Monday, September 29, 2008


sorrow shared is sorrow diminished

"If a friend of mine gave a feast, and did not invite me to it, I should not mind a bit. But, if a friend of mine had a sorrow and refused to allow me to share it, I should feel it most bitterly. If he shut the doors of his house of mourning against me, I would move back again and again and beg to be admitted, so that I might share in what I was entitled to share. If he thought me unworthy, unfit to weep with him, I should feel it as the most poignant humiliation, as the most terrible mode by which disgrace could be inflicted upon me, he who can look on the loveliness of the world and share its sorrow, and realize something of the wonder of both, is in immediate contact with divine things, and has got as near to God's secret as anyone can get."

-- Oscar Wilde

I've been sharing the sorrow of the loss of a brother-in-law to me; a brother, a son and a friend to many others. I've been sharing the sorrow and keeping the sorrow to myself at the same time. On some levels it's completely unexplainable, yet we try to understand it and discuss every possible reason.

I try to be there for others to aide in the grief, yet shy away from letting my friends help me with the burden. I give advice and don't take it myself. I'm human.

Suicide is never the answer.....

Tell those you love what they mean to you. Live today, like there may not be a tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Commuting bliss

This week's weather has been fantastic. Sure no one has gas and the city is turning into a desolate noman's land, but the sun is shining and the temps are great! Come on out!

After consecutive days of breakfast meetings at Bongo Java, Thad and I rode down to Cool Springs again yesterday, this time it was actually a commute-to-work ride for me. Just like Monday, it was a bit chilly at 7am but was perfect by 8:30 and manageable for the ride home at 5:30pm. The commute to downtown Franklin is a little longer taking Thad's route, but the company makes up for it.

My legs are still quite sore and dead feeling from our lazer tag games on Sat. It was nice to know though that even despite the soreness I could have two 50+ mile rides back to back without much issue. I'm hoping this will be some good base fitness to help me at Swank 65, cus I need it! Or maybe I need to be playing laser tag a few times a week to get in shape.

Exciting home buying times lie ahead. We are closing on our first house next week and have already begun purchasing things to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms. It's been probably the most stressful thing Beth and I have had to do together to date, but the reward will be immense! We are so excited to finally have a house that is ours! I'm sure I'll post some photos once it's actually ours and include some before and after shots.

Bike lanes on Belmont Blvd are filling up.... come get you some! You don't need gas to get where you wanna go!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I got gas, and got on the news

Hey look, now when you get gas, you have the chance of making the evening news. Who knew getting gas was so news worthy! :)

Check the link and watch the video til the end, or skip to the end:

After getting lunch and doing some new home accessory shopping in Berry Hill, Beth and I drove past about 10 stations without gas before getting in line on Overhill Rd to get gas at the Exxon in Green Hills. Thankfully we only had to wait about 15 minutes, as I was down to about my last gallon of gas. I hoped it would get better by this afternoon but it appears that this week is going to be a repeat of last week.

I'm planning on commuting by bike as much as I can this week. We started this morning with Mike N (Avg8ball) and Thad (Johnny5) and JScarf at Bongo Java for "Biker Breakfast" before heading down to Cool Springs by bike via Franklin Road. Mike and I both had the day off of work so we continued the ride over to Harpeth Bikes and then on through some lovely country roads to Percy Warner park. We're plannin another "Biker Breakfast" at Bongo tomorrow with a commute to Cool Springs/Franklin again by bike. This time though I'll be heading into work at the Bennett House to finish up a mastering project I started last week.

Good luck with the gas hunt out there guys! Limit your trips unless you like $3.99 gas and waiting in line to get it!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

showering lasers and left handed golf clubs

Last night was a co-ed couples shower (is that redundant?) for J5 and his lovely fiancée. Planned activities included some outdoor laser tag at the Drakes Creek Activity Center with some tasty refreshments, yummy pizza and peppers and then some miniature golf.

Thankfully Thad passed along the website for the laser tag place so I could find out that it was actually outdoor and Beth and I could plan our attire. I hadn't played laser tag since I was about 12 when my brother and I had it. We braved the gas-less abyss and drove up to Hendersonville to shoot our friends with infrared beams of light.

After picking our weapons and learning some basics we headed out to the 5 acre field and quickly got started shooting each other and learning how to die. We played a bunch of different type of games all involving running, ducking, hiding, crouching, shooting, getting hit, and friendly fire. The course was awesome, with lots of wooded area with little sneaky lines built into the brush. Though it was still hard to stay totally covered from everyone at all times. It seemed there was always someone on the other team in a spot to shoot you, no matter where you tried to hide.

After finally wearing ourselves out and many of us being completely soaked in sweat (or was it just me) we were treated to yummy pizza's and beer provided by Jeanie and her larger than life husband, 8Ball. We headed in to get our putt putt gear next and hit the course right away. I started things off strong with an immediate hole in one, only to be later shown up by a hole in one by a 2 year old. Putt Putt was a blast as usual even though we did have to split the group up. Thankfully the rain stayed away until most had finished their game and we congregated back at the picnic tables for cake and lots of "Hey, remember when I shot you that one time when you were behind that hay bale? Man that was awesome!"

We managed to make it back to Green Hills without running out of gas, or meeting any dusty characters from Mad Max trying to siphon our gas as a red light. But every gas station we passed on the 25 mile drive home was out of gas.

On to some pics:
Hilary learning the scope:

Thad and Mike after some sweaty gaming... Thad sporting the tired bluesteel look, Mike looking like he's cleaning his teeth with his beer.

Me, about to scarf some pizza.... SSUSA represent!

Oh how I love you pepperoncini.... you complete my pizza experience!

Thad and Hillary received new bridal themed Walz Caps....(the backs say Bride and Groom)

Melanie shows Troy how it's done

Thad waits patiently to interfere with Hilary's shot

You can view all the rest of my photos here: Thad and Hilary's Couples Shower

Saturday, September 20, 2008

out of gas a good thing?

Ok, so Green Hills is just about out of gas. 1 out of 4 gas stations currently has gas, with a line down the road to get in. Nashville wide appears to be out of gas. Are we really out of gas? I think not. Are their tons of scared, worried drivers with full tanks and 50 gallons of extra gas in their garages all around Nashville... I suspect yes. It is a glimpse into the bizarre mind of the public.

Other cities in TN are having no trouble keeping gas in the gas stations. I imagine even areas hit by the past two hurricanes probably have gas at this point. Why are Nashvillians feeling the incredible need to get as much as gas as they can right now. The price isn't even good.... YOU'RE WASTING YOUR MONEY! hehe

On a bright note, Beth and I walked down to our favorite local sushi place for lunch today, Ginza. We have made this walk many a times in the past year, to Star Bucks, to Whole Foods, to Pei Wei etc. What was different about today's walk? We saw at least 10 other groups of people out walking. We generally never see anyone walking while we are out. Yep, people were out today. Yeaa.... maybe the fake gas shortage scare has truly made people think twice about driving somewhere. If you work in Green Hills, why are you driving anywhere in Green Hills to do anything. The area isn't that big.

It was a very nice walk and it was fun to greet people who were also out walking. We even happened upon a little booth setup selling freshly made kettle corn. Turns out this guy sets up just about every saturday in Green Hills. I've probably driven by him countless times and never noticed. Today we noticed... a perk of walking and taking things slower.

Pile o bikes at Yazoo

Big turnout last night at the Yazoo Tap Room. Fall is coming fast and everyone was itching to be outside and on their bikes. We had a nice pile of 9 or 10 bikes in the small quaint tap room. Thankfully Yazoo likes us cyclists and doesn't worry too much about tripping hazards.

I got off work too late to meet up with Beth and her family for dinner but just in time to quickly get on the bike nd head to the tap room. I saw Dunn riding onto Belmont Blvd and we rode in the rest of the way. This is one thing I really like about riding my bike around town. It never fails that you see someone you know on almost ever ride and get to catch up and ride together.

After a few yummy pints and some great conversation we took the party over to the "East Siadeeea" to 3Crow bar. The TN rep for New Belgium Brewery had met Dan at East Side Cycles and invited him to 3Crow so we all tagged along. Turns out John, from New Belgium is quite a nice guy and even bought us all a round of Fat Tire! He enjoyed learning about our bike crew and our weekly pub crawl/rides. John and I ended up talking about all kinds of stuff from where to buy a house in Nashville to when Sunshine Wheat will hit stores here. I hope to see and hang with John again soon and repay him for the beer....real stand up guy.

After scarfing down my wraparita-del-steak-o (seriously), I called it a night and rode home solo. I'm always curious if I truly ride home faster from these gatherings due to riding solo and being a little inebriated, or if I just feel like I'm going faster and trying harder, due to the same reasons. Either way, it was again a great night to be out on the bike, enjoying great beers and friends and meeting new people.

We just found out some exciting news on our house buying adventure. Hopefully more details to come very soon, and hopefully no more negative details to come.

Monday, September 08, 2008

quick update

I'm just back and cleaned up from a nice ride out at Montgomery Bell State Park this morning. We had a good group show up and had a fun, leisurely ride. I decided to try a new gearing on the SS for Monty bell and it worked great. I've always ridden 32x17 out there but wanted to try 32x18 again since I haven't been riding much lately. It was a welcome change that made the whole ride more manageable and enjoyable. No pics as we were all riding sans technology today.

I'm about to lay down for a bit before Beth and I head to small group so a photo dump will conclude this post. (Why not, everyone else is doing it)

Can you see the joy?

Me, on the phone, shopping mortgage lenders.... need I say more?

Our booth setup this past weekend at the Germantown Festival outside Memphis.

Beth's yummy dinner of salmon and shrimp ravioli at Ya Ya's in Germantown

The "Best Dressed Weenie" competiton at the Germantown Festival

Heat #2 of the Weenie races at the Germantown Festival

A little friend that visited us at the Grant Park Festival in Atlanta the other week.

Beth found this bright little grasshopper on a car in Green Hills and couldn't help but snap a shot. Her new camera takes great pictures.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Advocacy Update

I just received this note in my inbox from Walk/Bike Nashville. If you feel strongly about this, please email your thoughts to the address at the bottom on this article.

Advocacy Update
Rosa Parks Boulevard Bike Lanes

In July, one of our alert board members noticed a repaving project beginning on Rosa Parks Boulevard through Germantown between Jefferson Street and I-65. Such repaving projects are important events to us at Walk/Bike Nashville, because many times bike lane striping only takes place when roads are resurfaced. (Note in this photo how there is room to accommodate a bike lane, but not on-street parking and a bike lane. The temporary shoulder stripe is already in the process of being removed.)

As it turns out, the road was repaved and temporarily striped shortly after our board member noticed the milling underway (milling is when road crews grind down the surface before repaving). So on July 19, 2008, we met with Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) representatives (they are responsible for maintaining this section, as it is state highway 41-A), Metro Planning and Metro Public Works. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the lack of bike lanes and the opportunity to add them.

The Metro Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways (SPSB) (see document here) recommends bike lanes along this stretch of Rosa Parks Boulevard, which runs in front of Werthan Mills, a high-density condominium development. Walk/Bike Nashville expressed our concerns about the missed opportunity to follow the SPSB. All the agencies at the meetings came to an agreement that Metro Public Works and Metro Planning would develop a striping plan to create bike lanes and deliver it to TDOT for implementation.

It was also agreed in this meeting that a process would be developed in order to facilitate communications between the parties so future striping opportunities could be addressed in a more proactive manner. TDOT, Metro Public Works and Metro Planning all agreed that the Pedestrian and Bikeways Coordinator with the Metro Nashville Planning Department would be the contact between Metro government and TDOT.

It was quite a surprise to Walk/Bike Nashville when this plan was unilaterally changed by Metro Public Works without any communication or explanation. TDOT was instructed, by Metro Public Works, to revert to the original striping plan, which excluded bike lanes. TDOT was also instructed by Metro Public Works that the Metro's Pedestrian/Bicycle Planner would not serve as the contact between agencies.

We don't believe the public's best interest was served by this change of direction and disregard of the Metro Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways. We're pushing to ensure future communication among the involved agencies works toward our goal of planning and implementing safer roads for all modes of transportation.

Let us know your thoughts on this and we'll forward them to the appropriate public officials. Email to

dog days of summer still sticking around

Man it's hot... no humid, yes, humid and hot.

I attempted a ride on Labor Day with a fun group up at Lake Barkley but it didn't go so well. After sitting outside for 12+ hours in Atlanta on Saturday and Sunday, I wasn't too prepared for the exertion and humidity I faced on the trail Monday. Stupid me wasn't hydrated and hadn't been on the bike but a couple times in the past month. Oh well, the trail was great. The swimming afterwards was a very welcomed addition to the trip. We were worried the lake would be the only good thing about driving up to Barkley, but the trail was a lot of fun. It has a little bit of all the trails around here wrapped into a 10 mile loop. I'm sure it will be a lot more fun when I am in better physical shape. I learned that lesson at AEDC last year. I hated that place after one trip, but went back this year and really enjoyed it.

if this man asks you if you want to swim.... run the other way!

I have a lot of work to do if I want to enter Swank 65 this year. A lot of work and a lot of things going on in my life the next few months. We're getting closer to closing on our first house. We have some renovations placed before we even move in. Then there will be the fun process of moving (anyone wanna help for free Yazoo?) We also have craft shows the next two weekends and then a few more in Oct and Nov. I know I can 'make it work' if I really dedicate myself. But it sure seems daunting thinking about how to fit in some decent ride time and also trying to fit in finding some work to pay for this new house.

I've signed off on the drawing/geometry of my new Quiring frame. I have been over-thinking all aspect of course, but I think I'm content with the current design. I need to start collecting the new parts I'll need. Once I have a firm-ish date to expect my frame, I'll need to rebuild my wheels with 29er rims. At that point I will of course have to start telling everyone how much better my bike is and how I can't believe anyone would still ride small wheeled bikes. I need to continue my 29er research so I sound as authoritative as possible when I belittle everyone elses bikes. :)

On the bike product front I received my Swiftwick shipment last week, hand delivered by Mr. Swiftwick himself. I finally got myself some Olefin Zero 'no show' socks. I wore them all weekend at our outdoor craftshow (as did Beth) and then got to try them on the trail at Lake Barkley. For this hot weather, I really like the low cut of the zero style sock. While not a true 'no show' they stay up on your heels better than any sock and don't bunch up around your toes. I doused them in sweat during our super humid Barkley ride and they still stayed put. I'm not sure if I truely was 5% faster on that ride though... hard to tell during all the panting and stops to clear my head and lungs. Beth loves her zero and one olefin socks. I'm still waiting on a pair of one olefins to try that are on back-order. (guess they are quite popular) It's crazy to have a professional sock maker on the race team with you, but man is it nice when they make a superior product.

I'm still rocking the Ernesto Hippy Lube on both bikes as well. I'm still on the first application but don't see signs of needing to reapply. I still have the benefits of a super quite drivetrain so I'm in no hurry to mess with it. My Prolink has now been relegated to lubing the stantions on my Reba fork and not much else. Thanks to Thad for cluing us into the power lube and to Ernesto for making a great product!

Got a light work schedule this week so I'm hoping to get out on the bike this afternoon for a little time at Hammy and get a ride into the Tap Room thurs with J5. I'm all out of wack with my riding schedule so hopefully I can reign it back in.

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