Saturday, March 29, 2008

Night of the CHG (Crazy Homeless Guy)

This one is long but possibly worth the read...

Wow what a weird night! We were having the usual monthly dinner club and it was our turn to host. Dinner went very well and then the after dinner conversations split in their respective male and female counterparts to talk of weddings past and upcoming bicycle equipment. To which group each conversation belonged to I’ll let your imagination interject. Then two of our guests left and all was still well. And then it happened...we were sitting in the living room minding our business about to say goodbye to one of the remaining couples and the wife spotted “a man” on our front porch. Sure enough there was a guy in a black leather jacket, black jeans, white Wal-Mart walkers, and no shirt sitting in our porch swing looking hypothermic. He had a tall powerful physique about him and we were all taken aback by what we were seeing. A collective hush and internal gasp seemed to fall over the living room.

I and one other male present went to investigate. We asked “Can we help you sir?” Man: “No I think I’ll just stay here all night” Me: “Well I don’t think that is possible, is there someone I can call to help you?” Man: “Come first light there’s gonna be a good show out here”. Ok so at this point I knew this guy was crazy and I was a little freaked along with everyone else who I think had been freaked just a little longer. I mean I’ll be dammed if some guy is going to force himself upon my porch swing and tell me he’s spending the night. We rushed back into the house and locked everything and drew the blinds on all the windows and called the police. (911) We waited 20 minutes and still no one came. I meanwhile had located myself adjacent of the front door with an anti-theft/personal defense device, with a sliver of curtain pulled so I could see the guy. He sat there content to swing until judgment day, then he abruptly stopped and left the porch and headed off the property. Part of me was relieved and part was angered the police hadn’t gotten here yet. What the hell? What gives?

We called 911 and I know how long it takes to get dispatched but these guys should have been here by now. I also decided at this point it was not going to end this way with him getting away, so I and a male guest left the house and tailed this guy in a car until the cops finally got to us and we pointed them his way. Meanwhile the party left at the house 3 females and 1 male we anxiously awaited a word from us. Then they said they heard some small tapping noises and the remaining dude went to the kitchen and got a cast iron skillet. After a little thought he then according to the females switched to a knife, which unfortunately was later realized to be a bread knife. The source of the noise much to their surprise was our new chickens in their box pecking away! Talk about situational paranoia. So anyways this guy was arrested and I headed back to the house with my friend. Upon arrival at the house I found our doormat was gone, an old Christmas wreath and the entire paper shredder bin, which we were going to use to start a fire earlier, had vanished off the porch. The shredded papers lie on our stairs like a plane crash full of spaghetti. I searched for 20 minutes around the house and the block for my damn doormat and the paper bin for our shredder with no results. This makes me think the guy came and went several times during our dinner unnoticed and happened to not be around when our first dinner guests departed. He also took several of our Sea dollars from our recent beach trip, which the officers found when they frisked him. After the all clear was sounded the last of our dinner guests departed and I noticed a crumpled piece of paper on our lawn. On the paper was this dude’s name, and reminders to take his medication and a number to call in case of crisis. Jesus! Who released this guy from the hospital? Anyways everyone make sure you lock you doors tonight and keep something to defend yourself close, if this guy had decided to attack I think there was nothing we could have done short of something to make him lose consciousness to stop him. And by the way I plan on stopping by a Big Lebowski party tomorrow evening and I can legitimately say, "I just want my fucking rug back man"

Recap of "mini spring break"

Last week was spring break. Spring break is generally something associated with undergraduates and I had originally intended to get some much needed lab work done during the break. However I hadn’t had a break in a long time so the wife and I headed down to the beach at my parent’s place for Thursday through Sunday and it was a good release. I managed to get a little science in and take some sediment samples and some spartina grass samples to play with between the labs on the floor. It was a bummer to come back to a test Monday, but the break was nice nevertheless, thanks Mom and Dad! Pictures are worth a thousand words and I want to type a few hundred about what happened tonight so here are some pics from the trip to enjoy…

Boogs Likes sand (literally)

Spartina Grass Salt Marches

Me getting stuck while getting samples at low tide (Also being crab bitten)

Will someone please go mow the driveway already?

The "Ultra Cruz" Roadster handles like a caddy.

Gator on Land

Gator in water.


Wife and Boogs dead tired...priceless.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Of sore legs and the 90's

This past week was a good learning experience. I decided that I could just jump into full summer commuting mode without any trouble. After 5 days and 140 miles of commuting I have to say that that assumption was drastically false. I woke up Friday feeling like an old man in a shoe and limped best I could on the bike to the bus stop. New primes this week on the commuter route consisted of : One 7 iron golf club, which we now drive balls at the no wake violators with, 5 golf balls, and 1 Mini mag lite. Also the previous weekend dabbed into the 90's a bit getting out my roller blades and my groin was sore about 3 days from 30 minutes of cumulative skating around the neighborhood. Derek tried out the blades and I got a good frame of him answering his pink phone with the wife in Jams behind. 1990 was bumping like Vanilla Ice on our frontage road and I could feel the force flowing in my veins as I juked up and down the road with blank stares from neighbors and Boogy alike.
The past weekend sucked as I had to stay inside working on things but at least it rained Saturday. Soon I will be headed out to do a little research, and R&R on the beach...can't wait.
On the bright side of things the beautiful spring weather has really made the morning breakfast on the porch quite pleasant. The wife and Boogs here enjoying the morning sun on the lake and house. The lake is really coming alive as of late right before our eyes, already there's a ton of fish and fowl activity. Swimming season is jsut around the corner..or maybe two.

Friday, March 7, 2008

In the race of life...

Commuting commenced in the AM's this week again and I'm happy to say I got 3 solid to work commutes in. For the most part the Greenways were all mine, because I guess everyone wussed out after the warm weather we had followed by mid 30's mornings. The birds are definitely back I used my shuffle only one day this week, the rest of the times I just listened to the sounds of animals and the city waking up. Spring is on it's way and I either want it or 3 feet of snow. The sun is starting to just barely come up now when I leave my house as well. Knoxville's pollution (I think the particulate matter) makes for great sunrises and sunsets although my lungs were not impressed.
The view from my front porch...

DH unit joined me for the commute home yesterday and we found a "commuter prime". I got the phrase of commuter primes (Prime: An award given for the rider to reach a certain point mid-race in a sprint. Pronounced "preem." French.) from a recent edition of velo news,but I've known about them and have been collecting them now for a few months. Last night's prime' couldn't have been better timed. I'm about to start an iron gate project to keep Boogy in the back yard and I happened to find a metal cutting/grinding disc that will fit my angle grinder...sweet! Dave laughed at me and as a result of his laughter I have coined new words to live by (at least for commuters). "In the race of life there are many primes" Here's the find from last night.

As a result I will probably start a log of all the things I collect throughout the year, I'm interested to see the variety.

Man Armor Test 3-4-08

Guys like cool shit. My most recent edition to the "CS" category is my new Patagonia Stretch Latitude Jacket. After 10 years of faithful service my old storm jacket started to de-line on the inside so I sent it back to Patagonia with a nice letter and some pictures of places I had been with it. (Deserts in New Mexico at Philmont scout ranch, 14,000 ft peaks in colorado, and the jungles of Costa Rica to name a few) I was pleasantly surprised when they replied with a gift card with enough balance to buy any of their jackets I wanted and they asked to keep the photos in their owner's archive...whatever that is. I chose the stretch latitude because it's a good bare shell layer (no liners so it's not terribly hot in the summer months) with enough durability I can use it heavily through all four seasons. The other day 3-4-08 I just happened to be looking at the radar between experiments in the lab on my lunch break and happened to see this...

Being the Gear Geek I am I ran outside in the pouring rain and lightning and got a good test of new DWR technology in action. There's nothing that sheds water like a new rain jacket. I think I spent about 15 minutes standing in the rain testing the new welded seams and pit zippers, satisfied that my modern day chain mail is going to serve me well to any weather related foe. I'm looking forward to years of service from this baby.

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Official Road Ride 2008

3-2-08...Mt. Larry was perfect this weekend with the temps in the high 60's/ low 70's. D-rock's camera managed to capture the moment several times this weekend but Dave's got better ones of actual ride time, but if I ever decided to use EPO and every other biochemical concoction to go pro I have my card pose now.

My usually noisy King Hubs (the bees) were noisier than usual and unfortunately think I somehow have mangled the pawls inside the rear hub, I know it's not my dismal sprinting ability, so after a shop visit this week maybe I'll know more on her fate.

Dave and Andy burnt up the first climb and were gone out of sight before I had time to collect a few coke caps for points and they looked cold and bored by the time we got to the top. I barely won out on the second climb but Dave made me work for it and I played a dirty trick on him telling him we had a few more switchbacks to go, so if all was fair I think he could've thrown me down there. But life isn't fair sometimes, like next time I'll have to work even harder. The DH-stick is riding strong this year. Maria, Buns, and Derek all had a good showing staying together well as the rest of us dumb males pushed hard for the invisible polka dot Larry Jersey.

The back sides of the climb were a little graveled from the yo'calls four wheeling across the roads in places, which made some of the turns sketchy at 40+ mph, but a fun and safe time was had by all descending. I had my first chili dog from the Brushy mtn. market for $1.50 and have decided henceforth that will be my new Mt. Larry Tradition. The dog stayed down and helped me survive back into Oliver Springs, without so much as a peep or the feared slick conditions that could have resulted.

In addition we had an intruder that decided he wanted to commence demolition on the house. I gave him a second chance with a broom, but in the end it was just too alluring to chew the wood on the wide of our house (vintage 1900), so he fell. This was sad because I really do like squirrels but on the upside Boogy had time to work on his field and stream calendar pose for the Mr. April Hunting dog this spring. (Cabella's called but Boogs turned them down) I was proud of him however, he sprang into action defending the yard from the invaders that happened to be coming from the sky. Now every time I come out ready to vanquish starlings or crows, he looks to the skies like any good hunting pup.

Vanquishing the house impaler with pride and Labrador characteristic soft mouth.

Snow daze Wed. 2-27-08

So I really enjoy snow and I wish it would happen more often here in Knoxville. However, riding around snow time (commuter style) especially following a highly publicized ice storm sux. I felt as though I was riding a two wheeled pretzel they put so much salt down on the roads. Suddenly I could feel the "real steel" rusting between my legs as I rode to the bus stop. Oh and apparently salt is very sharp, one crystal decided to finish off my rear tire. After further inspection I decided to retire my venerable commuting tires after 2508.6 miles of goodness. Considering all the crap I've ridden through on them, the multiple rotations I think I got some good miles out of them. About .9 cents per mile.
Snow Chops (Dave style framing)

These tires will now be relegated to short trips from home category.

Her First Snow!