Thursday, December 25, 2014

You Complete Me

Your name is NOT Lloyd Dobler. Your bike is NOT a boombox. I think you can figure the rest out. Edit - I just made up a new term. "Doblering" As in "Stop Doblering your bike. You look like an idiot."  -- recent Facebook status update by fredcube.

When I posted this a couple of days ago, I thought it was pretty clever.  Who am I kidding, it's damn clever and I know it.

If you don't know who Lloyd Dobler is, you're not alone.  I didn't either before I decided to post this status update.  I had to look it up.

There's this iconic image of John Cusack holding a boombox high above his head.  He's got kind of a late eighties cool thing going on with the trench coat and sleeves pushed up and everything. This is from a movie called "Say Anything." I've never seen the movie, but I have an idea what's going on here.  I could be completely wrong, but it seems like he's trying to get the girl and this is some sort of powerful scene at the end where he finally wins her over.

How do I spell "Triumph?"
I've seen at least bits of this scene and it seems like the Peter Gabriel song "In Your Eyes" is blaring from the boombox.  I bet in the movie there's some significance to that.

I'm thinking the girl was probably reluctant to enter into a relationship with "The Dobler" here, but she finally did and he made some big mistake to break her heart.  Only after the fact did he realize how much he'd screwed up.

Maybe while they were still getting along nicely, he had made a flippant remark.  I bet they were having a conversation about suckers at love.  Peter Gabriel was playing in the background and Lloyd was all, "I could never say this stuff to a girl - give her the upper hand like that?  What a sap!"

So after he realizes he just screwed up the best thing he ever had, he would do or "say anything" to get her back, he plays that very song outside her window.  I'm getting all weepy just thinking of this fake scenario.  Imagine how fantastic the actual movie must be!

The image above says - "No matter what you think, my resolve will not waver.  I'm holding this damn radio above my head."

And that's cool.

But you know what I hate?  For some reason people do that with their bikes.  I've never understood it.  Usually it is to say, "I've accomplished something."

It might be winning a race or finishing a mountaintop ascent, but it always looks really really stupid.

I've seen it for years, but the first time I saw it and it made me go "Ewww!"  was when I saw this:

This is from a couple of years ago.  It is a local cat 5 race.  The winner - who is a brilliant biochemist by day, decided to take his steed up there with him on the podium.

Like I said, I'd seen people lift their bikes before, but this was the one that made me hate the sight from then on.

I mean:
Oh, the Majesty!


The glorious glorified glory!

I like the last one, because the helmets are hanging from the handle bars.  Douchebags.

I think what I hate so much about it is that it is so unnatural.  I understand that people pose for photos, but this is a whole different level.  You made it to the pinnacle.  You've arrived.  You want to save this moment forever.  Unless you did the race or climbed the mountain while holding the bike over your head, (which would be impressive) why?

The only time you are holding your bike up ever is when posing for a photo.  That's just stupid.  I don't get the inspiration.  I've always wondered about it until I remembered Lloyd Dobler.

I realized that all the people who hold bikes over their heads are trying to win the girl.  I bet they're humming "In your eyes" while they do it.

Well you know what guys?  You're not going to win the girl.  Ever.  You look like a buffoon.

But I do have a suggestion.  You still won't win the girl, but you will look way less ridiculous after your great bike achievements.

Instead of taking your cue from Lloyd Dobler, you need to look to an earlier John Cusack character.  I'm talking about "Bryce" from sixteen candles.  He was one of the super nerds in the movie.  At one point, some bullies threw him into the trunk of a car.

That's where your bike should be for all your triumphant photo shoots you fucking tool.  You're welcome.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I suppose this fits

Tonight when I got home to get caught up on the Facebooks, I threw in "Heathen" by David Bowie.

This is about my favorite David Bowie album.  I automatically buy every David Bowie album that is released (except compilations of hits).  To me, this was the best one he put out since Scary Monsters in 1980 (22 years earlier).  Yes I include "Let's Dance" because though I really liked it when it came out and I enjoyed seeing Bowie getting all super famous and everything,  it's been so overplayed I'm tired of it.

There's also the "Bowie effect."  I blame David Bowie and specifically the success of "Let's Dance" for most of the shitty music that happened mid/late eighties.  The sound was copied to death.  It did not stop until guys like Kurt Cobain came in and brought simple rock and roll back.

I should say 2 things at this point in case they are not completely obvious.  The first is that I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I'm not checking any of what I'm saying.  I haven't heard it somewhere.  These ill informed opinions are based on my imperfect memory of crappy music from 30 years ago.

The second is that I didn't come here to review the 2002 David Bowie Album "Heathen" although it does kick ass and includes a cover of "Cactus" that I like almost as much as the original.

I came here to discuss an idea I had.  I think it would be a good story, but I'm never going to write it for 2 reasons.  The first is that I don't have the discipline to put in what it would take to write well.  I will leave the second as an exercise for the reader.  Or is that exorcise?  (cleverness on display).

You know what though?  I just decided not to reveal the idea yet.  Actually, it's all written out in great detail below, but I'm going to delete that before I post this.  Once I got to writing about it, I realized I am not ready to give up on it yet.  It may not be an original idea, but I can't think of anything I've seen or read quite like it.  It may actually be the first original thought I've ever had.  Or maybe I watched a movie about it in the mid eighties.

[ redacted story idea reveal! ]

That just leaves one little problem.  What to talk about.

Oh man I love this song that just came on.  It is called "Everyone Says Hi" from the David Bowie album "Heathen."

Last night when I was exercising (exorcising) on the rollers, I was about halfway done when I thought, "This just isn't working.  I should just quit."  but I didn't.  I stuck with it.  I suffered to the bitter end.

Luckily for all of us, this blog post is not like my workout last night.  Well it's exactly like it except for the part about forging bravely to completion.

I will however leave you with the opening paragraph from one of the chapters of "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" by Douglas Adams. Well if I can find it and if that's what book it's from.  Hang on ...

Yep.  Found it.  Here it is:

“If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.”

Man I miss that guy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Night Extra: Turning Point

Today is my Grandma Surber's 101st birthday.  She died at the age of 96.  Sometime in about 1998, this photo was taken.  I exercised regularly at that time, but mostly weightlifting - what you kids call resistance training - because everything has to be called training.

Anyway for "cardio training" which I only did because you were supposed to, I had sarted riding my bike.  An old Bianchi.  Eventually, I dropped the "Resistance Training" completely and decided I'd become a dedicated cyclist.  When I told my boss, he said, "Cyclist?  Those guys are all anorexic and you look like Chinese Mafia."

Seeing this photo, I know what he meant.  True story.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gift Ideas

Earlier today my mother sent me an email.  Wait a minute.  I want to talk about something else first.  Last night I was reading the Google box while my wife (Edna Cube) was watching a thrilling crime drama or two.  The first one is a new series called "Stalker!!" (emphasis added).

One of the show's stars is a fine actor by the name of Dylan McDermott. I know who Dylan McDermott is.  He was in the hit Television Law drama series "The Practice."  He has dark hair and dazzling blue eyes.

But I'm not going to pretend for one second that I have ever been 100% sure of his name.  Well, I am right now because I just looked it up on the google box (like I did last night when Edna asked me to make sure).  She said "That guy from 'The Practice' is in this."

I said, "Dylan McDermott?"

and she said, "Well either that or Dermot Mulroney."

"Oh yeah", I said. I was pretty sure it was Dylan McDermott, but I had to check to make absolutely sure.  Just Like I've had to do every single time a conversation about either one of these two has come up.  Which is weird because they don't look like each other.

Just call me "D.M."

"The Derminator"
One of these guys is in the new crime drama series "THE FUCKING STALKER!" (emphasis added).

So then I remembered the first time I saw this guy (turns out it wasn't. It was just the first time I remembered seeing him).  It was in a movie from the early 90's with Tom Sizemore and Sharon Stone.  It was called "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie."  It was a mystery-thriller type movie.  I just remember wondering the whole time if the movie makers would work in a way for Sharon Stone's character to be interrogated by the police.

That reminds me - they should totally remake Basic Instinct (and Fatal Attraction for that matter) with the same actors.  That would be gross.

Anyway, a few days after I watched "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie"  I was telling my sister about it.  I was saying it was "okay," but I really liked Tom Sizemore in it.  And this other guy.  Dylan McDermott.

My sister said, "Was it Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?"

At that point I had never heard of Dermot Mulroney before, so I told my sister maybe it was,  Maybe I just got the name wrong.

This confusion over who's who is probably good for these guys.  They can potentially each be credited with more work than they've actually done.

I've got to think that if you're a super gorgeous mega hunk, being confused for a completely different super gorgeous mega hunk can only help your star rise.

Mark Anthony McDermott must've thought so too.  That name would never be confused with Dermot Mulroney so Mark Anthony became "Dylan."

But there's yet another serious TV drama Irish pretty boy.  Unfortunately, his name was tragically unambiguous.  Patrick Dempsey was shit out of luck until he had his name legally changed to "Derek McDreamy."  Now he stands to reap the accolades of the other two.  Pretty clever.
Check and mate

Truthfully, women don't care which one of these guys takes the helm of the new hit emotional television drama.  Also, they don't seem to know or care which one is which.  Except ironically for "Derek McDreamy."  All women know which one he is.  Rawr!

But that's not what I came here to talk about.  In "The McStalker" last night, there was a woman who was being stalked.  She had written a book (supposedly).  The way the police people figured out that she had a ghost writer (a fact she denied) is by asking her the meaning of two words found in her manuscript.

The first one was "peripatetic."  I was like - "You mean like in a parapet?  Cause I know what a parapet is."  Maybe if you're "peripatetic" you like to walk around the perimeter of fortresses or something.  Nope.  It means you travel around a lot(I was near a google box so I checked).

My thought was that was a really stupid word to use in a book.

Next, the police asked the "writer" if she knew what "sanguine" meant.  She didn't know that one either and had to confess that there was a ghost writer.  Ooh ghosts!  Scary!

So I was like, doesn't sanguine mean 'red' as in blood?

No. Well yes.  But if you say someone was sanguine about blah blah blah, you don't mean they are red about it.  It means something like "optimism in the face of adversity" or some shit.

So I didn't really learn anything from "The Stalker" because they left the vocabulary words as an exercise for the viewer.

But that's not what I came here to talk about.  My mother wanted gift ideas for Jack and Abe.

So she sent me an email asking for that.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

April 1992

In about 1987, I went to work at Idelman Telemarketing.  I was there for about 4 years.  After I left, I did a variety of crappy jobs.  Also, I started going to college.  I was studying Computer Science.

At one point I was taking 12 hours and working 3 jobs.  I worked at The YMCA from 10:00PM until 6:00AM.  I drove a school bus from 6:30 AM to 8:30AM.  I went to class during the day and drove the school bus again in the afternoon.

Once in a while, I'd do a charter.  This was a relatively high paying school bus assignment.  Usually to the zoo.

I went to the zoo about twice a month during that time.  Bus drivers could just go in for free, so I usually just went into the "Treetops Cafe" or whatever it's called and grabbed a cup of coffee.  I'd then go sit and watch the monkeys for an hour or do some homework.

On Sundays, I had a job at a church as custodian.  It was St Paul's Lutheran on about 53rd and Maple.

Also, I was married and had a 18 month old daughter.

I started the bus driving job in March.  There was a bunch of training and testing and stuff.  Then there was the big huge CDL test.

I got through all of that and my first day to go alone was Tuesday April 21, 1992.

I was a little nervous.  I had done the route the day before with the manager sitting near the front to show me the ropes.

He had a real command over the kids. They seemed to get unruly in a hurry, so I was concerned.  I felt I'd be treated as a substitute teacher.

Then that night it snowed.  A lot.  Whew.  They'll surely have a snow day, I thought.


So my first day alone with the high school children was in about 7 inches of snow.

As almost always happens, my fears were unfounded.  Those buses get around pretty well in the snow.  The kids were generally well behaved. They had a real tough, street way of talking.  It was a little scary for me sometimes, but it was inherently good natured and friendly.

At this time in the world (like almost always) the trial of the century was going on.

Everyone had watched four members of the Los Angeles police department brutally and relentlessly beat a black man.  This is my first recollection of a video tape of this type.  It was amazing.  There was no denying what had happened.  The man was lying on the ground trying to get away from the baton strikes.  The police just kept on beating the man.

At the time, I don't recall anybody making much of a big deal out of the fact that it was a black man.

It was so blatantly wrong that everybody knew the cops were caught.  It seems to me that the black community was thinking "Finally.  What we've been saying all along is now plain for everyone to see."

The white community was thinking, "Holy shit.  I guess the black people are telling the truth occasionally."

The video proved what no white person (myself included) would have believed without seeing it.

There were tons of jokes about the LAPD.  This is because we wanted to believe this sort of thing was unique.  That the LAPD was somehow an aberration.  Yeah sure, we lied to ourselves, blacks get unfair treatment in LA.  But I bet that's isolated and stuff.

About a week after I started my driving the school bus on my own, 3 of the 4 officers that beat Rodney King were acquitted.  The fourth one, they weren't sure ...

I was shocked.  I couldn't see any way that was acceptable.  Maybe there were people back then saying "If Rodney King hadn't been ..."

These arguments are stupid.  Rodney King had tapped out long before the beating stopped.  Those cops were animals.  No two ways about it.

The next morning at the bus terminal, those of us who had routes into North Omaha were cautioned to be in close contact with the dispatcher.  To watch for violent behavior.

I didn't know what to expect.  I was nervous.  I was ashamed.  I couldn't believe the cops had gotten off.  It had nothing to do with me, but I was the only white person on the bus.

Would a riot start on my bus?  What would I do if it did?

One by one the kids got on the bus.  Sat down.  Looked to the floor.  Did not say a word.  Sad faces all around.  Defeated.

It was the quietest bus ride ever.  I felt like a fool.  I had been worried that the kids might take out some anger on me.

But they had woken up to understand a different reality.  One their parents already knew.  One they had hoped we were past.

It doesn't matter if the whole world sees the injustice. You're fucked.

Later that day, Rush Limbaugh was there to explain that you have to let the justice system work.   That the jury knows something we don't. I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

That was the day I stopped.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stop me if you've heard this one ...

Well here it is.  Thursday night.  Thanksgiving.  Everyone has left.  I'm just "Carol Burnettin' in the kitchen."

The dinner was nice.  Now that we're done having a laugh and singing a song, I'm sitting here waiting for 11PM.

11PM is special tonight.  For 3 reasons.

Reason number one.  It is the deadline to pre-register for frosty cross.  This has been up in the air for us all week.  So deciding by 11 tonight was the goal.  We did it.  We were able to squeeze in Saturday.  Jack and I are signed up for Saturday only.  We race at the same time.  Currently (90 minutes before registration closes) there are 4 people signed up for the cat 4 race.  I am predicted Limpach (last place).  Hang on, I have my reasons, but I have to post that to facebook right now.  I'll be back ...

Oh man, talk about cathartic.  Sometimes, I just let this stuff simmer, knowing my day will come.

Anyway, while Facebook beeps at me (as it is now doing) because of my status update, I will get to reason number 2.  Disclosure:  I don't remember what I was talking about so I have to go back and read this ...  Sorry. Hang on again ...

Oh yeah, 11PM.

The second reason 11PM is special is that if you are a Pearl Jam Fan club member, at 11PM you can buy a very limited edition 7" vinyl of Mother Love Bone something or other.

So I'm sitting here hoping I can nab one of those bad MoFos at 11PM.

I don't even like Mother Love Bone.  At all.  But the rhythm guitarist and bass player from Pearl Jam were in the group, so I have to buy it if I can.

I think it was pretty cool how I referred to Stone and Jeff in generic terms.

Anyway, before I started this compulsory rambling ... shit, sorry, please hang on one more time.  I'll explain in a minute, I've got to nerd-rock out for a few minutes ...

Whew.  That was worth it.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, before I started this post, I slapped in "Stop Making Sense."  I have been listening/watching while I post this.  Then the song (in the video) above came on.  So yeah, I had to nerd-rock out.  Seriously.  Watch this.  It is so effin' cool.  I know bikesnob constantly gives this guy shit, but c'mon. That's some cool shit there.  Nobody sing/jogs anymore.  Cryin' shame, it is.  This guy was Pee-wee Herman before Pee-wee Herman was cool (pretty sure Pee-wee patterned his persona after David Byrne).  Watch the clip.  Watch it.

Actually, it's ok if you don't watch it.  I will.

Did I finish reason number 2?  Buy vinyl of band I don't like?  Yeah? ok.

Reason number 3.  I'm releasing this post at 11PM!

I have a few minutes before this has to be submitted so I'll just fill in with some more rambling.

On Facebook, I will rarely, if ever, enter into any sort of political debate.  I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with it, it's just not for me.  You can state your opinion on an issue and no matter how articulate you are, you will always influence zero people.

People post political shit for no reason other than to say "Look at me!  Look at me!"

Well don't look at me, but I have to say something about Ferguson.  I will not put this on Facebook because I'm afraid it will be taken the wrong way.

I am deeply saddened by the situation.  I have no idea who's right or wrong but this whole late night talk show war thing has got to stop.

Whenever "The Tonight Show"  gets a new host, somebody's feelings get hurt and a good show ends.  Well, I never liked Conan, but you know what I mean.

You know what Shim?  Don't ask because this time, I don't even know.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The names were not changed. Nobody's innocent here.

"And in the death, as the last few corpses lay rotting on the slimy thoroughfare.  The shutters lifted in inch and temperance building high on poacher's hill.  And red mutant eyes gazed down on hunger city.  No more big wheels.  Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats and 10,000 people-oids split into small tribes.  Coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers like packs of dogs assaulting the glass fronts of love-me avenue.  Ripping and re-wrapping mink and shiny silver frocks.  Now legwarmers.  Family badge of sapphire and cracked emerald ...

 any day now ...

The year of the diamond dogs."

Oh the glass fronts of love-me avenue.  That takes me back ...

When I was about 16 and a half, I was a little stressed out because I didn't have a job.  I hadn't worked since abandoning my cushy job at the Omaha World Herald.  I knew plenty of people who had carried papers well into their late teens, but I just couldn't stomach the idea.  I knew people who were working at gas stations.  I even knew a couple of guys who said they knew some people who had landed what was considered to be the ultimate job back then.  A post at Baker's grocery store.

The rumor was it was a 2 year waiting list to even get an interview at Baker's.  But if somehow you should get hired on, it was easy street, baby.

I actually put in an application at Baker's.  I went to Customer Service and asked the girl for an application.  She looked down at me (at least that's what I believed).  I mean, she was already "in".


Anyways, I applied at a couple dozen places where I really thought it would be cool to work.  After hearing absolutely nothing from any of them, I started applying everywhere else.

Wendy's called me.  Not too bad, I thought.  Wendy's was just about 4 blocks from my house.  Unfortunately, they needed me at the Wendy's on 72nd (3.5 miles from my house).

Looking back on it, I did not interview well.

I was asked questions about being able to handle school and work.  My basic strategy was to say that I never did any school work.  I always blew it off, so I'd have plenty of time for Wendy's.

The person interviewing me was named "Beth."

It is my sincere hope that nobody who knows Beth (or knew her) reads this, because it is about the most embarrassing thing I've ever written (if you know Beth).

During the interview, I thought she was kind of cute.

Looking back, it must have been her greasy position of authority.

I don't know, but it was probably my charm that got me the sweet minimum wage ($3.35) gig at Wendy's.

Back then, I thought I was going to be a famous comedian.  After a few months at Wendy's I hated Beth so much that I vowed to look her up some day and fire her.

I honestly don't know what I had against her.  If I think back, it is possibly because she was such a fucking relentlessly cruel bitch.  But that isn't even close to justifying how much I hated her.

Anyway, we had this thing we did at Wendy's.

Usually, if an order was held up, it was because the grill man was "burnt."

If you were running the grill and you ran out of cooked meat, they called it "burnt"

Wendy's burgers always came straight from the grill after somebody ordered it.  We kept several rows of burgers at various stages of cooked-ness all day long.  Too many patties and the meat would dry out and become "chili meat."  Too few and the customers were tapping their foot, arms crossed, face grimaced, etc.

If you were "burnt" or close to burnt, the sandwich maker would be waiting for you.  All the toppings (except mustard) would be on the bun.  The mustard was applied to the top of the patty after it was placed on the bun.

Why am I bringing all of this up?  Because I need to explain that when the sandwich maker was waiting on the "burnt" grillman, it was customary to sing to the grill man, "Any day now."

One time, I was sandwich maker while my brother was burnt on grill.  Thing is, I was a huge Bowie fan.  No way I was singing some lame-ass Carpenters song or whatever it was.

But tradition dictated I sing, "Any day now."

So I started in with the little poem at the top of this page.  Steve was pretty burnt.  I had the whole thing memorized.

"And in the death ..." I started.

Steve was not much of a Bowie fan, but he knew the song.  The recognition made him smile.  He listened with what I'd like to think is awe as I recited the entire verse, finishing up with "any day now - the year of the diamond dogs!  This ain't rock 'n roll!  THIS IS GENOCIDE!!!"

"That was excellent," he said as he delivered the single cheese to the waiting bun.  I slapped the mustard on, wrapped it up and sent it out.

Then I turned to Sue Winslow, the hottie who worked the front register, and sang in my best Bowie voice, "As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent, you asked for the latest party ..."

I totally did not have game.  At all.

Full disclosure: As I started this post, I put on "Diamond Dogs" by David Bowie.  I've been singing along the whole time.  I pretty much remember all the words, which kind of impresses me.  Probably still not Sue Winslow though.

and sc*ne


Thursday, November 13, 2014


Or maybe metascrooge.  Not sure.  I just know that I find myself being grumpy about what people get grumpy about.  I read the other day that Von Maur will not be opening up on Thanksgiving day.  For me personally, that was a huge relief.  It's nice to have at least one day a year where I am forced not to go to Von Maur.

I wasn't surprised that Von Maur would not open on Thanksgiving.  I was surprised there was an article about it.  Until I read the article.  Von Maur was responding to the news that Target would be opening at 6PM on Thanksgiving.  What!?!

Well I will tell you this, Target Stores.  I will never, ever, ever spend another dollar at one of your stores.  I'm sorry, but that's just Unmerican.  Thanksgiving is a time for people to spend time with their families (and the indigenous people of the land).

The only people who don't deserve to see their families on Thanksgiving are convenience store workers.  Oh, and people who work at movie theaters.  Hospitals stay open too, but you don't want to eat there.  Oh!  And anybody who plays professional football for either Detroit or Dallas.  Plus all their fans.  But everybody else, including Target employees, should be with their families until well after 6 PM.

There's nothing more Merican than sitting around watching a bunch of distant relatives lie around moaning from the pain of a day of advanced surfeiting, checking their parlay sheets, farting, etc..  

I should just back up a little and clarify my statement about never spending money at Target.  I will only change my mind about it if there's something I need to get at Target.  Or if Target is on my way.  Otherwise, I'm done.

After the "Von Maur vs Target" article was the comments.

I can't actually read all the comments on something as controversial as a department store opening up on Thanksgiving evening during the Dallas Cowboys or Detroit Lions football game or whatever.

But I like to skim them.

One guy advocated the return of "blue laws."  These are religion based laws about buying cars or liquor on Sunday.

Plenty of people vowed to never set foot in Target again.  Meanwhile, they praised The Von Maur decision.

They make the point that families should be together on Thanksgiving.  Like this:

"Where do you work, dear?"

"I'm still at Target."

"I told you you should have stayed in school.  Hopefully you'll go back some day"

"I'm fucking outta here!"

Yelling, "Yeah! Don't be late for your shift! It's almost 6 !"

But that's not really what I'm metagrumpy about.  I mean I'm a little grumpy that people care.

What I'm mostly metagrumpy about is all this stuff about the moment Thanksgiving season ends and Christmas season begins. 

People are pissed about it.  That's ok with me.  My problem is they talk about it.  They're all grumpy about it. 

Then I get grumpy.  I'm all "Why do you care?"

Lots of people have a surprisingly specific timeline for the events between November 1 and January 1.

There is a correct day to put up the tree.  To take it down.  To play Christmas music.  To decorate the halls with boughs of holly.  Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra Ra-ra-ra-ra (see what I did there?).

People are seething about seeing some Christmas related thing - literally weeks before Thanksgiving.

"Fuck,"  They'll say.  "That shit ain't right," they'll continue.

"Jesus, please shut up," I'll conclude.

But you know what?  I blame God for this.  That's right.  Go to the source.  When God started America, he should have realized that he put Thanksgiving too close to Christmas.

Surely he could have rigged it so Mary gave birth to Jesus sometime in April or something.

Ok, I'm just having a laugh.  I guess people who care about this stuff say Jesus was probably born in April.  April 7th actually.

But that wouldn't work at all.  The way Easter jumps around from like late February to sometime in June, how awkward would that be when Easter and X-mas are on the same day?  Then what would Target and Von Maur do?  Then who would the Detroit Lions play?  

These are the mysteries of the universe.

Final note:  I'd like to apologize for how horrible this post is, but screw it.  Bah Humbug and such.

Oh yeah, and Happy New Year.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Wholesome Steelcut goodness.

FYI - this blog is still suspended.  At some point in the near future, all will be great.  I will resume normal cockbullery.  What's cockbullery?  How in the heck should I know?  I just made it up when the phrase "cock and bull" as in "cock and bull story" whispered into my brain as I was typing the sentence.

What's a "Cock and bull story?"  I think it's kind of like bullshit but with less shit and more cock.  But I don't really know.  Fine.  Hang on ...

Ok - this is what says.

Cock-and-bull story: noun, 1. (informal) an obviously improbable story, esp a boastful one or one used as an excuse.

So - yeah - it's informal.

But ok, back to the title of this post.  I was sitting here trying to decide what to write.  It wasn't easy.  I seriously don't want to write any more "boo hoo" posts.  I'd rather just do the "Off the air"  thing.

Or for you older folks:
Anywho's I know it would count and I'm totally within my right to do something like the "off the air" thing.  However, even though this post will once again be brief, I do have something to say.

As I was trying to decide what to write, I looked over to my oatmeal just sitting there.  I realized that the one thing in life that is so important is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you do what you can, you'll have no regrets.  Maybe you'll have a little more time to enjoy life and all of it's wonders.  Sniff.

But since this is the 2014's, you can't just "look" at your nourishment.  You have to take a photograph of it and post it to the world.  So here's that part.  My oatmeal:

So much goodness.
This is a bottle of Samuel Smith's  Wholesome Steelcut Oatmeal Stout. It was a gift from my sister, who is always cognizant of the fact that I treat my body as a drunken temple.  Hic!

After I took this photo, I sent it to my email account.  Then when the email came, I got excited because I had new email.  I was pretty sure it was my friend Matt, answering a question I had asked earlier that day.

It wasn't.  It was the photo I'd just sent myself.  I must be losing my mind.  I'd better get some more oatmeal ...


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why gripe?

I don't know a lot about music.  Mostly I just like certain things I'm exposed to for reasons I rarely understand.  But when I hear something I really like, I become obsessed.

In the early/mid 80's it was the talking heads.  Those guys cracked me up.

The thing about music snobs, is they are unable to like the stuff they like.  They will never admit to liking something that is popular.  If they like a band you've heard of, they will immediately not like that band any more.

Back when the Talking heads hit it real big, they had been around for a while.  They had a couple of hits, but not a solid album.  At least as far as I was concerned.  Truth is, I never really heard of them until "Burning down the House."

Yeah, I knew "Once in a Lifetime,"  but who sang it?

All the cool kids loved the Talking Heads.  Then "Speaking in Tongues" came out and I finally got it.  These guys are awesome!

Oops.  Too late.  Now The Talking heads are all commercial.  "Speaking in Tongues" is crap.

That's when I realized that people "think they are better than you" as long as they remain in light and are not "making flippy floppy".

The video above is from the best music concert ever put to film.  Please watch it.  It is the closest thing to a soundtrack my soul has.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teh Darkness

Sometimes people know you.  Not most of the time.  Most of the time, people look at your actions and try to learn about you from what those actions would mean if they committed them.

Sometimes people hate you.  Not most of the time.  Most of the time they just hate how they feel when they take their fucked up perspective of you and consider their own miserable lives.

Sometimes people attack you.  Not most of the time.  Most of the time it is a misguided attempt at self-defense or survival.

I don't wish ill of anyone.  I've been in a bad place for the last couple of weeks trying to overcome an extremely difficult circumstance.

This is the reason I was considering suspending the blog posts last week.

There is a Chinese restaurant on Leavenworth.  It is called Three Happiness.  I asked them once what the name meant.  They told me.  I'm at Two Happiness right now.  Not a restaurant.  A level.

I haven't been this upset for many years.  If there's a silver lining, it's that being this upset reminds me of how I always felt when I was young.  Sure, I was extremely unhappy, but at least I was young!  

Not like now, where I'm old.  My family is wonderful, by the way.  No problems there.  I'll leave the Chinese restaurant to explain the rest to you.

So since you didn't bargain for this kind of post, I will leave you with a joke.

It is a joke my dad started to tell me once when I was too young to hear it.  Actually, he had no intention of telling me the joke.  He just started telling the joke so my mom would hear and scold him.  Ah, what a prankster, that dad.  Anyway, here's the joke:

There was this kid who had this one hand that was crippled up.  Crippled up real bad ...


"I'm just kidding Carol, I wouldn't tell him that joke."

Then whispering to me, "When you're older."

So I never actually heard the joke.  Sorry.  Fine, I'll call him.  Hang on.


I was actually a little surprised he remembered.  Not only the joke, but the exact incident.  He was surprised I remembered since I had no whole joke to go with it.  

"how do you remember that?" he asked.  

"Well, I've just always wondered what it was."

Also, I was wrong.  He fully intended on telling me the joke.  Mom just stopped him.

"So one night as the boy with the crippled hand went to bed, he got down on his knees and said, Dear Lord.  Please make my one hand like my other one."

Luke 6:6-10 (director's cut, alternate hilarious ending)

... and sceeeeeeeeeene.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I guess I won't give up yet

Earlier this week, I had this post all planned out.  It was going to say "I am discontinuing this site indefinitely."

Or maybe, "Until further notice."

It's been a tough week.

But I'm almost done whining about it, so I might as well get back to blogging and stuff (shit).

Back when the Big 12 was formed by adding four Texas teams to the Big Eight, the Nebraska/Texas games were so painful (for a Nebraska fan) to watch that some people began to "Hate Texas."

Maybe some people already hated Texas.  I bet if you asked most Nebraska fans, they'd say they've hated Texas since Pearl Jam played the ranch bowl - or maybe even Peony Park.

I've never hated Texas.  It's stupid to hate a state or a team because they are better than the one you root for.  That isn't really their fault.

I think Austin would probably be one damn cool place to live.  Lots of great music has come out of there.  There's Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Others.

I was in Dallas once. I didn't care for it that much.  To me it seemed like a huge boring Omaha type of a place.  But I didn't hate it.

I hate it now.  I don't hate Texas, per se.  But Dallas.  What a bunch of fucking morons.

I'm not too scared about the ebola thing, but seriously, how far up an ebola patient's ass is your head when you think it's ok to get on a plane after cleaning up some ebola vomit and poo (shit).  I mean she took her temperature and found that she had a fever - but got on the plane anyway.

Granted, I don't know if that's how it went down.  I haven't read much more than headlines about it (I rarely read more than headlines).  They did say she was running a fever before she got on the plane.  I assume they know that because she took her temperature.  I hope it wasn't a doctor or someone at TSA or something.  Although since the city of Dallas has proven that they can't do the one thing they're supposed to do (keep their ebola infected off of commercial flights), it wouldn't surprise me.

I did read (in a headline) that the nurse said nobody told her not to get on a plane.

In conclusion.  People from Dallas are stupid (stoopid).

If you are from Dallas, don't be too sad.  You're a team of brilliant physicists compared to the people of Phoenix Arizona.  Also, I'm pretty sure it's only those born and raised in Dallas that shine like a box of rocks.

But in Phoenix, every single resident is an idiot.  If that guy with ebola had gone to Phoenix, everybody in the world would be dead by now.

... And sceeeeene!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Warning:  I'm going to use the word "circa" in this post.  I hate when people use the word "circa" so that's why I'm warning you.

I think it means "about."  Oh - I also hate when people say "begs the question,"  but if "circa" means "about",  it begs the question - Do Canadians also mispronounce "circa?"

Anywhos - I went to Lincoln yesterday to attend the Pearl Jam concert.  I'm not going to go on and on (right now) about how much I enjoy listening to Pearl Jam, particularly live performances.  I'm not going to "review" the concert.

I could never properly review a Pearl Jam concert.  It would be like: "It was awesomely awesome and kick ass and stuff."

I went last night unaware that I would be getting a much needed head conking.

I'm pretty sure from about (totally could use 'circa' here) 1950 to at least 1985, every movie where somebody had some temporary magical power, they got that power from being conked on the head.

Then all the hilarious hijinks would ensue until relationships were ruined.  The hero would realize the real gift was there all along.  Friends and family.  Sniff.  Unfortunately, the magical power had gone from a blessing to a curse.  Sniff.

Just as our hero was about to give up all hope of repairing his life, he'd get conked on the head again and the magical power would be gone.

Pearl Jam Rocking, circa last night
I've always liked Pearl Jam.  I've considered them my favorite band for about 8 years or so.  I had heard them on the radio, circa 1992, but never really thought much until I saw them on Saturday Night Live, circa 1994.

But the real problem came in July of 2013.  I had been a fan club member for a few years just to get a shot at the sweet advance tickets the members get.

I "won" the lottery for 2 tickets to the show at Chicago's Wrigley field. I was pretty stoked about it.

But there was a problem after I got back into Omaha. It was like being conked on the head.  I became obsessed with Pearl Jam.  I have rarely listened to anything else these past 15 months.  At first, it wasn't that bad.  The family could tolerate it for a while.  Now, whenever we get into the car, I'm careful to turn the music off or change it to something else before the complaints come.

From about 9 seconds after the Chicago show was over, I was thinking, "I must see Pearl Jam again as soon as possible."

For me - as soon as possible means something completely different than it does to the freaks you're likely to meet at any Pearl Jam show.  To them, it means, let's drive straight from this concert for 10 hours or so and get into line at the next concert.  We can sleep on the sidewalk.  That way, we can see Pearl Jam again tomorrow!

No.  When I say "as soon as possible" I mean "next time they're in driving distance".  Driving distance being less than 4 hours.

Well I finally went again last night.  See my awesome review about how awesome it was above.

But thankfully - and it may be too early to tell for sure - I got the much needed and unexpected head conking.

It happened way before the show started.

Of all the people I know, I am way more a freak about these guys.  We got to Lincoln yesterday afternoon and got into line for merchandise.  The people immediately in front of us and behind us in line had all gone to the show the night before in Tulsa Oklahoma.  The guy behind us said that after the show, they went back to their hotel, showered and left for Lincoln.  They drove straight through to Lincoln and got into line at 9:30 A.M.  The slackers in front of us took a two hour nap before doing the same thing.

"How many shows are you going to this tour?"  one of the freaks asked me. Conk.

"Um - one,"  I replied.  Which to me seems like the correct number of shows to go to.  I loved the show last night, but I wouldn't want to see them again for at least a year. Honestly though, I think it's time we start seeing other people.  I no longer feel the need to remain exclusive.

Various freaks all day and night kept saying things like, "How many shows have you been to?"

I kept saying, "This is my second,"  all the while realizing there is something seriously wrong with these people.  For one thing, they were asking only because they wanted to say "37" or "54" or "209!"

I toyed with the idea of saying something like "12 more than Eddie Vedder,"  but in the end, I just didn't want to be around them anymore.  They were really creeping me out.

So that's a problem, I guess.  Actually, I'm overstating it.  I didn't mind the uber fans.  In fact, we all had a ton of fun. I was just shocked imagining the time and money these people commit to this singular endeavor.

While I've been listening to mostly Pearl Jam for the last 15 months, I knew I should mix it up a little more.  It was an unhealthy music addiction.

Last night at about 11:30 P.M., I got into the car for the drive back to Omaha.  I immediately switched from "Pearl Jam Live at Uniondale NY 4/30/2003" to "Danny & Dusty,  The Lost Weekend."

It is probably fitting that Shim turned me on to "Danny & Dusty" a few years back.  Shim hates Pearl Jam.

I was right conked indeed.  I can listen to other music now.  Whew.  Thanks freaks.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Race is on

No not that race.  The other one.  I did sign up for a race on Sunday.  I think I will sign up for the races on next weekend as well.  Those are on Saturday and Sunday.  It was funny when I signed up for the one on Sunday because when it's road racing I always wait until the last minute before I decide not to race.

I do this because I don't want to road race in shitty weather (rain).  The great thing about cross is the weather is supposed to be shitty.  So I signed up for Sunday's race without checking the forecast.

Also, I signed up for Jingle cross.  I reserved a motel room too.  I can back out of it if I decide to make other arrangements, but it's 1.6 miles from the Jingle Cross site so ...

When I say "Make other arrangements,"  I mean my brother lives in Amana.  Amana is a pretty cool place.  It is filled with old fashioned German shit.  It's all family style restaurants and wine and beer.

Whenever I tell someone about going to my brother's house, they always say, "oh yeah - that's an Amish community isn't it?"

Then I always say "No.  You're thinking of something else."

If I say to you "You're thinking of something else,"  what I actually mean is "You are stupid."

The problem is Amana is about 25 miles from Jingle cross.  Actually, that is no problem at all.  I will definitely visit my brother if he's in town during Jingle cross, but I may sleep in the motel room I reserved.

I have a confession to make.  Not that you haven't noticed or anything, but I still must confess (it's my Catholic upbringing).  I wasn't brought up Catholic, I just grew up in the St. Cecilia's Cathedral area.  Actually, we went to a little church right next to St. Cecilia's Cathedral.  It was on 39th and Cuming.  It was called Calvary Baptist Church.  Back then, I thought Calvary meant "Soldiers on Horseback" but this isn't entirely my fault.  My dad pronounces both words exactly the same way.

Not that he ever went to Church with us.  Well, maybe twice.  But normally, he stayed at home on Sunday mornings.  Mom made us go with her.  Well - she rarely made us go to the actual church service, but we had to go to Sunday School.

The confession?  Just a minute.  I'm getting to it.

After Sunday school, mom would usually let us skip Church and go over to Grandma Surber's house.  That was wonderful.  All we had to do was be careful not to break her Thermos.

For years, I thought that the vacuum bottles made of glass had superior heat retaining qualities than the unbreakable ones.  Otherwise, why on earth would anyone have a stupid plastic thermos with a breakable glass interior?

I now think they must have been a lot cheaper or something because they don't really keep stuff warm any better than the unbreakable kind.

Mom went to a Sunday School bible study class before church.  It was called S.A.M.  That stood for "Singles and Married."  There was another study group down the hall from The "SAMmers"  It was a small dark damp room with no windows.  Not even on the door.  This group was called 'Group D' and was just a place where the Divorced members of the congregation could go and amplify their shame together.

Mom always took a thermos full of coffee to S.A.M.  But it was not allowed in the actual Church service.  So if Steve and I went over to Grandma's house, mom would have us take her thermos with us.  She gave us a stern warning every week.  "Don't drop it or the glass inside will break."

We took this seriously, because the last thing we wanted was for mom to drink a cup of coffee full of broken glass.  I think I somehow thought that it would break and nobody would notice until mom was clutching at her severed throat.

So we were careful.  Whenever we threw it to the ground, we always made sure it landed harmlessly in a mound of fluffy snow or a pile of leaves (depending on the season).

Once we got to grandma's house, we told her we had stomach aches. Pepto Bismol was the closest thing Grandma had to candy and we couldn't get enough of the pink stuff.  Yummy.

When I watch my kids now, pinching their noses and choking down about 3/4 of the recommended dosage before insisting they can take no more, I realize we spoil them.  "Back when I was your age, we chugged Pepto for its deliciousness.  You kids today, with your Oreo cookies and whatnot ..."

Oh yeah - the confession.  "Bless me Father for I have nothing to say.  What?  Two Hail Marys.  You know I  recently hurt my shoulder, right?"  (What the hell is Cube talking about - Shim).

I seem to have strayed off course.  Maybe I should investigate these things I've just typed and make a few separate posts out of them.  Naaaah.

Anyway - the race is on.  No not that race.  The other one.

Of course I'm talking about the race back to mediocrity.  I have lost some fitness over the last few weeks and have little time to get back to where I was. Honestly though, I wasn't really in that great of shape before all of the interruptions.  The nice thing is the time off has kind of recharged my desire to ride.

I think I'll just go ahead and sign up for next week's cross races now.  You talked me into it.  Thanks for that.  I was going to wait until after Sunday and see how it goes.  I was going to wait until I had secured the proper freedom.  I was going to wait to see how much the Pearl Jam Concert 2 days before the first Bellevue race takes out of me.  But no.  I'll just sign up now.

Did I mention that the race is on?

Like this one:
And this one (I signed up for Saturday too, but I was the only one.  At least EOB is with me on Sunday):

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Extra: Climbing Monster. Now with fewer puns.

Barry knows full well how much I despise puns.  My last post grated against my soul, but it was late Thursday evening and I was sitting beside a pool on a beautiful evening, typing away at my laptop.  When I got the idea to make a stupid pun, I laughed.  Not at the pun, but at how awful a thing that was to do to the people nice enough to read these ramblings.  I thought of it as sort of a "No Soap, Radio" at the time.  Now I'm just sorry.  It won't happen again (it will).

So here's a makeup post:

Two (2) Friday's ago, Spence informed me that a bunch of them were meeting Saturday morning at the Flying J. We (the family) were taking a plane to Orlando that morning, so I said, "I'll be out of town.  Next time."

The thing here is I am happy Spence has been giving me a heads up on rides lately. After we got into town, I got a message that he was going to do the Bike Masters ride.  I figured I'd better go. I don't think I would have ridden at all since a week of eating restaurant (mostly buffets) food after about 3 weeks of injury related inactivity left me feeling a bit sluggish.

 When I pulled into Bike Masters parking lot, there were maybe 30 people there.  Maybe more.   I got out of the car and started getting ready.   "Do we have any new people here today,"  somebody shouted.  I ignored it.  I just kind of wanted to slip into the ride without any sort of "My name is Fred and I'm an alcoholic."

After nobody confessed to being "a new person,"  - I mean, if anything, I'm an old person - somebody called me out specifically.  All eyes were on me.  I glanced over to Spence, who seemed to be enjoying this.

"I'm Fred in name and title,"  I said to a huge uproar of silence.  There are more crickets out there than you'd think. So we got rolling and after about 45 minutes or so, somebody came up to me and said, "So you're Fred, Huh?"

 "In name and t.., er. Yes I am."

At this point, I don't remember the name this person invoked because I was shocked by the content of the rest of the sentence:

" [Forgotten Name] says you're a climbing monster."

"You take that back, mister!" I snapped, figuring this guy was making fun of my poor fitness and slow, up the hill advancing technique.

"No really.  I thought you looked big for a climber, but after that last hill, I saw what [ Forgotten Name ] was talking about."

"Perception is a funny thing," was all I could muster.

Observation(s) about 4 weeks off the bike:  It makes you slow.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Cocky Giraffe

Once upon a time, (I've been in Disney World for a week) there were 3 Giraffes (I've been in Disney World for a week).  They were the best of friends for as long as they could remember.  Their names were all stupid and cutesy sounding.  They probably even rhymed or some shit.  But that doesn't make any sense, so let's make them brothers.  Yeah, the giraffes were brothers.

Once upon a time (still in Disney) there were 3 giraffe brothers.  There names were Larry, Gary, and Terry.  Larry was the oldest and he was always trying to persuade his brothers to do things they weren't supposed to do.

Usually, Gary (the middle Giraffe) would have no part in it, but Terry (the youngest) was always trying to prove he was the toughest giraffe of all.  Through a series of increasingly dangerous challenges issued by his big brother, Terry had learned that attitude goes a long way.

By the time he was an adult giraffe, Terry had tangled with lions more times than he could remember.  The lions were actually afraid of Terry.  Any other giraffe would bolt at even a hint of sideways glance from any lion (even a girl one).  But Terry would shoot his patented cold giraffe look right back at them and they'd quickly look away, pretending to read the morning paper or something

There were stories that some of the younger lions (at their own folly) refused to believe.  Inevitably, some naive young cub would have a go at Terry.  The older lions would always get a huge laugh out of it.

Terry usually responded to one of these attacks the same way,  He'd begin running like he was trying to flee, then he'd start limping like he'd pulled up lame.  That would give the young lion a false sense of victory.  At the moment the lion lunged for the kill, Terry would dodge and drive those stupid little horns into the neck of the charging lion.  Shocked and humiliated, the lion would scurry away in disgrace.

Oh - also - I want to mention that I've spent the last week or so listening to my boys tell me all of their corny jokes.  Some they've heard from television.  Some they've learned from friends.  Some they've just made up.  These are the real gems.

Anyway, let me get on with this brief vacation post.  I apologize for the way it jumps around and stuff.  I have had very little time to work on it since we've been out "disneying" all week. I'd say this isn't actually a post at all.  It's more like a rough giraffe.

Dedicated to my sons.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Extra: KOM Cops

So I haven't been out riding much lately.  I've been injured.  I picked it back up Wednesday, but I'm still kind of nursing the injury.  I don't want to get myself back into the same place I was a couple of weeks ago.

I like recording my info on Strava.  When I first got excited about Strava, I would look for potential KOMs to beat based on their location and the wind direction.  I know it's silly, but I got into pretty decent shape trying to get KOMs.

Then I got kind of tired of the idea.  I will not go out of my way anymore.  Usually if I get a KOM now, it's because Spence isn't on Strava.  I'll go for a group ride and hang on for dear life to Spence's wheel for a while.  When I get home and upload to Strava, I'll see that I have a whole bunch of new KOMs I didn't know existed.  KOMs that would be Spence's if he were on Strava.

But once in a great while, there will be one around my neighborhood that I want to get.  Usually at the end of a ride if I'm feeling froggy, I will give it a go.  When somebody beats one of mine in my neighborhood, I take note and next time I'm in the area, I try to beat it.  Usually, I don't.  But every once in a while ...

Anyway, Strava sent me this note this morning:

Uh oh!  My first thought was "So what.  That's a lame KOM anyway.  It's a 22 second effort.  Well, 18 seconds now.  Golly.  He beat me by 4 seconds.  That's pretty good.   That's a tall order.  Who is this guy?

Holy Effin Ess!!!

At one point he was cruising up Dodge street at 49 MPH!  That's moving.  He shattered a bunch of KOMs so in my jealously, I cried foul and flagged the ride.

Now when you flag a ride on Strava, they require an explanation.  I said, "It's no fair.  He's too fast."

The real reason Barry is disenchanted with the Corporate cup

They used to have delicious pancakes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Effin Literature, Cotton

Whylom as olde stories tellen us,
Ther was a duk that highte Theseus;
Of Athenes he was lord and governour,
And in his tyme swich a conquerour
That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.

-- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knightes Tale.

I almost always have a book I'm reading.  It comes in handy while I'm drinking morning coffee or for the 2 minutes between when I comfy cozy into bed and doze off.

It takes me a while to read a book.  I generally don't read while there's a perfectly good television at my disposal.

But sometimes I see a movie that I like so much that I decide to read the book that inspired it. The book is almost always way better than the movie, so I figure if I like the movie, I'll love the book.

The problem with this is that if you've already seen the movie version, it is hard to get the actors out of your mind when you read the book.  It is way better to read the book first.

I saw Fight Club before I read the book.  The great thing about Fight Club (the movie) is that it is so faithful to the book that imagining Ed Norton/Brad Pitt is not a problem.  It still happened, but it didn't harm the story at all.

Interview with a Vampire, on the other hand was so unbelievably horribly cast that even though I saw the movie first and ended up reading the first 5 or so vampire books, every time I thought of Tom Cruise as Lestat, it made me sad.  Like when you frown and stuff.

Lestat was blonde and girly like.  Tom Cruise is a big dork.  See?  Bad casting.

Before I finish up tonight's entry, I will mention that I am invoking the original agreement.  Any post is acceptable.

I have nothing to say.

Sometimes, the movie is better than the book.  There is one movie in particular that is not only better than the book.  It is better than the sum of all works by the author.  And it's not even that great a movie.  It's just a really bad writer.  Of course by now you must've guessed, I'm picking on Geoffrey Chaucer.

A few weeks ago, I was at our bookshelf, looking for something to read when I came across a little red paperback called "The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer"

Now I'm no 14th century expert or anything, but I know who Geoffrey Chaucer was.  I mean when I think about it, I'm surprised how much I know about him.

For instance, did you know that he had a terrible gambling problem?

Yep.  Totally true.

Most of what I know about Chaucer comes from the 2001 docudramedy, movie, "A Knight's Tale"

So when I saw that we actually owned a copy of Chaucer's work from that time, I was eager to start reading.  I figured it might be a little boring or something, but it'd be pretty cool to see how close the movie was to the original.

Yeah - so that passage at the top of this post is the first sentence or stanza or whatever the hell it's called from Geoffrey Chaucer's "THE KNIGHTES TALE"

After reading that, I kind of scanned through the book, looking for the name William Thatcher.  Or the part where Chaucer introduced the young Knight in the style of Michael Buffer.

But no.  Just a bunch of misspellings and crazy talk.

In conclusion, "A Knight's Tale" the movie is pretty good.  The original book sucks.

And that's why they make you read that shit at school.

One more thing.  That ridiculous sentence at the beginning of this post?  Thankfully the edition of the book I have, has all of the corrections along side it.  I guess when Chaucer turned in the assignment, they made him go back time and time again until all the spelling and grammar was fixed.

I'm pretty sure his homework was returned to him like this:

But after he got it all fixed up, it said:

Once upon a time, as ancient stories tell us,
there was a duke who was named Theseus,
He was lord and ruler of Athens,
and such a conqueror in his day
that there was no greater under the sun.

I'm sure these corrections earned little Chaucer a gold star and everything, but it's still nothing Heath Ledger would have signed on for.  Rawr!! I mean, Rest in peace, Heath.

I like how it looks like the original script from Chaucer is on the inside of a piece of paper that says "OfficeMax" on it.  That's just eerie.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Extra: The Waiting Room

The whole visit to the chiropractor was pretty much doomed before I ever got hooked up to the L. Ron Hubbard devices during my extensive magic evaluation process.

Before I was called in, I sat for about 20 minutes in the reception area.  I now have a smart phone, but I had left it in the car so my only option for amusement while I waited was "looking around."

There was a television with a bunch of healthy living facts.  These were still photos that would cycle through with all kinds of information.

The main thing seemed to be the importance of drinking water.  That's fair.  But the amount they said you should drink.  No way.  It said people need to drink 1.5 ounces of water per pound of weight per day.

My thought was if I weighed 150 lbs, I would need to drink nearly 2 gallons of water a day by their formula. Even if they were talking about Kilograms of weight, that's still about a gallon of water a day.  Then came the punchline:  Even more if you exercise.

So - I weigh about 190.  I need a baseline of 285 ounces (2.23 Gallons) of water a day, plus more if I go for a ride?

No - because another infopic pointed this out: "Don't like exercising?  Do something fun instead.  Go for a bike ride.  You'll get some of the same benefits as you would if you did real exercise."

Seriously.  It said that bike riding isn't exercise.

So - this place was losing points with me in a big hurry.  After watching the info screen for a while, I looked to the bookshelf in the corner for some entertainment.

About every other book had a title along the lines of "The Vaccination Lie" or "Immunization Facts."

Oh boy.  What the hell is this place?

It was with the thought that I was visiting a bunch of harmonic convergence hippies that they called me in to the office where they applied their scientific healing stones to my spine.

I remain skeptical of the value of chiropractors.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Making a Believer

Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war  -- George Carlin

About 17 days ago, I became slightly injured.  I'm not exactly sure how it happened.  Jack was doing Devo Dirt Militia cyclocross training and I was off in a corner trying to work on dismounts/remounts.  

After I was done, there was a slight pain in my shoulder.  No biggie, I thought.  Just a little soreness.

I rode a couple of times that week (it rained a lot) and the injury never quite went away.

Labor day weekend was a fantastic 3 days of riding.  Great weather after all the rain we'd been having.  I went on 3 long group rides.  With each one, my shoulder got worse.  The pain became a constant problem.

By Monday, I was favoring my left arm on the way to the ride.  I should just go home, I thought. Then I thought, Ah, it'll probably loosen up.  My first instinct was the correct one.

The pain got worse as the 75 mile ride continued.

I really did some damage to it. Whew.  I'm pretty stupid.

I haven't been on a bike since.  Well, just once to ride a couple miles to a bar that first Friday.  Even that was painful.  Other than that, it's been 10 days off the bike.

Constant pain and tingling in my fingers kept me from exercising.  I figured I'd wait it out until it got better, but it wasn't getting any better.

I had a similar issue (same thing actually, just not as bad) about 18 months ago.  I went to the doctor and was told I could wait it out.  I was able to ride through that one though.

I figured if I went to the doctor, I'd hear the same thing or surgery.

A friend of mine swears by the chiropractor.  I've never been a fan.  Maybe it works for some, but generally not for me.

In this case though, I was desperate.  I have to get back on the bike.  So I went to my friend's chiropractor to see what he'd say.

My problem with chiropractors is it seems to me that people who go to them just end up going in for adjustments  forever.  It seems like treatment for some lifelong condition, not healing an injury.

My friend explained this to the chiropractor before I showed up.  He said, "Don't try to get him for some long term deal.  He just wants his shoulder fixed."

The chiropractor said, "No problemo.  I'll give him a pop and get him on his way. And hey. Tell him the first one's on me."

Well, how could I turn that down?  If they can get me back on the bike, cool.  If not, nothing lost.

So I went.  I filled out a bunch of forms and they did an "evaluation."

I had to stick my fingers on some sensors for about 5 minutes to get my e-meter auditing or my midichlorian count or some shit.

After the measurement and some x-rays, I was sent on my way.  No bone cracking.  Just e-meters and x-rays.  For free.

I was told that the data would be evaluated by a team of trained auditors or whatever and that I should set an appointment for the next day when the healing would begin.  Also, that was the part that cost money.  Doh.

The next morning, I went back to the chiropractor where I learned that I might be the most disfigured human on the planet.  There is all kinds of stuff wrong with me. I wanted to object.  I have been examined by a real doctor recently and on several occasions. He didn't mention any of these grievous deformities.  He did lovingly call me Quasimodo once or twice though.

You say this all happened at cyclocross practice?

There were about 5 or 6 different aspects of my nervous system being evaluated that day.  The most disturbing of them was the revelation that because of my extremely malformed skeleton, my body cannot use energy nearly as efficiently as it should.

According to the quackometer test, I use 64% more energy than a healthy person to perform any task.

Obviously, my first thought was that if they fixed me, I might have to eat less to maintain my weight.  Unacceptable.

I heard nothing after that.  I knew it was complete bullshit.  What if it wasn't though?  I'm currently at 36% normal human energy efficiency.  When I get to maximal, I'm going to be yelling at cars to get on the sidewalk!

Anyway, the guy cracked my back and told me what he needed to do to get me healthy.

Remember, 2 weeks ago - I was completely healthy.  I hurt my shoulder,  I needed it fixed.

The plan back to health for me as suggested by the chiropractor:  14 months at $200 a month.  Friend prices, Of course.

What a bargain.

Later that day, when my friend (the one who likes the chiropractor) was doing the old "I told you not to try to sell him a plan" dance at the chiropractor's office - the chiropractor said, "Oh just the shoulder?  Yeah, I can fix the shoulder.  Send him back in."

As the wise George W. Bush once said, "Fool me, can't get fooled again!"

So that was a huge waste of time.  My shoulder still hurt, my fingers were still tingling and I was still not riding my bike.

I was out of options so I asked myself "What would Brady do?"  I knew the answer from all of these.

So yeah.  Yesterday, I went to Mike Bartels, who performed some voodoo physical therapy on me and gave me some exercises to do.  Yesterday and today were the first time I've done them.

I did not expect a whole lot when I made the appointment.

Judging from the way I felt all day today, this was the way to go. I wish I'd done it a week ago.

Today was the first day in 17 days I had no pain in my shoulder.  There is still tingling in my fingers, but it is down about 70% from what it's been for the last 2 weeks.

The exercises I'm doing are grueling, but I can feel them doing their job.  I'm very happy.

So add me to the list of people saying, Go see a chiropractor right now.  It will change your life because your life will be "going to the chiropractor." Mike Bartels if you get some sort of nagging injury.  That guy knows his stuff.