Friday, December 28, 2007

Picture time

Well, it's time for another few pics. You've got one of me in my most recent cyclocross race. Yup, the overweight dude gasping for life in blue, that's me. Somehow I ended up 10th, even though I fell apart on the last lap and a half and lost three places. The TX state championships are on the 12, so wish me well in San Antonio.

The rest of the pics are of my Spitfire. Not sure what to name him/her, but in the meantime I riped out most of the interior, cleaned out the trunk, and began cleaning everything. Plus the electrical system is mostly operating, save the hazard flashers, maplight in the storage cubby, and stereo. Well, it might be better to call it a radio. As you can see it in the picture, it's a total late 70's radio. I'm almost tempted to put it back all that era specific sound will come blasting out of that speaker.

Yes, not only is the car about as technologically advanced as a hammer, the audio system is equally primitive. One speaker in the cubbyhole. Can't wait. The tonneau cover is in really good shape, the kick panels, dash brace, top boot all are getting better. I am in the process of cleaning them gradually. Every time I work on the car, I clean the top and all the other bits. I need to see if the top is worth saving or if I need to replace it. That tan bit, the top boot, covers the top when it's folded down. Problem is, now I'm trying to figure out what color to repaint the car and what matches the boot cover.

Like these are any real problems, I know, but it keeps me out of trouble.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sad day

Today is a sad day for a few reasons. Bhutto is dead, the tiger is dead in CA, and a little girl died on Christmas day in San Antonio after being hit by a car while riding her new bike.

I'm tired of politics, but with Bhutto's assasination, I'm really saddened. Though her career wasn't marked by any huge achievement, she was a calming influence. The great tragedy is that now there will only be finger pointing and distrust. Even if some radical group killed her, it looks as if Musharraf is responsible. Which opens up Pakistan to some radical to step into the void. Not what I want to think about considering nuclear weapons are in play here.

The tiger appears to have been taunted. I'm upset because I've helped a friend who is a vet examine bengal tigers in the past. Very playful and loving, but also immensely strong. A cub knocked the wind out of me when we were wrestling and he smacked me with a paw. I knew I had to respect him and the others. Now the father of the victim is typically blaming everyone and thing except his son. I'm sorry you lost your son, but I'm reassured that Darwin was right.

Lastly, say a prayer for the family in San Antonio who lost their little girl. She was so excited she got a new bike Christmas eve, but was told it was too dark to ride. Christmas day she was allowed to ride, but had to stay on the sidewalk. Her brother went inside for a drink, and she rode in front of a car at an intersection. The driver had stopped and was starting to get going again when he hit her. I know accidents are many events that stack up against someone, but this really gets to me. An innocent 7 year old is killed by her enthusiasm on a day that should be rewarding her youth. I really hope she's riding her new bike totally care free from now on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Hopefully you all had a good holiday. Mine was pretty good, and I'll bore you with details. No, just kidding.

I'm a jaded person, I admit. Born in NY, 100 miles from NYC, and it's a genetic trait. What made my Christmas were two things at work. One, a family came in with a young girl who was afflicted with some kind of dwarfism. I was reluctant to help because I saw all these kids piling out of the van, it was the end of the day, etc. But then I saw who this little kids bike was for, and suddenly it wasn't important the time of day.

I had to cut the seatpost twice, and we had to add blocks to the pedals, which my coworker Ron helped with. It took some dooing, but it was well worth it. The parents said how all she wanted was a bike, and she was so excited to be coming to the bike shop. She said thank you with a big smile as she left. I'd have stayed the extra half hour for free if I needed to.

Christmas eve I helped a man whose foster grandaughter was mentally challenged but wanted a bike. We went through all the options, and since she was too big for a kid's bike, we finally found a pretty bike that we were able to put a handle on that would give a steadying hand as she learned. This was because no training wheels fit a full size bike.

The grandfather said this would make their Christmas perfect, as she really wanted a bike. I can give a damn about the high dollar exotica I play with in the business if I make kids like this happy and feel like they're not being left out, to give them a little bit of experience of a normal childhood.

Finally, my father in law and his mother came up from Mexico, as well as my mother in law from FL. Presents don't matter so much when you don't get to see your family that often. Material things break, but memories only fade, they never totally go to black.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And so it begins

I took a few hours the other day to start the rebuild of my new car. Of course, first I had to get it over to where I'm going to be working on it. That involved renting a tow dolly, etc. It went well, except for me not being able to push the car off the dolly. I ended up chocking the rear wheels and then slowly driving forward. Then it was a matter of easing the car down the rest of the ramps with the emergency brake.

I was able to make a good list of what needs to be done, and even bgan some work. Things are mostly as I thought or better, so I'm excited. I even got the engine to cough to life for a few seconds without really trying. That's a very good sign. Here are some more pics. I see the diamond in the rough.

I also still have the state cyclocross championships in a few weeks. I'll be happy with a top 10. Oh, and that Samantha, our silly cat. She thinks she runs the house. Dreamer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Any doubts about my sanity?

Well, if you've ever met me, you'll know I'm unique, just like everybody else...hmmmm. Anyway. Today I need some help. I'm on a quest for certain Dr Seuss book. It's the one where a kingdom is below sea level, and there are two shifts of cats, one at night, one at day, to keep these birds from eating the roots of the trees that keep the sea from crashing in. Anyone have any idea what story that is?

Now, to really let you know how insane I am, I just bought a 1977 Triumph Spitfire. It needs some work, but I have had many Spitfires in the past. The question is how long will it be before it's road ready? Crazy. I know.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sometimes it's not fair

I have a job I love. Of course, I wish I was paid more, but don't we all. However, I just got back from Morgan Hill, CA. Home to the world HQ of Specialized Bicycles. In a word: fantastic. I got to ride bikes I dream of owning in breathtaking scenery (well, it was the hills that were causing the breathlessness) and learn all kinds of cool things.

I'd bore you to tears if I told you what I learned, but this pic is my idea of paradise. Everyone rides there. All 180 employees. The newest employee already had a bike, and she had only been working for about a month. Every once in awhile you'd see someone zipping down the hall to the cafeteria on their bike. How cool is that?

In the halls alone there was almost $1,000,000 worth of bikes laying around. No locks, just leaning against the wall. At lunch there's a training race. Most people take a ride in the middle of the day for an hour or two. Pretty neat.
So maybe the weather was wet and cold, and I rode for a few hours yesterday in the pouring rain and sub 50 degree temps, but it was worth it. Besides, if I crashed, it wasn't my $9,000 bike that would have been mangled.
On the way home some kids behind me in the plane were pounding the back of my seat. I popped up over the seat and asked them to stop, and when they resumed a few minutes later, I popped over the seat again. This time I told them to not make me get out of my seat, to which the mother took offense. I told her maybe she should sit with her kids instead of behind them and try parenting.