27 August 2006

Work update...

So it has been a short while now since I've had a work update. Let's just say, the last week or so, has sucked incredibly bad. Why? Well, throw in a couple of 60 hour weeks, a few nights hanging around work until 11PM or so, calls in the middle of the night from said workplace, and indeed, things have been sucking.

This last week we had a customer issue, which immediately put me into response and fire fighting mode, for the last week and a half. Since this firefighting has taken up a large portion of my time, no, make that, all of my time, I haven't had time to do or to take care of anything else that needs taking care of at work. This of course puts me into a precarious situation when it comes time for, Monday morning. That being tomorrow. That being, well, I still have this one issue going on, plus a few more piled up in behind that one that I haven't tended to, and I can't try and pass them off to someone else, because there is really nobody else to pass them off to. Meaning, my department, still 2 people short, and it's not looking very good for replacements getting in there anytime in the next month or 2. Sure, we have some replacements on tap, and some that have interviewed and or are in the pipeline, but no relief really. So right now, I'm really trying to do the job of 3 people, and it ain't happening. I'm barely staying afloat, and that is already working long hours for the past, ah, what is it now? A year? Yeah, something like that.

Anyway, if you are looking for a new job and a company in Roxboro, NC calls you, and wants to interview you, please check with me first, and I'll let you know if it is my company or not, because right now, it is black hole style going on there. As in, you can't make it out. Nothing escapes the gravitational pull of my workplace. And here is the shitty thing about it. I have been working my ass off, honestly and truly working my ass off. My boss understands what is going on, and that's all good, and a few other people realize what I've been doing, or trying to do, and that's good as well, but there is one manager there who keeps making little snide comments to me about how I'm slacking off. Now, I don't know if he's joking around or not, but I've heard tale told about him saying this to various other people, on the floor, around the plant about my work ethic, and seriously, honestly, and truly, it kind of pisses me off. Because as mentioned before, been working lots, with little reward for it. Sure, I get paid, but if I was getting overtime in addition to the regular salary I'm getting now, I'm pretty sure that I'd be pulling 6 figures this year fairly easily. And really, this is no exaggeration when I say this. But those would be a very hard 6 figures. Meaning, I'd have a life sort of like I have now. No time for myself really. No time to ride. No time to sleep. No time to make myself feel good. Nope, I have work, and that's about it. Yes, I do have the fiance, and she is wonderful, but she realizes that I haven't had any time for myself lately, or for awhile, and everyone needs a little don't we? Indeed we do.

I did get a good drunk on this past weekend though. After a really rough week of work, as mentioned in above paragraphs, I went out with the fiance, and some of our friends on Friday night. First thing I did, order the 22 ounce beer, and please make that a Franziskaner please. Next on the list of beers to drink, one Duvel please. Sure the Duvel was not a large beer, but it is Belgian, and it does pack a wallop. High alcohol content of course. 3rd beer, Allagash White, now I'm back at the 22 ounce level. 4th beer, more Allagash White, hey it was sort of hot outside, and wheat beer on a summer night with good friends and good food goes down easy. On the drive home, a question was posed as to whether or not we should get more beer at the local grocery store. Indeed we should, and indeed we did. But lo and behold, instead of beer, what did the fiance and I spy in the cooler and the Kroger? $4.99/bottle champagne. We did what any responsible people of our ilk would do. We bought 2 bottles, and brought them home. Popped the "corks" (more on that later), put on some good music, and laid on the couch chatting and drinking really bad champagne, or hangovers in a bottle if you prefer. I am glad to say that I finished my bottle, and was thoroughly thrashed. Bed came hard and fast shortly thereafter. Luckily, or unluckily, when I get that slammered, I normally wake up several times during the night. This time, it was lucky, because after "going to sleep" for a few hours, I woke up around 3 in the morning, with a dry mouth, and an already large headache. I needed to take action to avoid the really bad hangover. I went into the kitchen, stood at the sink, and drank water for a good 20 minutes, and then took a handful (4-5 maybe?) of extra strength painkiller (Tylenol type), and then laid back down. This middle of the night interlude did work wonders, as I woke up on Saturday morning, and was relatively pain free. Yeah, the head hurt a little, but nothing major really. Not enough to keep me from logging a few hours on the bike. The stomach was still sort of queasy, but again, not enough to keep a good man down. Needless to say though, I won't be drinking anymore $4.99 bottles of champagne. Well, maybe, but not another whole bottle. Yikes! Can we say excessive? All, repeat after me, "Excessive..." But hey, I had a hard week, and well, I had a hard week (again I refer you to the top paragraphs of this rambling typography here). But alas, it is Sunday night, and now I'm staring down the barrel of another week of fun and excitement at the workplace. Again, I hate complaining and griping about my workplace, as I know for the vast majority of us, our workplaces suck, and we don't like them much, but mine is especially wretched. I'll try to write about something pleasant, but don't hold your breath.

This weekend was not a bust at all though. I got to ride twice (that's the same amount I've ridden in the last 2 weeks all together), and the weather was decent. I even got to ride bikes with the fiance for a short while this afternoon, which was good. She's coming along nicely, and I think if she keeps at it, I'm probably going to have to purchase her a better bike somewhere in the near future. More couples riding next weekend I think though. It was fun, and for me, it was a good way to cool down after my own solo training ride I took in the morning for a couple of hours. All good stuff. Oh, and the Vuelta started this weekend as well. More on that race as it progresses. I wonder if another doper will win this year? Heras won last year, and was later busted for EPO. What does the race hold for this year me wonders?

20 August 2006


Check out this ride someone posted in a bike forum that I frequent...

First of all, this is a Colnago boys and girls. A real one. One that doesn't have some fancy shmancy paint job (although I like those as well), one that has been fillet brazed, lugged, and then to top it all off, they gold plated the Super Record gear that they strapped onto it. It is one of the most singularly beautiful bikes that I have ever seen really. I mean, it's freakin' stunning, in a way that only the Italians could do it. Let's face it. This shit was blinging long before that word ever entered the common vernacular of the world. If anyone could do a bike with class like this, it was going to be Ernesto Colnago, in my opinion, one of the greatest bike builders of all time. Sure, I've only had one of his bikes in my entire lifetime, and will probably not have another one for a long time (can't swing that kind of cash), but somewhere down the line, I'll have myself another one. It will be my Sunday cruiser, and will probably cost copious amounts of dollars, and people will drool over that thing when I cruise by on Sunday afternoon on my old fart's ride, and all of the kids will wonder an old fat guy has such a sweet bike. I'll tell you the reason for it right now. Because I can. That's why. I always hear people complaining about other people and what sweet rides that they have, and why do they have them because they don't race them. They don't ride them much. Is it all for show? What are they trying to prove? It's for none of that kids. It's because they can buy them, and if you can buy it, you're going to do it. Let's face the facts here. We're all boys, and we like the biggest and baddest toys that we can get. Don't hate on the guys with the nice bikes, they just have more money than you. That's all. Doesn't make them any better, doesn't make them any faster, it just makes them richer than you or me. Personally, I don't hate on them. I lust after their bikes. Just like I would lust after this one pictured in this post. Hell, this thing is a work of art. I'd get this thing, and hang it on a wall somewhere. Maybe ride it once or twice per year, but other than that, wipe it off with a diaper, and keep it in top notch shape and shiny, always shiny. I'm sure that my friend Dale wouldn't mind having this bike either. As mentioned before, it's drool worthy, even if you don't like old bikes, or bikes in general. One has to respect the work on this one.

It's been several weeks now, and the doping furor has not died down on the Landis front. My opinion on this one? He did it. He's guilty as Hell, and will get knocked from the top level of the sport for the next 4 years, which will effectively end his career in the world of bike racing, at least on the road. Maybe he can make a comeback on the mountain bike front, or maybe he can join that other doper from Phonak, Tyler Hamilton, riding unsanctioned events (Hamilton won the Mt. Washington Hill Climb again this year), and taking money out of legit guys riding their bikes out there. If I were the promoters of the Mt Washington Hill Climb, I would turn down Hamilton's entry into the event. I'd send along note like this, "Sorry Mr. Hamilton, but since the UCI has banned you from racing at the top levels of the sport, we wish to be consistent with the sanctioning bodies of cycling in the world, and not allow you to compete at our event even though it is unsanctioned. Please come back and see us when you have your racing license back in your hands." Or, something like that. He definitely would NOT be in my race, not until he had a real racing license. Ah well, it's not my race, so I can't really do anything about it. Maybe I should write an angry consumer letter to the folks who put the race on.

In other bike news. I am now the proud new owner of a mountain bike. I sold my last mountain bike a couple of years ago, and have been without since 2004. Thanks to Cycles de Oro, and the annual Super Sale, I now own another mountain bike. This time, we went back into the single speed land of pain, and came up with a brand new Bianchi GUSS (see picture). I decided to stay true to my "roots" of single speeding and get another one. I had the original Bianchi single speed that started off the craze back in 1998, the BOSS, so why not get an updated version of a bike that I loved? I did, and as suspected, the thing is sweet. It carves singletrack like a good single speed should, and rides very nice. No complaints from this kid. And, the fiance has also purchased a new bike as well. Her first new bike in a long time according to her, and I'm excited for her to swing the leg over it, and start riding around the 'hood here. I think she's going to dig it. My only fear is that she's going to like it too much, and with that comes newer and better equipment, with higher costs, but hey, that's something I'm willing to drop some money on, so we'll see how she digs it. Alright, that's about all that I have for now. I have a lot of political thoughts rolling around in what I like to call my noggin', but we'll leave those on hold for this point in time.

13 August 2006

I ask this...

I have a question.

If you are a good Christian, you undoubtedly believe in God. Right? In order to believe in God, you sort of have to have a blind faith that there is a God, because let's face it, there is no irrefutable evidence that says that there is a God out there. Go ahead. Pull up all of the so-called miracles over the course of recorded history, and hell, most of those can be discounted by basic science, and have been over the years. But for most believers, and for most people, they just believe, because they "know" that there is something out there, yet, they have no proof. Maybe because my mind is more analytical than anything else, I need some proof in order for me to believe that things like God are out there indeed. And yet, once upon a time, I believe wholeheartedly. Do I anymore? This I'm still not really sure of, I'm batting it back and forth. Have been for the last bunch of years actually. Don't know what camp I'm falling into just yet.

Here's my question though. If good Christian folk believe in the Lord God; do they also believe in Santa Claus?

Let's look at the facts.

God. Nothing there. No proof. Nothing, nadda, zippo, zilch. Now, I can't say the same thing about Jesus, because we know from historical records that he actually lived and walked the Earth back in the day. Was he the son of God? Or was he just someone who thought he was the son of God? These days, when someone proclaims themself a messiah, or possible son of God, we call them crazy. Could Jesus be a crazy man ala David Koresh (except a lot more kind)?

Anyway, and then we have Santa Claus. Back in the day when you were a kid, there was proof Santa had been around. The cookies were eaten. The presents were there. The corn for the reindeer was gone. Hell, every year NORAD tracks the chubby fat man in a red suit and sleigh across the world as he makes his run to drop off presents for the boys and girls around the world. Now, I know that Santa Claus doesn't exist, because I caught my parents in the act when I was a young kid laying out the presents when I was about 5 years old. No big deal. I was still getting some good stuff at Christmas, no hard, no foul in my book, but I'm thinking that not everyone caught their parents in the act; so how do they know that Santa doesn't exist? Maybe, it's just their lack of faith that makes Santa not exist.

If it is blind faith that God exists; why are you looked at like a crazy person if you say you believe in Santa Claus? Or the Easter Bunny for that matter? Tooth Fairy? And so on and so forth. At least all of the mythical characters from our childhoods left "proof" that they had been there. Hidden Easter eggs from the Easter Bunny. Spare change from the Tooth Fairy.

Just some random thoughts that I have been having here.

09 August 2006

New addition...

The fiance and I are proud to announce the newest member of our family that we got today. We proudly present for your viewing pleasure. The one. The only. Nip Cheese!

According to the folks that we got Nip Cheese from (yes, that's really his new name), this couple was out kayaking, and they heard and saw a black cat sitting on the side of the river, and crying loudly. Nip was on a bridge over the year crying away as well. Come to find out, the 2 kittens were survivors from someone tossing them into the water in a bag trying to kill them. Their siblings drown, and the 2 cats were the survivors of the litter. My friend Leah posted something about this little guy on her Myspace page, we saw the pictures, and had to give him a new home. Now he resides with us. Not sure how the dog and the other cat are going to react to the new addition. The cat (aka The Shark) doesn't appear to like this new cat. Lots of hissing and growling was heard when I showed her what we had brought home. The dog (aka The Bea) will probably be OK with the new cat. She loves cats anyway, but it might be a little overwhelming for such a little critter, but she'll get used to him methinks.

Anyway, that's Nip Cheese.

07 August 2006

OK, that's it...

Honestly, I have been reading bulletin boards about the Landis doping scandal, and here is the conclusion that I've come to.

American cycling fans are idiots. Well, most are. Here we have a guy who has failed a couple of tests, well, 3 actually, and he's a popular American who just won le Tour de France. What do American cycling fans do? They start making up conspiracy theories about French labs tainting his samples, and trying to sabotage his win. Why? Because the French couldn't stand an American winning 8 times in a row. People, this is freakin' ridiculous. The man had fake or synthetic testosterone in his system. He failed 2 other doping tests for testosterone to epitestosterone ratio being out of whack. There is a lot of actual scientific evidence out there saying that he did it. And what do we have from the Landis camp? We have whacked out excuses, and the same old tired lines that doper after doper have been handing out for years on end.

So now Landis has 2 appeals coming to him. He'll most likely lose both. Lose his Tour de France title, and will most likely never ride professionally again in his lifetime. There is no conspiracy going on against Landis, he's a doper. Pure and simple. As I said in a previous post, thanks for ruining the sport just a little more Floyd. Thanks for taking it down a notch or 5.

04 August 2006

The debate is raging...

Yes, once again I'm talking about the Landis doping debate.

Did he do it? Did he not do it? What is the outcome going to be? I know one thing, tomorrow morning Oscar Perreiro is most likely going to be crowned the 2006 Tour de France winner. Who is Oscar you might ask? Well, he's the guy that was standing on the second step of the podium in Paris back towards the end of July, that's who he is. The even stranger thing is that he and Landis are good friends, both having ridden for Phonak last year in 2005 (for those of you in the know about bike racing, Perreiro was the guy Hincapie beat last year for his stage win after sitting on for about a billion kilometers). Let's face it, Landis' B sample is going to come back the same as his A sample, I think he has n chance in Hell of coming out of this one with a negative test. And here is where it is going to get interesting. There will be appeals, and then more appeals, and finally a broke Floyd Landis will be standing in front of the Court for Aribitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne Switzerland (I think), his head hung down low, his eyes cast down, his one last hope for not getting banned for 2 years, and their gavel will drop, and he'll get banned anyway. I'm starting to think that he should just save his big pile of money for a fruitless battle that will probably return the same verdict over and over again. Guilty of doping most likely. Maybe he should consult Tyler Hamilton and ask him how much money it cost him to battle his way to what he originally got anyway, a 2 year ban from the sport. Except for Landis stands to lose 2 years in the initial banning, and then 2 years additional away from the ProTour, which means he'll have to retire from cycling, because coming back after 4 years probably won't be possible for him, not to the top tier of the sport at least. He'll be, well, old by that point in time, and have one bum hip anyway. Save your money Floyd, save yo money.

What's funny about this entire thing is the excuses coming out. As always, when someone gets busted for doping, their excuse list grows by the day. So far for Landis we have the following: dehydration, alcohol, bad testing, it's his natural testosterone level, and so on and so forth. They all sound, well, like excuses. And they're not any better than other stuff that I've heard from dopers in the past when they've gotten busted. Then, after the excuses come out, they immediately blame the testing and or the testers. Always blame the test, even though the test is based on good science and proven results and studies that may have been going on for years on end. The funniest thing about when people blame the test, is that they don't say HOW the test is bad, or how it's not proven out. They just say that it is no good, and that testing irregularities for this test, or that test. So funny, no proof, just words. Maybe that's why the vast majority of tests don't get shot down when they're reviewed, because they're proven scientific results. I have a former teammate of mine who is a PhD in chemistry, and he is constantly arguing with people about how and why these tests are valid, but people who have no idea about the science behind the tests always argue with him about how the testing protocols are bad. This is even though they have no idea what the protocols are, or how they are administered. Now, he might not have completed these tests himself, but he's been studying chemical science for a long time, and knows what the deal is. Everytime he asks someone what is so bad about the testing, and or the tests, they just answer that the tests are just bad. They don't know how, or why, but hey, "they know." Mostly because the lawyers for their favorite athlete who just got busted say so. Jeesh people, get a clue please.

Floyd is going to lose his title. He's going to be banned for 2 years. He's going to go away, and probably not be seen again on the pro cycling scene ever. It's sad because Landis does seem like a genuinely nice guy, and a decent person. A little kooky, but hey, who isn't? He'll go down in history as a trivia question. Who was the first cyclist to lose their Tour de France title because of doping?

Floyd Landis.

Hey Floyd! Thanks for helping to ruin the sport...