Tuesday, July 31, 2007

baseball and biking

We went to the J'ville Suns game Friday night. They are a AA baseball team affiliated with the LA Dodgers. The game was a pitchers duel, pretty much. Not a lot of scoring, but some good defensive plays.

We went with some old friends, one of whom is the captain of the MS Bike Ride team at work, so I had a ready reference for questions, and just perspective on just how much I've gotten into this whole thing. Granted, I'm coming from a different perspective. I've never done it before, and she's done it twice. I'm 50 years old and she hasn't hit 40 yet. I'm going into the unknown (with the fear that rides along with that), so I'm trying to make damn sure I'm good and ready, so I started riding in March. She, and her husband (who will also ride in it) are going on vacation, and will start training when they get back. I'm thinking...it'll be freaking August! Are you people nuts? That gives you less than 2 months to get ready. But I guess when you're younger and you've done it before, you know what you need to do...and it's less than I think is necessary. Then again...maybe they overestimate themselves a tad, and I'll be seeing a bit of struggling at the end of September. We shall see.

She also said she doesn't ride more than about 30 miles when she trains. Maybe that makes sense. Maybe I'm going a little overboard. I don't know. I do know riding farther is getting me in better shape, no matter what I do with the MS ride, and that's a huge part of the motivation as well, so I'm not going to scale back. This all started when I decided to get healthy again, and that hasn't gone away. One thing I noticed. I haven't been sick much since I started this thing...not even a cold. Maybe luck...maybe a connection. who knows.


Monday, July 30, 2007


Saturday morning I went riding, hoping to at least equal the 60 miles I did the week before. All was going well. There wasn't much wind, and I was feeling good. I was pretty much on my way home, 40 miles into the ride, trying to figure out how I was going to extend the route to get 60 out of it when I heard...click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click...and looked down. Couldnt see anytthing in the spokes, so I stopped. I rotated the front wheel by hand (that's where I thought I heard it coming from)...nothing. Rotated the back one...click....click...click. Hmmmm. It took a bit of inspection, but I found it. A nail stuck in my tire...and it was hitting the bike frame. I pulled the nail and heard..ssssssssssssssss...as the air escaped.

So now I'm on the side of the road with a flat. I'm thinking, I have a spare tube. I could sit here and open my little emergency kit and spend the next half hour figuring out how to use it, and fix the thing or I could use my handy dandy cell phone, call the wife and have her come get me. Figuring into the equation - the bike shop I bought the bike from gives me free flat repair for a year, and I have to cut the grass when I get home, so 40 miles ain't so bad. Out came the phone. I spent the time waiting looking for more nails. Somebody spilled a shitload of them in the bike lane, so I picked up all I could find and threw them in the grass off the side of the road, so nobody else suffers the same fate as I. So went my first flat tire.

Finished the new Harry Potter book over the weekend...and loved it. Speaking of nails, I think Rowling nailed it. She put an excellent cap on the whole series. Everything finished as I hoped it would.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Jaguars report to camp

Are there four better words to hear this time of year? Maybe elsewhere there are, but here in the lumberyard (where we try to keep our PG-13 rating)...not a chance.

The air is so full of potentail and hope you can taste it....and that's saying something with the amount of Michael Vick being shoved down our throats. I'll plead guilty to adding to the heap, but last night, as I was in the gym, watching ESPN News (aka. the all Michael Vick all the time network), I think I hit my limit on schnitzengruben.

So not only am I starved for football because it's July and the NFL season is around the corner, but I'm also desparate for something not scandalous in my sports world....and please Jaguars, don't disappoint me there either.

We have a receiving corps that has to improve. Moves have been made to help that happen. Dennis Northcutt was signed and Mike Walker was drafted, and maybe the guys we already have got a little better. Byron Leftwhich has to improve, and all accounts from offseason workouts seem to point to that being the case. How much, is a question. Is it enough? Can he be the great quarterback we all hoped for when he came here? Can he stay healthy for a season? My world is full of potential, and hope, and visions of taking the division from those nasty ol' Colts....just like every other NFL fan is feeling about their team right about now. It's the most wonderful time of the year...for now.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

bits of this and that

I was reading the paper this morning, and there was an article about people buying canvas bags to do their grocery shopping with. The article pretty much said, plastic bags are heinous because they take eons to biodegrade, and it's mostly our own fault because we could recycle them. Stores put containers right out front for us to do that, but we never do.

Excuse me?

I didn't realize I was in such a minority. We always do. I do the grocery shopping, and each week the bags from the prior week go with me. It's about as easy as anyone could make it. When I do this, the bin they go in is never empty, so I know I'm not alone in this venture. Am I really in that much of a minority, or is this a reporter just trying to pump up the canvas bag thing and making up his own reality?

We had a leaky kitchen faucet. The wife wasn't particularly fond of it and made it clear she wanted it replaced rather than repaired. I called a plumber who told me to find what I wanted in a new faucet and they'd put it in (because as we all know, I'm not Bob Vila). I made the appointment for yesterday afternoon, between 2:00 and 4:00. The wife left work at 1:00 and got home in plenty of time. Instead of sitting around, she started doing some yard work in the front of the house. The plumber called, but she didn't hear the phone. She came in about an hour later. She saw the message and called back, but since she didn't respond in 20 minutes, they didn't come out. OK, I sorta understand not wanting to come if nobody's home, but calling the house isn't the greatest way to figure that out. When she called, the person on the phone said their plumber stayed in the area for 20 minutes. Well, if he was in the area for 20 minutes, couldn't he drive by and see if anyone was there? They did nothing but piss her off, because she lost half a day for nothing, and lose the possibility of us (or many people we know) using that plumbing service again. She then went walking in the neighborhood for exercise, and to blow off steam. As luck would have it, a plumber stopped her asking for directions. She told him how to get where he was trying to go, and asked if he'd install a faucet when he finished. He agreed, so we got the faucet after all, and a new guy we'll call when we need a plumber. That's how you get and keep customers.

Note to people leaving messages on answering machines:
Think about the effect what you say has on the person listening to the message. I was in a meeting when all this transpired. When I got back, there was a message from the wife. It went:

"I am mad as hell! Call me when you get this message."

Now, is it just me, or when anyone gets that on their answering machine, does it make you want to pick the phone up and call that person right back? Let me see, you're in a screaming mood. Suuuuure, I want to talk to you right now. I had absolutely no desire to pick that phone up.

MS150 financial update. We (all of you who pledged/contributed in my effort, and other friends, family and coworkers) haven't passed yet, but we have reached a fund raising total of two thousand dollars. Let me say that again, because it's way more than what I expected to do with this, and I'm impressed with all of us...two thousand dollars! Again, thank you to everyone out there who is part of this effort. If you aren't and want to be, send me an e-mail and I'll tell you how to get there.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tour de Dopes

What's happening to my sports world?

We can start with the Tour de France, the premier event of my newfound hobby. Why is it every guy who takes the lead, or does something spectacular in that race, has to cheat to do it? The latest is Alexandre Vinokourov, whose cheating caused his entire team to bow out of the race. The guy winning the race is under suspicion of cheating. The winner for about the last 8 years has been either proven or rumored to be cheating. I'm beginning to think all I'd have to do is show up and finish, and if I was clean, it'd be my race. The lunacy doesn't stop here though.

Next we can go to the National Betting Association, otherwise known as the NBA. Tim Donaghy, referee for said Association has apparently been betting on games, and possibly games he refereed. There are hints he got himself deep in gambling debt and may have been told to influence games by some real life Tony Soprano. The commissioner, David Stern, calls it an isolated incident. How the hell does he know? Two months ago, if asked, he'd have told you there was no way a ref was betting on any NBA games. On top of that, while watching ESPN last night on the treadmill, I learned our troubled referee wasn't a gambing wreck fron Georgia Tech. The guy played college baseball....at none other than my little alma mater in Main Line Philly. Thank you for casting a shadow on that institution, Timmy. Still, the fun doesn't stop.

Baseball's in its own rhoid rage. 'Nuf said.

Last but certainly not least, there's Ron Mexico. I think I've waxed snarky enough on his case already, but I'll bet he's glad the other dopes came along, to take a little of the spotlight off him.

Some are calling the whole thing a soccer conspiracy, thinking if soccer can find a way to discredit every other sport, maybe Americans will finally pay attention to it.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

self destruction

Lindsay Lohan, Michael Vick...it's a crying shame, it really is, that these young people with so much potential, become slow motion train wrecks, ruining themselves right before the public eye. They have so much going for them, and they just trash it all because they can't handle what's been given to them. I don't know that I would have done any better if someone gave me virtually unlimited access to cash and let me do whatever I pleased when I was in my 20's. I made some pretty stupid decisions back then, but they were limited to what I could do with the assets I had at the time. Who knows how much dumber I could have been, given everything at these people's disposal. I just wish they'd grow up before they completely ruin themselves...if it's not already too late.


the deeeluxe apartment in the sky

Well, it wasn't an apartment. It was a wedding.

The wife works with this woman. She moved to J'ville about when we did, and she and the wife started working at the same place. Both of them were married to Navy guys. This woman, however, got divorced, like a year after we moved here. She's been single ever since....for close to 20 years. She and the wife are still friends and still work together. She filled the years with a lot of exercise and education. She now has several degrees. A year or two ago, though, she started dating one of the professors at the local University where she got all these degrees. He's from a wealthy German family, and is fairly well off...well, much more well off than I, anyway.

They got married Saturday evening, and we went to the wedding...atop one of the highest buildings in downtown J'ville. The running joke of the evening was how her education paid off. The wedding was very nice and the view from up there was pretty awesome. First time I've been downtown in a while (probably two years, if you exclude Jaguars games), but also the first time I've ever been near the top floor of one of those buildings...where one of those exclusive clubs are.

Can't say it made me want to join. That's a long way to go for a nice dinner. It was very nice though. I was certainly impressed, with the food, the service and the view. It'd be a cool thing to do, like for an anniversary dinner, but I can't see belonging to a club like that year 'round. I guess if you had that kind of cash, but still, it's a matter of priorities. I'd like to think I'd find better uses for it, or what I think are better uses anyway.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

the weekend in review

First, the MS150 update - I thought I'd try to do a group ride Saturday morning. I haven't really done that and it's about time I learn. The guys opening a bike shop near the house told me they have a group that leaves from a neighborhood near mine at 6:30 Saturday mornings, so I got up extra early, and pedaled over there in plenty of time, and waited....and waited some more. Apparently I need more specifics, because nobody showed up where I was at the entrance to that neighborhood. Maybe they gather near there, or someplace other than the main entrance. After waiting until I was pretty sure it was past 6:30 (I didn't have a watch), I set out on my own....and pased the 60 mile mark. Not by much, mind you...60.27 miles, but still, it was 60 miles on a bike. There was a bit of wind, which slowed me down a little...average 17.4 miles an hour for the trip. I could say it's the farthest I've ever gone on a bike, but I could say that almost every week for at least the last 2 months. I realize it's a matter of necessity. If I'm going to do this ride in September, I pretty much have to venture where I never have before. I'm well into uncharted territory when it comes to how far I can go on a bicycle....and I'm pretty damn proud of that.

It was the first time I was really looking for one, so I have no idea when that stopped....when did the signs in front of drug stores and banks go away that used to tell time? Have they been gone for a long long time? There were banks and a drug store near where I was supposed to meet this group, and I figured...well, since I'm not sure what time it is, I'll just pedal over to the bank and...no sign. Dang!

Since I was getting up early Saturday for the ride that didn't happen, we blew off the midnight ride to Barnes and Noble for the Deathly Hallows. Did pick it up Saturday, and I'm about a third of the way through it. So far, so good. It will be the end of a tradition for the youngster and me. I read the first six Harry Potter books aloud to him through the years. He's going into high school and he still wants to do that for number seven...which I'm liking. We haven't started yet. He went up to mom-in-law's house yesterday and won't be back 'til Thursday. I expect to be done with it on my own by then.

Have a great Monday folks!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

now here's a priceless perspective on Mike Vick

Mike Freeman, columnist (and I use the term very loosely) for CBS Sportsline, thinks I, because I'm white, automatically think Mike Vick is guilty and black people, because they are black, think he's being framed. Freeman was once a columnist for the J'ville fishwrap, so I'm familiar with his "work". Whenever remotely possible, throw down the race card. Freeman can find racism in a blank piece of cardboard. In his quest to find racism in just about everything, he's led me to believe he's one of the more racist black men in the world of "journalism". Everything in the world of Freeman comes down to the color of one's skin.

Chris Leak, quarterback of the national champion Florida Gators got no consideration for the Heisman Trophy...because he's black. The fact that Troy Smith won the thing, and he happens to be black as well, didn't deter Freeman. I'm sure in his mind, Freeman hasn't won the Pulitzer Prize, not because he's a one trick racist pony, but because he happens to be black.

I dunno. I tend to think Vick is guilty because there seems to be a mounting pile of evidence that says he abused animals. If Brad Pitt was in the same situation, I think I'd believe he was just as guilty. True, my perception is clouded by the media, since that's where I get most of my insight into the subject. That same perception was clouded in the Duke lacrosse team case, when I thought those kids were guilty too. I know the faces I saw on TV weren't black and the arms were devoid of tattoos. My opinion of Vick has nothing to do with trusting black people, braids or tattoos. It has to do with his involvement in dog fighting.

Still, in the Duke lacrose team case, even though I thought the boys were guilty, I said the same thing I'm saying now. Let the legal system do what it does. It doesn't always get it right, but it does most of the time, if given a chance. It sure gets it right more often than the media, and more often than any other system we have. In this case, it gets it right a whole lot more than Mike Freeman.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ron Mexico...the continuing saga

Next week Ron Mexico will be in court instead of camp, defending himself in front of the feds. The head of the Humane Society has once again called for his immediate suspension from the NFL, saying if that doesn't happen, the league's conduct policy is just "words on a page."

Well, dang. If we do that, doesn't that make our entire justice system just "words on a page?" Thinkin' big picture here, the justice system or the NFL's conduct policy...which can we afford being just "words on a page?" Isn't the justice system just a tad more precious? Don't we presume innocence until proven guilty? Isn't that one of the things we do in this country?

I think the guy is guilty. I'd be amazed if he comes through this unscathed. Still, we have to allow for that possibility. What I think, and what the head of the Humane Society thinks, doesn't mean anything. We aren't looking at the evidence. Well, I'm not. I'm assuming he doesn't have it in front of him either. You don't go hammer the guy until you prove he did something. Then throw the bastard in jail.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

doin' the quarterback shuffle

The Dolphins finally gave up on the idea of trading Dante Culpepper, and released him. Seriously, what team was going to give them anything for him when all 31 of the other teams in the league knew, if they wanted him, and waited long enough, the Dolphins were going to have to give him away. That Jaguars are one team said to be in the running for Culpepper's services. Leftwich is in the last year of his contract and may or may not be back. Culpepper could possibly be an upgrade for a backup role this year, if he's healthy. There's only one way to find out. Then next year, Culpepper may compete for the starter's job. There's also the fact that Mike Tice, his old coach at Minnesota, is on the Jaguars staff.

Another team that might become extremely interested though, is the Atlanta Falcons. In what may first look like unrelated news, Ron Mexico has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in the dogfighting fiasco on his property, a situation about which he claims ignorance. If he's found guilty, the Falcons, who traded away their insurance policy in the form of quarterback Matt Schaub, will find themselves with nobody credible behind center...and may be needing Mr. Culpepper, or somebody else, in a hurry.

We'll see how all that plays out. In the teal colored lumberyard world, the Jaguars get Dante Culpepper and then force the Falcons to give them something huge for current Jags backup, David Garrard, who then starts for Atlanta. No, it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of playing out that way, but stranger things have happened.

The more likely scenarios (assuming Mexico is guilty and goes to prison fo' shizzle) are:
1) Culpepper sees his chance to be the starter in Atlanta. He bypasses Jacksonville on his way up I-75 and becomes the Falcons' quarterback.
2) Culpepper signs with Jacksonville. This puts the Jaguars in the same situation Miami was in....one too many quarterbacks. Atlanta, or anyone else with quarterback needs, knows they don't have to make a trade for Garrard, or Culpepper, whichever doesn't make the cut. Eventually the Jaguars will release one of them, and they can get him without giving the Jaguars anything. They just have to deal with the player.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

does anybody really care? (an exercise in irrelevance)

Barry Bonds is about to break the home run record. There's a tempest in a teapot about him not playing on the road, so he can break the record in San Francisco, where some people actually consider themselves Bonds' fans. Does anybody care whether or not he plays on the road? Does anybody outside San Francisco care if he breaks the record? That record has been so trivialized by his assholiness. Roger Maris is spinning in his grave and Hammerin' Hank Aaron has already booked a tee time in the Bahamas to recognize Bonds' chemically induced achievement. True, he's not the only player who used steroids. There are plenty of others. True, nobody has proven he did anything with steroids, but nobody proved O.J. is guilty either. Doesn't mean they're innocent. His apologists say America should care about him breaking the record, because it's a huge achievement, and it's only because of his personality that we don't. Well....DUH! I, and many like me, have this thing about assholes. We don't like them. We try not to associate with them. Their presence makes any situation less enjoyable than it could be with their absence. When they do things that may otherwise be spectacular, we tend to ignore them. There are other players who used steroids, but none is a bigger horse's patoot and none are this close to a record that used to mean something. You wanna be a jerk? That comes with the territory. Is that just me? I don't think it's just me.

The word is David Beckham might not play in his first game with the Los Angeles Galaxy. For those that don't know, Beckham plays soccer and the Galaxy is a soccer team. For those of you in the United States, soccer is a sport for the dexterily challenged from the waist up. For those in the rest of the world, it's what you call football. Back to Beckham, though...does anybody care? Soccer was supposed to take off in America when we hosted the World Cup. Then it was supposed to take off when the women's team won the World Cup and Mia Ham ran around and stripped down to her sports bra. So now it's going to take off in America because some team in L.A. paid David Beckham a ton of money to play for them. Anybody remember Pelé? Anybody care?

Then, there's his wife. Anybody care?

Peter King is making his preseason predictions for the NFL season. They, once again, are eerily similar to the standings at the end of last season. Again, this season won't play out like last season, and again, he'll be wrong. Does it matter? Does anybody care?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

takin' it slower

I managed to have an uneventful trip to work today. No wrecks. No speeding tickets. No drama at all. I guess that's a step in the right direction. I am more mindful of my speed and now play "guess the make and model" as colorful blurs pass me like I'm standing still, but such is the life of one who used to be one of those blurs in the wrong place and time.

I also took it a bit slower on Saturday. I wanted to get the yard work done Friday evening, but the rain soaked grass wasn't getting cut...and it very much needed to be. I got the edging done, but that was about it. Our routine now is that I do all the edging around the sidewalk and house, and start cutting the grass. I cut everything close to the house and basically get it to where there are huge rectangular shapes left. The youngster takes it from there, while I use the leaf blower to clean off the road and sidewalk. I'm into my second Powerade by the time he finishes. Back to the point though, the yard didn't get done Friday night so I had to do it Saturday. The forecast was calling for rain by noon, and I didn't want to completely exhaust myself, so I did 43 miles on the bike, first thing in the morning, instead of trying for 60 (my original intent) and then we tackled the yard. We were done before 11:00. 60 miles will wait...at least another week. Of course, since I planned on it and got everything done before the rain was supposed to show up...it didn't.

Then the youngster and I went grocery shopping. Someone is opening a new bike shop next to the grocery store, and they were in, setting the place up. We looked in the window and they beckoned us in, so we went in and talked a bit. They run a group ride from a neighborhood close to us at 6:30 Saturday mornings (and I thought I was early, leaving at 7:00). They have a group that does 44 miles and another that does 66. The speed varies from 17 to about 22 miles an hour...so it's in my range, pretty much. The guy said the speed depends a lot on who shows up. One morning Tony Boselli (ex-Jaguar) showed up and the pace was pretty fast that day. I don't know. It's a bit intimidating, but I'm thinking about it.

Saturday night we went to a military retirement ceremony for a good friend. He, like everyone else we know in the military, has his Iraq stories, and has shaped many of my views on that place. Everyone wants to write them off as a lost cause, but I think they will pull themselves up out of the mess they're in, with our help. The cost is painfully high, but I fear the cost of failure would make it look like a pittance. This guy was a 50-something year old hospital administrator when he volunteered to go there. He spent 6 months of his last year in the military, when most people are just trying to slide on out through retirement, to go over there and try to make a difference, and he's convinced me that he did...and we can.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

it's just...a page out of Bizarro World

I didn't see the actual show this was on. In fact, I just caught the sound bite in a teaser commercial during the news. It was for one of those tabloid TV shows that comes on afterward...Extra, I think. There's just something unsettling about seeing Harry Potter with a microphone in his face saying the words "Ultimate Sexual Fantasy." It's kind of like hearing that come out of....I dunno...Luke Skywalker's or John Boy Walton's mouth. I mean...it's Harry Freakin' Potter, for cryin' out loud.


it's Friday the 13th

and I was speeding on the way to work and got caught....on the heels of Saturdays accident.

At least 15 years of a spotless driving record...probably closer to 20, and now I go and do this. Just stamp 'IDIOT' across my forehead.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

hope springs eternal

I played golf yesterday...9 holes in the evening. I actually played pretty well...hitting the ball almost consistently in the general area where I wanted it to be. Only had one hole where I pretty much lost it. Only lost one ball where water is easily in play on 7 of the 9 holes, and a few pars, no birdies. For me...that's pretty good.

The thing is...I know next time, it can be a completely different story. Golf does this to me. It gives me every reason to think I'm improving...every reason to think I could actually get good at this. Then it slams my face in the dirt. Who knows. Maybe this time it'll be different. If the visual you're getting is Charlie Brown, running toward a football with every intention of kicking it from the expert hold of one Lucy Van Pelt...yeah, that's about where I am.

Took the recently damaged car to the body shop today for the estimate of my accidental meeting with the potty mouthed granny. Nine hundred and something dollars of damage...new bumper cover, buff out a scratch on the light cover, take out a small dent above the bumper. That'll happen in a few weeks, and that nightmare will be over...except the money and the school part.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This just in..

from the Onion Radio News Network...

Binge drinking and unprotected sex with multiple partners may actually be good for you, according to the New Orleans Journal of Medicine.

Wow...who knew? Party on Crescent City!


and the all SEC quarterback for the 2007 season is...

It must be an extremely slow sports day.

It's the day after what one sports talk radio guy called "the most relevant of all the major sports' all star games." OK, isn't that a lot like running a beauty contest for the three ugly step-sisters? None of them are relevant. Nobody gives a damn about any of them. The only reason this one is less "not relevant" is because it determines home field advantage in the World Series.

This morning the hot topic here was...who's going to be the all SEC quarterback this season. The consensus was, it's wide open. Any of about nine guys could take the title, but we have a parochial favorite. The reason it's a topic is that there are several very good quarterbacks in the SEC this year, and the University of Florida has Tim Tebow, who has already kicked an armored piercing round's ass in the 100 yard dash and vaulted over the Sears Tower. The radio guys are pretty much picking him. The kid can do no wrong, but he has yet to start a football game as a Gator. These guys are already speculating that he's the guy. He very well might be, but let's hope he doesn't trip over his cape. Personally, I saw the kid play at Nease High School here, and I think he's pretty good, but can we let him get a few college games under his belt before we declare this the second coming?

Back to the point. It is a wide open thing. Of course it's a wide open thing! How obvious could that be? They haven't even played that first game of the season, where they pay the Little Sisiters of the Poor Country Day School to come in and be sacrifical lambs, yet. It's freakin' July. This is a topic for....Thanksgiving. None of these guys has done squat yet. OK, maybe they have done squat....repeatedly. They're doing two a days and squats are probably a big part of that. But we're already passing judgement on quarterbacks for a season they haven't played one game in.

I guess the interview with Kobayashi, after his upset loss in the Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest, fell through.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

it's never good enough

Just got back from visiting my doctor...just a checkup. I think I pay him just to insult me. Here's my $20 co-pay...tell me I'm fat.

The story is...yeah, it's good that you lost some weight, but lose another 20 pounds and then talk to me. Ya know. I'd like to drag his ass up and down roads on a Saturday morning and see how he fares after 50 miles.

I realize it ain't about his health, it's about mine. If I'm on my death bed in 10 years and he's in the same situation in the room next door, it doesn't make my situation any better. I'm still on my death bed...but dang buddy. For me, it doesn't get any better than what I'm doing now. Sure, I hope to take off another 20 pounds...maybe more. It takes time though...and yeah, I guess...maybe a few less of those krispy kreme donuts.


It's OK that some people don't get it.

I went to the gym last night, and started on the elliptical machine, because someone else was on the stationary bike. That, more than anything, determines my routine for the evening. I take what's open. Usually between the elliptical machine, the stationary bike and the treadmill, I can get one of them. I don't really like the treadmill, so it's the last choice if I have to go there.

Anyway, I'm on the elliptical thing and this guy comes in and obviously wants to be on it. He watches me for a few minutes, looks at the display to see how long I've been there and finally asks how long I plan on being there....32 minutes. He does something else, and gets on when I get off.

After that, I rested a minute, had something to drink and started on the stationary bike (because it was free then)...another 32 minutes. Like I said, the treadmill is there if I can't get on anything else. Most of the way through that 32 minutes, the other guy gets off the elliptical machine and looks at me as he's about to leave.

Pointing at the machine he just left, he asks, "What, you didn't get enough over there?"

In my exhaustion, I explained (in short breaths, and short phrases) that I was training for the MS150, and that it was a two day bike ride..75 miles each way to Daytona and back.

He just looked at me, incredulously. "Why, when you can drive?"

OK, he's trying to be funny....probably. I realize it's not an everyday thing people do, and that's part of why I'm doing it. It's not about getting to Daytona. Sure, if I really want to go to Daytona, I could drive. I don't really care where the ride goes. It could end at the Days Inn in Lake City, or the amusement park in Valdosta for all I care (although yes, riding along the beach is more scenic than riding due west from here). It's about getting myself in good enough shape to do it. It's about the challenge of doing it. It's about finishing something really hard that takes a lot of preparation, and the satisfaction of success. More and more too, for me, it's getting to be about the cause. I'm learning more about that as well, as I get ready to do this thing. For the last 10 years I've had someone close to me, in a co-worker, who is dealing with MS, so I've known what he's going through. I've watched him go from effortless walking, to using a cane, to a wheelchair. This thing...this bike ride, though, has made me learn more about the MS Society, and what they do to make things livable for those with the disease, and what they're doing to find a cure. There really is hope out there, and I like being part of that.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

7-7-07 Not So Lucky in the Lumberyard

Warning: The following account probably has a bit of lumberyard bias in it, although I tried to be somewhat objective:
So the youngster and I went grocery shopping Saturday. We're getting ready to leave the parking lot and turn right onto the county road. The car in front of us drifts through the stop sign and starts turning right. I look left to see if there is any oncoming traffic while inching up to the stop sign and....crunch. Crunch? Oh shit! What are you still doing here? The car in front of me stopped.

Out pops the geriatric psycho bitch from hell with a thick New Jersey accent, "What the hell are you doing?? It's a brand new car and tomorrow I'm supposed to go to Miaaaaaaaaaami!" I hate to stereotype, but she was so....stereotypical obnoxious snowbird retiree moved to Florida.

Then she calls the cops, which I have no problem with. I can see it's my fault. I mean...I did hit her. But why? Why couldn't she stop at the sign like she's supposed to? Why did she pull into the county road's bike lane turning right before she stopped? It was my mistake for assuming she'd keep going, and not keeping an eye on her, but still....

Then we both start calling home. I called the wife to come and get the groceries before the cold stuff spoils. She called, who I assume was, her husband. I didn't hear that conversation, but the youngster did. He told me later. "She said you rammed her bumper, and then she called you all kinds of swear words." OK. No big surprise there, but yeah...I rammed it all right...at two miles an hour.

The wife came, got the groceries and the youngster and went home. Both cars have minor bumper damage. I got a ticket for careless driving, points, which I haven't had for a good 20 years, a $200 deductible, and a few days of inconvenience. Oh joy. I could take some safe driving course which will remove the points from my record, but that option costs more than the ticket, and I think, with car damage, won't help my insurance rates (which will go up), so why bother? I'll have to call the insurance company and ask.

On the good side...Saturday morning I did 56.31 miles of MS150 preparation. What I'm more proud of - after 25 miles I checked the average speed. 17.7 miles an hour. After 50 miles I checked it again (OK, granted, with more than two checks in between). 17.7 miles an hour. That would be approximately 15 miles an hour faster on a bicycle than I rammed the bumper of the potty mouthed granny from Jersey who hasn't grasped the concept of a stop sign. Then I slowed down at the end and finished at 17.4 miles an hour, but still...I was pleased about that. This average doesn't adjust for stopping at lights, or slowing around corners and having to rebuild momentum. It counts everything....so 17.7, or even 17.4 is pretty damn good, I think. The big difference from Wednesday, in my opinion - very little wind Saturday morning.

ps. later in the day - I did call the insurance company, and apparently it does matter. My rates are going up either way, but they'll go higher with the points....so I guess I'm schoolin'.


Friday, July 06, 2007

the late start

Ya ever have one of those days where you open your eyes and....it's lighter in the room than it ought to be. You pick your head up off the pillow and look at the clock and...oh shit.

Well, we're there in the lumberyard today....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

slacker boy

OK, I slacked a bit. I told myself on Tuesday (in one of the many conversations I have with myself) that since Wednesday was a holiday, I'd go bike riding in the morning instead of going to the gym. That was shortly after I indulged with, not one, but two krispy kreme donuts Tuesday morning. Someone delivered several boxes of them to the break room. In a moment of weakness, I dove in. The weather man Tuesday night wasn't all that encouraging. It had been raining, and he said it should let up by...Wednesday afternoon. Still, I set the alarm to get up early and thought...we'll see. It was the same weatherman who once said there was zero chance of rain on a Sunday when the Jaguars played at home. There was a torrential downpour that sent us home, sopping wet, at halftime.

The alarm went off Wednesday morning, and it was about all I could do to drag myself out of bed, fully expecting to see the day wasn't one for riding. But when I looked, it didn't seem too bad. I didn't know if I should be happy to go riding, or disappointed because I wasn't dragging my butt back to bed. The roads were damp (like it had rained several hours earlier), but not overly wet. I decided to go for it.

I only went 50.34 miles though, averaging 16.6 miles an hour...not quite as far, or as fast as Saturday. There was no rain, but the wind was a killer, and it was in my face the last half of the ride, so I was a bit slower. Downwind, downhill at one point though, it gave me a new lumberyard bicycle land speed record - 27.5 mph.

Doing that made me wonder about the comments made by bike fitter dude, when he was giving me tips on riding in groups. He supposedly rides in a group that does an average of 30 mph. Right now, that's incomprehensible to me. With or without the wind, you still have to pedal that fast, and even at a few miles an hour shy of 30, I wasn't going to do it for very long.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

bits and pieces

So Dubya spared Scooter Libby the opportunity to be prom queen at the federal pokey.

I still find that whole situation laughable. They convicted him of lying to a Grand Jury. OK, I'm not saying that's a trivial matter. It's not. That act should not go unpunished. But the underlying premise was that he could have been convicted of treason for disclosing the identity of a CIA operative. No, he couldn't, because he didn't. If he did, he'd have been skewered fifty ways from Sunday by now, in ways Dubya could never have undone. The only people who thought she was a CIA operative were, well...her...and her husband, who thought he was a diplomat, even though nobody was employing him in that capacity. Those two are dilusionally meant for each other. Valerie Plame was no more a CIA operative than I am. Sure, it may have blown away her opportunity to become one, since the word was out that she was a paper shuffler in Washington. It may have dashed those hopes of being unchained from her desk inside the beltway for a more exciting assignment. No more dreams of stealing her way into Paris to uncover the secret behind...French Toast.

The whole terror plot in Britian and the suspects behind it have me puzzled. All this time I've been led to believe these suicide bomber people are poverty stricken, uneducated, unfortunate souls with no respect for human life, who are easily convinced to end their lives for the instant gratification of an afterlife that ends their earthly misery, and helps some cause they've been brainwashed into calling their own. These doctors apparently were educated people, not exactly below the poverty line. I would assume men in the healing profession have some regard for human life. What motivates these people to do something so horrible, and don't they get the idea that this isn't exactly the method to endear the world to your cause? Terror and intimidation don't exactly insipire the masses to say, "Oh, I want to be like you."

I'm not a huge Serena Williams fan, and I would have missed it completely if it wasn't on the TV in the gym last night. Her win at Wimbledon against Daniela Hantuchova was an incredible display of grit and heart. She went down with a strained calf muscle in the second set. She got some healing help from a rain delay, but watching her fight through the obvious pain and win was quite a show.

John Daly is rumored to have stayed at Kid Rock's pad in Michigan when he played the Buick Open last weekend. Any guesses on the over/under number for how many empties are in the recycle bin after that sleepover? I'm thinkin' we're into triple digits.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

a three hour tour (passing the 50 mile mark)

Saturday morning - 53.1 miles at an average of 17.1 miles an hour. Farther and faster than I've ever done before. Actually, coming back into the neighborhood, I hit 50 miles and was at an average of 17.4 miles an hour, but I took a slow trip around the neighborhood to cool down...hence the extra three miles and the loss of average speed.

Looking back, I've come a long way. I think I'm to the point that if I can just maintain where I am, I'll be fine in September. I'm not stopping though. It's become a bit of an obsession. I used to enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, but now I'm up at 6:00 and on the road before 7:00...back before the heat of the day settles in. Still, it's now becoming a three hour event on Saturday mornings (which really didn't hit me until one of the neighbors asked me how long it took me to ride 50 miles), and almost as much of a challenge to figure out where to go for 50 miles as it is to actually ride it.