Thursday, November 03, 2016

Hoping to come along

Yeah - I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks.  Not even so much as a post saying I wasn't going to post.

I don't know what's going on, but I haven't been too into it for the last 3 or 4 years.  I want to be, but I seem to lack motivation.

Anyway, I thought I'd stop by tonight and stare at the blank page for a bit.  Once I got here, I saw this draft from 2 weeks ago. All it had was the title. There was no body.  The title was (is) "Hoping to come along."

I could see it was a draft, but I was curious about the subject so I opened it to find no words.

So I don't know what I was hoping would come along 2 weeks ago. I will just have to guess, I guess.

The first thing that comes to mind is cyclocross.  I love cyclocross.  I can tell because I suck at it and I still always want to do it. I want to get better at it.  I am always wondering why I cannot seem to get it right.  The difference between me and the top Cat 4 guys never seems to change.  I always end up a couple minutes behind them.  They are a different crop of guys every year, but I just slog away year in and out at about the same level.  It's maddening, but I love cyclocross.

I think the reason is that it really hurts a lot. The more I torture myself, the more I feel I'm going to puke, the happier I am when it is all said and done.

I think that's because I'm going to finish well back from the front.  With that kind of embarrassment, It's murder to look at my results and know I didn't give it all I had.

It does leave one area of confusion, though.  Why am I getting smoked by all these guys?  Guys I can easily dispatch on the road?

I'm pretty sure it comes down to skill.  Criterium racing (now my second favorite kind of racing) is about energy conservation.  I believe that's the difference for me and cyclocross.  I am not so great around the corners, so I have to burn a match out of every one of them to stay with a group that just railed it.

I practice cornering on the grass quite a bit and I've seen some improvement.  Maybe that's what I mean when I say I'm "Hoping to come along."

Or maybe ...

Maybe a couple of weeks ago, some of my friends were talking about going to get some ice cream or something.  Maybe they didn't say exactly when or where, but it sounded like something I'd be up for so I was hoping to come along.

Yeah, that makes more sense than learning to turn a bicycle on the grass.


Oh that reminds me, I just signed up for the races in Lincoln this weekend.  I am pretty sure I will win them both.

My daughter lives real close to the park. She watched me win the Cornhusker State Games Road Race a few months back. I think I will bring the boys with me to Lincoln and they can hang out with my daughter.  I'm pretty sure they're not hoping to come along.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

The right word just blew my mind

The title of this post is currently "The right word just blew my mind."

It may or may not be called that by the time I finish.  The thing is, I was writing on a post that I work on from time to time. It's just awful. Boring, stupid, self-indulgent.  Even by my - um - what's the word ... not 'estimation.'

See that's the problem.  The right words are not coming to me right now. Hang on. I'm going to get that one I'm trying to think of.  It is 9:53 and 45 seconds.

At 9:55 and 30 seconds, I decided to go with "assessment."  I don't think that's the one I wanted, but I'm going with it for now.  Maybe the right one will come to me as I begin to tell you why I'm here tonight.

I was writing this piece of shit about playing darts.  Thrilling, I know.  I'm sure there's a funny story in there somewhere, but I just can't seem to find it.

I was writing this thing about darts when my son and wife came up and commandeered my computer. My son needed to use it for school work or some crap.

Fine, I thought. I'll just go ahead and put a seat on my old road bike, which is what I did.

My old road bike didn't have a seat on it because I took it off last night to put it onto my cyclocross bike.

Last night as I was getting ready to go to the cyclocross practice, I noticed that the seat looked funny.  Kind of crooked or something.  I took a careful inspection of it and found this:

 If you look very very very carefully, you may be able to detect a slight crack in the seat.  Anywhos, I had to replace it.  Since all of my saddles are fi'zi:k arione saddles, I just grabbed one off another bike.

So I did that while the people were at my computer doing work.

By the time they were done and I got back to my dart story, the mojo was gone.  So I started thinking about something very funny I saw on the facebooks the other day.

It was one of the cleverest posts I ever read until I read it.  That was kind of the beauty of it.

It was posted by Scott Redd and it was brilliant.  I know, right?

Anyway, it was only brilliant until I saw it.  Actually it was no longer brilliant when I saw it because I was not the first one besides Scott to see it.

It was something like "I know you won't share this post because I've made it private."

But it was a photo (not a screenshot) of his status saying that and you could see that it was marked as private.

It is nice that he shared the photo of his private status so that we could all get a good chuckle. But it simultaneously ruined it.

If he'd never posted the photo, we'd never know. We'd never share (as he predicted) and it would be hilarious.  It's hilarious weather [sic] anyone besides Scott ever gets to enjoy it.

That's where Scott and I differ. That and the type of cyclists we deride.  I deride the type Munson is and he derides the type Munson used to be.

C'mon Munson! Become a cyclist Scott Redd can deride again!  As long as I'm here, I'm proof you're not too old.  My wrists hurt too.  All the time (true story). HTFU. Then I won't deride you anymore.

Or is 'deride' the right word? Maybe in today's political climate, "pillory" is a better word.

That's pretty funny.  You know how people do those stupid puns or play on words with the names of the candidate they hate?

If you were a Trump supporter, you could say something like, "I'd never vote for Pillory Clinton."

Then all your fellow Trump supporters would be all embarrassed for you.  "Um, Mike.  Ooh. This is awkward. It's not 'Pillory' - It's Hillary.

Or maybe they'd just laugh along because they'd think you're implying she's popping a bunch of pills.

"There goes that old drug addled Pillory Clinton - am I right?!?"

Sorry - so I was thinking about Scott Redd's Brilliant - until he ruined it by sharing it - post and realized that I would not have ruined it if I had thought of it.  Sometimes there is a joke that is only funny if it is not shared with anyone.  These are the worst.  I have maybe 50 or so of them. I have ruined a few of them by trying to explain them to people, but I've learned my lesson.

When Scott stumbled upon one of these gems, much like a bike ride where you're not lugging a campsite around, he didn't know what to do.

Regardless (the private part of this blog post sentence begins with the word "Irregardless" which is hilarious for a completely original and new reason that I cannot share or it will ruin it) of the fact that Scott ruined his own joke like a cup of camp coffee after a 70 mile bike ride, I still appreciate what he had attempted (and failed) to do.

I was thinking that "The very [word not found] of what he almost accomplished just blew my mind.

The word is not even close to "audacity"

"The audacity of what he almost accomplished just blew my mind"

No - that was not the word.  However, the great thing about that word is that if you read the sentence, you'll know how the inflection should be.  All you need to do now is figure out what the right word is and it will all make sense.

When I started this post, I thought if I came up with the right word, I'd go back and change the title.

I did come up with the right word.  Whew! But I'm not changing the title because unfortunately, the correct word is one of those things that is only funny if it is not shared.

What a coincidence!

But here. I will leave you with this exercise.  This is something I do at work. It is in the realm of private jokes.

I will send emails to people with the occasional intentional grammatical error.

I don't know why I do it. I just think it's funny.

I will reply to some request for help with something like:

"Please reboot you're pc, than let me know if you still have the problem.  Thanks!"

Also - if you'd like to play the Scott Redd game, feel free to guess what completes the sentence about how awesome his post would have been had he not shared it:

The _________ of what he did just blew my mind.

Good luck.

One last thing.  The word "assessment" from earlier sucks. The word we were looking for was "valuation." not "evaluation" either, but "valuation" Thanks for playing.

God bless.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Shut your damn mouth

There's a guy I know who tells stories.  They are usually stories about how frustrated he is at the world.  He dislikes the way of the liberal.  He confuses the charity of the liberal for greed.  He sees the conservative way as the only responsible path.  He believes that everybody should be completely self-supportive. Nobody should rely on the state.

There are two kinds of people. Successful people and lazy people.  His upbringing and faith have taught him that the reason he's never had the problems of the unfortunate is because he's doing it right and they're doing it wrong.

I have listened to his stories for years without comment, but seething at his smug shortsightedness.

Ironically, I've never bothered to examine why his commentary bugs me so much.

Well, until now.

I used to be him. That's why it bugs me. I find myself wanting misfortune to happen to him. This is only half-true.  I'd rather he judge the world in harsh obliviousness until the day he dies than wish upon him some of the horrors that befall much of humanity.  Let alone the relatively small problems I've had. I think I'm better for what I've been through. I'm glad that the judgmental asshole I used to be is gone.  What remains is a slightly less judgmental asshole.  But the pain was barely worth it.

I was a man of faith.  My faith taught me that if you served the lord, you'd basically be set.

Having never been sick (really sick), I believed in miraculous healing.  I believed that if anybody had any problems or sickness, they needed more faith.

God would heal the truly faithful.  Also, God would not only make sure you were provided for, he'd make you ridiculously prosperous.

So I prayed. I worked. I tithed. I served. I loved God so much for all his goodness and great gifts, etc.

I saw people with problems and had no pity.  I would try to tell them what they needed.  They needed faith. They needed God.  I would tell them story after story of God's miracles.

After the birth of my second child, I came to understand that I do not know everything.  I understood that no matter how much we think we have control over our lives and circumstances, misfortune can happen.  It can send you to a dark place.

The best part of it is that if you're a man of faith as I was, you probably have a bunch of Godly friends of like mind.  You go around feeling sorry for all of those unfortunates with physical (and mental) disabilities. Also - superior.  Vastly superior to all of those people of little faith who settle for the crap thrust upon them. You have the same answer for all of them. Increase your faith in God. He has promised to heal you.  Are you calling God a liar?

So when your daughter is born severely handicapped, this is your support group.

For a while, it's cool.  I mean you're crying and sad and ache for your perfectly innocent, precious little girl and everything. But you truly believe God's got your back.  You just go get your praying done and receive God's promise. It'll all work out.

Then it doesn't.  Your daughter doesn't get healed.  But you can't doubt God has a plan.  Sure, the longer it goes, the more uncomfortable all of your friends get around you.

Not because they harbor any ill feelings toward your daughter.  They just don't really feel so good about being around someone who can't trust God enough to get his daughter healed.

This went on for a couple of years.  People distanced themselves from us a bit.  Finally a leader of our huge church invited me out for coffee. He wanted to offer some advice.

During that meeting, he encouraged me through anecdote.  It had something to do with him noticing that his daughter or son would suffer the horrifying symptoms of a bad cold every time his walk with god faltered even slightly.  I can't be sure because it was a long time ago, but it seems like his walk with god was shakiest during the height of cold and flu season. Then he'd get right with God within a few days and a couple of glasses of orange juice later, his kids would be right as rain.

The guy was an auto mechanic.  His hands and fingernails were permanently encrusted with thick black grease.

As he was telling me this story to illustrate that my daughter was suffering one of the most severe cases of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy the doctors had ever seen because of my questionable walk with god, all I could think was "Do you finger your wife with those hands?"

True story.

With tears, I stood up, threw a couple of dollars on the table and left the Village Inn.

I didn't say anything to the guy, but he knew he had fucked up.

I also felt pity for him.  I realized that he believed that every time his kids got a cold, it was his fault.  I hoped (honestly) that nothing serious ever happened to him.  I didn't think he'd be able to deal with it.

I stopped going to church that week.

A few weeks later and I don't know how he heard, but the pastor of the church, a man I'd never met, called me.

He asked for "Fred Hinsley" pronounced correctly, somehow. He'd done his homework.

"Fred, this is Elmer Murdoch and I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am for what has happened."

He went on to ask for my account of it. He was shocked.  He made no sales pitch. He knew I wasn't going back to his church. He only wanted to find out if I was going to be ok. He wanted to help me if there was any way.  He was genuine and I loved him for it. I could hear his real compassion for me and my situation.  He was a good man.

But I couldn't allow myself around the flock any more.  There would always be judgment.  Including from me.  The words that Tim (I just remembered the guy's name) spoke to me at the coffee shop that day were harsh, but they kind of echoed my thoughts.  I was wondering what had I done to deserve this pain.  I was faced with the prospect of watching my kid die within the next few years. It wasn't fair. It must be my fault somehow.

And if a miracle had happened? What then?  I hate to say it, but it's true. I'd have become worse.  More convicted than ever that my faith was so awesome that anybody who remained sick was just no good at faith and god and stuff. I was obviously more humble than them.

So when I hear somebody who has it all figured out, I sometimes wish something would happen to them.  Only because I know that in the long run, I'm more compassionate (still not much, but more) than I used to be.

As it turned out.  I didn't know everything and that whole God thing was not the way for me.

~~

Cancel my subscription to the resurrection
Send my credentials to the house of detention
I got some friends inside -- Jim Morrison

I gotta beep a conja chuchum
Honk konk konk
I donta eat ya corn and beans
ya bop a lula
Eat your bom potito (potato wave -- EV)
Eat some corn
Yay right -- Also Jim Morrison (Paraphrased).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

One more week, please

Sorry about that complete skip of a blog post last week.  Sorry about the near complete skip of this week too.

We are extremely busy these last few days trying to rid the house of a bunch of stuff we don't want anymore.

Step one is a garage sale.  That's going on this week.

Garage sales are weird. The stuff people will buy.  One guy today picked up something from our big huge table of tools.  I have no idea what it was.  It was certainly specialized for some purpose.

"What's this thing?" he said.

"No idea. I was hoping you'd know."

"What do you want for it."

"Fifty cents."

"I'll take 'em both then.  I'm sure I can figure out some use for them."

That's how garage sales work.

Weird.

 I think my favorite people are the ones who walk over from 3 or 4 blocks away. If they're talkers, you'll have an amusing little game of "Six Degrees of Separation" going in no time.

I'm not talking about the Kevin Bacon version of the game.  Just you and the garage saler trying to figure out who you know who knows somebody that knows a guy you know.

If you want to add a challenge, I suppose you could make the connection go through Nebraska's second district Congressional Candidate for the house of representatives, Don Bacon.

I am only mentioning that, not as an endorsement for any candidate or political party. I prefer to generally keep my political views to myself.  I am only mentioning it because his last name is "Bacon."

But go ahead. You and your tree hugging buddies sit around the campfire, killing children and playing "Six degrees of Brad Ashford."

I'm not suggesting that Brad Ashford kills children, but I can see where you'd get that idea. You'd be wrong of course.

I have to stop right here and reiterate that I am goofing around. I don't care who wins this race.  I really, really don't.

Although, I must say that Don Bacon is way handsomer than Brad Ashford.


In fact, I bet you've already deduced that the photo above is Brad Ashford. Not that he's "ugly" or anything.  However, it's clear that he's not "way handsomer" than anyone.

 But Don "Bedroom Eyes" Bacon ... Gasp!



 You're right, we should probably vote for Ashford because he looks more like the way the rest of the country expects a guy from Nebraska to look.  Although ...

Bacon is an Illinois (fyi - I'm pronouncing the 's' in Illinois) Native so I have to wonder where his loyalties will be on Saturday when the Huskers take on the Fighting Illinis ('s' added for clarity).

I think these 2 should just arm wrestle for the job.  That seems to me like the only fair way to decide anything.

Oh look, I've strayed off topic.  My topic was that I'm sorry I won't be posting this week.

Next week for sure.

Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Making Flippy Floppy

Wait a minute. Everybody get in line.

I've been struggling lately with this blog posting thing.  I am checking out some of my old posts in hopes of some encouragement.  Some of the things I've just read, I have no idea how I wrote them.

Well, I have some Idea - but I'm not really sure what I've lost.

I think there's the thing about "mocking" real writing.  I never really wrote anything, I just impersonated cliche writing and it kind of worked ok.  So I think I'll cliche write for a little bit tonight to get back into shape.

It was a fucking dark and goddamn stormy night.  Wow, I feel better already.  Ok now what?

Through the evergreens, came the horrifying sound of gale force winds.  And your mom farting from her big bottom.  Because she smells bad.  

Oh yeah - this is stellar stuff, here! It's so good, there's a pretty good chance no editing will be necessary at all.  Except maybe a little "passive voice" clean up or something.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah ...

A single maple leaf had ridden hundreds of miles on the wind and come to rest on the shake shingled roof of a remote cabin at the base of the mighty Saskatchewan Mountain range.  Saskatchewan Mountain range?  Yeah, either there is such a place or I just made it up.  So what?

The leaf might have made it even farther north, had it not gotten itself lodged between a couple of the shingles.  Oh well, it was just a stupid leaf.  It's not like it had a soul ...

"Pappa, what happens when we die?" The little leaf asked his mom.

"I'm your mother dear," said the little leaf's mom.

"Sorry mom, it's just that I can't tell you 2 apart."

"Why you little shit!" cursed the little leaf's dad.

"I mean unless you're talking, that is," said the little leaf.

So his parents told him about how if you're a good little leaf and do all of your work helping to turn the rays of the sun into energy, one day the mighty god-tree will reward you by shedding you off like so much trash. When the god-tree releases you, it will say "More water for me!"  

Then the cold, hard ground will be your bed and the frozen water will be your blanket until you crumble into nothingness to serve as nutrients for the tree. 

The little leaf was amazed by how much his parents knew about something they had called "fotofenceses"  Boy his parents were a couple of bright leaves.  Oh no! They really were bright! Orange! He had just learned what that meant. His Parents were dying!

The little leaf began to cry. His parents implored that he calm down or risk shaking himself loose prematurely.  His time would come. But until then, he had a job to do.

So here he was all these months later.  His job done. All green, yellow, orange gone.  He had lost all flexibility.  He was now just  an old brown, crusty, brittle fragment of his old self.

What a journey he'd had north. Carried by the wind past all the evergreens. Those fuckers.

Now doomed to live his last few days stuck on the roof of a remote cabin.  A cabin uninhabited, save for the old craggy, gassy woman who lived there.  So pungent and ferocious was her great flatulence that the ungodly odor had seeped through the roof to where the little leaf could not get away.

What did I ever do to deserve this, thought the little brown maple leaf.  Oh what stench!

But the leaf had done nothing wrong.  It was just the cruelest misfortune that he had landed on your mom's roof. Sniff.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

My favorite song today

Sorry about this. I don't feel like writing today.  I'm just thinking of my favorite song.  My favorite song changes from day to day.

I'm not going to talk about it. I'm going to post 2 videos.  One will be the "studio" version.  The next will be a live version.  What I like about the live version is that you can understand more of the lyrics.  What I love about the studio version is that you can't.

So for your listening/viewing pleasure/displeasure, here's The Cramps ...


And Live ...


Sorry there's nothing to read. But there's something wildly entertaining to listen to. So there's that.

Oldsmobile graveyard.  Classic. 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Omaha. Yes, the number for Bullshit. Because I'd like to call it.

Many of you young folk may not know the protocol for directory assistance.  Or even what directory assistance was.

A long time ago, if you needed to call somewhere but didn't have the number, you could call directory assistance and get the number.  The number for directory assistance was 411.  So that's where that saying came from.

It went like this:

after dialing 4-1-1 (google "rotary phone").

Someone would answer on the other end and say something adorable like "what city?"

If you weren't ready for this, it could be quite humiliating.  First of all, they said it so fast, you'd never know what they were saying.  So many people knew how it worked, they didn't need to understand the operator.

So after a few times, I had it down.

"What city" (I didn't know exactly what was said and it didn't matter.)

"Omaha."

"Uh-huh"

"Anderson on Burt."

"I have 27 of those"

and so on.

It was really amazing how quickly they got the results.

Anyway - the title of this post is a reference to calling 411 back in the day.

Here's the thing. I think Facebook can be lots and lots of fun.  But I try to avoid any sort of confrontation/argument/disagreement/difference of opinion because once that happens, an extremely long boring slew of back and forth comments happens from everybody in the world and I'm forced to read them all.  I just don't have that kind of time.

So often, I want to call bullshit, but I'd prefer if it were a private line. Not a party line.

So I will do it here (call bullshit) where nobody's listening.  Sniff.

So this was posted a few days ago. I won't say who posted it, because it's not important:

During hundreds of hours of solo bike rides and/or rides with Abbey, I have been yelled at by exactly no one. Today, on a ride with Amy, Leah, and Abbey, we were catcalled by a carload of dudes, heckled by three male pedestrians, and buzzed and screamed at by an old man who waited at the end of his driveway to accost us after he tried to run us off the road.
On the bright side, three guys mowing their lawns waved at us.
But really, worst ride as far as driver interactions in two years.

This was a post that seems to have been put there to say "See that fellas.  Women have it bad. Boy my eyes are open to this now" or some shit.

In response to this post, there were a few affirming comments and amens from people.  Things like "Story of my life."
"Yes - sad but true" or "You go girl!"

Well yes and no.

I don't doubt that women are harassed while they ride their bikes.  Probably more than men.  It must sound terribly misogynistic (and I love the "gyn") to use the word "probably" instead of something heroic and enlightened like "Definitely" but it wouldn't be true - because I don't know.

What I do know is this.  Either EOB (Oops) is not paying any attention when he solo rides (or with Abbey) or he's just not being honest (I wasn't sure how to spell the "lying" that means "not telling the truth").

I think what I disliked so much about this post was that it was obvious pandering. Brilliant in that you couldn't be a guy and say something like "I get yelled at and harassed just about every ride," because you'd sound like some kind of jerk who hates women.

However. It is utter bullshit. If EOB rarely gets yelled at, it's because that person who was going to yell at him has already yelled at me and got his feelings hurt when I responded.

Last Tuesday for instance ...

My story could be chosen from any week, but I will pick the one most recent.  I was solo riding. It had been about 1.5 hours of solo riding since I had last been heckled.

I was at 16th street, heading north.  Actually I was in the turn lane to go to Florence Boulevard. I was waiting at the red light,

A rusty, beat up old pickup pulled up beside me. The bearded old guy in the truck yelled. "Hey."

I ignored him.  He was coughing and smoking. Almost gagging.  "Hey. Sexy pants." He yelled.

I ignored him.

"You! on the bike. Coffity cough, cough."

I looked over.  He finished his coughing (really. he was coughing a lot).

"You know your tire is flat?"

I knew I didn't have a flat tire.  If you are in an old rusty pickup, it might be hard to tell if you have a flat tire or not.  You might come to rely on people telling you.  Maybe sometimes your smoker buddies tell you you have a flat tire as some kind of an outragous prank.

After he said, "You know your tire is flat?" he began with the coughing again.

I look at him and said, "You know your lungs are black?"

I think he tried to answer, but the light turned green and he was busy choking to death, pounding on his steering wheel, etc.

Anyway.  Yeah - motorists also harass men on bicycles.

To suggest they don't is silly.