29 November 2007

We're here...

Yes indeed, we arrived last night on the island of St. Croix, and so far, I can't tell you how nice it is to be on vacation first of all, and to be getting married most of all. I'm just putting out a little teaser picture here for starters. This is the view out of the window of the room that we're staying in. Enjoy...

There's more from where that came from, and will be posting some more later on down the road.

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25 November 2007

Back to work...

Yeah, I know it's Sunday. Yeah, I know it's the end of a long weekend. Yeah, I know I shouldn't be going into work today, and yet, I am. What the hell do I owe these people anyway? The short answer is, well, nothing. I shouldn't even do what I'm supposed to do, and just let them get flamed by one of our customers who is coming into the plant while I'm away on the wedding trip. That would be pretty sweet. But knowing my company like I do, I'm pretty certain that I would get blamed, solely blamed, for our lack of success with this particular customer, mostly because we have a ton of quality issues, and well, I'm a quality engineer. Like I can affect that much change. I'm just a peon really. No, really, I am. With the amount that most of the people who I work for listen to me, I'm even less than than.

And yet, here it is, Sunday morning, around 11AM, after being up most of the night (went to bed at 6AM after watching many bad movies a ruminating about a lot of things I won't write about here), and I'm getting ready to toss the work shoes on, grab my bag, and go. At least I got a decent breakfast sandwich of my own making, and I did get some blinds up on the side door of the house, so the day is not totally wasted. I have to do a ton of laundry before I can even start packing for the wedding, and well, I don't know really when I'm going to do that. Probably this evening, when I again, can't sleep. Oh, and the main reason I'm heading out to work today, I have another PT appointment tomorrow that I have to go to in the morning, so I'll miss part of the day anyway. Good times, really good times.

Anyway, I'm going to stop the complaining now, and hit the road. I hope that my iPod doesn't die on me again today. I ran out of battery juice yesterday, and that wasn't a pretty scene right there. The upside, is that, I can get a shit ton of work done when there is nobody there bothering me, the phone isn't ringing, and the boss isn't hovering (yes, he's a hoverer for sure). Time to hit the road, more later about this debacle that I call work.

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22 November 2007

Thanksgiving 2007...

Since myself and the fiance are headed down to get married next week in St. Croix, we decided that this year, Thanksgiving would be at the house here in the Dirty "D". We sort of went back and forth on where we should get food. I was ALL for Boston Market, having had a decent outing with them back during Thanksgiving of 2002. The fiance on the other hand, wanted something fancier. Somehow, I talked her into the Boston Market route, and that was pretty much decided.

Then, this morning we received a brainstorm. Why not go and check out Whole Foods? I'm sure that they'll have some good chow available for purchase, and it is a little fancier than Boston Market, but not a $150 dollar dinner at some fancy restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised at what they had at the old Whole Foods. We were looking at some decent roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries, root vegetables, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and of course, some gravy that we had at home. To keep with the Thanksgiving tradition, and in keeping with what was thrown down in the form of liquid in the colonial times, we decided to polish off dinner with some hard apple cider. Got to have some alcohol in there somewhere to keep things hopping. Since we got to the market a little late, and all of the pumpkin pie had been taken away by previous customers, we had to "settle" for apple pie with ice cream, and caramel sauce to top it off. Yeah, that's right, it's a proper Thanksgiving feast, and the best part of it all? We didn't have to cook it, and only had a few dishes to clean up after the eating was all done (that we haven't really done yet, but we will sometime before the end of this weekend probably). On tap for the rest of the day? The fiance was talking about going for a walk, but I'm down on that. No walking needed here, just more food, and maybe some pie. Right now, as I write this, we're watching the Ghost Hunters marathon, which will be followed up by a movie festival. On the movie line-up for this evening, we've got Knocked Up, The Queen, and I'm sure at some point in time, the fiance will no doubt sneak in a viewing of Love Actually, just because that's what's normally done at her house. Some traditions just have to carry over I guess.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends, and especially to our families. We can't wait to see everyone next weekend! And for those of you who can't come, we will miss you when we're in St. Croix for our nuptials.

Check out the pictures of this afternoon's Thanksgiving Dinner. It's pretty damn good stuff.

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21 November 2007

Just another night...

Just another fun night of not really sleeping, OK, not sleeping at all. At least I found a good movie to watch while I sit here not sleeping. Yes folks, Airplane is on late night, and unedited, which makes it even better.

Surely you must be joking?

I'm not joking, and stop calling me Shirley.

OK, with that maybe I will try and go to sleep, since I have to get up in, oh, 3.5 hours, spend the day at work getting yelled at by a bunch of yay-whos, and then probably try to keep myself awake on the drive home as I encounter radio station after radio station of full time 24/7 Christmas music. Seriously people. It shouldn't be a race to see who can changeover their station format at this time of the year to all Christmas music all the time. Let's face facts. How many Christmas songs are there really? About 100 or so? Just keep repeating those same songs, over, and over and over again until New Year's. It's enough to make you want to wring someone's neck.

But I digress, time to head to bed. Nighty night. I leave you with clips of Johnny Jacobs from Airplane.

18 November 2007

One good thing...

The one good thing that has happened this year in cycling, as far as I can tell, is the fact that one Katie Compton is kicking ass on the cyclocross circuit across the pond in Europe and all. She has now started 3 big time races over there, and she has won 2 of them, and came 2nd in the other. In other words, as I said before, kicking ass. For me, this is a plus for USA cycling in general. There is a very good chance that the US might bring home a gold medal from World Championships this year. And they really haven't done that, at least on the elite level, for cyclocross at least. Sure we had a junior champion, one Matt Kelly who then, I think for the most part, disappeared after his big win, but he did get a bike named after his win, the Lemond Poprad, which you can still purchase. Actually, I saw a new one this weekend, and they look quite nice. But I digress. Ms. Compton is taking it to the big time European women over there, and I for one, am quite proud to see her kicking ass and taking names. Can she keep this up? I think so, judging by performances that she's had before, and the track that her cross career has taken, she's got the right stuff, and she's just damn tough. Really tough. 

A couple of years ago, she sort of burst onto the cyclocross scene in a big way. She turned up at National Championships, lined up in the back of the field, and then smoked everyone. Since she was a pilot for a blind woman on a tandem, and she was competing in the paralympics, she couldn't race a whole season, and gain UCI points, because then she couldn't be the tandem pilot for her stoker. I do remember her first national championship, because the women that she beat down that day, well, were kind of mad and angry about it. The common theme I seemed to remember were her fellow competitors going off on a, "Who does she think that she is not racing against us all season, and then winning the national championships???" As much as I hate to write this, women's racing can sometimes be really, well, "catty" is the best, and nicest word I can use to describe it. Not being a woman, I don't know for sure, but I remember hearing some stories from some women friends of mine who started racing in NC a short while back after living somewhere else for awhile, and when she showed up, she started winning, and well, the locals didn't take kindly to that happening. 

Fast forward a couple of years later, and Ms. Compton came back to the national championships, and since she once again, didn't really race the entire year on the national circuit, she had to start at the back of the field, even though she was the reigning national champ. Well, lo and behold, the gun went off, and she went almost straight to the front of the women, and again, blew everyone away. I'm thinking that pretty much from that point onward, nobody was ever going to underestimate her again on a cross bike. Good fo
r her I say.

And now, she's waging a cross campaign overseas for the first time, and well, as mentioned before, not really taking any prisoners as she rides her European competition into the mud, and soup that is Belgium, and the Netherlands in the late fall, and early winter. I wish her well, and hope to keep seeing her do great things on the bike. I've met her a couple of times, back in the day when she was an aspiring mountain biker in the mid Atlantic region of the US, and she seemed like a super nice person, and she was riding really fast then as well. She has only gotten faster. She claims that it comes from riding races against the boys, but I think she's just got talent. I haven't seen someone dominate cross like this since the days gone past of Allison Dunlap riding away from the women on a weekly basis across the country during cross season. She seems to have it like that. And as I wrote before, there has been so much going bad for cycling lately, I like a feel good story, and it also gives me someone to cheer for, who is most likely drug free, and just enjoying herself out there on the bike. I think the chances of women cheating are far less than for the men. Why? Well, for one thing, unfortunately, women's racing doesn't get the exposure, or the salaries that the men get, so really, there is less incentive for the women to cheat, there's no money in it for them unfortunately. Should it be different? Probably so, and maybe women like Katie Compton can bring some sort of change like that for her sport in general. I know that there are some promoters out there offering the same prize money for women's races that they are for the men's races, but I think it's hard for promoters to do that. Basically, because I have been at races where the men's field is maxed out at 100 guys in 4 or possibly 5 different categories, while all the women's categories combined might bring 30 women to the start line. Then we run into the issue of, how do you get women into this male dominated sport? I don't have a good answer for that one myself, but I can look at teams like Vello Bella who do an outstanding job of exposing all sorts of different women to different facets of cycling in general. Not just racing, but everything. Riding, advocacy, and many other routes of exposure. To them, I give a tip of the hat, they do good word, no doubt about it.

Anyway, keep your eye on Katie Compton romping across Europe, and keep your eyes on the top step of the World Championship podium this year. We might just see her on top of it, and hear the Star Spangled Banner being played as she receives her gold medal.

17 November 2007

Really too good to NOT post...

This is really too good to not stick up here.

This is why I think that this comic is too good to not place it up here. If you read through it, and see what these comic characters are saying, it makes me chuckle. It makes me chuckle, because taking arguments from republicans sort of out of context, and placing them in a comic strip makes them sound even more insane than they really are in the real world, and yet, we have the republican candidates, and essentially the President of the United States saying these things about the Democratic party. It drives me nuts. They paint us as un-American, troop hating, and in some cases, treasonous, because you know, we might want the President to follow the Constitution and silly little things like that. And apparently, as I've been told about a million times on political commentary boards that I sometimes write on, and place comments on, if you hate George W. Bush, you're un-American, and you hate America. No, seriously, this is what people have told me before. Crazed right wingers of course, part of that 30% of the country who actually think W is doing a hell of a job out there. It makes my head spin really. 

The best medicine for all of that is going to be when Hillary gets elected President of the US. I can't wait for that to happen, mostly because the right wing attack machine will fall all over itself trying to slander her, and find anything, and I do mean anything, that they can take her down with. You guys think it was bad when Bill was President, wait until Hillary is elected. Holy shit. I don't even like Hillary, and don't want her to be the democratic nominee for President, but if she does become the nominee, and if she wins, I am going to sit back, and grin. Mostly because it is the Republican party's worst nightmare, absolute worst nightmare if she gets into the White House. I think that she can do the job, no doubt about it, and she'll have some pretty good experience waiting for her in the Lincoln Bedroom every night, and someone that can provide some sage advice, having been there before, but I really wish we could get that little leprechaun Dennis Kucinich elected to be President. Man, that would make my day. I'd also love to see Russ Feingold become President, but he declined to run this year. I am constantly impressed by Russ Feingold's actions as a Senator from the great State of Wisconsin. They're lucky to have him there, and I hope that they know this.

What was I saying again? Oh yeah, the cartoon. Tom Tomorrow is a great one for progressives. If you're a right winger, the humor will no doubt go way over your head. I recommend that you check them out though.

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16 November 2007

Ah, sweet merciful jumpin' jeebers...

That's it. No, really, that's it.

I have been reading this bicycle forum for quite awhile now, and have myself posted a lot of my opinions, and or thoughts on said bicycle forum, but it's now driven me crazy. I will no longer post in the bicycling sections, for the most part. I will continue to post in the political section of the website, but I won't venture too often into the bicycling related subjects. It just drives me too crazy. I know I say that I'm not going to do it now, but realistically, I probably will, again, and probably soon.

Here's what drives me crazy. There is a forum in there for training questions, and things like that, which is fine in and of itself. But I swear, if I hear one more lifetime cat. 4 racer talk about how getting an SRM powermeter for his bike improved his racing and fitness so much, I will strangle someone with a used inner tube. Look chief, if this tool improved your fitness and racing so much, why, after 5 seasons of racing full time, are you still a cat. 4? There are guys on there who throw out these excessively long answers for other folks who pop in and ask what they should do for training to get faster, and these guys are still struggling to get enough points to upgrade from a cat. 4 level of racing. They talk about periodization, power tables, what days to do what workouts on, how long to hold how many watts for, their eating habits, and just about everything else. If you didn't know any better, you'd think these guys were pro racers, but indeed, they're not. Most of them, are cat. 4 lifers. There is actually a guy on there who says he has his coaching certification from USA Cycling, who is a cat. 5. Seriously? All you need to do to upgrade from a cat. 5 to a cat. 4 is start 10 races in a year. Let me re-state that, you have START 10 races in a year. You don't have to finish them. You don't have to win those 10 races. You don't even have to place in those 10 races, you just have to start them. And this guy is propping himself up to be a coach? Really? Now, I know that for some sports, you don't have to be good at them to be able to coach them, but cycling is different I think. I'd much rather take advice from someone who has raced a bunch of years, and has seen things from the inside out, and not from some guy who is a cat. 5 racer / coach. No thanks.

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone the purchase of some expensive and nice equipment. But these guys are crazy about it. Talking about ceramic bearings for every moving surface on their bike. Seriously guys, steel bearings are more than OK for what you, and I, are doing on the bike out there, and those things, unless you put them under high stress, and high heat situations, are not going to be that much better than what you are running now. I am of the firm belief that unless you're a cat. 2 or higher, you don't need a power meter. Nope. Don't need it. You can be strong, and fast without one. If you are a cat. 5-3, basically what you should be doing is just riding your bike. Some days ride it fast, and some days, ride it slow. Throw in a few sprints for effect, and you'll get there. You should actually ENJOY riding your bike, and not look at it like it's a task. And let me let you in on another little secret. Most, if not all of you, are ever going to be a pro bike racer. Nope, ain't gonna happen. There are a few, very few people who might make it to the pro ranks, but you Fred's out there on the bike forums talking about the wattage you can put out, and the average speeds that you ride, aren't going to be that person.

If you're a lower category bike racer, and you happen to be reading this, stop listening to what all of these people are talking about. You don't need a coach. You don't need a super duper lightweight bicycle, or the latest and greatest deep dish carbon tubular wheels. You don't need a power meter. What you do need are a good group of friends to ride your bike with, and a local weekend ride that tends to be faster than normal, oh, and do a little sprint work here and there. Because if there is anything that I learned in the lower categories while starting my road racing career, it's that you need to know how to sprint, and how to make it work. If you can sprint even halfway decently as a lower category bike racer, you can win races. Ride with someone that has been in a bunch of races, and have them talk to you about tactics, and positioning in a race. This will make you improve as a racer more than any power meter, carbon wheels, or lightweight frames.

And for you other schmucks out there buying all of this high priced crap that you don't need, knock it off. You're driving up the prices for the people that might actually needs this high priced crap.

11 November 2007

Oh, and one more thing...

Oh, and one more thing I forgot to add to the last post (mostly because it didn't really fit with the previous post, and it was on my mind as well). I can't, and or shouldn't really talk too much about my injuries, surgery, and other stuff due to the accident, or write about it on here. Suffice to say, I've got some lawyers working on my case, and if you want to know what's going on, and or what's happening, give me a call. I can fill you in from there.

That is all.

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Can she do anything right???

OK, first, let me state this fact for myself. I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. Do I think that she is a smart woman? Yes. Do I think she is a good Senator? Yes. Do I think she wants to serve her country to the best of her ability? Yes. Do I agree with everything she does, and how she votes? Absolutely not. I just wanted to throw that disclaimer out there. And for myself, right now, I'm planning on voting for Dennis Kucinich, mostly, because Senator Clinton isn't anywhere near enough of a liberal for me to vote for.

Now that I have that out of the way...

I know that the right wing noise machine for years have been hounding her, and her husband. Apparently now though, there isn't anything that she can do right I don't think. Some of you may have heard about the little story this week about how she went to an Iowa Maid-Rite sandwich shop. Her, and the Senator's posse had some lunch, shook some hands, met some people. You know, regular campaigning shit. Now for some reason, there was a story, that wasn't verified, that she and her people didn't leave a tip for the wait staff at the sandwich shop. Bear in mind, Maid-Rite is a lot closer to a fast food place, then even a casual type of restaurant (say like a damn TGI Friday's, or some other bad chain restaurant). Maid-Rite is what they like to call a "loose meat" sandwich shop. I once worked with a guy from Iowa who swore by them, said they were good, and I have no doubt if I lived in Iowa, I'd probably be there every other day, but that's not why I'm writing this little ditty.

Back to the story. So, apparently, according to the journalists covering Clinton on the campaign trail, she didn't leave a tip, and her staffers didn't leave a tip after they were done and had vacated the place, and hit the road to kiss some more ass. Now, this was pretty major stuff (according to the media at least), with most of the major media outlets, including my favorite, NPR (who actually broke the "story" so to speak), reporting on this, and how this was, or could be another "scandal" in the making for Hillary Clinton and her campaign. The only problem with this whole story, was the mere fact that, it wasn't true. Not one word of it. Turns out, the campaign actually left a rather hefty tip for the workers there. On an alleged $157 bill, a $100 tip was left. I'd say, that was pretty good, and not really out of line for someone who is famous coming into your place, turning it into a circus, and then heading out. When a Presidential candidate (the frontrunner nonetheless for the Democratic nomination) rolls into your place, there are a large amount of folks who come with. Along with the dumb assed journalists. 

For a day, this is what I heard when I tuned into the radio for news, and this is what I read on the internet when I read the news. Did I hear reports about the "war" going on in Iraq, or anything much else for that matter. Of course, there were other news stories going on, but this one lead, especially on FoxNews, who is really not so much of a news station, but more of a conservative republican cheerleader. They don't really report news, they report news editorially, and then pass it off as news. There is a big difference there. 

As I mentioned, the story about stiffing a fast food joint, not true. Go back to the link that I posted at the top. Now, apparently, because her campaign DID leave a tip, this is also news. FoxNews has decided that leaving a big tip, instead of no tip is apparently just as bad as leaving nothing at all, or even doing the old "chew and screw" (for those of you not in the know, chew and screw is eating somewhere and then leaving without paying). This, they equate with, get this new term they created, Learjet Liberalism (upgraded from just plain old Limousine Liberalism from a few years back). 

This is why, I don't think, and can't imagine Senator Clinton getting a fair shake from, well, anyone within the media. As I said before, I'm no fan, but I would like to see some coverage of the candidates, ALL of the candidates, the focuses on, you know, what they stand for, what their positions are, what their plans are, and so on. I don't give a rat's ass if they left a tip or not at some obscure restaurant out in Iowa. And apparently, the waitress allegedly in the middle of this whole thing doesn't give a rat's ass either. She actually called all of the media "crazy", and you know what? That's probably the most true thing I've heard said in this election cycle so far. The funniest thing about this whole business is, is that Senator Clinton gets chastised for days on this, and still is getting chastised for days on this, and the media apparently have not ignored, but marginalized that one of Rudy Giuliani's closest advisers was indicted for doing some business for the mafia, and a few other bits and pieces of fraud, with a few felonies tossed in for good measure and all. Oh, don't forget that Rudy once provided Bernie Kerik's name to George W. Bush as someone who would be good to run the Department of Homeland Security. 

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one out there this year, or in year's past who would wish that the journalists would first, ask hard questions. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there this year, or in year's past who would wish that journalists would actually, you know, do their job a little better, and stop looking for stupid inane little bullshit that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that ALL journalists are no good at their job. Of course, there are some good ones out there. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Wake up you guys. Start working it, start asking the tough questions. Stop looking for stupid shit. Do the job, get the truth, get the story. Do us all a favor, and just take care of business. I'm waiting for it to happen, it's just that I'm not going to hold my breath anytime soon.

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04 November 2007

I have not...

...been a good writer and or contributor to my own blog lately. I'm going to change that again, no really, I am. Yeah, I know, put some new stuff up on this piece of shit for crying out loud. I'm trying. No really, I'm trying. it's late, or early actually, depending on how you look at it. And one of the only things George W. Bush has done right (at least in my humble opinion) is about to end. Yes, we're back on standard time here, well, now actually. It's fall back time again, and since Congress passed a law that made Daylight Saving Time start earlier this year, they also extended it to last longer, and that all came to an end, about the time I started writing this entry. So now, instead of it being 2 in the morning, it's 1 in the morning. If I were a drinking man, I'd still have a couple more hours to drink at the bars, but I don't do much of that any longer, so as soon as I finish this, it's off to bed.

What have I been up to lately? Well, you might have seen some of the pictures. There was an accident. I got hurt. Had some metal placed into my body, and I've been trying to heal and feel better for these last few weeks. And I am feeling better. The shoulder is stiff in places, and hard to move, and I am still in the contraption known as the Ultrasling II (those that have seen me know what I'm talking about), and it's hard to not have use of your dominant arm. Physical therapy starts on Monday though, and I'm looking forward to that, because that means that hopefully full recovery isn't too far behind, and I can start riding again hopefully before the New Year rolls into effect. We'll see.

Other than the aforementioned arm, there is always work. I won't get into that too much. I spend enough time railing on about that as it is. I know, I know, quit. I'm working on that, don't worry. I have a plan, and if all works out well, it will be quitting time in the near future I am hoping.

Most of the time now is being spent on getting ready for my wedding. I am getting excited for this event. It's going to be a great time. The problem I ran into today though, is that for some reason all of the stores around here seem to not have the size suit that I need, and or want. I went to Men's Wearhouse. They have probably thousands of suits in there. Do you think that they have one suit in my size that has a flat front pair of pants with it? Nope. Do they even have a single suit in their entire store with a flat front pair of pants in there? Again, the answer is most assuredly no. I don't get this. I'm not fashion maven, but pleated pants suck ass. Yeah, I know, I'm sounding a little gay here (not that there is anything wrong with that of course), but it irks me to no end. I spent almost 5 hours today, looking for a suit, and not finding one. Men's Wearhouse, Dillards, Nordstrom, Macy's, Banana Republic, J-Crew, and just about any other store you can think of. Not one store had a single suit in my size. Well, this is not entirely true. The fiance and I went to one last store, and we found one that was in my size, in the color that I want, and in the pattern that I want. Problem is, the price tag on this bad boy was over $2000. I look at the maker, yeah, Armani. Next store please. What is most likely going to happen is that I'm going to have to order one tomorrow via the internets, and their magical tubes, and hope that it gets to me in a short amount of time. I would have gone suit shopping sooner, but I've only recently been able to move my arm/shoulder around enough to actually try suits on. Ah well.

Time to crawl into bed, or in my case, hit the couch. No, the fiance and I aren't having problems, but since I have to wear the Ultrasling II to bed at night, I have to sleep in a reclined position, and the couch offers me this position. The only problem with that is our orange feral cat likes to swipe at my feet all night, and then chase our other cat throughout the house, and then maybe he'll head over to the litter box to drop some knowledge in there, and stink the place up. It's not the stink that gets me though, it's his scratching. You see, our orange cat is a bit OCD. He'll take a steaming dump, and then spend 20 minutes covering it, re-covering it, and then covering everything else around it. He covers things by scratching, loudly, for about 20 minutes. He does this every single time he either takes a piss, or takes a dump. When you're trying to sleep on a somewhat uncomfortable couch without the benefit of pain medication, it can be a bit trying, and grating on the old nerves, but I digress. You'd think since we saved this cat from certain death, he'd be a little more appreciative of our efforts, but no. He's a bastard, and will continue to be from here on out.

Nighty night folks. Don't forget to turn your clocks back when you get your ass out of bed in the morning.

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