29 September 2005


Last night it rained. I've seen it rain cats and dogs before, but this was bigger. This... this was much bigger. The rain was coming down so hard it sounded like a team of zombies was trying to break into my apartment so they could eat my brains and make a decorative lamp out of my skull and rib cage. I'm thinking that it was raining so hard, it was probably raining yaks.

When I was in college I cleaned my dorm room. Well, it was right at the end of the year, you know before you move out you have to clean your room, and I think it was the first time I'd ever cleaned my room that year. As such, there was a lot of dust under the bed. Hair, dust, fuzz, lint it was all there in abundance. A once friend of mine, a guy who called himseld Merik, commented that while other people had dust bunnies under their beds, I instead had dust yaks. I thought that was pretty witty, and I've made referneces to it ever since.

But I digress. Before it started raining I decided to go climb around on a rock wall a few steps outside of my apartment building. The wall is only about 6 or 7 feet tall, 40 feet long and is made of really gnurled, natural rock looking/feeling bricks. There's a ton of stuff to hold on to and a done of places to put one's feet. It is a rather simple traverse so I had to think of ways to make it more difficult.

For example, I would only allow myself to crimp or grip the stone at a 90 degree angle to the ground, or I would only allow myself to match feet before moving to another hold. I wouldn't use the top edge of the wall for it gave too much surface area, but I could use the top edges of the lower bricks... things like this, simple games and things, will hopefully help me improve my gripping strength and my posture on the rock.

Another game to play was keeping my body, my butt specifically, as close to the wall as possible by turning my hips to the side as I traversed. I tried finger stacking, edging, crimping and anything else I could think of, before it started raining. I think this might be a good way to pass some time. It is the first time I'd tried it, but it was fun. I can see how it'd get dull over time but as a little practice piece for giggles, it ain't so bad. Better still, it's free.

It does, however, remind me that I might need a new pair of shoes. The shoes I currently climb in are perfectly good in terms of wear, but I think they are a bit tight. I have quite bit of feel in them, quite a bit of power in my toes... but both of my big toe nails are bruised heavily and look like they've seen better days. Mostly, I guess, because the have. The challenge then become what to buy.

Do I go for another general shoe or do I go for something more specific? There are so many brands to choose from and so many different uses for which they are specified... the search will begin, and hopefully end, without too much confusion. I do love the research portion of this process, I just don't like the part where I have to choose one pair!

28 September 2005

Creatures in My Head

This is a great website, lots of fun to sift through and just giggle.


And my 2005 week of vacation will be taken where? None other than the great old city of...

Albuquerque, NM

Not quite as awe inspiring as other places, huh? I've been told it doesn't offer much, but it does offer me the ability to ride both road & MTB, rock climb, camp, hike and otherwise just escape from Dallas for an entire week. It also offers me a free place to stay and some cheap meals, which is something I cannot argue with either.

The only catch is the 10 hour drive, but that ain't too bad compared to my previous treks from Dallas to Orlando, Dallas to Seattle, Hartford to Seattle and Dallas (or Lubbock) to Charlotte from years past. Ten hours is actually less time than I'd normally spend on the road each day in my other multy day treks, so I can't complain. A little Red Bull, a prayer for cheap gas and a few Clif bars should see me through the journey.

What I'm considering is driving from Dallas to Lubbock on Friday evening after work. If I manage that, day 2 will be cake. The only problem is where to stay in Lubbock for free. At five years out of school I don't know a soul in Lubbock anymore and I'm not willing to pay for a hotel. Instead, I figured I'd try to bum a place when I get there, a dorm lobby or the architecture building should work nicely. Both are air conditioned, both offer some comfy couches and with any luck very little harrassment because I used to do it all the time as a student. I'll just need a good place to park the car, which will likely be under a large, bright street lamp in a populated area of campus.

I'm also in the process of contacting people in New Mexico about where I should go ride and climb. I've found some things on the altar-like Internet, but I prefer personal recommendations because it might also lead to having someone along for the journey. Bouldering, especially, is more fun with two+ people so you can see how things are done. I was also hoping to find someone who might say, "Hey, I want to climb and you are welcome to join me and use my rope and shit for a day!" but that hasn't happened yet. In fact, I put a post on RockClimbing.com and have had zero response aside from one PM from a guy who won't even be in town when I am wanting to climb. Shit.

MTB riding is fine alone since I hate being stuck behind, or left by, other riders. I do know that Travis rides MTB, so he'll be a good guide for starters, but other NM clubs might provide some resources as well. The chair lifts are no longer in operation for MTB, so if I want to do some downhill I'll need to make the whole murderous climb from base to peak before I can glide back down. Might be a great challenge, if completely exhausting! I'm a little worried about the elevation change, too.

I have already found and contacted a roadie club, but I'm still worried about:
1) Riding with a new group
2) Riding a route I don't know
3) Getting dropped in a city I don't know
4) Getting stuck on a major climb everyone thinks is easy

Such is life, I'll survive.
Oh, and by the way: hello fara.

27 September 2005


Apparently, someone did not get the memo on the proper way to install window protection in the event of a storm. Not surprisingly, they are Aggies.

Tree Dodging

As posted on the DORBA forum 09/26/05

Given the high winds and the notion that Rita was going to be raining small yaks on Dallas in the afternoon, I went back to LB Houston Saturday morning for another ride. Maybe I saw a few of you out there, maybe I didn't. At any rate, I hopped on the trail around 9:30 or 10AM and did 4 laps.

There were a variety of people at the trailhead, but I never managed to ride with anyone on the trail until my 2nd or third lap when I met some dude named Mike. Mike was a nice guy and I wanted to follow him, but he pulled over and let me pass too soon so I never got to learn anything. I think we rode the same pace the rest of the trail though because he was right there at the finish, I just never heard him on the trail. Mostly, I think, because I was too busy avoiding trees.

At any rate, I left for an hour or two to check the weather (high clouds, no thunderheads) and returned for an additional two laps before calling it a day. All said and done I enjoyed every minute of it, but my bunny hopping and log stomping skills are sub-par and I'm wondering where I can go that'll teach me some more technical know-how.

Also, I'm not sure if this is a tire pressure, tire traction or suspension thing but the front end kept washing out on the faster corners. It was nothing a quick correction couldn't handle but the trees seem to look thicker and less cuddly-soft when your tire makes slipping-sliding noises and tries to go play with the squirrels right when you are cranking through a corner. I was running about 45psi in tubeless Hutchison Pythons, if that means anything.

Oh, and when I was finishing up the rear cogset was rattling and seemed loose. I guess I just need to take a wrench to it but wondered if that was normal.

Forum Response

Killer Dolphins?

No words can describe...

26 September 2005

Weekend Review

Friday night was pretty low key. Laundry, Dark Cloud 2, go to bed early. With the whole Rita thing looming in the background I figured Saturday would brings lots of wind and some afternoon rain. As such, I decided to forego the road ride at RBM and just stick to the mountain bike. I prepped my water and food so I'd have one less thing to think about in the AM, and wanted enough water to last me multiple laps.

Got up Saturday morning to... what else? Partial sun and very high clouds, but no thunderheads. Time to go ride! I got to the trail around 9 or 9:30 and there was a small crowd in the parking lot. Not much to write home about and it would thicken and thin throughout the day.

As with Thursday night my first lap was a bit slow and awkward. I felt real good, but I needed to work through the cobwebs and get my mind on track if I was going to be riding hard through the narrow single-track of LB Houston. The trail is not difficult in a technical sense, seeing as how it is flat, smooth and very fast. The hard part is ducking around the myriad of trees and making all the tight corners without losing the front tire on the hard pack. I find myself ducking shoulders and my head as I wind through, getting as close as possible and sometimes grazing the trees in an effort to straighten the line and carry more speed. The front wheel likes to slide on the fastest corners, but not enough that a quick correction doesn't pull the bike back in line.

My second and third lap were much better and much faster than the first, primarily because I was hunting down some other riders. MTB is difficult in that you are also riding alone, as opposed to in a pack. If your pace drops, it is on you alone to pick it back up and keep pushing. Riding road is a little easier to push the pace because you have other people to gauge off of as well as having the urge to bridge gaps and chase break-aways.

Lap four went just as well as the first three but I was getting brain tired and started making mistakes. After the lap I decided to pack it up and head to the office, only a mile away, to look at the weather and see what the dark clouds had in store for the PM. With everything looking clear and my legs recovering from the morning ride, I headed back to LB Houston for two additional laps. Both laps felt great and I could easily have done two more, but a few things stopped me.

1) Reserve strength for Sunday rock climbing
2) Met a girl in the parking lot that I might ride with later this week

S is for Sunday and Stoneworks.
Eric came out and we headed to the rock gym around noon-thirty. After a quick warm up on the boulders we hit some green routes (easy) downstairs so we could remember what we were doing. Eric was having an off day, which sucked because that meant he was climbing poorly and was pissed off about it all day... but I was doing well and climbing efficiently. I hit blue (harder) routes the rest of the day and conquered the second bane of my existence, route #51.

51 is upstairs and runs up silo cleavage. A well-earned name because the rounded edges are on your left and right, and you work both walls as well as the middle. The climb is long for indoor, around 80 feet and involves a lot of gaps where there are a decided lack of holds. Given my lack of stature, I am typically left with choices such as:
1) Dyno for a small hold and pray I can hang on
2) Test my flexibility by puting my feet on the same holds I am currently using for my hands
3) Toe hooking and doing things I consider unnatural for the human body

It is, to say the least, a real workout. Add to that the heat as you get up in the silo and I was leaving all kinds of sweaty salt deposits on the walls as I climbed, and was dripping sweaty onto the carpet below. Eric said it was a little gross, but fun to watch none-the-less. My palms were sweating so much I needed to chalk constantly and try to keep the holds from getting too snotty, which is never fun because it robs that confidence inspring realization that, in fact, you can hang on to something that is the thickness of a pencil.

By the end of the day I had also climbed the infamous "highest indoor climb in the United States" or whatever it is, at a whopping 110 ft. It is a blue route, but only because it makes you so damn tired. Most of the holds are huge jugs, handles and cups, with a few slopers thrown in for good measure. The route also curves about 25 feet up so you have to traverse just a tad, but this is not an issue. By the time you reach the top, which is literally the roof of the silo, you are pretty well trashed and ready for the long ride back to the floor of the silo.

Based on how I feel after that climb, I cannot imagine how people climb outdoor, pitch after pitch (I a told that a pitch is 120 ft or so) on big wall climbs or even bolted sport routes. The distance you climb and the available holds (or lack thereof) blows me away.

Fara never turned up. Too bad, really. I spoke to her on the phone Friday evening and she sounded like she had a ton of energy, probably would have been fun to meet and spend a little time with climbing, but she and her friends were out too late on Saturday night and didn't feel like climbing. Then, she was back off to Phoenix. I never really expected to meet her, but had still hoped to do so before she left town. I can't tell if she'll be another Lori, that type of connection may only come along once in a lifetime.

23 September 2005

Only in Idaho

Who knows, maybe this guy is right? Well, maybe not.

A roadie goes mountain biking

as posted in the DORBA forum on 09/23/05

A few weeks ago I decided to buy a mountain bike. I've been riding road (120+ mi a week) for quite a while and figured it'd be fun to get back on the trails and mix up the long rides with the tree dodging.

Thanks to a DORBA member I bought a wonderful bike, used (thank you Lance), and have started riding some trails. Last night I went to LB Houston because it is close to work, an easy-ish ride and I more or less remember it from 10 years ago when I raced some DORBA events.

While riding road I have become quite accustomed to the mindless folks who do not understand the concept or organization of a paceline (pick a wheel!) and the random potholes and cracks encountered on the road are not all that difficult to bunny hop and avoid, but one of the strangest things I found I need to get used to when getting on a MTB from a roadie is the fact that there are trees and rocks.

These trees and rocks seem to pop up out of the ground, rather unannounced, right in my path of travel. Now, I'll be the first to admit that sometimes my path has nothing to do with the intended path, but that's beyond the point. I mean, here I am minding my own business and cranking down a trail, fully expecting the bramble of brush and foliage to turn gently and continue on a nice berth into the forest. However, upon reaching this festive ornamentation of nettles and ragweed, I find that the trail suddenly turns left or right. On sand. This sad fact leaves me with two choices: 1) get on the brakes or 2) plowing through it.

Take last night for example. I'm probably one of the only people that is capable of falling down at L.B. Houston because he forgets to unclip from his SPDs, even though I've been using Look pedals for years as a roadie. Everything started out great. The trail was fast and clean, the trees were just far enough apart to not make me panic, and the rocks were being quite nice by staying out of my way.

Then, I saw a sign for "The Dips". This sounded like a lot of fun and, thankfully, they were. What a great extension to a trail! I can't tell you how big the grin was on my face after flying up and down through the dips, whooping with joy! Not once did I remove my hands form the bars as though I were on a rollercoaster, but some sick bastard did install some rather tight corners on the exit side of the dips, and this caused me some problems when I realized I needed to change direction in mid-air to avoid hitting an oddly position root or tree stump. Still, a great addition and I applaud the person(s) with the creativity to add this to the trail.

After negotiating this section handily I decided that the sign for "Difficult New Section" would likely be just as much fun. This, sadly, is where I fulfilled my first and second appointments with the earth. Things were going great on the New section until I encounted... what was it? Oh yes, the first turn.

The first turn seemed to navigate a route that would leave squirrels thinking, "My god, how are we to navigate such a thing?" So I plow into a tree. Then I got to the second turn, and there's another tree in my way. Well, no. I missed the second tree and did stay upright until maybe the third or fourth corner when the trail wound tightly around some more trees and went uphill over a randomly placed mound of dirt. At this point I lost all of my momentum (the .5mph I was traveling), neglected to unclip and fell over. Yep, I just fell down. Panick set in, my foot fought furiously against the grip of the SPD and that was that. Tuck the shoulder, keep your hands and arms inside the car and turn your head so as not to see it coming. From this prone position I was then able to get my feet unclipped (yes, I was still attached to the bike) and right myself on the trail.

Not to be discouraged I decided to continue onward. While valiant, this was not in the best interests of my calves, since they now look like they were in a violent fight with a very angry cat. No bother, I finished the lap with another couple of near foliage encounters before reaching open land.

After a quick rest I was out for my second, third and fourth lap before calling it a day. Folks, I'm sure all of you know this already but what a load of fun! Now, I just need to work on the "unclip in a state of shear terror and panic" portion of riding and everything will be groovy.

Emergency! Emergency!

The media has managed to drum up a fearsome, hot frenzy in regard to some mysterious force threatening to kill everyone and put millions of miles of Texas under water. It is, without doubt, a bunch of crap. I don't know what the media look like in other parts of the country but down here the obvious fact is that it isn't that bad.

New Orleans was a problem waiting to happen. They'd known about it for years and the whole thing was a matter of physics. When a city sits in a bowl, 6 ft below sea level, you are going to have problems. Houston does not sit in a bowl. Houston is, for all intents and purposes, not prone to flooding. Oh sure, some areas will flood and some areas will have trouble, but not the whole city. But instead of reassuring people of this fact, instead of using their heads and telling folks that things were not going to be all that bad, they wound up the tension and created issues.

People needed to leave Galveston and Corpus, no question. Live in a trailer? Get out. Live in a flood prone area? Get to higher ground. But now we have Houstonites on a 20 hour road trip to Dallas and huge issues arising because they are running out of time and it is more dangerous to be on the road in the storm than it would be to just sit at home in Houston.

I'm angry. I'm angry with the media and angry with Rick PErry (our Governor) for not being more reassuring and getting people to use common sense. Are we going to get a shload of rain? Yes. Are we going to get a shload of wind? Sure. Are roofs going to get ripped off some houses? Yeah, probably. Is Houston going to get turned on its head and flooded and destroyed? No.

Chill out people.

22 September 2005

I'm not a relationship person...

I had been sort of talking to a woman I bicycle with, she's cuter than cute and wicked fast on the bike, fun to flirt with and all but in the end there's nothing there. Thankfully, she's already told me that she has trouble "being with only one guy" and that she is not destined for any kind of real relationship. Having all of this information upfront and in the open is a very good thing to me and I'm thankful for it. I wish I'd heard these words this time a year ago, but I'm glad I'm hearing them now. Speaking of which...

I was talking to Lee Saturday before our MTB ride and he mentioned that Z was moving out of the house. I'm not entirely sure if that was her choice since Lee hinted that she had not done much to improve her behaviour since the last round of issues, so I'm guessing that Sean asked her to leave. They figured it'd take her a month to find a place and get out, no big deal. Yesterday we were talking on the phone and he said that she'd already gotten the last of her stuff! He said he asked her where she was going and she told him, quite matter-of-factly, "Oh, I'm moving in with a guy Im et on the Internet."

WHOA! Tap the brakes there kiddo... Essentially she met this guy through an online classified (Craig's List?). He's got a house in Frisco and is out of town 4 days a week. We're sure there will be some extra-curricular activities involved with this endeavour because that's one of the only things she's good at, and it is sad that the only other thing she is good at is feigning friendship. She is also exceptionally talented at burning bridges, but I seriously doubt that she cares about any of the people she's burned in her lifetime.

I feel sorry for her, in all honesty, because I have a feeling she'll grow old very alone. I wonder sometimes who the real Z is, but I doubt she even knows at this point. I don't know, maybe she is happy? Will she never learn? Has she learned something that the rest of us are missing?

As Lee said, and I agree, If she has learned something, I certainly don't ever want to know what it is...


No, I'm not rising form the ashes of some former life. This is actually quite mundane but I thought I'd write about it anyway, because I'm bored.

I have a profile on Friendster. So far this has resulted in very little activity by way of meeting friends, and the ones I have met have tended to be a bit flakey. I could go into this but it isn't worth it. Essentially, people who are ultimately not worth my time or effort because they are unreliable and exist amongst some pretty strange circumstances. Having said that, I was contacted by a woman last week through Friendster because of my interest in rock climbing.

Apparently, she (Fara, 31) rock climbs as well in Phoenix, AZ and was doing a search for people with climbing in their profile. She found me and sent me a note to say hi and pick my brain. Cool, I totally dig that because it is fun and there is absolutely no expectation of anything, seeing as how we will likely never meet in person. Seriously, that's fine with me. Then she tells me she'll be in Dallas this weekend for a friend's birthday and that she might want to go climb indoor to get away from the shop-aholic sort of typical Dallas-ite thing. Then she sends me her phone number and says I should keep in touch because she wants to go climb on Sunday before she leaves town.

Ok... that's different and maybe somewhat too convenient, but ok. I have not called her yet but might try tonight, just for shits and giggles. Of course, with Rita bearing down on us she is now thinking of cancelling the trip altogether. I told her that by the time Rita gets here she'll be rain and wind and that might delay some flights, but I seriously doubt she'll get stuck at the terminal.

I guess what I'm hoping for is something random to happen and inject a little sense of weirdness into my life. Like, we meet up and go climbing and I end up with another great Lori-type friend in the mix. The kind of friend you meet once and then keep in touch with for years for no obvious reason.

21 September 2005

Good Car Karma?

I just got back from Firestone. I was expecting to pay about $140 for a tire mounted & balanced, but I must have good karma going for me today. They offered me a $40 discount if I applied for a Firestone credit card, which I completed and now only owe them $98... Not a bad deal and the interest is deferred for 90 days!

Obviously, I've done something right. Just wish I knew what it was so I could do it again later.


I got screwed. On Friday night I rotated the tires and found a screw in one of the tread blocks of a rear tire, now being moved to the front. The tire has a ton of tread life on it and would have lasted quite awhile... but now I have to put a new tire on it.

Continental doesn't warranty the tire against raod hazard and the Nissan dealer won't warranty the tire against road hazard... so I'm out another $140. Oh well, easy come and easy go, I just hate it because this always seems to happen just when I'm making progress on money and getting things worked out. Then, I get popped for some extra money out of nowhere.

Shit happens.

20 September 2005

Naan impressive evening

After we rode I headed back home to clean-up, eat something and get myself together for an evening out with Lee and a bunch of single, attractive women. I completely missed out on one major opportunity though, because the girls all met up at the pool for some sunbathing before getting ready for dinner. I had no way of getting all the way across town in enough time to view the scenery, but Lee assures me I missed out on a good show. Thanks.

Dinner is to be at Naan, an Asian fusion type joint with a modern interior and posh, ritzy, FriscPlanUptown-O kind of feel to it. Spirits were high, the girls were gorgeous and the restraunt had managed to lose a rservation for 11 people. From there, it all went downhill.

After a 15 minute wait we found ourselves seated at a large round table that was probably designed to comfortably seat 8 people. With guests slowly trickling in all evening we all got to know each other better and better. Tanya, a former runner up on The Bachelor, was the birthday girl. She was pretty, somewhat talkative and relatively nice although difficult to engage in conversation. Her friends (those I can remember) were Mandi (cute), Kristin (hot), Christina (x2)(1 hot, 1 not), Chris (nice dude), Nancy (smoked, not so hot) and some other woman who's name I never caught. Mandi's boyfriend was about 1.5 hours late and, once he did show up, a complete tool. Something I found interesting was that, despite having a boyfriend (the tool) Mandi seemed to spend a reasonable amount of time looking me up and down while we sat at the dinner table. It would, of course, lead no where.

Our waitress was some asian chic with Buddy Holly glasses, a mousey voice and a memory worse than most alzheimer's patients. Most of the conversations went something like this:

In a near whisper that only two of 10 people could hear, "Drink?"
"Uhm, sure. She'll have a vodka and soda and I'll have a Kierin Light..."
But before anyone else could order or stop conversation she'd be gone for 10 minutes before returning with what was hopefully the correct order. Then, it was someone else's turn, if they were so lucky.

This continued throughout the evening and got worse when we tried to order. They ordered sushi (which I tried and enjoyed), then 9 out of ten people ordered dinner before someone threw a wrench in the works by ordering another round of drinks. Somehow, this simple act stopped the presses and I was left out of the odering process. Not to mention the fact that it took 5 tries to explain to the waitress which drinks were being ordered.
Chris: "Yes. This was a vodka & soda and we want another one of those. I would also like another Kierin Light. See, just like this one."
Waitress: "Oh, you wan two of those?"
Chris: "No. Look, we want another one of these and another one of these.
Waitresss: no response.

This continued for a few minutes before she disappeared, and I was eventually able to order my main dish. In the meantime, however, conversation was sparse. Chris was sitting to my left and was cool as hell. He was a deep south boy from Alabama that had a lot to say and was easy to chat with, but the rest of the table seemed a bit stale. Lee couldn't relate to either of the people around him and suffered most of the evening in silence, but I made due with a few shouted conversations across the table before the night was through. The ladies were, for the most part, hollow. Pretty? Yes. Conversable and willing to talk? Not really.

To make a long story short, mostly because I'm tired of typing... the food was bland, the service atrocious and the company stale. Then the check came.
Us: "Can you split this up for us?"
Us: "It'd be a rela help, you know, because no one has cash and we could just split it up."
Us: "... or ... I guess we could just write it down and give you different credit cards so you know how much to put on each one?"
Her: "Uh, no. I cannot do that."

This went on for a few minutes until Chris convinced the waitress to split his and Christina's bill off the main group. We figured this would light the fuse in her head and bring her back to reality. Unfortunately, rather than running the card for $50 as requested, she charged the full amount to Christina's debit card. Wonderful.

Then she charged it again for $50, but didn't credit the card back for the $272 she'd charged only a few minutes earlier. Even more wonderful. At this point they left the table and Chris found the manager or owner, but we didn't know it. So we start compiling credit cards and writing down how much each person owes to make it easier on her. Then we find a mistake on the bill. She's charged us for some sushi we didn't order, which just so happened to be the most expensive sushi on the menu. We're not even sure if we ate it, all we know is that we didn't order it. A complaint is sent out to the manager. Enter: The restrautn owner.

Owner: "Everyone, don't worry about it, we have everything under control. The whole table is on me."
Us: "HUH?!"
Owner: "Please come back and try us again, but tonight your whole meal is on me."

We didn't argue much and were a bit lost for words. She passed out some business cards and just as we were ready to leave... the waitress comes over begging for her job. Sorry kid, this isn't up to us. Now, some of the girls told the owner that everything was wonderful and it wasn't the waitress's fault, but I think that was a waste of time. The woman was inept, there's no other way to describe it.

Are we done? Is that the end of it? No, of course not.

Then we're off to Sherlock's in Addison. Sherlock's is a British themed "pub" that looks like a Chili's level attempt at a British pub, which is to say that it resembles a bar with green paint on it. There's a live band, some pool tables, a back patio... and the ability to comfortably host about 300 people. By my estimate, after navigating the entire place twice in search of the girls, there were about 700,000 drunken, smoking party goers packed into the place. I was, immediately, on guard. I hate this shit. Seriously, if I can't hear the person next to me or maneuver through a place without having to excuse myself every 3 seconds, I'm not happy. The only plus side was that in the act of squeezing through in search of four specific women, I was rubbed, bumped and pinched between more sets of boobs than I thought possible. And that was within 50 feet of the door.

Once we'd found the ladies, hovering by a bar in the loudest, tightest packed and smokiest portion of the entire place... conversation ceased to exist. I tried, I really did. I can talk to anyone, but the other person needs to give me something more to go on than one word answers. I didn't mind too much, I mean, I hate yelling in people's ears anyway, but then the mosquitos came. Not the type that suck your blood and make you itch, just the type that instantly gravitate toward and crawl all over any mildly attractive woman in the room. Tanya, being as hot as she is, draws them like flies to the world's largest manure depot.

So, with Lee and I more or less shuffled aside and forgotten about, we left. I lasted a grand total of 30 minutes, which is about 10 minutes more than I ever thought possible under the circumstances.

19 September 2005

Weekend, Part I.

Friday night was work on the Nissan night at my garage. The poor thing was overdue for an oil change and tire rotation so I scoffed off my normal Firday night antics and went to work on the car. Four jackstands, a tiny floor jack (pathetic 14" lift) and a few hours later I was happy with the results. In the process I also did some well-needed cleaning of the interior, checked the Brembos and added another CopperHead rail to my Yakima roof system so I could carry both bikes at the same time. All in all there is no good story here, just the fact that my car is sporting new oil, rotated tires and another rail to be adorned with stickers.

Saturday morning I went to RBM for the usual morning ride and met up with Ginny and Mike prior to our systematic slaughter of the field. It was the usual 35 mile jaunt into Sachse with a whole lot of people that have no idea what to do in a paceline or how to behave on the road. Mike was tired from racing track the night prior and Ginny was still recovering from a mountain bike race and some allergy issues. After the ride I got in touch with Lee and we decided to head back out to Arbor Hills for some MTB. Unfortunately Lee didn't have his head on straight and forgot his clipless shoes... he tried a lap of the trail in normal shoes but the SPD platforms are so small it was a pointless waste of time.

It was at this point that he asked me if I wanted to go to dinner that night for some chic's birthday, and that's when things got interesting.

16 September 2005

Windows down, volume high

I'm finding myself quite enamoured by the new Opeth album, Ghost Reveries. At first I considered the album to be somewhat over produced and somewhat too clean compared to previous albums, but the more I listen to it the more it grows on me and the more I want to hear it. The vocals, the complexity of the tracks... it seems as though they've assembled an engrossing album that hits my senses in all the right ways.

The Meeting

Last night was the undate with Melissa and Shane. I got to the Old Monk early and gave John a call to discuss the state of his race bike, his plans for getting back to the track and the general nuances of taking an obliterated race bike from the garage back to the track. It was a nice time waster until Shane arrived.

Shane and I don't hang out much. I've never made a point of spending time with anyone from work, mostly because I get my fill of them while in the office and don't really have enough in common with them to do anything consequential. As such I really don't know much about him, but I figured he was a decent guy. He is a decent guy, he's just a little on the eccentric side. Unusual, would be a good adjective.

Melissa arrived a little late but no worries. A cute gal from the mid-west she was easy to talk to and willing to entertain conversation. Things went fine, I ate a juicy burger and sipped some iced tea while the two of them drank a few beers. Conversation rotated, mostly, around Shane. I don't like to compete for conversation. I don't like to try and redirect things so that they are about me. In fact, I generally don't try to make a point of talk about myself unless I am asked, and even then I don't go into any real detail because I don't think anyone besides me is going to find it very interesting.

As such, the evening was dominated by Shane. I didn't have a problem with this aside from the fact that the man is very animated. So animated, so over the top and so in your face that it is quite annoying. Entertianing to a degree, but the depth of his animation is such that you wonder when it will reach bottom, level out and settle down. It doesn't.

Seeing as how we were just sitting in a loud bar talking about... what were we talking about? I can't remember. Kick ball? Volleyball? Some band? Crickets? Work? A mess of topics were brewed and stewed on the table but in the end my brain shut off and I more or less tuned out of the conversation. I'm generally fairly quick witted but I also tend to be mean. Rather than say something rash or risk being a complete ass, I chose to just sit back and soak it up. They took it to mean I was bored. Which, to be honest, I suppose I was!

Toward the end I was beginning to wish I had other plans. "Shit", I thought, "this is getting old".

At any rate, she's a nice enough gal but I think she'd be easier to get to know if I could talk to her one on one. We'll see what happens. I'm not looking to hit on her, I just want to include her in some of our weekly-weekend activities.

13 September 2005

A few more things

Through a co-worker in Denver, I've been put in touch with a gal that's new to the Dallas area and has had a considerable amount of trouble meeting/making new friends. I can relate to this after moving to Port Ludlow, Seattle, Burlington and Huntersville in my collegiate days. It isn't easy to go into a situation like that blind and meet people you having anything in common with or actually feel like hanging out with for any length of time. It doesn't help that she travels a lot but she does have a hobby or two so I'm sure she'll be fine in the long run.

A few other folks here at the office are trying to find ways to keep her time occupied but I'm thinking I've got a broad group of friends and might be able to help get her going. I sort of hate being in this situation though. We've got a new guy in the office that doesn't know anyone either and it has been difficult for me to warm up to him.


Time: 5PM
Place: Blue Bonnet Bicycles
Expense: $550.00

I picked up the NRS-1 last night from Lance! I wanted to ride but had already planned on popping into the gym to torture my abs. I did not get to swim but really wish I had made the time after seeing a rather cute gal doing laps when I usually do... but I was inside doing abs. I have seen her before but not too much so I decided that next time I see her I'll make a point to talk to her.

Lee called me last night and wants to get together to ride at Arbor Hills. It is an easy trail with no need for a fully-suspended bike, but it should be fun. If the timing works out we'll ride there this week, but I'm not holding my breath. I'd really like to hit L.B. Houston since it is only a few minutes from the office, and Grapevine is on the way home if I work the roads right. I'll have plenty of places to ride and plenty of people to ride with in the off-road arena so I'm really looking forward to it!

The NRS-1 really kicks some serious ass, too. Man, this bike is damn cool. I'm sure it is on the heavy side but I'm not a die hard and I am looking for something to train on, so the weight is not a big deal to me. Whatever makes me stronger will be a good thing, essentially. I rode it last night on some mild urban assault duty and the bike performed well and felt pretty good. The only thing I want to change is the stem as I feel like it is sitting up a bit too much.


I was recontacted yesterday by someone I had not really planned on hearing from in any real sense. She's sort of an old flame, but there's no heat left in the fire. She then became a friend of sorts but was never considerate or reliable enough to have any plans made without me feeling like she'd be less than flakey. So, not Miss Reliability but I have always wished it were the case.

The email was innocent enough, seeking information about some photos of New Orleans I had access to online... but I don't know. Something about the way the e-mail string was written or maybe the fact that she actually attempted some sort of dialogue via e-mail (rare for her). Whatever it was it had me questioning her motives again. She's not the type of woman that you can ever be sure you know what she's planning or scheming. She does not seem capable of knowing a guy without being physically involved with him at some point in time. The ultimate player, I suppose, but then acts as though she doesn't understand why guys don't respect her or remain friends with her for very long. She is, appropriately enough, a cunnundrum.

No real story here aside from my own curiosity about the situation. There's a lot of history to it that isn't worth revisiting.


Tonight is the GDB ride and I'm convinced that I'll be able to hang on in the final sprint. I need to use my head more on the ride though. I'll do my work in the middle portion of the ride as we hit Coppell.

There's a good stretch of road I can open up on and pull the line for a good distance, then recover and hit it hard again on Beltline. If all goes well I'll run it out and be able to sit in for the rest of the ride, but keep myself close enough to the front to arrest or join any breaks. The final point being that I want to be properly placed for the final sprint up Welch before we get back to the REI lot.

It is harder than you think, timing these things properly, and I've been too much of a hothead to pay attention to the correct timing in the past... Still, I think I might have a handle on things tonight and will hopefully make the most of an opportunity to jump ahead.

12 September 2005

A Few Things

There's an urban sport called Free Running that I'd never heard of but that I find very impressive. It seems to be more of a European thing, but I only say this because the only videos I've seen are from England and France.

I don't know much about it, though it appears to be derived from various forms of martial arts. These guys have some pretty serious strength, skill and confidence! While I would never really consider jumping off a two-story building myself, I can see how running up a wall might be a lot of fun and perhaps somewhat handy every once in awhile!

On Friday I very nearly went to Six Flags with a co-worker and her husband, but I'm gald I didn't. They would have been great company and we would've had a blast, but I went and looked at a mountain bike instead. And, lo and behold... I bought it. It is a 2003 Giant NRS-1 full suspension bike with Mavic tubeless rims, Hayes hydraulic disc brakes, Race Face cranks, SRAM X.9 rear deraileur, Rock Shox SID front and rear air shocks, SPDs... a lock out for the front fork and some other stuff.
I should be picking it up very soon, perhaps tonight if all the timing works out with traffic, the owner and the bike shop at which it currently lives. Regardless, I'm pumped!
The Neon, the 9-year-old little car that could, the paint-peeled rusty roofed little car that saw nearly every state in the union over 200,000 miles has found another home. I sold the bugger to a guy and his dad that will fix it up and likely resell it to some illegal immigrant or other person with little or no ability to purchase a vehicle through normal means. Good for them. Now, I'm sure you could be wondering what I got for the car. Let me just preface this by saying that I really was going to be quite happy if I had gotten $100 or $150 for the car. More would be nice but since it has been sitting in the parking lot for 5 months doing nothing, I didn't much care. $200 later there was no more Neon sitting in the lot. I was, to say the least, quite pleased.
Still, after so many miles, so many states and so many adventures, it is not easy to see it go. The little Neon will be missed, but it served me well over the 9 years I had it.

06 September 2005

Three Sides to Every Story

I'm not a very big Michael Moore fan but I thought this was funny.
I'm also not a big fan of people who throw in the race card...

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane
Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be
airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military
choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears
parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could
really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do
like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of
Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then
but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there
were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this
storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you
didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to
get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead
soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying
to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps.
Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane
was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you
specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New
Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them
that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there
weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you
had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I
was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the
clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of
the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and
stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to
use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out.
Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this
would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter
and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all
their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a
hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado
that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30
percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had
no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean,
it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving
white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing --
NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army
helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and
the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

Weekend Activities

I had a productive weekend in terms of physical activity. None of the really good stuff of course, but plenty of cycling and swimming to keep me busy.
Here's a senseless rundown, merely for my own record keeping purposes:

  • Popped into the gym after work for abs and swam 2 kilometers (2000m)
  • Made a trip out the the Superdrome Friday night.

  • Rode 46 miles with RBM's fastest West ride. I got dropped but fought my way back to the front twice the second time I had Warren from GDB in tow and we were able to bridge the leaders. It was a hell of a pull on my part (no really, it was). I dropped my head and pulled at 27+ for about a mile to bridge the 300m gap and keep us from completely losing the draft. Good stuff, but it blew me up and I had nothing for the final sprint.
  • I might have gone swimming after the ride, but I can't remember. If I did it was only 1000m.
  • Went to The Old Monk, What Bar and Whiskey Bar with Eric. No real progress there.

  • Woke up late after getting in at 3am... finally made it to the gym at 2pm for abs and a 1600m swim.

Monday-Labor Day
  • Got up at 6am, rode to Big Buck's for the morning holiday ride. We ended up in places I cannot name on roads I could not follow. Rode 100km (60 mi) altogether including the ride from and to home.
  • Walked the Galleria in search of shorts on sale. Found nothing.
  • Swam 1000m with Lee at the stupendously huge and wickedly consumerous Lifetime Fitness in Frisco.

All in all I had a great weekend. Didn't need or ultimately care about the Maredsous I had Saturday night. First bit of alcohol in 2 years and I can honestly say that it did nothing for me. I wasn't any more brave, wasn't any more relaxed and wasn't any more or less happy having drank it. The flavor was fine but I didn't much care one way or the other. This I find rather nice, actually. Simply reminds me that if my body is or is not craving something, it is for a reason. Just need to listen to myself more often.

02 September 2005

Storm Chaser: Katrina on tape!

A video showing the power of hurricane Katrina firsthand. Really incredible.

Even the Police are Looting!

This makes me sick. Watch the news report and you'll see what I mean. The cop even tries to play off the fact the she and her partner have been caught looting and act like she's just doing her job. Disgusting. Revolting. Pathetic. I don't know what else to say.

How can you help these people? Who wants to help these people? I sure as hell don't.

Some people can't be helped... or shouldn't

The evacuation of Hurricane Katrina refugees from the Superdome in New Orleans descended into chaos today after people started shooting at emergency services. The operation had to be suspended when refugees shot at a military helicopter over the Superdome.

"We have suspended operations until they gain control of the Superdome," said Richard Zeuschlag, head of Acadian Ambulance, which was handling the evacuation.

Zeuschlag said that military would not fly out of the Superdome because of the gunfire. Zeuschlag also said that during the night, when a medical evacuation helicopter tried to land at a hospital in the outlying town of Kenner, the pilot reported that 100 people were on the landing pad, and some of them had guns.

"He was frightened and would not land," said Zeuschlag. He said medics were calling him and crying for help because they were so scared of people with guns.

"Hospitals are trying to evacuate," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center.

"At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family.'"

From: Cycle Ranch forum on texasoffroad.net

Well last night I was watching the 6pm news when they announced the 17th street canal pumps failed as well as another break in the levee. My house is right off St. Charles Ave. and up to 6pm yesterday is was the only part of the city that was dry. Since the pumps failed and the new break St. Charles Ave. would be under 9ft of water in the next 12-15hrs. My brother and I felt if we wanted to save anything we had to leave NOW. We loaded up flashlights, rope, our medical ID's, both our .45 Glocks, 2 shotguns and rode out. En-route we listened to the radio which broad casted all the news about the looters and what not, in hindsight it was a mistake. My mother didn't want us to go by dad who is a Vietnam vet told to be safe and "shoot to kill" if it ever comes to that.

One the way we had to pass 5-6 checkpoints to allow entry into the city. We stated we were medical personnel who were activated, showed our ID and off we went. On the radio reports were coming in about the officer who was shot in the head, the 2 gunman who opened fired on the NOPD station, and how looters were carjacking cars to get out of the city. This started making my brother nervous and giving seconds thoughts.

Anyway we get to the city and it looks like a freaking war zone. The best visual I can give is the movie "Blackhawk Down" when all the Somalians are rushing the city. They are people EVERYWHERE, they are pissed off, and all have weapons, 2X4's, Axes, and guns. If this wasn't bad enough we are 2 white boys in a truck in a sea several hundred armed pissed off blacks. There wasn't a white person to be found. I couldn't get over the little 8-10yr old kids with weapons, I ever saw one carry a claw hammer!

These people were absolutely nuts rammed trucks(stolen I'm sure) in to jewelry stores stealing items, they were tearing apart Wal-Mart carrying out TV's, Playstations, DVD players, etc. One lady was wheeling out an entire rack of merchandise, not sure what it was but sure wasn't clothes for food. They were all laughing and carrying on like it's freaking Christmas.

We got stuck in traffic when we see the group of guys walking down the street w/ AK-47's, at that point the "pucker factor" kicked in, a couple Glocks and shotguns were no match for that. We haul azz trying to get to Uptown when we see these people chopping down the front door w/ an axe of this $4-5 million dollar mansion on ST. Charles Ave. I was just in total awe because it was so surreal. Making matters worse it's 11pm at night there is no electricity and you really can see anything or anyone until they are right up on you.

Our plan was to be in and out in 30min, this included putting his Harley on the trailer. It would have taken me 5-10min tops to get my stuff, all I wanted was my pictures from college, my clothes/shoes, and my computer tower. Well he got scared saying we are going to get jumped while putting the bike on the trailer. Keep in mind this is the only area in the city that is dry. So just like rats who move to higher ground these people were doing the same. Word must have gotten out that Uptown was dry so there started to be a large influx of people.

Needless to say he wanted to go home rather than take our chances. While it was the smart thing to do I was beyond infuriated w/ him because we made it this far. He just kept saying our lives aren't worth it. So we turned around, our next challenge was getting out of the city while not getting jacked. Reports came out that people were jumping in the back of truck holding the drivers at gunpoint. Traffic started to slow so I just nailed it got out as fast as I could.

Even though he was the voice of reason I'm still pissed. All I have is my life and the clothes on my back. I lost my house(which is now 9ft underwater) ALL my clothes, TV, computer, furniture, and photo albums and videos from childhood and college. What makes this worse is my brother owned the house and I was a tenant and I didn't have renters insurance, hindsight is 20/20.

I also hope everyone of the Fucking looters get Tetanus, E-Coli and F*(KING drown. I'm serious I really hope the all die for what they were doing to the city, killing people, and destroying homes. Never in my life have I ever seen people act live savages, it was truly sicking.

01 September 2005

Mom of the Year?

This mom rocks.

Looks like a good September

According to Susan Miller, this is what September holds for Capricorns...

"Try to go away this month, dear Capricorn. Next month the eclipses will arrive and bring massive changes to your career (October 3) and home life (October 17). You will be very busy then, so it would be best if you could enter October rested and refreshed. If you have hoped to take a vacation or business trip, September would be your best month to go."

Interesting, since I've been contemplating a vacation. Though I really had been looking at October since I can't think of anything to do right off the bat. Getting away wouldbe super nice, but I'm also being a stickler about existing debts and not wanting to splurge on a vacation, even if it does do me some good.

"Romantically, you are in a very positive long-range trend, one that will go far to reverse any recent disappointments in matters of the heart. Over the past two years, Saturn brought challenging conditions to this part of your life, so you may have suffered heartbreak. That difficult period ended in mid-July, thank goodness, and it won't be back for decades."

I hope this is true. The last two years really have been shit when it comes to relationships. An obsessive chic and a slew of flakey chics didn't do me any good. I don't expect an instant turn around and I'm sure it'll take some real effort, but this is encouraging.

"With Uranus in opposition, sign up for classes early..."
Why is it that my anus is always fouling things up?

The Next Jackie Chan?

I watched Ong-Bak last night. Holy shit this is a cool movie! Jaa (playing Ting) does all of his own stunts and does them extremely well. The plot is a little silly, but I don't care. The acting is a little silly, but I don't care. The fight scenes are fast & furious, and I do care about that. They don't use any wires, they don't use any stunt doubles and they certainly don't consider safety job 1.

Ong-Bak does not have the artistic touch of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero or House of Flying Daggers, but in it's own way Ong-Bak is artistic and absolute magic.
No wire flying here folks, the stunts performed are just a blast to watch!

If you enjoy Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, older Jet Li or any other martial arts film... you will thoroughly enjoy Ong-Bak. Along these same lines are the Once Upon a Time in China series and the wealth of old Chan movies.