Sunday, December 30, 2007

I nearly forgot....

Christmas present....
I hope that everyone has a GREAT New Year!!!!
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

An email forwarded to me by my wife....

Read This Slowly

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack." No smile.

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once."

Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" "I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct ." Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?"

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack, in the car"

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.

The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.

Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?

Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke?

Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.

A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left."


Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message; please pass it along to your friends. Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.

Funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the sanctity of life, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.

Pass this on, you may save a life. Maybe not, but we'll never know if we don't try.

May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. "I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."

Thanks, Judy

Ride safe.

Peace out, yo!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The BIG day....

Self portrait.... She wants to play with her toys....
Her "old" toys....
It was good.
Jackal and Moo brought Rhea down for Christmas this morning. She liked opening her presents but seemed more interested in playing with her "familiar" old toys than opening packages. She received lots of nice things and was smiling and happy, but she still found her way to "her" toys..... Funny how that works. Ya gotta love it!
Back to work tomorrow. I'll be in Pella, Iowa on Thursday to look at a printing press similar to one that we are considering purchasing and then back in the plant on Friday. I love these short weeks! I think I could handle it every week....
Not much else to talk about. I hope everyone had a great Christmas.
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas....

The Queen of Cross has designs on taking over for The Big Guy....
Carlie and Adam, Brother of Jackal....
Cedar Falls mall at 2 p.m. today....
Waterloo mall at 3:30 p.m. today....
Judy worked at the Credit Union this morning, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to join me on my annual Christmas Eve shopping trip to the malls. I could tell you that I pick up a few last minute gifts on this day but that wouldn't be true. You woudn't believe me anyway.... I do all of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Have for years. My normal shopping partner, The Jackal, had family comittments today so I convinced Judy that it's the best time for Christmas shopping. I don't know if she'd admit it or not but I believe that she now knows it's true. No one at the malls, not a lot of traffic, no lines. The sales help were friendly, the selection was great, and the sales were on in full force. Woohoo! What more could you ask for?
We were at Bike Tech at 12:30. I'd called ahead and Chris had what I needed right there waiting for me when we got there. The Thin Man was trying his best to make some point of purchase sales and was dealing with other customers. We chatted a bit and he said he'd look for a "rare" item for me. I'll bet he finds it! It was good! By 1 p.m. we were at Village Inn for lunch. I told Judy that 2 p.m. is the prime time to start shopping..... We entered the mall in Cedar Falls at straight up 2 and took care of business then headed across town to Crossroads Mall in Waterloo. We didn't spend an hour there and we were on our way to Hy Vee for a few grocery items then across the street to K Mart for some wrapping paper and other small items then we came home. We made it by 5. Perfect. I should write a book on Christmas shopping. On second thought, maybe not. Men already know how to do it....
I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all of you, my friends and family, and to everyone else who stops by to check out this little spot of Nirvana thru-out the year.... Those of you who comment, well, you make me smile:)
Merry Christmas.
"God bless us, every one...."
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Beautiful day.......

Last summer. About 80F....
This morning. Brrrrr....

I hope it's going well for everyone. I need to get my Christmas shopping started.... :)
Check out Chris' blog. He got an ouchie!
Have a great day!
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Emily and Rhea....
They're buds.....
Ben took Rhea all around Toad's at lunch today and introduced her to everyone.... She likes to get his attention. Ben is a Bar Keeper at Toad's and was enjoying his day off. She usually flirts with him when we're there. We figure that she'll probably become a waitress there while she goes to college. We'll see.......
I'm either going to go out and do a run/walk for awhile tonight or go for a ride. The roads are just crappy enough to make me lean toward the run/walk. A little more ice and I'd be fine with the studs, a little less and I'd be fine without. It's a conundrum! Oh well, I'll be getting outside for sure. 17F, I believe, right now.
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Transplant surgery....

Jackal removing the old organs....
Bottke's fixie. Yeah, he rides it to work....
Installing the new organs....
Bottke observing the surgery....
I planned go up to the shop tonight after I was done skiing and posting to the blog. About the time that I clicked the mouse over "publish this post" I also decided to take the Surly out for a ride. I put the headlight on it and told Judy that I'd be back in an hour or so. She said "whatever" and mentioned something about keeping my dinner warm in the oven. What a sweetheart! (It's code for "I'm not waiting for you to eat. I'll save what's left for you to eat when[if] you get back") It works for us....
I rolled out of the driveway and headed west toward Cedar Falls. I got up the street a ways and decided that as long as I was out and about I may as well ride to the shop and see what was going on with the rats. Not a whole lot, as it turns out. Jackal and Bottke were working tonight and Russ walked out the back door as I rolled the Surly in the front door. We sat and BS'd about cx racing and bikes for awhile when Jackal walked over with a bunch of "Surly Green" water bottle cages.... Yeah, I had my debit card with me and I had him transplant two of them onto the Surly. The red and yellow cages are gone. Replaced with matching green ones. Jackal mentioned something to Bottke about selling things like that to people who didn't really need them. I think he was saying "watch for the customer with SUCKER written all over his forehead". Ah well, they do look pretty cool.
Speaking of Bottke.... He's still riding to work, which is cool. Keep in mind that there is a lot of ice on the roads around here and that his fixie is running 700x28 road tires. No studs. No knobs. The man is fearless. He qualified his statement regarding "not having gone down" with a big "yet". Smart man. He did mention that he has some 700x40 studs coming. Good on ya, Bottke! A little bit of G-Ted must be rubbing off on ya, eh? I'm pretty sure he'll be riding to work all winter.... :)
I'm thinking about studs for the cx bike. I just can't make up my mind on it. The Surly is great with studs and it doesn't have gears to get all gunked up. We'll see.
Alright, that's really it for today.
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!
XC Skiing....

I'd guess that we have about 4" of snow over 2" of ice....
Someone having snowshoe classes? Teach some trail etiquette....
See how easy it is? Snowshoes to the left, skis to the right. Easy....
I went out this afternoon for a couple of hours on the XC skis. Nice! The established ski trails have been pretty much obliterated by walkers and snowshoers, but hey, whatever works for you...... I suspect that someone is teaching snowshoe classes in the area. I've never seen so many tracks. Wow! If that's the case I'd hope that trail etiquette would be one of the subjects, but apparently it's not.
Annual "1st time out skiing rant" off. Thanks for listening.
Has anyone been out to the Greenbelt? What's it like out there? I'm excited to have enough snow to ski so early in the year. It puts a dent in the saddle time for awhile but the country roads will be ok for riding soon. :)
I was able to come home from my semi-annual dental appointment this morning saying "Look Ma, no cavities". Cool!
That's all I have for today. I'm going to shower and then go bother Jackal at the shop.
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Today's Dose of Politics....

The following is a comment posted on Pete's blog. Reposted with his knowledge. Enjoy..... ;)

Father/Daughter Talk

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of "the redistribution of wealth." She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed.

Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0? That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican party."

Ride safe.

Peace out, yo!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas comes early....

One down, five to go....
Santa sent me an early Christmas present via one of his most trusted elves tonight.
Thanks, Fat Albert. (Jackal delivered it nice and cold......)
Ride safe. (careful on the trainer!)
Peace out, yo!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Snow Ride, Take It Easy....

Out in Hartmann....
The weatherman says it's 13F. So does the 'puter. Oh well....
Gunk hanging from the bike....

I was reading some blogs this morning and decided to mount up the studs and take the Surly out for a ride. It's ice underneath about 3 or so inches of snow, so it worked out fairly well. I headed to the gravel road that runs through the Hartmann North Unit and saw that someone had been out on xc skis already. Good for you, whoever you are!
It was pretty rough going through there because the boot prints from the people who have been walking out in the woods have frozen pretty solid so I rolled up Lookout Park Hill when I came to the end of the road through Hartmann. I can't say that I went up fast, but I was able to ride the entire hill. It' a bitch today, to say the least.
Then it was down Grand and into Cedar Falls. Interesting ride, for sure. My computer said it was 11F outside when I left but the thermometer at the Chamber of Commerce building in CF said 23 F. Hmmmm..... The weatherman on the tube and my computer both say it's now 13 F outside. It feels like 13 F outside. Whatever. The high today is supposed to be 19F. It's all good! Maybe 23C is 11F? I'm sure that someone can do the calculation for me.... (actually, I know it's not. LOL)
I think it's time to take a shower then go to lunch. After that it looks like there will be a bit more shoveling out in the driveway. Perhaps I'll go get my hunting license this afternoon and go deer hunting in the morning. The weather is perfect for it!
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Christmas Poem....

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
surrounded by love, secure I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!" For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
So that your family can sleep without fright.
It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers"
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled,
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Ride safe.

Peace out, yo!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day....

Looking out the window this morning I notice that the inch or so of new snow that I shoveled when I got home last night is about all we received. The prediction was for up to 6" of new snow. I'm glad not to have to shovel again this morning.

I'm looking at my calendar for December and notice that we remember Hanukkah, MLK jr's birthday, and Kwanzaa but there is no mention of Pearl Harbor Day. December 7th, 1941. I wonder why that is? Just curious.

I'm thinking about the shootings a couple of days ago in Omaha. And the ones in Columbine a few years back. And all of the shootings which have involved young people taking up the gun. Then I think of the 40 years or so that a very small percentage of our population has fervently spent attempting to create a Godless Amerika for all of us. And the 30 years that a segment of the population has (successfully) been shoving "Political Correctness" down our throats. You know.... No winners. No losers. No hurt feelings. No consequences...... Just dissatisfied mediocrity.

I think that there is a connection.

To me, it doesn't seem all that difficult to figure out. It isn't the gun. I think that we've forgotten to teach our children how to deal with life. You know, that place where we have winners and losers. Responsibilities and consequences. Bliss and agony. We forgot to teach them that we have to figure out a way to deal with life's problems every single day.

Like it or not, life is real. Sometimes we get our feelings hurt.

It's not a video game. You can't hit the reset button and start over if you don't like what's happening to you.

It isn't always easy. Of course, it doesn't have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it, either.

Oh well. What do I know?

Time to get ready for work. More later. Have a great day!

Ride safe.

Peace out, yo!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fat Albert, aka: Mr. Fudge Round....


Anyone that is interested in a lightly used, high end mountain bike should check out Jackal's Carbon Rush. It's a sweet ride and it's for sale! The price is a bargain. Surf on over and take a look. I rode it once last summer and it's unbelievable. It almost goes by itself!!!!

We got a light dusting of snow last night on top of the 2 inches or so of ice that we received on Saturday. I chipped that crap for about 4 hours on Sunday without making a lot of headway but Judy and I went out last night and got most of the driveway done with the slightly warmer temps. (28F) Brutal! Whoaaaaaaa! It's in pretty good shape now though, so that's a relief. I'm getting too old for that stuff!

Fat Albert is apparently drinking beer and riding the rollers in his unheated garage. He claims that he is so fat, and generates so much body heat while exercising, that he turns the frost on the garage door to steam. That's some serious exercise. I hope that Tony or Doug never have to go pick him up after he falls off the rollers and give him mouth to mouth. No more fudge rounds, Fat Albert!

That's it for now.

Ride safe.

Peace out, yo!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Walking in Hartmann....
Looks like a bike has been here....
Baby Rhea in her "Sunday go to meetin'" duds....
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Frozen Saturday....

Manatt Lake is frozen....

Hartman North singletrack....

South Riverside Trail....

Yup, time for the temp in downtown Cedar Falls....

UNI plays Delaware today. Go Panthers!!!!!!

A fire would be nice....

Yeah, we have freezing rain today....

I left about 7 this morning for a ride on the Surly. The wind is wicked today! ESE at 23. The temp is 23F and believe me, it's freakin' cold outside!!!
I headed north on Hackett to the singletrack just past the bike path and then into the woods and over to the gravel that runs through the north unit. Back onto the singletrack at the west end of Manatt Lake and over to the prairie. Rode through the prairie to the gravel again and then back onto the bike path and over to Cedar Falls. From there it was out to Big Woods Lake and then to Lone Tree Road and Center Street. Stopped at the Prime Mart for Bug Juice and a brownie. I needed something to drink because my water bottles were frozen solid by then. The brownie just plain looked so good that I had to have it! Yummmmm......
From there it was over to Cottage Row Road and back onto the bike path over Snag Creek, through Island Park, and into CF. By then my fingers were cold and the freezing rain was starting in earnest. Ice was accumulating on me and on my bike and I had to scoot!
The sewage treatment plant is RIPE today! I still can't believe that they are planning to build "upscale" apartments in the green area there along the river. They have already told the business owners on the north end of Main Street that they will be taking 100 of the parking spaces in the lot just outside the back door of The Thin Man's shop. There are barely 100 spots in there to begin with and not a lot of parking anywhere nearby. Dumb. A distinct lack of common sense and a city that sees no further than a slight increase in it's tax base. They may add a bit of property tax revenue but they will make life extremely difficult for the business on the north end of Main. I think it sucks. I also think that they need a good architect and an engineer that have no vested interest in this project to take a look-see before they go any further. I think that the odor from the treatment plant is a lawsuit waiting to happen if they build housing there. Not only against the developer but also against the city for being so stupid. Oh well, what do I know? I know it stinks. Big time. In more ways than one.
I give my sincere thanks and a big nod of approval to the County Conservation Board for putting the temporary trail in on the north end of Big Woods Lake. Now there is a trail to replace the section that was removed last summer for the construction of the new campground. It may be gravel right now but it does connect with the west side trail and completes the circuit around the lake for the winter. YAY!!!! Someone must have realized that the trail gets used year round. Woohoo to whomever made that decision!!! Good call!
Local riders... Give me your thoughts on an "ice cross" race on Manatt Lake and possibly some of the Hartman North singletrack this winter. I have a vision for a short course that could be a lot of fun! (It would probably require studs...)
I think that's it for now. Have a great weekend.
Ride safe.
Peace out, yo!