Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Right now do these things: Revenge of the Mormen?

- Put new batteries in that smoke alarm that you know needs them.
- Make sure your homeowners insurance has good fire coverage.

This is the story about my mom's house catching on fire last night. The air conditioning unit in the window caused the fire. Its hard to know what the hell to do when this happens.

The red cross is pretty cool. I called them this morning, and they had a case worker who had already called the hospital to see how my mom was (she had slight burns, but was totally ok)... She gave vouchers to get my mom and sister contacts (when your house burns down you dont grab your glasses or contacts and none of us can see the E at the doctor). The red cross was readily available for so many other things, it was pretty awesome. Luckily we have insurance and credit cards and time and money to do all of this. Some people arent and it is really scary to think that they could feel left alone in such an awful time. The redcross helps prevent this with hotels, medication, clothes, etc. It seems like they do a pretty awesome job too.

Scan your baby pictures now too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The land of The Wire.

Ok if you havent seen The Wire yet, freaking watch it already.

This summarizes Baltimore: Soupie and I stayed with friends, of friends, of friends. The one girl who lived at the house was waiting for the bus the morning we arrived. She was looking at the schedule posted on the wall of the bus stop. She had to look across a woman to see it.

"what the fuck are you looking at" says the woman.
The girl gives her a dirty look, and looks away.
BOOM BOOM - She is punched TWICE in the face by the woman. She retreats.
Welcome to Baltimore.

Soupie and I drove down Saturday afternoon for the Charm City cross race. We stayed with some kids in a surprisingly clean punk house. We hung with them on their back porch for a few hours. It was like 3 hours of me resisting eating a whole freshly baked dutch apple pie. I survived. Pretty awesome of people to put up strangers on the recommendation of a friend of a friend.

Baltimore - the city without businesses. No strip malls, no coffee shops, no bagel shops. KFCs, hair salons, and gas stations were separated by miles of boarded up houses and an occasional car wash. Breakfast looked bleak. I had some squagels and peanut butter with me and made a breakfast of it. Baltimore - you could starve, so bring your own food. The organizers knew this and provided free water, which was sweet, because soupie's race was literally 5 hours before mine, so I had to stay hydrated in the 85 degree heat.

The race was the best Non UCI race I have ever been to, and possibly one of the best overall. The setting was awesome, the organization was amazing and the course was good.

Soupie got 16th in the C race. Pretty sweet, despite a slight mechanical. Pitting for somebody is easy if they dont need anything!

No hand ups during our race. 85 degrees and dusty. Damn. Minturn crashes super hard in the prolouge. Damn. I think I have strep throat by lap 5 because it is so dry.

I thought of a formula to judge my effort. Its basically how many people I pass vs. how many people pass me. This is after the first 2 laps where people start getting into their grooves. Cross is a lot like chess - opening, middle game, end game. During the middle game Bobby Lea blew past me like I was standing still and clawed his way up to 4th or 5th. Impressive. Greg Witwer did the same. Also impressive. I managed to catch and pass another 2 or so that were going backwards. I guess I about broke even and paced myself pretty well.

End game: Complacent. Battle for 9th place between 3 of us. Geronimo got away and stayed for 8th. I attacked over a hill and couldnt stick it. They chased me down and passed me. I should have tried to attack 1 more time on the hill before the Tree dismount. Oh well.

11th place.

We got lost on the way home and got to see more of lovely Baltimore.

deep purple
GG allin
iron maiden

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When I was 13.

When I was 13, I had an Agnostic Front T shirt. It was from the "one voice" album. My mom told me that she didnt approve, and I basically told her to stuff it. A few laundry cycles later, and the shirt was missing.

Fast forward 15 years. My mom just moved into a new house. This was a big deal for her, because she has MS and doesnt really move much. After moving, she was sitting in a new, messy house waiting for her kids to help her move boxes upstairs, unpack, hang stuff up, etc. No super duper serious amateur bike racer wants to carry boxes up and down stairs, so I naturally avoided her. My brother has this career thing going on (if you want to buy a house, talk to him!) and works like 90 hours a week, so he didnt want to go. My sister only opens boxes of snacks when she has the munchies from smoking tons of weed, which is all hours that she is awake. She is more serious about smoking pot than Stubna is about training (did you see him on the trainer before the Yuasa crit?!?! that guy is serious).

Knock knock. Its the freaking Mormons. Mom befriends the Mormons and puts them to work. Within a week, all of the boxes are unpacked and stuff is hung on the walls. THE MORMONS MOWED THE LAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Im not advocating this at all, but it is probably one of the funniest things I have heard in awhile. Pretty clever of Sandy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So here is the deal....

I was hanging out in "the cage" waiting to pick up a cab. I guess after 9 months of hardly working as a driver, you are in a place to tell people what is up. There was a guy there that was obviously new, something I could empathize with. I asked what he was up to, and he said it was his first day. Trial by fire. I asked if he had gotten the list yet, and he said "what list?" How much do I show this guy? I cant baby him along or he will be eaten alive later, but he seems like the type that will stand here all day.
He is a white dude in his late 30's, glasses, bald, chubby. Probably me in a decade or so. I wonder what happened that he is here now? What in his life led him to yellow taxi when he is supposed to be comfortably making a living and counting his retirement money. Whatever.
"Go ask the dude behind the bulletproof glass 'Do you have anything available?' He will then give you a list of numbers, those are the cab numbers. Go outside and see which one you want. Make sure it turns on, has 4 wheels, the lights work and the dispatch system works."
He laughed. I wasnt joking. I once pulled off the lot with a car with no computer in it. No meter, no dispatch system, no radio. I thought it looked big when I was checking the inside.
"Oh, make sure it has gas too. You can top it off and be reimbursed if its more than 3 gallons." Some guys figure out miles per gallon, and fill up that many miles before they turn in. 16 mpg x 3 gallons = anything less than 48 miles free. That is why I was waiting, somebody I know and trust was turning his cab in. I knew it ran and had a full tank, and only 270,000 miles.
The guy comes back a few minutes later and sits down with the list.
"Did you find something?"
"Yeah, only one started and its filled with garbage."
"Ok, tell the guy behind the glass that you'll take it,and give him a dollar."
New guy walks over there and does it all sans dollar.
"You must want to drive shit cabs forever... you arent ever going to get a good cab that way."
Its true. If you are argumentative or don't tip, the guys in the cage give you a list of shitty cabs, or they just give "your" cab away. I got one last week that way. It was a guy's regular cab that he put into the shop WHEN THE WHEEL FELL OFF. He got a replacement, and they gave me his. He saw me at the airport and tried playing it cool, then got argumentative. He tried scaring me into turning it in, so he could get it back. You never own a cab, you just lease it, but guys do believe they are entitled to the same piece of shit for years on end.
I wonder if the new guy made any money?

Monday, September 10, 2007


I went for the experience, and experience I got. Univest is a UCI 1.2 race. I dont know what this means other than you need to have an "international" license to race it, and if you win you get world ranking points, oh and your bike has to be over the UCI limit.

Turner and I jetted out of town getting to Fred's around 9. This gave us enough time to fiddle with our bikes for 2 hours before going to bed. Fred was sure that the Navigators were playing with their bikes at 10:30 in a dark garage.

Saturday, the bike race. 107 miles. A few KOM's, 150 riders etc etc. The start was awesome, the city was shut down, people were everywhere. In the morning, they had a tourist bike ride and apparently 600 people showed up. This is different than showing up in the middle of Lancaster county and the people who live on the course dont even know that there is a bike race going on that day. There were 2 helicopters above the race all day.

We line up. Im in over my head. Navigators, Slipstream, world champion stripes everywhere. The announcer goes, "these are 200 of the best cyclists in the world!" HA. We head off and the attacks start and go. Minturn IS the break for a second, then some more, then more attacks and the move is gone.

Ill spare the blow by blow but give weekend highlights instead.
- LOTS of different languages spoken .. 17 countries there.
- Navigator next to me dropped his chain on a climb (To think that I was embarrassed
doing this at Mingo when I was a cat 4!!!)
- while bummed out that I go dropped, I rode in with a dude from Hungary (who looked very hungry by the way, maybe weighed like 120). Dude flew to the US just for this race. That will be a quiet trip home with the DS ("no food on plane for him!")
- Kids asked for autographs. HA!
- I got my first handoff crom a moving car. It was the Mexican team. The dude held the bottle for like 1 minute while I "grabbed it," then he slingshotted me back to the pack.
- Apparently what the P R O's do is ride through the pack saying "service" while they have like 90 bottles down their jersey. That is how those dudes get through the pack so quickly and get to the front and give their teammates drink.
- Geronimo is truly a very nice person.
- Chasing on through the caravan is totally insane on winding country roads. The caravan was like 30 cars long.
- Raceing a pro crit with your brakes rubbing is not possible and is not a "recognized mishap"
- stubna is tough. Maybe someday he will win the dirty dozen, because that is way more impressive than riding in with the group at Univest.