29 November 2005

My tattoo pictures...

This one goes out to the parents, I know that they'll be calling later on this evening after they see these. And yes, these are from my own leg, this is NOT, I repeat, NOT a stunt leg. Enjoy, and let me know what you think, and if you don't think it looks good, then don't write anything. Thanks!


In going through and reading some different conservative blogs and listening to some talk shows here and there (I listen to both sides so I can hear what the enemy is talking about lately), and apparently. liberals and democrats are now dehumanizing the troops in Iraq. How we are doing this, I don't know for sure. I guess that the dems want the troops to come home, and that we want them to stop getting killed in the streets of Iraq, I guess this is what they mean by dehumanizing? That's pretty fun stuff right there. Don't know what the hell these people are talking about, because as far as I can tell, there hasn't been an unkind word said about the troops from either side of things since this whole war started. OK, well, maybe not in certain circles, but for the most part, and around the political spectrum, one thing is for certain. The support of the troops abroad is secure. I for one, do think that it is possible that you can support the troops, and not the war. I want to see all of them come home, and feel very strongly that they went over there for no good reason, for an unjust war, and an illegal war. Some people are even calling Bush a war criminal for starting a war, and for most recently, using white phosphorus against the insurgents. Some are even calling for Mr. Bush to take a little trip to The Hague for a little trial. Will something like this happen? I'd so more than likely, no. I don't think that they can get him on war crimes for what he's done. It's just funny to me that conservatives, who say that they are pro military, and pro troops, want to keep these young men and women in Iraq as long as possible, and as some keep saying, "To stay the course." I guess, I just don't get it. In order to now be pro-military in America these days, it appears that you must want troops to stay in Iraq for as long as possible, and for them to continue to be wounded and or killed. Sure, it makes perfect sense doesn't it? Nah, not really.

Another thing that bothers me about conservatives these days is their incessant harping on Cindy Sheehan. For instance, the other day, reading another conservative blogger, they posted some pictures of Ms. Sheehan and she was, GASP, smiling... How dare she smile, they insisted, when she keeps saying that she's mourning the loss of her son because of the war in Iraq. I don't understand these people. This woman is smiling, and they question her motives and her mourning because she's smiling? I don't get it. I just don't get it. Can't someone be in mourning and smile? I think so, but these people seem to think that if she's not wearing black all of the time, and moping around, being all sad, she must not be genuine in her grief, and then they attack her for that. They completely and totally ignore the fact that she is protesting against war, something that I think most of us should do because really isn't war just bad? Indeed it is, and probably should be avoided at all costs, but something in their little minds tells them that Bush took us to war, so it must be OK for us to be there. Then they question anyone and everyone who says that their against the war, call them un-American and un-Patriotic, and of course, they love calling them cowards. I find this strange, because most of the people at the top of the heap in our political world, on both sides, have never been there. Never been in military service, never been in war, and have never had those experiences, and they boldly question those that have been there, and have had those experiences. Maybe someday they'll learn to listen to others, and maybe learn from people who don't stand around and just act as "yes" men.

Today though was a banner day. I got inked today. It took what I would like to call a long ass time. My tattoo is detailed, and pretty well done, it's just now it has to heal up, and that should take a couple of weeks. I hope to have some pictures posted up on here later when I get the bandage taken off of it, and clean it up some and get the antibiotic ointment on it. I had it done at Dogstar Tattoo in Durham, NC. If you're ever in the market to get one, or another one if you already have some, check out their website, and check out Kathryn Moore, the owner, she does some damn good work as far as I can tell. Here is the website address:

  • Dogstar Tattoo

  • I knew that it was going to be fairly painful getting a needle shoved into my skin over and over again for 3 hours in a row, but I really had no idea just how painful it was going to be. Initially, it wasn't too bad really. The outline had kind of a sharp stinging pain, but not too bad. Then the initial coloring and shading wasn't too bad, but it was when she had to go back and color in, and or re-outline and finish things over and over again, that's when it started to not feel very good at all. It hurt the entire time, don't get me wrong, but near the end it was starting to get a touch bit unbearable. There was a lot of grimacing going on towards the end. Since the work I had done was fairly detailed, and had a lot of coloring and preciseness about it, it took a lot longer, and it took multiple passes over the same areas time and again. Ouchie is all I've got to say about that. Ouchie indeed. If you are ever thinking about getting a tattoo though, get one initially maybe that isn't so detailed, and maybe smaller than the one I got. First time out, it was a marathon session I think. I made it though, and now have more character because of it. And also I have a permanent reminder of a Christmas gift given to me by the SO, since I paid for half of it with a gift certificate that she gave me for Christmas last year to that particular tattoo shop. As mentioned, will get some pictures up there later on this evening hopefully. I'm pretty darn happy with how it came out, I just hope that others like it. Then again, I don't care if others like it, I like it, and since it's on my leg, that's all that matters. I'm already thinking that I might have to get another one later on down the line. It only took me 32 years to get this one, I wonder how long it will take me to get #2?

    25 November 2005

    Harry Potter teaches Satanism???

    This is something that I don't understand at all really. Every single time a new Harry Potter book or movie comes out, and JK takes in another heap of money, people come crawling out of the woodwork to say how Harry Potter is all about Satanism and The Devil. Harry Potter turns children into devil worshippers, at least this is what some people out there will have you believe, although they really have no proof of this. Of course, once again, these are the right wing wackos that are coming out to decry the loss in moral fiber in America and this is just another chapter of that coming out. When kids turn to withcraft and Satan for their entertainment. I have some news for these people, it's fiction. Harry Potter is a fictional character. I guess they don't understand what is real, and what is not real, since they believe in some omnipotent power that has dominion over everything and everyone anyway, so really, the lines of what is real, and what is not real are very blurred for them unfortunately. What they constantly fail to miss though is the simple fact that Harry Potter has pretty much made kids want to read books again. It makes them want to put down the video games, turn off the TV, and read damn it, read. And if you ask me that is a sort of witchcraft, because in order to get kids to read, you almost have to pull teeth, and if one person can make this sort of revolution amongst youngsters, I'm all for it.

    I can even see it where I live. Kids lining up outside of bookstores with their parents, camping out, waiting for the newest book to be released at midnight so they can get it, bring it home, and immediately start reading it. This is something that I've never really seen before. Sure I've seen it before for like Duke basketball tickets, or for maybe the new Stars Wars movies, World Series tickets, and things like that, but never before have I seen this happen for a book. A book. Instant gratification is seriously delayed, and yet, there they are. Lined up, waiting outside of book stores so that they can be the first person to have that new book. Then they tear through it, and some will tear through it again, and then once more just so they make sure that they got it all in their brains. Like I said, it's amazing really. How many times have you seen people lined up outside of a bookstore to make sure they get a new book on its first day of release? Not very often, not very often at all. And these Southern preachers and so-called righteous people want to say that it's witchcraft and the devil at work. Come on people, there are some serious issues out there in the world that you could be helping and dealing with, but instead, you attack a work of fiction that is pure fantasy and entertainment? What is your deal? You need something more serious to do. How many kids do you know that think a broom can actually fly? How many kids do you know that think that there are actually things like magic wands in the world? It's a fantasy, it's fiction, and it's entertaining as Hell. Maybe a bad choice of words there, but you know what I mean. The other night I was driving home and one of these guys from Charlotte was on there talking about how Harry Potter leads people down the path to the devil, and this one very Christian woman calls in and says that her son had a hard time reading. He had a learning disability. He had been to tons of learning disability therapists, and nothing was working. They tried reading with him at home every single night, and every single day, and nothing. Along comes the Harry Potter books. Everyone in his classes around him started reading them, talking about them, reading them together, having parties, and since he was feeling left out on the action, he took it upon himself to try and read through the first book on his own. He struggled, but by the time he was done with the first book, he was reading much better, and more easily. As he progressed through the books, his reading acuity has gone through the roof from where it was, and now he reads on the level that he's supposed to read at, and his Mom called in to say that God had answered her prayers in the form of the Harry Potter books, because she had prayed to God almost every day to help with her son. You know what this guy tells this Christian woman? He says, "That wasn't God that answered your prayers. That was Satan the Lord of Darkness, because he brought those books to your son, and you must have been praying to Satan, and not God." Man, she jumped all over this guy, ran up one side of him, and down the other calling him every civil name that she could come up with, because he had just accused this woman who had been a true believing Christian her entire life of praying to the Devil. That's how these guys work down here. It's crazy to me that people jump in line and follow them. This guy, I wish I could remember his name, is the leader of a large church in Charlotte. Don't know what his deal was/is. Actually, I found it. I remembered the website address he was throwing out every other second in his broadcast on talk radio. Take a look at this drivel:


    Looking at this website, they offer other such enticements like the Cradle of Civilization tour where they were going to go to Iraq and tour the country, last year. What the hell were they thinking? And how did they think they were going to do it? And who would go? It's a combat zone you dumb asses. People are running around the country that want you dead, and they'll kidnap you and do it. Amazing. Not only do they believe Harry Potter is bad for everyone and is a harbinger of the Devil, but they also want to take tourist trips to Iraq. Yep, good decision making going on at the Paw Creek church down there in Charlotte. I'm sure that these are the same folks who think that Christianity is under attack in this country and that they're losing their rights at every possible turn. These are the people that scare me the most. They are once again going on about how they are the persecuted majority in this country, and they are being persecuted? I don't understand it. They think because they can't have open prayers in school (this doesn't mean of course that you can't pray in school, just do it with yourself and in your head, or even with a group of your friends if you want to, just don't foist a daily prayer on everyone), can't have the damn 10 commandments pasted everywhere, and can't have open prayers in town meetings, or something of that nature. I mean come on people. I thought religion, and Christianity in particular was about the relationship one person has with their savior or their God. Why do you want EVERYONE to be in on it? Why can't you just keep that stuff to yourself, and if people want to join you in that, they'll seek you out. It's not like we're not hit over the head with it everyday of our life for the most part. We're constantly reminded about how this was a Christian country founded on Christian principles, and so on and so forth. Damn, it's even on our money. The good old In God We Trust abomination that was slapped on there in the 50's. I hate to break it to you Christians out there, but not everybody believes in your God and Jesus. Sorry, you're going to have to accept that at some point in time, and stop being all self righteous about it. We do have the freedom to choose don't we? Those who would want to have theocratic society set up in the US based on Christian ideals and thoughts don't think so, but gladly, this is something that will never happen, or I hope would never happen. The dominionists though are some of the most scary individuals out there today. Keep your eyes on those people.


    I'm going to leave you with this little tid bit posted above, and let you chew on this one for awhile. Michael Brown, the guy that almost single handedly botched the federal FEMA response to Katrina this year is, get this, wait for it... Starting his own consulting business dealing with emergency preparation and preparedness. Are you kidding me? Is anyone going to hire this guy? The freakin' former horse judge is starting his own business? I almost wish that this was an Onion news story, but it's not. It's actually a real story, and it is actually happening. It is utterly amazing to me. He doesn't know what the hell he is doing when it comes to emergency preparedness. He's proven this. Now he's consulting and giving out this information to others? What is he going to do? Tell them what ties to wear on camera, or whether or not to wear one when they are on TV? If you remember the e-mails that were floating around from him, his biggest concerns while the largest disaster in American history was going on was what color tie he should wear, or should he wear a tie, and or did someone find someone to dog-sit for him. This guy is a class A asshole, and he proved that further when he testified in front of Congress and acted like a total ass and gave smug smart assed "answers" on the questions that were posed to him from different Senators. Amazing. As people like to say; Only in America. Only in America.

    Something doesn't seem right...

    I know what it is, I'm in Florida for Thanksgiving, and it's not cold out. For years on end, even when living in NC, I've found that pretty much every year it has been at least chilly on Thanksgiving, and back home in Maine they are suffering through one of the first 'noreasters of the winter season, and yet, here I am in Tampa, where the sun is out, and shorts are on, and the temps are supposed to be in the 80's today. I might be able to get used to this stuff, at least in the winter when it's warm around here, and well, cold everywhere else. It's not so bad really. But it just seems weird to me, since as I said before, it's not something that I've experienced before. Take for instance, last evening, we were sitting outside after the sun had gone down, in shorts and t-shirts, as the kids next door were swimming in their pool. Yes, I said swimming. A wonderful and weird place it is. Swimming, outdoors, on Thanksgiving. Kinda cool.

    I was asked to come on down to the SO's hometown of Tampa for Thanksgiving, and of course, I accepted. Good to go on a little old road trip for the holiday weekend, with, well, approximately everybody else on the East coast. The drive, long. The payoff, rewarding though. Had a great, make that, super great meal last night with turkey, ham, and tons of other delicious-ness yesterday afternoon, and stuffed myself silly of course, because that's what you do on Thanksgiving isn't it? Continued on past the main courses, and headed into dessert, which included some pumpkin pie of course, a little key lime pie, and possibly my all time favorite, pecan pie. Since we ate sort of early, there was plenty of time for an evening snack before heading to bed, and or watching TV into the night. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was on, followed by Finding Nemo, and the SO's Dad just got a freakin' really nice new TV, and the picture, superb I must say, so it was easy to sit and bask in the warm glow of the big TV. Very easy. Football was watched of course, and I saw the Lions get trounced on their home field, which has been happening to them for years on end methinks. Never did finish watching the Denver / Dallas game last night, it was tied when I decided to take a break and go outside with everyone else. And I was kind of bored watching it as well. It was a good game, but not exciting. It has been a pretty standard Thanksgiving, good stuff all around.

    The parents and the rest of my family are having Thanksgiving this Saturday, which is not standard. Joel and Melissa I believe are having everyone over to their new house, and cooking the food, and feeding the masses. Saturday, not the standard turkey eating day, but it seems to work for them for this year. More power to them I suppose. I get to be in their wedding as well next summer, which will undoubtedly be a good time for all. I have quite the wedding line-up to contend with over the next year or so. Many, many of my peeps are getting hitched, so there will be lots of traveling, lots of gift buying, and lots of tux rentals, and so on and so forth. Phew, could get pricey on down the line, but hell, it's a wedding, it's all good.

    Now it's time to head out and see what there is to see around Tampa this afternoon. Should be some good stuff out there. As mentioned previously, 80 degrees and sunny. Not so bad, not so bad at all on the 25th of November.

    22 November 2005

    Quick post...

    A quick post and then some bed, as it's getting late and tomorrow, I drive for Florida. Yes, land of oranges and warmth this time of year. Heading down to Tampa otherwise known as the land of the SO's parents. Heading down for Thanksgiving as mentioned before, and I'm looking forward to it. We're going to have a house full of dogs as far as I can see. 2 for the SO's parents, one Beatrice, aka The Bea, aka The Black Plague, and of course my possible all time favorite Maggie, aka Mags. Don't tell The Bea, she'll be pissed at me if she knew she wasn't my favorite. Well, she's sort of my favorite, but when the crying and chortling begin in her hive (otherwise known as a dog cage) at night, it can get a little wearing on a man. Anyway, all the dogs are great, I just happen to have a special place in my heart for Great Danes which Maggie is one of that breed. I'll get some pictures and put them up on here at some point in time. But the driving begins tomorrow, and it's a damn long drive. 12 hours does not sound like a good time, but I can handle it. It'll be like driving back and forth to Atlanta in one day. Yikes. It'll be worth it though. Good food, good company, and did I mention good food? Word on the street is that The Shawn (SO's Mom) has been cooking for like a week or so to get prepared for the feasting to begin this week. Kind of sounds like my Mom. She would cook weeks ahead of time, OK, make that months ahead of time for Christmas, and then always admonish us if we touched the food in the fridge or the freezer, "Leave that stuff alone you Christly kids! It's for Christmas!" Yeah, it's still a running joke in our family, and you can still hear those words ring out when everyone goes home for Christmas still, especially if you're a couple of days early. You're likely to get the hands chopped off if you touch something you're not supposed to in the fridge back in Mexico Maine.

    Let me throw out the quick rundown:

    1.) Heading to Florida tomorrow, as mentioned before and in the previous paragraph.

    2.) Wounds are just about done healing, what isn't done is nicely crusted over.

    3.) Work still sucks ass on a daily basis. Today, planned on leaving that joint at 3:45. What time did I leave? Yeah, that would be 7:15. 'Nuff said.

    4.) Started riding the bike again, but will be off of it until I get back from Florida.

    5.) Ford is coming into work again next week to see our progress, I forsee more late nights for this kid.

    6.) I was supposed to get inked this week, but it rained, and the shop in Durham got flooded out. Postponed until next week.

    7.) My little brother is getting married next summer, and he asked me to be his co best man. Of course I accepted that honor.

    8.) I bought my first suit ever this past weekend. Damn, those things are expensive. Well, not so much the suit, but the tailoring, the shoes, the shirts, the ties, and so on and so forth.

    9.) Jason's Deli kicks ass. You need a sandwich, go there. You won't be sorry. New Hope Commons in Durham.

    10.) Men's Wearhouse (place I got my suit), if you need a suit, go there, you won't be sorry. Customer service out the wazoo. Good stuff. I was so impressed I wrote a "nice" consumer letter instead of an angry consumer letter.

    11.) George W. Bush is still a freakin' moron.

    12.) I finally got to shave my legs this week after a 2.5 week of hair growth, damn it feels good to have them smooth again. You get used to that after doing it for many years on end.

    13.) JFK was assassinated in 1963 on this date.

    And that's about all I can think of for right now. Must be because I'm getting wicked tired, and need to get some serious sleep before the drive. Wish me luck. It's going to be a long one.

    19 November 2005

    Last and final wound updates...

    OK, this is it people. This is really the final wounding update that I'm going to post, because a couple of weeks after it happened, things are much better. Much thanks to the SO for helping me out through the injuries, and much thanks to Tegaderm for helping with the healing. Without those 2 things, I'd probably still be shit out of luck as far as healing up. As previously mentioned in other updates. If something like this happens to you, which I'm hoping that it doesn't, do not fear the Tegaderm. It is your friend. Truly, your friend. It's a freakin' wonder of plastics engineering I tell you. Use it. Love it. Live it. I was so impressed with the stuff that I sent a happy consumer letter to 3M about it. I'm all about writing some letters when I feel like it. Congressmen. Harris Teeter. The President. Foster's Market. You know, I cover all the bases. Tegaderm though, can't praise that stuff enough. A little on the pricey side, but it's worth it. Much thanks to folks who sent in comments as well as to the care and treatment of road rash. I know there are lots of you out there that have surfed the pavement a lot more than me, so getting crucial advice and what to do's, very good stuff. See, I tend not to surf the pavement much due to my superior bike handling skills. This one was just out of my control. And in other disappointing news, winter has arrived in North Carolina as of a couple of days ago. It's damn 20 some odd degrees out there this morning, and that makes it tough to get motivated to go outside and ride this morning. So I'm going to wait until it warms at least to a good 40 degrees. That I can handle for the first ride back, but right now, under freezing, you can forget it. Later on this off season, yes, I'll ride in that temperature. First ride back? No way Jose. No way. If it is this cold down here; I wonder what it's like back home in good old Mexico Maine? OK, just checked, 18 degrees and breezy. Ouch!

    Everything is pretty much healed up now for the most part. Everything is pink and looking nice I guess. I still have a few sore spots, and a few deeper scratches that are now healing up a little slower than the rest. Probably the first thing that healed up well was the lower leg down on the calf. That had a quick turnaround. The slowest healing spots are my arm, and my knee. Probably because those are the most "flexy" points that were damaged in the tumble from my steed. Since they are movable joints, and I have to move them to say, walk, or raise and or lower my arm, it appears that this exacerbates the condition a little and can cause some slower healing. Once again, movement, and scabs, not a good combination I don't think. The other thing that sucks about this is when your wounds do heal, and you do have a layer of Tegaderm on it, taking it back off when things underneath it aren't humid causes a substantial amount of pain. Normally, it will draw some blood when tearing that layer of plastic off, but considering how those spots of damage got there in the first place, I'll take some bandages ripping off anyday of the week.

    Now we have the latest pictures, and I think that you will agree, things are looking a shit ton better than they were even last week. The hands are healed up, which makes things easier (like holding something). The hands, that was my worst fear. Once again, don't go off riding in a big group of people without gloves. I forgot them. I'm sorry. It happens. Check out the pictures of the hands. Healed over, pain free hands. So nice to have. So very nice to have indeed. Even just a couple of days ago my left hand was still a little painful and stiff, but it feels like everything underneath the new skin that grew there has healed pretty well, and it's relatively pain free, and have good movement in my left hand once again, which before, not so much really. It was really tight and painful pretty much right up until the other day. The right hand wound was a lot less painful to begin with and had healed up by last week actually, and it wasn't as deep and torn off as the left hand. The left hand was shredded. It kind of looked like some raw meat when it was healing. It was really a deep red and kind of oozy gooey. Yuck.

    As mentioned before the lower leg came out well. The knee, still knitting together for the most part, but I suspect that it should be all good soon, by the middle of next week for certain. The upper leg healed up pretty well as well. I had to scratch off some scabs that grew there, but it wasn't that big of a deal. I did feel like a leper when doing this though, as my skin was just falling off as I messed around with it. Kind of flaky and falling off. It didn't look so good, but it didn't really hurt, those were just the minor superficial spots of road rash I ended up with when I went down. I didn't mess with those too much, as the large spots were my main concern, the small spots, I let them scab over, and messed with them later. It was kind of like triage. Treat the worst parts first, and then go onto the smaller less important spots.

    Last but not least, the elbow and the arm. Probably the worst spot of injury I think in terms of deepness of the cuts and road rash, and amount of skin removed by the cheese grater also known as the pavement. It was shredded, and took a longer time to even start to heal up than the leg did. Everything on there now though is pink and healing well, as with the rest of the body. Couldn't be happier with the results really. I think I'll have some good scars, at least I hope that I do. You know the saying, "Chicks dig scars." Well, these are some I could have done without, but they are good additions to the collection I think. Even rivaling some the The Chad's scars that he's incurred in his many incidents of falling off of his bike. I can't rival his history, but I think I caught up pretty well with this one fall. It still pisses me off that it happened, because it didn't need to have happened, and it shouldn't have happened, but what can you do? It did happen, and now I'm better. It was a learning experience. Never trust someone riding a Cannondale. The other thing that is really bad about this whole incident, was that during the time I was down for injuries, the weather was super freakin' duper nice. And now, not so much. I dropped myself right into the mess of the off season right when it gets cold. Damn. At least next weekend I'll be in Florida. That won't be so bad. At least it is most likely to be nice down there, or at least warm. Disneyworld, here I come! Just kidding. Although I do wish that Busch Gardens still had a frosty free beer garden. Now that would be something right there.

    18 November 2005

    Yeah, that didn't work...

    OK, so the last post I put up with my crazy man writing style didn't work out so well. It honestly looked OK on my computer screen. I mean, hell, it looked fabulous. What am I to do? I think you should all get Macs or something like that. Then we might not be having this conversation. Wait, we're not having a conversation, I'm prosletyzing from my comfortable chair in the kitchen of my house. Ha! Let that be a lesson to you all. I'm not sure what lesson that is, but anyway, I thought I might be throwing one out there. Highly doubtful though, highly doubtful.

    This is the end of another rough week for me. The workdays have been endless. 12 or more hours per day all week long which is never a good thing in my opinion, well, not 12 hours today, but the rest of the week has made up for it. One piece of advice I can give everyone from this whole work experience as of late? Don't buy a Ford product, because from what I've seen, they don't know what the hell they are doing, at least on this one program (Sporttrac/Explorer), so yeah, if you're thinking about buying one of these vehicles, do yourself a favor, and don't. Get a 4Runner, a Tundra, a Tacoma, or anything Japanese, but don't buy those other 2 aforementioned Ford vehicles. It's kind of scary how clueless these guys seem about their own programs and their own vehicles. I don't get it. Ah well, they're still helping to pay my bills, so I can't complain too much, except for the excessive hours on end of work. I keep saying that this doesn't happen all the time, but I've changed my position on that, it is happening all of the time now. At least for the last couple of months, and well, that makes up pretty much for the rest of the time that it didn't happen like this. Breaking point, last Friday. 8:30 PM was my departure time from work, that was my breaking point. I've been pissed off ever since then. Actually before then as well, but that was the proverbial straw that broke the ye old camel's back. But, there is hope on the horizon. That being a nice long weekend coming up next week, and good food in Tampa at the SO's house, and from what I hear the SO's dad has purchased a new big TV. This, as we know, is good. The only downside to heading to Tampa is the drive. It's long. I can handle it. I keep getting the SO to let me watch videos while we drive down next week, but she says NO. I guess I'll give in just this once. She has a good point, it could be dangerous, but my friend Rich does it all the time and he hasn't crashed or anything that I know of. He just gets a lot of speeding tickets.

    I am looking forward to tomorrow as I finally get to ride again. I believe that I'm healed enough now to go back out on the bike and suffer like the out of shape fool that I am. This is going to be possibly a long road back to fitness I think. I've been kicking around the thoughts in my head about doing 2 a day workouts. Either that being a run in the morning, and a ride in the evening, or a ride in the morning and one at night as well. I'd like to maybe get to the gym as well, but in looking at that option, I wouldn't want to Hulk out by heading to gym. I don't know if I would or not as I tend to gain muscle relatively easy when lifting weights, but I might go sometime this winter and do some building anyway. Don't know when or where I'm going to fit that in during my day alongside the double cardio workouts, the 12 hour workday, and hanging out with the SO. OK, maybe I won't do that. We'll see. But yeah, I'll be back riding tomorrow morning/afternoon. See how the leg feels on the bike, and the sore elbow. I'm pretty sure I messed something up in the elbow as it still kind of hurts right now. The outside wounds are healing well, but the internal mechanisms are a little achy and all. I did land directly on that mug, so the chances of it coming out of that crash unscathed are slim and none to say the least. When I did see the doc, she said she wasn't worried about it too much because the range of motion was all good, and I had normal strength in my hands and arms, so not much to worry about. Probably some good trauma done to it. I might have to make a trip back maybe to get some x-rays or something that shoots deadly amounts of radiation into my body. Maybe with enough radiation shot into me I could really Hulk out, as in the Incredible Hulk. HULK BASH! OK, maybe that wouldn't be that cool, well, maybe just go on a small rampage for a few hours. Smash some cars, knock over a few fire hydrants, take on some tanks, you know, get some aggression and stress relief out of the old system. We all have a little Bruce Banner in us somewhere I think. Although maybe being Godzilla would be cool as well, and then you could crush large Japanese cities underfoot.

    In the news this week, at least in the world of cycling, it was announced that US Pro road championships are no longer going to be held in Philadelphia like they have been for the past however many years. The Philly road race is going to continue, if they can find a new title sponsor, but US Pro championships are being moved to Greenville, SC. Yes, you heard that correctly. Greenville, SC. In one way, I'm glad that they're being moved down there. It's a great little cycling community that is ruled by the Hincapie clan for the most part, but they have a lot of people around there that ride, race, and there are tons of good roads in that area in which they can have a very "selective" (ie hilly) race on. Hell, go North of Greenville towards Asheville, and there ain't nothing but hills around there. They will have some sort of weird kick ass course there I'm pretty sure of that. On the downside though, Greenville, not a big metropolitan area for the most part, as anyone who has been there would know. Nice "small" city in the South? Yes. Big metro area? Not so much. And I don't think the drawing power of Greenville is as great as Philadelphia, and it's not in the middle of a large metro area. Actually, it's nowhere near a large metro area. Somewhat close to where I live? Yes. Close to a lot of people? I wouldn't say that. With Philly, NYC is pretty stinkin' close by, Washington, Baltimore, Jersey, and so on. Are people going to drive a few hours to Greenville to line the route of the road race out in the hills between Greenville and Asheville? Only true cycling fans will do that, and I suspect that the crowd is going to be considerably smaller than even what you might see on Manayunk in Philadelphia. While this is good for cycling in the SE, I don't think that it's too good for cycling in general in the US. With Philly, the exposure to mass media, and mass crowds was exceptional. With Philly you had the big Protour teams sending guys over to ride this race, and most of the week before the race before. With Greenville, it's going to be US only. I don't know about this, just don't know. The recipe that they've been using for 20 some odd years in Philadelphia has worked pretty damn well, and now they're messing with it. It's kind of like elite nationals last year. They had them way out in damn Park City, Utah. It was sparsely attended. Why? It's out in the middle of nowhere. While Greenville does have its own airport, and is a semi short drive from Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA, it's still kind of in the middle of nowhere. I'm still thinking about the crowd drawing power here. I think we might have a flop on our hands. We'll have to see what happens next year in September when they run this race.

    Oooh, that's another thing. The timing of this race. What the hell are you guys doing? Everyone else in the entire world has their national championships in June, either mid or late June. We had them in early June with the Philly race, and now you're changing them to September? What the hell are you guys thinking here? Say someone like Dave Zabriskie wins the national championship pro TT (also being held in Greenville) in September. Guess what he doesn't get to wear during the Tour de France in July? Yeah, the stars and stripes. Same would go for say, Horner wins the pro road race. He won't get to sport the jersey until September? USA Cycling, that's the dumbest thing that I've ever heard. Also in year's past, they've had a pretty big kick ass race weekend in Georgia on the same labor day weekend, and now they might take away from that? Stupid timing people, stupid timing. Kind of like putting World Championships in October. It just doesn't make sense. Kind of like the Chewbacca defense (longtime viewers of Southpark will know what I'm talking about here).

    In very good cycling news though, I see that we are having an NRC crit in Raleigh next may. I like this. If you attended this race last season, you'd know that it was a pretty cool course (I hope that they keep the same - Emory I'm talking to you), and of course keep it twilight, but I think it said that anyway in the announcement. It was well run, and well organized, and well, it was a good atmosphere during the race. Held in conjunction with some downtown Friday evening stuff, it was pretty dang cool. Glad to see it returning, and getting slapped onto the National calendar. I'll be looking forward to it. Either being in it (if they let me in), or watching it. Well, if I'm in it, I'll probably be watching it relatively soon after starting it anyway cause I'll get shot out the back with the quickness. Good to see it on there though.

    OK, time to eat dinner. This kids needs nourishment.

    17 November 2005

    Sitting at the Ford Assembly plant in Atlanta...

    So I was sitting around at the Ford Assembly Plant in Atlanta yesterday, and I cranked out this little blog entry, except I didn't do it on the computer, I did it on the old engineering pad in my scrawl. I'm going to post the scans on the pages I wrote out, click on them, and you should be able to read them I hope. If not, we'll just call it a failed experiment. One that I won't repeat again if that's the case. I think it came out onto the page pretty good if I do say so myself. Then again, I'm biased.

    13 November 2005

    What is it with me and chicken???

    I have simply the worst luck in eating out, getting something made out of chicken, and then getting sick off of it. It has happened, again, this weekend. Last night as a matter of fact. What makes me really sad about it this time is that it was from a place that I really like, and it was a sandwich that I get all of the time, except this time, it struck back. What is my deal?

    Last night it was Foster's Market down the street from my house in Chapel Hill. The target, chicken caeser wrap sandwich. It's got everything that is good in it. Lettuce, tomato, caeser dressing, chicken, and of course, bacon. What sandwich isn't better with bacon? Exactly. This past evening was just like many others. I roll into the joint, get ignored by the counter people for about 10-15 minutes depending on what else is going on in there, order my sandwich, wait another 10 minutes to get it, get bent over the counter because of the price, and then go home and eat. Or maybe hang out in the spacious eating area at the market itself and eat, one or the other. I like hanging out in there because there seem to be a lot of pseudo-intellectuals up in there with their laptop computers, reading glasses, and looking all studious, and I'm sure that there are a few that are actually there to study, but for the most part, I see a lot of people just shooting the shit. Which, hey, that's all good, but don't act like you're studying. Anyway, the sandwich is delicious, which is why I keep going back. Last night, once again, that was no different. Actually whoever made my sandwich last night jam packed that thing full o' chicken and bacon. It was huge. And it was good. It was good until I woke up this morning with a raging headache, and weird feeling tummy. I went into the bathroom to have my morning "sabbatical", and once I got up from the bed and started moving around just a little bit, that must have stirred the demons in my belly. When I was walking away from the bathroom, I thought better of that actually, turned around, walked back in, and assumed the position in front of the porcelain god waiting for what I felt was coming next. You know how it is. You're sitting there waiting for it, your mouth gets all drooly, and you get the gag reflex, and badda bing, badda boom, here comes last night's chicken. I would have gotten some pictures of that for this entry, but I thought better of it. There really is no need to snap pictures of such thing (unless you're in college and your friend has his head in the toilet after a long night of drinking, and his parents are coming up in a couple of days and you want to slap those pictures on his door for his parents to see - not that I would do anything like that mind you). Everyone knows what this little mess looks like.

    Combined with last year and this year, this has happened to me about 4 or 5 times. Eat some chicken, get sick. I think I might just switch to beef permanently, that way, even if it is a tad bit undercooked, I'll probably like it better anyway. Medium rare is about right. Offenders of my stomach have included such luminary restaurants as; The Olive Garden, Chinese #35, Foster's Market, Taco Bell, and the fancy shmancy Spice Street in Chapel Hill. Spice Street should get its own entry into this blog, but let's just say that if someone says to you, hey let's go there, tell them no. Just trust me on that one, the place is rotten. It looks great when you walk in, the space is nice and well decorated and stuff like that, and then the food comes. It's not good food, and especially for what they're charging you, it's horrible food. Both times I went there, the food I got was cold, and not very tasty, and the first time I went there, is when I got sick. I only went a second time because one of the SO's friends was graduating from school, and she invited us, so I'll make an exception there. But if someone wants you to go there, turn them down and go to McDonald's. It would probably taste better. I've taken hits this year though as someone who seems to get sick eating out. And here I thought I had a cast iron stomach. I guess this is not the case. I don't know why these people are cooking their chicken "rare" around the Southeastern United States, but this never happened to me up North, then again, my eating out rate is a lot higher since I moved down here as well, but still. Come on people. It's chicken, cook that stuff right. It's really not that hard. My parents always seemed to be able to get the chicken cooked properly. I should make The Chad give them a food safety course or something of that nature, show them how to do it right. Not my parents, these restaurants. I think I need to write an angry consumer letter to Foster's this morning, which is undoubtedly something I'm going to do whilst I'm yammering away about this subject, and we'll see what happens. Last time I wrote an angry consumer letter to an eatery, the chef of said eatery called me personally to discuss it with me. I've never gone back to that place. Hell no. I don't want some Italian guy coming after me with a meat clever because I criticized his pesto sauce. Those Italian folks, passionate they are.

    This does make me sad though, because now, Foster's, is on my "list". That means, list of places I don't want food from any longer, at least for right now while the bile taste is still sitting in the back of my throat and all. It could take me awhile to get over this one I think. It's too bad, because they are so close, so convenient to where I live, and one of the only places I can feasibly walk to from my house in under 20 minutes. I can walk to Franklin Street as well, except, that takes a little longer, but it is something I need to start doing instead of driving up there. Foster's will incur the wrath of the angry consumer letter from me though. Maybe they'll send me some free stuff? I don't know though. Everytime I have written angry consumer letters in the past, nothing has ever come of it (well, except the phone call from the chef and all). My friend Chad will write one, and they'll send him like free food coupons and whatever else he wishes. I don't get it. Do my letters lack flair? Or lack cussing? I forget. Maybe I should add a few cuss words, that might get my further along down the road, then again, probably not. I'll let you all know how this one turns out in the end. Probably like the angry consumer letter I wrote to Harris Teeter, nothing will happen. Never have heard back from those guys. They probably thought, or think, that I'm some crackpot, which is probably more or less true. But hey, I see something I don't like, they're going to hear about it, I can tell you that much.

    Quick update on the wounds. Things are healing nicely. More pictures on that later on down the road. Don't have time for that right now.

    Last bit. If you haven't seen the movie Sin City yet, came out a short while back, go and get it on DVD or put it on your Netflix list. It's good stuff. I would even dare call it, "groundbreaking". No really, it's good. Check it out when you get a chance.

    11 November 2005

    I had this theory once...

    This message brought to you by the fine folks of 3M makers of Tegaderm - The Skin Grower!

    I had this theory once (no this is not my working theory that a vast majority of VW Jetta drivers are good looking woman - but that's another one that I have been working on for awhile, check for yourself next time you see a Jetta, view the driver, there is a good chance it is a good looking woman). OK, it's one that I've been cultivating for awhile, and today, it became especially clear to me that this is what we might should do in the US, or all the world over more specifically. It's called reverse retirement. Yes, reverse retirement. Here's the entire premise of this theory of mine. You go to school, you go to high school, you go to college, you graduate from college, and immediately upon receiving your degree, you retire. This would not only apply to college grads of a traditional 4 year school, but it would apply to high school grads, and 2 year degree grads as well, and a few others in between. It would kind of be like a tiered system of retirement depending on how much higher education you had obtained post high school, or if you had just graduated high school only (and yes home schooling would count as well - AKA Trull School, what a scam that was for those of you who know what I'm talking about).

    I figure I hear lots of stories of people who retire from working, only to possibly pass away a short time thereafter their retirement, and they never get a good chance to enjoy the work that they've put in, and money that they have stashed away over the years. We could avoid all of this by retiring in our late teens and early 20's, and having a good time then, when we're all really full of energy and ready to party down for the most part. That would have been a good time. Going back to my tiered level part of it. Say you finished high school, and didn't want a higher degree. Fine. You only get 5 years of retirement, and then you have to work. Say you finish college. Fine. You get 7 years of retirement. 2 year degree, you get 6 years. Master's degree, you get 9. And if you get that PhD, call it 11 years of retirement until you have to start working. Of course, this theory of mine, poses certain problems. Such as, if you've not worked for years on end to save FOR your retirement, how are you going to PAY for your retirement right out of school? This is something I've not worked on yet as to where to get the funding for this. I think if we don't build a few useless bridges in Alaska, maybe trim and tuck, and make a few amends here and there on the budget, we should be able to swing it. And we could always make it a reverse Social Security benefit as well. Yeah?

    OK, this is something that will never work, but around 8:30PM when I left work (mind you after getting there at 7:00AM this morning) it popped back into my head. As did a lot of other things as well, such as telling off the people that I work for, because being at work on a Friday night at 8:30, well, that sucks. I can't say it any more plain than that. It's just not a pleasant experience in my mind, and this has been happening to me a lot lately, and yeah, it stinks. It's stupid and decroded. You know, I expect this to happen every once in awhile. But over the last 15 days at work, this has happened to me probably 10 times where I've been there for longer than 12 hours in a day, and there are actually other guys there that have it worse than me. It's really simple that to get on my good side for doing something like this, really, all you have to do is give me a word of thanks. I don't require much else. I'm not getting paid for my overtime, and I don't gripe about it (at least to the powers that be at the workplace), but damn people, how about a nod of appreciation for doing something that you didn't want to do. Just a little acknowledgement of a job well done, or something. What do we get when we do this? Nothing. Nothing at all. At the very least, the hourly folks that I'm in there with stoking the late fires of work are getting time and a half for being there, so they're not complaining too loudly. Sure, they complain, because frankly, there are other places that they would rather be as well, but like I said, they're pulling in good money to be there, me, I'm still just pulling the same old money. Maybe I could get a few extra days of vacation at the end of the year or something like that. Or, like I said, a nod of appreciation would be decent.

    Now what is especially funny about this is that the people who essentially force me into staying at work late on a Friday night are nowhere to be seen. They've all jumped ship at 4:15 after they've hatched their hare brained scheme of doing whatever the hell it is I was doing this evening, and then dumping it on my lap. The conversation sort of flows like this, "Oh hey Tom. We decided that we need to sort out these bad parts from these good parts, and we just decided this at 4:00 this afternoon. Can you stay and make sure it gets done? Yes? Good, because I have a birthday party to go to this evening, and oh, damn, I've got to get going now. Bye!" That's how the conversation went this evening. Holy shit people. I can't believe that the company that I work for even is operating at all at times. It still amazes me. The person telling me this drivel this evening? My plant manager. The guy in charge of everything. Who stayed around this evening from management to help out with this little project? Yeah. You guessed it. Nobody. Nobody at all. It was just me, Clem, and his business partner Jethro out there checking parts. Clem and Jethro had more interest in shooting the bull than doing what they were supposed to be doing, but that was OK for them, they were getting paid by the hour anyway, so what did it matter to them. I was about to explode a few times, but kept it in. It's not their fault either, well, it is their fault for being slow, but not their fault that they got called into this little fiasco. And then, to top that off, I kept getting calls from different managers on this particular program. One minute, plant manager. Next minute, program manager. After that, quality manager. And then, the supplier quality manager. Finally, at one point in time I told one of them, I forget who it was, that if they wanted this information so much they should have stayed around this evening to see how things turned out, because we were having a hoot of a time. OK, maybe I didn't say, "A hoot of a time." but I did make a wise assed comment about coming in and seeing for themselves instead of calling from their couch with a beer in their hand. Jeez.

    And then, there is a group of yuck heads who work in our upstairs office. They are what we call new program managers, and advanced quality engineers, and a few others that for some reason we couldn't find space for downstairs even though every other cubicle is empty. If you dare to venture up to this office, and look around the joint on a Friday afternoon, there isn't a soul in sight. Nobody is to be seen. I take that back, there are a couple of people up there, but those are the folks who would be there if a hurricane blew the building down around their ears. But other than that, these other kiss asses that work up there, gone. You can hear crickets chirping in the corners. I kid you not. CRICKETS! Of course, once again, these high and mighty people seem to keep calling me on their cell phones from their secret undisclosed locations, and when I ask them where they are today, it's funny that they're never in Roxboro on a Friday. Never. They're always at our Sanford plant (if they live near the Triangle), or they're at our Alamance plant (if they live near Mebane/Burlington). It never fails. Or somehow, these assholes who are supposed to be doing PROCESS work for the most part, are working from home. Tell me now, how do you figure out manufacturing processes if you're not in the manufacturing facility? Quite a conundrum that we have here isn't it? Indeed it is. Now look, not to plead completely innocent on these charges, but on a Friday I'm not always on my "A" game there at work, but I am there damn it all, and that's a lot more than I can say for a lot of those guys. I mentioned something about that to my plant manager today, in a kidding kind of tone. He won't do anything about it, since he's one of the worse offenders. That guys spends less time at the plant than any plant manager I've ever worked for. I used to work for this Japanese company, and the company President, the head honcho, head man in charge was there just about every single day. When he used to have to travel to Japan, if he landed back in Bangor Maine, and it was still regular "working" hours would he go home and lay down? Heck no, he'd come into work. Now that was someone who you could follow. The slackitude with which I am encountered with on a daily basis stymies the mind.

    With the group of people that I work with, we have an especially dense group of ass kissers. Yes men if you will (I call them yes men, because there are no woman). These guys will throw you underneath a fast moving train if it means that they will look better for doing it, and they do it. A lot. These are the same group as mentioned above that tend to not ever come into work on a Friday. What really pisses me off, is that they have this higher positions within the company, and they suck at what they do. Well, most of them suck at life, but they really stink it up when it comes to working for a living. It's scary. They're not very smart, they don't know what they're doing for the most part, and these are the guys making some of the larger decisions for our business. No wonder most of our crap is going to Mexico, and will probably all be in Mexico in less than 10 years I bet you. It's a good thing that most of the people I work with on the floor, the production folks and supervisors, and the "everyday" people out there are good. If we didn't have a good workforce at our facility, we'd be especially screwed. But we do have some talent out there on the floor, we have some great people. Some who would do anything you asked them to do for the most part, and never argue about it. This is WHY my company works. It's not for the ass kissers who sit upstairs on their large pillowy asses all day long. No. It's about the folks making things out there on the production floor, assembling parts, and doing their best to make money for the company. And get this, a lot of those same folks who work almost tirelessly out there on the floor, have been doing so for the last 3 or 4 years without getting a pay raise. Not a single cent. When they ask the plant manager about this, he has one answer for them, "In today's economy, you should just be glad that you've got a job at all. HAHAHHAAHA!" On second thought, my plant manager is an asshat as well. 4 years without getting a pay raise, while at the same time, we've turned a profit and have been the best performing facility within our company for the same 4 years running. And yet, no pay raise. I think they gave them a $200 bonus last year, and a $50 Wal-Mart card at Christmas. That's some gratitude right there indeed. They can't throw a freakin' bone to our employees, but at the same time they can do the following things:

    1.) Open a separate office in Durham for the higher ups so they don't have to drive to Roxboro (it's true). We pay a huge rent for an office building in Research Triangle Park so that 10 guys don't have to drive to Roxboro to work. Remember the upstairs office I was talking about earlier? They all used to sit up there. The offices are still open. What a waste of money.

    2.) They hold a week long quality conference at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. I don't know if you've ever been to that place, but rooms are like $200 or more per night. And I'm sure that the conference itself was no cheap item to put on. Best part about it is that I'm betting that there is no trickle down from this conference in the long run. I won't hear 'boo' about this from my boss who is going to it.

    3.) Last year, they ripped out the old carpets in the office and put in fresh new ones. Remember, there was nothing wrong with the old ones, and the place where they put the new carpets in? Yes, the upstairs office that barely has any people in it, especially on Friday. Rumored cost of new carpets and installation? $40,000.

    4.) That office I wrote about over in Durham... Well, the entire staff gets their lunch paid for every single day by the company. Let's see... 10 guys. Each has an assistant = 20 people staffing the place, plus probably about another 5-10 people who work there in various capacities. So we have about 30 people. I'm going to go out on a limb and say lunch cost per person is going to be about $10. 10 x 30 = $300/day which will then = $1500 / week multiplied by 52 weeks per year, and we have a grand total of approximately: $78,000 / year just in lunches.

    5.) Last year the CEO of the company came to Roxboro to visit for one day, and barely left the head conference room in the front of the building. The plant manager decided to remodel everything. New leather furniture in the front lobby (again, nothing wrong with what he had up there in the first place), water sculpture, new wall hangings, display cabinets, cleaning, new floors, and so on and so forth. Once again, rumored cost of the re-model? Approximately $70,000-$80,000.

    No wonder we can't the employees a pay raise. They're spending it all on other items that most people in the world won't care about. Ever.

    OK, I've been ranting far too long about this subject, and I'm getting very, very, very tired, so now it's time to sleep again. I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow, for it's Saturday, and I don't have to ride tomorrow (see previous entries about vicious road rash injuries). Ah, sleep. I might just do that for most of the day. I think I deserve it.

    One last thing. Big shout out to tegaderm - see picture at the top of the page here (http://www.3m.com/us/home_leisure/nexcare/tegaderm.jhtml), without which, my skin would never grow back. That stuff is like Miracle Gro for road rash. They should sponsor a road cycling team and provide them with an unlimited stash of the stuff. It's like gold to bike racers this stuff, pure gold.

    10 November 2005

    NPR and pledge drives...

    OK, this has been going on now for a week, and it's driving me crazy. I know, I know. NPR needs to hold a pledge drive a couple of times per year to get the money that they need to operate, and I of course donate everytime I heard the stupid pledge drive on the air, because yeah, I listen to a hell of a lot of NPR, so it's worth $50 a couple of times per year. But damn. Just damn. I love NPR because there aren't any commercials really, and it's just constant news and information, but they make up for not having commercials when they have the pledge drive. I think they pack an entire year's worth of "commercials" into the days that they do the pledge drive. I miss a lot of information because I have to switch it off, because I can't bear to hear about Cory Flintoff coffee mugs that I'll get for donating my money. Or even worse, that limited edition CD of Backporch Music that they'll send me if I donate enough cash. Um, yeah, you can keep that crap, trust me on that. If there is anything I hate more Garrison Keeler, it's Backporch Music. Oh wait, maybe The Thistle and Shamrock with Fiona Ritchie. Lots of Celtic music, so there are a lot of fiddles, whistles, bells, and bad Irish accents. Oh my God. I hear that, and I turn it over to the local pop music station, which is even worse, because they play the same 10 songs over and over and over and over again until it makes your ears bleed. Clear Channel Communications is the Devil. I know it. I know they are. There is a decent talk radio station out of Greensboro these days though, and there is one show on there that I like and I can usually catch part of that on the drive home from work, which during the pledge drive is good, because when there are regular commercials on the talk radio station, I can switch over and actually maybe catch a piece of All Things Considered on NPR. Maybe. That is if Joan Seifert isn't out there asking for us to donate more money. It's almost over though, the pledge drive that is. I can't wait. I think that it ends tomorrow, and I will celebrate by hoisting a cold beer when I get home in the evening from the menial task that I call work. I can't help it. It drives me nuts. I know I said that before, repeating here again for emphasis on the NUTS part. Makes me want to pull my nose hair out.

    By happenstance at some point in time I came across this one person's blog out there on the web. This young lady happens to be a highly conservative right winger Republican. I frequent her blog, and place some "balanced" comments on there. Today, she posted this series of questions on there that I had to respond to because as I read through them, my pulse started to go through the roof, and then reading her responses, and the rest of her friends' responses, it started to drive me mad. Of course I went off on a long not too bad tirade on her questions, and I think I had the longest response in her blog. Go there, make responses if you would. It would be "good" for her to hear from a different point of view, because to me it is so apparent that she has drank the "kool aid" of the Republican party, we should call her Little Karl. She has the most infuriating trait of so-called conservatives these days. She claims she is pro-life and respects life in all forms, and then goes on to say she supports war in Iraq and the death penalty. I don't know what you guys might call this, but I most certainly call it hypocrisy at the very least, and that was being nice. I didn't blast her, because she has requested for people to not use bad words on her blog, and I can respect that, so I don't even cuss her out, although in my opinion she probably deserves that at the very least. Maybe someday when she lives out in the world and out from the protection of her parents, she can then make her own political decisions, and decide for herself who she wants to be. Maybe she'll stay the same person as she is now. I don't know. I only hope to influence her thinking just a tad, but I think it's a fruitless effort really. From what she blogs about, it appears that she reads the official RNC talking points and or listens to Rush in the afternoons, and then repeats what she has heard. I've yet to hear her make a rational independent thought about, well, anything. Check her out at the following location (Graham go get her son):


    Now, with all that being said, I do respect her opinions and her thoughts, they are her thoughts, no matter how ad nauseum that they are. I give her credit for trying. It's probably more than most of her ilk do. So be sort of nice, but still get some more comments on there.

    Today at work, I almost saw one of my co-workers get his ass kicked. Holy crap that would have been hilarious. OK, bad, but hilarious. There is this guy that I work with, we'll call him Jamie (mostly because that's his name). Jamie is a hard working bloke, very easy to get along with, and will do just about anything for you when you ask. He's very easy going. There is this other guy that I work with, we'll call him Gary (once again because that is his name), who is also a decent bloke, it's just that sometimes he does these things that are very annoying. Like trying to press home his point and going after it, again, and again, and again, and again, and again. He's that guy that you could ask him a simple yes or no question and you end up with a 25 minute explanation of something that should have rightly taken 2 seconds to answer. He's that guy. He's the guy in your high school class that asked such a long question that when the bell rang you had to stay in the classroom for another 5 minutes before he got through it, and he's the kid everyone wanted to beat up. Well, that almost happened today. He kept needling Jamie about this one thing, and they were arguing about it back and forth for awhile (like for the first 30 minutes I was at work) over the phone, and finally, Jamie hung up on him. He had tired of the conversation. Or he was just worn out from it. I can't tell which it was. This of course set Gary of on a mission to "correct an attitude" as he told it to me. I had to follow him out for this one. This would be too good to miss really. Luckily, we never found Jamie as Gary walked around the plant (and I followed him around). Talking to Jamie later, he was still incensed and made mention that had Gary been anywhere near him after their phone "conversation" he would have gotten dropped with a haymaker. Let me see who I would take in a brawl? Gary. Kind of doughy smart kid, someone that we would have called a nerd in high school. Jamie. Former farm boy turned Marine, now working on his own landscaping business. I'll take the former Marine/farm boy over the doughy nerd any day of the week I think. Yeah, definitely. It would have been a massacre I believe. And someone, or 2 people probably would have lost jobs on that one. It's good thing Gary didn't find him to adjust his "attitude" as he mentioned before. Ah, the workplace. Such a fun place to be. We had someone get the cuffs slapped on them in the parking lot earlier this week. Although that person didn't work there, they just turned into the parking lot to avoid getting pulled over by the Po-Lice. Good stuff. Got to love Roxboro North Cackalacky. A small town where everyone knows your name, and your business. I'm glad I don't live there.

    09 November 2005

    Flesh wound updates...

    Yes, it is that time again when I share my torn and now healing flesh with the rest of you out there. I know you've been waiting for an update.

    I am happy to report that for the most part, things are knitting together well, and healing up pretty darn good. There is a good healing going on with the elbow, and the leg has been covered in Tegaderm for most of this week, and that is speeding things along nicely I might say. Tegaderm. Is that great stuff or what? No wonder those jerks charge so much for that stuff. For someone who has had skin torn from their body by some sort of pavement or something else, it's like gold or crack, depending on how you look at it. My hands are my biggest concern, as I can't grip the bars of the bike if that stuff is not healed up fast, so I've been paying special attention to my mitts. It's paying off. It probably looks the best out of all of the wounds, and they are the smallest patches really, so it makes sense. I did get some swelling of the arm yesterday, and I told myself as soon as something looks and or feels weird with this stuff, I'm off to the doc. I went yesterday afternoon, got some meds, and the swelling is down already. I'll of course take my full course of antibiotics just to make sure. Can't count on one little change to stop taking the junk. The doc, she looked over the rest of my road rash, and pronounced it to be well taken care of, and appeared to be healing well. Who am I to argue with a doctor? OK, I am one to argue with a doctor if I think they are wrong, but this one, appeared to be right. Every night, I come home from work, bust off the Tegaderm on the leg, clean it with peroxide, let it dry and breathe for a short while, and then re-wrap back up with the plastic stuff before heading off to bed. In the morning, check it again, see if anything has moved or needs replacing, and do that. This approach appears to be working pretty good for me. I think tomorrow morning the arm is going to get the Tegaderm treatment, as there is a pretty good scab on there now, and it could use some softening, and with new skin growth underneath it, it should make it heal even faster with the Tegaderm on it. I wanted to wait on it before getting that stuff on it to get a good scab, and prevent the frequent replacing of Tegaderm, as mentioned before, that shit is expensive. I had to put it on the leg though because, let's face it. The prospect of your stiff ass pants rubbing on your road rash with nothing over it. Not appealing, not at all. And hence the Tegaderm went on and covered it. It's hard keeping it in place since the road rash is on the "bendy" parts of my leg and all, it moves, and falls off, and leaks. That, and the leg is still weeping pretty good, so it gets really wet down there. Yeah, it's gross. What can I tell you? It's bodily fluids. It ain't pretty stuff. I think I should be pretty well off by this time next week though, which pleases me. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss the good weather riding of this weekend, again. Oh well, that's what I get for hitting that damn stick in the road (stupid Cannondale guy). I've had guys that I've ridden with and been friends with for years tell me that the damage I incurred is probably some of the worst that they've seen. I thought about this, and in thinking about it, the times that I've gone down before in races and on other rides, I've always been going a hell of a lot slower than I was when I hit the deck last week. Maybe around 20 at the maximum. When I hit the asphalt last week, it was at a full tilt 30 MPH. The pavement does things to you when you hit it going that fast. As evidenced by my original pictures. Yes, it sucked. I hope to not do that again in the future.

    People have been quite shocked when they see me at work though, which is funny. They're like, "You mean you fell off your motorcycle right?" Not believing that falling off of a bicycle could do the damage seen on my arms. I show them my leg, and they freak out. It's kind of fun. I relish in that I guess maybe a little too much. It's the grossing people out factor I guess. I'm cruel. It is quite another thing when people come up to me and bump me in the elbow or slap me in the leg though. That's just not a good thing at this point in time and it has happened a couple of times as of late, and I've almost slapped someone back, except with a closed fist. They don't know though, or just don't think about it. It's OK, I'm going to give them a hall pass this time. But if the same person does it more than once, it's going to be the fists of fury in their dome piece.

    Now the healing pictures...

    The first little gem is of my leg of course, bottom left of the leg to be precise. I have just returned home from work, and done the chore of cleaning this thing off. It gets icky being stuck in a pair of pants all day long. Nothing how everything still looks nice and red and healing, this is from the Tegaderm baby. It keeps it wet all day long to promote the healing, it still looks pretty gnarly, but it is feeling better.

    Picture #2. Top of the knee on the leg, and the left side of the leg a little closer. This is the stuff that is covered by the sliding Tegaderm on a daily basis. So sometimes it stays covered, and sometimes, it doesn't. There is some good skin growth going on there though, which makes me happy. Compare these 2 pictures with the original, and you'll see some definite improvement in the situation of these wounds. Trust me, I see it. And the pain is not really there so much anymore, well, not as bad as it was the other day, that's for damn sure.

    Next grouping, the hands. You can see the Tegaderm still on there after a long day of work. The hands are definitely looking the best as mentioned before, but with smaller patches to heal, I guess I can expect that, or should expect that. It just sucks because there are a lot of things that I can't do at work, and at home that you can normally do with a functioning pair of hands. Lesson learned from this? Wear your gloves dumb ass. As much as I hate to say it. Dahron was right about that one. Damn it I hate it when Dahron is right. At least when I'm riding in a large group of people. I'll still not wear them when I'm out by myself. I can guarantee that. I just started wearing gloves in races this year, which is something I can't believe I didn't do before. Silly me. It only takes messing up the mitts bad one time for you to be a glove convert I think. I'm in. Although I will say that if I had not been wearing my helmet, nothing would have happened. Not a mark on the skid lid. But I digress, I'll still wear that thing for the most part, that's just good sense really.

    Moving on to another body part, the arm and elbow, and then I promise to stop posting pictures of gruesome things like this. You can see the immense scab that I have going on with this one, which is why I've got to get the Tegaderm on it, stat! Or, well, at least tomorrow. And of course, the elbow. Check out the elbow...

    That's all I got for now. I hope that I might have grossed a few more people out here and there, as I think that it might be my mission in life, or one of them at least. Maybe later on down the line I'll get some good snaps of the scars when those bad boys eventually develop and criss-cross my arm and leg. Do chicks really dig scars? I hope the SO does, because there is going to be a big patch of them on me. I'll have to ask her about this when she comes over this evening. The downside to this injury is that I really can't go over to her place at all, and hang out there because of The Bea, or Beatrice the dog. She's a bit of a jumper, so my current state of health and her jumping would not mix well I'm afraid. Normally, not so much of an issue, but now, yeah, she could really hurt me, not to mention she's got some good sized claws on them paws of hers. I'll just have to spend about a month or so over there once I'm healed up to make up for all of the traveling she's been doing in coming over to my abode. Got to keep it even and fair. Anyway, time to round up some food and make my gut larger than it already is.

    07 November 2005

    Working and being sore...

    Of course after crashing hard the other day, and eating shit like you wouldn't believe, I spent most of the day on Sunday sitting on the couch licking my wounds, and watching TV. Turns out that things stiffen up the day after the crash a lot, and everything is just a touch bit sore. OK, a lot sore. Things that weren't hurting that much on Saturday were killing me on Sunday. The pain level on Sunday was a bit high. So I sat around with the leg elevated, and ate Advil like a fatman at a buffet. It was a good day. Snoozed on and off a bit here and there, and basically, tried to block the pain. The hook of course came at night when I got to take some Unisom, and that shit will knock a brother out. I needed it after not sleeping at all Saturday night because my leg was throbbing, and felt like it might fall off at any point in time. Luckily for me, the SO took pity on my sorry ass, and hung out with me all day long, doing some work, and watching me sleep on the couch, and of course gathering more medical supplies for me to place over my wounds, and last but not least, making me eat even when I didn't feel very hungry. Once again, you find a woman like that people, keep her. She is the best. I can say this here, because I keep telling her that to her face as well.

    Now, going to work like this is a pain in the balls. For one, everything hurts, and you can't walk around work in a pair of shorts, well, at least I can't right now. On go the pants, which rub, all day long, over the raw exposed flesh underneath. Well, sort of exposed, I've got that stuff on Tegaderm lockdown for now. Had to change it out this morning, and this evening when I got home from work, just because the oozing and stuff is a little much, but it's doing a decent job. When the healing train really gets on the track, I'll probably just leave it on there for several days. Anyway, get to work, there are lots of people around, and of course, I have to tell the story of what happened oh, about 30 times today. Someone you know at work sees you walking around looking like a car crash victim, they're concerned. And that's nice. The story gets old though of course. Pretty soon I'm going to just tell them that I was bored at home this weekend, and took a cheese grater to my arm and leg for fun. Or maybe I'll make up a story about how I donated my skin to someone else for a procedure for a burn victim, or something like that. Maybe I'll just keep changing it so that everyone gets confused. Yeah, that's the ticket. In all likelihood though, I'll just keep telling the same old story. I'm not creative enough to come up with several stories, let alone keep getting the real story correct. This new program that I'm working on at the J-O-B is for this part called a propshaft. Jason knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, from my desk in the front to where the propshafts are assembled are on totally opposite sides of the plant. Since we had Ford in the facility today and tomorrow, it has facilitated the need for me to walk to and from my desk, oh, about 20 times today. Limping and hobbling the entire time, every time. Not a fun walk to do a bunch of times on a good day, at a bunch of road rash, a slight limp, and pain everytime your pants hit your torn flesh, and well, you have my day today. Mama always said there would be days like these, and unfortunately, today was one of them. Add into that the fact that I got to the workplace at 7AM, and didn't leave until 7:30PM, well, it just makes for a longer day. Of course, tomorrow promises to be just like yesterday, probably only longer. Which means I need to get to bed soon in order to get up earlier, and head back to the hellish hole known as the workplace. In a way, maybe it's good that I got hurt this weekend, because I wouldn't have been able to train this week anyway. Matter of fact, I was so damn busy today that I forgot to eat breakfast, and lunch. Didn't eat today until 8:30PM which is about when I rolled into the house and sat my chubby ass down on the couch. I guess this is why they pay me the big bucks and give me extra vacation time? Oh wait, nevermind, they don't do that. Damn... I'm wondering if I can get an extra day for like Thanksgiving or something like that from the boss. That way, I can make the trip from NC to Florida in a good amount of time. Don't want The Shawn to worry about the SO and I getting to Tampa too late before T-Giving. I'm pretty excited to head down there for Thanksgiving and all. The SO got to see my hometown, and now I can see her hometown. It'll be a good time I'm sure.

    Time to wrap the wounds, and head to bed for the evening. Hopefully, I'll feel even better tomorrow after another harrowing day with one of my customers. If you can avoid going into the automotive supplying business, I say by all means, you should avoid it. I can say that after 10 years I could use a change I think, but what else can I do? We'll see if I can think of something else I want to do when I grow up. I hope I don't have work-mares tonight. If you've never had them, trust me, you're not missing much.

    06 November 2005

    Um, call out that stick in the road would you???

    Out for a little spin with the local group here in Chapel Hill yesterday, when someone forgot to call out an obstacle in the road. As we all know, this is what you're supposed to do when you're riding in a group of more than say, oh, one person. Someone didn't get the memo, because I ran right over that bad boy at around 30 MPH and went down like a pile o' bricks. I'm not going to name names about the person who failed to point this road debris out and all, but you know who you are (tall guy riding a Cannondale with a sleeveless jersey, and I would call you out by name, but I don't know what your name is).

    Now I've gone down before, but not at this high of a speed, and haven't had these results before. As I was sliding on the pavement left shoulder to the proverbial grindstone all I could think about was how much of my skin was now being ripped from my arm and my leg. It was a long ass slide I can guarantee you that. There were several good things about this fall, and they were, in no particular order:

    1. My bike was rideable post dumpage. I rode it home under escort from Curtis and several others. Thanks!
    2. My bike is not too badly damaged. Some bar tape, and some more dents on the shifters. Wheels, straight and true.
    3. Only one other person went down with me, and she rode away with a bruise and a small raspberry on her shoulder. Nothing.
    4. I didn't break anything on my person.

    So overall even though this fall sucks, it could have been a lot worse. Several motorists stopped to see if they could assist, that was nice to see. One guy on the ride went back to get his car since he lived close by to where it happened, just in case I needed a lift home, that was nice as well.

    The nicest part was the SO coming over to help me scrub out the wounds whilst I laid in the tub soaking the road rashed skin. Big ups to her for doing that. Let me tell you folks, when you find a woman who will come and scrub out your wounds while you lay cringing in a tub of water, that's a keeper right there. Well, the SO is a keeper for a lot of other reasons as well, but this was just another little feather in her cap for me. I would have gotten the gravel and asphalt out on my own, but some was deep in the elbow that I went down on, so, she helped out very nicely with that, and got me something to eat, and bought me a shit-ton of medical supplies, and so on and so forth. She rocked the house yesterday.

    And now without further adieu, I bring you the pictures that I know you're all waiting for. Carnage baby, carnage...

    This first little beauty is the left leg which bore the brunt of the fall I believe, well, after my elbow and all, which the swelling has gone down on thankfully. Check out the cheese grater action going on below the knee though. This is fabulous, and should drive anyone away from riding bikes if they haven't been driven away already. Awesome isn't it? I thought so. How could I NOT take pictures of this stuff, I'm weird like that.

    Picture number 2 coming at you. This is of the elbow area before jumping into the bathtub to get rub-a-dub-dub clean. There was a big old chunk of flesh hanging off of this one that I had to cut off later with a pair of scissors. Well, that the SO cut off with a pair of scissors. She almost lost the old lunch on that one she said. Thanks again though. This would had the most asphalt in it, and the scrubbing had to be done. I had to have her do it in several different sections. Like scrub for 30 seconds, soak for 2 minutes, scrub for 30 seconds, soak for 10 minutes. You get the picture.

    Third shot, left hand. I forgot to put on my damn gloves before heading out for the group ride, and of course I pick the day I forgot said damn gloves to hit the deck. And hence, the large amounts of missing flesh on my palms. This makes life a little more difficult than you'd like to think, since now, if you grab something, you leave a bloody imprint on whatever it is you're grabbing, and also, with the exposed nerves and such from the wound, it tends to hurt. It makes it really hard to grab a beer bottle after something like this has happened, but somehow damn it I managed to get that done. I know, I'm a freakin' trooper and a half.

    And of course the most difficult picture to look at. The trashed new watch. Damn it all. If you've read some of my prior entries about the rigamarole that I had go through to get this watch, you'd understand my disappointment at it being wrecked. OK, not completely wrecked as it still works, but it's not sleak and stealth anymore. It's all ground down and scratched. Ah hell... I can't keep nothing nice.

    Of course since I had lost a lot of skin, there is a certain amount of care to be taken of these things, so I called the man who has hit the pavement almost as many times as Phil Wikoff, and that would be Chad Gibson. Thanks for the information mo-fo on road rash care. It is much appreciated of course. Good stuff. Just had to thrown a shout out to him for that bit o' information.

    Anyway, this throws a serious damper on my plans to start my off season training this week. I guess I'm going to have to put that off a little bit now until I can heal enough to say, grab the bars while riding, and or not hurt when I pedal. The best plans, laid to waste. I might as well have salted the Earth where I stood. Or better yet, I should not have jinxed myself by talking to various people about said plan to start training fairly hardcore again this week. At least I have Ford coming in tomorrow and Tuesday to visit our new propshaft cell, and I can gross them out, and maybe draw some sympathy from them with the wounds that no doubt will be on display after I get the Tegaderm on there this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Oh, another thing, trying to sleep while this stuff is fresh and kind of tingley and or itchy because there is some healing going on, oh, and not to mention the immense pain of it all, trying to sleep is something that just didn't happen for me last night. Well, I shouldn't say didn't happen at all, but it did come in starts and fits, meaning, sleep for about 20 minutes, something hurts in leg, wake up, re-adjust bandages, fall asleep again for 15 minutes, repeat the process. It blows.

    I hate falling off of my bike.

    04 November 2005

    PF Chang's can kiss my hairy ass...

    I have this problem with PF Chang's, as you might be able to tell. Seriously, where do they get off passing off their grub as "haute cuisine"? Or whatever it is they want to call that crap they charge you 2 arms and a toe for. I've said this for years, and I'll say it again here for the benefit of any and all listening. PF Chang's is no better than your local Chinese Buffet, and what are the chances that there are a lot of Chinese immigrants working in the kitchen back there in Chang's kitchen? Yeah, exactly, there are probably none. This place wants to pass itself off as some kind of kick ass Chinese food, but it's not. The only difference between these assholes and the local buffet is that you get less food, and slower service. Let's face it, dollar per pound, the Chinese buffet is where you throw down when you want to get your grub on. PF Chang's, if you wanted to get the amount of food there that you would at the buffet, you should bring the freakin' platinum card my friends, because it'll cost you. It'll cost you dearly, and in the process, it'll probably take your soul away as well.

    My first experience with this establishment was back in the day when I was dating Deanna. She dragged me there, and I figured, hey, I dig Chinese food; why the hell not? Off we went. We get there, and the first thing that irked me, waiting for a table. I've never had to wait for a table at a Chinese buffet, why here? So, 1 hour and 10 minutes later, and 3 whiskey sours, we're seated. I decide, hey, I like me some wonton soup, I'll get that for an appetizer. Then I get old reliable for dinner, sesame chicken. Really now, who doesn't like sesame chicken. If you say you don't like it, well, you're a damn liar. Everyone likes crispy chicken dunked in some kind of sweet brown sauce. How could you not? It's got to be the MSG that they lace it with that makes it taste so good. Then again, maybe that's why I get headaches everytime I eat Chinese food, and a case of the poops, but that's a different story. Soup comes out, lukewarm at best. I don't complain, it's still edible. Not as good as #35's in Chapel Hill, but adequate. Dinner comes, and the chicken, stone cold, well, cold. I know, cardinal sin, don't send something back, but I had to, and to be honest, this is the first time and only time that I've sent something back to the kitchen for a freakin' re-do. By the time they make their way back out to me with my food, Deanna is done eating, and I'm unfufilled on the eating front. Instead of killing any further minutes in this place, we get mine to-go. I make a complaint to the manager, and I don't get a gift certificate or something like that. Nadda, just a smile and a nod. Thanks for nothing jackmonkey. The small bits of the food that I did try, once again, local Chinese buffet, sesame chicken, just as damn good as PF Chang's. These guys are running a racket, and I wish that I had gotten in on the ground floor of this bitch when I had a chance, but I didn't. Oh, the best part, grand total for the 2 of us for a sub-par Chinese food dinner which we had to wait over and hour just to be seated; >$60 (I don't remember the exact total it was 3 years ago, sue me). Overpriced for what you get, and essentially tasting the same as the $8 buffet (and that's with a drink) in town here in Chapel Hill and now there is another buffet in Carrboro. Rip off, the biggest rip-off in dining today my friends. Pure and simple. Let me know if you've gone there and experienced this same phenomenon, or tell me if you had a good experience there. For my dollars though, I'm heading to the Chinese buffet. PF Chang's, as I said in the title, can kiss my hairy ass. They suck. If some hack from their company is reading this, bring it back to your bosses, your restaurant is horrible. I hope that the Olive Garden buys you out and turns all of your locations into mediocre Italian restaurants like Olive Garden is (I have some bad memories from them as well, and will probably never eat there again - that's for another time though). Still, hands down, the best Chinese food I've ever had in the US has to be back home in Mexico Maine. It's true. If there is one good thing we have to eat in Mexico Maine, it's the damn Chinese place in town. Don't know how they got that good, but it's straight up delicious. If you're ever driving through there (why would you, but if you are) stop in, and get the number 9 dinner. You won't be sorry. The name of the place escapes me, but stop anywhere in town and ask where the Chinese joint is, and since there about 2 restaurants in town, any local should be able to point you in the correct direction.

    Just a post script here. The Chad will back up all assertions of PF Chang's suckitude, that, and he's a culinary student.

    01 November 2005

    Farewell my friends...

    This evening was a sad night indeed. It appears that the rumors are true, and Danielle Staskal and Phil Wikoff are really heading off to Austin Texas. What the hell I say? These are good people my friends, very good people, and well, we should have them hanging around here more than less, but hey, jobs call, and Danielle is answering. I can't blame her for that. Phil is going with, and I can't blame him for that. Frankly, they are just 2 good people who should spend more time in Chapel Hill, but I ain't gonna be stingy. I'll let them go, and spread themselves around the country a little more. It's all good. The more people that know these 2, the better. Yeah, you could say that this is a "tribute" of some sort. Not to be one that is all mushy and shit, but I'll miss those 2, that's for sure. They're just good people, and really and truly, that's hard to come by in this world.

    I think that I met Danielle first, no doubt about that. Being a frequenter of the local cycling scene in Chapel Hill, NC, she was a regular just about from the time that I moved into town. OK, maybe she came a couple of years later, but I always sort of knew her. Phil came onto the scene for me about 2003 when we were both cat 3 racers trying to win some races, make some money, and have a good time. I'll admit it, when I first met Danielle, I thought she was hot. Take a look at her sometime, you'll see what I mean, but not only hot, but smart, and just damn nice. Phil when I first met him, I thought he was a fred. Yes, it's true. He didn't know how to handle his bike too well, and raced like a cat 5 in a cat 1 body. Time changed all of this of course, and Phil became a very good bike racer, and a good friend over time, and Danielle, well, let's face facts here, she's still hot, but she's also in love with the Phil-meister, and I don't see how this is a bad thing. They seem to compliment one another, and that's always good, and well, they just seem to get along well, and in this day, that's kind of a rare quality. It is just not something that comes around all that often, so it's something that folks seem to gravitate to. I'm certain, damn certain that once in Austin, they will flourish. They'll find some new friends, and meet new people, and have extraordinary times, but I hope that they never forget the folks back in NC. I', fairly certain that they won't, and that's a good thing. They'll be back, or they'll at least come to visit on occasion. And that's what I expect.

    I mean, they are moving to Texas, Austin at least. From what I've heard from the SO and other folks that have lived there, if you're a young professional, and sort of hip, and fun, well, Austin is the place that you really want to be. Good choice Danielle. I hear it's a kind of liberal funky town, and hey, that's pretty kick ass. It's like Carrboro, only bigger. I'm sure that they'll do fine there. They're both pretty damn smart. I just hope that they don't forget the little people later on down the line so that I can have somewhere warm and sunny to go and train in the wintertime for racing. I mean, hey, I did at least host their last party in town. Which, I might add, was a good time. All of the regular suspects were there, and if you weren't there, what the hell were you thinking? First of all, it's Halloween in Chapel Hill, at least come for that. Second of all, this is their last night in town. The last night I spent in Orono Maine, well, I got drunk with friends, went skinny dipping, ran around town naked for a few minutes, sat on the bench in the public park (naked of course), went hot tubbing with naked women friends of mine, drank champagne at the Black Bear on the U-Maine campus, and the finally passed out around 3 in the morning. This might not sound late, but bear in mind that the festivities started at 2 in the afternoon. That's a lot of drinking my friends. And damn, this party only started around 7PM or so this evening, and it's now only 1 in the morning, and well, most everyone has been gone for about an hour or so. My point. If you didn't come to this party, and were invited, you suck. Well, if you had a good excuse, I can let it slide (kids, work, other commitments), but if you just skipped it, well, you missed out suckas!!!

    The attendance list was diverse. There were science people, engineering people (OK, that's just me), cycling people (that's me as well), and just friends and confidants. Many of the folks that were at the party are some people that I haven't seen in awhile, and frankly, it was just good to see them, share a beer, and shoot the shit. I mean really, at 32 years old, that's what parties are supposed to be like. Gone are the days of serious drinking binges and booze festivals of the youth (except when required), and even then, for me, those things were rare. Straight up, this was just a good time.

    So in closing Phil and Danielle, you guys are the best. 2 people sailing into life's sunset (yes, cheesy, but true) with a bright future ahead of you, and of course the 2 of you to be together. It's an exciting time, and I can only hope for good luck for you in whatever endeavors that the 2 of you encounter together, and I'm sure that our paths will cross again in the future. Good luck, good night, and much love.