Dec 29, 2009

In no particular order

Here’s a list of things that I wanted for Christmas, but I didn’t get.



Garmin Edge 500: Every day I’m reminded at work about the importance of data integration in order to make life simpler. With the Garmin Edge 500, I can have that. And I want that. Apparently I’ve officially drunk the ESRI Kool Aid if the reason behind me wanting a Garmin Edge 500 is data integration. Never mind that I don’t care anymore that Big Brother can track my every move when I’m equipped with my new Garmin Edge 500. I gave up on trying to dodge the Man years ago, when I started carrying a cell phone. Next Christmas I’ll probably be asking for a barcode tattoo so the Feds can label me with a number, and the Christmas after that, I’ll be asking for a computer ID chip to be placed inside my body so they can even keep track of me when I’m in the shower.



Compression Socks: Every day I surf the web I’m reminded of how slow I am compared to the likes of Julien Absalon, JHK, the Dart, and especially Jens Voigt. As a 36-year-old working-class bike racing hack, I need all the help I can get. If a pair of compression socks can even make me think that I could be getting faster, then I’ll take a pair and I’ll wear them all over town. I’ll take a black pair in size 9.



Steve Berg as my butler: Well, not only my butler, but also as my bike mechanic, welder, barista, and barber. And that’s not all he’s good for. I heard he knows martial arts, can play the drums, and since he’s straight edge, he’d make the ultimate Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. I used to think Trevor and Aaron were the Jack-Of-All-Trades, but I think Steve has surpassed them in that classification. When’s the last time Trevor or Aaron made me a pumpkin pie latte, gave me a straight razor shave, rebuilt my Rock Shox SID, and welded the crack in my car muffler all in the same day? Never. I think I’ll classify Trevor and Aaron under Master of None. Come to think of it, Steve hasn’t done any of those things for me either, but if he’s going to be my butler, you can be damn sure he’ll be doing that and then some. I’m confident his wife, Naomi, won’t even notice he’s gone.




A Frank Lloyd Wright house: If I’m going to have I butler, I guess I’m going to need a house. And what can I say about Frank Lloyd Wright and his houses that haven’t already been said on Wikipedia? The man’s house designs are right up my alley; simple with straight lines, yet elegant as hell. One summer when I was working the Honda Wing Ding in Madison, WI, I passed up the chance to tour a few of the houses Wright had built in the Madison area. Instead, I went drinking with the guys from Dunlop, which led to a no holds barred bread eating contest at Carrabba’s. Pound for pound, I won, but today I feel like a loser for not going on the Wright tour. Anyway, it sure would be nice to have a low-slung Wright roof over my head to keep my Garmin Edge 500, compression socks, and butler warm and dry during this freezing California winter ahead.

Hopefully you got everything that was on your Christmas list; even if it’s over-priced, fattening, frivolous, made in a sweatshop, can shoot you’re eye out, is bad for the environment, and can be used by the Man so he too can see you when you’re sleeping.

Dec 16, 2009

I stand before you today not the same man I was in Y2K

You needn’t be Ken Jennings to figure out that ‘tis the season for the media and nearly everyone with a blog to reflect on the past twelve months. And because we’re also nearing the end of a decade, many are reflecting on the passing of the last 120 months.

Case in point, Rolling Stone Magazine recently listed their top 100 albums and songs of the decade. I’m satisfied to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ song “Maps” made it into the top 10. The same song made another magazine’s top 10 love songs of all time. I agree. The angst ridden song could be #1 for tunes that “stir your emotions and then stab you in the heart” if there was such a list.

Other notables, in my opinion, from the Rolling Stone list of songs of the decade are The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” in #6, my Amy’s “Rehab” in #8, and the Man in Black’s version of “Hurt” in #15. If you must read the entire list, you can find it here.

As far as their list of the decade’s best albums go, I’m content with the fact that Radiohead’s Kid A is numeral uno, and that Jack and Meg made it to #5 with Elephant, and even pleasantly surprised that Arcade Fire’s Funeral is listed as #6, but how in the hell did Amy’s Back to Black get pushed back all the way to #20, why is Death Cab’s Transatlanticism way back in #57, and why Lord, why is Plans absent from the entire 100? I’m suspect of lists like these, yet at the same time, I’m also a sucker for them. Here’s the entire list.

Moving forward, the purpose of this is not to dwell on someone else’s list, but to create my own. What can I say about the 2,000s? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was… maybe, possibly, probably the greatest decade so far in my 36 years. The strange thing is that the first few years of the decade seem like a different lifetime to me now. In the years between 2000 and 2009 lies, to paraphrase Dickens a second time, a tale of two lives.

The motorcycles and all the fruits they once bear have ridden off into the sunset. That life and career has set sail, along with the house and the spouse. They’ve all been replaced by bicycles, geodatabases, and most importantly, a boy. If you go back through the archives of this blog starting in 2002, you’ll find the only constants are words and music. Oh, and the suffering. We mustn’t forget the suffering.

So actually, I don’t need to make a list of the decade’s best times. Here, in the lines and images of this blog, they already exist. The worst times? Just read between the lines…

Dec 9, 2009

The Bastardization of English Punctuation & Grammar

We’ve got a problem. All over this country, and the world too, kids are learning to read and write English with more bad and inaccurate influences than ever before. Due to the internet (blogs mostly), kids are now exposed to not only violent and sexual content, but poorly written content too. Until recently the most poorly written thing that a kid could get his hands on was a comic book, or maybe some P.E. Class Rules written by the basketball coach. The scary part is that a lot of the people writing on the web are of the age that they should have learned proper punctuation and grammar with few outside influences, yet they still can’t seem to get it right. Imagine how poorly the upcoming generations are going to write if they continue to read this crap. Have some self respect people.

Some want to save the whales. Some want to save the ta-tas. That’s all fine and dandy, but in the future, how will people make a statement about saving the whales and the rain forests if they don’t even possess the writing skills to produce a bumper sticker? That’s why I want to “Save the Written Word.” Let’s get started.

Quotation Marks
Place quotation marks before and after the exact words of a speaker or writer.

  • Greg said, "I drank with Edward today."
  • "No," replied Steve, "I’m cutting hair tomorrow."
  • "There’s a sale at Penny’s," he said.
Use quotation marks to enclose the names of television shows, short poems, essays, short stories, and chapters from books.

  • Everyone should read "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
  • Sarah Palin’s "Going Rogue" makes great kindling for a fire.
  • David Hasselhoff was drunk on last night’s "America’s Got Talent."
Use quotation marks sparingly to emphasize sarcasm, irony, or humor. Avoid overuse of this technique; if the irony or humor is obvious, there is usually no need to highlight it with quotation marks.

  • He’s a "professional" mountain bike racer.
  • The Saturday "World Championships" finishes on Victoria Avenue, west of Washington Street in Riverside.
Exclamation Points
An exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence or after an interjection to show strong emotion or emphasis.

  • Exclamatory sentence: Mark crashed again!
  • Strong command: Cover that break or else!
  • Interjection: F-word!

Beware of overusing exclamation points. Using them too frequently makes them less meaningful. Don't use an exclamation mark unless you're certain it's necessary and never use two or three of them in a row:

  • The singletrack was awesome!!!
  • Don’t be ignorant!!!

Capital Letters

Capital letters should be used according to these rules.

Use a capital letter for the personal pronoun 'I':

  • Why can’t I drink beer inside Barnes & Noble

Use a capital letter to begin a sentence or to begin speech:

  • The man did two cyclocross races in one day. Then he threw up.

Use capital letters for many abbreviations and acronyms:

  • P.Y.T. or PYT (Pretty Young Thing)
  • T.S.O.L. or TSOL (True Sounds of Liberty)

Use a capital letter for days of the week, months of the year and holidays:

  • Monday, Tuesday
  • January, February
  • Christmas, Beverage Day

Use a capital letter for countries, languages, nationalities and religions:

  • China, France
  • Japanese, Spanglish
  • Christianity, Buddhism

Use a capital letter for people's names and titles:

  • William Shakespeare, Chad Ochocinco
  • Captain Kirk, Dr Kevorkian

Use a capital letter for trade-marks and names of companies and other organizations:

  • Stone Brewery Co.
  • BevMo!
  • Alcoholics Anonymous

Use a capital letter for places and monuments:

  • London, Paris, Colton
  • the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Jerky Hut
  • St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Loch Leven
  • Oxford Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Mentone Boulevard
  • Asia, the Middle East, the Inland Empire

Use a capital letter for names of vehicles like ships, trains, bicycles and spacecraft:

  • the Titanic, the Starship Enterprise, the A-Team Van
  • Challenger 2, Sputnik, Madone, Mercedes, Yugo

Use capitals letters (sometimes!) for headings, titles of articles, books and newspaper headlines:

Bold Words

Bold words should be use to signify proper nouns, key points and significant messages. Do not over-use bold words unless the word is absolutely relevant.

  • When it comes to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.
  • Never a poster boy for sobriety, Shane MacGowan was kicked out of the Pogues several years ago for his erratic behavior.
  • The next installment of Save the Written Word will concentrate on sentence structure and parts of speech.

THE END

Dec 8, 2009

Nov 13, 2009

Did I tell you about this already?

That would be one Shane MacGowan sitting on a rolling equipment case at the Pogues show last month. After falling on his arse three times, they finally rolled out the case so Shane could sit and finish the show. He couldn't however make it to the final encore. His legs are old and weak my friends. Plus he had a few to drink too, I'm sure.

Nov 12, 2009

I’m due for a rant like this

Monday night I watched this documentary on the Fuse channel called "Punk's Not Dead." It started out well but about an hour in to the 2-hour program, it took a fatal dive at the mention of Green Day, Nirvana & the Offspring. From there it only got worse.

Here's the thing, those that know don't feel like punk rock really has much to do with the style of music you play. It has more to do with your general overall package - the way you live your life, the decisions you make, what you feel & believe, in addition to the style of music you do or do not play. It doesn't have to be about just the way you dress, or just the way you think & believe. It's a package deal.

I can spend way more time on this subject (and I have in the past) than I should. The bottom line is that as a performer when you start negotiating with corporate America (MTV, Target, etc.) you automatically give up your punk rock card. Period.

The only exception is when you've hit middle age. If you've made it all the way to middle age purely by just kicking out the jams and touring for all those years, it doesn't get much more punk rock than that. You deserve to treat yourself a little for your dedication.

All these other post pubescent prima donnas prancing around for MTV should be happy with the fact that they're millionaires and quit trying to label themselves something they are not, never have been, or never will be.

As for the N-word (Nirvana), if Kurt Cobain wouldn't have cowardly blown his head off, he could probably tell MTV in person all about how his over-rated band ripped off the well cemented sound of another band called Mudhoney. Nevermind. Nirvana isn't worth my time. As a "punk" band neither are pop sensations Green Day and the Offspring.

I guess I'll just sit back for the rest of my life, smile, and snicker (that was not meant as a candy bar product placement), all along knowing that I'm aware of something that THEY (sorry, but that means 99% of those reading this) will never know of. The whole world could be deaf and mute and there would still be punk rocker. It's not a sound, or an outfit, but a state of mind. I never want to live in any other state.

*This blog was typed on my BlackBerry. How un-punk rock is that?

Nov 10, 2009

Maybe instead of cross practice, I should practice caring.

This Wednesday morning cyclocross practice thing isn't going so well. Last week it was just me and Haglund. Steve was in Kansas for a bar mitzvah or a quinceañera or something. Neither one of us felt like riding hard so we skipped the practice part of things and just went for a lazy spin.

The Wednesday before that, I woke up to a cold windy morning so I laid on the couch in the fetal position, taking sips of coffee, and watching the morning news as Steve was busy trying to track down the rat(s) who broke into his garage and jacked his MTB and PowerTap wheel. Meanwhile, the guy who is not currently racing, but is the only one to have religiously shown up to "cross practice" week after week, rode alone. That would be Haglund. He wins by default.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to turn over a new leaf and actually practice my dismounts, remounts, accelerating out of corners, etc., etc.

I'm thinking one of the reasons why I can't buy a top-ten finish at a cross race may have something to do with my lack of practice. That and the fact that 15 minutes in, I stop caring. The race in Bakersfield this weekend was no different. It had all the potential to be a good race for me – with its mountain bike-like descents, loose sandy corners, and general hilly lay-out. But I failed to get clipped in at the start and played catch up for the first couple of laps before I just stopped caring. At that point I rode around for 45 minutes trying to look pretty and not get lapped. Mission accomplished.

Oct 22, 2009

But, there’s always next Wednesday

If I wasn't the assistant coach of Ryder's soccer team, the Jedis, I'd actually have a photo of him playing soccer. Instead I pace the sideline and the practice field like Vince Lombardi yelling orders to a half dozen 4- and 5-year olds. Being an assistant coach comes with some serious responsibilities and taking photos isn't one of them. Maybe I'll use my authority to designate a team photographer.

Speaking of soccer, or should I say, football, a co-worker just emailed me this info: Bars in the Veltins-Arena, a major football ground in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, are interconnected by a 5 km long beer pipeline. It is the favorite method for distributing beer in such large stadiums, because the bars have to overcome big differences between demands during various stages of a match; this allows them to be supplied by a central tank. Brilliant. The Germans get it right occasionally.

Speaking of beer, I've arranged a weekly cyclocross practice on Wednesday mornings at Prospect Park in Redlands from 7 to 8 AM, or whenever you puke. The course is about a mile and takes about 4 painful minutes to complete a lap. It's also a good course for a mountain bike, so if you don't own a CX bike, you have no good excuse for not coming out. We've done it two weeks in a row already and including dog walkers no one has died yet.

Oct 6, 2009

Finding the time to blog has been hard to come by lately. Sure, I could just spew out any mundane info about life, but I try not to do that. I've got some blogtistic integrity to uphold here. And besides, isn't that what Face Book is for anyway? Instead of writing about nothing or about my somewhat pathetic attempts at mountain bike and cyclocross racing at the elite level, I spend my time writing about hard-hitting issues such as

  • Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project
  • Copenhagen's public transport agency
  • Successful Integration of Survey and GIS Produces Accurate, Enriched Data for Less
  • Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority
  • Libyan Land Registry
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

It pays the bills. But don't lose hope. When I have good photos to post, it inspires me to blog and Trish has been taking tons of photos with her new fancy shmancy camera. Maybe if I can steal them from her it will light a fire under my arse and I'll be back up and running again soon.

Speaking of running, at last Sunday's cross race I punctured the front tire just past the wheel pit so I had to run the remaining 2.5 K of the course before I reached the pit and could get a new wheel. Then a few laps later the casing gave out on my rear tire so I pulled the plug on the entire race all together. Pathetic? Yes, I told you so. Mundane? Not so much. Thankfully there's nothing mundane about ruining two tubular CX tires within the period of one hour and having to run a couple K in cycling shoes while pushing your bike. I wonder if Trish got a picture of that?

The highlight of the day was getting to see Ryder do the kid's race. It was carnage out on the course, but he soldiered through, kept air in his tires, and came away with a medal. I think he's almost ready to remove the training wheels…

Oct 2, 2009

Some of my favorite Tweets from the last couple of months

lancearmstrong In my garage setting up new shoes, cleats, and pedals. Not many things I can't stand more.

michael_creed awesome, zirbel starts behind me. awesome. totally pumped. awesome

neilroad How the hell did the "Dixie Chicks" get onto my iTunes! This makes a man reevaluate everything he's ever done in his life.

Michael_Creed if this nation cared about honesty in the slightest, we'd kill all magicians.

Michael_Creed The walk of shame is far, far worse on crutches.

Slctbird Seen: A guy on a motorcycle being towed by a car at 25 mph, no lights on the Interstate late at night. Brilliant. #DarwinAwards

andyguptill In today's stage, Tyler Wren asked Jens Voigt if he was a terminator "because when you crashed in the Tour, sparks flew from your face."

andyguptill Jens answered "Yes, thank you. When I am done racing, I don't eat or sleep, I just plug myself in." !!!

slctbird It's amazing what one can accomplish when not beat-down from riding a bike all day.. Cleaned house, garage, car, myself. In that order.

johnswah Perfect example of why USA Today is a POS: http://twitpic.com/hbon1

slctbird Overheard a few weeks ago: "Bike racing is not about having fun. It's about crushing the dreams of others". Discuss amongst yourselves.

yotwells Big Congrats to the Dart taking his first World Cup win 1 week after winning U23 World Champs. Sure he will win many more.

freddreier Cadel Evans blames his loss on someone other than himself? Stop the presses on that.

neilroad Started to watch but it was so bad I turned it off. Painful RT @pjrabice: Jay Leno's monologue and jokes are killing me. Its just not funny

JeremiahBishop Kenda Booth sighning sweet new autograph cards!! Colin and Andy are here too people are taking pics of tinker as if he was a purple

Michael_Creed if @rockracing wants to shock people, they should try paying their riders. that would be nuts

velonews CrossVegas: The ProTour comes to Sin City http://tinyurl.com/y93udau%20

Michael_Creed Sometimes I like to play a little game called "Crazy or Bluetooth"

yotwells Run/hike, dirt jumps, cut down some trees, gym, driving range and now pizza, that's a good day

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mattfreemanrace

Friday’s 9.25 mile run



Sep 17, 2009

Game On

It's time to pick up a gun and start shooting.

Kenda Cup Unification Race, CrossVegas, & State Finals all within one week. And a little soccer too.

Aug 21, 2009

Of course, an office window might make me feel otherwise





I don't remember how, but I ran across this booked called, Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia clothing. Even though I'm fascinated with the life aquatic, I'm not one for surfing and as far as I know, I've never owned a thread of Patagonia clothing. It was actually the subtitle of the book, the education of a reluctant businessman that sparked my interest. I don't consider myself a businessman either, but I have always thought seriously of owning my own magazine, advertising or PR agency, but have been too reluctant to do much more than just think about it.


There was that time that I tried making a go of it purely on freelance writing, but I was young, my list of clients was too small, and I spent too much time riding moto and bicycles when I should have been at home writing. Maybe that makes me the ultimate reluctant businessman.


I'm only about a quarter of the way through the book and I'm already impressed with Patagonia's business philosophy and practices. Owner, Chouinard says he's always had a problem with authority and the traditional ways of doing business, which is why he started his own company in the first place. Being his own boss allowed him the time to climb, surf, and ski – all the while testing the hardware and clothing his company would eventually sell.


I too have always had a problem with authority and societal expectations. From inside my own body and mind, I know wrong from right. I don't need someone else translating it for me. That's how or why I became a writer in the first place. It allowed me to express my own thoughts in most anyway I wanted to, just as long as it followed the rules of the English language. That kind of authority I could live with. But just as man has evolved into a TV watching, fast food eating, video game playing, lazy sports fan lump, I let my guard down and my labor of love was extinguished and pried away from me by one with more expensive tastes and stronger convictions than I. One of my life's few regrets so far.


I guess the difference between myself and Chouinard is that he likes authority even less than I do and he's also less reluctant than I am. That's why he took the risk and I haven't. As far back as I can remember everything I've ever enjoyed doing involved taking sizable physical risks, but when it comes to taking a financial risk, I guess I'm a coward. I'm only willing to sacrifice so much apparently.


My longtime struggle with authority and societal expectations only gets worse as I get older and find myself with less time to do the things that I really enjoy. Through my dealings with foreign colleagues who are constantly on holiday, one thing is apparent; this country works too much. It may be the land of the free, but it's certainly not the land of the free time.


So what are my options? What is the alternative? Maybe Chouinard's book will help me figure it out. Or maybe I should write my own damn book.

Aug 17, 2009

At least he didn’t say basketball

Tonight at 7 pm I'm going to a kick-off meeting for Ryder's soccer team. He's only 4, so this is his first year of soccer. He recently said that he can kick further than any of his friends, and that could be because we've been practicing lately and he can put the thing pretty far. Or at least he does when his foot and the ball make the right connection. Still, I'm nervous for him. I realize that they're only 4-year-olds and there probably won't be a lot of soccer, by actual definition, being played, but I want him to feel as though he's good at it. If, for some reason, his teammates can kick further or are faster, or are more aggressive, I don't want him to get discouraged. It's easy to get discouraged at his age. Unfortunately he doesn't have the luxury yet of spending hours on his bicycle pedaling away the despair. That's probably a moot point anyway. Yesterday I asked him a simple question. "What do you like better, running or riding your bike?" He answered with, "Swimming."

Aug 5, 2009

Please consider history before not printing this blog

I realize that the practice may not be completely dead, but you never hear about someone having a pen pal anymore. Like milk men, pen pals have pretty much fallen by the wayside. Email, Facebook, etc. can be blamed for putting an end to pen pals. Because of the World Wide Web, its seems everyone has become everyone else's superficial pen pal. In the future, actual hard copy letters from one person to another are bound to be scarce. No longer will we get to watch a Ken Burns documentary on PBS where the narrator recites a heartfelt letter penned in actual hand writing on aged paper that reads:

My Dearest Loretta,

This may be the last letter I write to you. Cholera has spread throughout our office and I fear I have drunken from the contaminated water cooler from which it lives. As I write this letter my breathing is faint, my skin blue, and hand shaky. If this is my last letter yada, yada, yada...

Since most communication between people today is through email and other forms of electronic media that gets deleted, it means we'll lack the history and record of many personal relationships. It's kind of a double-edged sword. People want to save the environment by not printing emails, but what about saving memories. For almost the same reasons, the world is going to have a serious lack of printed photographs too.

So what's worse - a lack of trees or a lack of history?


 

"Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." - Bookends


 

This just gave me a great name for my next punk band; The Dead Pen Pals.

Jul 29, 2009

Dear Loyal Reader (Reader, singular)

It seems that work, Face Book, and Twitter have taken away my will to blog. But, I'm getting increasingly bored of Face Book and all its invitations, games, quizzes, etc. In my opinion Twitter is where it's at, but it can only survive if people are creating content on the web to link to their tweets. With that said, I plan to start blogging again (when time and inspiration permit). That would be considered "creating content," wouldn't it? Whether anyone will actually read it; now that's a different story.

In the meantime, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MattFreemanRace

I promise I'm not one of those twits who tweets about every mundane action throughout their day.

Jun 30, 2009

Jun 18, 2009

It seems these days I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some NKOTB who is bringing something new to the table. One of these new additions, specifically the new Very Unofficial Team Redlands Blog I welcome with open arms. I mean, in this high tech era of Face Book and Twitter, at least someone out there is still apt to picking up the feather quill pen in order to knit a roaring good yarn of a blog.

Since someone else has all the bike stuff well handled, I’ll concentrate my efforts on something that interests everyone. No, not Seven Civil War stories your teach never told you. I’m talking about show biz, celebrity gossip, and entertainment news.

I work with Matt DeMeritt, who is one of 3 people to wear the ET suit during the filming of ET. He was 12 years old when the movie was filmed, but time has not been kind to Matt. Now 39, he is a writer at ESRI and for fun he plays and records music. He has no home studio so all his recordings sound pretty bad. If you think that’s a sob story, Robert MacNaughton, the kid who played the eldest brother on ET is now a mail man. Aren’t those the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody?

Anyway, I sat down with Matt a few days ago to talk about work and instead we talked about ET.

Were you aware of all the blatant product placement of Reese’s Pieces that was going on during the filming of ET?

No. I was too busy eating them to even notice. There was an inexhaustible supply, and that's all that mattered to me.

Could you tell if Drew Barrymore was drunk during the filming of the movie?

No. I was too busy getting drunk myself. There was an inexhaustible supply of beer (from the scene where ET gets drunk), and that's all that mattered to me.

Speaking of Drew Barrymore, how did you escape the demons that usually haunt most child actors?

Demons are slow. I out-maneuvered them with my special ET powers.

Can’t you ever be serious?

I don't answer questions framed in the negative.

How many girls did you get because of your role in ET?

Surprisingly, none at all. Chicks just aren't that impressed by a runt stuffed into a latex suit.

After directing Jaws, Close Encounters, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. seemed like a directorial disappointment for Spielberg. What was the morale like on the set like during the filming of ET?

It was jovial and positive, fueled mainly by an inexhaustible supply of Reese's Pieces and beer.

In 1985 Spielberg bounced back with accolades as the executive producer of The Goonies. Are you bitter for not getting the opportunity to work on that project?

I DID work on that project. I played the mutant's (Chunk) son, but ended up on the cutting room floor.

You don’t expect me to believe that, do you? I’ve told people the same thing about my deleted scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Tell me about the ET 20-year reunion cast party that took place in 2002.

There was a 20-year reunion cast party that took place in 2002?

How did you go from “acting” to becoming one of America’s leading writers on the topics of caves, karst, and coal?

A Faustian bargain facilitated that leap.

You’re going to Hell, you know that right?

I went to the Lavendar Festival. Hell couldn't be much worse than that?

You've obviously never sat through the 100 Greatest Family Films TV show or the movie Cyborg 2.

Jun 1, 2009

Apparently there’s no iPhone app for image stabilization

As you may or may not know, I like blog race reports about as much as I like a sharp stick in the eye, so here’s the quick and dirty:

There may have been a round of the Pro XCT in Alabama on the same day, meaning some of California’s heavy hitters were bumping ‘n grinding in the deep southern woods instead of Big Bear, but I’ll take what I can get. And what I got was third, behind John Nobil and Chuck Jenkins. This, after I did Saturday’s entire Rain Cross ride aboard my Gary Fisher full-suspension mountain bike clad with 26 x 1.25 slicks. I’m not sure which day hurt worse.
The End.

If you squint and look real close you can see me standing on the podium in the 3rd position. Concentrate on the middle left side of the photo.

May 21, 2009

On second thought, all of his columns were about the incompetency of the AMA

A Nepalese Sherpa guide has once again broken his own record, scaling Mount Everest for the 19th time, according to MSN.com. Appa, who like Madonna goes by one name, reached the 29,035-foot peak early today, guiding rich foreign clients and accompanied by several other fellow guides.

Appa, 48, first climbed Everest in 1989 and has done so almost every year since. His closest rival is fellow Sherpa guide Chhewang Nima, who has made 15 trips.

15 trips? Is that it? Some rival that is. That reminds me of the rivalry between the Beatles and the Beach Boys where after hearing the Sgt. Pepper album for the first time, Brian Wilson threw in the towel and wouldn’t leave his bedroom because he felt that his band couldn’t equal or outdo the Fab Four’s new release. Meanwhile, Sgt. Pepper summited to the US, UK, Australian, and even the hotly contested Norwegian charts. So much for that rivalry.

Or there was the editorial rivalry I had with Scott Rousseau when we both worked at Cycle News. He’d write a hard-hitting column and then I’d answer a week later with an equally as pungent or even better column. Then Rousseau would barricade himself in his office and come out with yet another one of his masterpieces. This went on for months until he wrote one that was so poignant, so dexterous, so moving that it blew my socks off. I don’t even recall what it was about – probably some tirade about the incompetency of the AMA – but in my mind it was genius and it would never be surpassed. So, I gave up and the rivalry ended and now I write for a software company and occasionally update this hack blog.

Let my story be a lesson for Chhewang Nima. He needs to strap on that oxygen mask and crampons so he can summit at least another 4 times and make this a real race. Somebody needs to be a worthy rival for that prima donna Appa and 15 times up the mountain just isn’t going to cut it. If you give up Chhewang Nima, you could very well end up giving guided tours of the Erie County Botanical Gardens in Buffalo, NY instead of guiding the rich up the South Col.

Or mabye Appa could be doping...

May 4, 2009

A couple weeks ago I got a bad haircut so in order to divert attention away from my pea head of bad hair, I stopped shaving my face. Due to the topic of facial hair, some old photos surfaced on Face Book (or as I like to call it, the Death of My Blog). Now that she's blown my cover, I'm going to uncover photographic evidence from the Great Mustache Ride of '07.

Exhibit A: Trevor, Joy, & me enjoy a drink (or ten) after the Great Mustache Ride of '07 at the Vault. Trevor, by the way, won the mustache growing competition. For his efforts he got shame and ridicule.


Since National Mustache Month is in November, the actual ride was cold. I remember snot running down my face and freezing to my pencil thin mustache. It thawed out and melted into my second post-ride pint. If you think this photo is creepy, it's because you never saw my beard.



This chick, we'll call her Sheena (extra credit to anyone understanding the reference), won the women's division. Her stache was made from the hair on her head. Pfff. Like I had to tell you that. For her efforts she got gawked at for the next few months. I suggested she grow a beard to divert attention from her head. She didn't think that was funny.


On the night of the Great Mustache Ride of '07 I vowed that I would only honor National Mustache Month on odd years. That means this November I will once again throw my (red cowboy) hat into the ring and grow a mustache. Ew!

Apr 26, 2009

Oh, I almost forgot...

Tyler Hamilton! Hahahahahahahahahaha. Scum bag.

...and tomorrow is Monday.

Just got back from Santa Ynez for U.S. Cup #5. It was another rough one, but at least temps weren't near triple digits. It was windy and even a little cold at times instead. The Aussie, Sid Taberlay, stuck to us all again, but Aaron Olson and Andy Schultz kept him a little honest this time, or so I heard. I was too busy duking it out for another 15th place finish. Seems to be my magic number at the none ProXCT U.S. Cup races. I think if I could have gotten a better start, I may have been good for 12th place. But hey, 12th, 15th; what's the difference if it ain't a top 10.

Ryder and Denise came up with me this weekend. I got good feeds from D and it's always really cool to hear Ryder screaming, "Go Daddy!" as I ride by. The poor little dude roughed the elements for me this weekend with a cough, which eventually turned into an ear ache. I'm a horrible father for putting my kid through a weekend like that.

Next weekend is the Idyllwild Spring Challenge and then I finally get a well-deserved break. Actually, everyone deserves a break after riding the Spring Challenge. That's one helluva mountain bike race and with a thousand bucks going to the overall winner, you can bet it will be as fast as today's race.

I feel like a huge looser after this weekend and not because I finished 15th. Because I came home, yet again, with no photos and I didn't take a single drink of wine despite spending two days in wine country. Lame.

How about Andy Schleck at Liège-Bastogne-Liège? The Schlecks are insane. And how about the Dart finishing 4th at the World Cup in Germany this weekend after flatting on the first lap? The Dart is insane too.

I got a Blackberry Storm, but I'm having a hard time getting used to the touchscreen. It takes me twice as long to send a text than it used to, so if you're not recieving texts from me, don't take it personal.


Let's see, what esle do I have to bitch about tonight? It's 11:00 PM and I still haven't showered...

Apr 21, 2009

I'll take mine on the rocks

Four years ago last night I drank an entire bottle of wine for dinner and I remember that because it was the night before Ryder was born. Yep, the little dude turned Brett Favre's number today and celebrated with a party at school and another party tonight at Jump Zone. You'd think packing a bunch of kids into a warehouse full of inflatable jumpers woule be a bad idea, but no one bones were broken, no one bled, and I only saw two or three dozen tears shed throughout the night. Unlike my trip up to Monterey last weekend, the party was a success.

I came home from Sea Otter with no good results, no photos, but more importantly, no poison oak or no speeding tickets. I limited my chances of getting poison oak by taking bum baths in the Laguna Seca restrooms with Technu soap. And I almost completely eliminated the chances of getting a speeding ticket by driving my gutless four-banger Mazda 5 to the race. Knock on wood.

Saturday's Short Track was your usual deal only with World Champ Christoph Sauser and World Xterra Triathlon World Champ, Conrad Stoltz. Oh, and the Dart was there too. If the Dart is there, you know it's going to hurt. So 70-some of us lined up for what has become known as Frosty's Arbitrary Short Track Pulling and guess what? Frosty didn't pull me! Some UCI official did instead. Anyway, Sauser, the Dart & Wells got away early on and turned it into a Specialized photo shoot until Sauser burped a tire and had to pull out. With a lap to go, Wells rode away from the Dart (you probably won't see that happen many more times) and took the win. I got to see it all because, as I mentioned before, I got pulled.

On Sunday temps heated up, so the race was cut down from 40 miles to 30, but it didn't really matter to me because I miscalculated the amount of time it would take me to do the first lap and the amount of liquid I would actually take in under dusty and hot conditions. It's not rocket science, but for some reason I came up with all the wrong answers and spent a good 30 minutes riding without any liquids. Rookie move.

The final nail in the coffin was when I got a water bottle in the neutral feed and when it came time to chuck my empty bottle, I got caught in the heat of battle (pun intended) and ditched the wrong bottle. I know, I know. It doesn't make any since to me either. Rookie move again. Instead of suffering heat stroke like a ton of other fools did, I pulled the plug after just 20 miles. Too bad too, because I think I was running about 60th in a 155-man field. Around a third of the men's field DNF'd, but that didn't include Sauser. The rainbow jersey won with a nice cushion. Meanwhile, the carnage out on the course was a sight for sore eyes - people puking (Wendy Simms!), passed out, crashing, walking out, and crying. Elite mountain bike racing is so rad.

Thanks to Shelly and Jesse for letting me crash on their hotel floor, Shelly's dad for buying me dinner one night, and to Joy and Garnet for putting up with my music on the drive home. One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to pre-ride with Country James Williams. Those were the days, weren't they Jimmy?

The funniest thing I heard all weekend was that after Alex Boone finished, he was covered in salt from head to toe. He told Joy that he was going to be making margaritas later. I was so thirsty, I would have drank one, or ten.

Apr 15, 2009

Bruce Ogilvie 1952-2009

I first met Bruce Ogilvie around 1997, but believe me, I knew all about him long before we ever shook hands. As a kid growing up aboard Honda XR motorcycles in the desert, Bruce was a god to me. I wanted to be just like Bruce Ogilvie.

In 1998 when I was going to make a serious attempt at qualifying for the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) in Australia, Bruce gave me a new XR250 to take to the Idaho and Washington Qualifiers. The only catch was I had to ride the bike virtually bone stock, but to help, Bruce sent out Johnny Campbell to test with me on multiple occassions so we could get the little Honda up-to-speed. As it turned out, it wasn't the XR that needed a power boost, it was me. But Bruce was just doing his job and I was honored that he was allowing me to help with the realiability and endurance testing of the bike. After my Pacific West Qualifier campaign, I let Bruce know the bike needed a much beefier clutch. He probably could have told me that I needed a much beefier riding style, but instead he took note of it and agreed.

In the years that followed I spent a lot of time sitting on the back of an un-marked white Honda box van with Bruce talking about racing and our favorite Mexican food joint in Riverside, Gay and Larry's. Bruce was a quiet guy, but something about him demanded respect, and it may sound vain, but I think I earned his respect somehow.

Days after the press launch of the new water-cooled XR650, Bruce gave me permission to ride the yet-to-be released motorcycle as the hare at the Dirt Diggers Winter Hare Scrambles. It was a big deal because the bike was a Honda and Honda didn't want any hiccups with a long anticipated model in front of hundreds and hundres of potential customers. Not long after that, Bruce got word that I was going to let Jim Rios at BRP fit the new XR650 with billet aluminum triple-clamps. I got a call from Bruce on that one. When you get a call from Bruce Ogilvie, you best take it and you best do what he says. In the end Jim and Bruce talked and the triple-clamps got Bruce's approval. Bruce had his eye on everything and somehow seemed to get everything handled.

My relationship with Bruce didn't change any when I went to work for Honda's PR and Ad agency. He didn't treat me like a vendor. He treated me as he always had. And when I left that positition, for a new world of life outside of the motorcycle industry, Bruce told me that I was always welcome at Honda. And those were the last words that I had with Bruce O. That put a lump in my throat then and puts an even bigger lump in my throat now.

Bruce was a quiet badass.

Here's a slightly edited version of Honda's press release:

Bruce Ogilvie passed away on April 13, 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer. Ogilvie fought cancer the same way he raced motorcycles all his life: with everything he had.

Most enthusiasts know Bruce Ogilvie as a master Baja racer - a champion whose personal victories in the San Felipe 250, Baja 500 and Baja 1000 spread out over four decades. The first was a Baja 500 win in 1975, with another victory in the 1000 later that year. Bruce was the only man in history to win the Baja 1000 overall in four different decades. Bruce also earned three ISDE medals.

Bruce O's talents and accomplishments behind a handlebar are indisputable and well known. But there was another side to Ogilvie that was equally impressive. For more than 20 years, Bruce was in charge of coordinating Honda's racing efforts in Baja. He led an army of racers and support team members for years while he applied his own personal philosophy to the challenge.
In 1984, Bruce was hired full-time at American Honda. He served in many capacities over the years. In addition to being in charge of everything off-road at Honda - including motorcycle and ATV racing - Bruce was most recently the Senior Test Evaluator for Honda's Product Evaluation department. In this role, Bruce's contributions to the direction and development of all Honda's off-road and motocross products was unparalleled. If you can't imagine racing or riding anything but your Honda off-road motorcycle or ATV, it is because Bruce Ogilvie helped make it that way.
Godspeed Bruce. You will always be remembered as our leader with that calm, assuring voice in our head guiding us through obstacles you conquered long ago.

Bruce Ogilvie was born on April 4, 1952. He died on April 13, 2009. He is survived by his wife Marcia, his 14-year-old son Nick and nine-year-old daughter Isabella. Bruce's family will have a private service, and because blood transfusions were so important to Bruce's battle with cancer for the past two years the family has asked for people to donate blood in Bruce's honor.

Bruce O. was my hero.


Apr 12, 2009

Thom Blaine

Thom Blaine passed away yesterday. I can't even begin to count how many hours the guy stood around in a hot (or sometimes freezing) and dirty feed zone for all of us.

It didn't occur to me until last night that Thom was selfless.

When Thom wasn't handing me bottles in the feed zone, he was handing me beer bottles back at the car after the race. It was quality beer too - none of that light beer junk. That in itself speaks volumes about the man.

Apr 10, 2009

Things are happening

Stijn Devolder thinks he can do the Flanders-Roubaix double?

Stoner fastest in Qatar?

I made and stayed in the break at crit?

Manning drunk dialed Turner from Flanders?

Ben is going to follow Locke's lead?

What?

What is the world coming to?

Apr 2, 2009

I'm going to give it a go

Previously on Lost

Isn’t that lawyer the dad from My So Called Life?

That’s a crime burning up a perfectly good Volkswagen bus like that.

Sayid is rad.

Now, on to tonight’s episode.

VW buses make great ambulances.

How could anyone follow directions from a guy Horace? How could anyone name their child Horace?

Jack’s trying to take charge again. Just can’t leave well enough alone, can you Jack?

Now Ben’s drunkard dad is going to hit on Kate. Get in line Roger.

“That’s my kid.” – Roger Linus after seeing a young Ben Linus with a bullet wound. That’ll sober you up.

Now we’re back to the present with Kate and Aaron.

Cassidy is back! You know, the same floozy that Sawyer conned out of thousands before coming to the island. He couldn’t have conned her out of too much because Cassidy lives in a beautiful stucco box track home now and is raising Sawyer’s illegitimate daughter.

Take care of my illegitimate daughter!? That’s the big secret that Sawyer told Kate before jumping out of the helicopter? Big deal! What a disappointment.

Cassidy is smarter than she looks.

What do you want to bet that Kate leaves Aaron with Cassidy before she comes back to the island?

Horace needs a haircut. So does LaFluer, or Sawyer or James, or whatever he calls himself now.

Relax Roger. Have a Dharma Beer (or 12).

“Sawyer is just doing his job Jack.” – Kate. Freckles is already back to defending Sawyer.

I think Hurley wants to eat his own hand.

Decision time Jack! Save little Ben Linus’ life or let him bleed to death.

“Then he dies.” - Jack Shepherd. That’s brutal Jack.

Damn, a commercial.

Okay, we’re back on.

I’m beginning to dislike Kate as every minute passes. So is Jack now that Juliet is back in the picture. I don’t blame him.

Roger just interrupted Kate and Juliet’s conversation about Kate once being engaged to Jack. I’m beginning to like Roger.

“Roger, have a seat.” – Juliet. She can tell me what to do any day. However, what she should have said is, “Roger, have a Dharma beer (or 12)." That’s more like it.

Little Ben is still alive. His sucking chest wound hasn’t killed him yet.

Where did they get a Dharma jumpsuit big enough to fit Hurley? BTW, Hurley needs a haircut too. The island obviously needs a good barber.

Shoot him Hurley! Shoot him! Then you can eat him.

Don’t tell me Hurley is becoming the brains behind this operation.

Now Roger Linus is hitting on Juliet. I like your style Roger. Have a Dharma beer (or 12).

“Maybe there is something they (the “Others”) can do.” – Juliet. Does that mean Kate is going to take little Ben to the never-aging prince of the eyeliner?

Back to 2008 at the Marina in Los Angeles. Damn, we’ve only seen this scene like 10 times since this season started.

Of course he wants chocolate milk you amateur mother. What kid doesn’t? Hell, even I want chocolate milk.

Oh, he wants a juice box instead. I didn’t see that coming.

Aaron is lost! No pun intended. Way to keep an eye on your non-child Kate. That used to happen to me at FedCo all the time. I was always wondering off and getting lost.

False alarm. She’s got Aaron back. My God, that blonde is ugly. Is that Claire? Who was that chick?

Commercial. Carl’s Junior commercials are the worst. Nobody likes getting food all over their face when they’re eating.

We’re back on.

I knew it! Kate is going to leave Aaron with Cassidy! I’m good.

But I don’t trust this Cassidy broad any further than I can throw her.

Back to the island.

And now, a moment with Kate and Sawyer. Who cares?

Where’s Desmond? I miss Desmond.

Juliet and Jack are having a standoff in the bathroom. Take her Jack! Take her! Undress her and pull her intro the shower with you. Actually, she doesn’t seem to be in the mood.

“We didn’t need saving. We’ve been here for 3 years. You came back here for you.” – Juliet to Jack. She’s right you’re a selfish bastard Jack. Grow a beard, take some pills, and go jump off a bridge for real this time.

Back to a moment with Kate and Sawyer. Yawn.

Where’s Sayid? I could sure use some of Sayid and his killer instincts right about now.

This show is turning into a damn love story.

Thank God! The “Others” have come to our rescue with guns to interrupt a moment with Kate and Sawyer. Now I’m wide awake.

Back to L.A.

Kate is at the hotel room of Claire’s mother! Could I have been wrong? Does this mean Kate is going to leave Aaron with Claire’s mom? Kate is spilling the beans all over town.

There’s too much Kate in this episode. Show us more Juliet. We want Juliet! Remember when Juliet did that bedroom scene with Goodwin, because I do?

Yep, Kate is leaving Aaron with Claire’s mother. It’s official. Kate is lame. And I was wrong.

Richard Alpert is back! Or is that Dick Clark? I know a guy named Richard Albert. He crashed once over by the airport and knocked himself out cold. It was ugly.

Okay back to the show. Little Ben Linus looks like he’s wearing a tube top, but it’s just a bandage.

“… and his innocence will be gone.” – Richard Alpert about Ben. Wrong Richard! His innocence was gone when he stole his father’s keys and let Sayid out of the clink.

“If Charles finds out…” What? Would that be one Charles Whitmore? The plot thickens.

Now we’re back to adult Ben in the present on the island, which means either little Ben lives or… I’m so confused.

Adult Ben is waking up, but someone is there with him. Who could it be? Holy cow, it’s Locke! That’s worse than waking up next to a horse head.

“Hello Ben. Welcome back to the land of the living.” – John Locke.

The End.

This show is stressful. And documenting it like this was a lot of work. I’m never doing this again. I can’t wait to read the real Lost Diary this morning.

Apr 1, 2009

You knew this was coming

Now that Jan is out of the picture, it's up to Jens Voigt to single-handedly suffer for the WWII sins of his German ancestors. Last weekend the big Kraut won a record fifth Critérium International. True, he's German, but how could you not love Jens? No one works harder and carries the burden of his perverse nationality than the Saxo Bank rider. Too bad he rides a Specialized. Anyway, if someone forced me to go on one of those reality shows like Biggest Loser or Dancing with the Stars, I'd choose Jens as my partner if Brett Favre, Valentino Rossi, or Amy Winehouse weren't available. Come to think of it, if my musical career ever takes off, that foursome would make a solid backup band.

Speaking of music, when I sing the chorus to Ray LaMontagne's "You are the Best Thing," Ryder likes to sing backup without being cued. Rad. He also called me last night while I was riding to ask if he and I could work in the garage together when I got home. Rad. And we did.

Mar 31, 2009

Let's set the record straight

It's not about the music.


Punk Rock.



Obviously not Punk Rock.



Playing is Punk Rock.



Sitting is not Punk Rock.



Hole was Punk Rock.



Not Punk Rock and never was.



I have 10 reasons Dave is Punk Rock.



Jay Lame-O is not Punk Rock, or funny for that matter.



It doesn't get much more Punk Rock than this.



It doesn't get much more un-Punk Rock than NASCAR (yawn).



Iggy is and always will be Punk Rock.



These guys? Not so much.



No matter what side of the pond it's played on, football is Punk Rock.



Pfff.



Shane will be Punk Rock 'til the bitter end.



Henry is poser and that's not Punk Rock.



Simple Punk Rock.



Simply makes me sick.



Vans are Punk Rock.



Hummers try too hard.
It's actually pretty black and white.

Mar 30, 2009

Back to Reality

On the same weekend as the Redlands Bicycle Classic, there was this other bike race just down the 10 freeway a few miles. I have to admit, there wasn't much in me that wanted to go race Fontana during RBC, but it turned out okay in the end I suppose...

Riding a brand new bike that I had very little saddle time on and getting called up about 100th in a 110-man field didn't make me feel much better at the start line. Oh, and I forgot my gear bag, so by the time Denise & Ryder had delivered it to me, I had just enough time to throw on my kit and ride over to the starting line. That turned out to be my warm-up, a whole 3 minutes. Anyway, I started on the second-to-the-last-row, but I had good company because a stealthy Aaron Olson was in the row just in front of me. It's comedy when you start that far back because you know you're about to get a good seat for all the funny stuff that happens on the first lap of a race. And with the new gnarly downhill trails and steep & loose uphills they threw in at the last minute, I saw a lot of funny stuff.

To make a long story short (my entire life is about trying to make a long story short), I ended up 66th. Olson, BTW, finished 49th. I'd say there's not much more you can do when you start that far back, but Todd Wells broke a chain on the first lap and went from near last place to 7th. What frustrates me is when he passed me, I was able to ride with him for a few minutes before I lost him in traffic. Why is that, I have to ask myself? Today I go back to work and I see on his blog, that he flies to South Africa for a World Cup. Lucky bastard, say hi to the Dart for me.

The Canadians killed it. Four in the top ten including the first two steps on the podium taken by Kabush and Plaxton. I don't think Kabush has ever lost at Fontana since we started going there for a National.

My new Gary Fisher HiFi XC is rad. I had some serious doubts about racing a full suspension, but now I'm sold. I spent a lot of time getting my front and rear end working right and once I got it dialed, it's a much better ride than those old hardtail things I've been preaching about for the last few years. Who would have thought? My legs are trash today, but the rest of my body definately feels a lot better than if I had given it a go on the hardtail.

I'm bummed the weekend is over. RBC is one of my favorite times of the year. Everyone is in town, you run into so many friends that you don't see that often, and my family was out to watch Ryder & Destry race on Saturday morning. Joey & Jamie raced the USAC Cat 4 crit on Sunday morning. On a borrowed bike, and with a lap to go, Jamie bridged up to a guy up the road and rode away from him taking it to the line with a few feet to spare, while Joey finished in the top-ten. Good job boys. They obviously didn't learn their crit riding techniques from me.

I should probalby go to work now. Hopefully I'll have some photos soon...

Mar 23, 2009

The circus is coming to town

Actually, both circuses are coming to town.

This circus.


And that circus.



I should have a new bike to race at the dirt circus this weekend. Hopefully I feel better than I did last weekend in San Dimas. The road race was pretty uneventful for me. I’m racing myself into shape, so one moment I’d feel great and the next, I’d feel not so great.

I did manage to get into a 4-man chase group that looked promising as we tried to bridge up to the winning 10 man break, but no dice. For some reason a couple guys got selfish going up to the KOM so we got picked off on the finishing stretch just before the bell lap. The effort was a big one so I pretty much sat for the rest of the race, like I did most of the race.

Since it was raining on Sunday and I had moved down in GC after the road race, I didn’t bother going back for the crit. I did a wet and muddy lap at Fontana instead. The course is getting shorter and shorter because the county (or city?) keeps putting up fences. I suspect this weekend will be the last big race held in Fontana. There, I just started a good rumor.



I wonder which circus Larry will join this weekend?

Mar 20, 2009

San Dimas Stage Race: Stage 1, Glendora Mountain Road Time Trial

12:00:15
Do I go when he says zero or when he says go?
Man, this guy has some really fat fingers.
12:00:30
Did I go when he said zero or when he said go? I can’t remember. I hope they don’t DQ me.
This effing sucks.
Jesus, this guy’s going even slower than me.
Later dude.
This effing sucks.
I wonder what time it is?
Don’t look at your computer. Just ride. Ride fast.
What difference does it all really make anyway?
Shut up! Faster!
Faster asshole.
Where did this wind come from all of sudden?
Am I spinning too much? Push a bigger gear.
That seems too big.
I think I should spin some more.
This effing sucks.
I only caught me 30-second man. I should have caught my minute-man by now. This is not good.
That’s a big camera lens.
At least no one has caught me yet.
I wonder what time it is?
Don’t look. Don’t look. Just ride.
I hate myself. Suffer. Suffer.
You’re almost done. Faster. Faster.
Well, technically you still have three-quarters of a mile. You don’t want to ride to hard and then blow up in the last 100 meters.
Last turn.
Sprint. No, wait it’s too soon.
This effing sucks.
Now sprint.
Man, I suck at sprinting.
Thank God it’s over.
15:50-something!?!?
Maybe I should take up sitting on my ass and watching more TV instead.
Tomorrow’s road race will be better. You can make up time there.
Tomorrow’s road race will suck. You’re not going to make up that much time.
Okay, it’s time to start training. No more beer. No more wine.
That effing sucked.
I need a drink.

"You know I'm not good at apologizing, so I'll just skip it if it's all the same to you."
- Steven Zissou

Mar 17, 2009

Maybe some day there will be a St. MacGowan's Day

I'll warn you right now. This one's gonna be a doozy. And a bit mushy too.

So it's St. Patrick's Day. Well, every day is Patty's Day as far as I'm concerned. I was going to let it go with a simple photo or 2, but then a friend from work sent me something that inspired me to write about what I've failed to write about recently. Below is what the lass Erin O'Donnell sent me, and below that, I continue my 20-plus year unhealthy fascination, addiction, and obession to all things Shane MacGowan. What? You're surprised?


Brilliant.


It's 1987 and I'm in my bedroom sitting on my black beanbag listening to KUCR on my Magnavox sterio when they play a couple tracks off of Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. I honestly don't remember which songs they were, but it was angry enough and fast enough and the music was awesome and Shane was awesome and I was immediately hooked on the Pogues. I later had a hard time smuggling the actual cassette into the house because my mom wouldn't let me buy an album with such a filthy title. And that just made me like the Pogues even more. Good work mom.

Before the Pogues, Shane was already a teenage star after some chick (it's always a chick) cut his head with a broken bottle at a Clash show in '77 or '78. There was blood everywhere, and a photo of it ended up on the cover of a London Newspaper with a headline that read something like, "Punk Savages Take Over London." A little irony is that in the early '90s when Shane was kicked out of the band, Joe Strummer actually stepped in as the lead singer during live shows. But you probably already knew that.

There is a lot of Shane-inspired art in the world today. I like this one because he's wearing a top hat, 'a la two of my other heros, Lincoln and Bob Dylan.


Never the poster boy for sobriety. I don't know why Shane bothers wearing a watch. He's seldom on time. When Denise & I saw the Pogues at the House of Blues, they came on stage so late that the audience started to think Shane was passed out drunk back stage. Actually, that's always a worry at a Pogues show.



I'm not sure when this photo was taken, but it looks pre-Pogues. Probably in the late '70s when Shane was the front man for the Nipple Erectors or the Nips. Before that he wrote, published, and printed his own punk rock magazine. There once was a time when I wanted to do the same.



Shane & the Pogues have a loyal fan base all over the world. The first time I saw them, I felt like I was at a B-list Hollywood premier.



Shane too suffers for his people.



This is a great book. Dictated, then printed by his on-again, off-again girlfriend Victoria, it's full of stories from the early days of English punk rock, soul, and reggae, all the way to the present. He even talks about his teeth, or lack thereof.



The men (and woman) they couldn't hang.

On Wednesday, October 18, 2006, I saw the Pogues at the Wiltern for the first time. It was their first west coast appearance with Shane as the frontman in over 15 years. I had an extra ticket because Denise couldn't go, so originally I was just going to give it away at the door because I didn't want to "babysit" someone who wouldn't appreciate the show as much as me. A couple days before the show, my mom called and asked if she could go.


When we got there it was an all-ages show. The kids to my left had X's printed on their hands and the people to my right were eligible for social security. As we waited for them to take stage, the Clash's Straight To Hell played in the background as a tribute to the late Joe Strummer (that song means so much more to me now and whenever I hear it, it makes me tingle). Just before the song was about to end, the lights dimmed, they took the Wiltern's Ornate stage and broke into If I Should Fall From Grace with God. No lie, I began to weep.


Shane and the Pogues can kick you in the brains, plus they're beautiful and here's why:

"I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can´t make it out alone
I´ve built my dreams around you"
- Fairytale of New York

"And now I'm lying here I've had too much booze
I've been shat on and spat on and raped and abused
I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg
For some money to take me from the old main drag"
-The Old Main Drag

"This morning on the harbour
When I said goodbye to you
I remember how I swore
That I'd come back to you one day
And as the sunset came to meet
The evening on the hillI told you
I'd always love
I always did and I always will

He fought the champ in pittsburgh
And he slashed him to the ground
He took on tiny tartanella
And it only went one round
He never had no time for reds
For drink or dice or whoresAnd he never threw a fight
Unless the fight was rightSo they sent him to the war"
- The Body of an American

"I've been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I've cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell
I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all it's charms
I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys
Sometimes I wake up in the morning
The gingerlady by my bed
Covered in a cloak of silence
I hear you talking in my head
I'm not singing for the future
I'm not dreaming of the past
I'm not talking of the fist time
I never think about the last"
- A Rainy Night in Soho

"A curse on the judges, the coppers and screws
Who tortured the innocent, wrongly accused
For the price of promotionAnd justice to sell
May the judged be their judges when they rot down in hell

May the whores of the empire lie awake in their beds
And sweat as they count out the sins on their heads
While over in Ireland eight more men lie deadKicked down and shot in the back of the head"
-Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six

"And in the euston tavern you screamed it was your shout
But they wouldn't give you service so you kicked the windows out
They took you out into the street and kicked you in the brains
So you walked back in through a bolted door and did it all again
At the sick bed of cuchulainn we'll kneel and say a prayer
And the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil's in the chair"
- The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn

"Well Jimmy played harmonica in the pub where I was born
He played it from the night time to the peaceful early morn
He soothed the souls of psychos and the men who had the horn
And they all looked very happy in the morning"
- Sally MacLennane