Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do I need a new Blog Name?

Okay, so yeah. True story. If my blog were a houseplant, it'd probably be all wilted and sad looking right now.

I've had a bit of a busy summer, but not in ways that I had been hoping.

As it turns out, I'm in the process of starting my life over. I sort of mentioned this in my last post, but skirted the real issue 'cause my douchebaggery is also wussy in nature. But then, if you've been reading my writings for a while, you already knew that.

And,

If you've been reading my writings for a while, I thank you.

True confession, I like to say that I'll try anything once. Most recently on this list, I can add both, marriage, and divorce. (Why go just halfway?) I've also moved, and then moved again cuz if something is worth doing, it's worth doing at least twice. So, this means that I'll probably get married again. If you are currently married, my hat's off to you; marriage is great. If you're currently single or divorced, my hat's off to you for that, as well, cuz really, life is just great that way. I'd love to chime in with some kind of erudite statement about why being is single is so great, but... well... just trust me that it is. Even when it sucks to be single, it beats being with the right person in the wrong way, or for that matter, the wrong person in the right way. I guess there's classes and online videos all to the contrary, but whatever.

Do whatever floats the little man in the boat.

With that said,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blog Interrupted?

Life is still getting in my way.

Full disclosure coming soon.

Congrats to Liquigas! And thank you for allowing me to say, "2010 domination by Leaky-Gas!!"

Wahoo! Thank you boys.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Do over: My life, part four..

I'm back!

Yes, I fell off the face of the earth for a while. But like most things in life, when you fall off, climb back up and keep riding.

I learned two very interesting facts while 'away'. I learned that at the edge of the earth is, indeed, Hell. I didn't really realize this until I'd learned the other fact, though: Advice is the new slang for Oral Sex. You wouldn't think that this is one of the facts they teach you in Hell, but it turns out there's cruelty in everything in Hell. Even simply learning. Anyway, since I can share this with you in what I hope for you, is a safe environment, I can also tell you this: If you tell someone that they need some good advice, you're probably right.

It's Labor Day Weekend, though, which means that this is the last weekend of Summer, and a great chance to ride a bike for no reason at all, other than to just ride a bike. It was, also, the last, predictably dry day in Seattle. Tomorrow, there will be rain in the city for certain; it's a federal holiday.

That said, Seattle is hilly. There are so many hills that one of the hills in downtown was levelled, and the soil moved to the area where the stadiums now live. This area was also where the nation's first 'Skid Road' existed (as it was a marshy waterway in those days), or so I'm told, so Seattle's sports pavillions are in the regular habit of asking for spare change.

Today, I rode through the halls of Fred-dom, the multi-use pedestrian trails. Though they are largely used by bikers of all shapes and sizes, I'm hoping that they continue to receive regular maintenance funds from the majority of voters. I'm enough of a cyclist to know that the majority of voters are not cyclists, unfortunately.

As I was in the warm-up miles of my ride, okay I gotta stop myself. Cycling, in it's own right, is funny to me, and therefore I can't even take myself seriously. Yeah, all my rides are epic in their own way, so I'll spare you the burden of yet, another, ride report. (For the record, no, I don't choose to race in our local 'scene'. Those guys are a bunch of douchebags.) But really, in remembering the ride I just did, I recalled the chilling stare I received from a squirrel off the side of one of the trails. He just stood there on his hind legs, with his little paws out front, glaring. No. He was menacing... in the verb sense. Yup. He was menacing me. Gives me shivers just thinking about it. Though it could've been that it was slightly chilly this morning.

So, as we head into fall, there's that major sport with a ball that's not shaped like a ball starting this week (finally!), or I could watch the Vuelta or something. Much like Cippolini, my involvement with this race comes and goes. This is looking like one of the lesser years for me, which is unfortunate, because Universal Sports is getting the cycling emmy award for coverage this year, in that they are actually covering it daily, AND in English. Haven't seen that for ...umm... ever?

Anyway, what I love about cycling is that it's truly one of the great things in life in my opinion: you just climb up and go at it. I love that.

I'm done talking at you. Now go get yourself some good advice.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Other Sabbath..

Sometimes, life gives you days of sunshine and balmy weather. Other times, it spits you out--just so--like an annoying watermelon seed. And sometimes, it sends you skittering helplessly across the dirty, gravelly pavement.

It seems that the most notable the Tour de France competitors and the Dutch National 'Football' squad, have had such a weekend. First off, kudos to the Spanish National Team for withstanding a gruelling 90 minutes of scorelessness, and then a marathon of the numerically elusive, though grammatically accurate, Extra Time, before scoring a goal successfully. There was much elation across much of this city for the remainder of the afternoon. The Dutch team, on the other hand, made a good run during this year's World Cup, and made it to the final round, officially claiming second place. Now, they have all the pressure of expectation in having to make it to the final round another four years from now, and none of the joy of winning it to carry them through.

Dissimilarly, and taking place in the Land of the Disappointed, or as some call it, France, Lance Armstrong is notably attempting an eighth wearing of the Maillot Jaune while riding the world's most famous local, crit (that is to say, criterium--not to be confused with cliterium, which is a word I'm seeking to define in a popular, online definitional site.) Sadly, his time swelled impressively in ways that would likely keep him out of contention, if not many public beaches. The race around the Champs Elysees is one of my favorite of events of my most favorite event of the year. Though, around our local scene, crit is a euphemism for 'being pwned by hay bales'.

Luckily, the world seems to be very aware of Lance's abilities and controversies. The only thing he had to prove was that at his age, he could still get up on the bike. I've heard that forty is the new thirty, though, so I'm wondering if he'll make another run at it in another few years.

That said, the Tour celebrated a day of rest, and for that, I applaud them all, and their miles of hard-riding restfulness.

The epic sport of controversy, however, recently served up an exciting match of bitter hatred that only peace-loving hippies can engage. It seems that scores of Beattles fans got to invoke their hatred of Yoko Ono, and transfer it to the new generation of Onos, at long last, by abusing the cherubic Sean Lennon. For years, little Seany has been granted immunity from true analysis of his lack of actual talent because of his famous last name, and parentage. I wish him well, and I'm glad that he is no longer succumbing to the misplaced expectations that he can produce quality original music. Now, it seems the stark light of uber-celebrity has turned it's ugly shadow, on that dear son.

Sean Lennon earned a new respect from me with the way that he recently stood up to a cold legion of vampiric fans. It turns out, that he recently allowed controversial, marketing genius, Lady Gaga, tickle the keys of Yoko's famous white, upright piano. The fans are upset over the contrast of the perceived persona like Miss Gaga's, against the perception of that of John Lennon. I'm not trying to downplay the impact that he had on the world of popular music as we know it today, but it's about time for a little perspective. Thirty years after his passing, he is, yet another famous, dead guy, who happened to write some very listenable little songs, not unlike the enormous influence of Bach and Mozart. I'm willing to bet that had she been playing the 'Minuet in G' on a Keytar, she would've received a much warmer response.

If we break this situation down to it's most basic, some American guy got a half-naked woman to sit patiently and play with his stuff. In other situations, this most basic scenario would garner little Seany major kudos, demonstrative fist-pumping, emphatic high-fiving, and other physical expressions of low-testosterone joy. Add to that, the Future, Dame Gaga, knows how to operate such an instrument, and has a talent for Cabaret, if Cabaret can be considered a talent, and not just an entertainment-career failsafe.



I don't know what it is about pianos, but music majors are drawn to them like Tour de France riders to uncomfortable-looking recovery technologies. For that, I say, stand proud Sean Lennon for getting to do whatever you want with your Mom's stuff, and keep mooching ivory-time Lady Gaga!

By the way, if you're riding the tour, or riding a Posture Pedic,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Survivor: the Reunion Tour


The Tour de France traversed sections of cobblestoned roads today, as I mentioned earlier, the 'Pave'. There's some discussion as to whether or not these sections deserved inclusion into the Tour. The answer is yes, in my opinion. The 'pave' are sections of roads in France; therefore, they're fair game. For over a hundred years, the Tour has been the 'Tour of France', not the 'Tour of Some Roads That Wussy Road Cyclists Prefer While They Deign to Visit France'. These are professional cyclists, so I'll venture that they've spent many hours in the saddle on many, varying road surfaces. What about tree roots? or potholes? or poor road conditions? or crushed gravel pavement? or Canada? Moreover, I've seen the guys riding the Tour this year, and unless I'm mistaken, none of them requires the dampening abilities of a good sports bra. Ride with hormonal 36D's, and then you can tell me about the physical beating you get from 'bouncing around on the cobbles'.

As it happens, my opinion doesn't matter, given that the riders have already completed this stage. Oh, and the Giro went over a whole section of dirt roads under the rains that frightened Noah. If I had to choose between slippery, unpredictable, undulating mud, or a pancake-flat, dry cobblestones, I'll take the cobbles any day. Unless I'm hormonal. But then, my bike runs off to the local bars, or the circus, or some such, on those days.

One thing that's kind of interesting about the 'pave' sections, that isn't as apparent on the smoother roads, is that it really shows off 'good form', vs not. Namely, you can really see the guys riding with their elbows parallel to the handlebars, rather than parallel with the bike. I'm not a physiologist, but it looks like the 'elbows out' position puts more strain on the triceps and deltoids, which would tend to give the bike a left-right force. No wonder, they crash so much.

The 'elbows in' position uses more of the biceps and abs, makes the position more aerodynamic, and forces the rider to bend their elbows more. Especially on cobblestones, stiff elbows increase the harshness of the ride, and stresses on the neck, shoulders and back. That, and toned biceps and abs have more of a mass appeal, than deltoids and lats.

Arguably, if you're going to be riding for more than an hour, it's important to change up your position, occasionally, and take advantage of other muscle groups; otherwise, you'll tire out faster. Again, I'm no physiologist, so if I just said something way incorrect, feel free to ejicate me. Though, for the record, I will find new ways of displaying my jackassedness in the future, if this didn't do it.

and...there! I did it!

I was able to write about today's Tour stage, without commenting about whether or not any of the riders 'have the stones'.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Dawn,,

So here it is..

live coverage of the Tour.

Today's stage is being billed as the Hell of July, due the Paris-Roubaix homage they will complete today. After yesterday's crashes, today's roads paved with 'pave', it may be an unexpected respite on sensibility.

We shall see.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Give me your tired, ..Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

Today, for the first time in a while, Seattle actually had better weather than Central Europe. Here, cyclists were imbued with an unfamiliar sense of well-being, inspiring congenial greetings, well-wishing, and generally good behavior, not often seen in the recent meteorological morose through which we just passed. For the pro-cyclists in Belgium, I sympathize with the dismal rain they experienced today, and the subsequent rain enslickened (Not misspelled, I just made it up--it means: recently rendered slippery as all shit.) roads, as well.

As I mentioned earlier, today's stage is not the first that I've seen of this year's race; I've slacked. As a cyclist, the Tour de France represents the premier event of my favorite pasttime, much like Free Donut Day does for those progressives seeking the release of imprisoned donuts everywhere. I've been overwhelmed by the majesty that it is this race, and was too 'entranced' by the scenery of Holland (which, I'm told, happens a lot, there,) I was hoping to find evidence of 'doping', as the competitors passed through Rotterdam and Brussels, but if they were, it wasn't of the sort I was hoping to see. That said, the events in the last 3,000 meters of yesterday's stage, may have been the sign, I missed.

As it happens in most modern Tour de France happenings, the race has been Nascar-ifically eventful. I'm guessing this is no accident, given the courting of American audiences and their tourism dollars. Even the four-mile, Prologue stage, that launched the whole thing on Saturday was not without incident.

Usually, the Prologue defines cycling's equivalent of the 'Pole Position' (Thank you, motorsports!) rankings for the first, official stage of the race. It's usually short and gutsy. Indeed, the commentators on Versus, spent more time tying their ties, I imagine, than each of the riders spent out on the day's race course. Nonetheless, seeing Bob Roll in a tie, is an event worth waiting for, almost as much as the prologue itself.

So, yes, the World Cup quarterfinals took a back seat to the most epic of epic events, the Tour de France, and I couldn't be happier. By the way, in case you were wondering, Wimbledon crowned new winners, over the weekend, as well. But it wasn't going to be Roger Federer, so I chose not pay witness. That said, if you'd like a more complete wrap-up of the actual events of the Tour, you'll be better served by BikeSnobNYC's new Universal Sports blog, regarding these events.

I homage, and I hope to learn.

So, in Snobbie's first post, he mentioned that the rider's characters would reveal themselves. I think it's important to introduce the riders 'characters', as we've come to know them, so we can better appreciate the manner in which they choose to reveal themselves this time around.

No discussion of pro riders can be complete, nor started, without mentioning the General Classification (GC) contenders. This year, the cast includes:

Lance Armstrong


and the Yin to his Yang, Alberto Contador.


Will it be the year for Levi Leipheimer?


Or will Mick Rogers build on his Tour of California win?

Will Christian Vande Velde avoid adversity, and build on the promise he showed just a few, short years ago? (It turns out, no.)

Or will David Miller be the one to rise to fame


Maybe Carlos Sastre, will congenially steal the limelight again?


Or, maybe we should just let Sylvain Chavanel enjoy his catch for a little bit, after all. But the French never get to enjoy their own race, anymore. Perhaps, we should let this year pass.

And what of Cadel Evans?



and, what if Bradley Wiggins has something to say about it?


Will George Hincapie will finally shed his Susan Lucce reputation?

And what about the Schleck brothers? They're a formidable team within a team, and have seen success at the Tour before.


That said, what of the sprinters?
(Okay, the word 'Friends' may be a bit of a stretch.)

Or will it come down to a team competition?

Like Radio Shack?


Or Liquigas?



Either way, Mark Cavendish said it best, "It's just bike racing. Get on with it."

If you'll be in the forests of Arenberg tomorrow,

Ride safe. I love you all.

It's in the air, and I caught it!

It's 6am on Monday morning in Seattle, and I'm as excited as a six-year-old on Christmas morning. I've poured out a bowl of my favorite breakfast cereal, ruined it with soy milk, and turned on the Versus network to the live coverage of this year's Tour de France.

This is the third day of the Tour, which has passed through the Netherlands and Belguim, already. Yes, I watched those first two stages, but as I missed the early a.m., live coverage, I was only super-excited to watch, as opposed to the super-duper excited that I am this morning. I missed the other live editions because I could not summon the intestinal strength to get up early on a holiday weekend. As today's the third day of said holiday, let's just say that I'm still awake from what most would consider, yesterday.

I will venture to comment on the earlier stages later, but for now, I must catch up on the 'cycling education' that the Versus network chooses to issue every year. I'm tickled by this years version. Instead of just the usual, condescending explanations, there's an accompanying computer animation, and let's face it, cartoons are just fun.

Spoiler alert of the day: Alessandro Petacchi proves early on why it's important to watch the Italian cyclists anytime that they're on screen. I happened to see Twilight over the weekend (and managed to avoid paying any actual money for it,) and Ale-Jet has cleansed the subsequent disgusting crust from my eyes. In the words of the Spanish commentators of a few Vueltas ago, Petacchi, Petacchi, Petacchi!!

I'll be back later with more. But at the moment, the tour's on, so I gotta go. So exciting!!

If you're going to be getting into position for the bunch sprint today,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom

I'm taking a break from all the fabulousness that is the world of professional and semi-professional sports for a moment, as today is the Fourth of July. The only day on the American Calendar where you must capitalize the full English spelling of the date. (Not to be confused with the day to be capitalized in Spanish, Cinco de Mayo.)

According to my Facebook Research, today is a day to celebrate our freedom to blow stuff up. It's also a day to celebrate another one of the age-old freedoms: to put opinions into print form. We have a freedom of speech for a reason, and that is, to use it.

It is often said that any time our nation sends our soldiers off into battle, they are fighting, at essence, for our freedom. I've not always accepted this in the literal sense, most notably, for our most recent engagements. I've never believed that the nations of Iraq nor Afghanistan have posed immediate threats to us, as nation-states. No matter, I do feel strongly that the children of our nation's soldiers should be allowed to feel proud of the work that their parents are doing, and that they should be reunited with them, permanently, as soon as possible.

In the results of our military engagements, part of the fabric of our collective freedoms were earned during the Vietnam War. The stated goal of this conflict was about fighting off the spread of communism, seen as a threat at the time, to the tenets of our own system. In the forty years since, we have seen communism, largely, perish from the political landscape of the globe, because of economic successes, rather than any from the battlefield. That said, though the end of communism was not the actual benefit we received, we've earned many freedoms because of this experience.

As Oliver Stone stated in his 'epic' film, "Platoon", we fought ourselves. We fought ourselves, and we earned precious freedoms. Decades and another few wars later, it's important to reflect on the freedoms that the fight in Vietnam earned us.

Freedom for introspection. It's okay to look forward, and it's also okay to look inside. Previous generations were not allowed this freedom. Indeed, some are still afraid to use it, but despite that, it is okay to do.

Freedom to accept. We may choose to disagree, but at heart, we are all Americans, using our freedoms. If we look inside, this is what we always find. And for that we can all be proud.

Freedom to reveal. Because we are free to accept.

Freedom to be less, and to give that much more.

Freedom to have an outward strength, and an inner strength much stronger.

Freedom to forgive. Others. And ourselves.

Freedom to love.

Many have said that we should forget Vietnam. We allowed our soldiers to fail. If we allow ourselves to forget, we fail those who fought for us, and the love that they gave our cherished nation.

We should remember. We should enjoy all of the freedoms they earned us.

And most importantly, we should celebrate.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here we go..

So, today, I provided my real photo for my 'paying' gig. It was accepted. My image will be available for public viewing sometime soon. Rest assured, my blog here will continue to be the Windows 7 version of me.

I was a bit disturbed, that when I perused my hard-drive for suitable digital images of my visage, I found that I had very little of what I was looking for. I have many pictures of my butt riding a bike. (I was suddenly struck that I'm not sure that the rest of me knows what's like to ride.) In other images, I was lost in a stiff breeze, or sweating profusely from a (mumble-mmlmph-mumble)-mile hike. Not to sound like my life is much more epic than it really is, but it's clear that, while indoors, cameras found taking snapshots of me, are likely to suffer tremendous palpitations, and/or systemic failure.

That said, my 'paying' gig has a tendency toward verbosity even worse than what I've shown here. Man, if I got paid by the word... I'd stop using elipses, that's one thing. While I enjoy sports, epic in nature, it's not because I like words, epic in nature. I just happen to like sports that happen in nature, and are epic. Okay, so hockey occurs indoors, but the Stanley Cup beards are epic, and, let's face it, the playoff beards are very natural.

Moving on, I have an assignment for myself for this blog, and I'm afraid it's still forthcoming. As a proud slacker, I can't allow myself to do things on time. It might give me more time in the rest of my life to get other things done, where I start creating even better compositions, start giving dramatic readings of my work, get signed as a recording artist, sell-out, make a ton of money, go to 'I just made a ton of money as a recording artist' parties, meet male supermodels with ready access to illicit drugs, lose money trying to buy fashions to fit in with the supermodels, develop an addiction to an illicit substance developed from the blood of an endangered species, lose even more money than I have today, and end up broken and homeless. No. It's much better to be a slacker.

The new Twilight film opens tonight, for a 'special' engagement midnight showing. I might have to spend money to go see this film. I'm told it will be epic. I happened to have seen the trailer, and it prominently featured Seattle's Space Needle. It has a new name, that's far more pretentious, now that several cities in North America also have high-rise rotating restaurants, but to me, our is still the only 'real' one. But, I will say that featuring our Space Needle in the trailer is enough to get me to see the movie, so really, to also advertise it as epic, is just pandering. If they want me to see it so bad, they should just pay me.

Then, the trailer shows some exposed, twentysomething, male, shaved shirtlessness. That's when I decided that it's not just me that the advertisers are pandering to. Oh, silly, silly marketers. You really should have released this movie last weekend. That would be sweet.

Much has been happening in the world of sports. Wimbledon continues, as does the World Cup. Much can be said for the tenacity of these events. Not like that slacker sport, Tour de France. Oh sure, it's tough to ride fast for that long, and over all those mountains. But, it does include a couple of 'rest' days. Without those, the Tour could easily travel France and Belgium combined. Who knows, they might even be able to cover Denmark, while they're at it. Ah yes, the Tour de France. In Copenhagen. On fashionable bikes, and fashionable shoes. Anybody can ride for a really long time in lycra. But in denim? And Manolo Blaniks. Oh dear.

So, if you're riding a fashionable bike, or expensive shoes,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ahh Monday..

I reestablished today, that Mondays are full of epic-itude. I'm certain that after an epic adjustment it will be back in the correct attitude for the week.

I'm glad it's over.

As you move into Tuesday,

...you know what comes next.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pay no attention to the Man behind the curtain..

Here in Seattle, and in many places around the world, we are wrapping up the heady days that define Pride Week. As mentioned on CurrentTV's, "Infomania", this is the equivalent of a Gay New Years celebration (Hooray!). So make a resolution for how you will be better to the gay community in the coming year, and settle back into the reality that not all gays choose to wear glitter.

It was also brought to my attention that another act of terrorism has occurred in the city that is New York, and this time, it was an act that resulted in tragedy. There is no suspect that can be brought to justice, since it was a suicidal act. The culprit was a tree branch, in New York's Central Park; though, don't let the typical benevolence of trees reduce your opinion of this heinous crime. Here in the Northwest, trees are feared every November, as they commit terrible acts against the communities here. In this case it was an offending limb that, reportedly, crashed into a strolling mother, and her six-month-old child.

In all seriousness, I would like offer my condolences to the family. They suffered loss of their young child from the incident. I encourage them to keep in mind that they are not to blame for this tragedy, and should always remember that it was an offensive act beyond their direct control. Life is incredibly unfair, and please know that as humans, we are all here for each other. Please extend a hand, or a hug, to the person nearest you. This is all we ever, truly, have.

And to the Trees, I say this. Terrorism in New York City is so overdone, and tree terrorism anywhere is way to commonplace to merit acknowledgment of whatever cause you are promoting. For that, I will remind you that I will continue to use copius amounts of paper products, anytime I feel a need to rid myself of my 'bodily humours'. In fact, I'll encourage everyone I know to do the same. Yeah, you heard me. Take that, Trees! We will stand strong!

Moving on, I'm aware that this blog was hijacked yesterday, by a certain member of my household who ranted about some slang usage elsewhere on the web. I apologize for this, and have 'meted out' a punishment accordingly. On top of all that, the statement in question, was only marginally correct.

In the land of all sports, epic in nature, the World Cup tournament continues. FIFA's leadership announced today that they prefer 'the human factor', when it comes to goal line officiating. That's great for the soccer 'purists' out there, but personally, I prefer the mathematical element that technology may bring to the game. There's beauty in the way that numbers describe the world. I'll grant that technology can't extend a warm embrace, but give it time. It keeps advancing. I'm hoping that in recognition of this human element, FIFA will implement a new rule such that whenever the goal judge determines, "No goal", he or she should, then, offer hugs to the affected players.

("Is that a Yellow Card in your pocket?")

As we continue to wait for the most, marketed-as-epic of all epic events--the Tour de France, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships are under way, just outside of London's town proper. As with all epic sports, Wimbledon did not disappoint, in that it presented an epic-y event within an event, earlier this week, when the Isner/Mahut match continued on epic-ly for three days.

A tennis match, even a close one that goes a full five sets, usually lasts no more than a few hours. Typically, the winner of a set is the first person to win six games, but must always win by two, in the final set of a Wimbledon match. (Tennis players have their own equivalent of the 'dude rule'.) So, I venture that Wimbledon people don't hang out much at World Cup soccer events. Not only do they allow instant replay, they do not allow for ties. As it happened, young American, John Isner, eventually won with an astonishing final set score of 70-68, and the bourgeois sport of tennis very briefly captured the world's attention like an enthusiastic 'footballer' tearing his/her shirt off post-match.

On a side note, consumption of epic sports is an epic sport of it's own right. I'm considering starting a training camp, where I can offer coaching services for this. I could be the Chris Carmichael of Monday morning quarterbacks everywhere.

That said, whether you're a pocketed, Yellow Card of an international soccer tournament official this week, or a specifically-strung racket, in a what-should-be-expensive-but-it's-part-of-the-sponsorship-package quiver,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't Kick the Baby!

I'd like to start today's post off with a note that Seattle has had two sunny days in a row. I'd like to, but I won't, since acknowledging this fact is the best way to ensure rain on the following day. This is not dissimilar to our locally favored riddle, "What's a day of sunshine after two days of rain? Monday."

So instead, I will congratulate the US men's FIFA soccer team, or The Yanks, as they're calling themselves these days, for their win and for advancing to the next round of the World Cup in style. I will continue my intermittent mentions of this epic tournament, but I need to do some additional research about the sport, first.

Like many sports fans, I know squat about soccer. The way that I find it easiest to follow, is that it's a swollen version of hockey, though I'm uncertain as to which sport originated first. In the end, I don't care which did. Hockey players are tougher, in my opinion, because they compete for the Stanley Cup yearly. Soccer players compete for the World Cup only once every four years or so. In truth, this level of slackerishness suits me, a bit, so if anything in the sport of Soccer appeals to me, it's definitely the World Cup.

The part that I don't get is that soccer is bloated by comparison to other popular, professional sports. I'm unstudied in the antics of these players off the field, but I can't help but wonder if steroids were first invented to keep up with the size of this event.

First off, the field is HUGE. The overall dimensions of a regulation adult soccer field is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. I suppose this is because it's in the adult category. Having visited an adult bookstore before (for research, I swear!), I recall that size matters and large accounts for a lot in the adult world. By turns, the adult soccer goal is 24 feet wide by 8 feet high. By comparison, the hockey rink is only 66-2/3 yards (or 200ft) long by 28- 1/3 yards (or 85 ft) wide, and the goal is 6 feet wide by 4 feet high. If you have difficulty understanding number comparisons, like I do, suffice it to say that adult soccer is as much as four times larger than official hockey. (Don't worry hockey; I hear there's a cream for that now.)

How did a soccer field get so big? Did someone plug the nose and mouth of the hockey rink, and it simply swelled full of air? Is soccer on an all salt diet? Was it an accommodation for the fact that this is the only sport (that I know of) where kicking balls really hard is expected? Is it *gasp* doping? Okay, so yes, the soccer ball is much, much larger than a hockey puck, so it requires more space to maneuver. If soccer was played on a 200 ft long field, it would be like playing playing hockey on a field the size of twin mattress. As you might expect, if there's more than one individual on a twin mattress, there will be scoring. The challenge, in fact, is score avoidance, but who wants to watch that?

So the soccer field is larger than the properties on which some French chateaus are situated, so why are there only two periods? My guess is that the word 'period' was too easily construed as gross to some participants. Rather than dividing a match into three or four different time segments, it was determined that if there were only two, the sport could utilize the word 'halves' instead. Periods are bloody and traumatic. Halves are how pears, walnuts, and grapefruits are served. I can't say I blame soccer's inventors for this one.

That said, I know that the sport about which I've just discussed, is more commonly known around the world as football, I'm not intelligent enough to keep it straight with the other sport known as football, so I'll continue with the word 'soccer'.

Now that I've proven that I know nothing about the sport of soccer, I'm hoping I can better prepare myself for the next round of matches, so that I can offer some reporting of this epic event, known as World Cup. That said, I made several attempts to give my full attention to the first round of matches, but with my lack of preparation, I fell asleep each time. I am certain I can get through these games with my full attention, but I need to train with a powertap couch a few more hours a week, and I'll find my groove. I'm certain there's much more to this sport that's just waiting to be watched and blogged about.

So if you're expecting good weather tomorrow, or if you're planning a couch trip,

Ride safe. I love you all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Did the Northwest have talent?

Today, the sun came out, at long last, in what is seeming to be the apparent, early stages of global warming reversal. It seems that the Northwest has been so successful in our Green programs that we've successfully halted climate change, or any temperature change for that matter.

Thankfully, with the sunshiney state of the day, there was much gleeful cavorting and tossing off of responsibility. (I chose not to investigate whether there was any actual 'tossing off' during the day's events.) Being that I was unused to the level of joy that today's weather provided, I was strangely tired by the end of the day.

As soon as I reached my humble cave in the paleolithic section of the city, I found myself immediately in the tender embrace of dreamless sleep. Granted, sleeping so soundly in this part of town can be troublesome, in that brontosauruses bray angrily throughout the day and night. But, who can resist secured, garage parking.

As I slowly roused from my brief, though refreshing, slumber, I heard the braying of a different sort. I opened my eyes to see a purple-coiffed woman with two aging gentlemen on either side of her. My cave had been invaded by none other than Sharon Osbourne, and tonight's airing of America's Got Talent. Yes. My cave gets cable. Seattle has been ahead of the techno-curve for a very long time.

I will say that, though, I wanted to immediately turn off the television, or at least turn the channel. It seems that I was still in the half-sleep paralysis in that I could not move, nor adjust my surroundings in any way. I'm guessing that some sort of quantum-beam is programmed into the filming of this 'event' such that one cannot be stirred, despite hours of athletic training to the contrary.

No sooner, had I worked up the strength to alter my surroundings when suddenly, the 'Talent' show had transported itself to our little sister city, Portland. Portland has become the subject of much attention in the cycling community of late, so I was curious to see what this show would choose to present.

Portland and Seattle are often interchangeably considered to be the "Pacific Northwest". As much as I appreciate the tasty micro-brewed beer, production-level cheese, and sales-tax-free shopping, I confess that I can only tolerate Portland for a matter of hours at a time. I've found that Portlanders who venture up I-5 to visit their jaded neighbors to the north are folks that I like, so I can't say that I am uncomfortable with the people of the city. It's just that the total package of Portland sets every cell in my body into some kind of twitching, microcosmic indigestion. I think it is part of a crude transformative process, similar to that which was depicted in cinematic film, 'District 9'. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure that this sensation signals the beginning of an individual's integration into the Portland Borg, which is how they're able to afford their lack of a sales tax. I always enjoy myself in Portland, but I tend to freak out if I stay for very long.

So, apparently, Portland is weird. The show made sure to spell that out in the introductions, and the show's aforementioned hosts, kept commenting on the weirdness, at any opportunity that arose. Nevermind that these hosts include Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel, but then, I guess they know 'weird' better than most.

The show made sure to present a cyclist among the group of contestants. Jeremy Vanshloogen (please forgive my inability to spell ethnic names,) from Talent, OR, who rode a bike without a seat. In a sport, or talent, he had a name for that I didn't catch (though, it included crashing, so I'm guessing this may be related to triathlons in some way,) he attempted to do his best impression of Danny McAskill. To my horror, he was allowed to advance to the next level of competition. I was happy for the guy for reaching his goal of the night, but the fact that this indicated acceptance of his seatless bicycle frightened me. Maybe my interest in having a seat on my bike is luxury that I should cherish, as it may be going away soon.

Then, the self-described, 'Air Guitar Supergroup' Airpocalypse took the stage. They were everything that they promised to be. Kilt-tastic, print-denim, and hirsute. Brilliance. Yes, I said it. That's just me sometimes. Edgy and offensive. Too bad that's not an actual talent.

For now, I have to decide whether I want to continue my exploration of national tv's presentation of a city they can only describe as 'weird', or find some other pursuit before I return my previous, slumbering state. I will say, that if you're in the Northwest, and you plan on doing some 'stage' cycling..

Ride safe. I love you all.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"We're about to see some Nekkidity"

The Answer to Why People Ride Naked in FremontSo you may recall from my previous post, that I recently had an opportunity to further explore the way other people experience bikes and bike culture. With the aid of my Fabian Cancellara, I motored over to the annual Fremont Solstice Parade. (Though you may recall that I needed a Gruber Assist to reach my other engagement.) Now, don't get me wrong. It's clear all over Seattle, that we're all feeling jilted by what most people consider to be a fixture of Summer: the sun. But that doesn't stop some of us from stripping down to the kind of outfits that only a strong, unnatural high provides, and others of us to swarm the sidewalks in anticipation of witnessing it.

Seattle's been doing the naked bike riding thing for, in internet terms (that's the only timeframe that matters anymore,) a century or so. In fact, the original riders were only captured in old-timey photos. On top of that, there were only something like four dudes. Now, not only is the gender mixed, there's hundreds of crotches getting overly familiar with wheeled conveyances. And the weather never matters.

I would like to tell the story of this parade, but of course visuals tell it much better. Recognizing that for some reason, nudity pisses people off, I will do my best to present a link-based bedtime story of this year's Naked-Parade, instead. Rest assured, the images behind the links are largely unsafe for work. It's called:

Everyone Loves a Na-rade!

Once upon a time, there was a city within a city called, Fremont.

Each year, they stage a morality play of sorts to everyone's navorite nagan god, the Sun.

This parade is full of nomfoolery,

and neanders.

And occasionally, has a nishap, or two. But always, the parade nolls on.

One year, it seemed that the sun was not going to come out. The festival goers waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Was the parade overtaken by a techno-dork?

Or by this guy?

Who has time to know, when you have to watch out for nicycle nhieves!

and Neelzebub!

And the Nobal Warming posse!

And whatever this nguy is!

Oh, fairy princesses! Can you rescue the sun?

Wait, hold on a minute.
Sorry, I got nidetracked for a second.

Call the n-olice!

And the NuperFriends!

And Nario Nippolini!

That did it. Nature is happy and looking to the nuture again.

And the sun reappeared in full glory. Sure, she's a little nifferent, but still larger than life.

But don't look now. The Neprechaun (purposely not zoomed in) is still after your Bag of Nold!

So is that the end of the story neeking through?

Yes, that's the nend.

I hope you've enjoyed my little yarn. The riders in the parade represented an interesting cross-section of folks willing to get on a bike, at least one day in their lives. I hope the sense of freedom and euphoria stays with them, and that any remnant regret or crotchal irritation does not.

But then, I wish that for all cyclists.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Collision! When anonymous people meet..

In pro-cycling, the pre-Tour de France races are wrapping up, and the world on two-wheels waits with baited breath for the grandest race of the year.

Here in Seattle, we wait anxiously for the return of the sun, to our woeful and misting skies, like Punxsatawny Phil to some mound of dirt in Pennsylvania. That being the case, we formally invited the annual return of our celestial friend, with the Fremont Solstice Parade. At this event every year, the 'Sun' rides into town on the final float of the march, and is welcomed as joyfully as Santa Claus.

While I attended the parade, I could not stay for the arrival of the Sun. (In truth, the actual sun didn't even bother to stop by--It's so rude to us sometimes.) As a fan of BikeSnobNYC's blog for as long as I have been, I could not allow myself to miss a rather limited opportunity to meet him in person, during the promotional tour for his new book.

With the help of my Gruber Assist, I was able to make it to Snob's event in time to get a seat. Indeed, I got there just minutes before Snob entered the room to set up the presentation. I confess, the only reason I was able to get a seat, at the time that I did, is because of the unwritten dude rule. (I don't pretend to know many of the unwritten dude rules, but I am familiar with the one of not sitting next to another dude, whenever possible.) Additionally, neither of the dudes on either side of the empty seat seemed offended when I asked if I could sit between them. Whew. As I sat down, I noticed both were reading, "Bike Snob", and were on about Chapter 3.

New fans. Way to go, Snob!

Knowing that I would want to document this event to the best of my abilities (as I had at the Solstice parade, more on that later,) I whipped out my camera and started snapping some shots. While some of the images that I've posted here previously, are some of my better works, I confess that the majority of the photos I take are bested by those of most twelve year olds. That said, I was hoping I might be able to get some video of the event, but it was apparent right away that, that was not going to happen.

Snob took to the podium. By the way, it was nice to see Snob getting to take his own podium. As much as I enjoy the podium-races on his blog, it was good to see him 'own it' for once. Unfortunately, my view of the lecturn was terrible, though I had a decent view of the slideshow. I didn't mind; it just meant that I put down my camera faster. I think I was the only one taking pictures anyway.

It was clear from the saltiness of the room, that the majority of the audience, if not all, were members of Seattle's Bike Community in some fashion. I don't know if it's the nature of the sport, or of the other cyclists with whom I hang out, but I didn't recognize anyone in the room. I attributed that to the fact that maybe they were just out of their lycra today (like I was--I do have a Gruber Assist, after all,) or maybe Seattle's bike community has just grown that much in recent years. Awesome. Since, I was there in my Anonymous Blogger capacity, I was grateful for getting to stay anonymized.

After the slideshow, which has been discussed in other blogs, (UPDATE: found the link I was thinking of,) Snob opened the floor for questions. I had to think for a moment. He said we could ask him anything. What would I ask? Then I realized, everything that I've ever wanted to know about Snob's blog, I've already read in Snob's blog.

But there is an area of cycling that I wanted know more about. With all the discussion of fixed gear bikes in New York City, is there a velodrome, or were track bikes sent into a state of homelessness during the Reagan era or something? If so, I want to applaud the New York hipsters in their efforts to rescue these down-trodden bikes, and elevate them to an art-like status in which they can feel proud. I asked, and he educated us that there is one, in Queens. Oh. So New York fixie culture, really is kinda silly. Got it.

After a series of questions that showed how distant Seattle's bike culture is from that of New York (someone had to ask what a 'Fred' was--not all of us in this town are that unknowledgable, but I digress,) we were directed to form a line for the book-signing. Seattle-ites love waiting in line.

When I finally reached Snob, he was well into book-signing mode. It seems he's rather practiced at this by now. He glanced up and saw that some other douchebag wanted him to scribble in the book he wrote. He said, "So who am I making this out to?"

"Salty."

He paused, looked at the tag, and looked up.

What does one Anonymous Blogger say to another?

"Will you sign my Kindle? Would you?"

He did. Now my Kindle has been owned by Salty Seattle, and signed by BikeSnobNYC. Awesome. And, yes. Now, I'm bragging. Too bad the battery cover's starting to come off.

Suffice it to say that, in person (much like online), I can be a total dork. I don't know that I could handle the one-on-one thing, book-signing thing, as well as Snob had. Put me in front of a crowd, and I can talk for hours, but the other? Uh, yeah. Either way, I'm glad to have had the opportunity, and wish you all the same.

So. About the Fremont Parade..

My computer's telling me I have to shut up now, so I'll be writing an update on the 'nekkidity' tomorrow. I'll update this post with the links back, as soon as I do. Feel free to browse the not-entirely-safe-for-work bad image gallery, if you'd like. Stay tuned.

Until then..

Ride safe. I love you all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Location


Per my post yesterday, my impostor is doing a much better job at being me, than I am.

As such, I'm pulling a corporate takeover of my identity, and am rebranding myself as Salty and Sore.

It seemed appropriate.

Follow me on Twitter! @saltyandsore

Monday, June 14, 2010

The scoundrel!

No sooner had I first ventured onto the world wide weblog, when someone instantly stole my pseudo-identity!!

Oh sure. The other Salty Seattle has been hosting a food blog for a much longer time, than I've been scratching the surface of mine recently. But I researched carefully way back when, and this other persons page did not exist yet. In fact, I was very close to buying the domain, when I decided I "didn't need to yet."

oh, rue the day..

And sure. Food's good and all, but is it really as important as World Championship Sauna-ing?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why isn't there a song about....oh wait..

I have returned from my journey. It was not a physical journey; at least, not one out of my ordinary travels (and trust me, my travels these days are quite ordinary, in the positive sense.) Nor was it a much-fabled, journey into sound.

My travels were of the more trite and personal kind, during which, I ventured to utilize the system-checking software of my own soul. While it sounds a bit like fingering things out, you'll have to trust me that it wasn't. If you're about to embark on your own journey of that sort, I wish you godspeed.

In any case, my soul-searching proved fruitless, as I'm still searching for the part of me that qualifies as soulful. During the last recession, I thought I was making a wise investment, in trading my soul for a new pair of shoes, and well, I'm sure I don't need to tell the rest of that story. I quickly transitioned my search mechanism into information gathering mode, instead.

As such, I learned a few things. I learned that I absorb information through my eyes very well. I can only guess that the frog-like surface of the eyes is one of their best evolutionary features. On the contrary, I discovered that I absorb information through my face rather poorly. If you've ever fallen asleep on a Kindle, and received the pixelated imprint of the John Steinbeck screen saver on your forehead, you know what I'm talking about. (Disclosure: I still haven't read 'Bike Snob'--though I did buy it and you should too--as I consume all my preferred reading material in Kindle-form now. I'm hoping that someday, I'll get an endorsement for this blog from Kindle, in which case I would happily disclose such a relationship. At this time, I am not. Maybe, if I mention Kindle again, Amazon's webcrawler's might find me, though. I'm also hoping that Chronicle offers a mobi-edition soon.)

Luckily, I didn't limit the scope of my info acquisition to that of facial demarcation alone. Which is a good thing given the amount of big things happening in the world of sport in recent weeks. The Tour of California anointed a new winner, and the Giro d'Italia did, indeed, select a winner of the maglia zesty. Also in cycling, the Dauphine de Liberacci (yes, I have no idea what the proper spelling is, so I let spellcheck decide), and the Tour de Suisse (not to be confused with the Tour de Cancellara, taking place in nothing-better-to-do-so-let's-speculate news right now,) have tickled the foothills of the Tour de France, resulting in winners (or will soon) that only matter in the rarefied air of Neptune.

Not to be outdone, the NHL presented the best beards of the year, and oddly enough, the MVP was unable to cultivate much more than fuzzy-seeming lamb chops. Sadly, upon winning, the Chicago Blackhawks promptly shaved.

The NBA is, supposedly, having their 'Finals' right now, but I can't know for sure, as I'm still protesting the NBA, over the whole 'Sonicsgate' Scandal. In still more sporting news, The French Open seems to have occurred in the meantime, and proved that the Spanish have indeed made the French, their metaphorical bitch. Vegas odds on Astana in July went up three points, though odds for news of a doping scandal, remained steady at 1:1.

While we are now in the euphoric, international fever of another World Cup competition, (only during a World Cup, can the US rally excitedly when our boys produce a tie, as though it were an actual win.) As such, you may have missed another major event in the world of sport, the World Sauna Championships in Finland. I am in the process of writing a formal letter of complaint to my local cable provider for failing to icon-message me that this televised event was taking place. Granted, it's not the failure of biblical proportions that was the lack of usage of the Emergency Broadcast Network on 9/11, but it's a close second. The Tour de France is often called the toughest event in all of sport, but at least, you don't have to worry about your skin boiling off in large chunks, while you're still alive to tell about it.

Speaking of human challenges, I want to take a moment for finger-wagging and remind everyone to start making plans for the upcoming, Father's Day holiday, next weekend. I will be posting again on that day, now that I've returned to my assumed regular schedule, but if you wait until next weekend to drop a card or letter in the mail, it's going to arrive late. Okay, so yeah, that's the truth of how many of our mothers first discovered our existences, but that's not an excuse any of us can use next week. Our dads may have made our mothers 'late', but we can thank our dads for, (you'll have to forgive me for this turn of phrase,) making us right on time.

I was considering starting a campaign to make the second Sunday in June, Sperm Day, except the implication to one's parents is just a little too unsettling. Moreover, Minnesota already had one during their state fair, in September last year. But still, thanks to all the parents out there for getting it right. But for you..

Ride safe. I love you all.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rhymes with Alone

Landis in a strappy summer dress, photo courtesy Sacramento BeeAhh, Sunday. To many, Sunday is a day of atonement. A day to make up for the sins one has committed. To others, it is a day of 'at-one-ment', or communing with one's self, in a posture of sin. In the world of pro cycling, this was a week of accused sin, and eternal suffering. From the introduction of Italian mountains in the Giro, or yesterday's time trial stage at the Tour of California, or even the scandal to which this sport is now accustomed, it's been a punishing weekend to be a cyclist.

If you're not a pro, and celebrated what most of the nation called, Bike to Work Day, this weekend was one of recovering from Friday's commute-stop-induced sugar high. Rest assured, our collective cycling hedonism has not gone unpunished. Here in Seattle, our punishment arrived in the form of a thunderstorm on the way home. Thunderstorms are, otherwise, uncommon here, so it stands to reason that we, cyclists (as is often assumed to be the case--wrongly or rightly,) must have been to blame.

Today, the Giro riders climbed Monte Zoncolan, with an occasional, twenty-two percent grade. The name of this mountain, alone, sounds like level fifteen of some video game featuring some horrible creature dressed in pink, with green-, white- and red-striped, horns. Or maybe the goal is to free this creature from some kind of captivity. (I'm not good with video games. I imagine the conversation goes something like, "Dude, I made it to the Zoncolan today. Totally kicked my ass, too." "Really? You're full of shit; they would never put that thing in.") I'm not sure which sin these racers are atoning for, but my guess is that it has something to do with shaving.

Anyway, I'm not one to make spiritual judgments on anyone. I'll leave that to those that feel they are qualified to do so, which is to say, I have not met that person yet. Nonetheless, I learned, while hanging out in the comments-section of BikeSnob's blog, that Buddhist monks create sand mandalas for the benefit of everyone else's eternal souls. An altruistic act of creation and destruction, similar to those of other faiths. Apparently, this inspired Team Garmin to simultaneously baptize each other, after winning the Team competition in the Tour of Califiornia. I'm not familiar with the faith they practice, and why this was a sin requiring ablution, but bless them, and their and their newly washed souls.

It is in this extended spirit of atonement, that I will be taking next weekend off from posting. I don't know that I've reached the pudding-like gooey tastiness of this blog to deserve a break yet, but it's probably time to act like I have a soul, and scrub it a little cleaner. Like a small business still learning the disciplines required, I venture forward in my quest.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hey look! I can post no hands too!

Oh my god. I published mid-week.

Weird.

If you missed it, the Tour of California featured Washington's own, Phil Miller, as the start line ref today. Yea, us! This race ends tomorrow; more to follow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are you man enough? ... To ovulate?

The big news in the world of sport is the confession and accusations by Floyd Landis, (or as the Spanish commentators of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana called him--Flllooohoyd Landeese!) The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and the blogs of the interwebs have been burning hard like cigarettes after an international flight, since.

I'm not going to form an opinion as to whether or not the people Landis has accused used performance enhancing drugs or not. In all frankness, I don't have an opinion on it today, and I'm not about to start. Sure a few years ago I may have had an opinion, but whichever side I had chosen, I've forgotten now, because my opinion just didn't matter then. It doesn't matter now either. The only opinion that I get to have is which sports I choose to tune into, and the good news for sports in many forms, I am still choosing to 'opt-in'.

The reason I say my opinion doesn't matter is that I'm not a race ref, organizer, manager, or financer, so I have no political, nor financial sway, in any judgments I cast. Similarly, I like cyclists, and as long as you're riding your bike, I don't care all that much about what you do on it, as long as you stay out of my way. (Yes, I'm referring to 'while on my bike', just to be clear. In my car, I'm happy to give cyclists space.) Forming an opinion on this only causes heartache for me, on one side or the other, and it wastes time that I could be spending watching other sports, like say, lushly-bearded, Stanley Cup hockey.

But the truth that I have taken notice of, is that performance enhancing drugs do bad things to you. In 1967, cyclist Tommy Simpson died of an amphetamine overdose during the Tour de France. That prompted the IOC to develop an official definition of doping, put together a list of banned drugs, and created a stinking Pandora's Box of testing and guilt that gets opened every three years or so.

We've seen this across the sporting world, though:

According to WebMd (I figured they would know something), McGwire's supplement of choice, androstenedione, "causes whopping increases" in the levels of the male hormone testosterone in the blood. Sounds pretty good, if you're already a dude, and McGwire sort of qualifies. But here's the crazy part:
  • Finklestein and colleagues from Harvard... studied the blood taken from healthy men given either 100 mg or 300 mg of androstenedione. At 100 mg, he says, there is no effect on blood levels of testosterone. But, even at the lower dose, androstenedione does affect the levels of estrone and estradiol. Both estrone and estradiol are potent forms of the female sex hormone estrogen, which is normally present only in minute quantities in men.

    "Estradiol is so high it looks like these men are getting ready to ovulate," Finklestein says.

Personally, I like it when I ovulate. It's kinda fun when you're voice changes just a little, and you get...

nah, this isn't about that. Suffice it to say, that I can't imagine these are good things if you're male. This does not even begin to discuss the effects on the genitalia (of either gender), and how steroids can confuse the external sexual attractiveness of the user. And what else is there in life, really?

That's just one example. There's also this bit from that same site:
  • blood booster EPO, human growth hormone, and insulin. The full list covers nine pages. All are safe when used, as intended, to treat illness. None are safe when used to improve athletic performance.
One of the reasons why too much insulin is bad, is that it burns up all your blood sugars, and makes you tired. Having done some endurance cycling, I can't see why a cyclist would want to use this. Moving on, human growth hormone, HGH, too much can cause bones of the face, jaw, hands, and feet to grow larger than normal. In other words, HGH causes ugliness.

EPO increases your red cell production. This is great if you're anemic, but if you're already healthy, it just turns you blood into maple syrup. Next time you're at IHOP, if you see someone slice a vein over their shortstack, don't just assume that it's a depressed cry for help, you may have encountered a doping athlete. (Either way, you should probably call the cops.) But Nine pages of drugs? Really? My brain hurts already. That's another negative effect for Performance Drugs.

So then, the WebMd list serves up a link for Why People Cheat. Okay, so I had pasted in a section about why college students 'borrow' essays from the web, but it felt a little weird, so you'll have to go to the actual link to learn more about copying and pasting material. What I understand from it, is that people cheat because they feel, somehow, inadequate. If you're not good enough, perhaps you should consider another field. (Yeah, I have a mirror. I am greatly entertained by this.)

So, if you want to prove to other people that you find yourself to be inadequate, then you should probably try a performance enhancing drug. Rest assured that after you've done so, you will in fact, be less adequate.

Which brings me to the 'nut' of the problem. Many performance enhancing drugs create negative impacts on the scrotal contents. Why create further abuse of these lowly creatures? The testicle (and it's many nicknames: nut, nutters, nards, sack, junk, gibblets, gonads, bollocks, teabags, family jewels, cojones, ...etc,) are the least appreciated of the sex organs. They are the first target, that any self-defense class teaches. They're completely unprotected and exposed. They're a step below hamsters in the evolutionary scale. They're not even very cute as far as small, furry creatures go.

But, as everyone who's heard the scientific version of the birds and bees legend knows, they also play a major role in this species' baby making process. And babies are lovable, even if they also are not very cute. Family Jewels may not get a lot of respect in our society, but the same is true of Playdoh. It turns out both feel good in your hand.

The one comment I haven't heard yet in all the flames across the web today is one that I will say here.

Please! Won't somebody think about the children?!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beard Season 2010

The Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals are in the first intermission of Game 2. I realize you're probably just checking your email while you're waiting for the game to come back on, but be careful not to miss any of the action.

Here's a treat, for the next intermission. Be sure to share your playoff beard at NHL Digest's Facebook page, while you're at it.

Beards are like orgasms. If you have the ability, you should enjoy it.

Oh yeah, and Way to go, Tyler!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Raced in the Rain, and All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt

Google Plane over EarthOne thing about the American races: The podiums don't offer cool, European sounding jersey names. The Giro has the maglia family; the Tour de France features the maillots, (not to be confused with the Mayo's), and the Vuelta a Espana treasures 'el jersey oro'. Though, what if the races went the other direction. What if, instead of jerseys, we call it like it is. In the major races, the top prizes should be called just 'shirts'. That would make this sport much more accessible to the media-consuming public.

I can imagine the marketing pitch to the various professional teams: "And if you donate half your body weight, three of your team members, four ounces of skin, gallons of testable bodily fluids, and your dignity, you get a shirt!" Oh yeah. That's marketing genius right there.

Much of the coverage in the Tour of California has been 'offline' today. The airplanes sending the race feed are unable to take flight in the heavy rains. And the TOC footage is beamed back via airplane, it seems. The Giro coverage, on the other hand, is lassoed to helicopters.

What I think happens in bike racing is some kind of technical hi-jinx involving motorcycles, and aircraft, such that, the motorcycles following the racers have a guy standing up on the back of the bike, filming the non-motorized bikers, and then by some antenna, they beam up the feed to the aircraft. I'm under the impression that the 'beam' technology is akin to the same sensor and infrared that's used in most TV remotes, and has about the same abilities. This is why the race feed is greatly affected by weather, forestry, cell phones, guitars, cats, dogs, annoying people, and tin foil. In truth, this technology is more effective than many garage door openers, but part of me hopes that the moto-camera guys start investing in iPhones, or something.

Over a half hour into the coverage now, and there's been zero footage of the actual race course, other than some confused, dampened fans and some organizers puttering around a puddly finish line. My heart goes out to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen; they are having to ad-lib like crazy. It's clear that this mishap has occurred way too early in the week for Versus to have filmed enough of the usually insipid "human interest" stories to fill the space.

I confess, I'm hoping someone will do a piece about how Mark Cavendish combs his back and butt hair into the the coiff he fits under his helmet. Okay, yeah, I don't actually know if he has that ability, but I'm hoping somebody in the peloton does, and that it gets reported. It's my understanding that racers don't, quite, shave everything. And some of what they choose to shave, and what they don't, just confuses me. Please Versus, or Universal Sports, Body hair is an, as yet, (vast?) untapped resource in cycling's .. uhh... landscape.

Oh wait. The race is on! .....Okay, that thirty seconds went quickly. Way to go Brett Lancaster! Giro coverage starts (in my world) in fifteen minutes. Thank goodness for the tape delay.

Universal wasted very little time in introducing the race coverage today. No sooner, had Photo courtesy CyclingNews.comI turned it on, than the race was already 40 miles in. Apparently, it's raining everywhere in the world that isn't Seattle today. We were supposed to see a bunch of rain, but it decided to travel the world like lost luggage. The puddles in Italy are outlandish. Kudos to Astana, for their appropriation of carbon fiber, 'swim' technology.

The Tour of California had an ace in the hole for today's coverage. It's common during a multi-day race for the TV coverage to skimp on some of the race notables that are not part of the actual General Classification. I'm not sure that was the case yesterday, or if I blacked out after the race ended. Whatever the case may be, I seemed to have missed seeing the TOC King of the Mountains winner from yesterday, Paul Mach. Oh yes. He's a Californian, and on one of the American teams, Bissell. Not only that, he's a fellow blogger!

Not satisfied with the, "I was abducted by aliens part way through the race," that many riders experience during slower than expected race times, Mach takes it to the next level. He writes:
  • "When did the break get all that time?" and "Where did I lose those 5 seconds?" are a couple questions I ask a lot. Racedata.paulmach.com is a web application I developed to find the answers.
Mr. Mach, you are amazing. Someone who can balance the beauty of numbers with the vicissitudes of racing, while, not making my skull rupture from the expression of data, is a true American hero, in my book. I'm now a fan.

Ride safe. I love you all.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Back! Mud is Just Part of Life

(photo edited, so as not to be same as another, better-tasting blog site.)

So, if you noticed any major events last week, you may have noticed that this blog, suddenly went into convulsions, and passed out for a bit. Okay, so it wasn't a major event when you compare it to the continuing efforts in the Middle East, the US Economy, or the Miss USA Pageant, but it was a moderate inconvenience in my world, and that's close enough.

Today, the Tour of California competed against the Giro d'Italia in a television Time Trial of coverage. I same time trial, because the two media outlets televising pro cycling races these days, Versus and Universal Sports, didn't 'roll off' at the same time, the way a standard race does, and they each had to push they're skills to the limits of what they could do for cycling coverage.

Initially, Versus (showing the Tour of California), stumbled right out of the starting gate, when they had two different Phil Liggett audio files (not to be confused with the Phil Liggett audiophile,) playing at the same time, creating a fugue of lilting, British fury. They quickly recovered though, with a return of the 'Epic Cycle' graphics.

Not to be outdone, Universal Sports pulled out all the stops by extending their daily two-hour coverage by a full, extra half-hour with the uncategorized mountain-top finish at the top of Monte Termination, (or something like that, but in Italian.) It turns out that the Giro organizers decided to not categorize any of the mountaintop finishes, to keep them in a shroud of mystery, like when large-busted women wear puffy sweatshirts. (Yes, you can tell that there might be some breasts under it, but is it a nice set of womanliness, or some mutant form of chicken breast? In a sweatshirt, it looks pretty much the same.) And just like hiding in a big sweatshirt, one can guess that the Giro organizers are trying to cover something up. In the case of today's race, the finishing climb edged over 12% grade at one point, putting into what the Tour de France would describe as Hors Categorie, or in English, uncategorized.

Back at the Tour of California, the race profile exposed a largely downhill course. Snooze. The fact that cycling celebrities are choosing to race TOC, rather than the Giro made it a little more interesting. Barring a catastrophic mechanical failure or massive crash, chances of a Mark Cavendish win were pretty good. He did. There was a crash mere feet from the finish line involving Tom Boonen, where he displayed that American roads tear up modern cycling clothing much faster than that of the French. He's tested the crashability of roads all over Europe, so it was easy to predict that he would want to crash-test Cali's, as well, but it seemed he got more than he bargained for.

So, Universal Sports brought the fight to the wheelhouse, and declared the term 'epic' is overused in descriptions of cycling. Ooooh. A direct hit! Rest assured, as the race climbed into final mountain's fog bank, the word 'epic' slipped out like a nipple from a bathing suit. And who doesn't like that.

It was also revealed that, during yesterday's Giro through the Strata Biankay--as Steve Schlanger called it (don't ask me if it's right, nor how to spell it)--or the dirt sections of the race course, Cadel Evans changed his bike from a typical road race bike to the roadie equivalent of a cyclocross bike. Okay, sure so it was kind of a messed up, almost dickish, move of the race organizers to suddenly divert a bunch of pavement-loving road cyclists onto the terra firma, but what's the point of allowing the richer teams to trade equipment before hitting this section? It's sort of like if you're in school taking a test, and halfway through the test, when you get to the essay portion, the guy next to you hands his pen over to James Joyce to finish. Yes, racers are allowed to change equipment during the race due to mechanical failure, and I confess, I don't know the rules on changing equipment for no good reason at all, but this seems like a douchey move, unworthy of the rainbow stripes.

Watching the race slog through the mud, made me pause. It was slogging through the blogtacular mud that made this blog go into the aforementioned convulsions. I'm guessing that it contained a toxic parasite of some kind. Nonetheless, it's back now. Whatever.

But, back to the 'muddy-mudskipper' Giro: this seems fishy to me. It's sort of like letting your bike take a performance enhancing drug. If one guy is allowed to do it, everyone should be allowed to. Heck. There should be a triathlon-like changing station where everyone swaps to a different ride, and the race should be renamed, The Giro d'Italia d'Douche, and the stuffed, plush, soft-drink looking thing they had out at the podium, should be changed to a, ...well...

On a lighter note, the Seattle media reported on a guy that saved a bald eagle on the Columbia (Photo by David Lee Myers)River, recently. Say what you want about the way that patriotism has been thrown around in the past decade as some kind of political litmus test of some kind, and the bald eagle seems to symbolize that, but it's not uncommon to see them while on a bike, during the spring and summer months. Sure, it's possible see them in the car, but it's more likely to be, "Hey look! that's a really big bird!". On a bike, when the eagle is searching the surface of Lake Washington for tasty vittles, while you're riding past on Lake Washington Blvd, nearby, it gives a much better perspective on how huge, amazing, and beautiful our national symbol truly is. Here's the rescued eagle, post-release:
(photo courtesy KOMO4-News)

Speaking of lycra-clad sports and weather, the sun and 70-degree weather has reached the typically gray and sedated Seattle weather-schema, meaning summer is essentially here. This means donning that other lycra, sporting gear, the swimsuit, and getting a little wet. If you're interested in a swimming adventure opportunity, schedule a trip to NYC and visit the waterways around Manhattan. I've heard that you can even dip yourself into the wetness that is (as one of the locals calls it,) the Big Skanky. You don't even have to get a hepatitis shot first!

But, no need to start swimming just yet. We are still in Bike Month, and are beginning, now, Bike Week.

Ride Safe. I love you all.