Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Home



How was Africa?

The question comes often, and is completely expected and understandable. However, the answer is not so simple. It doesn't fit the pleasantries short form. I stumble over my reply, and try to explain that it's complicated.

Just name your favorite thing or moment, that stands out.

Again, no one moment, idea, or feeling springs clear of the jumble in my head. It's more like a constant boiling of emotions, with a new point bubbling to the surface every few seconds.

At one point, I was amazed at the  beauty of the country. It is absolutely gorgeous, once you get clear of the city. There is never a flat moment, as the land of a thousand hills rolls off into the distance. The green and brown undulations, the patchwork of organized agriculture quilting the hillsides, look as if they were created by some grand artist, inspired to render both heart stopping beauty and life giving functionality.

Another, I was truly scared. I ended up solo, looking after the truck in a small village. As the crowd ebbed and flowed, as it does when the oddity of white people come calling, I realized that the look in the eyes gathered around me had changed from that of the curious, to that of the hunter. Not that they were looking to cause me harm, as street gangs here in the states will do, in the name of  fun or power struggle. I simply stood between these teen kids, and a wealth of supplies in our safari truck. The food and water could easily be replaced, but my riders diabetes supplies were inside, so I stood my ground.

That hour at the truck, created a wellspring of its own thoughts and emotions. One small boy, about 10, got between me and the crowd, turned his back to them, and whispered, Don't leave your truck, Mister. They will steal. Hope. It springs eternal in the minds of man. Without it, what's the point? You see, this boy is young enough, that he did not witness the horrors of the genocide. The older crowd that had gathered, falls into the age group where they got the ugliness that comes from the aftermath of those unforgettable, but mostly unknown to us here in this country, 100 days. The death toll estimates range from 700,000 to 1 million, slain in just over 3 months. Who were the participants of this mob at my truck? Were they the offspring of the 5000-8000 estimated rapes that occurred? Did they watch their parents be exterminated by their neighbors and countrymen? Or, are they left in the unspoken purgatory of grudging acceptance, granted those who participated, or who's family participated, in the killing spree?

Heartbroken. The poverty that we saw tugged at my heartstrings, repeatedly. The throngs of people you see walking up and down the mountains at the crack of dawn, are not headed to a 9-5, to earn their retirement or buy a new ski boat. They are working to survive. They hike several miles to bring water to their homes, many of which have only dirt floors, and no secure doors, only curtains. Electricity is available, but far from prevalent, outside the cities. They grow what they need, be it crops, goats, cows or chickens. Anything above what's needed is traded for other supplies. Despite what I saw, I unexpectedly, did not feel "white man's guilt". I recognize that wealth is relative. While my modest, 1000sqft, home far exceeds what is common in Rwanda, I am still in the lower economic quarter of this country. Though I may not suffer guilt for where I was born, or my station in life, I will likely hold my tongue, before I gripe about the trivial garbage that we complain of so often, here in the land of the spoiled and "deserving". I realize that it is cliche to say that I have a new found appreciation for the many gifts taken for granted in my life, but these types of generalities spring from kernels of truth, and I am thankful to have had the experience.

Contradictions. While the majority of the homes are sub-par by our standards, the people take great pride in what they have. There may be no doors, windows or grass lawns, but they will take time to construct elaborate beauty, with well placed agriculture. A wall of banana trees may define a courtyard, or rows of flowers and food plants bring ordered walkways to the front doors. Pride in their country is evident when you see people out cleaning the streets by hand, with small brooms and dustpans. The last Saturday of every month, automobile travel is curtailed, for the few with such luxury, and everyone chips in to clean the roads, ditches, parks, etc.

People would walk many miles, or wait many hours for our crew of type 1 diabetics to come and speak at local clinics, every day. Their thirst for knowledge, to protect their own life, as well as those of their families, was clear. Yet the genocide stands as a reminder of the ability to kill, in vast numbers. It is very difficult for me to grasp this contradiction. We value life so highly, and they do, too. So how did this murderous event come to occur? How do you reconcile this desire to protect life, with this ability to kill? I cannot imagine a scenario where I could be convinced to take up a machete, and hack down my neighbor, based upon a loose ethnic affiliation.

I had resentment and anger for the crowd that spooked me, by the truck that day. But at the same time, I understand that poverty and hunger can make people desperate. This in no way brings absolution to the offenders, but at the same time, I cannot view it in the same way that I view criminal activity here at home, fueled by drug abuse, or simple laziness. Despite all our desires for issues to be black and white, to instill order, life is almost always shades of gray.

Friendship. The people who share a trip like this, can be a defining influence. Phil is like my adopted little brother, at this point. I don't get to see him very often, but when I do, the jokes and laughter pick up right where we last left off. Bobby was on the first 2 RAAM trips, and I have the utmost respect for him. He and I discussed this strange friendship we have. While we don't pass on the streets daily, or have years of exposure with one another, ours is a friendship forged in times of short term, high intensity. It's as if the focused weeks of RAAM, and now Rwanda, pressure cooked our relationship to this moment, where we clearly. each call the other, a friend. The moment I saw that the 3 of us were back together, I knew it would be a trip to remember. The myriad other personalities that made up the Team Type 1 entourage added the spice and flavor that made the trip great. I met so many new people, that I hope I can stay in touch, though I freely admit, I suck in that general department. Hopefully, if any of them read this, they will hold me to task. Bobby said it best, mid-trip. You meet only so many, truly good people in this life. So, it would be a shame to let those opportunities pass.

Shining moments. Phil's infectious smile and ever positive attitude. Laughing with the gang, over Mutzig and Primus, the local beers, after a long day. Meeting another mechanic, whose OCD style attention to detail, made my OCD friends look like slobs. Seeing the professional team rise to the occasion, and win time and time again. The adventure of driving those psycho streets with Stephanie, in search of food and water for those in our charge. Getting to know Claude, our driver who took such great care of us, and without whose help, the morning crew likely would have failed, utterly. Trying to keep the ladies' spirits high, as they struggled each day to clear the relentless mountains of the Rwandan roads.

As you can see, it is very difficult for me to answer the question, How was Africa?. The answers are many, and convoluted. It may take weeks, months, or even a lifetime, to come to terms with all that I saw or felt, while in Rwanda. I am glad that I went. I spent my Thanksgiving, in a hotel in Butare, run by nuns, eating spaghetti with some strange red liquid poured over it. When I asked Phil what the liquid was, he responded that the pasta was turkey, and the soupy liquid was gravy. I was/am thankful for the opportunity to be there, and for the people with whom I shared the experience.

Would you go back?

Let's let this boiling mind of mine turn down to a simmer, before I answer that question. But already, I see disturbing lights at the end of that tunnel. With the right seasoning, I just may jump right back into that soup bowl, again.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finally, Racing!

After what seems like weeks of washing bikes, the racing finally got under way. While the weather threatened all day, it never more than lightly sprinkled. The Rwandans came out en masse, to watch the big show.

This was my first experience at Rwandan congregations. They smile and wave, and are genuinely curious about these big white men, and blonde, white women. They want to be nearby, in case you do something interesting, or more likely, want you to give them chocolate, water bottles, or money. The kids have learned to hang out at the team cars. There are so many, though, that we could never satisfy that demand. The kids found my tattoos today, and were so enthralled. They would go get there friends and bring them to see, too. They liked to touch it, to see if they could feel the image. I watched as a couple kicked around some empty water bottles, and when the bottle came near, I returned it with a kick of my own. They went crazy! Kids poured out of the woodwork, to play with the crazy, inked, mizunga.

Rwandan cycling fans, are much more reserved. They never clapped or cheered, just watched. Us, however, well, let's just say we were "us". Eveytime I hooted one of our boys, the adults around would twitch, and the kids would giggle. They are so reserved, up until the hometown favorite launched last. For the first time, a huge cheer went up, and they all ran for the finish.

All of the announcing was in French, but I kept hearing our boy, Ty's name in the mix. When all was said and done, TT1 swept the top three spots! The team is amped, and the game is on. Tomorrow we must defend, and I think we can. Wednesday and Thursday will be deciding factors, when they hit some pretty vicious climbs. I have a feeling that on those days, I'll have quite a few of my pre-riders, hanging onto brushgaurds!

Brush gaurds on what, you may ask. Why, on this most ridiculous, 9 seater, Land Rover, complete with snorkel, I'd answer! My ride for this gig is so over the top! Phil's gonna look over his shoulder to ask for a bottle, and I'm gonna be gone, off on safari,somewhere.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rwanda!!

http://tt1rwanda.wordpress.com/

Check it out for up to date TT1 dealings over here.

I had a few minutes, so I thought I'd share some of the experience. At night I hear drums playing in the distance, but now, I sit in a hotel lobby, listening to Don Williams on the hotel sound system. They were playing Michael Jackson and Kenny Rogers, this morning. Just bizarre!

Keeping bikes clean after daily rains, and my newfound, soigneur-like responsibilities(minus the massage), take up most of my time. It's tough to determine how much food and water to buy for myself, and 7 riders. Luckily I have a little guidance from the team's professional soigneur. She's been in the business for 15+/- years, and is a well of knowledge.

We picked up the team car today, and got quick lessons in African driving. No real rules, just guidelines. It really feels like riding in a pack, just put your bumper in, and take the spot. Own it, or lose it!

Prologue is tomorrow. The guys are ready to ride, and I think we have a guy who can contend for the overall.

By Tuesday, we leave our comfortable hotel, for the road. My understanding is that our accommodations range from resorts, to last resorts, once the race leaves Kigali. I'm psyched to see the country, but nervous about the unexpected.

We have good people with us, so as long as sanity can be maintained, we'll be good. I can already see that my shepherding skills are going to come in handy. Each morning, I suppose I'll wake and share Don's chorus, Lord, I hope this day is good....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend in Pictures

I'm still behind the 8 ball, getting everything done before I go wheels up for Rwanda, so, you folks will have to settle for pics from the weekend, for now. The trip was awesome! The weather really could not have been much better. We caught the middle GA woods in the midst of beautiful fall colors. Well worth the hoops we jumped through, to make it happen.










Monday, October 31, 2011

Ducks in a Row






Piece by piece, I'm ticking off my list before I spend 24+ hours in airports and planes en route to Kigali, Rwanda. I'm taking the vaccine for Typhoid all this week, and I get my 2nd Hep A/B shot on Friday. My passport is renewed and valid.

A big box of Team Type 1 shirts and socks showed up on my doorstep last week. I love schwag!

I've had a few folks ask, "Why would you go to Africa?", with their faces all scrunched up, as if they'd just bitten into a rotten apple. I get it, Africa is not the place your typical vacation seeker thinks of, as a top 5 destination. Rwanda is a developing nation, and as such, seems to be finding its way through much political and social unrest. But sometimes, you just need to see something a little different. We get so caught up in our little bubbles, that we have no idea what's going in in the rest of the world, unless it's spoon fed to us via Fox News, NPR, or the Tallahassee Mullet Wrapper. Do I think that everyone should travel to a 3rd world nation, so that they can appreciate what they have? No, but when opportunity knocks, it may be time to answer the door.

I get to see another country, and I get to see it through a bike race, all while utilizing my skills as a mechanic. I'll be turning wrenches and assisting a team, run by my adopted little brother, as they race 7 days/8 stages, through Rwanda. I love bicycles. They have taken me to so many destinations, and introduced me to so many people, that I can no longer even imagine where I would be now, were it not for my love of two wheels. And now my associations via bikes are adding another continent to my list.

Read this, and get a better understanding of what I get to see. Granted, I'm not working for the Rwanda National Team, but I get to be part of the international community that adds integrity to this growing stage race. The Rwandan people are very proud of their athletes, and their race, and I get to see all of that firsthand. Despite the hurdles of corruption, distribution, and bureaucracy, Phil and Team Type 1 are trying to get needed diabetes supplies to the people of Rwanda, and other developing nations around the world. They are trying to show people that a diabetes diagnosis is not the end, but only the beginning, to a new way of managing one's own health. I get to be a tooth in the cog of the Team Type 1 machine, at least for a short while.

That's why I'm going to Africa.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Perils of African Bike Racing



At least we'll be dealing with road racing on this trip, which hopefully lessens the chance of such a thing happening. BUT, if  it were me, I'd tackle that beastie and bring him home.

I can hear it now....

"Why does Bigworm have a Red Hartabeest in his backyard?" 


"'Cause he wanted one, and this one volunteered."

I would love him, and pet him, and call him George.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Adventures on the Horizon



Life is funny sometimes. Other times, not so much. Mine has been a roller coaster for longer than I'd like, lately, but I just keep my eyes out for those peaks between the valleys, that bring opportunities and experiences worth seizing.

This time, I owe a big thanks to my other adopted little brother, Phil. He saw that I needed a change of venue, and came to the rescue. I fought it at first, but he speaks with a golden tongue.

I'll be spending my Thanksgiving in Africa, as a team mechanic for Team Type 1 in the Tour of Rwanda. I'm a big fan of the holidays, and though I'll miss my family, I'll be thankful for these new experiences.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fool's Gold Time Stamps



Fool's Gold was long enough that I can't remember it all in a fluid fashion. I only have these blips.

5:02 - It's too early to be getting up to race. I hope I don't forget anything...

6:00 - We're supposed to be rolling out, right now. I wonder if Big Jim Slade is flipping out.

6:07 - En route. I wish this diet coke was the fountain variety.  The bottled version has too much fizz.

7:02 - Shit! I forgot my gel flasks back at the hotel. Better cram a couple more stinger waffles in my camelbak.

7:15 - This camelbak has to weigh 40 pounds. I HATE a camelbak!

7:18 - Pour out half of the camelbak.

7:40 - Wow!! This is a huge crowd for the start.  I hope BJS lined up with Silk, near the front.

7:45 - Neutral roll out.

7:47 - I finally cross the official start line.

From here on out, I no longer knew clock time. All I had was the actual roll time on my Garmin.

0:37 - Camp Wahsega. The base of the climb up Cooper Gap. The last time I saw StorminNorman, as the folks I knew dropped my bis ass.

1:12 - This creaking pedal is gonna make me lose my ever loving mind.

1:46 - Shit, I forgot to take my endurolytes. Better stop and take some now, before it's too late. Damn it! They're not in my camelbak. Must have left them in the truck. It's gonna be a looong, cramp filled day.

2:11 - Ahhh. The top of the climb, and the first sag station. Refill camelbak and top off bottle. Chat with Naked Indian, before he rolls out before me.

2:15 - Blast past Naked Indian, and quite a few other folks, as I try to gain back some of what I lost on the climb. This descent is sick fast, and waaayyy fun. Scared myself a few times, but so worth it!

2:56 - Skip sag 2. Too soon after last sag, so I think I'm good to go ahead and take out Bull Mountain.

3:11 - Whoa, was that hunger pains? Been trying to eat something every 0:45-1hr. Guess it wasn't enough. Get passed by Paul, as I get rolling, again. Trying to eat a Clif Bar while grunting in my granny gear is tough!

3:21 - These 2 old cats, lounging just past the creek are cracking me up! Reminds me of The Benny Rooster and Longshanks Sr. How'd they get way out here? Looks like they're having fun heckling the racers, though.  We crack jokes as I work my way past them, beginning another uphill grunt. Made me smile thinking of all the rides I've done with our favorite 2 old cats, back home.

3:35 - Oh please, Dear God, let that be StorminNorman's red jersey I see walking that climb up ahead of me!!!

3:36 - Awwwww! No such luck. But that is Ms Paige, I see up there. Guess the technical stuff is catching  up to her. 

3:45 - Ride past Paige and Paul, standing by the trail. She does not look happy! Ask if they're okay, and keep on rolling.

3:47 -  Suhweet, fast downhills! This is why I suffer so long to get up here. Worth every second!

3:51 - Pass a fit looking guy, who says he's fighting cramps. That sucks. OOOuuuuucchhhh! Shit! Damn!!! Guess it's my turn. Son of a bitch, that hurts!!!

3:51:05 - Fit guy passes me back, looking like he really does feel my pain. He wishes me luck, and pedals out of sight.

3:57 - BAM!!! Hit a rock so hard with my back wheel, I almost get tossed over the bars. Please don't flat. Please don't flat. Please don't flat.          Shit!

3:59 - Glad I could limp it this far. This is a good spot to watch folks climb this little hump, while I swap my tube. Booyah!! There's those damn endurolytes! Gulp. You've got to be kidding me! This tube is brand new! How is there an effing hole in it?!! I'm gonna kick Red Dragon in his baby maker when I get home! I hope this glueless patch kit holds.

4:19 -  Begin my ride again, now joined by Paige and Paul. I bomb the downhills, they catch me every time the gradient turns against me.

4:25 - Ahhh, Sag 3. Time to remix a go-go juice bottle, and refill this dead weight on my back. Mmmm, cookies and M&M's. Somebody out there is looking out for me!

4:55 - Glad we didn't miss that turn! Wonder how many folks did...

5:14 - Creek, big creek! Paul was wondering if it was rideable. I said sure, rode to the middle and got off. I stood knee deep in that cold water, and dunked my helmet. It felt amazing, as I was starting to overheat. I heard Paul laughing as I began climbing the other side.

5:16 - Really? Was that a rain drop?

5:18 - Apparently God has a serious sense of humor! Now that all the pretty, fast people are off the course, the bottom's gonna fall out. Guess that creek was the least of our worries, when it comes to wet equipment. Wish I had glasses, to keep the mud out of my eyes.

5:45 - This rain is serious. I hope I have enough brake pad left to make the last couple of corners that follow those BIG downhills on the road back to the winery.

5:55 - Sorry Paul, but if I stop to wait for Paige, I may not get started again. What, you're not stopping either? Oh boy! Hope you don't get in too much trouble.

6:01 - This is pure evil! Even the paved uphills are destroying me.

6:03 - WTF?! Why can't I catch Paul?! I'm pedaling as hard as I can, and my heart rate is only 126. I think my heart may have died.

6:06 - Yeah yeah! Whatever, fit dude! You're soooo fast on the pavement. And you're white Hammer jersey is filthy!

6:07 - If I could catch that guy, I'd tackle him.

6:21 - Please don't make me have to walk this steep bitch right here in the winery.  Okay, paper boying this hill is less embarrassing than walking. Yeah, let's go with that. I'm kicking Eddie O'dea in his baby maker, if I can lift my leg that high.

6:22 - Thank God that's over! I wonder if I'd get in trouble if I hucked my clay orange bike, followed by my clay orange body, into the pool?

??:?? - That hose barely got the mud off. I bet Big Jim would cry if I just went and climbed straight into the truck. I'm pretty sure my right ass cheek is cramped.

??:?? - As soon as I can move again, we need to eat.


My official race time was 7:01. That was a lot longer than I expected. The patching of the flat fiasco, and the rain, certainly didn't help.  Oh well, I suppose it gives me something to improve upon, next year.







Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brews, Blues, and Bee-Bee-Q's!


It started out as an innocent look at the map, but ultimately, I turned Big Jim Slade's world upside down.

Phil won't stop talking about this rib shack, so I finally got a name, and googled the joint. Fat Matt's. A name like that, how can it not be good? The captain already sounds like a brother clydesdale. While looking at the satellite view of the location map, I happened to notice a little marker, less than a mile away. Sweetwater Brewery. 

Now, Big Jim has wanted to tour this place since the beginning of time. He has a bit of a thing for seeing where his tasty beverages originate. Unfortunately, I broke his heart on our last NC trip, that had 2 tours scheduled, when I came down with typhoid. After arguing incessantly, they decided to call the trip short, and brought me home to die in my own bed, or yard, or wherever, as long as it wasn't in the hotel room with them. Me being me, I've always been bummed to be the root of this void in Big Jim's heart. So when I saw this little icon, I let him know just how close it was.

In the meantime, I had started perusing Fat Matt's website, and discovered that they offer live blues, every night. And then, way back in the deepest recesses of my pleasure cortex, a speck of light blinked into life. This light brightened, until the very angels delivered upon me, the idea that maybe we should leave on Thursday, hit the brewery tour, hang for the blues and ribs, and then stay the night with little brother Phil. A quick message session has BJS all fired up, and Phil is all in. BJS and I split our remaining travel companions between us, and commenced to selling them on the idea. Our level of employment uselessness, had reached all time highs. Neither could concentrate on our jobs. I could already smell and taste that bbq!

In an effort not to publicly shame the naysayer(s), I'll not say who shot this beautiful bird from its trajectory, but let's just leave it at, it a'int happenin'.

So, now all I can think about is the fall NC trip. I'll be putting that together as we return from Fools Gold. There will be brews. There will be blues. There will be BBQ(s).

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hay is in the Barn


Yep, the day loathed by folks unhappy with their work choice, has arrived again.

Today, it has a little different tint for me. I don't have much going on at my day job today, so I've arranged to turn wrenches for a little extra dough. I need to finish finessing Mingo's bike back into working order, on the off chance he takes the Fool's Gold bait. Wrecking Ball got his name from his innate ability to mysteriously explode seemingly indestructible bike parts. I'm fast beginning to refer to Mingo as, The Grinder. Nothing ever fails catastrophically with him, but I promise you, he gets every last ounce of goodie out of that bicycle shaped oreo. No worries. We have the technology. We can rebuild her.

Speaking of Fool's Gold, she looms on the horizon.. We roll out Friday morning. Phil is supposed to be meeting us in Atlanta, for lunch. He texted me something about "the best ribs EVER!". I just need to be sure the restaurant that houses such an accomplishment has an organic, low fat, turkey sandwich, that looks and smells suspiciously of Subway, so Silk will be happy. The other two in the truck are card carrying southern boys, so hopefully they will be good to go.

Fool's Gold spooks me a little. Given the facts that I'm a true to life clydesdale and a quarter, or damn close, and the organizer's bizarre ability to find a damn 10 mile climb, in GA, it's gonna be a long day for me, my taint, and my saddle to become super close; like marrying your first cousin, close. I look forward to the trip, though. No doubt, it will be a challenge for me, but I'm okay with that.

It's not the general difficulty of a ride that long that bothers me, it's the fear of cramps. Being a well insulated big guy, and the fact that it is still summer, even if it is NORTH Georgia, I cramp like mad after 4.5+ hours. I've tried a million tricks, with mixed success. After their first Fool's Gold, Silk, Double D, and Danny Boy came back touting the magic of mustard. Sounded good, so I gave it try. Total flop. Now I'm pedaling down the trail, trying to not to cry as an angry muscle attempts to relocate my groin down by my kneecap, and really wishing I had a hot dog, a slice of cheese, and some chopped onion, to go with that useless mustard I just gulped.

So be it. I have not died yet from cramps, so I probably won't this time, either.

Has anyone heard from Lil' Ball lately. Best I can tell, he hacked the Drunkcyclist site. I hope not. Some of those AZ boys seem a little twisted, and several seem to be somewhat nomadic. They may come looking for him.

It's a week of easy rides for me. Like Silk said, "the hay is in the barn". I guess now it's time for some recovery type, barn dancing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Twitch


My level of twitch is growing leaps and bounds. Maybe it's the overtime my brain has these days. Maybe it's the need for something new to replace the hole left by what was known. Maybe it's just the amazing photography and stories told by these guys.

No matter the reason, it's coming. This fall, maybe sooner, I intend to try my hand at some sort of bikepacking. I envision a cx bike, rural paved and clay roads, and destinations like Suwannee River, or Lake Seminole; maybe somewhere over by Marianna. I foresee swimming in cold refreshing water at the end of a long dusty day on the road.

My skills are limited by my ignorance of what is needed, but my intelligence will fill in the gaps either by trial and error, or proper guidance. Personally, I hope for the proper guidance route.

Inspiration:
Lacemine29
DirtandDogs

Friday, July 29, 2011

With Friends....


Tomorrow is the memorial ride for Dave Baton. I have family in town, but I will be there, because he was a part of my "other" family.

Right now, there is so much loss in my life, sometimes, it feels like I'm drowning. Thankfully, I have many friends who reach out to help, to hold my head above water. That's what family does. Judging by the emails, I've seen, there will be a lot of friends out tomorrow, to remember Dave. That's what family does.

Though tomorrow is symbolic, Dave will live on far beyond tomorrow in the hearts and minds of those who knew him. They say no one is truly gone, until the last memory dies. I'm thankful for the memories.

I'm thankful for the thousand times Dave told me my saddle was too high, or too low.

I'm thankful for the thousand times he told me I'd be better off sitting and pedaling.

I'm thankful for the thousand times he told me it was time to stand and hammer.

I'm thankful for the thousand times he made me climb the hills of San Luis, in my big ring.

I'm thankful for the thousand times he said it was okay to hurt, because "they" would be hurting, too. 

I'm thankful for the thousand times I heard Derry, tell Dave, "Just fix the bike, Dave! It's not rocket science.", showing me that Dave didn't know everything.

None of us do. None of us have all of the answers. But together, as a family, we can find enough.....enough answers to keep our heads above water.

Tomorrow, I'll be swimming in a sea of funny stories, and great memories, shared by friends. Tomorrow, I will immerse myself in what friends do. When friends share the burden, the heart is just that little bit lighter, that little bit more buoyant. With  friends, there is no need to worry about drowning.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Memory...





Life is short folks. Hug your loved ones. Hold them close. Don't miss any opportunity to tell a friend how much they mean to you.

The T-town cycling community took a hit here today.

Tonight I ride in memory of my friend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shunscreen to avoid Shunburn


I've long mocked my friends for their obsession with social networks. Now, I'm sure everyone is going to be quick to point out all of their positive attributes. I will concede that the thought of catching up with my best friend from 6th grade, who I have not seen or spoken to in 30yrs, sounds quite appealing. Stalking an ex-girlfriend, in hopes that she got fat and lives in a trailer park could be good fun, until I find out she's hotter than ever, married a professional athlete who doubles as a movie star and underwear model, and she owns a chain of successful fitness centers nationwide. Dohhh!!!!

Yesterday, Big Jim Slade sends me an email to check out a new ride route he drew on Mapmyride.com. I've never used mapmyride, having for whatever reason, only used ridewithgps.com. I had no ill will towards mapmyride, I just stumbled into the other first. So when I click the link, I'm quite surprised to find out that Big Jim Slade has allowed his "friends" to view the map, and apparently, I'm not among the chosen. Feeling shunned, I begin to jump through the hoops to become a registered member of mapmyride.com, and view BJS's map. Nope, not that easy. first I have to "find" BJS, and when I finally do, I am then prompted to request BJS's friendship. Wiseass website, you don't know me! You don't know my transmission! How dare this damn website have the audacity to challenge the relationship of Gemini?! 

But I want to see the map. 

I concede to this arrogant web domain's demands, and click the request friendship button. It opens a small window, with an area for a small message to the requestee. There's a suggested phrase already entered. "Hi, Big Jim Slade. I'd like to be your friend." Fard that! I typed my own quaint message to BJS, telling him exactly how much I loved him for wasting 20 minutes of time, just to qualify our love, so I could see a damn map, of a ride I damn sure won't do now, just on sheer principle!

"Your request has been submitted, and you're now awaiting Big Jim Slade's approval"

Big Jim Slade almost had a visitor in his office, demanding approval or else he was gonna get his windows tinted!

A couple of hours later, I get a cheerful email to let me know that Big Jim Slade has accepted my advances, and we have a date. I check out the route, and does look kind of fun. Maybe I will ride it, but I'm not going to tell mapmyrides. 

All's well and done, until this morning. I open my email to find another cheerful header from mapmyrides. This was inside.

Hey Bigworm,

Here is a recap of your recent workouts between:  2011-07-09 to 2011-07-15

0 workouts
0 calories burned
0 routes created
1 new friends

Are you kidding me?! Not only does this damn site have me jumping through hoops like a circus chimp, begging for validation of my longstanding friendships, but now it has the gall to JUDGE me! As if I needed another blow to moral. 

"Thanks for joining our wondrous network of amazingness! We're glad to have you! By the way, looking at your stats, you REALLY suck!" 

If I can figure out how to email a molotov cocktail, it's on! Lil Ronnie once tried to text me bullets, so when I opened the text, I'd get shot. I wonder if he ever got any further along on that technology. I guess not, since I'm still sitting here telling this infuriating story. I now know why we have evil computer geniuses devising viruses and worms, and myriad other devious internet hate methods. It's because their nerdy selves even get shunned on the interwebs! If I could write a proper flamethrower in geek code, the folks at mapmyride would be in for a hot lunch!

My aggravation for social networks has been restored, and it should be at least another week before I join anything else that requires me to request friends. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lil Ball's Dirty 30



Lil Ball is prone to these moments of enthusiasm and motivation. Once in awhile the stars align, and he has a good idea, one worthy of the effort it takes to bring it to fruition. Thus time, it is the Dirty 30. Basically, this is a 30 minute dirt crit, or short track race. Keeping it grassroots, with no classes or division, it's just simple enough to attract folks to the show.



About a dozen contestants showed for this inaugural race. The crowd spanned the gamut, with riders as old school as myself, to the latest generation of juniors. Lil Ball showed everyone around the course, for a lap or two of warmup.Having had my body revolt against the heat the day before, I opted to handle the start, finish, and timing duties.



They were off with a bang, and young Graham Gillis proceeded to begin issuing the spankings he'd promised the field, in the parking lot earlier. Unfortunately for the younger Gillis, his body was soon to leave him hanging, much like mine did me the day before. His 1st lap pace was blistering, but soon enough, a group formed around the rabbit. A few laps later, the rabbit was gone again, only out the back this time.



Ricky Silk went to the front, and began dishing out the hard laps, in typical Silk fashion, making it look effortless. I know he hurts, but he never shows it. His poker face is formidable. As the laps ticked down, he lapped the entire field.



John A. threw down an excellent effort, riding an uncontested 2nd to Silk. John impressed me, keeping many of the middle laps right on time with Silk's pace, no easy feat!

Longtime Tallahassee stalwarts, Tom Gillis and Zach Finn teamed up in the their efforts, which lead to a lot of debate for those of us on the sidelines. Tom has a healthy sprint from his road experience, and Zach is a super talented mountain bike racer. Zach was apparently concerned with the senior Gillis' sprint, too, and proceeded to unload him in the closing laps, to avoid the situation entirely, and wrap up 3rd.



StorminNorman passed Jeff M in the early laps, and in the confusion, I thought he had nearly lapped Jeff. I called StorminNorman as 5th and Jeff as 6th, only to be corrected after the fact. Turns out, Jeff rallied, and passed Norman back. As various folks got lapped, dropped out, reentered, etc, I lost track. That's what's cool about these small local events, everyone looks out for one another, Mr Norman corrected my mistake, and I owed Jeff an apology.

Our last finisher, and the guy I was most proud of, was StorminNorman's son, Blake. He stomped big gears at the urging of myself and Wrecking Ball, early in the race. But the efforts caught up with him. I even joked at one point, about blowing him up, and unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. I think that in the excitement, WB and I were simply a little too encouraging. Blake held tough, grabbed the wheels we instructed him to grab, and held each one as long as he could. He never gave up, and never once complained. Even at the finish, he still found the juice to rise from the saddle, and hammer it home. It's gonna be fun watching this one rise through the ranks.

All in all, it was a cool event. Folks were stoked, and I had a blast watching and cheering. A crew of us finished it off with a stack of tacos at Los Amigos, where once again, Blake got grilled about his birdish eating habits. If he's not careful, he's gonna grow up to look like Silk! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Looking for Drive


I'm tired. Deep down, tired. I looked back at my Garmin log, in a monthly format, and see that I've been averaging only 3 days a week, for about 3 months, now. 4-5 days a week was the old normal. With me enjoying the deeper strength I felt from long rides, when we were getting ready for the Dirty Spaghetti, I've been trying to get at least one longer ride in every weekend, so while I've lost a day per week, my hours have barely dropped. The saddle time is still there.

This weekend was a 3 day holiday weekend, and I was atop one of my bikes every day. Saturday, Big Jim Slade, StorminNorman, his son, and myself, made the day trip to San Felasco. It's an easy drive. We hit the highway around 7:30, after feeding BJS's Bruegger's fetish. After 3hrs of singletrack, I was done. The Titus was on blocks, so the Niner pulled the duty. After all that eroded, choppy, Conquistador, I was hating my bike choice. Suck it up. You brought it, so deal with it. Conquistador has lots of up and down, but almost no flow. Bang, bang, slap, crack, duh, Unnhh, down the hill. Poorly laid out u-turn, and pedal, yank, lunge, stall, your way back up the roots. I was soon far behind my less gravitationally challenged companions. I didn't want to bitch, because after all, it's not their fault that they are faster than me uphill. But I was having a hard time keeping a positive mental outlook. Eventually, at a regroup, I slid to off the front, during everyone's nature break, and told Jim I'd see them when they caught me. Low and behold, we hit a rhythmic, flowing, FLAT section of trail. I settled into my groove, not wanting to hold folks up as I had so far, and before long, it was just BJS and I. While it's not very kind to revel in the struggle of others, it did help my bruised ego to see that I still have a skill or two that keeps the new guys honest. I was getting tired, but noted that after 2 hours, I wasn't as dead as I should have been, and actually felt okay. Not fresh as a daisy mind you, but strong enough to be aware that the longer rides were doing their job.

After 3 hours of singletrack, I was glad we were done. The FL heat was turning up the volume, and I was ready for some respite. Conestoga Wagon is straight up, country style, caloric love! I wolfed down a 1lb burger and fries, with no problem! Feeling good about the trip, I was ready to get home and hold down that couch, and watch the Tour stage.

Sunday found me getting caught up in life, and I was on the fast track to skipping out on any riding. Luckily Silk, and Marcus were in the wings, ready to foil that plan. It felt good to be on the road bike. No harsh banging, and a self created breeze. It felt like I was riding on a cushy marshmallow, after the what felt like chainsaw wrestling the day before. 2 more hours down.

Monday the 4th and folks wanted to ride in the woods again. Late Sunday found me in the shop, replacing a bottom bracket on the Titus. I had no desire to ride that hardtail, just yet. We had a big crew, show up at Zone 5, for an 8:30 roll out. We hit Secret Singletrack, Overstreet, and eventually churned out one of Ricky Silk's torture loops. It felt like we had only ridden for a little over an hour, but when I felt the legs growing empty, I looked down to see we were gonna have another 2.5hr day, by the time we reached the trucks. StorminNorman suggested a quick walk to Tropical Smoothie, and I honestly can't decide if I enjoyed the food, or their A/C, more.

Now Tuesday has rolled around, and it's typically a ride night for the crew. Everyone is out of sync, as their bodies think it's still Monday. I'm not sure if the weather will hold, and I know my motivation is thin, but I'm trying. I just keep telling myself, the weather may be worse tomorrow. Get it while you can.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Right Bait for the Right Fish



Hey, did you ever see the Mosso Straight Rigid Fork for MTB , and just instantly knew that you had to get to know about Mosso Straight Rigid Fork more experience it for yourself or your beloved? Maybe once before you had got all excited about how much great it'd be to experience Cannondale or Trek and how curious and intrigued you were feeling about it has stable, light weight and the best performance?
As you REMEMBER THOSE FEELING, do you first imagine how much GREAT it would be to have Mosso Straight Rigid Fork, and then get intrigued, or do you get intrigued first then imagine how much great performance of it.

Before studied the specs, let me tell you the truth.
Most of the worldwide cycling adventure fighter ridden around the World with MOSSO FORK. Sounds awesome? No one use the luxury brand, like Cannodale. Frankly speaking, it's because of the greatest performance of Mosso Fork.

Do Think that The Mosso Fork is quite expensive in your neighboring Bike Shop?

That's becoz they earn your money by raising the selling price! It's ridiculous!


Believe us, we will provide you the product you want with the Cheapest Price and the Best QualityThis is regarded as our Operational Objective!


This is the bait, and despite the pure brilliance of prose, and the Lil' Ball spelling and grammar, my boy Flash was the right fish. I hope this fork does not fall off and injure or maim his beautiful better half, somewhere in Newfoundland. Otherwise, he may find himself in Newfoundpain!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

What a Month!


This site has lay dying, in an under utilized, underfed, under nurtured, dehydrated shock, while I did the same to myself for the past month. Honestly, it hasn't been that bad, but there have been a few bumps on the road, that I could have done without. Life is just that way, sometimes, everyone's life.

The key lies in perception and focus. If you focus on all of the aggravations, errors, and confrontations, you will find yourself mired in negativity.

So, herein lies the good:

I raced at the Redbug Challenge, and had a lot of  fun. No stellar performance, just good fun chasing lines through the roots. I started last, and planned to move up as I needed. The problem was, I apparently jumped the gun on "as I needed". I passed guys, and blew to pieces. After that, I settled in and started riding my rhythm. Next thing I know, I'm reeling folks in again, and moving back up the ranks. Juancho recently touched on the concept of flow, and my race that day was a study in forced effort versus flow. I went against the grain with entirely too much vigor, and it cost me. Settle in, push the tension here, load the spring there, lighten the load over this, and symbiosis was regained..

I built a new ride. The Niner EMD has been an excellent addition to the stable. In fact, I've only ridden the Titus once, since I built this thing. I still have the incorrect fork installed, yielding the most twitchy 29er ever. I didn't think it was possible to make those big wheels so agile. As I've ridden it the last month, I find myself less insistent about finding a correct fork. I kind of like some of the idiosyncrasies of this mismatched match up. It's a new test, and a new set of skills to learn.

I did my first century. All these years riding, and I never went after one of these monuments. Here is where perception becomes interesting. Big Jim speaks of a sedate pace, whereas I was sure that I was pushing far beyond what I could sustain for the time required. I don't remember much talking, just single minded focus. I was bummed when Wrecking Ball and his clan separated from us, in Monticello. I was thinking I would need his comic relief in the coming miles. I stared at hubs. I took my pulls. I did not allow myself to get pushed too far into the red zone on the bigger hills, and I survived. Big Jim and his buddy Don pulled like clydesdales that day, and the one true clydesdale hung on as tightly as he could. When I cramped at mile 95, I thought I'd be on my own for the last 5, but Big Jim would have none of that. He slowed up, and gave me a chance to work the errant muscle free. By the time we finished, it was just BJS, Don, and myself, still together. That's just how these long rides go. At some point, folks find their own pace; their own sense of flow, that will carry them to their finish. This ride was a charity ride, based around cancer. I was blessed with incredible in laws. And the loss of my wife's mother came much too early. I watched her fight, tooth and nail, for one more Christmas. I would have given anything to give her my strength, as she battled the evils that were emaciating her body. As I watched the miles tick away, every time I thought of sitting up, I thought of Mama Lou's struggle, and I went back to work. That one was for you.

Did I say it's been hot? Damn hot! Sounds like a negative rant coming, right? Nope. I'm thankful that, for whatever reason, it's been a very dry hot. Reminds me of  Arizona and New Mexico. It was 104F when we rolled out Tuesday night, to ride the trails of the east side. 15 minutes in, and water bottles carried piss warm hydration. BUT, the night was beautiful. We had an outstanding group. I mixed up the route; a little old with a little new, much like the riders who made up our posse. Everyone finished with a big smile. Several actually went so far as to thank me for the lead. It was a simple thing that brought pleasure to folks, that, in turn, brought pleasure to myself.

Redemption, salvation, and just plain relaxation, can all be found, if you just keep tuned to the positive.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What a Weekend!


This weekend was one of those weekends where you need another weekend, so you can recover from the first weekend.

Friday night, I picked up my new 29er frame. I didn't hang the first part on it, because I knew if it got built, I'd be riding it the next day, and that was not in the spirit of the ride. Better not to tempt myself, I decided.

Saturday morning, I drove to Joe's Bike Shop, to meet the crew for a little cross ride down to Munson, since they recently paved the Munson Hills Trail. Cliffy hauled us off the beaten path, to take a different route south. We paralleled the Munson Slough, via access roads. The scenery beat the usual traffic racket, and the change of venue was good. I even dragged the boys onto the old slough, quad trail, just for old times' sake. They were less than stoked, except for Longshanks. For him, the more arduous the better! Surprisingly, one of the biggest complainers was piloting the lone mountain bike on the ride. Hmm, maybe with expert speed, comes F1 fickleness. Those thoroughbreds need constant care. Donkeys like me, we just slog along. However, word on the trail was that he may just be revisiting his dusty, forgotten blog, so I'm not gonna bust him up too much, for fear he loses his way before he even finds it again.

Afterwards, I met Ms Worm for a quick lunch, and then drove over to Zone 5, to help out with ceiling painting. Because nothing is better for a neck that's sore from riding a cx bike all around the woods, including 10+ miles of singletrack, than ceiling painting. It was cool to to see how the shop is progressing, and to catch up with Marcus, who's been MIA since he joined the Northeast Baby Maker's Association.

From there, I hit up the grocery shopping for the next day's Mother's Day dinner, go home a get a shower, and load up to meet the Wrecking Ball and his Missus, for good old Mexican grub. By the time we got home, I was beat....and full. Los Amigos kept their spot as one of my favorite Mexican joints in town.

Sunday morning brought Ms Worm and I to church with my Mom, and then to her house so we could cook her lunch, and hang with the fam. BIG, FAT steaks, grilled asparagus, potato salad, rolls, and blackberry cobbler(That's right Lil' Ball, I had cobbler!), and I was right back in that stuffed feeling of the night before. It was all I could do to stay awake.

After Ms Worm and I returned home, I assumed the horizontal position on the couch, and nearly had a heart attack as I watched young Eli Tomac nearly win a national SX championship in his rookie season.

I needed to take  a break from yelling at the television, so I went out and spent 1/2 hour hanging parts on the new frame. I was beat again, so that ended the night. By then it was after 10, and time to crash.

Truly a good weekend, but I somehow felt more tired when I walked into the office this morning, than I did when I left Friday.

This weekend shows no sign of slowing down. The Redbug Challenge is on again, and hopefully has a decent turnout from the local community. This race has remained primarily a local's race, which has a cool, down home flavor. I'm sure that the Red Cotton Candy Dragon would love to see it blow up into a World Cup event, but for now, it's manageable, and not so intimidating. Come check it out if you have the time. Hopefully, I'll see ya out there!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let Down


Since I spent Sunday night watching a movie and recorded supercross with my girl, I missed all of the hoopla that hit the US media, regarding the death of Osama.It wasn't until the next morning on my way to work, when I happened to venture over to a satellite radio channel that has a dj, that I heard word of the US special forces' great success.

 I hit the interweb news sites, and read the stories. Here's the rub. I can remember when I was younger, watching the news with my dad. There would be video of middle eastern and third world countries celebrating the latest death of some unpopular figure. Wild screaming, rifles fired in the air, burning of posters and flags; and I remember thinking, wow, they must have really hated that guy! Why are these foreign countries so bloodthirsty? I'm glad I live here the US, where people don't behave in such a manner.

I saw several photo streams on the various websites. I found out that once again, I was wrong. Apparently, the US is no different. I have no problem with Patriotism, and I'm still glad to live where I do, but I suppose the truth still stands, that no matter where you live, the mob is no brighter than a herd of cattle. I'm glad that Osama was found, and removed from the picture, and I can even be ok with his being shot in a firefight. But I feel no need to celebrate the death of anyone. Folks who actually lost someone in the 9/11 nightmare, maybe they have a different point of view, and by all means they have a right to it, but I'd bet that 90% of the yahoos seen chanting and partying, with flags over head, lost nothing more than a false sense of invincibility on that fateful day.

Osama's death will not bring back even one of those who died that day. It will not bring back the belief that US soil is untouchable. It will not stop the hatred of things Western. Those pictures reminded me of the celebrations I saw in foreign countries, when the Twin Towers came crumbling to the ground in a smoking pile of  rubble and lost innocence. He needed to be taken out, via capture or otherwise, but I thought that we, the American people, would have handled the outcome with a little more class. I just thought we would have done better.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blood Boiling



The clock has ticked past the 24 hour mark, and inside of a calender day, I'll be staring across a sea of teenage angst and hormones, at this band from my past. 41 years old, and punk still takes me right back. I just hope this old heart and body can take it, 'cause given half a chance, I'll be wading in neck deep! From what I hear of the venue, we may have to bend some rules to get down front. These boys are not only not dead, but are still throwing down. They've been around ever since I discovered the allure of screaming fast guitar riffs and sheer irreverence. Dig around and you can find TV clips of them back in the early 80's, looking like Lil' Ball and Ice Berg, but wearing clothes from my era. Grafin's voice doesn't even sound like it's cracked yet, back then. There were angrier, and there were more heavy bands around, but this band has stood the test of time, in my book.

To top it off, they're the opening band.



This is the main event. Rise against has been a top 3 favorite of mine, from the new school era. I had tickets to see them in Atlanta, back in 2007, and got sick as a dog coming home from RAAM, and had to bail. That has plagued me ever since. I'm not missing the train at the station this time.

Just pulling these vids for this post has me bouncing off the walls, Time to knock back a cold beer, and slow things down....until tomorrow night that is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stolen Time


This morning I decided I had no desire to drive my truck. Usually, my job does not allow for a choice, but today, I had no inspections. I pulled out the Lynskey, and rolled for the office. I was stressed as I left home, but the worries melt away with the morning humidity. The fresh springtime Tallahassee smells brought a smile to my face.

This extra riding time feels stolen, as if I'm playing hookie. I had a doctors appointment today, and I rode to that, too. All day, I've been looking forward to the ride home. This is the way a work day should be. Little gems of goodness interspersed with the drudgery of explaining to the bean counters, that yes, our real estate market is in fact, still in the toilet.

If you can swing it, I strongly recommend the occasional commute, not to make some political or environmental statement, but for a much more selfish reason. Do it because it just feels good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another Year Closer...


Yesterday was my birthday, and all in all, it went pretty well. I mean, I didn't get robbed, like we did on Ms Worm's birthday. I wasn't stuck in an airport, like we were on Ms. Worm's birthday. The worst thing that happened on my birthday was having to go to work. I'm not about to bitch about that, given her nightmare celebration.

I tried to kill myself with food, though. Lil' Ball and I tabled up at Riccardos, and enjoyed what is, in my opinion, one of the best hot subs in T-town. After lunch, the office folk had baked a cake, so I partook. 20 minutes later, Ms. Worm walks unexpectedly through the door, carrying evil good cupcakes. Not wanting to disappoint clydesdales the world over, I indulged yet again. I spent the afternoon trying to imagine the technicolor icing foam I was gonna hurl rolling into the sprint on the Joe's Ride.

The ride was a good time. Wrecking Ball finally made it back out on a road ride, and in true form, he sprinted for about 50 yellow signs! Perry Mason even came out, as did Mark R, and at the last minute, Lil' Ball rolled around the corner, so instead of being the solo BC guy, I had a crew of 5.

Afterwards, we hit up Sonny's for some BBQ. It's been a long while since we've done the ride/grub double, and I miss it. Ms. Worm journeyed back across town to meet us, and 4 friends sat around bullshitting until after the restaurant had closed.

Thanks for the love folks. It made for damn fine birthday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Violated!


Our trip to the Keys was pretty successful. We made our flights south with little hassle. We navigated driving through N. Cuba, to reach the Keys without getting kidnapped and sold into slavery. I saw my brother get married. Nobody died during any of the partying, and I was only called a conehead once, by a smartass bar comedian/singer.

Of note, I have to say I was surprised at the early confirmation of a stereotype at the first convenience store I entered. We were on the road and headed south, when I was dying for my drink of choice, the diet coke. I know, it's bad for me and all that. Whatever, you gotta die of something. First stop, no less, and the lady behind the counter doesn't speak any English, whatsoever. A series of grunts, head shaking, and points scored me a $2 fountain drink, that tasted like carbonated piss. Apparently the national language carries little weight south of Ft Lauderdale. Poor beverage service, that's nationwide. You just have to find the local spots who take pride in their business.

I'll get pics from the trip posted later, the real story is what I'm here to vent. Sunday afternoon, we drive back up to Ft Lauderdale, to have dinner with Lil' Ronnie. No sweat. A ton of traffic, but overall, no biggie. Monday morning, we have breakfast with Ron again, and head for the airport. All still flowing rather smoothly. We get to Atlanta, and the hassles begin. Our flight to T-town is delayed a half hour. We find lunch, and return to the gate to find we've been bumped another half hour. This delaying continues until our flight that was supposed to arrive in Tally at 5:10, now is not scheduled to leave ATL until 8:30! Around 6:50, I notice our flight is no longer on the gate board. A quick chat and I find out the flight is now cancelled, but if we can get across 3 terminals in 15 minutes, we can catch a 7:30 bound for home. A mad dash ensues, but we score.

Back in town at 9, and home by 9:30, only to find the front door unlocked. Ms Worm is immediately mad, as I have a history of leaving doors unlocked. I'm running through my memory of leaving, in a panic, quite sure I locked the door. As I specifically remember returning to lock the door in the pouring rain, she tells the television is gone. Now I'm completely doubting my memory! As I follow her in, I'm gutted to know we've been robbed, but at the same time relieved to see that half of the back door jamb is laying in the dining room floor. Bastards kicked in my door!

They got my television, both of our laptops, Ms Worm's jewelry box, a shotgun, and a few other small electronics. We don't have much, but they cleaned out anything of quickly sold value we had.

Did I mention yet, that it was Ms Worm's birthday. Happy Birthday, honey! Welcome home, now give all your shit to somebody else for your birthday.

The heirloom family jewelry is the biggest physical loss. That stuff isn't replaceable. More than that, I hate seeing my wife scared in her own house. They took her feeling of security, more than anything else. The cops say they arrested 3 guys over the weekend, that they believe are tied to a string of burglaries within a mile of our house, that went down last Wednesday. I asked if she'd mind running them by my house, and waiting outside for about 30 minutes, while we "discussed" a few things. I know vigilante justice is not the answer, but right now, I'm pissed! I'm a pretty tolerant person, but given the chance of retaliation, at the moment, I'd jump all over it. Right now, we sleep Dirty Harry style, with a loaded firearm within arm's reach and the bedroom door locked. I know that there is a one in a million chance that anyone will return to our house anytime soon, but if it helps her sleep better, then so be it. Anybody got any recommendations on security system companies?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When's Happy Hour?


Infrequent posting around here may lead you to believe that I've been on vacation for some time. Not true! However, at about 12:50 today, I should be wheels up for Key West. Never been there. Born and bred Floridian, and I've never seen the Keys. Hell, I've never been south of the New Smyrna area. I surfed there a fair amount when I went to school in Daytona, but that's it. Never seen Miami, Ft Lauderdale, etc.

Lil' Ronnie is quite stoked to hear that I obtained a S.FL/N.Cuba passport, and will be visiting his homeland. Don't the natives speak Seminole, or some other such language? I hope I can communicate.Perhaps I should bring trinkets and smallpox...


I'll be back next week, but in the meantime, I'll do my best to enjoy all that is stereotypical about Jimmy Buffet.