Thursday, March 13, 2008

I love to air dry....

To me, there is nothing better than hopping out of the shower, sitting around naked, maybe check the email, eat a cookie... Behold, the beauty of vaporization. It's the lazy man's towel.

Unfortunately, the evaporative process is not time effective after a lunch-break bike ride. Not to mention, my favorite method of drying off would leave me exposed and vulnerable to attacks of the prank-crazy coworkers. And there's no way I'm checking my email in the buff at work. That would go over like a turd in a punch bowl.

So, dear reader, you must be thinking to yourself: "No big deal - after a lunch break bike ride, our hero will simply revert to the second best method of post-shower drying - the towel." You are correct, that is the next best thing. It is comforting, cozy, and time effective to wipe down with a freshly laundered, fabric softened towel after a rinse.

Sadly, however, your hero is a dazed and forgetful protagonist in the morning when he is packing his gear for the day ahead. The towel has been forgotten many a time before the first sip of morning coffee. Today was no exception, leaving only one option: the undershirt dry-down.

After soaking this through, I had to make a nude dash for some auxiliary paper towels.

The absorption properties of the undershirt are lackluster, and leave you with the threat of sweating through your top-shirt for the rest of the day. Well worth it, however, for a mid-day stroll on the bike.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ewww! spitzer beer face...

Maybe Eliot should stick to bargain-basement beer instead of high-priced hookers.




food for thought: food for fuel...

Normally, dear reader, I try to stick to topics ranging from the inane to the infantile... but this one thing has been getting under my skin for a while - so now you get to hear me vent.

The worst bandwagon this country's energy dimwits have jumped on in the last century.

For the first time in history, the price of corn is now tracking the price of oil. Why? Because our law-makers (Clinton started it) have done gone an given farmers a bunch of cheddar to grow corn to turn into fuel. Why is this a bad idea? Please check out the following links to understand why. PLEASE. I'm not well-spoken or motivated enough to re-hash it all here.


At the end of the day, ethanol will only give us 2.8% energy independence (and at what cost - food costs, pollution from agricuture, ethanol takes more energy to make than it produces in your engine, etc. etc.) and it DOES NOT REDUCE GREEN HOUSE GASES.

Why is this important now? Even our 2 possible Executive branch saviors are touting the benefits of this "technology".

Barack (www.barackobama.com/issues/energy/#set-america-on-path-to) says:
  • Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.
  • Expand Locally-Owned Biofuel Refineries: Less than 10 percent of new ethanol production today is from farmer-owned refineries. New ethanol refineries help jumpstart rural economies. Obama will create a number of incentives for local communities to invest in their biofuels refineries.
Billary (www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/energy/) says:
  • Aggressive action to transition our economy toward renewable energy sources, with renewables generating 25 percent of electricity by 2025 and with 60 billion gallons of home-grown biofuels available for cars and trucks by 2030;
I mean, hell, I'll still vote for one of them, but the Legislative branch will have to hear the cry eventually. Corn is good eatin', and it helps us with our morning constitutional, but it should stay out of our gas tanks.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

useless toys...

Seeing as my last 3 weeks of riding have totalled 9, maybe 10 hours in the saddle (yes, folks, that's 3 hours per week), I figured I'd take the opportunity today, the first day in a few with sun, to head out on the road.

Faticus and Slick Rick the Ruler offered up a nice option with a 3 hour loop around Chester County. Sadly, when I awoke this morning to see the tops of the trees fighting to stay vertical in the wind, I knew I was in for a little pain.

Joining yours truly on the roster for today's suffering:
  • Jan, aka Uncle Mike - the angrier than usual German who made the smart move and went home to the trainer.
  • Dennisbike, who also bailed early.
  • fatmarc, who was apparently on a super secret Mayhem training plan that banned both the little ring and any water consumption.
  • Buddy the Leg Breaker, who "was feeling really shitty" as he took four of the six king of the mountain sprints.
  • Leo.... enough said.
  • TedLogic: the timing of his attacks will always keep the peloton guessing, while his 'recovery periods' provided some much needed rest for my fat ass.
  • and lastly, Slick Rick the ruler. Thank god I could grab his wheel in the wind today.
Ahh, the joy of drafting Slick Rick in 25 mph headwinds.

Adding to the fun today, and the last (very) few times I've ridden is the fact that my bike is adorned with a Garmin GPS device, known universally to be a completely unnecessary yet amazingly fun toy. At least you can upload your data straight to mapmyride.com.

From the integrated altimeter and heart rate monitor I've learned that my heart beats faster when I'm climbing... Amazing!!!

The headwind made today's stats look pretty pathetic, but we were all shattered up the last climb today, so I suppose that's what counts. I'm just glad to have some hours in the saddle.

Friday, March 07, 2008

best haircut ever...

For the last 5 or 6 years of my life, I've been cutting my own hair (or sometimes not at all). I really enjoyed the convenience of running some clippers across my scalp, jumping in the shower for a quick rinse, and having my hair taken care of in five minutes.

Last summer, I decided to grow my hair out. Now, you have to understand, my hair does not play nice when it is long. I have fine hair, but lots of it; the end result of a full head of long hair is that I end up looking like a cross between Sasquatch and a Q-tip. With that knowledge in hand, I knew that longer hair would require the skill, dexterity, and trained eye of a hair professional.

Being a lazy cheapskate, but also fearful of trusting my hair to a stranger (I once had a distracted hair professional leave me looking like a 45 year old lesbian), I turned to a good friend for advice. This friend, also a man desirous of the ease of short, self-cut hair, but with the constraint of a wife's desire for longer hair, had faced my situation for years. Without hesitation he directed me to the hands of Laurie at Town Hair Salon. "Her hands can do with hair what Edward Scissorhands could do for hedges, but she's better looking" he tells me.

I keep my hedges trimmed too.

Laurie has been nothing but an artist and magician for my hair. And every once in a while, it's so busy at Town Hair that she washes my hair instead of one of the stuck-up, prissy, 16 year-old scalp scrubbers. That is a special treat; her hair massage technique is also refined and unbelievably relaxing.

So, bear with me for a moment while I digress to provide you with some background on my latest hair adventure. While Tough Cookie and I were on the Left Coast searching for the best cup of coffee in the Pac-Northwest, I noted that the barista had exactly the hair cut for which I had been searching, but unable to describe. Long on the top and front, short on the back and sides, cut around the ears, but with a nice transition into the beard. Without flinching, Tough Cookie had me pose for a photo, but in such a way that the barista's hair stylings were captured in the background. Very sneaky, that Cookie is sharper than the barista's razor-cut bangs.

Please ignore my double chin.

Armed with a nappy weave and a photo - a weapon I've never had at my disposal for a haircut, I headed to Town Hair. 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday. My normal slot (which conveniently allows me to climb for a few hours afterwards).

The ubiquitous 'before' shot.

After a relaxing stint in the wash chair under Laurie's magic fingers (no up-nosed princess manhandled my scalp today, thank you), we headed to the chopping block. I handed her the photo: "Work your magic Laurie, you have my complete and utter trust."The result is the finest haircut I've had in years. I feel like a buck-fifty, which is more a result of inflation, but hey, I'll take it.

Now the curtains match the carpet.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

'mucings from stall #2...

You'll remember - loyal reader - that my throne lies in Stall #2 in the men's room here at the office. Yesterday, I was reigning over my kingdom, granted an audience by the royal porcelain, when something rather shocking occurred. I will get to that. But first, allow me to provide some background behind my visit to the promised land.

You see, I've recently added a new supplement to my diet. Recommended by a friend who will remain anonymous, I've started drinking a cupful of Metamucil each evening. Now, many will be distracted or turned off by the line on the label reading "Natural Laxative / Fiber Supplement". After all, isn't a laxative something for the irregular - an insensitive medical intruder to the body's natural working order? Keep in mind that this body's system requires a healthy level of fiber, a level mostly unprovided for in today's modern diet. I'll only refer to the 'muce as a 'fiber supplement'.

The 'muce.

Another misconception: this dietary supplement does not over-soften or loosen one's business. In fact, it does quite the opposite. It firms up the loose, messy stuff while softening the hard "cue-ball" poos. In fact, my visits have not only been more pleasant and more consistent - they have been quicker and cleaner. I have a record number of "2-wipers" to my name*. My 'muce of choice is the Orange Flavor Smooth Texture: tasty, and it goes down easy.

Which brings us to the shocking event mentioned in my introduction.

I entered the men's room to see an empty urinal (stall #1) and a closed door to the obviously occupied stall #3. Either good karma or fate smiled upon me, but my morning ritual had obviously been blessed. After my standard wiping of the seat with a wad of toilet paper (stall #2, by the way, has some heavenly TP), I placed my buttocks upon the seat.

A light tap-tap-tap-scroll sound emanated from the stall to my left (#3), indicating a BlackBerry user (I have no issue with BB use on the throne - the BB is a personal device after all, just save the conversation for later - stick to email). The sound drew my eyes to the floor, utilizing a well-known method to attempt to identify my colleague and neighbor by shoe. I saw the following:

The uber-ugly and classically-outdated tassel shoe.

Only one coworker came to mind as both a BB user and tassel shoe wearer, and I smiled as we silently shared a ritual common to man-kind the world around.

Next, dear reader, the most shocking event occurred. The BB was holstered with a click, toilet paper was rolled off the brown paperboard tube, the toilet was flushed, the pants raised, belt buckled. The stall #3 door was opened. And then. THEN. My colleague and neighbor simply walked out of the men's room.

There was no sound of running water from the sink, no clunk-clunk from the soap pumps, no paper towels pulled from the stack. Dirty hands amongst the masses. I was shocked, dismayed, and suffered a momentary spinning of coffee-with-cream colored stall walls. While I always wash up before leaving the men's room, I can understand the thought behind skipping a rinse after use of the urinal. But it is inexcusable to leave unwashed after a #2.

I finished up my business, washed up, and returned to my day slightly off balance. And slightly skeptical about the world around me. If a tassel-shoed, old-schooler wise to the ways of the world can go unwashed, who else is sullying our environment with a lack of regard for fellow man?

My challenge to you, reader, is this: Help me determine how can I prevent this from happening in the future. Please, for the love of humanity, help us all.

*It is well known that the best wiping record possible is 2 wipes. The first wipe comes back clean, while the second wipe is known as the "Wipe of Disbelief".

Monday, March 03, 2008

i'm no superman...

I'm learning to pick my battles. My instinct is to attain proficiency in everything I try. Of course, one can not tackle it all. If I'm working hard at the 9 to 5 and trying to be a good friend / mentor / teammate / family member, the hours on the bike diminish. If I'm riding hard and trying to on-sight 5.10s at the gym, I feel physically strong, but my personal relationships suffer.

Right now I'm struggling to find that balance. Worker bee, cyclist, climber, friend, brother, son, nephew, boyfriend, world-traveler, blogger even... I'm none of those things and all at once. And constantly living in fear that one is flourishing at the cost of another.

How do you find this balance? Where do the star performers find the time to do it all? Or is it an illusion? Am I just putting too many courses on the menu?

Jack of all trades, master of none - but maybe that's the form of fulfillment in my case... Maybe I'm simply a pro when it comes to being average at lots of things. Maybe a diversified portfolio is my strength and I should focus on doing that well. My existence rides on the back of personal improvement; if I'm not growing, changing, learning, I feel stagnant.

It's a challenge too, to balance the thankfulness I have for my health and well-being and lot in life with the inadequacies that haunt me from time to time. I've had many windows into tougher worlds, and I'm lucky to live in mine. After all, how many people have skied, laughed, bicycled, cried, climbed, worked, and touched two of the World's big blue oceans all in the same week?

The sun sets over the Pacific,

but it will rise again over the Atlantic.