Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The weekend: frustration and fun
Saturday morning was pretty frustrating. I got up all excited about my first ride outside of Timmons Park since I restarted riding my mountain bike. I watched the kids while the redhead went to her exercise group. Once she got back, I loaded up in the bike in the back seat of the little red car and headed for the park.
I pulled up to the entry way and noticed the teenaged attendant was looking at me rather sheepishly. I asked, "How much is it to get in?" He gave me the number, but I can't remember what it was because he followed that by say, "...but the trails are closed to bikes today." What? You don't understand, I have been looking forward to this for a week! "Oh, really?" I asked and continued, "How can I know when it will be open and closed?" He pointed at a sign by the gate, "The trails are open for bikes on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."
Sure enough, I went to the SCTrails.com web site and in black in white it reads, "Note: This is a shared trail, used by mountain bikers and hikers on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and hikers only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday." Well, now I know.
I went ahead and did the Urban Ride (it is getting very boring) and I guess I'll try PM later.
However, the weekend made a turn for the better after the Tar Heels beat Virginia Saturday afternoon and Jeff Gordon won Sunday's race. So, summing up my weekend, I would say: Frustration and fun.
Friday, October 21, 2005
They've been here all along...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Back in the tub
I took a break from Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth in order to read Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low-Carb. I also was finishing up a Teddy Roosevelt biography, Mornings On Horseback. I guess you can tell I wasn't real excited about reading Brainwashed.
However, once I picked the book up again, I have found it a very interesting read and have now made it to chapter nine. I imagine I'll finish it this weekend and I'll put a review up at The Common Voice. I also hope to put up a review of the Roosevelt book soon as well.
I thought this book would be another book in the Google genre. In a way it is. It is written in the same style. However, there was a lot of information I had not heard before -- unlike the way it is with Google genre books.
So, I'm back in the tub where all the brainwashing is going on. Right now, reading about some of the things happening on our college campuses is leaving me feeling like I have soap in my eyes!
Monday, October 17, 2005
Okay, okay, so I own a SUV
Today I snapped. I'm tired of people assuming that those of us who drive SUVs are just trying to destroy to world. Is there such a thing as a "responsible SUV owner"? I had to respond to an opinion piece in GSA Business. You can read it here at The Common Voice.
Okay, okay, so I own a SUV... get over it.
A sober reminder
The following is a link to a story about the husband of the cousin of a cousin of mine. It is a reminder that riding a bicycle requires constant vigilance. I've had my share of horns and crass calls from drivers and passengers of passing cars. Thankfully, I have never had even a near miss. Too bad the same could not be the case for Todd. A sober reminder that the fun of riding must be tempered with caution.
Cyclist dies in collision with off-duty city bus
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Five rounds of dodge disc
In this morning's post, I pointed out that I slept in a tent last night with two kids under seven. I didn't sleep very well. So, when I started my ride this afternoon I was already tired. However, I was determined to get in my six laps at Timmons Park.
The first lap indicated that I was going to have a hard time of it. Besides the fact my body didn't want to cooperate, there were at least twelve people out playing disc golf. Once I had to dodge a disc. However, I got them back (unintentionally). I was coming down a rough section pretty fast (the worse thing you can do is use your brake and slow your momentum - you need it to get over the roots), and looked up just in time to see I was about to run over a girl who was standing in the middle of the trail. Talking about wide-eyed!
Two... Man, I don't know if I can make it. Three... I took it slow to get myself together. Four... Hey, I might make it! Five... I hate these roots! I decided to substitute the sixth lap with the rest of my urban ride. So, off down East North Street... You know the rest.
Main Street was crowded with all the people for Fall for Greenville. I went on into the crowd with my bike. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of Greenville's finest coming toward me. Something about the way he was walking made me realize he was headed toward me. He stopped me. I took my iPod ear bud out of my ear and said, "Yes, sir?"
He must have thought I was some sort of rebel because instead of politely saying, "Excuse me, but you won't be able to ride your bike here," he turned on his intimidation voice and said, "You can't ride that bike here. You'll have to get off and push it." It wasn't really what he said, but the way he said it. Of course, I said, "Yes, sir." I walked my bike over to a nearby parking lot and then got back on and rode away from downtown. I got pulled over by a policeman on my bicycle!
Oh well, I finished up and crashed once I got home. I figure I rode about 18 miles today. I think I'm ready to ride a Paris Mountain now. Right now I'm just going to lay here on the floor!
Going on a low-carb book diet
I had no sooner started reading Brainwashed before I set it aside to read a different book. Earlier this week Jimmy Moore's book, Livin' La Vida Low-Carb, came out. Since he is a friend and I had heard so much about this adventure of his, I purchased it as an electronic book and set aside Brainwashed to go on a low-carb book diet.
You can read the review here: He's Lovin' Livin' La Vida Low-Carb at The Common Voice.
I slept out in a tent in my backyard with my kids last night. Man, it is getting chilly at night now days! I got up kind of groggy this morning and then had to jump-start the Suburban (they are notorious for battery cable problems). I finally got around to checking the sites around 10 a.m. or so. Yep, Jimmy had already read my review and reviewed the review at his blog: Livin' La Vida Low-Carb.
I'll pick Brainwashed back up again today. From low-carb to brainwashing..., what a life!
Friday, October 14, 2005
Four rounds on the rodeo
Yesterday had its disappointments. I left work kind of down. The bicycle beckoned me to take it out on the trail. I ate an energy bar and was on my ride within 30 minutes of leaving the office.
The plan is to get up to six laps at Timmons Park before I begin branching out to other trails in the area. Memories of getting down a trail and then not having stamina to get back to the car have taught be to be in shape before riding longer trails.
Man was it rough! It wasn't so much that I didn't have the stamina. It was the trail. Once I was done, I felt like I had participated in a rodeo. Without a full suspension bike, I probably would have been shaked to death!
The good news is the first lap was kind of rough as my muscles, heart and lungs transitioned from sitting in an office to pushing the bike around the rough terrain. The second lap felt great. The third lap felt like a good workout. The fourth lap started putting the burn in my thighs. I even could have done a fifth, but I had to get home.
My ride on the rodeo was good for the mind, body and soul.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
What's up with Trout?
It is hard to not comment on the piece that appeared this morning in The Greenville News about Tony Trout. I was taken by surprise when I read it. It mentioned BJU on numerous occsasions, but the reporter never contacted us about the event Tony attended and for which later submitted a request for reimbursement.
Obviously, it had to be a gas reimbursement because he wasn't charged anything for coming to the event.
I am also sorry that Tony has this view of BJU. If he feels the way he expressed himself in his emails, it isn't because people at the school have not reached out to him. He has been invited to several events on the campus since he was elected.
It was nice to see the clerk took offense to his remarks about the school. I wonder who those "BJUs" were? My guess is they weren't all BJU boosters - as is made obvious by the fact that Tony was there.
Oh, well, the truth will come out.
Some pics from my Urban Ride
Here are some pictures from last evening's ride. First, from Timmons Park: a coaches pitch baseball game. There is normally a game going on each time I take an early evening ride.
Here is a part of Cleveland Park that a lot of people don't see. This is the Eagle Trail that runs above the tennis courts and runs from one end of the park to the other. This is root-rock combination that gets nice and fun when it is wet.
Now, on to Fall River Park. This is a shot of the Liberty Bridge. It has become quite the magnet on the West End of town. It is pretty cool.
Finally, here is yours truly on the bridge overlooking the falls.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I feel good!
I haven't given a bike update in a bit. Yep, I am still on it. I only missed a couple of days last week (my goal was to try to ride at least every other day). I'm also starting to experience the pluses of being in better shape both on and off the bike. It is certainly worth the initial pain!
My route (I call it my Urban Ride) now starts in Timmons Park. By the way, it is getting downright dangerous there. The recent rains have washed out some areas and exposed an incredible amount of roots. If you do not concentrate, you'll end up on your can. You have to hit the roots square-on or your rear tire will slide down the root causing you to lose traction and possibly your balance.
From the park, it is off down East North Street. That is a fun portion because it is almost entirely downhill. I even get to break the speed limit. I really have to so that I can get into the left turn lane to get on Stone Ave./Laurens Rd.
After passing under the I-385 overpass, I take a right onto Richland Drive. That takes me into the next section of the ride: Cleveland Park. Even though it is a larger park, I don't spend as much time there as I do in the smaller Timmons. The trail follows along the top of the park from one end to the other.
From Cleveland Park I get back on the paved biking/running trail to transition to the Falls Park. Once in there I navigate around the sidewalks until I am able to ride across the Liberty Bridge. That gets me to the other side of Main St. where I cut through a muddy construction area to reach River St. I turn on East Board St. to then turn left onto Main St.
On Main St. I hope to catch all the lights green so I don't have to stop all the time. I really like that portion of Main with the overhanging trees and the people sitting out enjoying a meal from the downtown cafes. I follow it on down to East Park Ave. I take a right onto that street and it leads me back to the Stone Ave./Laurens Rd./East North St. intersection.
Remember that hill I love coming down? Well, I hate it going back. After a long ride, I just gut it out and feel the burn in my thighs. What a relief to make it back to my own street.
The good news is that it isn't taking me nearly as long to recover now. Plus, I am feeling better during the day. A lot of the stress and tension is gone and my body feels much more relaxed. I guess the pain does have gain.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Jumping into the tub
I didn't get through a much of Brainwashed this weekend. It shouldn't take that long to finish if I can just find several hours to knock it out. So far - much what I expected.
The book starts off with a "Publisher's Note" where David Dunham, Publisher, WND Books, explains that the book may contain material that would not normally appear in books they publish. I'm only through chapter two and nothing like that seems to have appeared - yet.
This note is followed by a forward by David Limbaugh. I'm glad to read that Limbaugh informs us that the book ends on a positive note with a "three-step action plan." I think I am going to need it after reading illustration upon illustration.
Mr. Shapiro then gives us the introduction of his book. Here he gives us some foundation for his book using statistics showing the prevailing liberalism in university. He also claims the right to comment on this topic because he has been in the "Belly of the Beast." I anticipate that he will pull heavily from his own experiences at UCLA throughout the book.
I've finished chapters one and two: No Moral Absolutes and Partisan Politics. The former was short but interesting. Being a philosophical sort, I like those types of arguments over the "street-fight" level of politics - which gets 11 less pages of treatment.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Wow, this author is just a kid!
I was given a new book to read... Actually, it isn't a "new" book, it was published in 2004. Still, it is a new book to me because I haven't seen it before. The title is, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth by Ben Shapiro. I'll start reading it today and then report on it over at The Common Voice when I am done.
Before reading, I decided to learn a little bit more about Mr. Shapiro. I headed over to his site and read his biography. He makes me feel old! Ben Shapiro was born in 1984 - that makes him 21 and not even 20 at the time he was writing this book.
He entered UCLA when he was 16. He was hired to be a syndicated columnist at the age of 17. He is currently enrolled at Harvard Law School. Besides writing columns, he also has written a new book, Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future, and is a regular special speaker.
Interestingly, I have not heard of him before. This book will be my first exposure to him. I must admit I am curious to see at what level of maturity his arguments will be presented. Here is what Michael Barone with U.S. News & World Report has to say about his book:
...Shapiro tells the truth--that universities are forums of left-liberal indoctrination, where dissent is discouraged and penalized, with more restrictions on free speech than any other part of American society. Parants who are paying for tuition might want to take note, and see what their hard-earned money is paying for.Stay tuned...
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Vespatude.com goes live!
Check out my latest creation, Vespatude.com. You won't have to read all about my Vespa here on StackOfStuff.net. I'm moving all Vespa related posts over to this new blog. Give it a visit and learn why.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Two things on the Vespa front
1) Yesterday I sent the final payment to Bram in Jakarta. The Super is now "mine" and I should be receiving the title, bill of lading and other necessary documents in the next several days. Then comes the fun of figuring out what I have to do to make it legally mine here in the U.S. of A.
2) I bought my helmet. I'll take a picture of it and put it online at some point. I got a half shell open face helmet. I couldn't get any other kind to work. Any helmet with sides on it pushed my glasses askew.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Best ride so far
I had a break-through today. I left work in kind of a funk. The plan was to go home and put in a lap or two at Timmons park before I had to be back at the house to watch the kids while the redhead went to rehearsal. I had a bad feeling about the ride...
Turns out, it was a turning point. I made it through the first lap feeling ready to start the second. The disc golfers stayed out of my way for the most part. No major falls.
One the second lap I came across some teens on BMX bikes. The seemed to be more interested in just going down hill. Then I noticed someone else on a mountain bike. He was the first person I had seen in the several weeks I have been riding there.
The only disappointing thing about the ride was that I pushed ahead to do a third lap to catch up with the rider. In the past, a rider would stop and introductions would be made and the riders would go on together. Not this guy! I had sprinted to catch him and was pretty wiped out (this was my third lap), but he did not stop. As a matter of fact, he seemed to "racing" me. I had to break off. Maybe we'll meet again.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Yesterday I posted "Hitting the trail again!" Little did I know at that point that the title was a literal description of what happened!
Right off the bat I didn't feel normal when I got back on the bike. The running I did earlier had stiffened my muscles in ways that made the motions of riding even stiffer. Anyway, I got into Timmons park and things seemed to be going okay. Then coming down a hill around a blind turn just to find a large tree limb across the trail! I had to brake radically and slide around a tree. It left me shaken.
I continued down the trail where typically you need to have a good head of steam to make it up a nearly vertical five foot climb. Problem is, there were four disc golf players standing right in my way. So I had to wait for them to "tee off" before I could start the climb. I made the mistake of trying to make the climb from a near stand still. You guessed it. I got about to the top and hit a rock that caused me to lose traction. I stopped. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my pedal released and there I went over backward.
Later I found out why I couldn't get out of the pedals. My left shoe was loose. The portion of my shoe that connects to the pedal was sliding around in the pedal so when I twisted my foot to pull out, the shoe moved but the metal connector stayed put. When that happens, you can't get out and over you go!
I finished out the ride keeping my foot out of the pedal. After really hitting the trail, I was glad to get off of it!