family
then my extended family
this makes us a tad ethnocentric
just as our families are most important.... so our our neighbor... our surrounding counties
and
onto our states and the whole country
december is nearly behind me....

this has been a tough month for working out
the weather
the holidays
the weather
the holidays
and
of course end of cycling season burn out
(which happened sooner for some than for others)

it is tough to stay motivated without any real goals in front of me
most of the time I have one or two cycling related goals immediately infront of me
usually I have the 24 Hours of Snowshoe in the early summer, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in the early fall, and a variety of stuff that becomes short term goals in between (ie. The 12 Hours of Lodi Farms, The Panarama Paranormal, and a slew of other races that get me out there and get me pumped...Wednesdays at Wakefield.... the various Hills.... Fairhill.... Ironhill.... Granoguehill...the Greenbriar stuff ROCKS and what else)

somehow I managed to miss Cyclocross season all together
never bothered to swap out those new Salsa handlebars or fresh new handlebar tape
never bothered to put my cross cleats on my SIDI shoes
never bothered to fix that spoke on the rear wheel
and
never bothered to suit up and race that dam cross bike

seems that the season closed up around the Panarama Paranormal.... and honestly..... things really did get anti-climatic after the Shenandoah Mountain 100
it is tough to stay motivated
as I am lazy by nature
the couch is comfortable
food is good
hard for me to justify freezing my balls off on the bike without any real goal in mind
sure I would like to be more thin (thin at all for that matter...I have not been thin for years!)
and of course
who would not want to be faster
but
somehow I think all that stuff can wait until the Spring
of course it can not.... I must fight the urge to hibernate and kick that malaise in the ass and try to maintain
my goal is to never train too hard
actually to never train at all
my goal is to maintain
to keep a strong baseline
let a little faster pace and a few races pull me back into "race shape"
my own personal race shape.....
I am not shooting for the tour
there are my own personal goals
my own personal bench marks
sure i want to have a successful season
but
honestly
I can only do so much
after all I am "big like monster!"

even Yoga has slipped out of my recent schedule
need to bring it all back

sure time off the bike has its value
but
I can only convince myself of that statement so many times

with that said....what are my plans
last night I had the best intentions to go for an evening ride...
but once out the door and on the bike I started down M Street towards Georgetown and then made an immediate right up the wrong way on a one way street as it was the most direct route to my home
I did not pass GO...I did not collect 100 Dollars!
I went straight home and go out of that icy cold bike gear as fast as I could
well....it did not help that the cycling gear tends to get wet from the morning ride
and well
does not always dry for the afternoon ride
so it is rather awkward to step out into the bitter cold in an already chilly suit!

enough ranting
enough babbling
it is finally time to go home
tomorrow I will have to do some work
in all honesty
work would be more fun that the BLOGGING MADDNESS that has POSSESSED me all day today
my compulsive blogging needs to be managed

if I could only do something postitive with my compulsive nature

Ah the WWW and the subculture of Cycling......

there is something FUNKY about the cyclists love of the web
was doing some random surfing
reading all sorts of DIRT RAG forums
leaping from tangent to tangent
topic to topic
thread to thread
it is interesting to see how the subculture feeds upon itself

then I stumbled upon KEVINDC
and sure enough it is NCVC Kevin
my enemy and friend
here is Kevin's photo page
it is great all the contributions each of us can make to the cycling culture and the future of cycling
trail maintenance
cycling education
or just the basic information that can aid in inspiration which may lead to perspiration
TIPS TO SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS
(or any family visit)
Please offer a little help here by making additions in the comment section......

1. Go into the family gathering with a POSITIVE ATTITUDE
(P.A.C.E.= Positive Attitude Changes Everything)
remember the mistakes of years past and avoid making them again this year


2. Think before you talk...share in converstaion....talk with not at
(if you know that you disagree with a family member's position on our being in Iraq or the IQ of the current President.....keep it to yourself. Sitting at the children's table may be your best option.)
((this extends to anything that may be too embaressing, a little ribbing and a little reminiscence is okay, but there are limits....it is never appropriate to tickle someone until they pee))


3. If you are having differences with a family member do not wait until the day of the the party (or meeting) to make amends
call your family members and make contact way in advance so that things can run more smoothy when you meet face to face
we are all hungry for deserts, but no one wants to be eating awkward pie

4. don't get drunk (okay....don't get too drunk....if you do not know when to say when then just say NO... there will be plenty of time for drinks that evening)

5. Dress Comfortably/Dress Nice/Clean up your act: outward appearances effect how people percieve you
showing up looking a little nicer will let people know that you respect that this gathering is special

6. Show up on time and do not over stay your welcome (that is not to say that you should evacuate before dinner is over)
((most certainly my brother will find humor in this as he likes to quote me with a phrase I said in college..."christmas is over!" as I dramatically took off on my motorcycle with flip of the helmet visor and nothing but gravel and dust in my place....okay....it may have been really cold and the bike may have stalled leaving me awkwardly standing over my motorcycle pushing the ingnition/starter button...))

7. Try to contribute to the dinner preparation and clean up......even if someone says..."no, stay in your seat" it is still a big help to clear the table, plus that makes there more room for more food...maybe even desert
bring something.....a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine; to host an event like this can be expensive.... it is nice for people to give back

8. Do your Christmas shopping before Christmas Eve (this may increase the odds that the gift suits the recipient)

9. Be thankful and appreciative of not just the gifts but of the efforts of the host; this applies to most any party... college I had a friend who had flyers for a party (one of the many parties at his rock-n-roll house) where they called themselves THE PARTY MARTYERS;

10. Take a break from the action.... go for a walk in the neighborhood.... step away from the maddness... go downstairs and hang with the kids.... catch your breath and get ready for the next round

and the final issue...
11. How to deal with the Madness of the Presents
This is something that our family has yet to learn to deal with. There are 6 children all getting many presents from all the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents. It is an ugly greedy sceen. My goal is to make the holiday gatherings about family....not about presents. I want the young cousins to run and play with each other rather than tearing madly at the paper of all the presents.

the thing about this list is that I am less that perfect
far from perfect
I can create this list from all of the things I have done wrong over the years
currently working on change and improvement
things are looking up...our family is moving forward
family is not always easy
holidays can be a hassle

so don't think I am some Dudley Do Right with some Soap Box to stand on
I am far less perfect than most
although I did pick up two bags of trash in the woods across the street from my house and then dug out the fire hydrant that was burried in dirt
(oh, I told you that already...sorry)


well
best I move from my home computer to my bike so that I can finish this rant at my work computer
gotta roll
it may be quiet at work
but I still need to be there

12.27.2004

Tsunamis
Mother Nature has stepped front and center once again
Last night when I turned the TV on after the holiday weekend I was devistated to see clips of the devistation

I have little to say other than this is bigger than I can try to understand.

The Tsunamis as reported by MSNBC.

okay...work is quite
so I will say a few things

being a father of two has taken me to an ultra emotional level
when I see an image of another father above the corpse of his dead son I can not contain myself
empathy overwelms me
or
perhaps it is just me being overly selfish and egocentric as I contemplate how I would feel if such a disaster were to touch my life


I can not wait to get home so I can hug my sons

not entirely related
but interesting ROGUE WAVES


That Dam Deck Project!

anyone who read my BLOG through the summer and early fall knows that I had a bit of a battle getting a PERMIT for building a deck in my back yard

Scroll down to the middle of this BLOG ARCHIVE and you can see some rants on my BLOG and the Permit Process. The weeks prior or the weeks after may be more significant or interesting....but that page had copies of my plans

here are a few more recent photos
have not downloaded the images of the lights yet
but these will have to do for now

an overhead view of our wooden backyard from the back deck outside our top floor



the crown jewel of the deck project; the clubhouse




and my dad with the reason why he built this deck...Dean and Grant




well, actually my dad and I built this deck together
well, my dad did conquer the lion's share
but we have to remember the grunts (me) and their mindless efforts

unrelated
some times I feel like this....only a tad less INCREDIBLE
it may be time to grab the kids and see that one in the theater again

this chic is a PSYCHO
but if she wants...I already have her goldfish and turtle ready for pickup
just send the cash
Funny Stuff....

On Christmas Eve a postman showed up at the door, not our usual postman, not even our replacement postalperson who has been taking Harold Johnson's place while Harold recovered from foot surgery...but a completely unfamiliar face. Roscoe and Brutus barked at him like he was the regular postman just the same. As I squeezed by the blood hungry fangs of powder puffs roscoe and brutus lisa chimmed in from the background....
"oh your shoes are here!.....excellent....I did not think you would get them in time for Christmas!"

to this I was a tad confused

from what Lisa was saying
from the tone of her voice
it seemed as if she had been expecting these shoes
that maybe she had purchased me some shoes for Christmas
as I walked in I glanced at the name on the package and the sender's name and address in the upper left hand corner
lisa smiled and stuck to her story
it was all very weird

sure enough my LAKE winter shoes had arrived
lisa had heard through the BLOG grapevine that I had ordered these shoes
so she was playing up like she had ordered them for me, even though we had agreed not to give each other gifts (an agreement that I did not keep...as it is never clear what a women is saying no matter what words leave their mouth....so just to be safe I did the smart thing....jewelry)

sure enough
the shoes were just what I wanted
and
my size no less
how did she know!???!?

just what I wanted!
and
so expensive too!

now all I need is another pair of TIME PEDALS
so that I can retire my fleet of Shimano SPDs with various cleats and various pedal models
some with one working side....others with two working sides
some that are Welgo or Ritchie that let me clip in but never let me clip out!

sure could have used those shoes this morning
my balls are still a little chilly

oh
forgot to mention
so I am out on a quick prework spin....just a rapid 35 minutes before work
just two city blocks from the house and I am running my third stop light and getting some speed I feel the morning chill
man! it is chilly
I think to myself
then I glance down and I am one layer shy of my intended cold weather gear
sure I have wind tights over my knickers.....but where are my MEC Gortex pants?
Close to the Christmas Season....

My three and a half year old son Dean is convinced that Christmas has yet to happen as there was no snow on the ground for Christmas Day....
all the Christmas movies and all the Christmas songs paint a magical image of a snow covered Christmas morning
is Dean expecting another round of presents as well?
he may get some snow....but he most definitely will not get another room full of presents until next December 25th!

It will be nice to tuck away that Christmas Mix CD until next year
as well as not having to view "rudoph or santa" in animated form for another 11 months
as much as I love the holidays
they stress me out
no "post party depression" for this guy
just happy that it went well and that it is behind me
now it is time to sit back count all the loot and play with all of those awesome presents!
the labels and cards may say TO DEAN or TO GRANT but someone has to put the batteries in and test that remote control car!

Holiday Highlights....
Shannon Weeks popping in for a evening long hello
Tom and Rose coming over for a late night drink with Lisa and myself by the chimeria (roscoe and brutus entertained Tom's dog hutch and they all got a few holiday buscuits)
the gathering with brother, sister, various combination of parents, and all the nephews....well all but baby Benjamin
the double booking of the Mason boys with the in-laws
and maybe more highlights to come

no Christmas jogs
no Christmas bike rides
there was too much Christmas Cleaning and Christmas Cooking to do any Christmas Yoga
it is tough to find that balance
all great things come with sacrifice
and the month of December I have had to sacrifice any and all forms of exercise


SCARY SANTA PHOTOS
the first few are worth a decent laugh
stole that link off JETSETCOURIER's Music Blog

12.25.2004

An Unexpected Christmas Visit
I was an uninvited Christmas vistitor

During my Christmas Day adventure at my father's there was a point in the afternoon where I felt that ten month old Grant would do well to be removed from the action where he could relax and take a nap
with mention to no one but my wife Lisa I snuck out the front door and into the car
Grant was strapped into his car seat, started to squirm, then with a turn of the key, the start of the engine, and a push on the gas pedal I was rolling forward and Grant was asleep
rather than risking "the transfer" I opted to take a restful holiday drive
restful for Grant
restful for myself
unsure where I wanted to go I just drove
a few blocks away from my father's Bethesda home and I headed my truck down the path of an old holiday tradition...
Christmas at the Wilborns
somewhere in my adolescent history I became part of the Wilborn family

I have many memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas visits to the Wilborn house where I would join in on the holiday fun
(and of course there are many memories of visits with much non-holiday fun as well)

on this Christmas Day I arrived to a quiet house
(as I had expected having had email correspondence with both Mrs. Wilborn and her son Peter earlier that week)
not the open house of years past.....well not yet at least
the house was not completely dark
Mrs. Wilborn aka Belinda was busy in the kitchen....just starting to prepare for a grand multifamily production in that classic Wilborn Holiday Style
as she hustled around the kitchen I joked about the short time till the guests arrived
we talked of her eldest son Peter and the call from his family on their cross country ski vacation in Minnesota
then there was mention of the yongest brother Burke and how he was out looking at various properties for refurbishing investments
rather than mention of the now deceased middle son Jim we spoke of the wife that survived him, Sarah, and how she is spending her Christmas this year
the chatting was light
as Belinda was busy getting ready for her guests
I was trying to stay out of the way as well as someone can do who has just stopped in uninvited on Christmas Day
as Belinda multitasked her way about with lighting candles, folding napkins, and setting places I tried to be helpful with an occassional stir of boiling cranbrerries
but more than anything I tried to stay out of the way
as Mrs. Wilborn worked I walked about the sparsely decorated kitchen and let memories pass through my head: there were scrabble games, undercooked brownies, underage drinking, and lots of parties....mostly family and neighborhood parties
the refrigerator was deocrated with images of the three Wilborn boys at various stages of life
some images with the three boys together and many of them apart
I stared into the eyes of Jim Wilborn in various photographs and wondered who and what he would be now if he were still alive today
then looked at a picture of his now remarried wife Sarah and wondered if the man in a group photo was her new husband
then tucked on a shelf with various cook books I found a photo of their small black and white family dog, Maggie, and made a comment
Belinda chimmed in that it was a card from Jim that he sent after Maggie had died
I asked if I could read it
Belinda said I could

I read the letter slowly and clearly in my head
paused
then asked without thinking, "did Jim write this letter about the death of this dog or about the death of himself?"

I wish I had a copy of the note to post it twice
once with Maggie's name and another with Jim's

I stayed for only a few minutes longer
as it got tiresome running out to the car every five minutes to see that Grant was still sleeping
I gave Belinda a hug and a kiss then drove home, Grant sleeping all the way
so I could get back to my family festivities and she could get back to preparing for hers

I replayed that message about the passing of the family dog Maggie one more time in my head
without control I cried
the Wilborn family was like a second family to me
those three brothers were like another set of brothers to me
each one as individuals having a significant impact in my life
all impacted me dynamicly
all impacted me individually

Jim died on his bicycle
although he was at times seemingly wreckless or out of control
he had an amazing natural talent as an athlete to get in and out of danger with finesse
in the case of his death he was killed stopped at a stop light waiting for the light to change
a car ran a light colliding into another car sending that car flying through the air and ending Jim's life in an instance...all a mater of chance....might as well of been lightning or a meteor
at this point in life much of his wildness was behind him
(well, other than his experessiveness on the bike, skiing, or any of his other physical persuits)
it seemed he had figured it all out
somehow in his early 20's he had learned to live without the distractions of various bullshit
the specifics of Jim's death are not important to this story
what is important is that a family with so much love lost a significant player
a mother and a father lost one of their treasured sons
two brothers lost their middle brother; a special brother at that
a women lost her husband and soul mate
and many people lost a good friend

Jim was buried the same day my brother got married
it crushed me to experience my life moving forward
while his life was literally stopped dead
so many things which I was going to experience
Jim was certainly going to miss
the pleasures of family and fatherhood
the excitement of growing forward and getting to look back and laugh
that drive from Washington DC to northern New Jersey for my brother's wedding was a tough one
I bawled uncontrolably at times as I sped dangerously through Interstate 95 traffic, while lisa slept calmly at my side
it was hard to plot a positive speech as a best man
when such somber thoughts were active in my brain

as I watched my brother's life flurish
on the other side of the country Peter and Burke watched their brother Jim's life spend its final moments above ground

I did cry when I toasted my brother
that painful mixture of happy and sad was more than I could contain
on that day I celebrated the marriage of my brother
and the death of another who was as a brother to me
rather that toast my brother with mention of my old friend Jim I made a metaphor about the relationship of brother with imagry of the relationship of my dogs; Roscoe and Brutus, who are brothers

that was many years ago.....

life does go on
everyone has moved forward
we all miss Jim in our own ways and for different reason
he is gone....we have all independently learned to accept his death whether we like it or not
but most certainly Jim Wilborn not forgotten

I will not try to sum up life and death
not for jim
not for anyone
but I most certainly will try to read that letter again
because I think that Jim tried to explain his loss before it even happened

merry christmas jim
and
merry christmas to the whole wilborn family


here is a memory of Jim....

when I lived in Breckenridge Colorado the youngest Wilborn boy, Burke, was one of my housemates, we lived in the garage of a group house an ice cold unfinished garage with our futons on the floor and a freestanding bookcase separating them Jim was in school in Boulder at the time and would make occassional visits to ski Burke and I would snowboard while Jim would Ski Burke and I were carving down the mountain tearing up the powder when we both wondered what had happened to Jim we paused at a ski run crossroads unsure which direction the group of us wanted to head we looked about and waited for Jim just then we see a blurrrrr! Jim was screaming down the mountain right past us instead of stopping at the top of a very steep bumped out run Jim flew off the cat track lip and went flying all the while his head was turned to the side making complete eye contact with Burke and then myself Burke and I pointed our boards down the steep bumped out ski run, taking each bump one at a time, and then finally joining Jim at the bottom Jim was elated! a wide grin all teeth perhaps a little salava coming out his mouth as he uttered...."that was the best run of the day! lets hit that one again!" to this I questioned, "best run of the day? you launched it with such speed that you missed the whole run nearly landing on the flat at the bottom!" that is just one instance of how Jim lived his life so much energy so much talent a seemingly out of control manauver that would have put most anyone else into the hospital was not an out of control adventure but just another run on the ski slope
will have to read over these posts when I have more time
the boys are done with their dinosaur pancakes and would need help being entertained

I have taken a second to reread this post
no desire to edit or proof to any great level
as I would rather add to the idea or start another tangent

but I will add one more idea
the time that lead up to Jim's death was an emotional one
Jim had grown through high school and then college with a close group of friends, with one who may have stood our as his best friend, Rob Williams
Rob was similar to Jim in that he was a handsome, well liked, charismatic, and quite the athlete
Jim and Rob had moved from state to state together and both had grown and changed together
after college in Colorado they moved further out west to Oregon and then Washington state
I remember one Christmas at the Wilborn house where Jim announced his engagement to Sarah
it was a somber celebration
as Rob Williams had died in a car accident just a few days prior
Rob was in a car with his fiance and his future mother-in-law when the car hit a patch of ice and spun out of control...only to be crushed by an 18 wheeler
As a gift to Jim and Sarah I gave a book, "The Alchemist"
the book was given in an effort to help Jim and Sarah understand or perhaps deal with their loss
there was no knowing that the path of death and negativity was going to continue further
life does go on
even if we never grow to understand its meaning

The Alchemist is a book I would recommend to most any and all




the specifics of the death of Rob and Jim may be less than accurate
these actions occurred many years ago
the memories are faded and the stories themselves may have reached me second hand
I aplologize for any innaccuracy
to those who were truely close to Rob and Jim I hope that my post is not offensive to you, just as I hope that my mention of Jim and the Maggie card did not offend Mrs. Wilborn
my intentions are pure
my feelings are true

I think that I will have to re-read THE ALCHEMIST myself
it may help me to figure out a few more things
as life is a riddle that I am always trying to solve



Christmas Eve on into now CHRISTMAS DAY!
and even the day after christmas

Christmas Eve went well...
actually for a disfunctional family with a spotty holiday track record...things went AWESOMELY WELL!

in the AM of Christmas Eve (december 24th to those who do not celebrate this pagan american consumer driven holiday) my father came over with a stack of wood on his aging Jeep Cherokee
we added some of the final pieces to the back deck
it was brisk and cold
I tried to clean up the ladder steps of the clubhouse that were a tad icy and slick from Dean's expressive urination from the top level earlier that morning
along with the slippery ladder steps there were cold metal power tools and the moist and chilly presure treated wood that were less than plesasant to the touch
so our efforts were kept to what must be done and little more
the roof to the Kids Klubhouse was completed all the way down to Kristmas Lights!
then a few very minor boards here and there as well as some caps to the 4X4 posts
a few more lights....including some mulitcolored christmas lights down the side of the slides
nicely offsetting the white and blue "icecle lights"
there can never be enough Christmas Lights!
that was that...my dad was gone as quickly as he had arrived

by the time my father left there it was time to step out for a family lunch before the Holiday Madness really began
with the Honda Element loaded up with kids we drove the short distance into Adams Morgan
a distance that would be short enough to walk if we had a little more time and was not picking up loads of holiday libations
Lisa was set on going to "the diner
so the diner it was
our christmas eve brunch idea was not entirely original
we hesitiated and contemplated other options
the wait was shorter than the hostess claimed and once seated we were greeted by the ever friendly and sweet manager
she joined us in our booth and asked where we had been and what we had been up to
I stated simple and plain.... "we are old and square"
when honestly it is just not possible to try and eat out with an active three and a half year old and a rapidly developing 10 month old
one or the other...sure
but both? both is a guarentee of some sort of disfunciton that prevents someone from having a good time
not to mention the chance that your effort to have a good time may impose on the efforts of others to have a good time
it is vital to remember that as cute as a child may be in the eyes of its owner
food being spit up on the shoulder of a stranger is not always a pleasure for the recipient

after our botched order and our very satisfying meals we headed home
(the errors were made in our favor so I had no complaints...yummy bacon and sausage!)
those additional cups of coffee after my already several morning cups along with the greasy sausage and bacon my hangover was cured

now with the hangover behind me and more accomplished that I have ever intended
with a look at the watch it seemed a tad tight
but I opted to blow some steam by hiking he dogs
sure there was Paella to be cooked
but for my sanity and the dog's well being I went for a hike
an orange juice/Red Bull mixture was created
ROCKET FUEL INGESTED!
then into the woods

perhaps more caffiene that I needed that day
perhaps more caffiene than I needed that week
but I wanted to perform
did not want to drag

the march with the dogs was everything that I needed
the dogs got theirs and I got mine
Roscoe, Brutus, and I were all feeling a tad less anxious and a tad more prepared for the holiday festivities
there is something special about a brisk winter hike on a holiday afternoon

once home Roscoe and Brutus retired to various corner, Brutus under the dinning room table and Roscoe on the dog bed in the hall
as I moved to the kitchen where I layed out all my ingredients and two conflicting Paella recipies
perhaps it was an overdose of caffiene or the pressure of the holiday meal
but my mind began to spin
although I had cooked Paella nearly a dozen times
it is always a bit of a crap shoot
I was unsure of how much SAFRON to use
so I played it safe and cooked two batches.....one with Safron Rice and the other with a Jasmine rice and a tad more"threads" of safron (which in this case turned out to be too little or too few threads)
the food was a hit
the three lobster tails were just a taste to go along with the endless rice, mussels, clams, shrimp, chicken, and vegetables

after dinner we went into the front room with the fireplace rested dormant and a christmas tree filled the corner that is usually occupied by Roscoe's dog bed
the room was cramped with five kids under 5, parents, a grandparent, and more toys than I had ever imagined
the exchange was chaotic
my angelic son Dean grew to be possessed by more and bigger
we had to step back, regroup, and reinstill the spirit of christmas
deprioritise the toys

that evening ended

CHRISTMAS DAY!

with little time to rest the next day began
Christmas Day at my dad's in Bethesda, Maryland
pretty much the same cast of characters
but swap out my two mix breed dogs for my dad's one pure bred dog Max, the ever enthusiatic Black Lab
then switch out my mom for my father and stepmother joyce...move from Mt Pleasant to bethesda...put my dad in the kitchen and bang
another cramped living room with a tree in the corner
five kids under five tearing at wrapping paper
then reaching for the next gift before they are able to enternailze what they had just recieved

after the toys the kids went to the basement for a DVD
which bought the adults a few seconds to try and chew their food
my dad's Christmas Curry Butternut Squash soup was a hit as usual, enough made that everyone left with some tupperware doggie bags
turkey with all the fixens and all the sides
not sure about everyone else, but I most certainly had to loosen my belt more than one notch
in situations like this it is not uncommon for the kids to choose play time of dinner time
other than cookies and candy very few kids slowed to eat
for the most part Dean was running on candy canes and the excitement of the day

slowly each part of the family puzzle loaded up their own car with their own christmas cargo and then pulled off to the respected homes
our family being the last to leave
it was good to have a few minutes of chill one on one with Joyce and my father
the whole event can be chaotically overwelming
all the toys
and
all the toys
then
there are all the toys

I am currently trying to figure out a better way to approach the holiday in future years

another gathering successful as usual

not much to say on that one

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS...
the maddness continued
funny how this all happened...
a few friends were supposed to come over for a drink or two on thursday night
they could not make it so they reschuduled for Sunday
well, I failed to realize that I double booked them with my in-laws
so the doorbell rings...
before I know it I have a room full of friends and family
no place to sit and nothing to eat....well...nothing prepared as of yet

as the converstation flowed... people grew to be more comfotable
with a look at the clock I realized that I had guests for dinner
a quick mental revision of the previous dinner plans I took a few block chilly hike with Tim's wife to the local "bodeaga" for some hot dog buns and some rolls
only to return and fire up the gas grill
move to the basement for some hot dogs, sausage, and kileabasa
and of course those little weiners which I prepared with a special sauce (always a holiday treat)
to my amazement the food was a hit
Greg's wife Anime had brought a Tiramesu desert that she had prepared
there was ice cream
and some super tastee Root Beer from Duck's microbrewry in North Carolina

all went well
after dinner the inlaws left
lisa bathed Grant, topped him off with the breast, then put him down to sleep
Dean was wired....no so easy to convince to go to bed...
I took Dean up stairs....we wrestled and I chased him....I put his PJs on and he tore them off
finally he was settled down enough to read a book and start another
2/4 through "Where the Wild Things Are" Dean said he was done with this book and tried to get out of bed
I gently pushed him back and pulled the LEAP PAD from behind my back
while he tried to squirm to escape I started to work the LEAP PAD
with the pen-like mouse (stylus of sorts) I clicked on the appropriate buttons as I verbalized my actions
went through one page
then started another
before I could start a third page Dean was demanding that he do it himself
so I passed the stylus off to him and instructed him step by step
then slowly pulled myself out of his bed, said good night, and closed the doors

only to return downstairs with Lincoln Logs and various other toys in hand to play with at the table
Greg, Tim, and Snoopy were all very entertained by the various toys
we even took some photos of the final group project with the Lincoln Logs
(snoopy has the image, perhaps I can post it later)

it was a tad awkward at first to have the double booked event
but everyone flowed with it
glad it happened
could have never planned it
but
again
very glad it happened
there may have been no other way to host these friends during this holiday season
they too got a window into my world

12.23.2004

Window into my World

Last night an old friend from High School and oddly enough from College as well came by to say hello as he is in town from Vegas to visit his parents. His name is Shannon, not unlike that Johnny Cash song about a boy named Sue that was originally a poem by Shel Silverstein it is an unusual name for a dynamic and unusual person. The visit was a simple gathering, nothing altered... nothing changed in preparation for Shannon's arrival, well, other than me not having the option to do a lengthy post work ride. (which would not have been an option as my NightRider headlamp got wacky on me.)

Shannon's arrival to our Mount Pleasant home was a few minutes after my post work ride where I was able to strip out of my cycling gear into some frumpy around the house gear. While still puttsing around the basement I heard the bark greeting from the dogs, the scampering across the hard wood floors, and then the vocal exchange between adults, children, and other adults. I moved to the upstairs to greet an old friend that I don't see frequently enough. Shannon looks good. Healthy and strong. Always with a positive outlook that is preceded by a strong smile and strong eye contact. We exchanged hellos, then hugs, then I had him take off his shoes then gave him a tour of our 100 year old house that he had yet to see on previous return visits to Washington DC. It is a splendid house and he was in awe as anyone would be. The back deck being the icing on that already oh so tastee cake.

Once the tour was done Shannon had made fast friends with Dean and Grant, got reacquainted with Roscoe, Brutus, and Lisa we then got mobile on dinner plans. Lisa called ahead to our local favorite pick up only Italian Pizza joint, Vace. Lisa would go with Dean to get the pizza while I would dress Grant up and put him in the backpack for a march through the woods in Rock Creek Park across the street from our urban row house. With less than necessary flashlights in hand Shannon and I did the loop across the street twice, while Grant stretched back to watch the moon between the tall trees and Roscoe and Brutus ran about playing their Call of the Wild game.

We returned minutes before Lisa and Dean with just enough time to pull off our moderately muddy shoes and gather on the rug by the Christmas tree with the dogs. We then moved to the custom made dinner table from an old Western Maryland Barn (which stands tall fitting me and pretty much no one else, Lisa normally sits on a pillow if she wants to keep her chin about the table top) where we ate pizza and talked about various things, never breaking away too far from our standard routine. After dinner Shannon got to play with some blocks, then I pulled out the guitar. Grant may have enjoyed the guitar playing more than Dean, until Dean got to strum while Shannon fingered the cords to create a very basic rock style tune. Then upstairs for a bath, then a few books were read before we left the children to their business and bedtime. Routine is so vital in a child's life.....although Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are sure to be late night adventures....no need to start the disruption too soon.

The whole affair was nothing shy of standard. But, it is my life. If you want to see me on a weekday this very well be what you get if you come to my house. So if children scare you or if you have no desire to hear me read a few children's books then perhaps this is not the adventure for you. But if you are an old friend who wants to catch up....then this type of visit may be perfect for creating a window into my world.

12.22.2004

Reading Blogs is as much a part of my BLOG-sperience as writing them

It is like a little sociology class on the bicycle in different lives of different people, in different cultures, in different states, doing similar and different things.

Tim Faia with some great pics from his last cross race of the season and the glories of using the bike at a different level...in a different place in his life.

While also in Colorado my e-quantance and e-friend TIMMYP goes out on his Karate Monkey with his Kamera.

And fellow City Bike Mountainbike Team member DT talks about local dirt riding on his singles or his fixies.
Trail Access, Trail Conditions, and Trail Closures

no time to BLOG right now
it is clear that each and every cyclist (hiker/runners/dog walkers any trail user for that matter) needs to do what little they can to keep their trails open for use

for some people it is about trail maintenance and picking up trash
while for others it should be responsible trail use (no skidding....no riding on wet days....going over not around obstacles) and not dropping trash

City Bikes Team Member Joe Foley sent out a message about potential trail closures to West Virginia Mountainbike trails
Petition Site
there is a basic rule in life
we never appreciate anything until it is gone
that goes for the environment to our rights
and with the current president I could see losing both very fast
Gimicks
gimicks to try and stay alive
try anything lights...reflectors...nutcrackers?


Bard, Bards, and my friend the Redneck Bard

from
http://www.britannica.com

Main Entry: 1bard
Pronunciation: 'bärd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Scottish Gaelic & Irish
Date: 15th century
1 a : a tribal poet-singer skilled in composing and reciting verses on heroes and their deeds b : a composer, singer, or declaimer of epic or heroic verse
2 : POET
- bard·ic /'bär-dik/ adjective

more than BLOGGING I like talking
at times I can get onto an unstoppable story telling roll
other times I am sure that my ramblings fall flat
there are times where I wish I had a stenographer at my side to take down these spoken words into writing as I feel I have a novel floating about my brain...well at least a collection of fabulous short stories
I am sure that there are those that do not find me as entertaining as I find myself
some may duck for cover when they see me coming in that cocktail party scenario
this I know, because there are those who I am leary of getting cornered by
there are certain people who like to hold the floor
turning converstations into monologues
which is fine.....as long as they are considerate to monitor the interest of their audience
(which they most frequently ignore)
and
as long as they are talking to me and not just talking on auto pilot


this morning I had the pleasure of working on the building engineer at work's computer
this guy is a trip
he is a story teller....and stories...he has a lot
be careful though...he can go ballistic....once he starts....there is no stopping him!

David Hall the building engineer is a short fat redneck who is as wide as he is tall
lucky for him he is not so tall so he is also not so wide
his office is decorated with the classic mechanic style pin up calendars as well as snap shots of his various cars, boats, and the many fish that he has caught
there are also photos from a different time, a thinner slimmer time
pictures of a young David Hall riding wheelies on Harley Davidson Sportsters and sharing his vows with his also young and thing wife
there are also clippings from newspapers with David by boiler units or elevator shafts
again of a David Hall I have never met, only the David Hall that I hear about in his stories
David has a story for every occassion
actually he has a list of stories for every occassion and every story leads to another set of stories

this morning as I was trouble shooting his system we talked about the holidays and holiday meals
he went from tangent to tangent of the things he was going to prepare and who was going to be there
until he locked in on the topic of shucking oysters
who would have thought that I could be so riveted to tales of a man shucking oysters with the caterers at various parties and gatherings around town
somehow David managed to put a clever and funny spin on all of the stories
each story better than the next

this morning has been rather busy
my mind has drawn a blank at the direction of the tale
thought I was going to retell some of his oyster shucking yarns
but
somewhere in the morning those stories failed to go from my short term to my long term memory
or better yet
I am just failing the ability to retrieve them
as I am sure that next time David starts in on the same set of stories
I will most certainly say to myself....I have heard this one before
more than likely I will sit back and listen as some stories are better the second time around

as much as I love my infrequent bond sessions with David Hall the Redneck Bard
there are times when I fear that I am being drawn helplessly into a monologue black hole
there is no polite exit
there is no appropriate pause to step away
once you are in the power of the vortex holds you in place
this morning I had to stop David and let him know that I had time for one more story
that he could tell the same one he just told as it was so good
or select a new one
he could skip the one he just started and upgrade to an alternative
as he only had time for one story
I wanted it to be his best
always best to walk away from the table winning

12.21.2004

Work

I hate when my work gets in the way of my BLOG!

bummer......

so much to blog about
so little time

watched DOGTOWN and Z BOYS again last night
what a great film!
what an interesting part of athletic history.....

official DOGTOWN and Z BOYS film site
with some great CLIPS

12.20.2004

Monday Routines....
In the last many weeks I have been able to formulate a moderately healthy Monday morning pre-work routine. This routine tends to contain some basic objectives each and every week, although there can be some deviation from the set plan. Each Monday I wake to be greeted by my wife lisa making a rapid exit out the front door with a kiss blown to the wind she rushes off with the exclamation...."gotta go....already late!" Then I try to entertain Grant and Dean until Grant's nanny/babysiter arrives. Soledad is never late, tends to be more early than late. She usually arrives and wisks Grant out of my hands and starts his day. At which point I can devote all my energy in getting Dean to finish getting ready to leave the house for school. It tends to be the same affair most everyday....he does not want to go....I have to convince him he wants to go....we look for his backpack....we put some toys in the backpack....and we head out into traffic to cross town for early morning drop off.

All this with sips of coffee between each breath.

After dropping Dean off at school I arrive to two very excited dogs; each with a bladder just screaming to get out into the woods. Not sure if they know that it is Monday, but sometimes it seems like they can tell that they are going to get more than 10 minutes in the woods. With gloves, coffee, leashes, and dogs I cross over Park Road into the woods. The dogs are unleashed as they each run to see what there is to see....then stopping abruptly to pee on a favorite tree. Roscoe has his spot and Brutus has his, the same goes for when they dump. Just a hundred yards into the woods and we are out of the woods and ready to cross another street where we hit a more dense patch of Rock Creek. The ground is hard and crunch, the wind is sharp and cold, the water is moving slowly with a fim of ice on the surface....Roscoe and Brutus are pumped. They love the variety of the seasons. They have turned up the volume. Call of the Wild has begun. Without hesitation they are in the water. Ice forms on thier fur before they can shake themselves dry.

okay
had not seen the time
I would rather be at home with the family
then at work BLOGGING
gotta get into that gear
GUNDOG99 was amused by it before....I live it again....10 minutes to dress up in the gear to make a 20 minute ride
would make the ride longer
but have to balance the scales
sick vs. a few miles on the bike
need to start in on a winter routine
which is not going to start today
Gear: Winter Gear
Today it is cold. Today it is F--king cold!

I have debated with the notion of making this purchase for a few years now.
Today I took the plunge with no fear of regret.
(unless they do not fit, which will lead to an immediate return)
Called my friends over at City Bikes in Chevy Chase. Mike K. had his doubts on availability. So after our conversation I called the folks at LAKE SHOES. Sure enough, after endless flirting with a women whose age and size remains unknown to me it was decided I may be able to find these shoes, but I will not be able to find them in the Lake warehouse. Without much trouble I found the shoes at Performance
Pulled out the card and made an online purchase.


Merry Christmas to me.
the MXZ 300
sounds more like a Japanese sports car than a pair of winter mountainbiking shoes


Good Dog Carl

There is this wonderful little children's book called, Good Dog Carl.




In this book, Good Dog Carl, a mother leaves home to go out to run some errands as her big dopey Rotweiler named Carl pulls a diaper baby out of the crib and goes for an adventure about the house. Carl is messing up anything/ everything and having an all around good time doing so many things that he should not, putting the baby back down for a nap with just enough time to tidy things up just as the mother of the child gets home. Now....I have never spoken to the author of this book, but if you pay attention to the final pages you will see that when the mother of child gets home she is greeted at the fence by a little terrier. After noticing the terrier out front I went back and read the book over one more time. After the second reading (and every reading since) I came to realize that Carl is not the family dog, but rather a metaphor for the husband and father. This man, like most men, is not as neat or as tidy and often allows the child to do a few things that maybe 'mom' might frown upon. In Good Dog Carl, the the dog represents the husband/father and does all of this stuff which may not be approved up only to rush and clean up before his wife gets home from her errands about town.
Lance
still wearing yellow

Lance Armstrong did a little CYCLOCROSS in Southern California at the SANTA CROSS

MTBr forum with pics

and

CROSSWORLD.com

as for me
not much cross racing
or even cross riding this year
good think I did not buy a new cross bike or I would feel really guilty!

and guess what
my wife and I had been talking about what to get my dad for christmas
I thought that a Multi-tool would be a good gift
only to find out my brother beat me to the punch and purchased just what I was thinking of
guess action beats ideas any day

12.17.2004

City Bikes Classified Ads

I am not sure if this is a new feature
it appears to be a less than used feature
but
it still remains to be a very cool feature

I may (just for fun)
put some of my stuff on the City Bikes Classifed Ad Page

check it out
post some shit
it is like a little local eBay!
Skateboards....
There is something about the sports of skateboarding and surfing that just lure people. There is more to them than just the sport, but a lifestyle and an attitude as well. Every couple of years I go through this idea that I am going to go out and buy a skateboard and start skating again. I even slow down as I pass the skate park off Rhode Island Avenue and daydream about all the fun I could have slamming on the masonite.
In the not so distant future I will have to buy Dean and Grant Skateboards. Every kid wants a skateboard. It is part of growing up. And as an "alterna-dad" I will more than likely want to try and pretend to be hip and ride a skateboard with my sons (most certainly my wife and I will be getting his and hers casts on our arms after breaking our wrists doing something that we either shouldn't or can't)

With that notion in mind I must bring up that skateboards quite similar to bikes are not toys. It is unfair to think that a person can buy a skateboard at a department store. Foolish to think that the department store can sell a complete skateboard with helmet for roughly what it would cost for a set of bearings. The same goes for a complete full suspension bike costing less than my rear wheel....go figure!

with that said

for the kids there is TERMITE SKATES
my office connection is refusing connection so try this for Termite Skates
some moderately priced boards from EVIL SKATES
(link courtesy of GUNDOG99)
and of course I already have a long board that I have been meaning to swap the trucks on
as well as the bushings
SECTOR9

my skateboard in the corner is like my guitar hanging on the wall
they are there for the taking
so I have no excuses
I can play guitar or go skateboarding any time I wish
only I don't
but at least I don't make any excuses
or have anyone to blame by myself
Which is worse...the symtoms or the cure?

this morning was not entirely unlike most morning
lisa was up and about the house already accomplishing more things in her morning than I will achieve all day
grant was back in bed napping after being awake half the night
while dean was well entertained by mommy once she got back from walking the dogs
dad (me) on the other hand was happy that Dean preferred Mommy on this morning as that gave me a few more minutes of sleep before staggered out of bed in search of a few gallons of coffee to jumpstart my system
once up and in the kitchen standing at the coffee pot the way a Barfly stands by the bar I could hear Dean complaining
this little three and a half year old man was trying to cure his hick-ups with a glass of water but having no luck
the holding his breath trick had not worked either
so I called him into the kitchen where I promised to cure his hick-ups
as I heard the footsteps growing more near I crouched down on the kitchen floor
then as he rounded the corner into the kitchen I leaped towards him unleashing a monsterous BOO!
Dean jumped out of his skin spilling his water all over the shirt he has chosen for the day
immediately the hickups were gone but tears were in their place
I picked him up and tried to apologize
large tears rolled down his rosie cheeks and he huffed and puffed
no so much from being scared but because his shirt was wet

we found him another shirt
got the tears to stop
and headed off to school

once at school I retold the story to Dean and his class
it was funny to tell it again
only to scare the class with that same BOO!
letting them know in the end the hick ups were gone


12.16.2004

While I am out dropping names......

Never heard so much as a note of their music
yet I am confident that it is loud, powerful, and full of energy
ooodles of energy

H2O

during my early years of college when I was not playing soccer I was usually out riding my skateboard
on campus there was little or no terrain to ride, which was a bummer as I skated more street than vert
in the local area there were a number of ramps to be skated
all were owned by some really cool kids
all were pretty much open for public for use
Dave Bean and Trevor each had some sick ramps, Dave Bean's being more friendly for just dropping in and skating than Trevor's
during those times I became friends with a number of the local kids, townies as the college frat boy dorks of a college without a greek system use to call them

in that long list of locals were a few that stood out
Rusty Pistachio, Todd Morris, and Toby Morris
sure other names come to mind, my now dead once room mate Damian, Rob was a great guy, John from the local gas station was cool after all he did coin the phrase, "what are you trying to say?" but these guys as far as I know did not become famous so there is little need to drop their names

during those times skating was a movement that went hand and hand with PUNK ROCK
the music scene was growing in all sorts of directions
DC was producing it quasi-intellectual music with the various bands on Discord Records while Baltimore had a different vibe and other areas had an even more unique thing going on....

For Rusty and Todd it was the ROADSIDE PETZ and then later THE OUTCROWD
they played a brand of music that was known to some as CRAB CORE for its Maryland Roots
their topics tended to be about the things that go through most adolescent minds
the music was good
they had an pretty original thing going on with two singers
and they had enough friends that they could pack the house
(eventually THE OUTCROWD took it to NYC and gave a shot of it there....I remember some friends in LUCY BROWN playing some shows with them)

one thing that stuck out in my mind was Todd's younger brother Toby
Toby had so much energy
he was bouncing off the walls and landing on his skateboard 24/7
ollies and kickflips all day long
so positive
so energetic
all he wanted to do was graduate high school and get out of the county (St. Mary's County)
the morris brothers had an older brother Tracy who lived in NY
Toby was a ballistic missle headed that way
sure enough
I don't know if he graduated from high school
but I know he went to NY
all that he every wanted was there for him

he hung with people and roadied for bands that I only know by name
till eventually he became a fixture in the scene
an icon in his own way
with Sick of it All he was a roadie with a song
before he knew it he was no longer a roadie
but he was the singer in a band with his brother and Rusty, this band H20

it is so much easier to answer the question, "what every happened to...." if they became famous
or for people like me
the answer can be told if they are geeky enough to have a BLOG

oh...look at this The History of H20

time to close up shop and head home
I hate spending 10 minutes to put on cold weather gear so that I can ride my bike for 20 minutes
yes somehow I do not feel much like riding any longer than that

Rusty's Jewelry

he looks as mellow and as cool now as he did then

other names not worth dropping but perhaps worth mentioning
the kids from swiz are graduating from high school this year

just kidding of course
as the kids from SWIZ are old like me (only a few years younger)

this does remind me that I have a wedding present and an old COKE bottle I found in the woods for Jason Farrel (of swiz, sweet belly freakdown, and not RETISONIC)
and what the f--k is Shawn Brown up to now? hope his tattoo artist dreams have become a reality!
Funny Story
or at least I think if funny
could be a location joke


a long long time ago....
so long ago I still had hair, lacked a gut, could not grow a beard if I tried, and had yet fathered children....
I started working as a messenger for Apple Courier
I was 18 years old and was just looking for a summer job between semesters in college
rode my Mongoose ATB downtown with my old friend Lawrence helped me get a job
did not know where anything was or what I was doing
knew how to ride a bike and that was about it
I showed up early and the dispatcher thought I was cute so they hired me

not long into my day I met one of the "top dogs;" Tim Whistler aka PUKER

Puker came up and took a look at my chrome plated frame glistening in the sun and noticed all the POWELL PERALTA stickers decorating the frame
he asked if the bike was made by Powell
I said no and told him that I just took all of the Mongoose stickers on and put Powell Stickers on in the same style to customize it
Puker like this and said, "cool."
then asked if I skated
I said, "no, just pose as a skater to get the ladies" then rolled away ending our conversation abruptly
it was a strange first encounter
he was being cool
and I was being a tad dry or maybe obscure
he thought I was an asshole
and
he may have been right

the initial encounter did not hurt the chance of us becoming friends (or at least socially friendly)
we worked together on and off for years
at one point he was even my dispatcher

he was one wild dude
hope he is well
it has been years since I have seen or heard of him

although I did see former Apple Courier Billy Smith in that Gator Documentary
the only odd thing about him being in this documentary is that he was a classically funny guy
way funny whether it be telling anecdotes, telling jokes, or busting your balls
there were times when people thought that he should be doing Standup Comedy
he was that funny!
in the documentary THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR he played it straight

in 1981 Puker was on the cover of THRASHER MAGAZINE
where is he now?

where is the story you ask?
I got lost along the way and forgot my point
guess I just wanted to type the word PUKER

some things I will unload that have been backing up in my mind.....
These are more topics I have wanted to discuss rather than actual Blog discussions on the said topics

Rays Indoor Mountainbike Park
Official Site
Posting about the site or
MTB REVIEW

LIVEWRONG
livewrong

SKATING
GreenLabSkateParks/EastCoastAholic
RAMPTECH (accept no imitations!)

a friend erin's design page
erinsartpage

A MUST HAVE FOR EVERY FAMILY OF CYCLISTS!

and

Katie Compton Cross Champion
and
CROSS NATIONALS RESULTS (scroll down to the bottom)
Tim Faia was out there representing!


thinking of messing with some MY SPACE stuff, but realizing that MY TIME is limited

I may add to this as I see fit
so come back
or ignore it

okay
back with some images






if you want to know what this is all about.....CLICK HERE.

and this




first off
let me set the record straight....I do not skate and when I did....I did not do it very well
but
I to my credit I do still snowboard (again not very well)
an oh yea....I ride and race mountain bikers
which still makes me feel pretty punk
almost makes me feel like less of a poser when I wear my old school Vans sneakers

this image brings together a number of thoughts
the handsome guy on the skate doing a little lip trick in the pool is Mike Row....not to be confused with MICRO of RAMPTECH, similar yet different
(both friends of mine, never managed to confused them)

Mike Row, Micro, and the previously unmentioned Duck all represent a similar drive for FREEDOM
(the above images of the concrete bowl shows Duck's new project)
from what I can tell Duck has quit his straight job and is now putting his energy into what he loves; BUILDING
more than just building...Duck loves building shit that people can ride
by ride...I mean skate

freedom you ask?

what do these three guys have to do with freedom?

well, each one independently lived their lives the way they wanted to live pursuing the jobs/careers they wanted to pursue

Mike Row is a sick skater, snowboarder, and surfer who has been shaping boards for years along with making music, painting, and running various small businesses.
Free to do as he chooses. From what I have heard he is making it work!

Micro owns and operates RAMPTECH.
When no one skated Micro was still dreaming of building the sickest most solid most styli skate parks anyone could ever skate. No one saw his vision. Everyone said NO IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! Micro refused to listen. Skate boarding did not die....it was just sleeping in the subculture....now skating is huge and so is MICRO.

Duck's story is similar.
Duck opted for a more simple life away from the city.
After college he moved to the outer banks where he could surf.....scored a job as a brew meister at a local brewery down there (a job that most mountainbikers would dream to have) recently Duck dropped that job so that he could build.
It is the early stages but with his work ethic and his passion for the sport of skating...he too will make it work!