Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Weekend update #2


My dog's 3rd birthday was last wednesday (December 8th), so we decided to have a little celebration over the weekend.

Christine baked the dog brownies from a mix I found at the pet store:


No party is complete without party hats:


Chula was not very excited:


Mmmm, tasty hat:


Kuzca blows out the candle:


(I hope this doesn't count as animal cruelty)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Monday, December 6, 2004

Welcome to the future



My house always has dog hair all over the place, and it doesn't help that I rarely vacuum.  Thankfully my roommate does occasionally, but it's too infrequent to make a huge difference in air quality.  Enter the Roomba.

After hearing liv_e_uh rave about her new robot vacuum, I decided to give it a try.  They make a few models and they're all essentially the same, except for a few extra accessories on the pricier models.  The Bed Bath and Beyond ad that came in the mail that day contained a 20% off coupon which made the choice that much easier.  I opted for the Discovery model because I wanted the home base charging unit.  This model also comes with 2 virtual walls (the Roomba won't cross the infrared beam created by the virtual wall), a remote, and a wall hanger.

The inaugural run of the Roomba was made in my main room downstairs because it tends to see the most dog hair.  After removing all the extraneous ground clutter (dog toys) I fired it up and let it go to work.  My dog mostly ignored it but Christine's was freaked out and jumped up on the couch for some serious consoling:

It's pretty funny to see a 100 pound dog get upset with a 10 pound robot.  It took a LONG time for it to clean that room.  So long that I decided to shut it off after over an hour so I could go to bed.  I was a little worried that my new child was mentally handicapped, but I've since cleaned other rooms and it worked fine.  I think it got confused after running into the dogs at various places in the room, but I'm not sure.  More experimentation is necessary.

The verdict?  So far, so good.  My roommate tells me that I've vacuumed more in the past week than I have the entire time she's lived there.  The algorithm it uses while cleaning could stand to be improved.  If the iRobot people were smart they'd sponsor a computer engineer's senior project because I've seen way more sophisticated navigation from college projects.  But since I'm not walking around vacuuming, I'm not too concerned that the program is wasteful.  It seems to do a pretty decent job of picking up pet hair.  I actually paused it to empty the dust bin in some rooms because there was so much hair.  One of the cooler things the Roomba does is vacuum under the bed:

Following a close second in coolness is the way it parks itself on the charger when it's done or the battery is running low.  The remote control is mostly useless.  I mean, how lazy am I if I can't even be bothered to get off my butt to turn on the automatic vacuum cleaner?  The one redeeming factor about the remote is that I can actually drive the Roomba with it and chase the dogs (or the neighborhood kids).

Apparently people name their Roomba.  I haven't picked a name yet, but for the time being I'll use "Charro".

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Support my habits


About a year ago I read Lance Armstrong's first book, It's Not About the Bike, and it's the reason I ride a road bike today.  I'm not known as an overly emotional person, but I was touched and inspired but this story of man who overcame the extreme adversity of testicular, brain, and lung cancer to become one of the greatest cyclists ever.  I have the utmost respect for him has a person in the way he handled himself during and after treatment.  It inspired me then, and it continues to inspire me today.

I first learned about the Ride for the Roses, a charity ride that Lance Armstrong holds every year to benefit his foundation, from his book, and I thought it'd be cool to ride in it someday.  It turns out that someday is going to be October 23, 2005.  My aunt put up the initial amount required to enter the ride, but I'd still love to collect more money for a worthy cause.  If you find a few pennies in your couch cushions, you can donate them by clicking on this link: Donate.  It's tax deductible so you'll receive a receipt in the mail for tax purposes.  You can also mail a donation to the following address:

Peloton Project
Lock Box 1597
San Antonio, TX 78296-1597

Just put my name and member number (200251087) on the check so they know who's account to credit.

You may be saying to yourself:  "Gee, that ride is so far away.  What if I forget to donate?"  Fear not.  I'll remind you again later. :)  If you can't donate but would like to go play in Austin, come down that weekend to cheer me on and watch me whoop Lance in a field sprint to the finish line.

Monday, November 29, 2004

How to have a good winter

I recommend the following items to have a fantastic winter:

1) Heated seats
2) All Wheel Drive
3) Snow tires

Feel free to make additions to my list.

After I got back from the airport last night I went out and played in the snow.  The traction in my R32 never ceases to amaze me (except when I'm sliding on gravel into a railing).  With the traction control on, I pulled into a snow covered culdesac at about 20 MPH and sharply turned the wheel.  Normally I'd expected the laws of physics to keep my car going relatively straight, but the traction control kicks in and starts to brake individual wheels and cut my throttle so that the car practically pivots about one wheel and makes the turn.  In some less drastic tests, the car really stuck to road with little or no slippage, and when it did slip, it was super controlled.  I may just have to enter a snow autocross to play because it's about the safest way I'll be able to test my car at higher speeds.  Finding out that my car oversteers a little more than I expected when I lift the throttle is not something I'd like to find out on the highway.

On a related note, I got a letter from my insurance company telling me they're raising my premium because of some $6000 repair bill.  Hrmph!  I should add up all the money that I've spent on insurance and tell them they still owe me a few thousand dollars.

Surprise!

Christine and I flew out to Ohio last Wednesday to pay my family a surprise holiday visit.  Our flight arrived kind of late, so instead of going right home and waking people up we stayed at a hotel.  The next morning (after fabulously sleeping way in), we trotted over to my aunt's house.  Pretty much every year since up to the time I moved to Colorado I was at my aunt's house on Thanksgiving morning to help stuff/play with the turkey, so I figured it was an appropriate place to start my surprise.
We parked down the street (so as not to be prematurely spotted) and quietly walked into the kitchen where my uncle was busy cooking.  He was easy to sneak up on because he's hard of hearing, so I tapped him on the shoulder (after making sure he was in no position to drop the stuffing all over the floor) and put my finger too my lips (shhhh) so he wouldn't alert my aunt to my presence.  A few seconds later she walked in the room, screamed and gave me a big hug.

After chatting and having a little breakfast, we went over to my parents' house.  We creeped in the front door and it was strangely quiet.  I looked around every room downstairs, and not even the dog greeted me.  I poked my head in the garage to make sure the other car was still there, and it was.  So I started to walk upstairs and heard the TV on in my mom's room.  I stood there, camera ready, until she turned around to put paper in the printer.

I'd say I gave her a pretty good surprise.  My dad was out running with the dog, and when he returned he was confused by the extra car in the driveway with Michigan plates (my rental).

The rest of the day went pretty well, and Christine got the full effect of the family (and last time I checked she hasn't run away screaming yet).  My family got to meet the "mysterious" Christine, and probe her with all the pertinent questions.  I guess they didn't believe me when I told them she was a meth dealer.  They were also glad to see that she was more than a head and feet (because of the previous pictures they had seen). 

I'm just glad I can stop lieing to my family about my travel plans.  I had been planning on this trip for a few months now, and I had to come up with stories for where I was going to be, and when I'd be coming home.  Now I have time to lie to them about other things.  Any suggestions?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Oooh, me too.

Everyone else is doing it and since I'm such a follower I better go along with it:

States I've visited:

create your own visited states map

I'd build a world one too, but mine's pretty boring.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Say uncle

I'm an uncle again.  I got a message from my sister that she gave birth to my new neice, Laurel Delaney, yesterday morning.  Congrats to my sister and brother-in-law.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tuesday at the Merc

I had a great time at the Merc last night for the first time in a while.  Much thanks goes to Shana's DJ'ing, even though I had to leave early due to this lame cold I'm trying to fight.  Since she didn't post it, this was her set list:

Baby Got Back - Sir Mixalot (A long distance request from John Dyer)
Zoot Suit Riot - CPD
Milkshake - Kelis (Another favorite from JD)
Rock Your Body - JustinTimberlake
Follow me - Uncle Kracker
Jump, Jive an' Wail - Brian Setzer
Go Daddy-O - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Then I had to leave

Not your usual type of setlist, but fun nontheless.

:P

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Announcement

For those not in the know, I have a girlfriend, Christine. Here are some pictures:





My phone should be ringing any moment now.

Friday, October 22, 2004

PIPA Report

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) released an interesting report yesterday.

http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Pres_Election_04/Report10_21_04.pdf

Some interesting results from the report:

Despite the conclusions from the Senate Intelligence Committee:
    72% of Bush supporters still believe that Iraq had WMD's or a major program for developing them (compared to 26% of Kerry supporters).
    56% of Bush supporters believe most experts say prewar Iraq had actual WMD's (compared to 18% of Kerry supporters).

After Charles Duelfer, the chief weapons inspector selected by Bush & Co. to investigate whether or not Iraq had WMD's, presented his report to Congress, 57% of Bush supporters thought he had concluded the Iraq had WMD's or a major program to develop them.

56% of Bush supporters believe the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission report stated Iraq was directly involved in, or gave substantial support to al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.  In fact, the commission said the opposite.

There's a lot of other information in the report (like the perception of how of our countries feel about our invasion and Bush's reelection).  If you like numbers, you might be interested in seeing the questionnaire along with the results here.  And the press release here.  I find it psychologically interesting the way the numbers came out, but then again, I'm not a psychologist.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Various Updates

I have bad Car-ma:  Last weekend I was working on my car (see next update item), when a great freak accident happened.  I have a retractable power cord reel that hangs from my garage ceiling, and like most retractable items you pull on it a little bit to get it to retract.  Although it was hanging on a big-ass hook screwed 2 inches into a stud, it decided to pull loose and land on my car.  Fortunately for me, it landed entirely on the windshield, destroying it,  and only make a small (1mm square) chip in the paint.  I drove around Sunday with sunglasses on, just in case the glass decided to fall in on me.  It's a common windshield for VW, so I was able to get it fixed on Monday (instead of waiting weeks for parts).

Beyond FM:  The item I was installing in my car last weekend was my new XM satellite radio receiver.  I finally got it (mostly) installed and put back together Monday, and it's totally sweet.  The original reason I decided to get XM was for a talk show from some ex-NY radio people, but there's a ton of other good programming.  After driving to Denver last night, I'm pretty sure that driving with an XM radio is more dangerous than driving while talking on the cell phone.  I think I spent half my time looking at the XM display as I was turning the dial because it tells you who's one each channel as you browse.  I'm sure it'll be a little better once I figure out which stations I like, and also set up the preset buttons.  I think it's going to be super sweet when I'm driving to the slopes this season.

This just in from CNN: Martha whips up crab apple jelly in prison

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Holy sh!t, Qwest finally credited me.

The backstory:  When I moved into my house in February of 2002 Qwest told me I could get DSL including 2 free months of MSN as my ISP.  Wow, what a deal!  Well it turns out that DSL wasn't actually available, so they canceled my order (without telling my BTW).  What they didn't cancel, however, was my subscription to MSN.  So, after the 2 month free trial period they started billing me for MSN (which I couldn't use).  For a long time after that I called them monthly and frequently got bounced around between Qwest and MSN people with everyone pointing fingers at each other.  Eventually I just got sick of calling and I stopped.  Ever since then I've had a charge of $43.90 that has carried over from bill to bill.

Now DSL is available at my house and I decided I wanted to get it, but before I signed up I wanted to get this old issue fixed, because I figured it would only complicate issues down the road.  So I call up today and voila, the very first person I talked to credited my account.  Granted, I haven't actually seen the credit, but I'm going on faith right now that they fixed this mess.  Plus I have the name and direct extension of the person who did the work, so I can call and harass them.

By next Wednesday I'll be cruising at high speed again.  Yee-haw!  Qwest has been taken off my shit list (for now).

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sinclair to broadcast anti-Kerry film

In case you hadn't heard, Sinclair Broadcasting Group is forcing their affiliates to broadcast an anti-Kerry film shortly before the election in a blatant attempt to sway public opinion.  Sinclair is the largest owner of local television stations in the country with 62 stations in 39 markets.  This is the same company that wouldn't let their affiliates broadcast the April 30, 2004 episode of Nightline in which Ted Koppel was to read the names of soldiers killed the Iraq war.  I don't care where you stand politically, if you can't see that this is a serious abuse of public airwaves then you need to wake up.

There's some good information on Al Franken's blog about what you can do.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Bling Bling

If you thought John Dyer was big pimpin' before, check out his new spinner wheels:




Word!

Tom F. and I both agreed that John's newly painted Civic need a little bling in the wheel department, so I went to the auto store and purchased some sweet spinning wheel covers.  As an auto enthusiast, and anti-rice activist, it's a little embarrassing to go into an auto store and ask for these things.  I felt like I should have worn a disguise or something.  Christine and I snuck over to the Dyers after the Merc and installed the spinners under the cover of darkness.

John called me this morning, and I couldn't keep myself from laughing when I picked up the phone.  He apparently enjoyed them, because he said he almost wet himself when he saw them.  Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Yesterday I met Lance Armstrong



And by "meet", I mean stood 50 feet away from him.  But really it was like we'd known each other for years.

Lance's Tour of Hope made a stop in Denver yesterday so I took a half day off of work to attend.  According to the American Cancer Society, one of every three women and one out of every two men are at risk of developing cancer in their lifetime.  Those are crazy odds, but thanks to people who have participated in clinical trials in the past, the odds of survival are equally astounding.  Over 60 percent of children with cancer are enrolled in clinical trials, compared to just 5 percent of adults with cancer. Clinical trials have helped dramatically improve the cure rate in childhood cancers from less than 10 to 75 percent in the past three decades.  The bottom line message that Lance wants to get across with this ride is that more people need to participate in clinical trials if we ever want to find a cure. 

Lance's trainer, Chris Carmichael, was also there.  I had him sign a copy of his new book, and I also got a picture with him.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Return of the Uber Golf

Finally I have my R32 back!  Total days from accident to completed repair: 44.  FORTY-FOUR!!!

That 44 days includes :
    14 days of the car sitting at the dealership gathering dust while waiting for parts to arrive
    14 days with the parts in stock but the mechanic being unable to work on the car
    5 days waiting for a new rear side window to arrive

The side window thing is screwey.  In order to do the job properly, they needed to remove the window.  For some reason on these windows, removing them means that you have to put in a completely new window.  I can believe that you'd need a new rubber seal, but not a new window.  I find myself wondering why, in the previous month when the car was sitting at the dealership, didn't someone order a damn window?  And why did the body shop remove my old window (rendering my car pretty useless) without having the replacement parts on hand?

But I'm just glad to have my car back.  It's time to drive.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

'Daily Show' viewers win late night politics quiz

Daily show viewers are more politically informed than viewers of Leno or Letterman: http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/28/comedy.politics/index.html

Here's another fun article that says John Stewart's viewers are more likely to have completed 4 years of college than Bill O'Reilly's audience.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/28/tv.stewart.oreilly.ap/index.html.  I can't wait until O'Reilly is on The Daily Show next Thursday (Oct 7).

Monday, September 20, 2004

I'm sponsored



My Anti-Atkins party is now "sponsored". The fine people at www.ilovecarbohydrates.com are sending me 2 cool carb-luvin' shirts to give away! (Not necesarilly the ones pictured above.) Any ideas for how I should decide who gets the shirts? I'm open to ideas, the stranger the better. Most carbalicious snack? Most creative food and/or presentation? Person who brings me the best dance CD to play during the party? Best day-after-party-cleaner-upper?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Finally

I finally got my R32 back from the shop.  Sort of.  It's been 4 weeks and 1 day (but who's counting) since I last drove my R32, but I got the call from the dealer this afternoon that it was ready for my test drive.  I only went out for a few minutes and made sure that things seemed functional.  Then took it over to the body shop to see what their plan was for the car.  They were ready to rock and roll on it, but they understood that I may want to hang on to my car for a few days.  And believe me, after driving it again there was no way they were going to get the car back from me immediately.  I'm going to keep it for the rest of the week and the weekend, then I'll drop if off Monday for body work.  It should be ready for me Friday, but as I have learned recently, I won't be counting on it.

So here's the final bill.  The descriptions are a little terse (and questionable) but that's how they show up on the bill:
















Support$118.76
Stoneguard$43.63
Coverplate$43.63
Dampening$38.39
Wheel478.74 (times 2)
Steering Rack$960.00
Tie Rod$126.46
Tie Rod$126.46
Clip$4.86
Clip$1.20
Pump$340.85
Ring$261.92
Oil$25.22
Alignment$69.95
Tire Balance$15.00


Then there's some other misc charges and labor for a grand total of $4223.08.  Hooray for insurance!

At the body shop they're going to repair a few panels, and that actually requires them to also replace my clear bra pretty much everywhere but the hood.  See, I knew this accident would be a good thing.

Now the real question:  Should I wait to go back to Rist Canyon Road until after the body shop?  I don't think I can stay away.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

What a sucky day

It's only 8:30 AM, and it's already a sucky day. I was riding to meet up with a group for a 50-60 mile ride today when my chain broke. I don't carry a chain tool on my road bike so not only did I miss the ride, but I had to walk my bike a mile back to my house in cycling shoes. Now I need to sit around and wait for a bike shop to open so I can ride my mountain bike there and pick up a chain. I feel like the whole day has been wasted now. I guess I can sit around and watch football now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Climbers for Kerry

http://www.climbersforkerry.com/

I think I shall buy a shirt.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

The power of wind

Look out world, I just signed up to pay a little extra and have my home powered by wind.  It's weird because it's not like they route the power from a windmill directly to your house.  The idea is that when a customer signs up, the power company ensures wind energy is delivered to the grid for that customer, displacing energy that would have been produced at a conventional power plant.

Quick, someone find me a tree to hug.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Party Time

September 25, 7PM, Fort Collins:  The Anti-Atkins party

I just sent out the Evites.  If you didn't get one that means one of the following things:
A) I don't have your email address
B) You live to far away to come anyway
C) I don't like you
D) You're a jerk

If you fall under category 'A', send me your email and I'll add you to the list.  (Or you can have someone already on the list invite you.)

American Lakes

Christine (christinelh) and I went camping at the American Lakes near Cameron Pass last weekend.



My R is still in the shop (grrrrr) so it was a perfect excuse to rent a car for the weekend.  I wanted something that I could take to the trailhead and also hold our gear and two rather large dogs, so I "reserved" a Subaru Outback.  I hate car rental companies.  It's not like I didn't call and specifically ask them if they had any Subaru's and specifically request an Outback.  So I ride to the rental place and find out they've "upgraded" me to a Buick Rendezvous (an SUV type thing).  (No, they didn't have any other vehicles that would have even come close to meeting my needs.)  Great, I'd much rather be driving a tank than a stylin' Subie.  Not to mention the fact that it had this annoying storage compartment in the back that made the rear area into two different levels.  I was pretty perturbed by the time I got home, until I took a closer look at the dumb cargo thing and noticed a few bolts.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to come out, but I ripped it out anyway, along with the rear seats.  My garage looked like a Rendezvous chop shop, and I was much happier.

As usual, Kuzca got car sick on the way.  I was driving very carefully, and I even gave her two Dramamine (on the recommendation from my vet).  My roommate (who works for a vet) suggested Bomine for our next trip.  I usually bring paper towels and bags to clean up the inevitable puke, but it slipped my mind this time.  We found a bag in the car and used a towel I had brought to clean things up.

When we got to the trailhead, we let the dogs romp around while we got all the gear together.  That was a mistake.  Kuzca appeared a few minutes later with her neck covered in some random poo!  She just can't resist rolling in smelly stuff.  Ewww!  It was so sick.  There was a puddle at the trailhead that I used to clean her up a bit, and when we crossed a stream a little while later I used some of Christine's biodegradable soap to clean the pooch up good. 

Kuzca all packed up (and poo free):






Here's Christine and the dogs as we approach the American Lakes, with Static Peak in the background.


The hike made Kuzca so sleepy that she even let me cover her with a blanket.


It's hard to beat the scenery.


A self portrait


On Sunday we took the short, but steep, hike up to Snow Lake.  It's a beautiful clear mountain lake.  I've been up here a few times before and always tried in vain to catch some of the fish you can see swimming around.  These are the kind of fish that swim right by your fly, pause, and just keep going.  It's so frustrating.  For a while I didn't even see any fish, and I thought maybe the recent cooler weather was keeping them at the bottom of the lake.  Eventually I started to see see a few trout come by as I was fishing.  It's always encouraging when you can actually see that there's something in the water to catch.    I tried some of my usual favorite flies and repeatedly saw the fish check out my fly without hitting it.  After about 3 or 4 fly changes I finally found one that was interesting to them, and I even managed to hook a real nice one.  I played it for a while in an effort to tire it out enough for me to grab it, but eventually it took a dive to deep water and managed to throw my fly.  Crap!  I thought that might be my only chance, but I kept trying anyway.  A few more fly changes later, I finally returned to the one fly that had produced results and I hooked another one.  This time I wasn't wasting any time, and I pulled him in as quickly as possible.  I'm pretty sure it's a Greenback Cutthroat Trout, which is an endangered species.  It was great to finally catch one of these buggers.


We kind of expected the hike back to the car to be rather quick because it's almost entirely downhill, but a couple days of hiking and playing took its toll on Christine's dog, Bucket.  At 11 years old, he's an old man in dog years.  For a while he was just walking rather slow, but as we got closer to the bottom he started to need short breaks.  We felt pretty bad for him, but at 100 pounds, neither of us was in any shape to carry him.  We did try at one point to pick him up together and he was clearly not interested in our help.  When we got closer to the car, Kuzca and I went on to the car so I could drop off my gear and head back up to help, at least with moral support.  We eventually made it back, and after a couple days rest it sounds like Bucket is sore, but back to normal.

What a great way to spend the weekend.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Passion of the Clerks

Kevin Smith has announced that he's going to do a sequel to Clerks.  The tendency is for sequels to pail in comparison to the original, but I have my fingers crossed that this won't suck.  I absolutely love Clerks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Boulder Sport Park

I went climbing at the Boulder Sport Park with John and Christine on Sunday.  We got rained out fairly quickly, but not before I got to lead my first outdoor climbs.  Yay, I'm somebody now.  We ended up going to The Spot Bouldering Gym in Boulder afterward.  It's a pretty cool place with nice routes.  And you can top out on the big boulders which is kind of nice.

Horsetooth Century Map and Elevation Profile

HT100 Map

HT100 Elevation profile

Lame joke of the day

This came from my desk calendar of really bad jokes:
  A sheriff walked into a saloon and shot his gun into the air to get everyone's attention.  "Has anyone seen Brown Paper Jake?" he asked.
  "What does that feller look like?" asked a cowboy.
  "Well," replied the sheriff, ""he wears a brown paper hat, a brown paper waistcoat, a brown paper shirt, brown paper boots, brown paper pants and a brown paper jacket."
  "So what's he wanted fer?" asked the same cowboy.
  "Rustlin'."

*rimshot*

Monday, August 23, 2004

107.3 miles later...

So obviously I made it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.  I was up a little later than I should have been Friday, and I had a little trouble sleeping the night before mostly because I was a little anxious I think.  The plan was to leave my house at 6:50AM to meet Julie (my old roommate from back in the intern days) a few miles from my house, so I set my alarm for 5:45 (ugh!).  I swear, my alarm gets more use on the weekend than any other time. 

Friday, August 20, 2004

Century

I'm going to ride my first century (100 miles) tomorrow.  You can take a look at the map here.  It shouldn't be too bad, especially since the last half of the ride is relatively flat.  But 100 miles is 100 miles, so I better get some good sleep tonight.

Diagnosis...

Talked to the dealer yesterday, and it looks like I'll be out of a car for a couple weeks.  They still had some more investigating to do, but they've ordered a new steering rack and a new BBS Aristo wheel for me.  The problem with an uncommon care is that it takes a little while for parts to arrive.  So he estimated one week for the parts and installation, then it needs to head to the body shop which ought to be another week.

Hopefully it won't rain too much in the next couple weeks and I'll be able to ride my bike.  I'll probably rent a car every few days to run errands so I don't have to mooch off my friends too much.  :) 

Now I have a great excuse for renting an SUV for a car camping trip next weekend.  As my wise brother once told me, nothing parties like a rental.  And I'm pretty sure I'll be willing to take a rental SUV to places that I'd never take anything I owned.  ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Whoops!


First things first.  Yes, I'm fine.

Here's what happened.  I was coming down Rist Canyon road and it started to rain.  I figure since it hadn't rained in a bit there was some crap on the road like oils and gravel from the recent chip-sealing projects.  I went into a downhill hairpin a little too fast and my car pushed to the outside corner where I met with a friendly guard rail.  In all honesty I wasn't going very fast, and I've taken that turn at much higher speeds.  I'm not entirely sure what happened, other than the road being a little slippy. Oh, that and I'm a moron.

What's the damage?


A scrape on the rear driver's side wheel well.


This wheel took the brunt of the impact.  I scraped up the wheel well.  Most likely bent the wheel.  Broke a tie-rod or driveshaft, which made the car completely undriveable.  I couldn't even move the car from the blind side of the corner because the wheels were pointing in opposite directions.


Here's where I smacked.

No airbags deployed.  Good thing, because that would have scared the crap out of me I'm sure.

I had it towed to the dealer.  The great thing about having a unique car is the dealer people know who owns it.  I called at 7:45 this morning and they already had it checked in a ready for inspection.  I don't even have to give them my number anymore because they already know how to find me in the computer.  The insurance company doesn't open until 9AM, so I'll have to wait and see what they say about the monetary damages.

But hey, look at the bright side.  I needed an alignment anyway.  :)

And on a better note, I think the rain is good for my allergies.  My nose is very happy today (although my wallet is not).

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sway bar



I finally got the chance to put my rear sway bar on last night.  (It's the shiny red thing in the picture.)  I'm really pleased with how well the install went.  Usually there's at least one "gotcha" that really slows things down.  But really it was just 2.5 hours of wrenching.  It's really nice to work on a new car, because dropping the rusty exhaust on my old GTI was always a real chore.

My new MP3 player

After some annoying online ordering experiences, I'm all high-tech now with my new Archos Gmini 220 MP3 player:


I originally ordered it from Buy.com.  After 5 days of them not shipping it, I decided they really didn't want my business and I "canceled" my order.  I say "cancel" because they didn't even get that right.  The correctly canceled part of my order, but not the whole thing, and I got an email on Friday saying they've shipped my order.  Gee, thanks!  Only 9 days after I placed my order.  Wow, you guys are great.

After I ditched Buy.com I ordered the same thing from HarmonyComputers.com.  I was pretty anxious at this point, so I even paid extra to make sure it would be here before the weekend.  Apparently when their website says "All Air orders placed after 3:00 PM (EST) will be shipped the following business day" that's more of a guidance than a rule.  When I saw that it hadn't shipped I gave them a call and bitched enough to get them to ship it and upgrade the shipping so it would still get here when I wanted it.  So Friday it shows up and I'm all excited to play with it.  Since electronics rarely come with a fully charged battery, the first thing I tried to do was plug it in.  That's sort of a problem when the send you a charger that was meant for the UK.  I eventually found a converter that allowed me to convert UK to US plugs, but what an unnecessary pain.

I called Archos yesterday and they're sending me a new charger.  Even better, I got the tracking information this morning and it appears that it was sent out yesterday afternoon.  Now, that's some sweet service.  Kudos to Archos.  My erroneously shipped player from Buy.com is scheduled to arrive today.  I think I'll drive over it with my car and send it back.

But enough of that saga....  It's nice and small, but it still holds 20 gigs of MP3s.  So far I like it, but I'm still working out some kinks with my music library.  I took it on a bike ride last weekend and it was nice to listen to NPR until I got into the mountains and then turn on some tunes.  I just need to find a little better way to carry it on my bike. Also, new headphones are in order, because those dang ear-bud things never stay in my ear.  I don't know who's ear they're made for, but they're not mine.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Tough Love

My mom told me a funny story yesterday. For some reason or another it took me a while to learn how to ride a bike (I'm special I guess). After much effort on her part, she decided one spring break that it was time for me to learn how to ride once and for all, and she left me in the garage telling me not to come back inside until I figured it out. I guess the tough love worked. :)
Oh, by the way, I went on a "short" 32 mile ride today and climbed some of my favorite hills. The whole time I stayed off my small chain ring (for those not in the know, that's the easiest climbing gear on the front). Thanks Mom!

My ride also consisted of a stop at a local winery. No, not for wine; they have peaches too. A ripe juicy peach has never tasted so good.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Zoom-zoom

So I found a way to make the work day a little better. I took and extended lunch and went for a serious drive in the hills. Man, what a great time. Curvy roads, no cops, and a sport hatch. It should be illegal to have that much fun driving...oh wait, I think it is. My justification is that I want to get a good feel for how my car handles before I put in my new sway bar. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sooooo slooooow

This has really been one of those weeks that drags on, and on, and on (you get the idea).  I'm glad Friday is here and I can begin to look forward to the weekend.  I'm hoping to get out and go for a hike with the pooch; something that hasn't happened in quite a long time.  And maybe if I get real ambitious I'll install the new rear sway bar that's been sitting in my basement for several months on my R32.  I know, I should really stop being such a party animal.

In case anyone is interested, you can look at the TV schedule for the olympics here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/tvlistings/5021754/detail.html.  Don't worry, I've done all the hard work for you and figured out when all the cycling is on this weekend:

  • 8/14 - 8P-midnight ET on NBC (Men's Road)

  • 8/15 - 8AM-11:30AM ETon USA (Women's Road)


I didn't even realize until I got to work that today is Friday the 13th.  Do you suppose it's a bad idea to have the olympic openinc ceremonies on Friday the 13th?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

You know what I like about LiveJournal?  I can click "Manage->Friends".  If only it were so easy to manage my friends in real life.

I'm a loser

I just realized that it's been quite a while since I last updated this thing.  Is my life really that boring?  Possibly.

Last weekend I went on a 58 mile ride.  I've done the ride before, and I thought for sure it'd be no problem.  I underestimated how difficult it was, and it really kicked my butt.  For ease of riding, I'd much rather do the 80 mile Estes Park loop than that 58 mile Rist Canyon loop.

Another recent highlight was yet another letter from the HOA.  They sent me one a couple weeks ago that said I needed to do something about the weeds in my lawn.  So I went out, not once, but twice, to pull the weeds.  AND I'm having a lawn company come out and put down some weed killer.  So you can imagine how annoying it is when they send me a letter telling me that I didn't take care of the problem, so they're going to fine.  Ummm....I don't think so.  I'm still waiting for them to return my message where I told them they were full of shit.  More to follow, I'm sure, because dealing with the HOA is never simple or fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Anti-Atkins

I need some help coming up with foods appropriate for my upcoming Anti-Atkins party. (The date is still TBA, but it will most likely take place September 25. If that's a conflict, speak now.) So far a brief search on the web brought up the following list:

Bread
Rice
Potatoes
Pasta
Breakfast Cereals
Milk
Sugar
Caffeine
Pastry
Alcohol
Pizza
Fruits
Curries
Biscuits
Yogurts


Got any other suggestions?

Monday, August 2, 2004

Ridin' and Climbin', a Good Weekend

My good mood from the week carried on into the weekend.  Saturday morning started out early with a ride to Estes park, and I was pleasently suprised at how good I felt the entire ride.  I rode with 2 other people, and I kept inadvertantly dropping them up the hills.  There's a monster hill and 2 sets of brutal switchbacks after Glen Haven, but I managed to make it up without stopping and the view from the top made it all worth it (after I layed on the ground trying to recover from oxygen debt).  One great thing about biking 40 miles to Estes is that there's NO guilt in stopping for some tasty ice cream.  :)  Going downhill through Glen Haven on the way back was amazing.  There's nothing like passing a car, on the left, while you're still pedalling.  Try as I might, I just couldn't break 50 miles per hour though.  The fastest I could muster was 49.7, but I was glad that I could actually pedal at that high a cadence. The round trip was right around 80 miles, and next time I think I need to stay on the bike for another 20 just so I can say I did a century.

After a brief respite at home, I met up with a friend for....more ice cream.  This time Ben & Jerry's.  I figured I burned enough calories to justify 2 ice cream trips in one day (and anyone who says otherwise is itchin' for a fight).  The ice cream trip then led into a movie trip, where I finally went to see Dodge Ball.  It's one of those stupid-funny movies, which was great because I was in no mood to think.  It's worth it for the Lance cameo, if nothing else.

Sunday morning rolled around and, in retrospect, maybe I should have stayed in bed a little longer.  The first thing I did in the morning was change my oil.  A normally simple task.  Here's a tip from me, the master mechanic:  If you're going to drain oil in to something, you should be sure that there's enough empty space in it to contain all of the fluid you plan to add to it.  I know, if you look in an oil container it looks deep black, but don't confuse it for a black hole.  Twelve quarts of oil will not fit into a 10 quart container, no matter how hard you hope it will.  Needless to say, I had an Exxon Valdez style disaster on my garage floor.  And I couldn't really do anything about it until I finished changing the oil, because I certainly wasn't going to try to move my oil deprived car.  In the end, all is well.  I sprayed some degreaser and simple green on the floor and got to work with the deck brush.  I wanted to clean my garage sometime....just not yesterday.  Shortly after that debacle, I cut myself with a utility knife as I was mounting another picture for my house.  But that was the end of misery, because shortly afterward I went to the climbing gym for the first time in a LONG time.

My climbing parter gave me a good lesson in ass-whipping.  In short, we warmed up on a 5.9, then did 5.11's and the occassional 5.10.  I'm only a little sore right now, but I fully expect to be completely paralyzed by tomorrow morning.  Since it was Sunday, we went to church afterwards.  And by "church" I mean "out for beers".

Incidentally, I'm posting this using the Semagic client.  In my very brief preview of all the available clients, this is the one I liked the most so far.  It's got a nice Office style interface, but it's lacking in the WYSIWYG department. Still messing with it though.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

What a great week

Sometimes the stars just align right, and things go well. This must be one of those weeks for me. It's not that any huge has happened or anything, but it's the sum of multiple little things that are just making this week enjoyable. Things like having some good rides (without flatting or being rained on), some great dances (and kick-ass DJ'ing - thanks shanabanana), and perhaps the best unexpected running-into of someone at lunch yesterday. Not to mention today I went to Schlotzsky's Deli (I NEVER go there) and Compass Bank was there buying people lunch.

And another thing to brighten my day: Traffic stop nets $2 million in cocaine. To make a long story short, someone actually got pulled over for driving in the left lane (the PASSING lane) without passing anyone. Yeah sure, I suppose it's also newsworthy because they guy also had 40 pounds of cocaine. Don't get me started on people driving in the left lane...I'm having too good a week.

Right now, you're probably thinking "Gee, I wish I could be as cool as Ryan right now." Well, you can't, so get over it. Unless of course you're ditching work to go climbing, in which case: Screw You. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Bush can't ride

Twice now Bush has fallen off his bike:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/05/22/bush.fall/
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/27/bush.bike.ap/index.html

As JD so eloquently put it:
"I can't in good conscience vote for a "rider" that still has reflectors and pedal straps. What was I thinking!"

Stop the insanity

So, my first post on my Live Journal and I regret that it has to be about low carb food. Say it ain't so, low carb wine: http://www.wine-lovers-page.com/wineadvisor1/tswa040512.phtml (Thanks for the link Jme). So let me get this straight, my lazy American fat-ass weight loss program now also allows me to get trashed? Sweet. Now all someone needs to do is find a way to recommend huge vats of chocolate and crystal meth for the Fatkins diet and we'll be all set. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get some low-carb bread and pasta.

Oh, I also just saw this article from the Seattle Times (I love the title): Low-carb craze shrinks waistlines, brain cells