April 30, 2007

Lory Weekend Adventure

(click images for bigger view)

I gave the new bike a run for its money this weekend. Wifey and I met up with Dizzney, one of my coworkers, and drove up to FC with our bikes on Saturday morning. On the way up I leaned out the window of the truck and my hat blew off. We stopped and I jogged back about a quarter mile but couldn't find it anywhere. Then Dizzney noticed it, wedged between the bike spokes in the back of the truck. Good thing, I like that hat!

In FC we met up with another coworker, Sharkdog, and his girlfriend and her friend and set out for the reservoir. We paid our park dues and found a place to park the vehicle and then set off on our adventures. The ladies were going to hike around while we dudes did some biking. Our parking spot is circled in red on the map above. The ladies set off to the West, up the mountain, but we decided to ride down by the shore first (green path going East from the parking spot).
(Sharkdog and Dizzney at the summit, all photos taken with bad cell phone camera...)
We rode along until our trail dead-ended at the reservoir. There was a "slight hill" to our left and we decided to climb over the top and catch the trail (that we imagined) on the other side (first red section of the map above). This took place on foot because there were spiky bushes and cacti that made in unfriendly for riding. Plus it was pretty steep. At about this time we were soaking with sweat and we all got rid of our t-shirts.(View from the summit down to where we started at the reservoir)
When we finally reached the top the other side was a short cliff (10-15 feet?), unsuitable for riding down. Sharkdawg crawled down and then Dizzney and we passed the bikes down (first blue section of the path). We descended into a little gully with a sort of dry creek bed down the middle. We rode part of that out but also had to walk some because of large rocks and cacti (second red section). Keep in mind that there was no trail here. The gully ended in another cliff that we navigated using our previous method (second blue chunk).

From there we were pretty much back on trail. We rode up the coast to a trailhead that went up the mountain. It was a long, hard climb. The trail was thin and had lots of rocks and roots to navigate over. It was steep enough that if you lost momentum you pretty much had to walk to the next switchback so you could get started again (at least at my riding level). Also, I couldn't stand up to pedal much because it took too much weight off my back tire and I would start spinning out. You can see on the map above how steep it gets by looking at the topo lines.
(Me and Dizzney on the summit, Dizzney is just glad to be alive)
Dizzney and I were on our first ride of the summer and neither of us have been training. By the time we hit the top it was all we could do to keep pushing the pedals down. My bike seat came loose and rotated backwards so I couldn't sit down for about a mile until we ran into a guy with a bike tool. I had left my bike tool behind because I decided I didn't want to carry a backpack.At one point I was heading upward and hit a rock that stopped my progress, I tried to put my left foot down but there was nothing to put down on. The mountain dropped off too steeply on that side of the trail. So I ended up sort of falling on my shin in a spiky tree that was growing up the mountain. Kinda tore my shin up and my ankle got a little stiff for the rest of the ride.

Sharkdog stayed pretty much daisy-fresh through the climb. He trains hard almost every day and has a triathlon lined up for pretty much every weekend this summer. I think he also intends to compete in the ironman: 2mi swim, 50mi bike ride and a half marathon at the end. He was our main inspiration to keep going as we weren't sure that the trail we were on would lead us back over the mountain to our parking spot. His curiosity about what lay at the top of the mountain (and apparently infinite energy) kept us motivated.

We finally topped out on an old logging trail and found the summit at Arthur's rock. It was a great view, overlooking the reservoir. After we rested for a bit we started down the other side, a much steeper drop that ended right at our vehicles.
(Climbing up the final rock pile on weary legs)
The ride down was a blast but would have been more fun if I had more energy left. We found out later that it was a walking trail only and there were lots of places where we were riding down nature's equivalent of stairs...large terraces of rocks or logs planted by the parks to stop erosion. We also discovered that it was rated "Moderate to Difficult" as a foot trail. It's important to keep your butt over your back tire and your weight as far back as possible when you're descending stuff like that. I was heading down a really steep rock drop and my front tire dug in at the bottom. My bike threw me as smoothly as any horse but I got my feet over the handle bars and landed painlessly on my feet. Dizzney, who was behind me, and a couple hikers following up were pretty amused by the unconventional dismount. I think my wrecks could have been avoided, not with more skill but with more endurance. My wrecks were the product of slow muscles and slow brain from over-exertion.

Anyway, by that time we were all hallucinating hamburgers and were glad to get to the bottom. The ladies were waiting for us, having walked up the path we just descended to the summit and back down. We did damage to the food supply at Lucky Joe's and then headed back home so Dizzney could make a soccer game that evening. Sharkdog had plans to relax in his hot tub (so jealous...).(Me and the Sharkdog, unaware of how bad the sun is burning us right now)
When we got home I discovered how incredibly sunburned my back was, a joyous discovery to be sure. Sharkdog and Dizzney appear to be equally toasted.

Anyway, it was a blast and a great adventure, if a little more than I planned for my first summer ride. I definitely broke the bike in and got used to riding it. It rides a lot different than my old Giant. It can also withstand some damage, I'll vouch for that!

PS: I found out at work today that Sharkdog rode another 35 miles on Sunday and then ran 5 miles. The guy should get his head checked :)

April 20, 2007

Break the Chain (letter)

Okay folks, I've heard several of these enough times, or gotten them in forwards, that it's time to respond and stop this stuff from going any further. Some email chain letters that give advice are so wrong that you could actually be endangering someone by forwarding it on. If you get an email that offers wonderful advice or secret tips, try googling them before you send it on. Most of the time you'll discover that it's either based on fact but seriously misinterpreted or simply WRONG. Below is an example of and my response.


The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday.
Wrong. In SOME European countries, on some GSM phones it MIGHT work to dial this. This doesn't work in all countries for all service providers. For you Americans, you can try another super secret number if you have an emergency: 911. That's more likely to work. If you're traveling, maybe you should do some research before you go.

If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).Editor's Note: "It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our carover a cell phone!"
This is physically impossible. Cellphones operate at an entirely different frequency from car remotes so there's no way they could replicate the signal. People who have claimed to do tests probably were too close to their car with the remote and the remote itself unlocked the vehicle. Wifey and I conducted a controlled test from far outside the range of the remote and, all science aside, it just plain doesn't work.

Hidden Battery PowerImagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.
Nope. This might be an okay idea but it hasn't been implemented. This probably came from the fact that on some Nokia phones you can use a similar menu combination to lower the voice quality on your phone and save some battery life. Either way, it's wrong. If you're really into this idea, when you're down to one or two battery bars you can just pretend like your on reserve and plug your darn phone in. If I found out that my cell phone maker was preventing me from using 50% of my battery for the sake of a reserve I'd be ticked. Think about it, it's ludicrous.

How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless.You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.
Does it work? On some phones for some providers, maybe. But who cares? Your phone is already gone, do you think they're going to bring it back? You can always disable your phone by calling your provider and reporting it stolen. In some cases if you leave it working they can triangulate the signal and figure out the thief's location. I doubt that they would be willing to do this for your dumb cell phone though. Even if it did work, do you think you could keep me out of your phone by sending some code? I would enjoy the challenge. That's called a software lock and most of those are not very secure. If you DO want to disable your phone permanently you can press any button combination on the keypad firmly with a ball peen hammer or the heel of a boot.

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simplydial(800) FREE 411 or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all.Program this into your cell phone now.
Okay, this one might actually work for now but you still get charged for airtime. If you have txt messaging you can use Google SMS to find weather, news, directions and many other useful things at no cost (except for the cost of the txt message itself). Or you can just call a buddy who has a phone book or a computer.

The point of all this? If you're going to waste your friends' time with an "informative" forward at least verify the truth before you send. Otherwise, help break the chain and kill the email in your inbox. On the other hand, if you send these to me, it gives me good fodder for a blogpost :)

PS: Did you know, in a pinch, that battery acid works great as eye drops for allergy sufferers? Try it! You will never have problems with your eyes again. (Disclaimer: I hope I don't really need to tell you that battery acid should never be put in your eyes.)

April 19, 2007

Scott Scale 60 Mountain Bike

Summer is coming and I am itching to ride. I mentioned the Muddy Buddy in my last post and my company might sponsor a mountain bike race in Winter Park that I'm also interested in. My current mountain bike is a pretty solid beginner level bike but I will probably destroy it soon if I keep riding it. When I first bought it I broke the chain 3 times in 2 months. The shop finally gave me a super-strong chain but now it puts stress on the sprockets. I want to ride the Vedavoo trails and some of the Horsetooth trails this summer but I don't want to replace my drivetrain system...that costs ~$300 and my bike was only $350-400 new.

Anyway, I have been watching what we get in here at the Post. I found a bike that was super nice but it was out of my price range. Retail value of it is $900 (ridiculous amount to spend on a bike as far as I'm concerned) and we had it marked for $650. That's a pretty good deal but then we put it on sale for $519...even better. I get a 30% discount but not on sale price...off of our regular markdown. My price was $460 but still quite a bit more than I wanted to spend on a bike. I was looking it over with my buddy Sharkdog and he noticed a dent in the bottom tube.

I pointed this out to our retail manager and she said we'd have to mark it as a "third" (oh darn), sorta like the dented cans at your local grocer. Anyway, that brought the price to $350 which officially destroyed my anti-purchasing willpower.

This thing has extremely burly front forks and a much higher-end drivetrain from Shimano. The tubes are gusseted (reinforced) to take a lot of abuse on the trail or jumping. I am very excited to go riding so if anyone wants to hit the trails let me know! Wifey is also looking for a more mild-mannered sidekick for very light biking or hiking nearby trails. She's aching to get outside but obviously is in no condition for off-roading :)

By the way, I have my old bike posted on Craigslist for $225 if anyone needs a decent, less-technical ride. It has a sturdy frame, wheels and the gear system is fine for normal riding. I was prepared to subject it to beyond-normal abuse which would have killed it. I can go down to probably $175 for a friend (a good way to find out if I consider you a friend, haha). It's a great bike for men over 6' tall. If you are interested in my ol' bike you can read all the specs here:

April 18, 2007

Random Update

So, dearest blog readers, I know we haven't been posting so much lately. There hasn't been that much news. Here's a brief synopsis of recent events.

  1. On Recording: Well, Kristy and I have both had a bunch of allergy problems. I had a tenacious sinus infection, which was largely unpleasant. Anyway, this means that I have done very little with the microphone lately because my head has been full of snot. I will probably mess around with it in spurts...I have a lot of hobbies so I rotate focus on them continually.
  2. On Babies: Our baby has been beating my wife. From the inside. She kicks hard enough that you can see Kristy's shirt move. If you've never felt a baby kick I guess I could best describe it as feeling like a cat, moving around inside a beach ball full of jello. I have never put a cat inside a beach ball full of jello. You are sick to have assumed that. I'm not sure you could even get jello inside a beach ball.
  3. On Nerd Activities: Our town has a pretty unreliable power source. Every time there are power fluctuations it really screws up my computer and server systems. So, I got an Uninterrupted Power Supply and have the core components plugged into that. It has already gone on battery backup twice (in half a week) due to power flux. The power seems to hit 130+ volts (120 is normal) pretty regularly, which is probably not good for sensitive electronics.
  4. On Family: The family met last Sunday to hear my grandparents tell about how they met our friends years ago and other interesting stories about folks we've known for years became friends.
  5. On April: Well, the ol' April Fool's joke post kinda backfired. I was going to do a followup post but there were enough comments that mentioned it was a joke that I decided not to. I forgot that comments don't show up on the post in list view and a week later (after it was no longer April Fools) the joke played out in force. Sorry to the folks who were seriously concerned that we're moving.
  6. On Spring Break: Wifey went to IA to visit family for her spring break. They threw her a nice baby shower out there and she had a good time. I have a picture of wifey on my coffee mug at work, she's all skinny and holding a fishing pole up in the mountains. Sometimes it slips my mind that she's currently pregnant, fat and sassy (and obviously doesn't read everything I post on this blog, heh heh). Anyway, I asked her if she was playing paintball with her cousins, which we did last time we were out there. I think she thought I had lost my mind but in retrospect, it was darn funny to imagine my pregnant wife stomping around with a paintball gun.
  7. On Virginia Tech: Sometimes I think our country is really, really screwed up. Then I remember that some countries live with these events every day. I hope that somehow, our activities in Iraq and other places around the world are doing some good.
  8. On Drugs: I was just required to attend a Meth Awareness Class at work to help us determine if our employees or interviewees are potential Meth users. It was interesting, Meth is a disturbing drug. The ironic thing is that pro-drug magazines, such as High Times and some others, actually warn their readers against Meth. So, even the "drug industry" thinks Meth is a bad drug (I don't read pro-drug magazines, they told us that in the class). When a coke dealer says "That's some bad stuff" you know you shouldn't be putting it in your body!
  9. On Physical Fitness: This guy at work is a pretty hardcore marathon and triathlon athlete. It's kinda inspiring. He was telling me about this event called the Muddy Buddy that's toward the end of the summer (Aug 19th) in Boulder. It sounds kinda fun but I am in terrible shape. I keep feeling sort of motivated to run but thankfully I keep quashing that ambition. Basically, the Muddy Buddy is two buddies with one mountain bike. You take turns running and riding on and off over a 6-7 mile course with several obstacles. Oh, and it ends with a crawl through a mud pit. I was going to the gym pretty regular but that has sorta dived off lately. I truly detest running but I do love to bike. It's hard to imagine myself as one of those fitness wackos...I like donuts and computers too much.
Welp, that's the summary. Have a good week homeys.

April 10, 2007

Short Words for Long Memories

I hear that April 11th (tomorrow) would have been The Swede's birthday. I think I remember the Minstrel teasing her about her Sweetish (misspelling intentional) ancestry so that's the nickname she's been given on this blog.

We used to go visit the ranch when I was little. I don't have any real specific memories to share but many good memories of times spent there. I recall lots of guitar playing, food and fun. I always looked forward to visiting. Elmont was a good pal and I might have had a kiddy little crush on the girls. Either way, the visits were always a blast. Even the time I came home with chicken pox. Even the time we slid off in the ditch on the way there and our tires fell off. Especially the time that Elmont got 4 buckets of water poured on his head. And all the others too.

If the rest of her body were as strong as her heart the Swede would still be with us today. Anyone that could raise three girls, two cowboys (yup I said two ;) and still drive a school bus is as tough as they come. And she was as sweet as she was tough.

April 1, 2007


Well, it's official. I got a job managing the online marketing for an organization called ELPC. My job will be to generate support, via online materials, for public energy programs that pull power from windmill systems. The position is located in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, though the organization is focused on the midwest, and they are paying our relocation expenses!

We have found a nice little house out there near the ocean. Kristy will be looking into the local schools for a teaching position. I will begin working remotely in a few weeks but we probably won't move until midsummer. Kristy needs to finish up the school year and we have to sell our house. Anyone looking for a nice place to live in Cheyenne?

We are excited but we will miss everyone in this area!

(April Fools!)

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