Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trying new things

I would never make it on a show like Fear Factor. I used to think I could eat something nasty for money but now I'm not so sure and I'm positive I couldn't lay down in a bathtub full of giant hissing roaches.
My job tends to have it's moments when everything is running smooth and there is nothing going on and sometimes we get bored at work and end up doing some funny things. One of the guys I work with was talking about his Thanksgiving meal and all the food that was there. (Food tends to be a subject that frequents our conversations) Anyway he mentioned that his mother-n-law cooked a big pot of Chitlins for the Thanksgiving meal. For those of you who are not familiar with Chitlins go here to learn all about them.
As soon as he mentioned the word Chitlin, we all perked up, started asking questions and making funny comments. I'll not repeat some of the comments made but as you can imagine they were pretty gross.
Before I knew it someone talked him into bringing in the leftovers and I got talked into trying a bite. Yesterday sometime around lunchtime I got the call over the radio that the Chitlins were ready and if I was a real man I'd come in and try them. As soon as I walked in the room I was told they taste alot better than the smell. Hmm... that doesn't sound good. As soon as my buddy open the container I knew it was going to be bad. Several of us tried them and I think only one person was able to swallow it down. As soon as the Chitlin hit my tongue and I got a couple of chews in I made my way to the trash can and spit it out. It was pure nastiness, They did not taste better than they smelled in fact they tasted just about as bad as they smelled.
When I was doing a little research this morning I ran across a couple of recipes for Chitlins. I noticed something they all seemed to have in common, the phrase "prepare out in the yard". I can't imagine what it would do to your house if you cooked those things inside. Talk about a smell that would linger, I don't think you could ever get that stench out.
I guess I'm going to have to earn my money the normal way, at work not on some reality show.

Friday, November 28, 2008

earnin' the turkey

This year we decided to be prepared for all the food we were probably going to eat over the Thanksgiving Holidays by depleting the systems of all extra calories and then some. In other words we earned our Turkey and dressing. Wednesday Melinda and I loaded up the bikes and dogs and headed over to the local trailhead for some singletrack action.

You can always count on Jackson to wait on you at the top of the hill.

It turned out to be a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine.

Thursday morning I got up and headed over to Johnson City for my fist 5k race since last spring. The Turkey Trot 5k has been going on for quite some time on Thanksgiving morning starting at 8:30 am. When I arrived it was 29 degrees out but the sun was up and thawing off the frost. My plan was to bring the camera along to take pics of all the weirdos you see at these events. Right off the bat I spotted 2 kids wearing nothing but those gay running shorts, shoes and a smiley faces drawn on their chest, nothing else. I snapped their photo and asked them if they were with Jack Ass, they looked puzzled for a minute and finally when the light came on they laughed. I'm not sure what happened to the photo but when I find it I'll post it up.

Me, Alan & Angie waiting on the start

Their was a huge turnout, probably over a thousand runners, walkers, kids & dogs. Next year I'll bring Moonshine along for the run.
One mile in and feeling good.
It was a great way to start off the day that was until I got back to my car and realized I locked the keys in the car. I drove Melinda's Subaru but when I got out of the car I got out my truck key and left her's in the car. Not good. Did you earn or burn your Turkey or are you storing up fat for the winter slumber?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Night riding at work

Working a swing shift schedule has it's good and bad effects on my riding. It does allow me for more riding time than most but a majority of that is by myself or with my dogs. During the winter alot of my friends don't have the option to ride during daylight hours except on the weekends. So there tends to be several group night rides throughout the week. I don't mind riding at night but if I had my choice I would definitely pick the day light hours as my riding time of choice. While I do enjoy riding during the daytime I do miss out on the companionship and fun of riding with a group of my buddies. This weekend I am working nights and while I need to sleep a good portion of the day it's sometimes hard to get out and ride before going into work. We do have several bikes at work that take alot of abuse and get neglected, sometimes I wonder why they let the bikes get in such bad shape with all the emphasis our company puts on safety. I doubt you'll find a bike in our quiver that doesn't have something wrong with it. Bent wheels, broken pedals, flat tires and gripless handlebars are the norm at my job. I still enjoy riding around the plant as much as possible. Although it's not as peaceful as singletrack snaking through the woods and sometimes the smells can make you hold your breath I still enjoy the ride.
Last Friday night was no exception, I needed to run some samples to a lab at the other end of the plant and it was dark and freezing outside but I decided to ride instead of taking the truck.

No lycra to be found here and instead of a fancy bike helmet I swapped it out for a hard hat. I did have a head lamp though but it was a 5 watt halogen running on AA's, no lithium ions.

My faithful steed for the evening. A steel singlespeed Schwinn cruiser, complete with a bent basket on the front perfect for loading wrenches, drums of oil or whatever is necessary for the job.
I can't complain I would much rather be doing this job than holed up in some cubicle staring at a computer screen all day.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Moonshine's new ride

I've been meaning to post a picture of Moonshine's new ride for a while but I kept forgetting.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Let it snow

I didn't wake up to a winter wonderland like everyone else here in the greater Tri-Cities. I worked nightshift last night and saw it coming. I did go to bed this morning to a winter wonderland which was nice. I did spread some grass seed on my yard when I got home at 6am this morning while the dogs did their business (chasing cats, eating the neighbors cat's food, and crapping in the neighbor's yard). I've taught them well. Speaking of the neighbors, how dumb and lazy is this. They feed their cat with a paper plate, outside which Moonshine gobbles down faster than I can stop her. Then the plates, yes plates blow around the yard and mine. What do they do? Pick them up? No, they just set more paper plates out. I guess they're trying to train the cat to pick them up after he eats or maybe they think the paper plate fairy will be by to throw them away for them. I was chasing Moonshine out of their yard as usual and I notice 5 paper plates laying randomly in the yard. I love my neighbors. I'm about to stop chasing the dogs out of their yard, maybe that will get their attention.

Grrr.. for some reason all of my photos that I upload are too large and seem to be keep cut off on the right side. Not sure what is causing this hence the new layout of my blog. I'm trying everything to fix the problem but I haven't had any luck, yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Karate Monkey Comeback

That's right, a black Karate Monkey was seen in the woods near my house on more than one occasion this week.
The cold weather has kinda got me down lately so I decided to try running again a couple of weeks ago. My plan of attack was to just take it easy and slow and see how my back felt. I didn't want to push it and cause my injury to flare up again. So what did I do I went down to our local park and cranked out 4 miles. Not too shabby since I haven't ran at all since this spring but I felt good so I kept going. I knew the next day would be the real test but I was pain free. I woke up feeling good other than a little sore in my legs but it was the good kind of hurt. Since then I've been running a couple of days a week. My plan is to be back at running events this year.
Since the run went well I decided to take the Karate Monkey down off the wall and stretch her legs a little. I rode it out at my local trail twice this week and other that feeling a little beat up from the rigid front fork it was a good couple of rides. I think I've gotten a little soft with the suspension up front on the Mamasita. I do need to replace the grips on the KM, they're looking a little worn and I've had a new set of juegos de fuegos sitting on standby for when I stepped out of the sick bay. I think I'll put em on tomorrow and take her out again.
I did take the dogs out with me yesterday on the ride, man they were fired up. Jackson barks at me constantly in the parking lot. It's kinda hard to get ready when he's in your face letting you know he's excited and ready to run.
Saturday Melinda and I are heading up to NC to get a Christmas tree. Should be fun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dirt Rag celebrity

I know I've been slacking on my blog posts and it's not that I haven't had much to say it's that I haven't had much time. I originally wrote this post a couple of days ago but it's been sitting in my draft box ever since.

I've been working alot and picking up some overtime here and there to pay for the holidays. On the home front we've been doing various projects around the house and in the middle of refinancing. I'll never understand how these people whoever they may be can come up with so much stuff to read. Our application package came with over 10, 11x14 pages of legal blah, blah, blah to read and I have a hard time understanding any of it.

I've been a loyal subscriber to Dirt Rag magazine for 3 years now and I've never been disappointed with their magazine until this month. Well in all honesty I wasn't really disappointed in this month's issue. I was disappointed my picture I submitted did not make it to print.

Two issues ago a fellow reader suggested that the editors at Dirt Rag put together a cycling tattoo gallery with artwork submitted by the readers. They did and so of course I immediately sent the an email with my photos of my newest edition on my left arm. Two issues later the gallery was there. I opened it with the anticipation of a kid at Christmas. The gallery was not really that great in my opinion but it was cool that they did it. I've seen better cycling artwork but I guess those folks didn't submit anything.

I did make it into Dirt Rag's online Tattoo Gallery check it out here.

The holidays are upon us are you ready? I'm not it looks as if I will be working, we never close.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall Creek Falls

This last weekend Melinda and I loaded up the dogs, camper and the bikes and drove down to Fall Creek Falls State Park for the TN Mtn Bike Summit put on by IMBA and SORBA. Basically it was a meeting that talked about working with land managers and parks for building mtn bike trails on public land. While the meeting was good and informative it kept us inside for the majority of the day on Saturday when we would have rather been hiking and biking in and around the beautiful state park. We did get to do a group ride with everyone that was pretty fun but I'm not sure it was an actual mtn bike trail. It was a mile or so of singletrack that turned into doubletrack, a 10 mile out and back.

The trip was interesting and fun but I wished we had more time to see the falls and explore more trails. I promised Melinda we would go back next summer. Most of us NTMBA folks all camped together thanks to Brandon who managed to save a us a few campsites. Some of us got there late and the campground was filling up quick with hunters. Not a good weekend to be there with hunters running around shooting guns. We did have the opportunity to camp with the ETSU mtn bike team, some of which I knew and some of which I didn't. Those guys are an entertaining bunch. There are alot of funny stories to tell but I'll keep them to myself. Maybe next time those of you who missed out will go and experience it for yourself.

I will share a little photo essay with you, don't expect a bunch of pretty nature pics like I said we missed alot of the scenery.

Camp & Jackson

Jackson sticking his tongue out at me.

Joe and I gathering firewood the old school way

We didn't waste time cutting it up.

We just kept moving the log in the fire as it burned and it worked perfectly.

What's up with you and the tongue Jackson?

Although it started out as a group ride, they obviously didn't have a no drop policy. Not that we were to worried about being dropped, but some didn't even wait on people who flatted.

The road to the trailhead. Joe tried to convince me that blue jeans are the new lycra, I'm not falling for it. I think he just forgot his shorts.

We passed this half pool, half creek thing. I'm not sure what to make of it but it did have a diving board and lifeguard chair. Obviously it didn't work out to well and it looks as if they abandoned the idea. It made for a cool photo though.

"Trail" what a great name for a trail. Yes it got dark on us as we rode out and I think there were only 2 or 3 with lights. That's real night riding for you.

One of the highlights of the weekend, well at least for Anthony and I. We got to meet David Crosby. He's a serious partier, we talked to him forever just to get a photo with him.
I'm not 100% sure it was David Crosby but he sure did look like him especially with his hat off.

One of our chairs bit the dust and we needed some more firewood so I tossed it on. I know it wasn't very green of me but look at it this way, it won't take up space in some landfill.

Melinda and the kids. Jackson and that tongue again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Goin campin'

Tomorrow Melinda and I will load up the dogs and the Pancake Shack and hit the road to middle TN. We're camping out at Fall Creek Falls State Park for the Tennessee Mountain Bike Summit.
It should be alot of fun, the Oskar Blues Brewery will be sponsoring the event. You can't beat free beer. I've not ridden the trails there but new trails are always fun especially when your riding with friends.

Optional ride
8 pm - Welcome event/social (beer and snacks provided).
9 am - Mtb impacts in Tennessee
10 am - Threats to mtb access in Tennessee
11 am - Opportunities for new mountain bike access in Tennessee
12 pm - Lunch
1 pm - (Panel Discussion) - Forming an alliance of autonomous mtb organizations to address state-wide mtb issues.
3 pm - Ride
6 pm - Dinner on your own
8 pm - Social (beer and snacks provided).
9 am - Ride

I'll try to take lots of pics so those of yall who didn't get to go can see how much fun we had. Have fun at the game A.S.S.

I've been on the hunt for a new camping grill lately and all the ones I've seen have been ridiculously expensive. $40 was the cheapest one I could find. My old Coleman was getting pretty nasty and rusted and like an idiot I let it go. I was in Wal Mart the other day and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a bunch of grills stacked in an odd place. I knew Walmart had already moved out the grills in favor of all the Christmas decorations and the holiday junk they're already shoving down our throats. Please, Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away. Do they think just because they've already got the Christmas stuff out we as consumers will be more likely to spend more money on Christmas this year? It's getting ridiculous.
Sorry, back to the grill, there they sat about 20 of them marked down to $20. I grabbed one and headed home. I immediately opened the box to check out my new $20 grill to find out that it was in a million pieces. I guess that's why they were so cheap. It took about an hour to put the thing together only to find out the latch that holds the lid shut during transport doesn't work. Rather than take it apart and trade it in for another and spend another hour putting it together I'll probably just improvise with a bungee cord. That's why God made them and duct tape to fix things that don't work worth a crap, right?


Forgot to post this earlier: Moonshine's growth that we had removed came back clean from the lab. It was just a harmless fatty growth and they took out her stitches today. She'll be back on the trails this weekend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dog Food Surprises

Who knew that when I open a bag of dog food (Pedigree) that I would find a surprise in there for my self. Every once in a while Pedigree will throw in a new bone of some sort they are wanting Moonshine and Jackson to try out but not this time. It was something cool for me. Every bag has the usual little plastic wrapped set of coupons that I normally just throw away. I have nothing against using coupons but they're hardly ever anything we can use. I was about to throw this one away when the words "Free T-shirt" caught my eye! Sweet, I'm all about some free T-shirts. I quickly opened it up to find an entry form for the T-shirt and a requirement of 2 UPC bar codes from dog food bags. We have 2 large dogs one with a huge appreciate so we always buy 2 bags at a time. I cut the bar codes off, filled out the form and promptly sent it off in the mail. It said the normal 8-10 weeks for delivery but who cares it's free, right? No less than 2 weeks later I received the goods in the mail.

It's a pretty cool shirt I think anyway. I like black and the logo rocks. Dogs do rule. The current Pedigree commercials that show dogs who get adopted always seem to bring a happy tear to my eye. If we had a bigger house and alot more land I could easily adopt 3 or 4 more. Both of my kids came from the local pound and I couldn't ask for better pets. I'll never buy a dog from a breeder, there are just too many dogs out there that get put down everyday because someone just didn't have time for them.

I also received a nice little package from Twin Six, some stuff Melinda and I had ordered. They had a huge sale and we just couldn't pass up the deals.

My favorite.

Today is election day so get out and go vote!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun weekend

Hey what did you do this weekend? Beautiful weather right? Heck yeah. I was out in it. Cranking valves running around trying to save the plant I work at. My throat was sore all night last night because I was yelling in the walkie talkie all day. It's really loud at my place of business. I work at a coal gasification plant and 95% of the time it runs very smoothly but when it doesn't things can get very interesting. As much as we all dread the day when the gasifier shuts down it actually makes for an exciting day. It shut down Fri afternoon and it took us about 36 hours to bring it back up only to have it shut down again yesterday afternoon. The bad thing is, the engineers don't know what keeps shutting it down. It gives us no warning. Hopefully they will figure it out before I return to work on Tues night.
Enough about work, I think I will take advantage of the beautiful day and get out and hit the trails. This weekend Melinda and I are heading over to Fall Creek Falls State Park for the Tennessee Mountain Bike Summit meeting. Should be alot of fun. Riding some new trails and talking about building them with some like minded folks.
Don't forget to go vote tomorrow!