June 29, 2007

More than meets the eyes

Okay, lots of stuff has happened since the last post including work on our baby room, etc. However, I don't have pictures yet and don't have time to post much since I'm at work. We've spent most of our spare time lately doing much needed house-cleaning and other chores to prepare for the coming baby.

But I did this photo manipulation that I think is pretty fun so I wanted to share. The bright, Times Square picture at the beginning of this post is the original. In the darkened "robot invasion" revision below, I did all of the photo manipulation except the robot on the left. That includes the darkening effects, weathered billboards, explosion, the right robot, and lots of little subtle things to enhance the realism. The left robot was done by Jorgelish...one of my coworkers here at Local Creative.

I will post some pics from Chug, the baby room and other stuff as soon as I get a chance.

June 10, 2007

Turtle Rock x3

Whew! I've spent a lot of the week on (and occasionally off) two wheels. Saturday I helped dad frame his house from about 9 to 3:30. I wanted to go for a ride in the evening. Dad showed up at my house at 5:30ish wanting to go ride Turtle Rock (after hearing me talk about it). So we packed up and went for a ride. Afterwards we stopped by the Ames monument (highest point on the original transcontinental railway) and checked that out. Photo above.

I knew I wouldn't get a ride in the rest of this week so BertrandTheBold and I had talked about riding some of the Happy Jack trails in a little guide book he has today. We hooked up at about 2:30 with one of my coworkers from STP (Dizzney, see the post about Lorry State Park) and headed to the Lincoln Monument exit where the Tie City trailhead starts. Some reps from Trek and Specialized each had a little trailer set up with some demo bikes there. After we checked that out for a few minutes we hit the trail.

The Tie City trails consisted of lots of loops that all interconnect and end up back at the trailhead (for the most part). We just rode and rode until we had covered a lot of the loops. The trails were all up and down and very rocky. Tough to climb but worth it for the downhill. We finished up at Tie City but hadn't gotten enough. We threw the bikes in Dizzney's truck and headed over to Vedavoo.

We horsed around on the rocks at the base for awhile and then set out on Turtle Rock again (third time in a week for me). We quickly left that trail down a little offshoot and forded a stream to get to a trail that disappeared up into the trees. We climbed up through the trees and came out on a little ridge overlooking the East face of Vedavoo. BertrandTheBold and I were pretty eager to blast back down the trail we came up and the trail we were following had kinda petered out so we turned back and went-a-romping back down to the creek.

Across the creek again and we were getting pretty tired. We decided to complete Turtle Rock and call it a day. By the time we came out on the other side of Vedavoo we had probably ridden 10ish miles the hard way: up and down on pretty rocky trails. BertrandTheBold and I were pretty wiped but when we got back to the truck Dizzney was still romping all over the rocks. Kids! I took off my hydro-pack and pretty much just laid down on the pavement. Yeah, maybe I'm not in the best of shape.

Dizzney headed home. BertrandTheBold, Wifey and I grilled some burgers and brats and then I had a rootbeer float. Pretty darn close to an ideal day!

Anyway, I've posted pictures below.

Summit Loop crossroads, from Tie City

Summit Loop, scenic overlook crossroads (I-80 distant in background)

Dizzney on a rock outcropping

BertrandTheBold on the scenic overlook

Dizzney crossing the creek

Me on rock outcropping, Happy Jack general area in distance

Turtle Rock trail, west side, near sunset

June 8, 2007

Perception vs Reality

BertrandTheBold brought some Mountain Biking DVDs to work that show crazy professionals doing 30 ft drops and giant backflips off of jumps. When I looked at the picture of me riding down the rock (see last post) after seeing some of that footage I felt small, weak and scared :P

So I SPICED IT UP with a little photoshop magic. YEEEEEEEEhaw, that's more like it. Click the photo above for a larger image.

June 6, 2007

Vedavoo and Turtle Rock trail

As mentioned in yesterday's post, BertrandTheBold and I rode Turtle Rock trail at Vedavoo yesterday. Everything was [almost] perfect. We left work at 4, loaded up our bikes and headed out by about 4:30. It had rained at Vedavoo just enough to add some stickiness to the sand. The weather was just right, overcast and cool. The trail was also amazing. It is around 2 miles and loops around the backside of Vedavoo from East to West (or West to East, see, it's a loop). It has little uphill and downhill stretches that are a great balance of uphill cardio and downhill blasting. The trail is easy enough for mildly competent riders but features rock outcroppings that the most advanced riders can enjoy playing on.

The actual ride went very quickly because the loop was so short...we probably completed the two mile track in 35-40 minutes...taking our time. Then we just rode around on the rocks around the parking area for an hour or two: lots of fun stuff to play on. We didn't shoot many pics because we were having to much fun to stop. I have included the pics I took but none are spectacular. None of these images are from Turtle Rock trail. I didn't even take the camera out on that trail. The rocks are a blast for general rompery.

I've never been afraid of getting hurt but now I have a family to consider. I have developed a very bad habit of bailing on stuff I could ride out because these thoughts are in the back of my mind. This is actually worse than just riding it out because you land hard on your ankles, maybe trip and sprain wrists, and invaribly destroy your shins with sharp spinning pedals. It also is very hard on bikes. Case in point: I hopped a little rock yesterday at a pretty good clip. Upon landing, another rock that I didn't see before (blended in with the sand) was suddenly in front of me. This rock was roughly the height of a curb and about two feet across. Not a big deal. I can easily hop up a curb going very fast on a bike. It only requires a slight hop with the front wheel and your back tire will ride over it.

Instead of just riding over the rock I bailed, stepped on my bike as it was sideways on the ground, and smashed the rear dereulier into the rock. The rear shifting mechanism was bent bad enough that the spring-loaded little sprocket was rubbing on the wheel spokes. I was able to bend that part back pretty easily but part of the frame is bent. I need to disassemble the back gear system, reshape it, and then adjust my whole shifting system to accommodate the slightly-altered shape. Fortunately I'm pretty sure I can repair it.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I have always maintained that a fearful driver is more dangerous than an aggressive driver because indecision causes wrecks. The same thing applies to MTB: and now I have a bad habit of being indecisive on the trail. That's going to have to stop or I will destroy my bike before the summer's over.

June 5, 2007

Breathlessly Awaited Update

Gentle readers: I apologize that it has been so long since I harangued the masses with a moving diatribe. Rest assured that my torment in light of this failure is complete.

News. Wifey's shower was this last Saturday. We are very grateful to all who planned, executed and attended the event. We received many nice gifts and are very thankful to everyone for their support of our soon-to-be-growing-by-a-member-family.

I have been working 7-5 every day and taking off on Friday at noon, which is nice. I left work at about 1 last Friday and helped dad frame his house until around 8. Then I worked for him on Saturday from about 7-1. I spent a lot of the day building walls so I was bent over with a nailgun, tacking stuff together. My hamstrings are hatin' me for that.

After I left the jobsite on Saturday I hooked up with Bro-in-law (BNL hereafter) and purchased a Ruger 10/22, semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle and a 4x scope. I also bought a bunch of clay targets and shotgun ammo at Wally World. Then we met up with the Painter, babyBrother and shot up some clay. I also sighted in my new gun. Then we went to the races where Dad and bluegrassBrother showed up.

Coincidentally my new boss also showed up. His wifey was due any day and they were hoping that the excitement and intensity of the races would inspire the little one to join this crazy world. Sunday they called and said she had delivered the baby at 9:30 so maybe it worked!

Sunday afternoon BNL and I went out and shot .22s again. We went through an entire brick (550 rounds) of ammo and I now have the 10/22 sighted in enough to nail a quarter at about 40-50 yards. Craig and I both have a quarter with a bullet melted into it and I also have a penny with a hole directly through the middle.

The first week I worked here I went biking with my coworkers over in Happy Jack. It was a beautiful area and I was inspired to camp there. So Memorial Day weekend we went camping with the Painter and their little family on that Sunday night. We all rode in the Xterra and it was packed to the gills. The next day we hiked around the Vedavoo area. Here are some pics of the adventure. Tonight I'm going to ride Turtle Rock trail with a coworker.