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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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:

Breakfast Cereals

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.