Saturday, May 03, 2008

Watching Girls Go By

Hey there's no Saturday morning weigh-in!

I remember a few weeks ago I tried to "be a friend" to someone, a friend who was unhappy over a soured relationship, and I said totally the wrong thing. At least, I thought it was the wrong thing, so I apologized the next day, and got a sort of "you are forgiven, and I appreciate that you care" hug, which was nice in its own way but I was also struck by how small and frail my friend felt; in my eyes she always seemed ten feet tall.

Listening: various Yes CD's, mostly Classic Yes and Close To The Edge, over and over since the trees bloomed.

Tough end to a tough week yesterday. Work was OK, then I got home and did a hot lap on the towpath. I was far enough ahead of my normal game that I managed to get in a short ride at Sals, just fifteen minutes on the Orange Loop and back out at Reeb. I was riding fast and well, and felt really stoked. Until...

The geese are nesting right now along the canal, and when they have chicks they can be very aggressive. I've never really had a problem, but last night one goose actually attacked me, and in fending it off with my foot I kicked it -- keep in mind I'm also doing around 20 mph, so the blow was extra hard. Even big birds are build kind of delicate, and I could feel a sort of sickening crunch when my foot connected with the goose's head. It let out a kind of yelp like a dog does when you accidentally step on its toes, and over my shoulder I saw it all knocked out and flapping on the ground, with its mate and chicks milling about. Not my finest moment, and the image stuck in my head for the rest of the ride.

When I got home I called the Game Commission, and they didn't seem too be too worried so I figure it's not as big a deal as it felt to me, but it did not put me in the best of moods for the evening -- from "Sister Bluebird" to goose murderer in about three hours.

I decided to go out, and went down to Pearly Bakers for dinner, that's where I ran into a big chunk of the Which Brew crowd: "Hey we're taking this place over!" Had a good conversation with Lara, then when she & Fred took off I got to talking with Andy about his house, which he's been renovating over the past few years. He's almost done, and was talking about the issues that have kept him off track: he'd been having trouble staying focused, especially after the death of his father, and of his friend Xantha last year.

Well, Xantha. Say what? I knew her too, not well but she was a pretty girl, easy to spot at a party (like one of Andy's parties) or at Porters, and she was very active with the Downtown Civic Association scene so you'd see her just about everywhere at things like the Scarecrow Festival, or out at the Farmer's Market with her toddler son Rocco. Just a little less than a year ago she was going to a family get-together in Maine, and apparently lost control of her car-- she died at the scene, and her young son died on the way to the hospital. This was horrible news, even if it was old news to everyone but me. (I was just so freaked out I didn't really believe it -- and I also could have swore I saw her at the Scarecrow Festival or the Garlic Festival last fall -- so when I got home last night I googled her obituary.) Rest in Peace Xantha, and rest in peace Rocco --- I remember teaching him how to throw pebbles at the party I linked to.

I hit Porters for one beer after Pearly Bakers, ran into Andy again there and followed him over to Fugly's (I am on the prowl for a new hangout: Porters is a "yes," Fugly's -- not so much) but I called it an early night; I just wasn't in the mood.

I woke up this morning kind of stressed and depressed -- yoga class, take me away! And that's exactly what happened... We started with a kind of meditation, two minutes of sitting across from each other, silently looking into each other's faces. (I was paired with a pretty girl so I didn't mind, but where were my walls when I needed them most?) Standard yoga class after that, but we also worked "tree pose" as a group: arms to shoulders like a chorus line, and it was interesting to feel the movement and sway, almost like wind in a forest.

Coffee shop, gym with Dawn -- first time with her in a month, much catching up to do -- drycleaning, oil change, then I hit Eskandalo for a haircut. Got an earful of current events and gossip from owner Alison, but I will not be repeating it, at least not here... We're all so fragile.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Just Thought I'd Mention

By the way:
Just sayin...


Morning weigh-in: 170#, 7.5% BF
Hit the gym, then hit dinner at Porters -- and apparently I hit it pretty hard. I thought I'd been fairly sensible & careful, oh well. Not a very fun night anyway: it was open-mic night, not the best of entertainment options, and once again I attracted a loony -- drunk dude sitting next to me thought I was Tommy Chong, and attached himself to my ear on that basis. I texted my friend Stu to invite him on tonight's towpath ride, and found he'd already moved to Florida, like last Sunday. WTF? But that explains why he & Cathy weren't at Which Brew for those last days...
Like I said, tonight is a towpath ride, then I'm probably staying in -- I have to work on the bike some more, I have to keep away from the calories, I want to hit early morning yoga tomorrow, and I will also be messing around with the computer. (If you look to the left you'll see that I've added a few links, including my friend Greg aka MTBSailor's new blog, and I will be adding a few more tonight, as well as culling a few of the less interesting ones; I also have about 100 North Carolina photos to upload, and I want to get moving on that.)
My new cycling glasses came yesterday, two pairs so I now have a backup. Michaux will probably be rainy, so I must get the fogproofing thing happening too.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Uzumaki, Zodiac, Just a Spring Clean For The May Queen

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 7.5% BF
Happy Birthday, Minamata Disease! You poor fuckers...
Yoga last night, pretty decent and I didn't get beat up too bad, and I could already see the influence of that Max Strom workshop.
(By the way, I just got an email: Kelly, my original yoga teacher and a fellow mountain biker, gave birth to her baby boy at 3:45 AM today. Eight pounds two ounces, 20 inches; he will probably be named Noah. Congratulations Kelly and Michael, and welcome Noah!)
Dinner was Porters, a late-week laundry night, but it just wasn't the same... it was still good though: I had the "Turkey Dinner Sandwich" and washed it down with a few brews from my list -- I am now 15 beers away from earning my third mug there. Scott the bartender joked "Oh sure, they all come crawling back now that Which Brew's closed!" but the truth is, I spent more time in Porters during the WB years than I ever did before that. They were not hurting before Which Brew and they won't be hurting for business now, but there was a synergy going on between the two pubs that will now be missing.
Tonight is the gym, then grocery shopping and a little bike work. Michaux is Sunday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mourning In Springtime

Morning weigh-in: 166#, 8% BF
Picked up the bike last night, took it up to Sals and turned a hot lap -- 58 minutes (rolling time) for my standard loop -- on my new fork. The verdict is still out, I'm not sure, after one ride, whether I will like an air-only fork: it felt harsh & bouncy, but I noticed I cornered a lot -- a lot -- better, and of course I was going faster overall so maybe I was just bouncing more anyway. Ran into Doug & Eric, and Doug commented that the fork maybe needed more air pressure. I didn't want to mess with it on the trail but I'll be setting the preload tonight, and there are plenty more adjustments still to come.
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go: Well, my instincts were correct: going to Which Brew last night was the right move, because last night was the last night. (I can remember the first days there, just about the time I started blogging.) I walked in for some dinner, the place was packed and Brujos was playing "The Weight" -- it was all I could do to keep from crying, but things brightened considerably, and everyone was saying their goodbyes-that-aren't-really-goodbyes, or at least I can hope that's what they'll turn out to be. Last thing I ate there was a plate of nachos (I am avoiding wings, and I had the cheeseburger Monday), washed down with a couple of Franziskaners; I stayed until last call and, since they were out of Jameson, I had a Tullamore Dew & Ginger Ale to finish the night. What's past is gone, we've had five years and it's time to move on. So uh, until next time...
The Vision Thing: My "new" glasses (which I got maybe 4 years ago) finally shit the bed the other day, and I am now wearing the backups I bought at the same time. (I actually think I like the backups better than the ones I usually wear/wore, but they were less of a radical change from the old style I was trying to get away from at the time.) I could probably do with a new prescription as well, and will be dealing with this over the next week or so -- I must get my stylish friends together to help me make the right eyewear choice. Meanwhile, my riding glasses are having end-of life issues of their own, but I've had trouble finding replacements without resorting to stores I don't like. Things got even worse over the weekend, so when I got back from NC I bit the bullet and ordered new ones from Optics Planet. They already shipped and should be here tomorrow -- we'll see if they managed to get the order right on the first try.
Tonight is yoga, first time on a Wednesday in maybe a month. I am going to get my ass kicked. Meanwhile, I don't know where my next meal is going to come from.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tyrant King Porn Dragon

Morning weigh-in: 167.5#, 8.5% BF (partial pig and python, neh?)
Man, I likes my crazy when it's all crunchy and good with ketchup...
Anyway, Black Mountain. The basic gist of the riding down there, at least for the routes we took, is that you climb for the first half of the ride, then the second half is all descent -- Black Mountain was uphill for the first eight miles or so, but it was non-technical, and a fairly easy climb except for the staircase hike-a-bike near the top. The descent went on forever it seemed, and was crazy fun until it ended abruptly and waaaay too soon. ("Forever" and "way too soon" -- how does that work? Like childhood summers I guess.) We were near the cars, but did another short section, up a little and then down to the road, for a total of about 17-18 miles.
We had a few mechanicals, so we stopped in at the bike shop on the way home, then somehow drifted by one's and two's over to the Mexican restaurant next door -- our plan, decided in the aftermath of our travel day's lunch stop, was to not eat Mexican again, but they had 42-oz margaritas and tasty gloppy food and the next thing you know... The rest of the afternoon was spent on the porch of our "cabin," basically napping.
More bike stories later I'm sure, and pictures eventually as well.
Last night I dropped the bike off to get my new fork installed. (Not a hard install, but I wanted them to do the tube cutting etc.) Dinner was Which Brew, possibly the last Monday night there; I met Brian there and told him about the trip, and also hung out with fellow rider Anne. I also got to see Jim & Alison's wedding photos, and later learned about a female cyberpunk author, whose name now escapes me, from Christina. A pretty good night there, all in all.
If all goes as planned I'll be picking the bike up tonight, and riding Sals to get the suspension dialed in. (My backup plan is the gym.) Dinner? Probably Which Brew again -- this week is very likely the swan song, the final stretch. It seemed like forever, but now, too soon, it's coming to an end.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Friggin Finally!

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Another milestone: this photo just passed the 100-views mark after sitting at 99 views for weeks. The photos from Megan's party were once among my more popular ones, but they got bypassed & left behind...

Lotta cuties in this photo, and they're all really cool people. (This is the original crew, of which I used to say they made feel young but they also made feel old sometimes. Whippersnappers.) Smoe have moved away, and a few of them I don't see much anymore for whatever other reasons, hope they're all doing alright & are happy.

Back With A Vengeance

Morning weigh-in: 169#, 7.5% BF
So, one pound a day, that's quite a vacation... lotta bad food choices, aside from the usual suspects: beer, wings, more beer, etc. Oh well, I had fun.
To Recap: Wednesday was our travel day, eleven hours on the road starting at 6:15 AM from Greg's house. I traveled down with Doug in Eric's car, while Rich drove Greg and Bob. (Dave -- self-employed and essentially nocturnal -- caught some ZZZZZ's after playing a show, then traveled down on his own a few hours later.) Our "cabin" was really an old house, rural and very nice but on the wrong side of the tracks, tucked in between a trailer park and the recycling center, and with an abandoned factory and power plant up the street. We got there a little before 6:00, unpacked and got ourselves settled in, then hit downtown Brevard looking for food.
Unfortunately, they roll the sidewalks up early in Brevard, at least on weeknights, and especially "this early in the season," as the locals kept telling us -- I never found out what season they were talking about, biking, kayaking, or just "summer tourist," but whatever season it was, it wasn't happening in Brevard just yet, and most restaurants were already closed by the time we got there. We ended up eating at Dugan's, an "Irish" (read: redneck, as our waitress informed us) bar which was actually really good; this was also where Dave caught up with us. Our waitress was way cool, and gave us a few nightlife tips, but even the bars were closing by 10:00 or so. (Those tips came in handy later in the week though.)
Thursday morning we rolled out of the cabin, consulted with the local bike shop guys, and ambled over to Pisgah National Forest, the entrance being about a mile from the cabin and visible from the bike shop, for our first ride: Black Mountain.
To be continued...