Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bike Jog

Date: Feb 25 Sun
Mileage: 7 (Bleriot) + 2 w/L on a neighborhood ride
February mileage: 165
Year to date: 440

I could've gone out for a more substantial ride today, but I instead puttered around in the garage installing Powergrips on the Bleriot. Aside from mounting one backwards (I've alluded several times to the fact that I'm a techie idiot), installation was simple. The correctly-positioned one needed a little tightening, but it's fine. The other is backwards, so who the hell knows? Once the fam got home of church I felt the need to run out for a quickie so as to not completely waste a riding day. Hence, the bike jog, which I enjoyed. I'm going to enjoy my Bleriot very much in prime riding time b/c it's so dang comfy and assured. Loving' it! The dreaded Tennis has begun, but I'm going to work to steal some rides here-n-there. The key will be not to lose Sunday mornings like I did today. Well, not "lost" but truncated.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Real Enemy

Folks can carry on on they want about evil Phloyd Phraud. I as well think he's probably guilty blah blah blah. The real enemy, though, is the UCI and its tete-a-tete with the ASO. Those two are going to kill cycling more than Floyd Landis. With the two meanies, include the national federations and circuses like the Spanish Guarda Civil and it's Operacion Puerta and the LNDD. Cheating riders should be disciplined severely, but this alphabet soup of governing bodies, labs, and other antagonistic acronyms will truly kill the sport if they manage to stop the racing. The idea that an historical race like Paris-Nice can just fizzle out w/out the best cyclists there is absurd. The notion that Floyd can be found "GUILTY" by a lab that isn't secure and that doesn't follow protocol is absurd. (Much less mentioning assmonkey Dick Pound) The reality that hundreds, literally, of cyclists lost wages and jobs b/c of a HUGE PRONOUNCEMENT ON CHEATING came to virtually nothing is absurd. Last summer I was tired of the cheaters. Now I'm tired of cycling's hierarchy. At least the riders are one the ones suffering on the road in the heat for 6-7 hours a day. How in the hell should the pasty morons at the UCI be allowed to literally destroy the sport? Major cycling is built on the traditional one-day races in combination with the Grand Tours. If the G.T.s don't like how the Pro Tour is set up, then the UCI is going to have to bend. Fans want to see the Tours in all their glory. This is all coming to a tipping point, and none of it is Floyd's fault. I'm beginning to see comparisons to the big hullabaloo when CART and Indy Car split in the mid-90s. That precipitated the rise of NASCAR and the demise of the Indy 500 as "America's Race". Interestingly, Andrew Hood of Velonews made this same comparison on February 22nd but I promise I didn't steal it from him. Unlike some of his other examples, like the XFL, it really did kill Indy-style racing in the U.S. Actually I'm sort of bummed that I was only 2nd in making this pronouncement. That's why he's the paid pro writer and I'm the, well...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ejikashun

I become very sensitive when I read "How to fix education" articles or books. Often, I agree with much in theory or ideologically, but de facto it is much more difficult than anybody imagines. Here are some reason schools are like they are:
  • Tradition is habit. Has all the populace broke that driving habit? Have they stopped eating those hamburgers? Those that break with tradition are small, angry groups bent on changing the status quo. Schools are some of, if not the, largest public institutions that exist. Old habits die hard.
  • Bureaucracy. Did the Republicans fix the federal bloat or add to it? How do you shrink a bureaucracy? Can you?
  • Socioeconomics. Face it. Our society right now if set up such that a significant portion of it is going to fail. For all the "pie in the sky" changes found in certain schools, they are almost exclusively in either wealthy, more-flexible suburban districts or in tiny charter schools. Add some miscreant poor kids of any stripe to the suburban school, or take the charter method to a larger populace and you will experience failure.
  • Culture. Take a look. The US is engorging itself on junk food, but also on junk culture. The Republicans have had field day preying on moronic middle 'murcah. Their acquiescence to anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-academia, anti-smart forces have made for a self-congratulatory moronic population. Our Leader-in-fucking-chief makes every effort to come off like a total idiot plays to his constituency, and this constituency wants standardize test-taking non-thinkers.
  • Dumb Teachers. I'm a smart, capable teacher. I entered the profession because I knew I could do better than most of my secondary teachers. In fact, a horrible Spanish teacher and horrible math teacher I had in high and middle school respectively were both teaching at my present school when I started. They were terrible, and still are. That said, I know of numerous loser, good-for-nothing teachers. That said, every office space and factory in this country is filled with both competent and good-for-nothing employees. KY is trying to recruit math and science folks. Why would you teach high-school math when you could triple your salary practicing accounting? Teachers have been too idealized. You don't need life-savers. You need solid craft-persons. Teachers can't save a broken-up divorced family. Teachers can't save a 2-income family that spends 0 time together.
  • Reality. Somebody needs to truly document, study, research and document our system versus Sweden's, Singapore's, Korea's, Germany's etc. This article, which I'll mention in a moment uses those as standard bearers. How are they similar or different? Are we comparing apples and oranges? What are their demographic, socioeconomic and racial similarities and differences? The Chinese are the ones coming to power. How do their schools work? I will bet you $10.000.000.000 that they sit around in stark rooms and do it by wrote, traditional means. That's their society but they're still the Bull in the closet, right?
Here are Time's suggestions, according to this article:
  1. Concentrate on Global Knowledge to better know the modern world and reality. ***. How can you disagree?
  2. Endorse and Promote High Levels of Competency.*. Have fun. States can't get people to achieve their lower standards now. Sure as f#$k middle 'murcah morons won't adhere to stricter standards. This is the land of the free!!
  3. Thinks outside the box.*. Great! Quantify it bozo. What does that mean? It uses Google and YouTube as examples. Will these two industries employ substantial numbers of citizens, or will a handful reap the benefits of Indians working dirt cheap?
  4. Use new sources of information more appropriately.**. Fine. Great. My school, the flagship school of my state, has 3 digital computer projectors in the library for all the teachers in the building who do not teach Math/Science unless you bought your own at $900 a pop. Did you just read that? I have a Pentium 2 or something that is 4 years old. I love this idea, but public schools have no chance keeping up on this one. I want to use the most appropriate, recent and up-to-date resources, but you're telling me I have to go the library and "fight" with, say, 60 other teachers to use 3 projectors, all of which have replacement bulbs that cost $250 a piece. Industry just passes that cost on to the consumers. Schools can't.
  5. Develop EQ, i.e. people skills.(no star). WTF? I can't really comment. Take a class in EQ? Learn to manage? Create schools full of MBAs and Salesmen? You got me. Those Chinese, they sure do have EQ!
  6. More about Global Education and the Blossoming of the I.B., Int'l Baccalaureate.***. My alma mater (high school) is now an I.B. school. If they had better positioned themselves, they would've attracted the talent that now comes to my school. Remember, Americans are selfish, jingoist assmonkeys, starting at the top with President-Select. That's my comment to that.
  7. What can you Google?.(no star) Don't learn anything you can google, such as "the important rivers of South American". I guess everyone can use their $75/month cell phone to look information up b/c they'll be focusing instead on their E.Q. That's right. Don't know anything, just research it from people who do.
  8. New Literacy.***. How to discern and analyze new media. I mostly refer to #4 here. I guess I'm supposed to spend all night burning and recording and printing "new media" for my students instead of typing my blog. Actually, I'm not going to spend all night doing that.
  9. Knowledge 2.0. (no star). sounds stupid. The example is about some dude in charge of Cisco systems who found a website about electricity and welding. Another WTF? Just drop out of school and use the internet as your school. Everything is true on the net, right?
  10. Reality.*. I shit you not, amidst all this New media, New technology, New Literacy, New Globalization, the author complains that students don't know how to shake hands.
I do a good job. I want to do a good job. I can't raise your kids. I can't pour aptitude into your kid's head. I can't raise his/her IQ. I can't close the widening socioeconomic gap in this country. I can't educate ignorant, dumb-ass Republicans. I can present material in a professional manner. If you want me to present the material in a flashier, "the kids can relate to new media" format, then give me the technological tools to do that and the time to F@#K with the hardware to adequately do it.

Any thoughts from my readers?

Spectres

Date: Feb 21 Wed
Mileage: 17 (Bleriot)
February mileage: 156
Year to date: 431

What a great morning commute! If I were more linguistically adept I could better capture the moment, but alas. If rode the Bleriot for the 2nd day, which was my third good decision of the day, this time attaching the Serfas blinkie light which became my fourth (yesterday I didn't have a front light- not the smartest). The first decision wasn't really a decision but a function of the physiological being, in that I awoke by my own body clock at 5.00 en punto. I'm not that enamored of such an early hour, but it allowed me to take the a.m. at a more relaxed pace. The 2nd decision was to fit my 10 minute meditation in. I would prefer 20min, but won't cling. (lengua-->mejilla). Having used my time so well so early, I found exotic conditions to travel in this a.m. Heavy fog had descended, filling the air with the moist, mossy feel that fog imparts. The moisture was bending the light to create a ghoulish spectral gauze which encased me, mummified me in mist and dew. I dropped into the park, only following street lights and perceptions. Once below, the ghosts appeared out of the soup. One, two, a group of three, all moving a snail's pace but revealing themselves limb by limb. Form, shape, movement, forward momentum and bundled captive energy. I barely discerned appendage, being wrapped in night black shadow, but the voices uttered pleasantries from unseen lips. "'Morning". "'Morning". "Good Morning". The road was ours. Their purpose, their own.

Having left the ghost at roadside hence, the climb began anew. Where did I find myself? The morning golf course hill, of course! To my left brown, muddy, damp hills rolled over like backs of grey green turtles, trees becoming moss and forest detritus, the fog a morning dew left from humid summer air. Today, though, provided the thick wetness of an imagined Pacific coast with its sea foam and Redwood, no summer in sight. In my ears Radiohead provided me a "Lucky" moment, to be literally gliding up that hill at that point in that soup. Mindfulness teaches to be in the moment, and no better a moment could it have been.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Commute 3.0

Date: Feb 20 Tues
Mileage: 17.5 (Bleriot)
February mileage: 139
Year to date: 414

Hate that. Was working on an entry and blogger/earthlink went fubar, so no entry. Now I've eaten my big, honkin' veggie sandwich while the fam engorged themselves on dead pig (I say that jealously. they're bbq looked alot better than my "grilled veggie" offering, but i'm not bitter), and i don't want to write. had a great commute on the Bleriot today. another afternoon ride in the mid-50s. Nice and it didn't even rain as forecasted. Bleriot is a nice ride and i'll be on it tomorrow instead.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I/Grant II

Ran across an interesting podcast interview of I/Grant that I found on iBOB. I've been playing around on the iBOB lists. Man, those people of persnickity! Some good info amidst a bunch of testo ManRage posturing. This one is from a podcast named Bikescape. That's a LONG URL. well, enjoy.

I wish there were a way to disseminate the I/Grant message for a price less than $2.000. I bought a Bleriot knowing the difference between that and a Saluki was formidable. Would more folks buy in for $500? Could I/Grant market something for that price? Strong doubt.

Peace

Rub it In

Date: Feb 19 Mon
Mileage: 20.5 (Crosscheck)
February mileage: 121.5
Year to date: 396.6

Yes, I'm rubbing it in. Today's a.m. commute was a typical 22F. I was adequately bundled and quite comfortable. Today's p.m. commute was tropical, only less so than I would've believed. This afternoon's return was around 50F. While this was heavenly compared to our previous Arctic temps, a very stiff wind was coming out of the south. Combined with increasing cloudiness, it made things a bit brisk on occasion. I seem to run a bit cold. Without an ear band or whatnot, the breeze chilled me a bit after working up a good sweat. All this week's temps are forecasted for upper 40s or 50s. I have a feeling the new wool Walz cap is going to get a perfect workout.

This a.m. on Norris I saw a blinkie light up ahead. I picked the pace up and made some progress, but at some point lost it in the Tyler Pk area. Hope I had a fellow traveler. The More the Merrier.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mas Nieve

Date: Feb 18 Sun
Mileage: 15 (Redline Monocog)
February mileage: 101
Year to date: 376

Another snowy ride on the Monocog, this one perhaps more pleasant than yesterday's. I experienced a near-perfect 10 minutes or so of fun, challenging downhill in Cherokee Park. There have been some land usage issues between the Olmstead Conservancy, the Parks Cheerleader organization and the Kentucky Mountain Bike group. Basically, the Olmsteads don't feel the mtbikers have any real rights to park use. It's been an ongoing tete-a-tete for several years. Nonetheless, the trail I was on today, amongst several, was wonderfully, a curvy but not-too-demanding downhill zigging and zagging in the snow. It was a great brief moment. That's not to say the rest of the ride was bad; it was just that brief interlude that really turned me on. I'm glad I went when I did b/c on the way back I ran across a couple other groups- one of 7 and another of 2- that were on the same trails as I. I was filling up, while the sun was actually making some sections muddy from even the 30 minutes I had earlier passed by. A really nice ride.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

La Nieve finalmente

Date: Feb 17 Sat
Mileage: 14.5 (Redline Monocog)
February mileage: 86
Year to date: 361

It finally snowed today in the 'Ville, with a grand total of 1". That's not a "real" snow by Osage, NY standards, Minnesota standards, or even Louisville standards. It was enough snow that the boys managed to sled some and throw some snowballs at my head. And that's all that matters, right? After the first "wave" of 1/2", I got out on the Monocog for some snow trailing. I was too lazy to put air in the back tire, so I think I was riding on 12lbs. pressure the whole time. It made for a good snow imprint, but I was in perpetually fear that a pinch would do me in. I saw several tracks on the trails in Seneca. There's actually no way I went 14 miles, but it's my blog and I like the number. Fact is, I was out a little more than an hour and that amount of efforts feels about right. Following are pics of today's ride, plus bonus snow coverage of the household.

Nice wooded snowy path, eh?


Full-grown Yeti found in forest. First documented sighting with winter coat. Protect children, the elderly, and Republicans. Will Bite! (And is wearing newly-arrived Walz wool cap with earflaps)


Iron found randomly in the middle of the woods. The Buddha says all things are impermanent but this bizarre handrail apparently contradicts that.

**This could get ugly (but she's purty).** (sic: edited out due to wife copyright infringement)

My fav pic of the day. A good guy. Hope the good missus let's me keep it loaded on the blog. She's "cautious".

"10-Loss II"

The Lexington Herald-Leader's John Clay says it best in today's pre-game b'ball article. I say they're just not very good. I was riding today and fortunately didn't watch what must've been a pretty terrible game. It really wasn't that close and they didn't play well. This week's SI has a blurb about 'dem 'Cats in the college bball section, saying, to paraphrase, that the Cats would be unstoppable if they could only shoot. This was based on the close loss to Florida while shooting 3-22 from the arc. It's too bad shooting is essential to scoring. That's right, Tubby. You must score to win... My few readers don't tend to follow the 'Cats, but this, on a sporting level, hurts. In the grand scheme of things, no, it's very unimportant, but...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Signs

I'm feeling neither dramatic nor despondent, but of late I've noticed changes in my perspective that make me feel older and more adult. Following is a list of those (in no particular order):

1. Music- I've been a long-time musicphile, really ever since 6th grade or so. The moods have certainly changed over the years, but I've stayed current to the latest tunes b/c I like them so much. KISS begat REOSpeedwagon begat Rush begat Ozzy begat VanHalen begat Hendrix begat PinkFloyd begat theStones begat theDoors begat the Allman Brothers begat De la Soul begat Uncle Tupelo begat REM/U2 begat, well, it really exploded from there but Wilco, Pavement, theRoots, StevieWonder, Otis, Aretha, Soundgarden, 9InchNails, ???. And let's not forget Beethoven, Josquin, Mozart, Tallis, Coltrane, Davis, Fitzgerald and so many more. Now, though, the only "current" bands I keep up with at all are the Shins and Death Cab. And even with them I can't claim complete fandom. I've just sort of moved on. I can't really name another single "young" band beyond the aforementioned ones. What's current? Hell, I teach high school so I should know, right? No, I don't listen to current hip-hop, R&B, or rock. I'm older.

2. Girls- My good wife will read this, but she knows and I know that I always liked looking at the ladies. Window shopping but no purchasing, if you understand my meaning. Now, well, not really. I'm happily married and secure and I am just not as interested in oogling. Is it hormones? or maturity? I received the latest SI swimsuit edition and I realized those girls are pretty damn young. I'm almost, but not quite, possible "Dad" age. Don't know. They're somebody's daughter and they don't need some older guy treating them like meat.

3. Cycling- I've certainly incorporated the commuting and RBW approach in the latest years with my cycling. I don't want to wear silly lycra and hammer, hammer, hammer. I want to ride and enjoy myself. Yes, a spirited ride is fun and the feeling of fitness is fulfilling (yes, that IS alliterative), but riding for riding sake is more fun. Is that age? Or is it wisdom to slow down and enjoy the journey and not just the lactic acid?

4. Buddhism- I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist, but I'm heading that way. I agree with much of what I've read and incorporated. Frankly, mediation is very cleansing. And Loving/Kindness is sure a lot more satisfying that "pissed and ready to bomb/shoot/kick their asses". The question is, am I feeling my mortality and looking for end-time solace? I don't feel like it. I just feel more settled and more in search of stability and less like a ping-pong ball on the hunt for the next life shift. I feel in the moment and in the place.

5. TV- I'm a dork. I watch sports, British mysteries (Midsomer Murders), PBS, science, garden, history shows. I wouldn't know a "hip comedy" if it bit me in the ass. I'm obviously not in that demographic that is buying that shit, whatever that may be. My demographic must buy vaginal creams, toiletries, and tools, b/c those are the commercials that confront me.

6. Clothes- I wish kids would pull up their pants and girls would cover their boobs. It's just SO unnecessary. And hopefully the Thong thing is passing by. Gross! We just passed a new "dance" code to minimize the bumping, grinding, freaking and humping, and I'm glad instead of pissed. Older? or Wiser?

7. Booze- I'm drinking less and missing it less. Yes, I still drink some wine or beer on occasion. I'm no tee-totaler. I just am not drinking as much and not needing too. If I could only do this with ice cream I would be GREAT! With the way I used to consume booze, I came to the realization that at my age that would be alcoholism instead of just "partying". Coffee has become my drink of choice instead of a beer. Which would be the hardest to kick: Coffee, Ice Cream, or Booze?

If you read this, that is this week's poll: Coffee, Booze or Ice Cream? Mine "weak link" is ice cream, although I'm "addicted" to coffee on a more physiological level.

It's calling for snow tomorrow, but I'm on the bike, even if it's just for 30 minutes. Peace out!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We return you to the regularly scheduled (Spring) programming...

Yes, I directly stole this from Doug. I'm very sorry, but tomorrow is February 15th, the opening of the dreaded Tennis season. I don't mind starting tennis except that this is the time of year the riding miles plummet. I begin working 12-hour days and have to haul lots of tennis hoppers and coolers and loads of crap around in the truck. Hence, no miles.

I'm behind last year's totals at this point b/c the weather has been so bitter of late. At this point last year, I had 367m, with 78 in February. Right now, I have 346m, with 72m in February. Really, it's not too far behind. The goal is to keep riding some through March, April, May. I want to get some morning rides in before work, but I'm just not going to do that when it's 15F. Sorry, not man enough. I could also ride the rollers, but those make too much noise at 5.30a.m. I'll get there somehow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Commute

Date: Feb 12 Mon
Mileage: 15.5 (CrosscheckBleriot)
February mileage: 71.5
Year to date: 346.5

I thought my morning commute was a bit longer, but it ended up being only 6.5m, practically the shortest possible. It felt good, though, to get back on the commuting horse after a week away. The afternoon provided some damp thrills. Nothing like 39F and rain! Actually, that's better than 32F and rain though. We finally get some precipitation to come through the area and what happens but a warmish front keeps the temps too high for snow. I was prepared, though, with my gore-tex, plastic bags on feet, and layers. One combination that I've mentioned as being really efficient is wearing old, army surplus gloves under Hind running mittens. Not too hot, Not too cold, Just Right!

I'm still struggling with the fender issue, in that fewer of my bikes than I would like have fenders. I don't have a present supply of plastic sign-age to do the Kent fenders, so we'll have to just get wet tomorrow, or ride the fixie.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

BleriOH!

Date: Feb 11 Sun
Mileage: 21 (Bleriot)
February mileage: 56
Year to date: 329

Nice, a great 3-start ride this afternoon on the Bleriot. I finally got around to installing the Nitto cages I had received last week, not that they really did anything for the ride. It was mid-30sF instead of mid-20s or even mid-10s, so away. I wore 1 polypro top w/ my goretex jacket, think tights with my new MUSA shorts and a pair of wool Devold bottoms. they're too small, but i can't send them back to RBW on account of them being undies. they got the job done. on the feet 1 medium wool sock, Target shoes and neoprene toe covers. Fact is, in the temps this afternoon I was comfy. I wandered around, down towards the river and Mockingbird Soccer Club to pick up some forms for the boys, but they didn't have any. Alas! I worked downtownish, up Lexington and in to Cherokee. I had a nice short time with an African-American gentleman on his C'dale. Seems he works at the UL medical school downtown and commutes some. He spent time in England and Germany working and riding and told me of nice stories riding on bike lanes with his children in Cambridge. He was also quite cavalier as to the temps b/c he is from upstate NY, so this is spring I guess. Nice talk with him even though he had the strange habit of very often riding while sitting up, as though he were on one of those high-rise hybrids. I guess the Bleriot position may seem that high-rise to the roadie on the low-slung carbon thunderbike.

Damn, it was just nice to actually ride again. They're forecasting nastiness for tomorrow and Tuesday- of the ice variety- but on the bike I must be!

(I'll load a couple pics in the near)

Seneca leftovers

Bleriot from the front, taking in Jim's handywork. I either like or hate the dogwood branches. Great color on the saddle, though.

Ice and Creek. I think that's the Virgin of Guadalupe in the middle.

Closer Ice and Creek.

Bleriot, no? With Hiawatha bottle and shiny Nitto cage, and shiny Berthoud fender.

Thoughts

  • Haven't written an entry since last Tuesday. That day was the tail-end of my and then Z's Ick. Given that I haven't written since then, I also haven't ridden since then either. I'm not feeling willfully strong. I don't want to put on the 3 or so layers to go out in the sub-30s. yes, my brethren in other places still are; they're obviously more man/woman than I. I do intend to ride M/T/W. Let's hope.
  • Cats almost pulled one off last night, but 3-22 3-pt. shooting did them in. Really, they played equally or better than the #1 Gators, but still didn't win. At home, crazy crowd, more rebounds, even on fouls, even on free throws, Noah and Horford in foul trouble. Everything was in line for an upset, but it still didn't happen. The tides have turned on Tubby (not intentional, but awfully good alliteration there). The 'Cats had beaten them 6 in a row, but now we're 0-5 vs. the Gators. The last team to beat UK 5 in a row was the '70s Tennessee team of Bernard King and Ernie Gruenfeld (sp?). Can you imagine them going down to Gainesville and doing it this year when every aligned last night? UF is the program on the up- last year's championship included, and UK is the one of the down- no Finals Fours in the longest stretch ever, EVER, for UK basketball.
  • I got a good Buddhist mojo going there before I got sick. It's challenging, I found, to consider the impermanence of it all when you're under 3 layers of blankets with a nasty fever and chill. Consistency, the story of my non-life.
  • I'm impressed by Mark Wahlberg. Here's a guy who has become a solid craftsperson while coming up from the bottom-feeders of society. I haven't really seen many of his movies, but he impresses me with his professionalism and candor. He said something very Buddhist, and perhaps Christian, on Inside the Actor's Studio. He stated that he wanted to do more and get more and become more not for his own sake, but rather so he could give more back to his rough-n-tumble community. And he does. Impressive, to me at least. And rare out of that entertainment world. No, rare out of the world of acquisition.
  • I've been hesitantly vegetarian of late. It's really not that bad, but I also realize how much mean, especially little chunks of processed dead animal in pre-prepared food and restaurant food, there is out there. I can't imagine being vegan. What do you eat in winter if you don't can and freeze mega food? Like booze, I won't ever go cold turkey, nor do I really want to, but on a logical and physical level it is of benefit, and a path worth venturing down.
Out

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Bullet

We "missed the bullet" again, this time getting a grand total of 1/2" of snow during a storm forecasted anywhere from 2"-8". The "Alberta Clipper" missed us by maybe 45 miles, dumping plenty-o-snow on Cincy up the river. I just check Trimble County, KY, the school where I began my esteemed career, and they're in the middle of the 4"-8" path. That will get them a 5-day weekend. Instead, we're left with more cold-ass weather and no means to have fun in it. The godsend is that Z, sick with the family malaise, won't have to worry about missing sledding, or in his case, playing with his new snowboard (actually snowskate, courtesy of his grandmother for Xmas). Looks like my suegra in Maysville will see a much jollier snow than we, though I doubt she'll take advantage. Oh the injustice!

Stuck

I woke up this a.m. prepared and ready to go back to work. Although I don't feel what I would call "peppy", it's time to get the heck out of the house. That said, at about 6.15 or so, when I'm getting dressed and going forward, poor Z it up, barfing in the big red bowl and heading for the lavatory. Usually this wouldn't be reason for my presence b/c the good wife could stay home with him, but this a.m. she has her yearly check-up, one of those that has to be scheduled 12 years in advance and with a signature in blood. So, at home I am again, at least for the time being. Morning activities while stuck include:
  • cleaning up puke
  • continually rinsing out puke bowl.
  • disinfecting toilet, sink and TV remote controls
  • choosing movie for grumpy, ill 11 yr-old
  • loading various Radiohead albums (discs, as it were) in to iTunes
  • doing laundry
And finally, I've been checking up on Doug at the Arrowhead. Incredibly, after a mild winter up there in near-Canada, they've been hit this week with an incredible forecast, one that is resonating here in the 'Ville with temps never rising above freezing. I lifted this table, without graphics, showing the crazy, crazy temps the riders have faced in the run-up.

High6°F12°F2°F-1°F-13°F-10°F-6°F
Low-13°F-7°F-15°F-17°F-26°F-30°F-30°F
DateTue
30
Wed
31
Thu
1
Fri
2
Sat
3
Sun
4
Mon
5

They left yesterday the 5th with temps at a low of -30F. In-freakin-credible. Today's racing temp, the 2nd leg mind you, of racing, -25F. In reading the race blog, what struck me was the "wolves sighted" comment. I think to my bitching about a dog or two nipping at my heels. I then think about hungry-ass wolves in the friggin' woods in the dead of winter. Shit! SHIT! Doug isn't mentioned as having gone through or as officially having dropped out. He's a "competitor in the woods". Most of my readers- all 2 or 3 of them- are already following him, but let's keep our thoughts, prayers, and energies towards his efforts and towards his safe finish, whatever that may entail.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My worse Day

guess i shouldn't have bitched about Saturday, b/c Sunday was much worse. about 3.00a.m. i woke up with massive stomach cramps and all hell broke loose over the next several hours. once the "episode" was finished, i then lay around in agony, moaning like a dying dog. i didn't in one place for more than 30 min and felt just awful. by Super Bowl time i had improved slightly, but for the wreaking headache. the good wife had the good fortune to have the classic chips-n-salsa for the game. me? jello and 7-up. it's now Monday and i'm skipping work b/c it feels like someone has beaten me with a hammer. Things can always be worse.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Day

My latest entreaties into Buddhism tell me that all is impermanence, and, Yes, today has been a day with no real "achievement" in that sense. I've done nothing particularly constructive and have nothing to show for my disconstructiveness (made that one up BTW). Henceforth, it is all quite impermanent b/c it was neither constructed in the first place, and never was permanent having never been created.

We had a lovely dinner with friends last night, but the end result was blah b/c the extra bottle was opened. Wine can be a sublime and warm experience up until the extra bottle is opened. Before that moment it's a comfy blanket and a fire, the next falling into a mud puddle or worse, a steaming pile. The extra bottle didn't make me ill, no vomit, but it did bring that oh-so-precious mind-leeching wine hangover this a.m. That set the stage for such a "non-realized" day.

5.10a.m.- brief awakeness and nasty headache

7.45a.m
.- upright, morning constitutional

8.00-10.00a.m
.- watched part of Swimming Regionals, where our girls dominated. Tall and strong those gals are. My! Swim meets are sort of boring, but moral support is a good thing. One of the gals graciously thanked us (happened to sit next to asstAD and AP)

10.00-1.30p.m
.- ??? vegetative. in and out of sleep, doing nothing

1.30-2.00p.m
.- shower, cleanliness and ibuprofen. improvement noted.

2.20-3.20
- Z and L's bball games. L fought cavalierly but didn't have the greatest of times. Buddhism teaches loving-kindness, so I try. BUT, there is a kid on L's team who is the biggest ball hog of all time. Basically, he tries to take the ball away from teammates, and every time he has possession, he shoots regardless of situation. Being 6 and 7 yrs old, there's not a lot to do about the situation, but I have a hard time practicing "loving-kindess" with the ball brat and with his dad. I'm sure Pops is really proud of his son having "a nose for the ball". He'll end up a Republican operative, I'm sure. Z's team lost badly again. It's a tough situation, as you want your child to enjoy and perceive success and accomplishment. They're smaller than the other teams. Three of their best players weren't there today. Their coach is an older gentleman with a gracious smile who doesn't really teach them anything basketball-like. They lost 44-12, w/ Z scoring 4 pts. He complained of a teammate not playing well, but I asked him if he made every shot, pulled down every rebound and stopped every opponent. Hopefully, that message got through a bit. If he's enjoying himself and is getting winter-time exercise, that is really all that is important. I hope, though, that he staves off deep disappointment.

3.30-7.52p.m.- other than 1 load of woolies in the washer, I'm not sure what has really transpired these last hours. Chairs, TV, time waste, void. I did do a little bit of reading from the Dalai Lama, but bizarre Tibetan syntax about flower not-tree isn't my thing this evening.

The household seems comatose, non-moving, not even breathing, the only energy that of the obnoxious noise from the video game downstairs. Destroy All Humans? These are the values I'm engendering in my children? Outside is a freezer full of dead meat and freezer-burned green beans and perhaps a fruitcake from Auntie Em from 1983. Instead of practicing loving-kindness, I'm mired in blubbering-listlessness. Had the extra bottle not taken place, an a.m. bike ride in the cold but warming sun might have taken place. Strangely, I'm acclimating to the temps, I think. Nothing a good extra pair of wool socks won't cure.

The Fifth Precept is to avoid Intoxicants which can cloud the Right Consciousness. And I agree. I feel better clean of mind in meditation than I do after the extra bottle. A glass or two, Yes. The extra bottle, No. It is unnecessary and counterproductive. Concerning the one or two glasses, a different, and perhaps more valid perspective is:

Question:
But drinking just a small amount wouldn't be really breaking the precept, would it? It's only a small thing.
Answer:
Yes, it is only a small thing and if you can't practice even a small thing, your commitment and resolution isn't very strong, is it?

To me, that is an intriguing point. A small commitment, but a strong commitment. Much like promoting No Harm by converting to vegetarianism, logically Tee-Totaling is a small-but-large step than would probably yield appropriate and positive results. These would be difficult, but none-the-less satisfying actions.

Am I brave enough to actually continue with my studies and admit that I am "practicing" Buddhism? Am I practicing Buddhism? Or am I just dabbling in the latest self-help mumbo-jumbo? I am not a positive person. I am not a generally kind person. I'm a bitter, negative person (who can be very funny, entertaining and charming to boot). These qualities would be good to adjust. That is the simple premise. I am aware of my own suffering, and am aware of the need to change it, not for the betterment of myself, then for the betterment of others, my children, my wife, my colleagues, my friends, and as importantly, all others. It is addressing the human condition that I want to explore. I guess if others can leave blog entries about The Bible or Peak Oil, then I'm allowed to explore my own interests as well, right? Yes. I am, and hope to also spread some graciousness as well to all of you, the reader and the fellow traveler, starting with the Ball Hog. Loving-Kindness to him first.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Commute


Date: Feb 2 Fri
Mileage: 15 (Surly Crosscheck)
February mileage: 35
Year to date: 308

I'm getting a little used to the CC as a commuter vehicle. We had more "snow" on the road today, so away on the Crosscheck. It's more nimble than the LHT, and frankly it makes me feel less damn slow. I also give high marks to my winter Sidis. My nice mom gifted them to me a few years ago for Xmas. In the past I didn't think they were warm enough, but the last two days, I've worn 1 thick wool sock, the Sidis, and Kucharik toe covers and have been very comfy. This one pictured above is a more recent model, but I think the idea is roughly the same. Apparently they're more "racy" than the Lake winter boot product, but here in the mid-20s (with a stiffish afternoon breeze) they did me great. Maybe I'm acostumbrandome al winter. I had better, b/c they're forecasting Minnesota-like temps this week here, well, if our lows were they're highs, or something like that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UCIWADAPTABBAASO

Do you want to know what I'm tired of? I'm tired of doping stories in cycling. Do you want to know what I'm more tired of? I'm tired of stupid-ass UCI/ProTour/ASO/Vuelta/Giro arguments about who's euro-Wang is longer. I'm tired of the ProTour whining about everything. I'm tired of ASO-leTourdeFrance-whining about everything. I'm tired of the other major tours whining about everything. I'm tired of Dick Pound (apropos there, no?). I'm tired of WADA. It's all bullshit. Let Paris-Nice be what it is, an early season bike race with a nice, historical pedigree. This sure was a lot more fun when Greg, Perico, Bernard and Laurent were climbing hills and winning races. I know there was this kind of shit then too, but not to such effect. Frankly, it's even more annoying than Phloyd, and maybe more detrimental.

RBW

Amidst all my bitching, I received a fun package, one of the last, this afternoon. In said box was found:
I haven't tried anything on b/c the dauphin has had lots of homework and bball practice, plus pizza, plus ice cream. It all looks purty. The wool undies will get a try-out this week, maybe even tomorrow. The pants will sometime soon. It could be while on the shorts. And the cages, the very shiny, curvy cages, are for the Bleriot of course. They'll go on after this patch of weather we've been gifted that isn't really leaving the 30's for seemingly weeks. But once on, they'll carry many a bottle this summer.
Date: Feb 1 Thurs
Mileage: 20 (Surly Crosscheck)
February mileage: 20
Year to date: 293

We started February off with a Bang (pshpwwshhhh- This is my attempt at a deflating balloon). It snowed a whole 1/2" in the course of the nighttime. I woke up somewhat bewildered and confused at 4.45 de la madrugada. Then began the 15min wait for the morning TV programs to check the fate of the school system. "2-HOUR DELAY!!!!!!" screamed the local newsies. Fact is, it snowed a bit, so I had the big decision of whether to drive or to ride. Last night I prepped the Crosscheck so I could take advantage of the knobbies. This a.m. I really struggled with whether to ride. I've been physically waking up too early and am just tired, plus I'm nursing a bit of a cold. Henceforth, I puttered around the house for perhaps 30min just puttering. I did work in 10min of meditation in there- I'm trying to change my heathen ways a bit- and at some point I just decided to ride the damn bike to work. So I did. The conditions were pretty good and I had no problems. It's funny to gauge the reactions of coworkers b/c some of them act as though I climbed Mt. Everest before school that morning. The morning was made all the better when I noted the tell-tale signs of a 'sheryl' crossing; her tracks were evident. Had I pussied out and had her ride to work, that would've been somewhat unbearable. Good for her though!

(This red-twig dogwood has been in the ground perhaps two years and has never experienced snow. This is why you plant them, to contrast them with the snow. And to call this snow is sort of a joke, right?)

The afternoon proved pleasant as I took the longer way home via Frankfort Ave. At one point I though I was going to have to take off my balaclava, b/c my head felt like it was on fire. Later, my gloves seemed to suddenly stop working; my hands turned brick-cold. I think it was moisture build-up. Tonight they're forecasting 1/2" more, so we'll see if it's ANOTHER DELAY!!!!
Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com