Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fred, you're my hero

Just got back from a group ride at Monty Bell. It was a perfect ride. The sky was clear, there was a chill in the air, the trail was dry, 7 people showed up to ride, my legs felt great, bike worked well, broke in my new wool Yazoo jersey, no knee pain, 11.5 miles at a very leisurely pace.

Fred, I can't thank you enough for the cleat alignment!! My knees haven't felt this good in months! I felt I had more power with less strain. I didn't even need to move my saddle to be comfy. I still need to do the plum bob trick and see where I stand on both bikes, but the Ventana felt great today. Even just standing up and coasting or riding downhill, I felt more comfortable on the bike and could give the bike more body english. Maybe it was just a great karma day of riding, but I know that the cleat alignment helped immensely. Apparently my feet are shaped differently so one cleat is quite a bit farther forward than the other, but Fred said his cleats are similar and it felt good riding. I'm not going to second guess it.

The wool kept me very cozy today. The temps were about 32-34 when we started and I just wore a long sleeve base layer, wool short sleeve jersey and my normal riding shorts. The only cold bits were my fingers towards the end of the ride, but I attribute it to wet gloves from sweat.

Got 11.5 more miles logged for 2007, putting me at 962 for the year, a little shy of my goal of 1000. Oh well, I'm pleased with my riding this year and my progress. I'm excited for the upcoming season and for my road/commuter/cyclocross bike. I'm sure I will log may more miles next year. I haven't decided if I am going to set a mileage goal or just wing it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Radiohead Podcast

There is a podcast up on iTunes right now for Radiohead : In Rainbows.

I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but it looks like "in the studio" footage.

Here is the link:

Old Greg- Love Games

The soundtrack to December.

Snoop around Youtube for the full length version of this. Beware it may cause nightmares, but Thad offered to stay over with anyone who's scared.

The continued video is great too

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Xmas booty and barn raising

Beth and I celebrated Christmas over at her parent's house with her parents (Tad and Rosemary), brother(Greg) and sister (Lacey). We managed to get Lacey, who's 12, to let us wait until 8:30am to come over and start the day. She was good this year and didn't open anything until we showed up, and also opened slower so we could actually watch her open some of our gifts. Rosemary made some great sausage balls and coffee and then it was off to the races.

Everyone received some great presents and it was a lot of fun to watch and just sit around as a family. Lacey received some of her first makeup, Rosemary got a nice gold necklace and some artwork, Greg got an Ipod Nano and some nice headphones, Tad got a cool antique match striker and some war artifacts. Beth got a nice digital SLR camera that she can use her old 35mm lenses with. She'll use it mainly to take better pictures of her jewelry to apply to shows and for her website, but I'm sure when she gets good with it, she'll want to use it for other things. It's a 10 mega pixel camera! That is just crazy to me. My old point-and-shoot Sony camera is only 3.2; of course it's probably 5 years old and I've had to fix the LCD screen on it twice.

I gave Beth a beautiful rose gold ring from Anatra Jewelry. Months ago she had gone and picked out a couple rings she liked. Between then and now she had it in her head that I didn't get either of them. She even went by the store with her Mom the week before Xmas to show her the two rings she liked and the guy working couldn't find her wish list. The two rings were not in the cases anymore and she got a little aggravated when he mentioned that maybe I had already come and bought one of the rings. She told him, "I don't think he could buy one since you can't even find my wish list." :o) oh it was all perfect! I had asked her repeatedly for some present ideas, knowing I'd already gotten the big gift. In the end she didn't have any idea what she was getting and it was awesome. She was so happy to see the Anatra bag with the ring.

Some of the highlights of my gifts are a brown and yellow Chrome Citizen messenger bag. If you don't know them, it's an over the shoulder style bag with a waterproof interior. You can cinch is down to wear while you are riding around town. I think it is also going to replace my currently computer/work bag for studio work. I also got two Walz caps from Beth's brother Greg. One is a dark grey thin wool and the other is a blueish/grey corduroy. Both of them are super comfortable. I've been wearing them almost none stop since Christmas. Beth gave me a hand printed cycling shirt that she bought of It's a great print and I love the saturated blue color. Beth also bought me a bike, as my big gift, which I've talked about a lot lately. It hasn't come in yet so we weren't able to have it by the tree. I'll be calling and checking on it tomorrow, hopefully it's in or will be in very soon!

The rest of Christmas was spent eating, playing with new toys, and watching movies. We watched The Borne Ultimatum, Harry Potter 4 and about half of Talladega Nights. We just hung out and relaxed, it was great!

Thad texted me late in the day about a ride at Chickasaw the next day, the 26th. I couldn't wait to get out again and ride after all the eating I'd done the past two days. Rosemary made two wonderful meals for us, Christmas Eve and Christmas brunch. And of course I couldn't turn down seconds or dessert.

Dan Hensley and I met up with Thad at the farm around 9. Dan and I noticed a horse was out when we were driving in so Thad had to reign it in and do some quick fence fixes. After a short detour at Harpeth Bikes to chat with Fred and show off Thad's new meats, we headed down to Columbia. The weather was looking great but no one was in the parking lot when we showed up, strange sign. We started a 'normal direction' loop and I eased in for a relaxed, easy pace ride. My SS wheel is still down at MOAB so I was on the Ventana and just spinning. I was trying to feel out my legs and see if they felt better than they had on the Franklin State Forest ride. It was a combination of trying not to think too much about them and ride 'normally', think about them and see if they were hurting in the same way, and think about why I thought they may be hurting and what I could do to fix the problem. I have a way of making things hurt just by thinking about them while I'm riding so I tried not to dwell on it and just pedal. My left thigh was feeling a lot better so it's looking like the stretching and rest is really helping.

We stopped a lot to regroup and rest and kept playing leap frog with a group of walkers. When we made it back to the parking lot, there were two more cars which was a good sign. I guess everyone had to head back to work today or they were just too lazy to ride. We decided to go back out and ride a backwards loop. I'm still not very confident in a lot of sections going reverse but overall the trail feels a lot better that direction. There is so much flow with some sections that allow you to really pump the bike and gain speed without pedaling. I'll have to try to do a bass-ackwards race in 08.

We stopped by the sandwich place for lunch after the ride and Thad got a text from him boss asking if we could go help him with a tree house. Sounds like an adventure! I know it was a bit more work than we anticipated, but man it was a lot of fun. It was totally out of the ordinary for me which made it more cool. Helping out and building something that you know some kids are just going to totally love.... good stuff! The project was quite the combination of planning and going by the seat of your pants. No one was hurt which was a miracle!

I've decided that my main problem with my left leg is cleat related, and possibly saddle position related. Fred over at Harpeth has completed some training from Serotta in bike fitting so I'm going to head down there tomorrow and see if he can straighten me out. I was noticing while riding today that my left leg feels like my toes are pointed too far out. I think this is leading to my pain in that leg. I hope it is something as simple as getting my cleats in the correct place. After moving my right cleat forward just slightly, all my pain in my right leg is gone.

My parents are coming tomorrow to visit for a couple days. They won't be getting in until late afternoon so I'll be missing the tap room most likely. We'll exchange presents tomorrow night and then chill during the day friday. We've talked about going out to dinner with Beth's family friday night which will be a lot of fun, just need to pick a restaurant.

You can view all my Xmas pictures HERE and you can view the rest of the tree house building HERE.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Makers and Eggnog

Makers and Eggnog
Originally uploaded by Chewieez
Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Beth and I enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at the Porter's after some yummy beverages and cheese dip.

I'd never experienced Eggnog and Whiskey, I've always been a Eggnog and Rum kinda guy. I approve I must say. It was quite tasty!

Off to bed so we can get up and be back over at the Porter's by 8:30am to open presents with Lacey, Tad, Rosemary and Greg. (the other Greg, no, not Old Greg)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fall is still around in Mid TN

Troy and Thad and I packed up the Element and drove over to the mtn and rode Franklin State Forest yesterday with their friend Chris from Tullahoma. We were looking forward to a day of great riding and great weather. In the end we got decent weather and great riding that we had to cut short. It was colder than we expected and some of us, Thad, didn't bring the correct equipment. He had to sport the Dicky look but at least there was no socks and sandals going on. I just brought my underarmor long sleeve base layer and was toasty after a few miles of warm up. December 22nd and we all still wearing shorts.... Fall is still in effect.

The trail was in good shape and has a long new section that isn't quite burnt in yet. We started with this section first with the idea that we would finish across from the ranger station and not have to ride any road back. The new section is twisty and relatively flat. A lot of sections are still very bumpy with loose, clumpy dirt. I felt like it took me a long time to really warm up and get the legs feeling good. My left thigh never felt good and progressively got worse through out the ride. I'm still not sure of the cause, whether it's muscle or tendon related, or if it's a bit of an over-use injury, or a tight tendon issue. The pain would be there on every down pedal stroke and was feeling similar to the IT band issues that I had in my right knee a couple years ago. That injury was mainly brought on from over-use too early in the season, but also from tight IT bands and a mis-aligned pedal stroke. One other idea on my left leg issue is Thad and I's small crash around 21st ave after the Tap Room on thurs. I can't remember if I landed on my left thigh or not.

The pain during the FSF side was enough to get me worried about being able to complete Snake Creek in two weeks. I did a long stretching session last night and iced both knees. I plan to be diligent about my stretching for the next couple weeks and take a little time off from the bike. I was not able to ride much in Oct and Nov, but have put in 50 off road miles this past week so I am wondering if maybe I just hit it too hard doing two laps at Hammy. My body probably just needs to repair and rest.

After we crossed the bridge over the creek at FSF and were riding the other side, everything started to look familiar to me. The trail gets more flowy and I was getting into a groove and keeping up with Thad and Troy for a bit. Each time we'd stop though I had to 'work' through the pain in my thigh to get back in a groove again. Each stop seemed to make it harder and harder to get going again. This section of trail was completely covered in thick leaves. Most of it fast rolling but some sections gave you the 'do I have a flat' sensation.

We stopped at a couple overlooks and chowed on some snacks. I brought my camera on the trail this time so I was able to snap some during-the-ride shots for once. During one of our pit stops a hunter strolled past us and barely acknowledged us except to mutter, "You guys are pretty brave to be out here during big game season." I hadn't even thought about hunting season and of course, none of us were wearing very visible clothes or vests. We shoved off and continued riding. The trail snaked around and in about 10 minutes we were in a valley next to the same hunter. We hear this crazy loud gun shot go off and look up to see this hunter saying something to us. He was clearly not raising his voice loud enough to be heard by us, so we can only speculate what he was saying. We were all taken back that he would shoot over us and were coming up with all these reason to explain it. Finally, seeing that it was after 2pm we decided to find the highway and duck out and ride the road back to the parking lot to be safe. This hunter was clearly POed that we were out there and we didn't feel safe continuing the ride. We rode 5 miles back on the highway as the weather continued to cool down and starting misting.

After a post-ride Yazoo we changed into dry clothes and packed the cars up and headed to the local Mexican joint. They were dead and we rested and chowed down on chips and salsa. The food really hit the spot and the $1.75 Dos Equis went down smooth. I crashed on the ride home and got a short nap in. Thanks again for driving Troy! I'll get you back for gas next time or your next few beers are on me!

The rest of the pictures from the ride are HERE.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hammy, pain and The Snake

Rode Hammy Wednesday with Dan Hensley. It was great to be able to fit a ride in before the impending rain. I didn't realize how long it's been since I'd ridden Hammy. There are some new reroutes that were a bit of challenge. They are over on the 'Advanced Side'. The one that gave me issue was just a few quick up and down some loose mounds of rocks. Since I didn't know what to expect, I didn't hit them hard enough to get up and over. We rode the short loop counterclockwise and headed over to the Advanced side. We rode clockwise once over to that side. I'm still a rookie riding the long loop clockwise so it's a blast, like a totally new trail. Dan was looking to do two laps and I thought there was no way I'd be up for that. Surprisingly, after the first loop I was jonesin' for some more miles. We headed back to the parking lot to check our phones and see if Hillary wanted to ride and then headed back into the trail, this time going clockwise on the short loop and riding the long loop counterclockwise. I was really feelin' it towards the end of the advanced side, thighs burning on some of the climbs. We decided to not hit the rest of the short loop clockwise and just headed back to the parking lot through the slot. It was the most miles I'd ever ridden at Hammy in one ride. Hopefully it was good training for Snake.

Snake.... a total mystery to me, but I'm committed to racing it on Jan 5th. I know I'm not ready, but I need to open my eyes to longer rides and more adventurous trails. My goal is simply to finish, hopefully still in the saddle. I haven't decided which bike I'm riding for the first race. I want to try it on the SS, but not sure if that is just a stupid idea. I've thought out just about every option I have. . . SS 32x18, 32x19; geared bike, geared bike minus my stiffing link (-1/2 pound). My rear SS wheel is still getting work done at MOAB so if it isn't ready for Snake, that may make my decision easy.

I decided to join Team Yazoo this week. It's not official yet as I haven't gotten a jersey, but I hope to get one before Snake. Thad and Troy said they pretty much saw it coming. I actually didn't give it much thought until last week. I didn't see anything weird about hanging and riding with them and still being on Team NMB. I have been riding a lot with Thad and company and hitting the tap room and polo. I really like how the team is a close-nit bunch and do a lot of things together during the week. I like that they live close to town and ride a lot. I think it is going to help my riding to be on a team with a lot of endurance riders and riders that are better than me. (not that there aren't riders better than me on NMB). It is sounding like team NMB will be ran different next year with a little less structure, and a more, "make it what you'd like" vibe. Yazoo has a great group of riders with a great community feel; everyone looking out for everyone else. (again, not trying to say NMB doesn't have a similar vibe). Man, when it comes down to it, it's hard to put in words my reasoning. Don't want to burn any bridges or upset anyone. :) Hopefully no strange feelings will erupt between NMB and me.

I'm getting geared up for Xmas. I'm really excited this year. I know some of the big gifts I'll be getting, but I'm excited that Beth doesn't know most of her gifts. I can't wait to watch her open her gifts from me! Even knowing that I'm getting a bike for Xmas doesn't make me less excited about it! Hopefully it will come in very soon! It's going to be the beas-knees. I'm excited about my gifts to my parents. I'm excited that I finished my shopping early this year, just got some wrapping left. We are going to celebrate at Beth's parents and then my parents will come visit later in the week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The two parties are of course on the same night

Beth and I were only invited to three Xmas parties this year. The first one we missed while were in Decatur, drinking yummy beer. The other two were this past weekend and both were saturday. Beth worked a half day and I finished up my xmas shopping. We headed over to the first party around 7:30pm thinking we'd be fashionable late. Apparently now it's fashionable to come a few hours after it started. Our friend Marissa hosted and had a great spread of cheese, crackers, prosciutto and salami, wine, champagne jam punch and some great deserts!! It was fun to see Todd and Marissa and Jamie again. We hadn't hung out with them in months. The party was low key with a lot of chatting and munching.

Around 10 we went over to party #2 at Kelly's pad. Right when we walked in we knew this was going to be an entirely different kind of party. The dining room was a huge dance party and the place was packed with around 40 people. The self serve wine table was out back so we headed there first. We needed some libations to lose some inhibitions and hit the dance floor. Of course I volunteered (or was I volunteered?) to drive, so I could not partake like Beth could. We had a great time chattin' with Kelly and others and dancing it up. They had a great party soundtrack going with some of Beth's new favorite songs. Midnight came quickly and I made the executive decision to head home. Of course given my new internal clock schedule, I couldn't sleep until about 2am and slept in this morning a bit.

Today after some omelette's, it was all about the office. The home office, not the TV show everyone thinks is revolutionary. We set up some shelves that we picked up in Atlanta last weekend. Rearranged some other shelves and moved everything around. Beth planned out this intricate work space for her FreshieandZero packaging and shipping department. She's still waiting on a mail sorter to help with keeping multiple orders organized pre-shipment, but the shelves looks great and the feng shui is really workin'.

I'm thinking about riding Monty Bell early tomorrow morning with some NMB guys. (HAWT Mike may be there too!!) I'll have to take the full suspension bike which I'm not excited about. No need for it at Monty Bell. My single speed rear wheel is still down at MOAB bike shop, probably ready for me to pick up. There's no way I'm driving to Murfreesboro to get it before I drive to White Bluff to ride MB. I'll just suffer through the gears and squish. I really need to try to get as many miles as I can in before the Snake Creek races start. I'm not sure yet if I'll make the January one, it may depend on how in-shape I feel.

As usual, you can see more pics from the weekends parties here: Xmas Party on my Flickr Page

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not much going on this week. I did a last minute tracking session for Blake Shelton on Thurs. That went very smoothly and was fun. I was once again able to work at a new-to-me studio in town which is great. I was lucky that when I first went freelance, I was still booked a lot at Emerald Studios, where I used to be on staff for a few years. This spoiled me and allowed me to not have to work very hard to find sessions. Now that Emerald is closed, I've been forced to worked harder and exploit my contacts. It has allowed me though to work at a lot of different studios around town, each time making new contacts; which is something I really should of been doing when I first went freelance back in 2004.

Thurs night tap room was a lot of fun. I got off work just in time to get over there and have two pints before last call. The place was full of Yazoo guys with an appearance from Clay of DSG. We rolled to Pizza Perfect afterwards for some dinner and more beer. Beth had just finished doing a truck show at Queen Bee in the Edgehill Village area so she met us at Pizza Perfect. She enjoyed meeting some more of my biking friends. She got a good dose of Sharpie at his best, cracking constant jokes and impersonations.

Thad invited us to sushi last night at Peter's Sushi in Brentwood. Beth and I loved the food and the company! Peter's has some unique rolls. Unfortunately it's in Brentwood, but atleast it's not across the river right? Thad was supposed to browse through Beth's jewelry but we all forgot on the way out. Don't forget Beth has a website: Freshie and Zero where you can shop from the comfort of your own home, in your skivies if you want! (this is a reminder for everyone, not just Thad! )

This weekends weather is going to be crummy so it doesn't look like I'll get much riding in, probably none. I was able to do some more xmas shopping today. I dare say I'm finished at this point. I just need to get some stocking stuffers for Beth, I mean for santa to put in Beth's stocking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The spot won't be empty for long

It has been done...
2 years in the making...
Choices have been made...
The waiting has begun...

new techie stuff

Alright I admit that I still have iphone envy and in a perfect world, I think I'd still like to have one on a Sprint network. I just found out about this guy who is building this amazing software for the iphone/ipod touch and it is really making me jealous!!

Check out this link:

ProRemote Protools Controler

He is developing an iphone remote for Protools software that will allow you to control the software from anywhere. Engineers have been asking for a way to control their mix from either the back of the control room or even a different room. This would allow the engineer to listen in a different environment than right in front of the console and yet still be able to have real-time control over their software! No more walking up to the console to make small tweaks and then heading back to where you are listening; no more having the assistant go and start the mix again or do a little tweak for you.

I think it is just brilliant and really shows you what the iphone/touch is capable of and what people are capable of given the correct tools and ingenuity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I didn't work today, but I feel especially accomplished!! I was finally able to get my Sprint account setup the way I wanted. I'm sure this doesn't sound like a big task, but it took about 10 customer service calls where I probably spoke with 15 different people. I won't go into all the details but I basically have my new phone working on my old phone number with a very nice plan. The power of persistence and patience is amazing!

So much has happened this past week it's hard to know where to start. I'll work to keep giving the short version.

Last tuesday I did a tracking session at a new (to me) studio at Sony Tree. I hadn't done a tracking date in a month so I was a little rusty but the guys on the session were a lot of fun and made the day really enjoyable. The studio just got a new (to them) console installed and there are still some bugs to work out. We were able to work around it all, but it would of been a pain if we were working there for more than 1 day. I really do enjoy tracking though. I wasn't the engineer on this session but tracking is still so rewarding to me. You get a great sense of accomplishment that you don't always get from mixing. At the end of the day you can look and see the fruits of your hard work. With mixing you're always second guessing yourself and the clients has little changes, and many times continues to have little changes until they learn to let go. Tracking is a more final process. You come in, setup, record music, and then you're done. You've helped create something that didn't exist at the beginning of the day.

On thurs afternoon Thad and I headed down to MOAB to hang and I started building my "dream bike" aka the crosscheck, or aka "the spot filler". I admit I was underprepared, but I also didn't know what to expect. Brian (at MOAB) and I worked through some different builds and then hit some internet trouble. Thankfully about 1/2 an hour later Thad was able to rescue us and fix their laptop. I'm happy with most of the build. Now that I've had a few days to ponder it more there are a few changes I'd like to make and I still haven't decided on a wheelset. I'm thinking of sticking with a pretty standard 105 group but can't pick wheels. I know so little about road components that it's hard to know what things cost. Even without wheels, I'm pretty close to the top of my budget so I'm trying to get some affordable, durable, non-tank wheels. So far the ideas are 105 hub/Delgado CX rim, XT hub/Delgado rim, or something cheap like the Mavis Aksium. I'm not sure what a 105/xt with delgado wheel will cost so I need to get back to MOAB and work some more and ask some more questions. I'd like to order this by the end of the week if I can... then my spot won't be void for much longer.

Beth and I traveled to Decatur, GA this weekend for a craft show. It went well and we were able to have dinner at a place we both love there called the Brick Store Pub. They have great fish and chips and amazing beer. They have some great microbrews from across the US. They had the Great Divide Hibernation ale again so I was in heaven! There are few beers that I enjoy as much as this one. I mean its a hoppy, dark, strong ale with a 8.2% alcohol content, what's not to love.

Grant posted a great update to DSG 2.0 on NMB and has really got me pumped. I keep forgetting about DSG and that I have a team set up. I wasn't able to go last year because of my wedding so I am super psyched for this year. Our team needs to get our butts in gear and get registered!

Here are the photos from our weekend adventure. (sorry there aren't many this time)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mimosas are nice

It's been a fun week since Thanksgiving break. I helped Beth setup and tear down two shows in one day and Thurs night tap room was fun. I've been glued to my new Centro, personalizing it and downloading programs. On Saturday, Thad and I rode Chickasaw in the amazing weather we had. Our bodies didn't know what was up with the 70 degree temps and clear skies. We were both feeling less than 100% but we still managed a great ride. The trail was in perfect shape. I really enjoyed riding the Soma, it was one of those good mojo days. Even with the lack of riding lately, I managed to have a great ride and not feel empty after. I really need to try to step up the riding in December to be ready for Snake Creek.

I took it easy on Sunday and got a lot of errands done with Beth. We had brunch with her parents and Beth did some needed rearranging of the office. Today was the first day I've had engineering work since before Thanksgiving. I'm assisting on a demo session with the Warren Brothers tomorrow so I went and setup the studio this afternoon. It's a new-to-me studio so the setup took a bit longer than I'd have liked. It should be a fun day tomorrow though (I hope). The engineer is always fun to work with and the Warren Bros are a trip.

The town is turning into one big Xmas decoration. It feels strange to think we are so close to Christmas. All the decorations are helping get me in the mood but it still feels like we've rushed into it. At least people waited until after Thanksgiving this year.

My brother and sister-in-law are having a baby girl on Wednesday! My first niece ever! It is so exciting, I can't imagine what they are feeling! We are going to try to go and see them before Christmas if we can.

There is rumor that there may be a new bike ordered soon for the Lawrence's.... It already has a place waiting for it in the living room. (shut up Thad!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My new Palm Centro!!

My new Palm Centro!!
Originally uploaded by Chewieez
I just received my new Palm Centro in the mail today! I've spent the last 4 hours messing around with it and getting it setup and synced to my computer.

It is basically a smaller Treo and can run all the same software. It has full internet and Sprint TV, calendar, IM and texting. overall it's pretty awesome! I love how small it is. It's a great smartphone for someone new to them like me and for someone who doesn't want to feel like they are talking into a brick.

With this phone and my new Macbook, I'm in total geek heaven!! I've exhausted Beth with all my "check this out" statements!

It's a good thing I'm not working much this week, so I have more time to customize my phone and get aquainted with it.

Thankgiving Week

Thanksgiving was a great break this year. It was very nice to get away from town for a week and just relax. Beth and I flew up to Syracuse, NY on Tues and returned Monday night. My Mom's side of the family and my Grandparent's all live near Syracuse so we were able visit with a lot of family. We had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Gail's house which involved all the standard foods; turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and a lot of bread choices (banana, pumpkin, poppy-sead, cranberry). I think my Mom baked bread for a week straight! I probably don't have to say that we all over-ate at every meal. My Mom brought their espresso machine and treated us to latte's every morning and the cooler was full of Yuengling beer all week. Life was good!

We took Beth around to some of the popular places like Armory Square and Skaneateles. There is a great brewery in Armory Square called Empire Brewery. I was happy we were in the time of winter ales and enjoyed one and then had a black and tan. I'd say Yazoo tastes a bit better, but I always enjoy trying new microbrew beer that has character. A couple days later we headed to Skaneateles with my Aunt and Uncle and their two daughters. Skaneateles is a small quaint town on a beautiful lake and has a Dickens Christmas show each year with a lot of characters dressed in period clothes including Scrooge. It was snowy and bitter cold but a fun trip. We got some coffee and did some shopping in the little boutiques. We had lunch in a famous fish fry place called Doug's Fish Fry which had the best fish and chips I've had outside of England and McGuinness pub.

Saturday my parents drove us up to Niagara Falls which was only 3 hours away. I hadn't been to the falls since highschool and had never been in the winter time. It was cold, windy and snowed for a while. Beth had never been to the falls and I realize winter time wasn't the best time for her to have her first visit, but I think overall she enjoyed it. We started on Goat Island and took a bunch of pics of the American side of the falls. You can see the horse shoe falls from Goat Island but the weather wasn't cooperating and it was very foggy and misty. We left and drove over into Canada to get a better view of the horse shoe falls. The weather cleared on our way over so by the time we parked and meandered down to the side of the falls, we were treated to some great views. I was very surprised to see that the Canadians were still offering their "behind the falls" tour. People were down by the bottom of the falls with yellow rain suits on. Not entirely strange except it was about 30 degrees out!! The American side had already closed their tours that go to the bottom of the falls for the season. Overall the town of Niagara, NY was very run down. There are a lot of abandoned stores with plywood over the windows. The Canadian side was the exact opposite. Beth said it looked exactly like Gatlinburg with the Ripley's Museum, Haunted houses and glitzy stores. Clearly the Canadian side is prospering, in direct contrast to the American side.

Overall it was a great trip and a great departure from the Nashville grind. Now it's back to life and back to eating sensibly! hah

You can view all my pictures from our trip here on my Flickr Page: Thanksgiving Trip

Friday, November 23, 2007

obsessively surfing the internet can make you money

Here's a heads up to everyone who shops with offers a 30 day Price Guarantee. They don't advertise it, just like they don't advertise their phone number but they offer it! Basically if the price is lowered in the 30 days following your order, just call Amazon and they will credit your money back. Here is their number and dial ext 7 to speak with a human immediately. (1-800-201-7575 ext 7)

I noticed that my laptop is currently on sale for $50 less than I paid (probably a Black Friday Deal) so I just called Amazon and asked for a price guarantee refund. It took a while but the customer service was polite and $50 was credited back to my credit card!!!

Now buy away with no fear of upcoming deals in the holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You can't keep me out Hotmail

Beth and I are up in Syracuse for the next week for Thanksgiving. We had a very smooth travel day today with no real flight delays, just a busy Philadelphia tarmac. We've drank some Yuengling eaten some great pizza and some homemade ravioli chili/soup, and drank some more Yuengling.

My Mom wanted to see my new computer so I showed it off for a bit and we looked back through our honeymoon photos from Italy. I hadn't looked at them as a group in a long time, it was great to reminisce.

My uncle and I worked to get Beth and my laptops working on his secure WIFI. After I caught up on emails and messageboards I surfed over to Daniel Parnell's blog. He is the author of the HTTPMail plugin for the MAIL program for Macs. Basically it's a plugin to allow you to access your Hotmail account through Apple's Mail program. Hotmail wants you to always log into their website to check your mail so you can see their ads. I understand this and I realize that I am not paying for their email service, but I hate their website and I am obsessive about checking my email. On my powerbook I was using Entourage but I don't have Office installed on my new macbook yet and I had heard that Apple had upgraded their mail program so I wanted to give it a try again.

ANYHOW..... David Parnell has finished version 1 of HTTPMail for Leopard and it's available on his blog site here.

I just installed the plugin and so far it is working perfectly! I love it, and also the new Mail program doubles as a RSS reader so I've moved all my subscriptions. We'll see if Mail works as well as NetNewsWire.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Short Haul Pain

After staying up late playing on my computer and being an uber geek, it was up at 6:45 and preparations for another trip to Sewanee. The usual cereal and yogurt for breakfast (should of had eggs) but no time for coffee....didn't plan that into the morning routine. Showed up at the farm to meet Thad right on time and was greeted by some hyper dogs and some hot, tasty doubleshot coffee. (not Starbucks, don't be confused.) We waited for Hawt Mike to arrive and packed up the diesel.

We arrived at the trailhead a while before Jut and the rest of the crew so we tooled around practicing skinnees and checking our bike setup. Mike quickly realized he had a pedal issue so the tool box came out and a make-shift hammer was the tool of choice. Unfortunately the pedal wasn't cooperating, even after repeated wacks, and the Hawtness was forced to ride with only only one side of his pedal operating. Jut and Elliot and Dunnsy showed up and got their gear together. We all eyed Jut's new ride and chatted for a bit before heading into the trail and starting our ride.

This trail has, by far, the best first mile of any trail I've ridden. It starts flat for about an 1/8th mile and then heads down a rocky, rooty, eroded section of trail which was completely covered in leaves. I was already thinking I made a good choice bring the squishy bike. The first 4 miles of trail are pretty technical with a couple of hike-a-bike sections. I was able to ride up one of these that I walked last trip when I was on my SS, but the others I still had to dismount. After stopped for a couple great look out points, we started into the flowy section of trail with many short ups and downs. It was clear early on I was in the worst shape of the bunch so I settled in the back of the pack and just rode my own pace.

Overall it was fun to ride the trail on a different bike, but I think I was faster on my SS when you take the entire 17 miles into account. I had a faster top speed on my squishy but only by a half a mile an hour. There aren't any substantial or long climbs so I think the SS is better for climbing. You get to stand and use your bigger muscles and then recover on the next downhill. My full suspension bike isn't the most efficient pedaler, even with the platform shock. It's not terrible, but you really need to stay seated and spin, standing really saps a lot of energy and you don't get the acceleration that a hardtail has. It was obvious after the ride that my body, as a whole, was less worn out than after riding my SS, but my legs were spent. I was fighting off quad cramps or the last 3 miles of the ride and even stopped a couple times to stretch and walk up a few hills. Another reason to ride a SS: It's more frustrating to have to walk up a climb with your full suspension bike than your SS. At least with a SS you expect a certain amount of walking.

Shenanigan's post ride was once again awesome. We even sneaked in a Starbucks stop on the way home to recharge. I got back in town and raced home and cleaned up. Then Beth and I headed to Tayst for a wonderful dinner with her parents. We shared a great bottle of petite syrah and I had the shrimp and fried oyster plate and Beth had the escalar fish plate.

I relaxed on Sunday and decided I wasn't going to ride. Beth and I went to the Sprint store to check out some smartphones. I played with the HTC Touch and the Palm Centro. The Touch was kinda cool, and has a definite similarity to the iphone, but didn't seem quite right. The touch controls didn't work everytime and I worry about not having any sort of keyboard for quick dialing or one handed operation, like while driving or something. (not that you should be dialing and driving anyways.) The Centro seems cool and has a nice pricepoint. I'll probably get that one once I get a plan I like, and can afford. It seems easy to use, the only drawback I noticed in the store was the web doesn't render as nicely as the Touch. I spend the evening surfing the internet researching phones and Sprint plans. I found out about a cool employee referral program that I am going to try to see if I can get on. My current phone is really showing it's age ( 3 years old) and I'm not in a contract anymore with Sprint. Hopefully I can get something worked out that's affordable.

Late edition: Video of Thad riding around the parking lot... yea... hawt....

Friday, November 16, 2007

I pledge my allegiance to Apple


Oh yea!! I am the proud owner of a little white Macbook!

I'd go on and on about how much I love it and how awesome it is, but I'd rather go back and continue playing with it! I've got a bunch of stuff to transfer from my Powerbook as well....

Looking forward to riding Sewanee tomorrow. I'm bringing the Ventana b/c I haven't been haven't been giving it it's quality time lately. I'll probably ride the Soma for our ride to Chickasaw.

waiting on the brown truck

So I'm trapped in my house waiting for UPS to come deliver my new laptop. They called me this morning to inform me I would be receiving a package today that needed an "adult signature". Now I'm scared to leave in case I miss it and they force me to drive out to UPS to get it. Every time I hear a truck drive by or back up I run to the window. We even got a knock at the door which made me run to find out it was a FedEx for Beth. Waiting is excruciating when you know your package is "in transit".

This weekend is shaping up to be pack full of bike riding, something I haven't done in months. I'm sure my body will cry and scream at me for pushing it too hard. A trip back to Sewanee is planned and Thad wants to ride from the farm down to Chickasaw and do a lap. I'm not sure if I will have the strength to do both rides, but I told myself I won't quit before I try. No sense is worrying whether I can or can't without giving it a go.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spending money

I finally pulled the trigger on a new laptop. I'm going to be moving out of 2003 and into 2007! My 1g Ti Powerbook is getting replaced with a Dual 2.2g Macbook. It's really amazing where things have come and how cheap it all is. $1299 for a dual 2.2g laptop that can hold 4g of ram. I maxed out the ram through Other World Computing for a measly $137!! Take that Apple! Can you believe Apple charges $850 for 4g of ram?! $850!!!!! It's as though Apple is saying "We don't want to bother with putting more ram in your system, so we'll just price ourselves out of that service." oh well... I don't mind doing it myself and saving $713. Next on the shopping list is a LCD widescreen monitor. I've been shopping around a ton lately but I think I'll wait until ater Xmas to make a purchase. I imagine prices will drop some more by then.

Last night was another night of polo. The overall mood was different and everyone put more emphasis on style and technique. Sharpe coached us from the sidelines and gave tips. My first team (Thad, Neal and Dan H.) worked a lot on teamwork and spacing around the court. We concentrated on hanging onto the ball and control and passing and tried less slapping and big clears. Unfortunately Thad had a brake incident and had to retire his bike. Everyone decided to call it then and make it an early night. We only played three games this go around but they were all fun. I managed to stay upright a lot better and use my mallet more for balance. I even scored three times which is a personal best by far! I'm generally lucky to get 1 score per night.

This past weekend was our return trip to Austin, TX for the Stitch show. This trip Beth and I revisited a few areas of town like South Congress. We weren't as pro-active to do the sight-seeing activities as we were last year so it was a much more relaxed trip overall. The Stitch organizers planned a pre-party the night before which was fun. We didn't know many people and I didn't know anyone, but after about half an hour we had made some friends and had some good conversation. Keg beer was supplied as well as free water from some company I can't even remember. Obviously I partook more of the keg than the water. The show was in the Austin Convention Center this year. We had fears of crazy, unorganized load-ins but it all went very smoothly. We were setup in no time and then Beth had a chance to browse the other vendor's booths which she never had time for last year. The show was a definite success but overall I don't think they will host it in the Convention center again next year. The room was a bit too large and much brighter than last year. It was hard to feel the some vibe as last year. We sold more than last year which was Beth's goal for the show so I'm sure we will be making the trip again next year. You can view photos of our trip on Beth's flickr site.

Random things I learned while in Austin: Shiner bock tastes better with a lime, we never figure out how to get anywhere until we are about to leave town, I still don't think service roads are a good way to get on and off the interstate, hotel internet service always sucks and is slow, just about every city we travel to seems to have a lot more casual cyclists
than you ever see in Nashville.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Out of shape

I got out this morning for a ride at Monty Bell with Adam and David (Onespeed from NMB). It was about 32 degrees when we started but felt good. It was my first ride this year to even wear long sleeves, let alone leg warmers and a jacket. It was quite the wake up call to my current fitness level, which is non-existent. Thankfully no-one was in a hurry so they didn't mind waiting for me to catch up. We were all on SSs which was fun. David was rocking a Bianchi and Adam was rocking his new Surly 1x1 69er . Adam was the clear winner of style points for the day and was hopping everything and pulling wheelies everywhere. I was the only one with a suspension fork and got a little ribbing. My pop-loc lever is still broken from my polo accident so I rode the first half of the day with it locked-out. My hands started to get real sore and I was getting tired from my lack of riding so I eventually gave up and unlocked it and left it that way. I couldn't lock and unlock it on the fly like I'm used to so I just had to stick with it in one state or the other. Onespeed was telling me I should get a carbon fork like his to lighten my bike 2-3 lbs and Adam was sayin' "Greg, you should borrow a rigid fork from someone and try it out. I bet you'll like it." I think the jury is still out for me. I like having the option with the pop-loc and generally lock it out for the climbs. I'm also thinking about trying to get some custom spacers so I can set the Reba at 80mm instead of 85mm to help out the steering.

There is already talk of planning some Braggin' Rights Races for this off-season. Mike N. organized some fun races last year. I'd love to host one at Hammy if it's every dry enough and possibly do a sort of endurance race at Lock4, maybe 4 hour or 6 hour, solo or team. Riding MB today in my winter attire reminded me of racing in the "cyclocross style" Braggin' Rights Race Mike put on this past February. That was a cold day and a surprisingly hard course. That is what this picture is from above. Basically it was "ride as many laps as you can in 30 min". The starts was next to the landing strip, you rode into the woods right before the jump section, then rode the trail until it came out to the road, turned right and headed up the road and back into the big field, around the air strip and then back to the starting line. I was spent by lap 4 and don't even remember how many I was able to do total.

We're heading to Austin, TX tomorrow for Stitch . 14 hours of driving ... woohoo! We bought Harry Potter book 6 on CD to listen to and catch up. That should help the time pass and then we'll be ready to start reading book 7 when we get back.

Good luck to everyone who is racing at Swank 65 this weekend! Maybe I'll race it with you all next year!?

Monday, November 05, 2007

New stuff rocks

The Soma got some new clothes.

I finally got around to getting a top tube pad. My knees have been taking a beating from both bikes over the past two years. This should help the SS. I still haven't found my preferred solution for the Ventana yet. It's an Axiom Top Tube Pad and isn't the best top tube pad ever, but I got it on ebay for $9 shipped and it fits and it's black.

I also finally bought a "nard-guard" as Thad would call it. After suffering a serious, life threatening, debilitating knee injury at the hands of the Polo Gods, I've decided to take action and protect myself from my stem. My stem likes to play rough and I'm tired of it. I got the Raceface Stem Guard and it's black as well...

Black is clearly the new Pink.

Returning to Nashville

Well we are back from yet another weekend selling necklaces and earrings to the starving masses. This past weekend we were in Hoover, AL at the Moss Rock Festival. Hoover is approx 10 miles south of Birmingham and roughly 3 hours from Nashvegas. The show was great in all the ways it could be. The weather was perfect, the public was very interested in buying jewelry, the load-in/load-out was smooth (for us), our hotel rocked and we only had to drive 3 hours to get there. Sales wise it was our second best show ever (under the supremely successful Renegade show in Chicago). The organizers of the show even invited us to a party after the show saturday night where there was catering and free beer and wine! Beth and I enjoyed some chicken & dumplings and I passed off the car keys and enjoyed several glasses of wine.
Pictures of the show can be found here: Freshie and Zero At The Moss Rock Festival

I had a session fall through for this monday so it looks like I have some free time during the week. I am still working on this jazz record with the woman from Florida but we are in the home stretch. As I mentioned earlier she came back to Nashville to re-sing some songs. I remixed all the songs and these new vocals have taken them to a new level. I've got a final (hopefully) set of tweaks to do tomorrow AM and then just need to print some hi-def versions for Mastering. She has booked Independent Mastering to master the album on Monday. I am excited to hear how it turns out! This is really the first full length album I've mixed all on my own so I am anxious to finish it and hear it after it's mastered.

I'm hoping to get out this week and ride some dirt. It's been a very long time and I'm not sure I remember how to do it. I will be rocking the Soma all week whether I want to or not. Last week, I noticed an unfortunate crack in the faceplace of my Thomson stem. Thad got me in touch with the right people at Thomson and they are taking care of me. This means though that one of my bikes is handlebarless and would be quite hard to ride so SS it is!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's a sad sight. I'm referring to the mycyclinglog stats that are shown to the right....

0 rides in the past 7 days.  40 miles in the past 30 days.  

Life is obviously keeping me busy. I felt a little guilty driving home from work at 7:30pm watching all the trick-or-treaters on Belmont Blvd. I've been in my own world and quite content with not participating in Halloween this year. Tonight reminded me the fun to be had. 

time to crash for the evening. Hopefully I'll be off work in time for a ride tomorrow. 

Monday, October 29, 2007

catching up

I realized I never mentioned our trip to Oklahoma City here in the blog. I meant to and even thought of cool blog titles while on the trip. Unfortunately I was just too busy when we got back to Nashville and life moved on. The trip was a lot of fun. We realized that Oklahoma City isn't really all that cool of a place, it has a lot of crickets (A lot!) and the roads truly suck. If you've complained about Arkansas's roads, they've got nothing on Oklahoma! The Girlie Show was a lot of fun and was successful for Freshie and Zero. The show was in an old Farmer's Market building (pic to the left)
just outside of the downtown area. The show opened on Friday night and they had DJs and free food donated by local restaurants and cafes. Saturday was more mellow and included a bunch of bands instead of DJs. Most were not memorable except the last one. They were a Rockabilly/Punk band with a girl singer and kicked ass. EDIT: The band is called The Oh Johnny! Girls and you can check out their website here: Our hotel was nice but wasn't without it's quirks. Our room was in an annex from the main building and next to the outdoor pool. We had a nice warning on the back of our door.... "Caution: Door Opens Directly Into Pool Area" Apparently they were worried we'd exit the room in a our skivvies or something not realizing innocent swimmers may be just outside.
Photo's of our trip are here: Flickr: Oklahoma City Trip

This past week I went and saw a Virginia Tech football game with my brother. Roanoke was getting the same rain we had here when I got there. It was a thurs. night game and it rained the entire game. My brother (Chris) and I still enjoyed the game in our ponchos. Like most Tech games they kicked butt for 57 minutes and lost the game in the last 3 min. We got back to Chris' house around 1am where I crashed on the couch and woke up to my nephew telling Chris to "Be Quiet! Someone is sleeping!" He's 2 and a 1/2 and a chatter box now. He's entered his "why" phase and wants everything explained. He still randomly runs into the room where Chris is and blurts: "Hi Daddy!!" Then runs right back out. It's hilarious. Chris' wife is 7 months pregnant with a girl so Beth and I will have a niece in a couple months! We are all getting older and life is moving fast! I don't feel old, but being married now and talking about kids and spending time with nephews makes me feel all adult-like.... strange. What's next? Retirement planning, house, wills?? Started the first one already, planning the second and should probably make a will at some point.

Beth and I drove up to Indianapolis this past weekend for another show. Unfortunately this one was a bust. The first bad show all year. Money wasn't lost, but very little profit was made. This coming weekend we are driving down to Alabama for the Moss Rock Festival and then Austin, Texas the next weekend. With all these out of town shows, Thanksgiving is going to be a welcome break. Unfortunately it will involve more traveling as we'll be celebrating it in Syracuse, NY with my family.

Beth and I skipped all of the Halloween festivities this year. I don't get very excited about it anymore for some reason. I think it's mainly because I wait too long to come up with a costume idea, and I never want to buy a $50+ costume that will just be worn once. Beth wasn't excited about it this year either. She blamed being out of town so much lately and having too much on her plate. We were gonna speed back from Indianapolis on Sat and go to a party but decided it wasn't worth it and then found out the party was canceled anyhow. Maybe next year I'll get inspired early. It's hard to beat my Paris Hilton costume 2 years ago. . . it was pure perfection.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breathing time

Life has settled down finally and I've been able to relax and enjoy being injured and not working. My sessions last week went well and were fun. I have a light week this week and then a trip to Roanoke, Virginia to see my brother on Thursday. We're going to go to a Virginia Tech football game that will hopefully involve some tailgating. Then I have to shoot back to Nashville early Friday and pick up Beth and her truck to head to Indianapolis for a Saturday craft show. I'm exciting to go to Virginia even though it's going to be a 15 hour round trip drive in two days. I've only seen my brother once since my wedding in April and I haven't been to a Tech game in a while. I'm not a big sports fan and don't watch sports on TV, but you can't help but enjoy going to a game and watching it in person. Being at Virginia Tech is always fun as it reminds me of college and JMU. That area of Virginia is also ridiculously beautiful and I miss it.

I was thankful to have the time this week to make it to Polo even though I had a session on Tuesday. I generally have to write-off my entire day when I'm booked so it's always a surprise to be able do something at night after work. We had 6 players so we played some hard fought games of 3 on 3. Teams seemed a little mismatched at first with the first couple games being blowouts. We rearranged a couple players and were more competitive. A new guy who met the Yazoo guys at Cyclocross came out and rocked it hard on his 29er Redline. He is an x track racer so he picked up the game quickly and the aggression/competitiveness came naturally. At one point I was making a meager "fast break" attempt and did a sweeping turn towards the ball, at the last minute looking up and seeing the new guy right in front of me. I was past the point of being able to stop or even slow down and I just t-boned him. Up and over the bars I went with my right knee slamming into my stem and my left arm scraping down my handlebars. I hit the ground hard on my left shoulder with my head quickly behind it. Luckily I was wearing my helmet because I remember feeling the impact. Troy and Dan thought I must of broken a collarbone or something seeing how I fell. I took a sec on the ground to check for broken parts and figure out what had happened. Once again I avoided any broken bones and just had a scraped knee and some blood on my arm. I slammed my knee hard though and it was already feeling tight. I had full range of motion and was able to pedal around and stretch it out but I could tell it was going to be a lasting pain. The bike managed to come out almost unscathed with just a broken pop-loc lever and a drooping brake lever. We took a short break for me to get back to my senses and enjoy some beer and then we played two more games. My knee has been slowly getting better. It's still sore and hurts when coming down stairs. I was able to ride a little this weekend on it and loosen it up some. Being on the bike felt better than expected but it still hurt to bunny hop and soak up the landing.

This weekend was the Race to the Canal at Land Between the Lakes. I was planning on entering this race but knew with my injury at polo, I wouldn't be able to. I went back and forth about going and camping knowing I couldn't race. Finally Beth helped remind me how much fun I would still have and Thad mentioned I could help the racers shuttle to the start so I decided to go. Very glad I decided go because I had a blast! We got up to LBL around 3 ish on saturday and met up with Jut, who'd left Thursday and ridden his crosscheck up there. (crazy!) We reserved a camp site and quickly setup camp. Thad and Jamie wanted to get a pre-ride in so the three of us headed out. I knew immediately I would have trouble keeping up. I haven't ridden trail in over 3 weeks and was clearly out of shape. I was leery of my knee as well which made me even slower. Thad reminded me that I was on my handicap bike, the geared Ventana, and make it sound like that was my only excuse. I wish that was it, but it was clear I just didn't have a lot of strength. Once we hit trail I fell even farther back and just tried to enjoy my own ride. About 2 miles in my calves really started to cramp, like full-on charlie horse style cramp. I've never had trouble with cramping and never that early in a ride. The only reasoning I could think of was not being well hydrated and being on antibiotics which possibly dehydrated me more. I tried my best to just ride through the cramps and drink a ton of water. Thad and Jamie waited for me at the confusing intersections and I stopped a few times to stretch my calves. I was enjoying being on dirt and riding but also really frustrated with myself.

We headed back to camp and met up with Chris Ivory and ogled his new Dekerf Solitare. What a sweet bike! He headed out for the inaugural ride on his new bike and we all chilled at the campsite and enjoyed some beer. Thad started cooking us spaghetti dinner and we snacked on nuts and chips and salsa. The pasta was great and the beer was cold and we were camping. Life was good! Brandon showed up a couple hours later with some more beer and a liter of Makers Mark and the party hit a new level. We partied hard and had a lot of great conversation. Next thing I remember was waking up in the tent at 6am. Thad was already up starting breakfast and it was still dark out. I tried to sleep a little longer but the gravel campsite was not too comfy. I got up to watch the sun rise and snap some photos. Everyone was looking a little rough at breakfast. I think Jamie and I probably felt the worse, though I didn't have to race thankfully. Thad made a killer egg/ham and bagel breakfast with fresh coffee! Everyone started their pre-race preparations and I tried my best to keep my food down.

Registration took longer then expected and then we met up with Mike N and Jeanie at the Welcome Station. Everyone piled in the truck and we headed off to the starting line. Clearly the race wasn't going to start on time but there was a big turnout of racers. The crew got geared up at the starting line and waited for their turn. We saw Jeremie from NMB racing for Cumberland Transit, Michael Cook from Team NMB and Bikerchickie. The crew took off with the SS class and Jeanie and I headed back to the Welcome Station in the truck. We had some time to kill and had some naps planned while the guys were racing. We took the cars down to the finish line and found some good shaded parking spots and just waited. I lounged in the passenger seat and tried to get a nap. I never did fall asleep but it felt good to just relax and listen to the sounds of animals, people and the occasional acorn hitting the truck. Jeanie and I estimated the guys would be done around 12:30pm which turned out to be about 30 minutes late. I headed up to see if I could find a bathroom and noticed some of the sport racers were done like Michael Cook. Ooops! Looks like we missed the Yazoo guys finishing! I saw Thad and Mike and Jeanie down by the finish line and walked up. Sorry guys! Sounds like the race was fun.

What a great weekend of camping! It really satisfied my camping fix. I'd been talking with Beth lately about camping and wanting to get her out. I hadn't camped in about 3-4 years. I grew up camping with my family and with Boyscouts. Beth has never camped so there is a little barrier there. I hope we can plan the perfect trip to ease her into camping. There are so many different levels of "roughin it" that I think if planned well, she will enjoy it. Maybe match it up with a day of rafting. There is just something about spending a lot of time outside away from technology that is relaxing.

I uploaded my photos from the weekend to my Flickr account. You can check them out here:
Flickr- LBL Camping Weekend

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Erythema Multiforme.....say what?

Life has been speeding along lately. Things are happening, work is getting done, trips are being planned. I've been quite busy with work lately which has been fun. It has been very managable with the engineer not choosing to work much past 7pm. I like to think I operate better when I am busy. If I have too much time on my hands I just procrastinate everything. Not that I don't procrastinate a lot of things when I am busy it's just when I have nothing to do, I can even procrastinate things I WANT to do.

My skin has been under attack this month. I got a bad case of Poison Ivy about 3 weeks ago on a night ride out at Chickasaw. Once that cleared up I started getting some other strange rash on my ankles, mid leg, elbows and hands. Trying to self diagnose, I got some cream and hoped it'd go away. It just got worse on my ankles and having it on my hands made normal tasks very frustating so off to the Dermatologist I went. (after much poking from Beth) It turns out I have Erythema Multiforme. What is that you ask.... it translates to "Red Multiformed Rash"... in so many words. It's a mysterious, non-contagious rash that many people get and doctors really have no clear idea what causes it. I was given a whole slew of possible causes, few of which seemed to click with my recent experiences. No worries though, got a shot at the docs office and a prescription for 8 days of steriods. I'm wish I could go compete at the Cyclocross races this weekend since I'm pumped up with the juice too! Anyhow, this is probably info no one needs to hear but rashed are like normal life to me. I've been very fortunate the past 10 years or so to only have to deal with the occasional poison ivy. As a kid I had every rash under the sun it seemed. I even had pictures taken once to be put in a medical book based on the rarity of the rash I had. Fun stuff!!
It's strange to me that taking Prednisone actually clears up random, itchy red bumps. Creams I understand....localized medicine; pills are a mystery.

I woke up early today for work and already had the new Radiohead album on my mind. I did some internet searching and found out the online release consists of 160 bit rate DRM free .mp3 files. I admit I was a little bummed that the sample rate wasn't higher, but it is a small step above the itunes rate of 128. I spent many minutes trying to get on the Radiohead site and put my order in. Finally I was able to get in and purchased my copy for 4 pounds ($8). Fair amount I think. I am still holding on the thought that eventually there will be an official CD release of the album in record stores. Hopefully near the first of the new year. I'll definitely be buying that CD with artwork when it comes out. Unfortunately I've been at work all day so I've only been able to preview about 4 of the tracks. I like what I hear so far. It was immediately somewhat calming to listen to some Radiohead that I'd never heard. I'd say the first 4 tracks definitely exhibit enough of the elements I love about Radiohead to get me excited about the release. They seem to have more classic band structure with less keyboard/spacey experimentation. I'm excited to put some more time in listening this weekend.

Beth and I are heading to Oklahoma City tomorrow morning. She has a craft show friday/saturday and we're gonna go a half day early to get settled and check out the night life a bit. We're getting all geared up for the 10 hour drive with some podcasts and audiobooks. We'll have the new Radiohead to listen to as well which will be fun. I'm sure I'll have to listen to the new Interpol atleast twice each way as well. That album just rocks! First album I've bought in a long time that makes me just want to put it in and hit play and just listen to the entire album. No shuffle, no skipping tracks....just great new rock music that doesn't suck.

Last night was another night of bike polo. Once again we had some great games with minimal accidents. We played four 4on4 games where my team was unfortunately shut out every game, or atleast most. We then started our last game to be played to 11 points. About a 1/3 way into the game Sharp's buddy exploded his rear derailleur so unfortunately he was out. Jut decided he needed to head-on and get some good shut eye so we continued our game 3on3. Man what a difference 1 person on each side makes. The entire game dynamic changes with more full on team offense. You don't have the luxury of leavin' a man back for defense. Our team actually seemed to step it up a notch when we went to 3on3 and managed to score some quick points and make the game more competitive. We ended up down to 10 to 7 and finally surrendered the game winning point. I decided to bring along my bike computer this game and get a feel for how many miles a night of polo ends up being. I was suprised to see it say 9.9 miles. 10 miles of riding around a indoor court, that's pretty good! It also showed a 15.5 mph max speed and an average speed of 5.5 mph. Fun tidbits to know. Yuengling has finally made it to mid-TN so a few of the guys enjoyed some beers pre-game and during. Of course cans of Pabst were also on hand as usual.

I'm looking forward to getting out of town for a few days. I hope the show goes well and that Oklahoma ends up being a fun city to visit. I have a full work week next week as well. Monday-Tuesday I am tracking some song demo's for a songwriter named Mark Collie. This should be a fun session. I like Mark's style of going for things full throttle. After that I have a client coming into town from Florida to do some more singing on a jazz/bossanova project. She wants to fix some vocals and then have me remix the songs. I started working with her at the beginning of the year. All the songs have been mixed already, but we will have new vocals to sit in and she may want a slightly different direction for the mixes. It's the new way of working and mixing "in-the-box". You gain the convenience of being able to tweak mixes easily without having to recall a console and outboard gear, but you sometimes can get caught up in the "never done" mentality of too many changes. It has been fun to work on a non-Nashville project though and the band she got to play with her are wonderful players from Rio de Jeneiro.

Unfortunately due to travel I'll be missing the first Nashville cyclocross race this weekend. I've never done one and am curious if I'd enjoy them. I'm thinking about entering the race at Land Between the Lakes next weekend. Maybe it will involve some camping/partying the night before. I need to see who all is going and see if I feel I'm ready for the 25 mile race. I'll have to put some work into my Ventana and make sure it's race worthy. I've been slacking lately and just riding the SS. I finally fixed a cut in my tubeless setup so I hope that patch holds. It will be the first time I've attempted patching a tubeless tire.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Music?

Another night of Polo occurred Tuesday. It felt like I'd missed a month (might have) and everyone seemed excited to be back playin'. We played with a different, smaller ball which changed the dynamic quite a bit. It's a field hockey ball filled with water so it rolls differently than the other rubber ball we were using. It doesn't ricochet near as much either which lead to a much harder time getting it out of corners and off the wall. Even the material was different enough to make an impact to me. I needed to be much more careful with my angle. If I hit it on the top too much my mallet would just drive it into the court and I'd roll right by it.

I was able to shoot some better footage of the action this week. I posted them up on my flickr page: Nashville Bike Polo Oct 2nd

I fixed my lcd screen on my digital camera again after squishing it for the second time. My camera has a key weakness in that there isn't a protective shield over the screen. The first time I broke it I was hiking with it in my jacket pocket and was bouldering. This second time I had it with me while mountain biking and presumably something just happened to press right on the screen with enough force to crack it. The fix is really quite simple. The only hard part is watching ebay for a good deal on a broken camera with a good LCD screen. The first time I got one I had to pay $40 which was a great deal at the time. I swapped out the screen and re-sold the broken camera with my broken screen for $20. Gotta love ebay, people looking for everything! This time I was able to score a camera with a broken lens motor for $6!! I swapped the screens in about 5 minutes and am all fixed up again. I guess the value of broken 3.2 megapixel Sony cameras is falling.

Through his blog, Troy brought to my attention the new Radiohead album that will be available Oct 10th through their site. They are looking to stir the pot a little with a few weird quirks to the release. Oct. 10th they are releasing the songs for download exclusively through their website. You are able to preorder a large collectors edition including 2 CDs, 2 LPs and some artwork for 40 Pounds ($80), which will be released in December. I gathered that the actual CD will hit the stores in Dec as well. The big catch to the entire deal is they are asking people to name their own price on the digital download that is being released Oct 10th. You can even name your price as $0.00 if you feel that is fair. It all seems a big experiment. What will the average person decide to pay to enjoy the songs 3 months before their official release? Radiohead is in a very unique situation in that they are a superband (popularity/success wise, not subjectively) and are currently not signed with any label. A lot of blogs are calling this move a big middle finger to the large labels and corporate music. As it can appear that way I can't help but remind people that it was these very establishments that helped Radiohead become the household name they are. It's easy to say all music should be free, but in the long term what will this mean for artists? Should all paintings be free as well? Photography? Art is so hard to qualify, and also put a monetary value on, but I still feel there needs to be a price. I've been thinking of posting an entire blog entry on my thoughts about music, downloads, burning/cloning etc. This might have to wait for a lazy sunday afternoon. I am always curious to discuss the matter with my friends as long as they are willing to have constructive discussion.

So back to the Radiohead discussion. I was all ready to plunk down at least $10 for the downloaded songs. Then I started wondering what format would they be. Would they include some manner of DRM or copy protection? This info is hard to find and I think purposefully not divulged by Radiohead. As I said earlier, I'm set on the idea that music is worth something. Especially from a band which I revere as much as Radiohead. They are on my very short list of bands I don't even give a second thought to purchasing their music. If the songs are presented in a subpar .mp3 format (below 192 bitrate) I have to admit I feel much less willing to open the wallet as much. I acknowledge though that I am a bit of an audio snob due to my profession and that the majority of the world doesn't have the same feelings. My plan is to wait and see what Radiohead actually releases and then maybe later on the 10th or the 11th I'll make my purchase. It is nice to see someone going about things from a different perspective though and I applaud them. It will be very interesting to hear about the outcome.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

work, work, work, ride, repeat

Had a great week of studio work. Monday I recorded a kids choir for a new Christian/kids album coming out soon. Tuesday I leasurely setup for a three day tracking date for Jonathan Singleton out at the Castle studio. Wed-Fri was assisting on tracks from 9-6pm with Jonathan. It went smoothly and we got some great songs recorded. Ben Fowler was engineering and it is always a pleasure working with him! We all enjoyed the nice pace and being done each day at 6pm. It is very beautiful out by the Caste. You are in a totally difference state than working on Music Row. You can take a break and just stroll around the back yard amid all the cedar trees and rock outcroppings. I hadn't worked there since last Aug so it was nice to be back.

Saturday morning came and Thad and Troy planned a trip out to Mount Eagle to ride. We loaded up in Troy's Element and hit to road around 9:30. We were on the trail by 11am and loving life! The trail was awesome, a great mix of all the elements you want in a trail. About the only thing I noticed missing is long grinder style climbs, which I wasn't missing saturday. I brought the single speed, mainly because I'm lazy and haven't fixed my rear tire on the squishy bike, but also because I knew Thad and Troy would be on their single speeds and I wanted to take mine to a new trail, even if it meant I would have to work harder. Turns out Thad was 100% correct, this trail IS a great SS trail! All but a very few of the climbs are doable and involve a nice run up to keep/get your momentum going. I liked having the lighter bike and really didn't mind not having rear suspension even though it was pretty rocky. My upper body is sore today but it feels good. It's that nice feeling that you know you worked hard.

My neck is still bothering me just slightly. Mainly during the ride it started acting up on me. This past week it has been feeling really good. I probably should be more diligent about stretching it. I don't think riding the SS helped it yesterday but it's not too bad today.

I've got a few more hours of Google work to cram in today sometime. I've had such a full week that I managed to put it off too long. I'm wondering what next week will be like. I'm assisting on a week long mix session at Blackbird studios, so I hope I'll have time in the evenings to get in some Google work.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

busy busy busy

Another week gone by and lots and lots of stuff going on. Headed to Chicago last thurs for 4 days. Beth and I headed up a couple days early to enjoy the city before The Renegade Festival started. We had a great time in the city and had a hugely successful show. We were both blown away by how busy we were saturday. We were just swamped for hours with customers, helping answer questions, teaching how lariats fit and checking people out. We actually had a steady line to buy stuff. Sunday was more sane and we still sold a good amount; definitely the best show to date.

I uploaded my pics from the trip to Flickr so you (all of you) can view them here: Chicago Pics

I worked on a fun Brooks and Dunn project last week. We recorded a live show at that they filmed for a future release. The entire road crew came and setup like it was any other show. I wasn't sure what to expect when I accepted the gig but it was a lot of fun and it all went very smooth. We also lucked into some great catering and we're done by 5:30pm. Can't beat the banker hours with free food. Well there could of been free beer I guess.

I decided I'm going to put my Google money towards a new laptop once Leopard is released. It has already given me more incentive to put in some extra hours. I've already put in my required hours for this week and am going to try to get in as much as I can. We are heading to St Louis this weekend for a one day show with Freshie and Zero. We'll be back in time for some biking on sunday I hope.

I went out for the first time in a few weeks last night. Thad emailed me an invitation for a night ride with he and Mike N and I jumped in. We got two fun night laps in at Chickasaw Trace, one forward and one reverse. It was my first reverse lap which led to some surprises in the dark. Had one close encounter with a friendly rock which led to a big goose-egg on my shin...thinking it is time for a top tube pad and a crotch guard for the stem. I've experienced way too much leg injuries from my bike frame. You can read Thad's account of the ride complete with pics here:

Who links to my website?