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.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Time I had to go to the Principal's office.

I was called to the principal's office one time in my life.  It was the last semester of my Senior year.  I almost made it all the way through my school career without a face to face with any principal.  Almost.

Then when it happened I had no idea why.  I hadn't done anything wrong that I could have gotten caught for.  I was always discreet in my indiscretions.  I was not a good enough student to be praised for any sort of academic achievement.  I can guarantee you that when I started writing this post about 2 minutes ago, if you would have asked me, "Will the word 'flummoxed'  appear in this post twice?" I would have said, I don't believe I've ever used that word before, so it's a good chance you won't be seeing it tonight even once.

But walking that long mile to the principal's office, I was flummoxed.  I decided it must be some sort of recognition for being super-duper.  I knew I wasn't in any kind of trouble.  So I went in feeling pretty dandy.

I didn't know the principal at all.  I had never talked to him before.  To me at the time, he looked kind of like Darrin Stephens from Bewitched.  Not the cool first Darrin Stephens, but the dorky second Darrin Stephens.

Even though he looked dorky, I admired him.  He was the principal of a big high school.  He had the courage to do this with one of the worst possible names for a principal.  G. E. Moller.  First of all, you've got the "G. E."  then of course the last name that sounds like a tooth.  And if you don't know, the "G" stood for Gaylord.  Our Principal's name was Gaylord E. Moller.  Dr. Gaylord E. Moller to you.

Knowing that he ran a school with a name like "Gaylord", I was terrified of him.  He must be a total badass, I thought.

But again, I wasn't worried because I hadn't done anything wrong.

Waiting in the reception area, I saw a few students going in and out.  Most of them were surprised to see me.  I started to feel a little bit like a stud.  "Yeah, I'm pretty much a bad boy.  I'm in the principal's office.  Don't "F" with me, bitch!"

People were walking by outside and knocking on the window to wave to me.  All I could do is raise my hands in a "I have no idea" gesture.

Finally, I was called in.  I sat down in front of Dr. Moller.  He didn't look happy.  So much for the "super-duper" thing.  He was reading a 3X5 index card.  He finished. Removed his glasses and looked at me.

"Is this yours?" he asked as he slid the card across his desk.

To my horror, it was a card I had filled out at the beginning of the year.  I had indeed written what was on it.  I never gave it a second thought.  It was a stupid joke as far as I was concerned.

The first day of senior year at Omaha Central High school was a distant memory for me.  It had happened about six months before this visit to see Dr. Moller.

I was not in what I'd call a "jocular" mood that first day. Mostly because I would never use the word "jocular."  But I was feeling pretty damn froggy.

I was ready to get this year over with and be on my merry way to real life.  I hated school.  Especially high school.  To me, every year since kindergarten had gotten progressively worse.  No way I was going to college.  I could discern the pattern and I wanted no part of it.  Ironically, just about everything I hated about school was corrected in college.  But that's another story.

In homeroom of that first day of senior year, the "teacher" handed out 3X5 index cards.  We were instructed to write down our name and plans for after high school.  If we were going to college, we should say which one and what we plan to study.

For some reason, I didn't see this going anywhere.  I didn't know why they wanted to know (it had something to do with the graduation ceremony, so my response was not at all appropriate).

I had no intention of going to college.  I worked at Wendy's and figured that's what I'd be doing after high school.  No way I was putting "I'm going to work at Wendy's"

 So I wrote down something I thought was funny.  I'm going to repeat it here, but I want to say that I am embarrassed by it.  I wrote: I'm going to Millionaire school. I was going to go to Billionaire school but I couldn't afford the tuition.

Just now - typing this, I sighed heavily.  Probably not that different from the way Dr. Moller reacted when he read it 3 decades ago.

"You must've been in a pretty jocular mood that day,"  Dr. Moller yelled after making me read it to him.  Even after I tried to read it in my best funnyman voice.

I think if you were allowed to bring a drum kit into the principal's office, it would be nice.  A well-placed rim shot can do wonders.  I mean, it's pretty obvious from my Millionaire School joke ...  I know comedy.

Anyway.  In the end, I was forced to give the good Dr. a real answer. I considered saying, "I've been accepted to Harvard, but he would already know that I hadn't.  Millionaire school was more likely.  I was under the gun.  I still couldn't just say, "Work at Wendy's"  so I asked myself, what's an answer he will believe? What would a loser do?  I mean cooler than Wendy's, but still a loser.  Then inspiration struck.

I was looking at Dr. Moller who needed an answer right now.  In my mind, this answer was way funnier than the other one about Millionaire school, but I was pretty sure he'd believe it.

"I'm going into the Air Force," I finally admitted.  I was thinking - I would go into the coast guard but I can't afford the tuition.

My heart jumped for joy when I saw him accept that answer and edit my 3X5 card.  The idea of me joining the military was beyond absurd.  They got out of school and volunteered for a life of getting up even earlier.  No effing way.

Boy were my parents surprised at the graduation when they read of my plan in the program.

Anyway,  at graduation, when Dr. Moller called me up to receive my diploma, I said something to him that I hadn't said to anyone in the whole 3 years I went to Central.  Up until high school I had usually corrected everyone.  Then I just stopped at 10th grade.  I didn't care anymore.  But it somehow seemed important at graduation.

"It's pronounced 'Hinsley',"  I whispered to him as he handed over the sheepskin.

He laughed and spoke into the microphone -  "My apologies, Mr. Hinsley.  I guess you weren't in my office enough for me to know your name."

That one got a good laugh.

Good guy, that Dr. Moller.