30 November 2005

100th Post

Only fitting that my 100th post just so happens to be about how I've recieved my new laptop, have it loaded with fun programs and am writing this from the comfort of my own home since someone in the area has a wireless setup that is not locked!


I may also being seeing my girl friday on Friday if all goes well. Nice to have another girl friend, even if she won't be a girlfriend...

28 November 2005


Friday night I rearranged my apartment. Actually, Friday after work I stopped by a few Target consumption establishments looking for new entertainment style furniture so I could rearrange. I eventually found a midsize rectangular box, into which fit a small square box with a door on it. It was the perfect size (I guesstimated) for my TV and subwoofer.

The plan was to replace the "heart" chest's position in my hodgepodge entertainment center and use the chest as an end table. I didn't really know where my couches and coffee table would fit into all of this, but figured I could get it worked out once I'd gotten home, disassembled some things and mistakenly moved them into the wrong places.

Once home the box things (from here out refered to as my E.T.C.) went together quickly and easily. The smaller cube was fitted inside the larger box and fastened in place with a screw, and I decided that this would be a nice, clean location for my PS2. Fortunately, the larger box came complete with a hole drilled right in the center of the back wall so that cables could be run from various devices. The doored cube, however, had no hole in it, and this presented a problem. A problem that, after a few seconds deliberation, I decided I could fix with the use of a 1.5 inch hole saw. Two hobbled trips to the garage and a wealth of sawdust later, I had myself a hole and a perfect hiding place for my PS2.

The left half of the box, which remained open, is now populated with no less than five Case Logic CD cases. My Denon receiver and piece of shit TEAC 5-disc CD changer sit inside my last piece of Target-cheap entertainment center furniture on the left, and I still have a nice, revirberating and relatively hollow space for my subwoofer to sit on next to the TV. Since I had set up the new E.T.C. in the opposite corner from whence it existed, and had consequently drug all my furniture into one corner of the room, my next step was to place the couches. This part was easy, but I was sort of surprised they fit as well as they did. I placed the heart chest next to my loveseat (awww!) and stuck all the magazines inside so they wouldn't litter the coffee table, then used one of the Japanese rice paper lamps from the bedroom on the chest. Some Pier 1 "Ocean" votive candles now live happily on a bamboo tray (a la Container Store) atop the box, the colors of which match the Japanese wall scroll hanging above as well as the blue Chindi rug I have under the coffee table, which is sitting atop a white chindi rug as well. I know it all sounds rather girly, but I'm quite proud of the fact that my place has started to look more acceptable. Now I need some drapes.

Next step was running all the speaker wires. I have a 5.1 surround sound system from Sony, with the small speakers sitting on homemade shelves in each corner of the room. I had already run some wiring from my last set-up, but with the new placement of the ETC I needed to lengthen some wires and place some other new bits in place. I have the wiring laced up above the crown molding and held in place with thumbtacks, which works great unless you care about seeing a bunch of lamp cord up there. I don't. So, one more hobbled trip to the garage for my Hakko soldering gun and an hour's worth of clambering around on furniture placing wires, and I had my surround sound back in action. It sounds better then the last set-up because the speakers fire at the main couch instead of just into the room around it. Last time the couch was out of the focal point so the sound was good, but not great.

So, what's next? Seeing as how I have A and B speaker outputs, and two speakers sitting in my bedroom from my old POS stereo system, I thought I might run some more speaker wire into the bedroom to power those as well. It'd be an easy task to tackle tonight and I can hide the speakers on a bookshelf behind my Soulfly flag. I can have all the music I need piped through the apartment regardless of my location, and this seems like a cool idea. I might also pick up some of that plastic, automotive wire loom to make things super-ultra clean, especially the rat's nest that has been created behind my television.

25 November 2005

Random, no?

In my infinate boredom at work today I downloaded a desktop theme from AlienWare, or rather The Skin Factory that makes all my icons and windows and shit look all clean and well, alien. Not Alien like the movie, just spacey and stuff. Its rather trick, I tend to like it.

I'm leaving the office in, at most, 30 minutes. I'll head to the gym for a few hours of brow beating and then go home to... what, I don't know. No plans. My weekend is wide open and I have absolutely no idea what to do except think too much, which as well all know is the ruination of everyone. Maybe I can think less, I don't know.

Maybe, and this is the most likely, I will rearrange my apartment. Yes, exciting is it not? No, it isn't. But maybe the change will foster some incredible new creative energy in me. Hm, what that? Yeah, I agree. I'm probably full of shit. But I will rearrange my apartment, which means I'll need to buy some small piece of furniture so I can ditch that ridiculous heart chest in my living room. Ideas, I need new ideas.... I could use it as an end table... put magazines in it... perhaps a lamp? Move the TV and Stereo to a new local and have a small bit of furniture added for the TV... hm... move the "photo" to the bedroom... ("photo" will require a post all its own) and get the couch(s) more light. Yeah... yeah, that's it...

Ok, its almost time to go home and, as Max Cavalera (front man of Soulfly) would say, "fuck shit up!"

Turkey Day

My Thanksgiving could have started off better.
9:30 A.M. - My Girl Friday calls and wakes me up. Its a pleasant surprise to hear from her and she's in a good mood so I'm waking up fast. She's heaeded out to Bells to run the KTM and relive a little of her glory from last weekend's race. All is good. Then she mentions our date from Friday.

She had a lot of fun, things went great, but she's been doing some thinking. Thinking = Over analyzing. I tell her she sounds like me. She's worried. Now I am, too. Her last relationship, two.5 years in the making, ended a bit badly and her ex-b/f left the scene rather melo-dramatically and abruptly. I'd been good friends with him, but when took off and made no effort to get in touch with me, I more or less just figured he was doing his own thing. I didn't think much of it.

She mentions again that she had a lot of fun with me at the game and at dinner, that things went great and "then there was that kiss, which was great, but I feel strange about it". She mentioned this to me Friday night... it bugged me but I thought she'd get past it. Goddamnit, she didn't.

From what I could gather, she said this a bit quickly, she feels strange being with me so soon after splitting up with him; primarily because she doesn't know how he'd feel about it should he turn back up in town. Maybe she's needing some closure? I don't know. Maybe she just needed an excuse to back out? Who knows. Doesn't matter.

She tells me she still wants to spend time hanging out and doing things, just without the romance. "I'm fine with that", I tell her, "I understand".
"Well, that's enough of that then, moving on..." She changes the subject abruptly.
She's disappearing for the weekend on two wheels and I figure she's going to try and clear her head of work and life stress. Good for her. I want her to be happy, and if I need to just be a friend I can do that... I don't like it as much, but I do enjoy her company and figure I'd rather have a friend than nothing.

I've had far too many flakey women in my life this year so I hope she doesn't become another one of them. Too many "friends" that went weird on me and disappeared. Susette, Christy, Jen, Hilarie... Although, thruth be told, with Hilarie I more or less stopped calling her. I can't take that much negativity.

Now I'm just getting all this out on paper so its out of my head. I don't want to be negative about it, nor do I want to dwell on it and make myself think I've done something wrong. Shit happens, it didn't work out and its not that big a deal. I guess I'd gotten my hopes up, which is my own fault, but it still stinks.

The rest of Turkey Day was pretty straight forward. Went to Amy & Scott's place around noon. Scott got me on Project Gotham Racing 3(PGR) on his new XBox 360 and I managed to win him about $500,000 in short order. The game is fun, much more realistic than GT4 and a hell of a lot more fun. We ate some great turkey & ham, had my brandied peaches and lots of other great grub. Then back to the Xbox for Halo, Project Gotham (against Live opponents) and Quake 4.

Playing PGR3 live was pretty cool. Most of the people online were not all that talented at driving and spent more time trying to cop stop me off the starts than actually race. It pissed me off for awhile but in the end its fine... I would clean pass them and then walk off into the distance or lead off the start and just wax the floor with them.

All in all it was a good Thanksgiving, just wish I'd had that one more thing to be thankful for, you know?

23 November 2005

A few events

I haven't said much about my Stars date Friday night, but not for lack of good news. Everything went very well. Seeing as how I'm competing for her attention, I want things to go well and don't feel like jinxing myself...

I found this great photo from the Macau Grand Prix... Not sure who the rider is but it gives a little sense of what these guys are up against during the race... Unfortunately, a French rider was killed in free practice this year.

My laptop has finally been ordered. Lee sent me a 30% off coupon on Monday morning and I got it all spec'd out and ordered yesterday. Ship date is December 1st, but I've been told they quote long so we'll see when it arrives. Essentially:
Dell: 1.6 GHz Pentium M, 1 GB RAM, CD burner, 15.4" screen, 80 GB hard drive...

Turkey Day is tomorrow. Aside from all the good food, I'm not sure why we celebrate what is essentially the beginning of the end for the Indians. Sad really, if you think about it. They helped us live through winter and we repay them by slaughtering them all... America the disease?

I bought Empire yesterday at Titan Comics but have yet to get started in it. I also picked up the Serenity series from Dark Horse, but its only three issues bridging the TV show Firefly to the motion picture. I read those last night... Empire looks pretty interesting though, and after reading Identity Crisis and Watchmen I'm really starting to get into comics and "graphic novels" to the point that I think I'd like to try and write one... though I know that would not be easy.

I like pictures, I like complex plots and I like costume supers. Call me crazy.

Going up to see Eric's new house in McKinney this afternoon after I workout. He's stoked, and I'm happy for him to be out of his parent's place.

I've had a lot of emails from Kim recently. She's still telling me about all her vivid sex dreams (involving me) despite the fact that she's married with a two year old. It's freaky. Probably doesn't help that I wrote her back once, but now I regret it. Damn me. Too strange, too weird... Maybe I'll start writing dime-store smut, too?

I want my laptop. I to write. I also want a digital camera. I need ideas.

Bored, bored, bored.

21 November 2005

Motorcycle Racing Women

Specifically, some friends and acquaintances of mine that race motorcycles were featured in a TV broadcast... which can be seen HERE. They also race cross country and enduros, and all three of them won their respective races this past weekend. From left to right are Susette, Amber and Cathy.

18 November 2005

Good family Karma

Nancy let me know that her artwork and illustrations will be featured in a Neighborhood Gallery of sorts in Brooklyn. As I understand it she has been recognized as a stand out in her area and they want to display some of her work. I think this is also the type of gallery that is visited by more than just the general public, so I am hopeful that the right people will realize how much she can do with her artwork! I'm excited for her and hopeful. You never know who will see it, and I imagine the galleries are visited by decision making type folks and people who may see a real need for her style.

She's a trooper, I have to give her credit for never letting go of her goals. She's a hell of a lot more driven than I am so I really hope it pays off for her. She's in a tough market and trying to make it on her own in a career that is so competitive I can't even put it in words!

Honestly, I think I have it easier than she does in terms of freelancing. Depending on the magazine or topic I can probably change my style to suit my audience. Technical, sarcastic, emotional... but she has one specific style that she has developed, and she has to find people that want that specific style or see it and say, "Damn, that's what we're looking for!"

Finding those people and getting in front of them must be a daunting task, and I can only imagine what she's been through in getting there. I honestly wish there was some way I could help... so, assuming I get into some magazine and they need some cool illustrations to accompany my piece, she'll be my first call!

Freelance News

Here's an email string from RacerX magazine...

Dear Greg,
Thanks for the note and thanks for the offer. We actually had Mike Lafferty, the third-place finisher, trying to keep a journal of the race for us. Otherwise, I would take you up in a second. Maybe we can squeeze in something as a sidebar? Either way, I do appreciate the offer to do something for Racer X on what looks like one incredible race!

Me: Thank you for your encouraging response. I remember watching Mike Lafferty on the hill climb and through the Texas Stadium sections of the course, and I'd hate to think that my article would be chosen over that of someone who had actually competed in the event! When I wrote the piece I had envisioned it as a companion to an actual story about the race, not as a stand alone article. If you do wish to publish my piece as I sidebar, I think that would be ideal.

Please let me know if you would like to pursue this route as I am anxious to see it in the publication if at all possible. I feel that your readers would enjoy seeing another perspective on the race as it compliments the riders and provides readers with yet another way to appreciate what the competitors were up against down here in Texas.

RacerX: By all means proceed. Send it over as soon as you can. DC

Me: Please let me know if there is anything else you need. I will be more than happy to submit more potential content if you give me some feedback on what you would like to see in the future. I have been involved in road racing (CMRA) here in Texas and love having excuses to go to events even if I'm not the one racing!

So, at this point it is looking stronger and stronger, but I get the feeling they still need to thoroughly read through the article and see if they like it. The first email is from Davey, I guess Bryan is the Managing Editor and forwarded my email to him. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I'll keep y'all posted.

Another publication?

There's a possibility that I'll get my article published in RacerX as well. The managing editor contacted me via email and said, 'had Mike Lafferty not been competing in the event and keeping notes, we'd take you up on your offer for sure' and added that they might 'use the piece as a sidebar if that's ok'. I wrote him back and told him that idea was perfectly cool with me, as I had intended the article to be used in that fashion anyway. This isn't entirely true, but it is a convenient spin on what I have available and what was needed from the magazine.

I might try to call him as well and touch base, perhaps trying to further my point and be included in the publication. We'll see what happens.

For now, I'm still burdened with the fact that I have trouble conjuring up things to write about at random. That and, at the present moment, I'm starting to feel a little nervous... but that has nothing to do with writing, and more to do with this evening.

17 November 2005

Lake Elsinore Grand Prix

Amber was racing at the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix last weekend and took a pair of 3rd place finishes without ever riding, let alone seeing, the course before! Hell, she even flew out the night before and woke up to race the next morning!

Here are two pictures from the race. Neither of these are of Amber or her podium finishes, but they are hilarious. Apparently, this guy did a 100 mile race on Sunday with the dog riding along the whole way!

My first press hit.

I have my first press hit, and I'm rather proud of this one!
Last night I had a voicemail from Jean at Dirt Rider Magazine. She said they "really loved" my article and wanted to put it online (if that's ok) in a section called Weekend Warrior. I figured that was cool and called her back, but it was already past 8 P.M. so I didn't think I talk to her until today.

This morning I got to work and decided to jump online and see what this Weekend Warrior column was all about. I figured it was somewhere on the site, but I wasn't expecting much. I open the main page and BOOM... there's my article at front and center on the homepage! I nearly shit myself, and immediately found two typos.

16 November 2005

Sweet Photoshop work!

My friend Jon (who's sire is somewhere in my links section) did some excellent photoshop work on these photos of his son at a car show. Check out those full sleeve tattoos! Click 'em for full size shots.

Bathroom Humor


I'm going to a Stars game Friday night. It'll be my first hockey game in about a year. And... its a date. Here's our view from the seats I picked up online.

I can't relate.

I was sitting at Starfuck's last night sipping on- a bastardized, raped and pilliaged- coffee product with some folks from the TSBA. Everyone was chatting it up, having a nice time of things. Normally, we can pretty well relate to anyone regardless of what we may or may not have in common and conversation doesn't come too awkwardly. We talk about tires, gizmos, recent rides or just stuff in general, but largely moto related. By and large, everyone present was mid-30's and older. Also present was the girlfriend of an aquaintance and, while nice enough (and a rock climber) a bit too young. She rides and can talk some about that, but last night she was excited because she's getting ready to turn 21.

She was rather vocal about it, I'm sure she wanted other people to be happy for her being able to legally consume alcohol at a bar, but I don't think anyone could really relate. Most of the people present had kids, could barely remember being 21 and probably didn't care if someone could or could not consume alcohol, especially considering most of them choose not to at all. It wasn't really that big of a deal, but I'm sure she felt uncomfrotable when no one had anything to say about it and pretty much just went back on about their business of talking about GPS devices for the motorcycles.

It wasn't a big deal, it just struck me as funny.

14 November 2005

A nice Monday

Today, Monday, has been rather nice to me. I'm walking well despite the boot and this morning I sent my little article about Last Man Standing (revised & corrected from what you see) to numerous publications in an effort to get some feedback. I don't expect any. Now, though, my creative brain is beginning to wake up again and I feel the need to plug out some more work and get it sent off. To do this, of course I need a laptop. Sadly, I am no closer to making a decision about one than I was several days ago. My present conundrum involves going for a base-level unit from Circuit City or a custom job from Dell or HP. For the extra money I can get some good features custom, but it'll be quite some time before I have it in my hands. And, of course, is it then worth the extra $300-$400 I'll spend on the extra bits? Probably so. I need to wait.

So far I have contacted and/or sent my little feature article to the following publications:
RacerX (www.racerxill.com)
Dirt Bike Magazine

Most are print and web publications, several are web only. I figure all I need right now are press hits and some feedback if I can get it, but I don't actually expect anything to happen. I'll be quite pleasantly surprised if any of these pick me up, to be honest. Instead, I need to write more. I need to write a lot more. And I need to be sending this stuff out constantly if I am to get any kind of responses.

The effort doesn't bother me, but the lack of good topics does. I like to write about things that affect me on an emotional level because I stand a better chance of conveying my feelings than simply telling someone who did what and where. But, to get that sort of "connection" to an event I need to experience it, and I generally need to do so with someone else so that I know I'm not the only one being wraought be X or Y emotion. Creativity on demand is rough, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has the ability.


My other thought is that I'm much better at talking about one particular event or instance as opposed to talking about an entire shindig. I read a book last year called The Best American Travel Stories 2000 (thank you Nancy) that was edited by Bill Bryson and clearly illustrated (in words) a point he made in the foreward. Essentially, Bryson tells us that to write memorable and effective non-fiction we need not talk about every mundane detail concerning a particular place or time. Instead, we need to talk about a specific event. So, if you take a 3 day or 3 week vacation in Belize, don't talk about the entire trip...

"Then we packed and the plane was 2 hours late and we landed and it was warm and the bugs were biting and we found this old lady and we ate and we swam..."
Instead, pick on anecdote and talk about one particular instance on the trip that stands out in your mind because it was touching, halting, inspirational or simply weird...

"...we found this 7 inch long bug in our bed that looks like a dinosaur..."
In this manner we can captivate the reader's interest and hold them on a topic, as opposed to drowning them in senseless detail. Technical writing is, of course, another monster entirely.

This, of course, is what I try to do normally on this Blog but somedays I'm on, and somedays I'm not. Then again, this is nothing more than mish-mash from my brain and I don't expect anyone (except Jon, Rogge and Tony) to really see it... but that's beside the point.

I also don't typically start my stories at the beginning. I like starting from the middle or the end, and then conjuring up some mangle of paragraphs that lead into the fun thing I opened with at the start of the whole story. It is a bit like watching a Tarrantino film, I suppose. Only not as cool.

Keep your fingers crossed for more good news (creative life or otherwise) this week.

13 November 2005

Last Man Standing.

Headlight ablaze and beams of guiding light streaking from the helmet mounted HIDs, the first rider of the night arove at Joshua Tree Hill. Witnessing his ascent of the hill was like watching an angel ascend into the heavens. It was an image of beauty, and evoked feelings of awe and inspiration from everyone gathered on the hill.

His line was nearly perfect. Some extra momentum at the base of the hill and four quick blurps of the throttle saw David Knight's KTM bound up the steepest and most technical hill climb of the day. From the base he was in complete control, his line took him to the left of a rut that nearly every other rider would follow, carving deeper with every pass. Knight's meteoric ascent carried him inches from the fans before he leapt the bike up and over a steep, earthen ramp nearly 4 vertical feet tall. He landed squarely and burped the bike up between the peak's boulders. Reportedly, he then thanked the course marshalls before disappearing out of site.

In the silence of the evening we debated the best route up the hill, but with every approacing rider came a sense of calm. The crowd hushed and we leant forward in anticipation. Glances were exchanged and grins broadened as lights pierced the bleakness of the night and the wail of a screaming two-stroke or burping torque of a four-stroke announced the arrival of the crowd's next hero. Like beasts prowling for their next meal, competitors tore through the brush before creeping, surveying the obstacle -their prey- seeking the tell tale weakness that would see them strike at our hearts and rise to the pinnacle on a roost of dirt and rock.

Sitting on that hill we all knew, and spoke openly, of our own inability to accomplish the task at hand. These riders were a breed apart from us and we could only but hope to possess a faint shadow of their bravery, skill and determination. And yet, standing on that hill together, witnessesing their heroics, we all began to realize that there was something we shared with each of theses riders.


We know it is fear, we sense it as they pause and survey the sheer magnitude of Joshua Tree Hill. That slight hesitation, the drop of the revs to a percolating staccato, and the way their head has to tilt back, HIDs blazing, as their eyes search for a plan of attack. Together we breath deeply to calm the nerves, then we see their shoulders set and we realize that nothing will stop from completing this seemingly impossible climb.

It may have only lasted a few seconds each time a competitor approached, perhaps we know only of a sliver of this commonality. With our hearts in our throats we could share something with each of them before they put everything aside and tended to the task at hand. We, of course, clung to this paralyzing emotion as though it bound us to each rider. But from this fear we also derived our energy, and that is what we gave back to each of our heroes as they proved to us that what we stared at in wonder, was nothing more than a minor deterant on their 40-mile loop of the Texas backcountry.

I don't know if they could hear us, but we helped them in the only way we knew how. We screamed. We cheered. We applouded. And, above all else, we hoped. Like so many armchair quarterbacks yelling at TVs on a Sunday afternoon, we yelled through the trees and urged each rider forward. Upward. We willed traction into their tires and attempted to stabilize the loam as it roared from their wheels in massive roosts of horsepower and desperation. For some, our energy worked and they vaulted to the crest, though not without supreme effort. For others, our pumping fists and rapt yells of "Go! Go! Go!" were not enough. Several riders fell, their bikes tumbling to the base of the hill. Wounded but not deterred they would remount, restart and pull more energy from the cheering. To our delight, and their relief, the second attempt was usually successful.

In many instances our heroes were assisted to the top by a group of orange vested, selfless, sacrificial lambs who would throw themselves into a rocky roost, on a treacherous incline, in an effort to arrest our hero from a painful tumble down the hill. Human chains were formed as course marshalls pulled the bikes up right and stablized them enough for the rider to... Remount the bike?!

This is now beyond bravery. Sitting motionless on an incline steep enough to give a billy goat indigestion, our hero decides that the only way to be on of the Last Men Standing is to ride to the top. And more often than not, and help from no less than 6 marshalls and a wide open throttle, ride he would.Another brazen roar errupts from the gathered fans and we exchange more looks of wonder and wild appreciation. Then we fall silent. We are saving our strength in anticipation of the next shrill scream or throaty burble that announces their arrival.

Our hearts race again as the leaves glimmer with the light of another hero.

11 November 2005

We have a woman deliver lunch to the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from a local deli. Those who want to buy fresh salads and sandwiches can do so as they wish and she drops the shit off in the morning.

To notify folks that she's in our lobby we send out an email to the office. Today, I sent the email... and I sent it to everyone. Everyone. Everyone in the company. Everyone in Dallas, Chicago, New York, LA, Seattle, Orlando, London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

So far I've had about 35 to 40 emails (of the 12,000 possible recipients) asking me to fax everything from tuna salad sandwiches to BLTs and Doritos to offices across the world. This, of course, has proven to be a challenge.

My fax machine is now printing in Mayo and there's lettuce stuck in the paper feeder. I've got roast beef simmering inside the Xerox as too many people requested it (needed to make copies so there'd be enough to go around) and now people want drinks to wash it down.

Amazing how much trouble one can get themselves in when you are not paying attention.

Good news all around.

Last Man Standing is this weekend:

"200 riders, side-by-side, line the top of a plush, green valley. No lines, no trail, just pure virgin terrain lies ahead. Silent engines belie the madness about to begin.
Across the valley a mile away, a signal fire is lit, engines roar to life and 200 riders launch into a bomb run down into the valley. Straight ahead, a dense forest challenges the closest distance between two points theory. Simultaneously, 200 riders need to decide right, left or straight into the thick of it. The fire marks the exit of the valley at the end of a long hill climb, but it’s only the beginning."

We already know, this is going to be an awesome event!

The last 12 hours have been getting better and better. Got a nice phone call last night, found out I am allowed to walk again and I'm thinking it can only continue to get better.
Doctor Royer: These x-rays look great. You ready to walk again?
Me: Hell yeah! Do I need to wear that stupid boot?
Dr.: Yeah, for the next three weeks-...
Me: Curses!
Dr.: ...but you are allowed to take it off for activities.
We then went through the laundry list of activities and what I am and am not allowed to do:
Walking (in pool and out), swimming, driving, weights, road cycling and the like are fair game.
Jogging, rock climbing, mountain biking, strenuous activites & falling on my leg are all out.
Now all I want to do is walk around.

09 November 2005


Just a second ago I reminded myself of something Lee and I talked about last night at dinner. We were talking about how the years and months go by or something terribly reflective that people talk about when they are being reflective, and I mentioned that once I get three to four (sometimes less) days past an event, I more or less forget that it happened. Or, more to the point, I cannot accurately differenciate between one day/event and the next. Maybe this is normal. Maybe no one can keep these things straight, but Lee sure thought it was strange.

Each morning I get up and get myself ready for work. Oddly, I need to pause for a good while to make certain that I can remember what shirt/pants/tie combination I was wearing the day before. I do this so that I do not accidentally pick up the same shirt or tie and wear it two days in a row.

Howard Jones - No One is to Blame I have always wondered who sang this song...

Additionally, I would have a very difficult time telling you about my weekend at this point. Actually, in two days I will have a very difficult time telling you what happened last night. Who did I talk to, what did we talk about... its all a blur. Last week? HA! Forget it. If I could remember last week's events even hlaf as well as last month I'd be doing really well.

Now, I don't think anyone can remember anything from last week or month in any amount of detail but let me put it this way. I broke my leg on September 28th, right? Right. Prior to September 28th is a complete and total blur. Truly. I can't really break through the fuzz to recall, in any clarity or definition,-...

Poison - Every Rose has its Thorn

... a time at which I did not have a broken leg. That, my friends, is screwing with my head. Its been like this for years though. Ohh, man. Last year? Forget it. Last year feels like last decade to me. March? Nope, sorry. I remember that I started rock climbing in March, and I started hardcore cycling in April... but the only real memories are little points that stuck out for one reason or another. In May I went to the beach a week. I had a kite, and I couldn't go body surfing. We saw a band. Hm... sorry, that's it. What sucks even more is that most of these memories are either bad news or events that lead me into bad news. -

Police - Every Breath You Take

... Not that the beach was bad news, don't get me wrong, but other events I don't feel like delving into were all leading into bad news. What a bunch of crap, huh? Hm. Anyway, I don't know if this is very strange or not, but it does provide me with something to sit here and write about so I suppose that's a good thing. One has to wonder what is normal. Which, I might add, bring up another question.

With all the prescription drugs on the market for anxiety, depression, A.D.D. and all those other wierd ailments of the mind... how does one ever determine that something, anything, is wrong? I mean, if you spend your whole life feeling like yesterday was last month and last month was the 1980's, how are you supposed to know that anyone else thinks differently? Curious.

I want laptop. That's my random thought right now. I think I'm tired of waiting to buy one, too.

38 Special - Hold on Loosely

Baron of Bagatelle

Today, I am the Baron of Bagatelle. Confused? I am a King of Nothing. Worst of all, I can't think of a damn thing to write about. Nothing new has happened, nothing abnormal or even unusual.

Last night I had dinner with Lee at PotBelly Sandwiches. We talked shop and BS'ed about guy shit. After that we cruised over to the TSBA meeting at Spring Creek BBQ for the monthly meeting and minor social gathering. Caught up with the crew, learned some new things, told more people I still have a broken leg. The usual shit.

I'm ready to be active again. Its fucking gorgeous outside, if you consider 85 degrees and slightly humid in November beautiful, and I'm still stuck doing nothing. I'm going to the gym tonight. I should have started going back last week but didn't have the vibe. Now, I'm ready to go. I need to get in there and do something (anything) before I go nuts. My energy is down, I've been getting home and felt blasted but still have some trouble sleeping. The sleep trouble is likely due to the leg thing and difficulty getting comfy.

I've added a new streaming audio link to the page. This one is for RadioSkipper, an all request 80's/90's station that actually does play what you request. I know, simply because I've tried it. I'm getting an earful of 80's now. Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer and a minute ago was some band called Europe. Now I'm hearing Paul Young, whoever the fuck he is...
I don't like the fact that I think too much. Really, I'm getting tired of it, but I'm having a lot of trouble thinking less. I'm sure the issue here is obvious: If you try not to think too much, you are constantly thinking about not thinking, which only means you are still thinking too much. It is, I suppose, a Catch-22. I think the biggest kick in the pants is the fact that what I'm thinking about, the things I'm overly concerned with, are not all that important. While I do find some solice in the fact that I have no real concerns in life, I also sort of wish I had a little more to be concerned about. Let's review my worldly concerns:
  • Laptop
  • Girl
  • Freelance writing
  • Find a new job
  • Mending leg
  • 2006 vacation
That's it. See? Money isn't on that list. Jobless? Nope, isn't there. Family issues? Nope. My worldly concerns involve nothing more than what to do with my free time, money and future.
OOH! My song is starting... would you believe my two requests are:
Cindy Lauper - Time After Time & Dire Straights - Money for Nothing - Weird, huh?
See? Nothing to worry about, nothing to really think about... and yet I still think too much. Do I want to spend X or Y on a laptop. Do I want to get A or B for my sister for her Birthday. Should I call her or shouldn't I? Fifteen minutes after most of these things come up, I forget about them.

08 November 2005


"Finally, a pill I can take daily." -L. Nolen


I used to think that I was a reasonable and patient person. I liked to think that I could sit back, relax and wait for important events to transpire. It is, of course, safe to say that I have no desire to wait and a propensity for rash decisions. In fact, I don't enjoy making decisions at all. Once I am sold on some thing or idea I am fully committed, (even to the detriment of my own health) but I'm just afraid of choosing the wrong thing to commit to... so I only make big decisions.

I suppose I could make apologies for this and try to explain how it all started in my childhood; that by some strange fate I grew up with this abnormal manner of only making decisions about important issues (things involving mass amounts of money, for instance), and not making any decisions about what I consider unimportant issues (where to eat dinner, weekend plans). Am I considered capable of making the right (or best) decisions at a moment's notice? Not likely. In fact, I already know that I possess only adequate decision making skills and that rash & impulse behaviour does enter into the equation. In this manner, I guarantee myself a small bank account.

Sometimes I do a shload [shit-load] of research and come to a decision, but instead of acting upon it immediately I have this funny feeling I need to wait. I suppose this comes about because whatever it is I'm trying to make a decision about really isn't all that pertinent. Of course, the only way I can get to this point is by exhausting all the possibilities, finding every possible avenue before finally discovering that I don't really care.

A good example of this is my choice of hobbies for 2006. I had "made my decision" knowing full well I'd change my mind about 17 times in the process. True to form, I have done just exactly that.

I have been looking at getting back into AutoX or karting or, alternatively, continuing to pursue rock climbing, cycling and maybe delving into more outdoor sports and finally taking that trip to the mountains (or some foreign country) I have been thinking about for the last 6 months. I had the budget set and the plan (to go racing) was ready to be set into action. Then, I waited. It was not necessary to jump right in and do something about it and I've been trying to walk away from racing for some time, so it was only logical to let things sit for a little while and see what happened. I planned on waiting until next year and giving myself the option of attending some events before making any big purchases, so perhaps I have started to break the cycle I had entered some years earlier. At any rate, I'm glad I waited because yet another opportunity presented itself and I'm now researching laptop computers.

And yet, despite my feverish desire to try my hand at creative writing (and get paid for it) I am faced with yet another conundrum. Do I try to work through some back channels and get a steep discount on a system, or do I simply go upfront and pay retail? Given the discount I'm sure this looks like a no brainer, but let me explain. If I go in through the backdoor for a discount, I will need to pay cash. I'm not crazy about parting with that kind of money up front so the option of putting the purchase on a 0% rate credit card and paying it off over 3 months is far better for my mental and fiscal health. Then again, I hate having debt and prefer to pay cash... but in this instance it might be the more sensible and intelligent option, despite a potential discount. On top of that, I think I can get a small (8%) discount through my employer.

See, I hate making decisions.

Opt Out?

Think back to the last life changing or life altering decision you had to make, especially one that turned out badly. Did you ever fee like, prior to making that decision, you had the chance to get out of it? Every time I have broken some bones or had a nasty accident, I can think back to when I was being given multiple opportunities to get out of that situation. I know that sounds odd, but it usually comes down to either a split decision or a scenario involving multiple choices. Here are the instances that stand out in my mind the most. Funny, all of these involve two wheels...

August 1999-Seattle: Jim and I were planning on taking the motorcycles to dinner. Cynthia had a cold and didn't want to ride. We went back and forth about whether we should take the car so we could all go, or take the bikes and leave Cynthia at home. Or, take the bikes out for a spin, then return home for Cynthia and head to dinner. We went back and forth over this minor issue for some time. As it turns out, we took the bikes for a spin, but upon reaching the third traffic light Jim realized that he'd forgotten his wallet in all the bustle. He turned at a light and I tried to follow, but ended up dumping the bike on a tricky low-speed maneuver and breaking my right collarbone.

October 2003-Texas World Speedway: It was day 2 of a track weekend at TWS with the F4i. I had been in group 2 (classroom shit) and decided to move up to group 3 (track only) at the start of the day. I was given the option to stay in Group 2 until after lunch, or at least until after Session 1, but instead decided to jump right in with the big dogs. I was approached by more than a few people about foregoing that decision, and 15 minutes later the F4i lay wadded in Turn 1 and I was (i have been told many times) lucky to walk away unscathed.

May 2004-Hallett, OK: Our motorcycle racing team, Fujiwara Tofu Shop, was at Hallett for a 4-hour endurance race. Having consistently set fast laps during Friday practice, we were discussing whether or not I should start the bike in that morning's race. I was running quick laps but had never started the bike. We went back and forth, weighing the good and the bad (speed, lack of experience, lack of working tach, nerves) and it was decided that I would take the dubious honor. At the start I brain farted (over-rev + too little/no clutch slippage) and looped the bike over at the flag. I took the weight of the bike on my left foot and suffered two very painfully broken metatarsels.

November 2004-Henderson, TX: After spending all day practicing with the recently rebuilt F4i at Oakhill with Sunny and Cathy, we went out for one last session of dog fighting. The sun was setting, the track was cooling and we were all feeling great. I started from the back and made my way past them both before pulling out a little and diving into the pits. I started to park the bike, then thought I'd go out for a little more play time and chase them down again. 8 laps later I was waking up on the outside of turn six. My left collarbone was broken, several ribs cracked and my hip felt as though it'd been shattered. Luckily, there was no major damage. The bike was, of course, completely destroyed.

September 2005-Dallas: Rain. Sun. Clouds. Lee, Daniel and I had planned on going mountain biking at Rowlett Creek, but heavy rain in the area put an end to any ideas about riding. LB Houston, however, was looking rather tacky with only a light rain the preceeding evening. We met at the trail after a fair amount of deliberation (back and forth all day) and I even took both my road and mountain bike to work with me in case I decided to go that route instead. We were starting our second lap when Daniel flatted only 100 yards down the trail. She decided to opt out of fixing the flat, and we pushed on to complete the lap. Sadly, I had many opportunities to not be on that lap. Three-quarters of a mile later I was laying on the ground assessing the state of my freshly broken leg.

I'm probably not doing them any justice, and there are quite a few other instances that are not springing to my mind (mostly because they did not require me to get surgery or spend lengths of time in slings and casts) but I think you get the idea. I am always able to look back and realize that I had an option, was given multiple opportunities to not do something, and overlooked it.

Now, the real brain burner: Is this a question of fate?

07 November 2005

House Party

Saturday evening was Harley & Sam's house warming party, and their opportunity to introduce me to a couple of their straight, female friends. Sam is a hairdresser and the party was composed mostly of his client and Harley & Sam's gay friends. It was, without a doudt, a fun evening. The event was catered by Rachel, a friend of thiers who owns and operates her own business called Chefs on Call. The food (some pork, some corn, some rice ball things and a delicious flourless chocolate cake) was awesome and she was highly entertaining. I spent most of my evening in the kitchen because she was full of the most laughs, good stories and easily had the strongest personality in the house.

I also met Derek, who is currently working on a documentary film in ehich he foregoes a normal American diet for raw foods. Raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. as well as competing in triathlons. The benefits of avoiding foods laden with hormones, pesticides and chmicals has been obvious to him and we spoke for a spell about such things.

At the end of the evening Sam was sure to find out what I thought of Amanda and Belinda. Unfortunately, I had not spoken to either one of them all evening (not knowing who they were) but certainly not by design. So, knowing nothing about them aside from the fact that they were both fairly attractive... apparently he pointed me out to both of them and had positive reactions from both, so we'll see what happens.

Damn Near Perfect

8:30 AM
I'm asleep
*phone rings*
I pick up my cell phone and am pleasantly surprised.
We talk about plans for the day, she thought I was already out to breakfast with some friends and called to see where we were located. With that plan dashed we started talking about food, making me all the hungrier, and we decided to meet up for brunch at La Duni. About an hour later we were sitting on the patio. A beautiful morning with a beautiful woman, I really cannot ask for more. Her Eggs Benedict (it has a different name, but my memory is not that good) rocked, as did my omlette (again, it had a much more appetizing name). Fresh squeezed OJ and great company. Well, not much else to say.

We ran a quick errand afterwards and parted company all too soon. I'm such an ass, I don't flirt enough. The best part about it, of course, is that I had not expected to see her until next week. She's out of town then off to a race, so maybe I'll get another crack at it. Make things more clear. I think though, that she gets it already... or atleast has an idea.

04 November 2005

World Rally Championship

I love these two photos from the Rally de Catalunya. At left is a Ford Focus RS, and at right, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo ix (9).

Friday is being nice to me.

Last night I made my routine 45 minute round trip to the mailbox. Crutching there and back gave me plenty of time to think about the little things in life. How my armpits are starting to get raw. The manner in which my softcast twists my knee. I think I need to get back in the gym this weekend. It'll be good to do an upper-bdy workout of some kind, crutch around the circuit and maybe I'll surprise myself. I'm just really looking forward to walking (or learning how to) again.

I finished Initial D, Fourth Stage the other night. Damn, every time I get to the end of a DVD I wish they'd hurry up and produce more episodes. I had an email from ChasFuji concerning an online source with well dubbed versions of all stages (1-4), and it can be found here. You'll also need a program called BitTorrent and DIVX. I don't mind reading the episodes, especially since TokyoPop ruined the series over here by changing Takumi into a pizza delivery boy and replacing the music with HipHop shit. They have, however, released swag such as a series of books, models and a video game in the States that relate directly to the series.

This is from a mass email string trying to get friends together to go out tonight...

Mike: "I don't know that I can go. My wife has me working on painting the house. I will let you know."

Me: "You are SO whipped..."

Katherine (his wife): "Yeah no kidding. I mean she doesn't let you go out even for one night?!"

Me: "I know seriously. I mean, I’ve heard of a lapdog before but this is getting silly. If you can’t stand up for yourself, put your foot down and sa-… oh, hang on. That’s my cell phone.
[in background] Hello? Yeah, I’m trying to write an ema-… oh. Well it’s about tonight. You know, was going to go out with the crew and all. Huh? Well no, but I thought I could do that tomor-… yes, of course I want you to be happy. No, no! Why would you throw up on the carpet again? Look, tell your brother Mercury to stop picking on you, and for god’s sake stop eating carpet fuzz!
[hangs up]

Sorry about that. Uhm… where were we?

Hilarie: "Greg, when you write a book... I have dibs on a copy!"
I'm also in high spirits because, in about a week, I will be going to dinner with someone with whom I enjoy spending some of my free time.
I'm hungry.

03 November 2005

Had a little meeting

So, I had a little meeting with Jyri last night. It has been many months since I last saw him, so it was good to get together and chat. He's been busy and has taken on a new position with the airline, his new responsibilities revolve around fuel conservation. Good stuff and he seems to have some good ideas about how to make it happen.

He and Patti are patching things back together. I'm glad, as far as I could tell they were a good match, but their careers put a huge strain on their marriage. Last night we talked about some things, his residence in the Reality House and the mistakes and issues that whole situation afforded. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it offered him the opportunity to get into a bad situation along the way. Circumstances being what they were it was too easy for him (them, really) to lose track of their marriage and what was truly important. A few things lead up to thier eventual reconciliation and the current process of repair and unfortunately, I had to witness it first hand.

With them on the mend and his honest and frank conversation last night, I feel better for them. I also feel good about the decision I made to confront him and, at least what I saw as, his stupidity. Luckily he listened and with the help of another good friend I think we were able to make a few waves that resulted in his seeking help from another, much closer friend. In the end, we are were we are...

All that aside, obtuse as that may be, he gave me some advice last night. Given what we've been through, and what he thinks of my friendship, I trust his opinion. Add to that the fact that I've had the same advice from countless other people in the last two years, and I figure its about time to give it a whirl and see what happens.

I'm going to try my hand at freelance writing. It is, in some ways, a bit daunting. Primarily because I have no real clue what to write about. I have written some things and posted them in various forums over the last few years and people seem to enjoy reading them. Is this the kind of thing I can send to a magazine? I have no clue. My fear is of rejection, of course. Rejection sucks, but I need to get used to it. Generally I am too reserved in situations than to put myself out there and risk rejection. Personally, professionally, socially... I'm generally a sissy.

Seeing as how I want to write more, I figure I also need something to write and type on. I have this computer at work, but I cannot very well think that I'll be able to compose anything with any soul while at the office. I have a desktop at home but I don't like being in my apartment any more than I need to be, and especially now I have no desire to be couped up with the kitties and getting distracted by too many other things. And, most importantly, laptops are cool.

The cool factor on a laptop is that I can take it anywhere, and write upon inspiration. Not that I get inspired at random very often, but if I do happen to become so inclined I can quickly and easily put pen to paper (or finger to key) and make something happen. Too often I find myself with ideas, funny ideas, that flow through my mind at 2 A.M., get completely refined in my head, and are subsequently forgotten because they're done. No seriously, my brain assumes that whatever it is I've been thinking about has now finished it's progression from idea to fleshed out scenario and simply relegates it to the trash bin of my brain. It is a curiosity I've struggled with for many years, but no solution has been found. I could, of course, get out of bed and write it down, but I have a hard time making pictures (my brain operates in full motion video with sound) into words. If making movies were as easy as typing, I would do that instead.

Too often I have these random ideas for TV commercials, products, events, scenarios and such that I am unable to put into writing. Most of them would only be funny to me and more often than not they would end up being overlooked by everyone but my mother, but that's beyond the point.

So, I need a laptop. But, I'm also broke. Well, I'm not broke, that's not true. I do, however, tend to spend money on things like bills and rent... but seeing as how I don't get paid very well by the multi-national, global, super-power company I work for, it doesn't leave me with very much extra to spend on things like laptops. Often, my purchasing decisions come down to what is going to make me the most happy for the longest period of time.

Actually, I bought that MTB thinking it would provide endless opportunities to meet new people, get me involved in another healthy aspect of cycling and provide countless hours of entertainment. All of that instead of taking a weekend vacation to see my sister in NYC, or go to Colorado and hike in the mountains. And now, I have a fucking broken leg after wrecking the MTB in the woods. Does that seem right to you?

But, I digress. There's the power of the 0% rate credit card (some restriction apply). I'm not big on owing anyone money, but these do present a certain amount of convenience. And, seeing as how my credit rating is stratospheric (yeah, I kick ass) I get them all the damn time.

Picking a laptop is the hard part, especially seeing as how I really don't know a damn thing about what each of the little options are worth. I know that faster is better, but how much faster is worth how much more? I don't know. At first I figured I was trying not to spend over $1,000. Now, however, I'm looking at not spending over $1,200... Man, that's a chunk of change.

02 November 2005

Bird Flu.

Call me crazy but I think Bird Flu is a bunch of bullshit. Everyday I hear more about it I can't help but think about SARS from a year or two back and how silly it was that we got so wrapped up in it, thinking the end of the world was nigh and that masses of people would be dying. To me, this is all done to distract the media (by which they distract us) and divert attention away from other more important and relavent issues by making people panic.
  • The earthquake in Afghanistan, for example, has completely left the media despite killing 73,000 civilians. Take a look at this story, for a good example of how they are being ignored by the global powers that be.
  • And of course the ever-declining War in Iraq that seems to be getting forgotten, again.

There are quite a few other interesting things happening in the world as well. How about the five major oil companies collectively reporting third quarter earnings upward of $28 Billion, but trying depserately to keep that as under the table as possible... and they've done it with the help of popular media! Even though Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist order a congressional investigation into their earnings, how much have we really heard about it?
"If there are those who abuse the free enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans, they ought to be exposed, and they ought to be ashamed," Frist said in a statement.

And then I found this photo... a hilarious bit of artwork in Australia.

Some random thoughts

I just realized that on Sunday night, while at Pei Wei with Eric, I had some iced tea. Oh, but not jsut any iced tea my friend, no. This was some sort of green tea concoction that, while quite tasty, was loaded with caffiene... This would explain my lack of sleep Sunday night and my need for additional naps on Monday. Still, I can't complain. It was one of my best Mondays.

I've been reading a graphic novel called Watchmen that was loaned to me by Mr. Smith. I have never read a graphic novel before, but I'm hooked. The storyline is great, the characters are quite interesting and the plot is developing nicely. So, what's it about? An investigation into the death of a masked superhero in New York City!
Along with wondering if I want to race or not next year, I am now thinking that I need to take the vacation I didn't take this year. I could visit Prague, go rock climbing somewhere in Europe, bicycle through some part of Europe, attend the World Cup in Germany, trek through Australia or I could sit on the money and just save it. Hm, obviously that last choice is the most boring. Any other ideas? I need to get away, badly. Notice how most of it is away from the United States, and North America for that matter? Obviously, I really need to get away.

01 November 2005


People at work were dressing up for Halloween. Having gotten very little sleep Sunday night (still don't know why) I decided to be Mr. Invisible and called in sick. I missed out on a horde of chocolate, cookies, cup cakes, chips, soda and other various crap my body doesn't need. Instead, I planned on getting outside in the sun and wonderful weather. About 10 minutes later the sun disappeared and it started pouring down rain. Once again we skipped cats & dogs and went straight into raining yaks and bison. I sat on my couch and watched episodes of Firefly (with commentary) and burned my entire day doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was awesome.

That afternoon I shot Girl Friday a text message to see if she wanted to get together for a Halloween beer at The Flying Saucer. While I had thought about doing this on Sautrday before leaving the track, I held off for fear of being a bit too assumptive. I'm not sure what changed Monday, mostly I just felt like seeing what would happen. I say this only because I had a funny feeling Saturday. I am attracted to her, of that much there is no doubt, but I wanted to get a feel for what, if anything, was happening on her end. I didn't want to be reading into things from Saturday and certainly didn't want to muck up a friendship by thinking there was more to it than meets the eye, but I had a feeling and decided to run with it.

We met up around 7 P.M. and found a comfy couch to kick back on and chat. The soft pretzels kick much ass (salt & mustard), and we had a couple of really good brews. Conversation flowed, and centered mostly around trying to get to know each other: where we're from and some background on family and things. It was all very casual and she's very easy to get to know. We talked about some racing, what she's doing this year and what I'm planning on doing next year.

All in all it was a really fun and relaxing evening out. She's very motivated and is definately not happy sitting back in life. I think I'm attracted to her strong personality and desire to make things happen. Her job is good but like me she is ready to be challenged and not happy with simply waiting for things to happen around her. She is also taking night classes to finish her degree, and racing enduros or cross country nearly every weekend on top of that, so she doesn't have much free time. I'm amazed at how she's able to keep up with it all, though she did admit being in a bit of a funk for the last month or so. I'd attribute this to whatever it is (and I don't want to know) happened with Edward, but also stress from a difficult family situation. I always feel for anyone that's in a funk, I'm bad about getting stuck in them myself, so there's also that latent desire to help a daimsel in distress that afflicts me so badly. She, of course, is not the type that needs rescuing, but a reprieve from the stress would probably be welcome.

So, what to do now? I have no clue. I don't want to bug her, obviously, but I probably need to make my intentions known in case there is some wire crossing going on at the moment. I'm not very good in these situations, but I know she's been dating someone a little and don't want to miss an opportunity to date someone I really think I have some things in common with...

The best weekends are unplanned

So Firday night I'm sitting at home doing the broken leg thing and figuring that it was about damn time I stop letting the bastard of a bone heal and instead get myself out and about in the real world again. Not that I had not been out in the world since breaking it, but I'd been avoiding any real activity until I was sure things were roughly back in one piece again. I'm not sure why, but I picked up the phone and called Amber. It was random, but I'm glad I did.

She was headed up/out to Decatur (sp?) for a cross country race and invited me along. I could drive up (only 50 miles) on Saturday morning and hangout before the race, then watch the festivities and hangout again when she was done. Having a cheering section is always a nice thing and it seemed like a great excuse to get out.

My day started a little shitty after deciding to source breakfast from McDonald's and continuously getting the wrong order. I wanted some pancakes, eggs, sausage and a biscuit. Instead, they serve me eggs, bacon and a biscuit. Folks, that combination doesn't even exist on the menu. Normally this would not be a big deal, but when you are on crutches these things (bumbling trips to the counter) become a real pain in the ass. No worries, with breakfast finally out of the way I got to the track and found the crew.

Present in the paddock were a host of factory squads from KTM, Kawasaki and Suzuki... tons of privateers and of course the group of friend for which I was searching. Park the car, crutch up a rocky hill and crutch down a dirt road to find Ryan (talks forever), Heather, Craig, Susette (I still don't trust her), several people I don't know and of course Amber. We had some time before her race so Amber and I walked over to a technical section of track and watched scores of riders on some of the most tricky terrain I'd ever seen. She explained some nuances of dirt riding to me and I gained a lot of respect for her and everyone riding in the dirt!

The course used a motocross track, then went off into the surrounding countryside to make a circuit 5.5 miles in length. Each race was 1 hour long, with no pit stops or breaks and riders would be faced with the jumps and woops of MX as well as the ditches, creek crossings, tree dodging and rock climbing of cross country riding; the skill set required is impressive!

Jenny found me at the technical section before the race started so I had some company and further explanation as things got going, but ended up watching from the grandstand at the motocross portion after a few laps. Picking everyone out during the race wasn't easy (all the bikes look the same) but after a few laps I had at least firgured out that Amber was in 3rd place in the women's division. She ended up keeping the position and won herself a groovy looking bronze medal and a big, deservedly proud smile in the process!

After the race we hang out at the pit with everyone else, then took some walks around the paddock to collect official results. It wasn't easy crutching around the uneven dirt roads but it did a few things for my balance and negotiating rocky terrain did provide me with a fair amount of entertainment. Couple that with the fact that I was negotiating the terrain with the single most attractive woman in the paddock, and it made for a very nice afternoon at the track.

Sunday I met up with Eric. It took awhile to get used to the time change and get out clocks/watches synchronized, but eventually we made it to Serenity on time and really enjoyed the movie. Serenity is based on a short-lived (sadly) TV series called Firefly that is available on DVD. The TV series is truly entertaining and should have last longer than the 11 episodes Fox granted it, but such is life. DVD sales were so strong, however, that the producer (Joss Whedon) made it into a movie. The show/movie creatively combines the aspects of Sci-Fi and a Western into one theme. I'll explain it a bit better at another opportunity.

Byzantine and other acquisitions

I picked up an album from Byzantine last night before meeting up with Amber for a couple of Halloween beers at The Flying Saucer, but more on that relaxing & enjoyable time later.

Byzantine is a band I've been hearing about from Eric for some weeks, and I finally decided to go ahead and look for it at CD World in Addison. They are my music store of choice and it just so happened I was in the neighborhood and needed to burn some time. Recently the selection at CD World has been less than stellar, but luckily they had the album for which I was looking.

How does it sound? I'm not sure, actually. I only heard a couple of songs in the car before meeting with Amber, and then listened to it on the way home, but its hard to get a good feel for an album on the first go round. Based on what I have heard I do enjoy the 3rd track, Jeremiad, because of the way it employs a bit of screamcore before shifting into a melodic, clean vocal. Each track also employs a solo from one or both of the guitarists in the band, and these are welcome additions to a genre that has gotten away from technical solo jaunts.

So, for a tasty metal treat that will probably make most people wonder what I do in my spare time, give it a listen. Unforunately, Amazon doesn't have any tracks available online.