Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Have a little respect...

Cloth Bags


Dana and I have been using cloth bags for awhile now. Our biggest problem is remembering to use them. I will say it feels good to use them and since they can haul more, there's less trips from the garage to the kitchen.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Interesting articles...

So apparently somebody DID want to do something about the '70s energy crisis.

Carter Tried To Stop Bush's Energy Disasters - 28 Years Ago

Dr Shlomo argues that the idea of a Jewish nation is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

Israeli Bestseller Breaks National Taboo

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

A bit presumptious, don't you think?

Apparently McCain has won tonights debate, even though it hasn't happened yet!

McCain Wins Debate

Called It! WaMu is no more

I mentioned to some family that this could happen several weeks ago.

WaMu is seized in largest bank failure in U.S. history

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tell Paulson where to stick it!

Please sign Senator Bernie Sanders petition and let Secretary Paulson know what should really happen.

Sign the petition

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Women Against Sarah Palin

The most powerful site I've seen yet.  The quantity and quality of the comments is staggering.

Women Against Sarah Palin

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I wanted to say something about this...

...but somebody beat me to the punch:

Lobbyists for McCain

Because, who better than lobbyists to look out for your best interests?  McCain sure seems to think so.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Couldn't help myself...

C'mon, who doesn't like a good Simpsons reference?

Quote of the day

The following quote speaks volumes about this years election:

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.

~Franklin D. Roosevelt~

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

No wonder Palin has an 80% approval rating...

...Alaska doesn't levy income taxes or a sales tax.  Another interesting thing, on the Alaska's Tax Division web site they list today's price of a barrel of oil.  Why?  The state gets 85% of it's revenue (pg 5 of 126) from oil that comes out of the ground:
In FY 2008, oil revenues are projected to contribute 89% of the state’s General
Purpose Unrestricted Revenue. Oil revenues will continue to play a key role in
Alaska’s future.
No wonder most Alaska residents support drilling in ANWR - they get more money in their pockets.

And guess what, that makes every gallon of gas you put in your car that much more expensive.  So how is Palin supposed to bring about "change" when she's tied so closely to Big Oil, JUST LIKE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

RATM Kick Ass!

From here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Is Palin ready?

An interesting tidbit about Palin and her "experience."

Total population of the state of Alaska: 670,053

Total population of Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis, my current residence): 876,804 (estimated)

So, do you think she's ready?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Advisor: There are no uninsured Americans

I know I'm just reposting this but people need to see it.  Direct your attention to the section titled 'McCain Advisor'.

From Texas still leads nation in rate of uninsured residents

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm leaning towards...

DINO Race #6

So another DINO race occurred this past weekend. I wasn't able to make the last two due to distance and a scheduling conflict (my bad). I had been counting down the days because I wanted to see if my new exercise routine would help me in the standings. I've been doing crunches and push-ups on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and have been steadily increasing my rep counts. I also had a first last week in that I rode to work all five days.

What might have been a precursor to the results of this weekend was a broken spoke on my rear wheel. If you've been reading, this happened after the first race I did this season. This time, it happened during my commute!

Anyways, since I was at the bike shop and the work was going to take around 20 minutes, I decided to take a bike out for a demo. I had been looking at the Trek Fuel EX8 since the latest Bicycling mag came bundled with the latest Mountain Bike. There it was, spread out on pgs. 3 and 4 in green and white glory. Up until this point I wasn't looking for a full-suspension bike and had planned on staying with GT for my offroad needs. But after careful examination of the rear-suspension setup I knew I had to try it out. Suffice it to say, this WILL be the replacement for my current bike. Not this year, and maybe not next but definitely for the 2010 season.

OK, back to this weekend. I can honestly say that this was first time I fully prepared before leaving for the race. I had the bike fully prepped and the car loaded early. We did arrive at the park a few minutes later due to a self-imposed detour (DOH!), but we still managed to get there with enough time to get Dana and the kids unloaded and me registered.

I could tell from the start that this was going to be good race for me. It was dry which made it very fast. There wasn't a lot of elevation changes but there was a few, very steep, get-off-your-bike-and-climb ones, including one that was more than 75ft. Since the course would normally be about 8 miles, the beginner course was laid out into a pseudo 2-lap course of around 13 miles. This would be the longest ride for me all season.

Since I always start at the back of the pack, it was a great feeling to pass 3 riders not even a quart mile into it. The bike was pedaling smoothly and I was able to keep it in the middle chainring. Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but the Marzocchi fork that I have is in need of some work so it wasn't unexpected when the air was gone about 5 or 6 miles in. This would be something I could handle except that some of France Park's trails run over exposed limestone, which can be very rough. Basically the fork was banging off the stops with a noticable clank on the really hard stuff.

At this point, other than the fork, things were still going really well. I was able to pass people while climbing up a hill! It felt so good knowing that my hard work was paying off. One highlight of the course was where you come out of the trees and your overlooking water that's about 100ft. down. You can see the cliffs here in the background:

Sorry, stock photo.

But this good feeling wouldn't last too much longer. With about 3 miles left to go the chain started dropping from the middle to small chainring. At first I thought maybe the bumpiness from the bottomed-out fork was causing the chain to jump but this was not the case. I decided to stop and take a closer look. Turns out the chain was broken, or nealy so. One of the outside plates was popped off a pin and pushing the chain over as it went through the front derailleur. Since I had no tools on me, much less a repair link, I dropped to the small chainring and pressed on. I hoped I could ride it out.

But this was not to be the case. With about a mile and half left, the chain failed as I came to the top of a small incline. I stared in disbelief, the chain layed out from the rear derailleur. I scooped up the chain and hopped on the bike and pushed with my feet. This section of the course was a short bit of paved trail so it wasn't a big deal. I pushed a ways but that was it. I posted a DNF for the second time this season.

Looking over the results I know would have finished around 25th, and I would have been extremely happy about that. I also would have finished had I had the basic repair tools with me. Any competent rider knows you should carry a pump, patches, chain tool and repair link with you at all times. I feel like a total idiot for not having them.

On the way home it was decided that my bike definitely needed some TLC. So, right now the bike is in the garage with no chain and a fork that's completely dismantled. I also have over $100 in parts on order. I hope to get the bike back to where I can be confident with it.

The last race of the season is coming up next month and I WILL be ready for it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Star Wars and Childbirth

Why we (my wife and I) chose birthing our kids at home, from a geeky point of view.

A Star Wars Approach to Childbirth: Q & A

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lawyers make our kids fat?

This article talks about safety and how it makes kids fat.  But that safety equipment wouldn't need to be there if the park owners didn't have to worry about getting sued.

Why Safe Kids Are Becoming Fat Kids

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tax plans...

So which is better for all or most of the people around you?

Monday, July 07, 2008

I think I just fell in love...

...with a wheelset.


Those have to be the sexiest MTB wheels I have ever seen. Oh, and the technical aspects are pretty insane as well.

DINO Race #4

Yesterday was the end of a good 3-day weekend which included race #4 of the DINO series; race #3 for me. It was the furthest south of any race of the series. And the course showed it.

If you've followed any of the weather that southern Indiana has been having, you know it's been very wet. And yesterday was no exception. At least half the course was wet not including the numerous water crossings. And since the lower classes run last, the course was as beat up as it was going to get all weekend.

Normally I wouldn't care if there was a little mud but, for me, it was a bit excessive. The mud wasn't a problem until my pedals got clogged up and I couldn't get clipped in. This was especially problematic on climbs or when I changed gears. Guess it's time for some Eggbeaters (http://www.crankbrothers.com/eggbeater.php). Also, since the Indiana soil contains a lot of clay, the course was very slippery around the water crossings. The tree roots, log crossings and bridges became especially treacherous.

Weather related track conditions aside, I would definitely recommend this course to any rider of moderate skill or higher. With drier conditions the course would have been perfect.

Notes on the race...

Things I need to work on: push-ups and crunches. After I got through the first lap, when I started to do a climb my lower back would start to scream. I attribute this to a lack of core strength. I know this because the couple of times I hunkered down and clenched my abs, my back hurt a LOT less.

Positives I can take away from this race: my legs are definitely getting stronger. The moderate climbs on the course, that I didn't slide out on, were perfect for me. I was able to stay in the saddle for most of them with only a slight (leg) burn. I also finished the race. It took me longer that I would have liked (sorry, Dana!) and I came in last, but as least I finished (http://www.dinoseries.com/2008race4-BeginnerMen.htm).

Here's hoping for drier conditions in New Castle.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

DINO Race #2

Race #2 is finished and the standings are up (http://www.dinoseries.com/2008race2-BeginnerMen.htm) - 30th out of 32. Not very good I'm afraid.

The trails at Brown County State Park (http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/6725.htm) are a lot of fun but require a lot of stamina. That's because they have long downhill stretches that can be blazingly fast but require climbs that are at least as long. And since I'm not able to do longer rides (right now), I suffered tremendously.

The course started with us riding on about a mile of the paved North entrance to the park. Sounds easy right? Well, there's a section of this road that has to have at least a 30 degree incline! I did well enough on this section to not be last in my group and stay in the saddle but it took everything I had. In later climbs I had to hike to make it to the top.

Also, this was the first time I crashed during a race. Nothing bad, just a cut on my knee and some scrapes and scratches on my arm. I was going around a hill at a good rate of speed and my front tire got caught in the soft stuff. This normally wouldn't have been a big deal but it was right in front of a tree. Basically, my bike stopped and I kept going. Amazingly enough, I didn't have a bent wheel.

And to prove that I was actually there, a photo of me is up on the DINO site (http://www.dinoseries.com/photos/dinophotos.html). Click on the "2008 MTB Race 2" box, then click on the pause button - it'll make it easier to navigate. Now click on the "next" button till you get to the last page. There will be 3 photos. Click on the last one to load it. That's me on the bike! I just got finished saying bye to the wife and kids and am riding up towards the starting gate.

'Til next time...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My first (official) race of the season

I meant to put this out a few days after the race ended. Suffice it to say I finished, and I'm very proud of that. Unfortunately, I was 21st out of 25 in my age group, 45th in class (http://www.dinoseries.com/2008race1-BeginnerMen.htm).

It was a great day weather wise, if a bit too windy. The trails at Winona are pretty amazing. Nothing but single-track through mostly forest. I will definitely be doing this race again, hopefully doing a bit better next time.

I even had a cheering section. Right where the race ends, there's an opening so spectators can cheer you on. Dana and the kids were there, yelling "go daddy!" I decided to wave and almost crashed.

And if you're wondering, my bike didn't fail me this time. She's got a new chain and shifters that are well-lubed.

I can't wait for the next race!

PS. I just wanted to thank Erik again for getting us the Burley. It makes things like this possible and Jonas fell asleep in it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Biking Again...

So I've finally begun riding my bike to work; today marks the 4th straight workday. It feels good to be back on the bike even though I'm totally out of shape. I'm also hoping to do some racing this summer as well.

I guess I should mention that I attempted a race this past weekend at the DINO Series (http://www.dinoseries.com/mtb.html) Spring Tune-up. Suffice it to say that I did so poorly that I didn't even end up on the results list (http://www.dinoseries.com/2008-bike-tuneup-BeginnerMen.htm). I think the reason I'm not listed (#511) as a DNF is that I didn't even complete a single lap.

Not that anyone should be surprised. I had several things going against me. For one, I'm completely out of shape. Over the winter I was on the bike less than 10 miles. Second, my bike was in pretty rough shape. I couldn't shift the rear derailleur between more than a couple of gears and to top it all off my chain broke.

So I will continue to ride when I can from now on. We met the parents of one of my daughters schoolmates and apparently there are trails near where we live. Maybe this weekend I'll try them out. Lord knows I need the exercise.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sad but true...


Oh, and I can't wait for this idiot to get out of office...