28 December, 2008

Twelve Years Ago Today...

...melissa and i got married in denver, co; same chapel inside saint johns where my in-laws got hitched. to celebrate our anniversary, we spent it last night at a hip, boutique hotel in lodo (lower downtown) called the oxford hotel. here's their lobby...

here's their christmas tree in the lobby...

our room wasn't art deco or anything just very elegant and luxurious (tiny!) where we could dock our ipod to a bose stereo and watch tv a la a flat screen lcd (we don't watch a whole lot of t.v.). i love the way the sheets on our king size bed smell. not too fragrant but with a slight, non-chlorine, scent diffusing old-school clean. the crazy tungsten-powered light fixtures cast a funky, yellow glow in our room (no flash for shot)...

our goal was to chill. no laptops, but listening to jazz from the ipod while reading our books and newspapers. they did have a really cool fitness center where i rode their stationary bike, lifted some free weights, and core strengthening exercises while melissa ran the ellipticals. we had to calorically earn our 4 star dinner...
...which was at a 5280 recommended place-across from the oxford-called the venice ristorante & wine bar (if they can't spell restaurant r-e-s-t-a-u-r-a-n-t, you know it's going to be pricey). they had an amazing wine collection in their centrally-located-for-spectator's-glee area. melissa had the gnocchi al pesto and i, the dinner special atlantic salmon (because thems pacific salmon are bad, bad, bad!) with asparagus drizzled with some tangy lemon sauce. oh man, the portions were huge and the intoxicating vino were imbibed via multiple glassfuls.

to sober up, we walked over to the market on larimer square. we shared a chocolate oblivion cake (3 layers of gelatinous chocolate sandwiched between very dense fudge-like chocolate bread, with a chocolate, cream cheese icing packed with semi-sweet chocolate chips. can you say insulin shock (i knew you could)? melissa washed that down with some very potent looking decaf latte, where i settled for a much creamier, frothier triple shot cappuccino. served in large cups, not mugs or glasses. it was a great way to wind down an already wound down day.

to reinforce my dedicated love to melissa she now wears the universal symbol of our partnership-an anniversary platinum band, encrusted with wee diamonds complimentary to her wedding band (it's the one closest her knuckle). purty aint it?
in the morning we had room-service breakfast washed down with a latte and a cappuccino from a tasty coffee joint across the hotel called common grounds. we requested a late, 1330 check-out time. in the meantime we worked out (again), showered, and read some more whilst lounging in our scrumptious, oxford hotel bathrobes. it felt like we just got through a swimming workout: relaxed, skin taught, clean, decompressed, and lazy (deservedly so).

ahhhhhhhhh. well, it was fun while it lasted; time to pick up our chilluns from grandma's.

note to selves: we're doing this again, hopefully more soon than later...

25 December, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all!

hey y'all. here's the note maricel wrote for santa last night. it's readable, the only thing you might not recognize is cheedoses. she meant cheetos® (it's good for santa to try new things-and he even replied!).

here they are looking over the banister at the loot santa deposited in our living room.

Merry Christmas y'all; or, if you'd prefer-Happy Holidays.

20 December, 2008

I'm Back in Texas

Saturday: well kids, i'm back at my parent's house in plano. a super close friend of the family passed away last monday. that monday was also the last monday before the week i begin break. so my cousin's (god rest his soul) wife-grace-and i are at my mom and dad's. i finished my grading and entering for the district so i can do this without the sword of damocles over-head (i.e. work). i left a frigid colorado for a semi-cold texas. what makes it seem colder than what it really is in texas is the nutty humidity.
after a nice vegetarian dinner of artisan bread, mixed-greens salad, and linguini noodles with vegan "chicken" strips, with individual saucers filled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, washed down with my father's stash of maredsous 10 (triple ale, 4-pack action, he knew i was coming, what a great dad huh?),
we started a fire and began the chill session. it seems later than what it really is and i'm also kind of buzzing from two goblets full of this unearthly nectar so mr sandman's trying to make an appearance. in the meantime, grace is giving me suggestions of where to go for the family trip in the canadian rockies this summer. i'm stoked just listening to her and the fire's going just toasty too. i can't hold off mr sandman so i head off to nighty-night. tomorrow we're heading off to killeen, texas for my aunt's (it's a filipino sign of respect to call super close, non-blood relatives gender specific terms of relationship) memorial service. my older bro lem's meeting us out there too so it'll be sweet hanging with him when we arrive.

Sunday: we hauled-ass out of dallas after attending mom and dad's church. while there, the music was pretty amazing. the orchestra and the choir were both busting out some pretty sacred tunes in a chicken-skin producing sort of way. met up with an old high school buddy when-back in the day-we used to sing together in the choir. yup. i was a pretty good tenor back then. now, i just sing real loud in the car. it was nice talking to him. we briefly talked about our kids and reminisced about our days involved with the youth fellowship. now i'm an agnostic dude with a slight proclivity towards the spiritual and empathy to about one-half of the population. i absolutely hate: fire ants, racists, ignorance, cyclists who talk with their mouths instead of their legs, cheap beer (although i like pbr and mgd) and non-tolerant people who drive slow in the left-hand lane...
in killeen we meet up with my mom's university classmate to talk about the itinerary tomorrow for the memorial service.

i was humbled being in the presence of my elders and the historical and cultural lessons i heard as they were talking about growing up in the philippines and the mores and customs about the passing of family members. very cool. also, as with all filipino get togethers it's all about the food. and it ain't even being close to being vegetarian friendly. i swear i was about to break my vow of non-meat ingestion looking at the goodies. they had chicken adobo, curry chicken, and egg rolls. as usual i was relegated to eating rice with vegetable broth, salad, and deviled eggs. my tummy's kinda upset as we're settling down into our hotel room. my brother's flight's late (as usual) so my dad and i channel surfing. nothing good. in fact my brother just called and he's still on the tarmac back in dallas and it's 2200h local. the flight should be just under an hour though...
here's a close call. today, an airplane from my home airport in denver veered off the runway sharply during take-off and miraculously no-one was killed. i don't like close calls; just a wee bit too close for comfort. shoot, that could've been my brother's plane today...
Monday: today was the day of my aunt tina's memorial service given by andy fowler, a pastor who also married my mom's university classmate. it was a touching service. her filipino friends and relatives-we all-sang in her dialogue from her province. the dialect was called ibanag. it was a song about remembrance. her surviving husband took it very well (although he holds his emotions in pretty good). after the service we had a lunch in the fellowship hall. as with texas dietary customs, it includes meat, meat, and (did i mention?) more meat. it wasn't quite as bad as the night before because this round of eats was pretty high in fat. after the lunch we reconvened at chuck's and kinda decompressed looking at old photos and chit-chatting. i changed out of my suit (a black, flat front, three button suit, with white shirt and tie with diagonally running stripes, alternating black and dark purple) and into my blue jeans and nevada cycling t-shirt. my cousin gerry came up from austin and like always we started cracking up and talking foolishness. throw my brother into the mix and it just compliments the current situation. he's older than me by two years but every body thinks he's my younger bro (he holds up pretty good, by bro). together the situation's always light, slightly serious, but really just mutually thankful to have all these people-who used to hang out as kids and enjoy each others' company-now adults who still like each others' company (including the parents!). it was very gratifying and humbling. the weather still sucked though...

i talked to melissa this evening and she's having a tough go watching the three kids. she said it was like playing that gopher game at the state fair when you have a mallet and when a gopher head pops up you whack it back down into it's hole. the goal is to keep no more than one head up at a time but as the game continues the frequency of random, multiple heads popping up increase so it's like your playing flight of the bumblebees on the vibraphone/marimbas/glockenspiel with only one mallet. funny analogy huh? the icing on the cake was when she told me started her car in below freezing temps and she figured out a mouse was in my cold weather mukluk. she did a mighty fierce version of "riverdance" out in the snow, next to her car, and threw the offending mukluk like a shotputter in the special olympics (sorry that might've sounded insensitive) thereby releasing the indoor vole.

Tuesday: i'm back. i miss my family dearly and when they were watching a chick-flick show on the dvd, i build up the air-hockey table we're getting for christmas. i can't wait till we go skiing as a family for the first time this season (while the kids have all day lessons, melissa and i reconnect on two planks)!

14 December, 2008

The Cold Front's Here

the high was 16° f today, even with the sun out
here's our perspective from our backyard.

on another note, melissa and i celebrated chris' graduation in style last night/this morning. we spent it like two adults in a modern metropolitan city would and ate at the denver historical site: pete's (kenny's suggestion). we even drank at a pub that only served trappiste ales. it was like christmas although kenny and i were the designated drivers. it didn't stop us from a beer flight or two. yummy kids. st. bernardus-mmmm; there's a keeper y'all. we got home 'round 4:30 this morning after a night of hedonism. what goes on in denver, stays in denver...

13 December, 2008

Cold Front's Coming...

another cold front's moving in today. so what i'm faced with are headwinds with gusts high as 20 mph, a nice frigid north wind, and sand on the road from cdot's (colorado department of transportation) ice melting campaigns. saw a dude biff it on a particularly sandy switchback last year. his compatriots had to call the state po-po where they immediately contacted an ambulance. either way he still got a ride down the mountain. i'll ride my training bike today instead of my race bike just in case the rubber side ain't down (know what i mean?).

oh yeah. off-season, winter riding in colorado. don't think it'll be a long ride.

but what's bad is that i got up early this morning--0630--to think about it (after 10hours of sleep!). what that does is that it plants seeds of doubt of suiting up in my kit including all the winter gear that i own. we're talking about a guy-me!-who can be completely dressed to go ride then, at the last minute, concoct some mental obstacle (be it real or perceived) and get undressed, back in boxers with remote control firmly ensconced in dominant hand, riding the couch instead.

some people call it laziness, i call it a gift.

depending on the following text you will either see (read about) a road weary boy on the road to racing this season; or, a road weary boy on the road to entering his first sumo wrestling event (i mean really, how cool would it be to run around town in man-diapers throwing rice over your shoulder every now and again?). currently, i'm dancing with my son in the living room--me dressed in my beater leather jacket and boxers, and he in his lightning mcqueen fleece jammy-jams because it's 55° f inside, time to start a fire y'all--because he's an early riser like me. we're dancing hand-in-hand to ryan adam's cd demolition. a fine cd it is...

ite den. so these were the conditions i was dealing with per noaa's forecast:
This Afternoon: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 22 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

the ride was fine because i knew i only had to tolerate an hour and change of this foolishness (as well as the north facing sides of the roadway-yikes!). i make it back in time before the temps dip and i feel good. the last two miles back to my truck the temperature probably dropped a good 10°. i feel good enough to change the oil in my truck right now because i can see the clouds rolling over the mountains next to us. wore four layers up top. a short-sleeve base, a heavy-weight jersey, a summer-weight jersey to fly my sponsor's colors, and a wind vest. no helmet but a windproof beanie and my widest sunglasses (to even make bono proud!). the windchill on the descent was not nice; but here's the crazy part, there were others out too. colorado man.

remember my boy and teammate chris? well he finally graduated with his masters in mechanical engineering and we're (as well as a whole boat load of people he e-vited) celebrating his monumental achievement this evening (including my friend kenny and his wife tracey). i'm sparing no expense for his gift which is an ultra-lightweight, 700c, presta valve inner-tube. didn't say i was going to get it today neither. yup. what're friends for y'all.

here's a non sequitur for y'all to enjoy (regardless of gender): the wunder boner

07 December, 2008

Rode With The Team Today

finally rode out to boulder today to ride with the natural grocers cat III/IV team who used to be called vitamin cottage (kinda still is, but the icon is alot smaller on the jerseys). met at my future teammate's apartment with kenny. my boy's thinking he's going to bust a move on the race scene. i hope so, but he needs to straighten up and fly right. he used to be a stud back in the 90s but it's a hard climb to be a pack finisher here in the category IIIs. he was supposed to ride today but his nutty dog got loose and he couldn't make the start time. since i'm advancing in years, i think this is the year i'm going to race 35+. met another teammate today rob, he's another 35+ too. so, if you count up all the old-timers, we could have numbers in the pack: me, kenny, chris (although he still thinks he's a 20-something), rob, and chip. basically, the 35+ races are all the bad ass pros from the 90s that i have to race against. strong and agile bike handlers; unlike the regular cat IIIs who are strong but can't round a corner at speed to save their lives. okay, the ride, so we meet at amante's-a boutique coffee joint-at 10 and we head out towards a hill town called lyons. boulder's kind of a mecca for world-class athletes, especially cyclists. as we're rolling towards lyons, tyler hamilton and bunch of pros from the newly defunct toyota-united team pass us and we all exchange pleasantries as they turn off to do some hills.
as we're climbing up past lyons towards estes park, we're going tempo. it's my turn up front and nobody's passing except 'til the turn around and the three hammeroids on my team fly past me. i didn't want to apply any more watts because i need to save my energy -and my legs-for the remainder of the ride. then a former teammate cruises past me and for a split second i thought of gluing up to his wheel; but then thought better...
at the turn around we blast it downhill and meet up with another former teammate at another coffee shop. he's with some hammeroids of his own and we take a circuitous route back to bolder and they're going pretty hard. we have dual, rolling paceline and i'm pedaling like madman to take my pull on the rotation. finally i have to echelon off the rear where the draft is but there's also people behind me doing the same thing. i see kenny up there pulling during his rotations and i'm impressed by his strength. this is about 3.5 hours into the ride and i blow like a zit on a teenage boy's face. i see the pack ahead in the distance and i see where they turn and i follow them. kenny being the good friend that he is, waits for me at an intersection and lets me draft of off him to avoid the sidewinds that's ripping my legs off (as if the torrid pace didn't already do so). i popped with another teammate by the way, but i couldn't match his pace after my medial collateral ligaments felt like it was getting the mother of all pinches whenever my legs upstroked.
kenny and i eat at one of Kenny's fave burrito joints: big city burrito. tasty is how i describe this place. one of the cool things too is that they have a whole slew of hot sauces to choose from. one of these hot sauces is called great white shark predator hot sauce. kenny drops two drops onto this burrito; i only drop one on my plate, dip my pinky in it, and tap the tip of my tongue. oh my god, it felt like someone took box cutter and sliced the tip of my tongue. i was in pain; but thank god it was only temporary-and kenny dropped two! long live big city burrito!
today was four hours of riding. it seems like my core training with the exercise ball is helping (along with riding in the hills near my house). no cramps (although it came close) and my legs were fine afterwards (albeit they felt like lead). i've been doing these exercises (along with crunches) where you really blast the glutes and hamstrings. i have to get up to boulder more often to get this type of intensity more frequently.

30 November, 2008

Winter's here

shot this with the dusk/dawn preset. it's as cold as it looks

oh well. it was inevitable. the snow's finally come down and might stick around for a while. a warming trend's coming monday. we'll see how much of this stuff sticks around.

26 November, 2008

Riding and Papa'ing

preparing for the col de la croix de fer
went for a pre-thanksgiving ride with my kids (with the moose in tow) today. probably went only for an hour and change but boy was it fun.
here they are smilin' and downhillin'

ridin', talkin', and being proud of my kids; that's pretty much it. the weather was in the 60s for late november. twas a great day for riding and being a dad...
here's the moose preparing after preparing for the col de la croix de fer

25 November, 2008


got paid today kids so on rare occasions i peruse the goods at a used cd joint named angelo's near the high school where i teach. it started as a looky-lou session. purchased two, used cds. purchased a steely dan cd called two against nature-nothing really to write home about; but, the score-o-matic was hank mobley's no room for squares. oh shnap kids! not only is it arguably his best work (with a supporting cast of lee morgan, philly joe jones, and herbie hancock-to name some heavy hitters), but it's a rudy van gelder edition (blue note kids...c'mon). yeah. tell me you purchased your edition for the low, low price of $6.99. didn't think so. long live bop and long live angelo's cds. for those of y'all who can empathize with this aural sublimity (i don't think that's a real word y'all), aren't you happy that jazz like this exists? for those who cannot, i can start you on your way with a few recommendations. leave a comment if you'd like some suggestions for your foray into the world of bop. i might be looking too much into the cover art but don't you think the circle surrounding ole hank looks like the symbol for the roman god of war-mars (albeit the arrow's at the 12:00 position rather than the conventional 1:00)? what a great way to start the thanksgiving break. speaking of which, hope all of y'alls giving of tanks is truly exquisite in such a way you have to unbutton the top button of your pantaloons because y'all have no self-control in turkey feasting-o-rama (aka experiencing personal growth-especially near your tum-tum). if you're smart, you'll have a special pair of eating pantaloons (or sweats).

24 November, 2008

Night Ridin' with the Coyotes

here's me in the night, with no lights.
hey kids. nothing happening that was worth mentioning for the past couple of weeks. global warming's keeping our property snow-free whereas in years past it would've been insulating the ground at least a foot thick by now. crazy. one good thing from the melting of the polar icecaps is i can get an occasional night ride in. i went for a night ride about a week ago with my boy alec after not riding for months. the volume of traffic that evening was unusually high. all manner of people were out there either hiking or biking. on the second lap at green mountain we had to cut it short due to a cold front coming in and getting the temperature near freezing. it's always a deal breaker when the feet get numb. i ditched the helmet in favor of an ear covering beanie. man it got cold...
anyhoo, i did it again. parked at a different trailhead parking lot than last. as i got there and started putting all the cold-weather gear on i hear a bunch of coyotes hootin' and hollerin' pretty close by in the nearby field. it's pitch black out here in the foothills by this time. it always inspires confidence when you see a posted sign near the trailhead saying there has been an unusually high number of break-ins. please keep valuables out of sight.
the trail has less intense climbing if you go a certain way. tonight i wanted to do some intensity so i climb a super steep fire road (when back in the day when i used to own a dual suspension rig, i hit 50 miles/hour on the descent). it's that steep and long. nocturnal activity hits the sensory organs in not quite the same way it would if it were diurnal. your senses are heightened just a smidge and the lack of sunlight and crisp, night air make it seem like a novelty. i like the way it works on my brain and legs. it's almost a distraction from the lactic acid creeping in when i'm attempting to climb with some intensity.
the mind also has a tendency to wander to the morbid. my mind for some reason or another has the knack of squirreling away nutty factoids like mountain lion attacks. so, whenever i'm climbing in shoulder high brush i'm always thinking is there a mountain lion waiting to sink his/her canines in the most vulnerable of human structures (i.e. the neck)?? needless to say the adrenaline kicks in and i'm doing my impersonation of il pirato (r.i.p.). i'm getting tired so i roll back on the road, trying to tap out a tt-like pace on my hardtail. i can't maintain the pace so i ease up and ride at tempo back to the car.
i'm the only car in the lot and as i get nearer the coyotes sense me coming and they start to hoot and holler again. again, it freaks me out because they are soooo close. if you've never heard a pack of coyotes hootin' and hollerin' they sound like teenage boys on acid trying to imitate a five-year old imitating a siren on a police car. very surreal. i throw the yeti in the back of the truck and hop in the cab to change. once i turn on the truck lights they quiet down and so does my mind. i change in relative quietness and strip in the parking lot. it's amazingly liberating being in your birthday suit and leisurely changing back into your civies. on the way back i hit the cheapest gas station in town and fill 'er up at $1.59/gallon. yeah good night too the weather was in the mid-40s so rather comfy except when it wasn't.

08 November, 2008

Couple'a Things

Obama will now be our 44th president-elect as of last tuesday. ah yeauh! people are going nutty now here, especially gun owners. gun owners are thinking a democratic majority for the powers-that-be'll start cracking down on gun owner's rights and their snarfing up guns. awesome y'all, because you know more guns is always the answer...
AND, amendments 3A and 3B are pretty close to my heart because it allows individual school districts to do their thing and to keep their teachers happy at least technologically and financially...and they both passed!!! We're asking for $215 for remodels, for some new schools, funding a full-day kindergarten program, and a summer school program. this was 3A, a mll-levy so if you owned a $200k house it'd run you $10/month. not bad if you value education. it would also give teachers a much needed raise retroactive this january. yeah! the fuc*ed up thing about this, is that since it's by individual districts across this glorious state, some homeowners oppose any raising of new property taxes. consequently they didn't pass their 3As and 3Bs like my district, which is pretty diverse and urban. i guess these lame districts don't value their children's education. that's boosheet y'all.
one of these lame districts is jefferson county (another is douglas county), where i reside but don't teach. oh well, thought about switching districts; but for now, i think i'll stay put. getting paid is a great incentive in staying professional. people i know are getting effected by this, in addition to our economic recession we're currently in...

28 October, 2008


well kids, did the 800 some odd mile trip to texas. took the dog too. so instead of hauling butt non-stop for 13 hours and slamming red bulls, i chilled and stopped whenever mason needed to pee or to play on the various roadside playgrounds as well as to feed, water, and to make the dog go too. all in all it took about 16 hours. ouch. it was mind numbing but thank god i own a toyota and mentally didn't need to worry if it was going to implode or anything. the weather was exceptional for making such a long trip. i was worried about one particular mountain pass-raton pass in nm-and the general high altitude in colorado.
here's the road-side view of capulin volcano
i finally stopped at capulin volcano and rest assured it was worth all the five bucks i paid for the entrance fee. snapped some pretty cool shots. would love to ride my bike up there one day. there was a 10k race up and back down the volcano the day after we sightsaw. seems intense. no guardrails either. scary if you fall. could be fatal for both car and pedestrian.
here's the birds-eye atop the geographical anomaly...
after getting in late saturday evening; and, after mason and i eating like fiends; and, after not sleeping-in late we started our first official day of vacation on sunday. i've been a member of my hometown church in plano for forever. there, i met an old high school chum of mine. we hung out for years as close high school buds but now as forty somethings it's funny that we still appreciate each others' company. he married a friend of mine's wife after he passed away (what i'm trying to say is she's a widow). then i got to see another close high school friend, jimmy. jimmy and lisa are new parents and i like them a lot so it's always a treat hanging out with them and their daughter gianna. time is fleeting people. time also has a way of making people live larger (if you know what i mean). that's why i ride. coupled with my vanity i really don't want to let my body go. i regress, anyhoo it's no longer a cute, north texas town in the middle of nowhere with useful amenities; it's now home to major fortune 500 companies like frito-lay, jc penney's, and eds to name a few. and along with these bastions of capitalism come the cumulative, radiative infrastructure of progress like...streets! all the roads i would normally travel on are now arterial, multi lane, toll roads and as luck would have it, i'm coin less. my hometown has mutated into a non-descript aggregation of homogeneity replete with boredom, trophy husbands and wives, manicured residential areas, restaurant chains, malls, all made with infinite surface areas of concrete, glass, wood veneer, and shiny steel. thanks, but no thanks.
we went and visited some close friends of my parents and in fact she was responsible in helping to raise me when i was a toddler back in the philippines. she has cancer and we wanted to visit her to catch up and to be empathic because she's such a great spirit. also down in that neck of the woods was my alma mater, the university of texas at austin. i always wax nostalgic about that place; and, it was another opportunity to visit my cousin gerard aka gerry. after my dad and i hung out in austin we met gerry. here's a funny cycle of life episode that occurred to me: you know, my ulterior motive in doing this trip was for a chance for me and my son to bond (which we have and i'm karmically thankful and humbled); but what's also happened is my father and i got a chance to do some bonding as well. three generations of father-son bonding. very, very satisfying and meaningful as a son and father. when we were at my aunt's house, since she had company there already, i invited my dad to join me in austin. he did, and we chatted away like the way fathers and sons should. being in close quarters in the car and then taking a pedestrian tour of my beloved campus with me sharing the places i used to frequent: the commons, the six pack, the stadium, my freshman/sophomore halls...aww it was great! just me and him walking around shooting the shit. mason opted to stay with lola at aunty's house. i felt really confident and proud having him as my dad and we were just like two buds walking and talking away in a campus that's near and dear to my heart. i certainly hope that my mother and father's monies did not go in vain for my top tier educational degree and experience with our shared, ground level, walking tour o'austin machmoud-style.
the fountain shot with the infamous bell tower
we then met gerry for dessert and coffee at the flagship whole foods store and he said it's been a while since he hung out with aunty so we all caravaned for a late dinner at aunty's house. it was awesome! before we left we bought some fine, hand-made, quality cannellonis and two maredsous trappiste ales (one triple and a double) to compliment our dinner. when you're surrounded by family and presented with a fine dinner and exquisite beverages to wash down said food-it...is...sublime. it was also an almost perfect day weather-wise. the only thing missing was my children and my lovely wife. the moment was still near perfect. whatever part of the brain that's responsible for joy and happiness was kicking out the appropriate hormones in excess. we spent the night at aunty's house too.
in the morning i cooked breakfast which was breakfast burritos with the filling of hash browns mixed in scrambled eggs. aunty's husband, chuck, also owns an '05 corvette zo6 where he gave me a joy ride. to ride shotgun in a 505 horse powered beast is always fulfilling for a car lover such as myself. wow.
the rest of the day was spent fighting dallas rush hour traffic to get back in a decent time. it was also my mom's birthday so i bought halloween themed cupcakes and made stir-fry for celebratory purposes. guess what we washed down the dinner with...maredsous!
the high alcohol content made my dad take a nap; when he napped and my mom did some work-related errands, mason, ruby, and i walked down to the playground where we commenced to bond and took play-making to the next level.
my mom and dad and their largess went clothes shopping for my family. i am thankful for such gracious parents and i certainly hope when my kids are in college or are parents themselves, i can reciprocate likewise. so as a sign of my thankfulness i made another vegetarian dinner of creamy walnut pasta without the nuts. if you're a philistine (not a beer snob), you'd probably know no better and would drink trappiste ale in a generic pint glass; but if you're a beer snob (like me!) you'd instead, partake of this nectar in a wide-mouthed goblet or a chalice.
this helps retain the fruitiness, maltiness, and alleviate the carbonation of this divine beverage constructed under the supervision of holy men wearing robes, living in monasteries speaking mostly flemish. amen.
since my folks dig my breakfast burrito concoction, i made this again for our last breakfast before my trip back home. today was the day i pack our stuff for my return trip. instead of doing the 800 mile trip in one day, i'ma break it up into two and spend the night 'round the halfway mark in a small town called dumas, texas. pretty podunky, filled with price gouging hotels.
we head out at six in the morning and once in new mexico with the sun just poking through, it broadcasts this flat light onto the grass sitting above the volcanic base layer. just straight roads, with mt dora in the background and dormant grass all around. kinda surreal so i play some surreal music: sufjan stevens' enjoy your rabbit.at raton pass, since i'm westbound, i arrive with the sun just poking through the mountains. it made a scenic little vista...i arrive with time to spare to take a nap and head off with sweet melissa and mason to our daughters' halloween festivities at their school. phew! what a break it has been! i'm making plans to road trip again in may...

23 October, 2008


well kids, i'ma head to texas this weekend. it's my fall break (unfortunately my daughters don't have this as we're in different school districts), and i'm rounding up mason and ruby for this shin-dig. 13 hours and 800 or so miles later and voila-i'm in plano, tx. original hometown o' lance armstrong and me (one's a famous cyclist-i'll let you chew on that one). no bikes for this go 'round. just quality hang time with folks and friends. i'll make some quality vegetarian dinners, washed down with some manner of siraz-cab blend or some trappist, unfiltered ales. quality hang time with my boy too. i'll bring my running shoes and do a road trip to my alma mater-the university of texas at austin (who is currently ranked number 1 on the a.p. poles). i'll probably purchase some paraphernalia at the bookstore because my texas fanfare is running a wee bit low. i'll probably stop at waterloo records and pick up some hillcountry esoterica and see what uniquely texas stuff lance's bike store's waiting for me to discover as well. i'ma shutterbug up a storm taking pictures of my beloved campus and some of the my old haunts like the congress street bridge, towne lake, zilker, pease, and hyde parks. i'll probably be shocked by the urban sprawl that's typical of landmark destinations of fine living like austin. on the way down i'm going to stop at the capulin volcano to check that out. hopefully i'll get to see an old homeboy who's also a singer songwriter-colin boyd-play one evening. ite den.

19 October, 2008

Part 2, Indian Summer Weekend

melissa, mason, and maricel went to the pumpkin patch today with our long time friend allison and her children. no husbands on this outing, just the the girls and their kids. i offered to watch mason because he can be such a handful but melissa wanted him to go with them. so instead, i got my maura. maura and i had a date! me and my sweetie! we began the day with a swim at the rec center. we went down the slide at least a million times. on her way down i'd pass/drop her the ball when her chute and her giggly-self was directly below me. she'd do likewise to me on my way down. every now and again we'd do some tandem sliding. the momentum of two hominids sliding down the chute as one made for extra, super-sized giggle sessions. once we got chilled from walking out of the water to climb back up the slide, we'd jump into the hot tub.
man, you gotta love the hot tub. since we originated from the sea, there's always that innate comforting, therapeutic feeling of hot water completely surrounding you, welcoming you especially when you point the parts that ail you directly on the jet. it's such a deep, calming feeling on your muscles. maura and i were soaking up all the hydrotherapy goodness right down to each individual carbon-based cell. then we'd go back into the pool and play around again. up the slide, down the slide, laugh, catch the ball and repeat until hypoglycemic.
another luxuriating, time independent thing i like to do is to completely dry off via our sun's radiative qualities. no towels, just full-on u.v.a, u.v.b, and u.v.c electromagnetic waves irradiating and reigning down on my body (along with some errant neutrinos). so out we go onto the patio which overlooks a giant pond which, in turn's, surrounded by manicured landscaping. there were all manner of pedestrians/cyclists doing loops like stricken wildebeests around the pond dressed in cold weather gear and here we were sitting out on the deck. maura was cold though, so when she could no longer stand the windchill, we went back inside, sat by a window and finished our evaporative drying.
after dinner (which i made), at bedtime maura said, daddy, i had a beautiful day. yup wee maura, me too...

ps i swear, at times kids can be singularly self-defeating but on the flipside they are the reason for parents to strive to become better individuals and by doing so (in)directly imparting themselves (literally and figuratively) onto their chilluns...

18 October, 2008

Part 1, Indian Summer Weekend

the harbingers of fall-our aspens changing!even though it's the 18th of october, the highs today hit 68°. weather-wise, it was a gorgeous day. it started with my maura's soccer game today. her team lost, but before she lost, here she is busting a move with a righteous and precision placed corner kick.after that i went down the hill to go for a ride with christopher. another friend of mine was supposed to go riding with us, but he has the knack of skipping out on scheduled rides (his excuse-or not-this time was that his starter's busted. toyota starters rarely ever break). the denver marathon's also this sunday. so it's best we rode today starting in denver rather than tomorrow. chris was under the weather so we limited the ride to three hours. he showed me a new route out near arvada. i took some pictures up on top of the reservoir for a different perspective of our fair, capital city: denver. the clouds obscuring some of sunlight lent the picture an almost sepia-like quality. can you see the grouping of high risers (aka denver) in the distant background?my riding time nowadays is limited to one day a week-if i can even manage that! i've even resorted to riding my rollers at night because i'm no longer getting in any rides during the weekday. sad isn't it? the rollers square off my tires and put this aluminum looking patina on their surfaces. i can now, start off on my rollers without a chair or a wall to right myself. i just get the drive side pedal at the 12 o'clock position, put my right foot over the speedplay cleat and push off and quickly get my other foot on. then once i'm smoothly pedaling, i slam my foot onto the pedals and listen/feel for the audio reinforcement-a loud thwack!-that tells me i'm in. not a great start for establishing off-season base mileage.
on the ride we both talked about our non-racing campaign: like how much we loved just riding hard, long miles when we were out from school in the summer and how much work interferes with our riding. chris is going to graduate with a masters in mechanical engineering this year. that's pretty cool. he's planning a little celebration in december for when that occurs with all his buds-including his ex-girly girl. here he is climbing up the reservoir which he jokingly calls l'alpe d'rez. it was a very picturesque little loop, indeed.i stoppped several times to snap away. great ride, even with chris hacking away from the residual phlegm that's malingering in his lungs from his latest round of cold/flu infections. he sounded like a human trying to pass a rather large furrball. yummy. for my ride home, i borrowed chris' best of journey cd. hmmm. after two songs the novelty wore off and i said okay, enough. i belive my radio played journey non-stop in the early eighties. funny. later that evening i witnessed the number 1 football-TEXAS-team in our lovely nation put the smackdown on the 11th ranked upstarts wanting to force an upset. didn't happen. we put up fifty some odd points, texas pulled colt mccoy (so as to avoid injuries), and the second stringers came on, that's when it was okay for melissa to switch to watching her video. great day kids...

11 October, 2008

texas beat ou!!!!!

wow! it's almost like christmas for me (and yes, my wife and i wife actually got our undergraduate degrees there thank you very much)...
click here for espn's take on it.

06 October, 2008


well kids, got back last night kinda late due to a traffic fatality (not ours, but some other unfortunate soul) on eastbound vail pass that shut the highway down for a couple of hours. being ever the closet schadenfreuden i took a picture the results. it wasn't grisly or anything, it's just the twisted remains of a tractor-trailer rig (okay, i guess that implies the potential for awful carnage was there) on a flat-bed trailer.
this accident was caused by a rogue, cold-weather front that dumped snow and its accompanying rapid, exponential lowering of the coefficient of friction with tires and road surfaces they roll over. hmmm.
the trip was awesome although we were wondering (me mostly) whether the weather was willing or wanton (how'd y'all like that for alliteration?). there was supposed to be a front moving in mid-day saturday for moab bringing with itself a 70% chance of thunderstorms. same thing for sunday-yesterday. we went for it...
weather permitting, our goal on paper was to link both the atv sovereign trail with the bikes only sovereign and punctuating it with an ascent up klondike bluffs trail. didn't work. we only finished the first out-and-back, bikes-only sovereign. let me preface it with, the group for this iteration of moab was the homey trinity plus two. can't change the name because this is the (hard)core trinity o'love and testosterone-fest. the plus two were larry (not the cable guy but our colleague and geeky brother) and jeff (an i.t. kinda guy). larry's not a cyclist but he's up for anything new and was down for hiking when we went biking. jeff's a pretty fit marathoning kinda guy. larry went for a hummer tour (get your mind out of the gutter) and the rest of us did sovereign. we were rolling nicely-with the exception of jeff's chain breaking and a quick re-route of the chain through the pulleys-through the singletrack. dodging obstacles, climbing rock abutments with the names of our knees on them, and sandy switchbacks pretty good. we all took turns pulling up front and everybody was showing the requisite allegorical chest poundings a la technical proficiency (i kinda sucked, i guess), tempo, fluidity...etc. for public displays of cycling manhood and validation. here we are clearing a rock obstacle. i just can't quite get the timing down so you see everybody's rear end...
me (shot by billy who apparently can time shots)...
here's billy showing the novices how to clear a man-sized rock
on the way back i blasted an uphill move and put a gap on me brahs. unbeknownst to me, jeff flatted. while ahead i took a slight detour (it all lead to the same place), and kevin remained faithful to our original out-and-back path which lead to a divergence of the trinity plus one. another group of two cyclists said that our bud kevin yin'd instead of yang'd at the fork in the trail. so we head back to what we thought was the split they ambiguously described to find him. we figured out that he couldn't have taken this way back but by this time the rain was pouring. out in the eastern side of utah bordering the western side of colorado there's this nasty clay-sand mixture that turns into cement when water's added. it gums up the bottom bracket cluster, the high-end of our gear cluster, and our pedals and cleats. we figured kevin's-being the sentient being that he is-headed back to the truck. so we kick it to get out of the rain. we're climbing over nasty, moonrock when dry can cause technical difficulties, now slick as snot. as billy said, it adds another dimension [to mountain biking]. specifically, it added a non-sucky dimension in that it was cold (therefore time to fatigue was delayed), you had to finesse the obstacles (as opposed to getting to ramming speed and hittin' it!), you had to anticipate everything just a little bit quicker, and braking time was effectively reduced (forget about emergency stopping). it was an audio-visual-kinesthetic challenge that was mentally and physically taxing as well as rewarding, because rain riding in technical terrain heightens your senses-thus making this particular experience sensational. sho'nuff we meet kevin on the trail and it's full speed ahead back to billy's truck. close to the truck, billy mis-times his jump and turns on his afterburners early. before he fades he puts a nice four-car gap on us but i close the gap and eventually i'm gluing up solo to his wheel. i surge towards the imaginary finish line. at the end, it's me, billy, jeff, and lanternrouging is our boy kev. we get into the truck and it's like we had one of those therapeutic mud baths except we kept our clothes on and rode our bikes. so we sat on some tarps inside billy's truck on the way back into moab with his heater cranked!. from there we hosed off our bikes and ourselves at poison spider bikes. we were wet and shivering from the cold (but our bikes were clean!). quite a sight to see. needless to say we were hypoglycemic and starvin' marvins...
our soppin' wet selves go into city market where we proceed to buy our salad bar lunch by the pound! oh man it's a glorious sight to behold quite a delectable smorgasboard o' vegetarian friendly options! we eat at the hotel. change. then proceed to hang in the hot tub during a relaxing rain. it's a nice temperature treat: hot mostly with cold rain bouncing off your noggin'.
that evening after eating we walk into town to walk off the meal. jeff cap'd on free wi-fi at the hotel across the street to get something for work finished. we're walking in the dark with nary a streetlight talkin' the evening away. we stop at an indie bookseller where we imbibe in espresso type drinks from a fairly competent barrista who coincidentally used to live not that far from where i currently reside. small world no? we walk back, enjoying each other's company and the slight chill in the air...in no time it's nighty-night time...
we figured we had a very little window to ride between the rain so we woke up earlier than usual to go ride slickrock. billy decided to go hiking with larry in arches so it was jeff, kev, and myself at slickrock. we all took turns up front again but it was also my opportunity to do some more action shots. as it turns out, my batteries were dying so my chances to take choice actions shots were pretty much nil. if you look carefully at this one, a motocrosser biffed it trying to get up a semi-steep hill.
here's the homehill stretch of jeff and kev above the fields of moab.
there's a protracted climb out of slickrock where jeff and i decided to dice it up. oh, by the way, the weather has broke and it's gorgeous. i took on a climb and he attacked at a brief uphill. we both gassed it fighting for pole position for the cattle guard which was our imaginary finish line and the exit from slickrock. we were both fighting for the same line (it's discontinuous white lines painted in the rock for direction's sake). i cheated by taking the hypotenuse, whereas he properly took the right angle approach being the good white-line follower that he is. needless to say i reached the cattle guard first with my hypotenusing ways. at the parking lot we regrouped and descended the slickrock area to meet billy and larry at poison spider bike shop. on the way home, we eat at a dominos pizza joint and we inhale large pizzas and submarine sandwiches. yup. it was a glorious weekend minus the traffic incident at vail pass. i am currently suffering from PTVB- post traumatic vacation blues.

28 September, 2008

kenosha pass

check out the pics i took when we went sightseeing in kenosha to photograph the changing of the colors. along with us is rachel, maricel's best bud.

27 September, 2008

Squaw Pass

well kids, the colors are a'changing out here. they turn colors sooner at higher elevations. so i decided to go for a bike ride up a favorite mountain pass for watching the colors change. the name of this pass is called squaw pass. i rode from my house so i could meet the rest of the clan at the rec. center and do some swimming and to take advantage of the hot tub/sauna. i rode on the highway to get to squaw pass and i forgot they had an annual memorial service for a tragic high school incident that happened two years ago in a town just south of us. it's called columbine to canyon ride. the banner over the bridge/road that leads to my house reads i love you guys. it was the last text message emily keyes sent to her parents when she was being held hostage and ultimately lost her young life to a misanthropic, disp$hit loser (who in turn was killed by the swat team). i snapped pictures of the motorcyclists and the ensuing traffic snarl on their way to bailey,co. on the way down to squaw pass, a motorcyclist came up next to me and flashed the peace sign. i asked him if i could get a draft and he said okay. so off we go on highway 73 going at least 40 mph. what's more fun than drafting a motorbike? rain. yup rain. man it was freezing! not only am i up 8k feet but the self-induced wind chill? ouch. i was shivering until i got past the leading edge of the thunder cloud. nothing like hitting a switchback at 30 mph and praying that your traction'll hold up. i love my carbon rig! it has such a great road feel. remember the first time you rode tubulars? well the bike felt like one big tubular and it really inspires confidence when the topography gets sketchy. as soon as i turn off for squaw pass, i pass this really beautiful meadow with a bull elk and his harem grazing.i climb and climb and snap away at all manner of color changes-like this... and this we finally meet at the rec. center and it's hydrotherapy action! at the front of the rec center they have these two bronze statues of a girl riding her bike and a polar bear mom and her cubs. cool huh? dinner was homemade macaroni and cheese washed down with some lovely red wine. great way to end a saturday. i'm not going to race 'cross sunday. it's out in watkins. it's like a 2.5h round trip to do a 45 minute race? i think not. i'll ride another hill ride tomorrow before the dog whisperer comes over. here's the rest of the pics i took on the way up. didn't make it to echo lake, it started to rain again by echo mountain terrain park (you'd think living here for a while i woulda packed my pvc rain jacket). i froze me manly parts off on the descent whilst dodging the potholes...

26 September, 2008


don't know 'bout y'all, but boy oh boy was it a looong work week. went by excruciatingly slow but there was one highlight. in my honors classes that i teach, both classes know what an alpha 1,4 glycosidic linkage is! how cool is that? big dichotomy between my for-lack-of-a-better-term "normal" bio class and my honors. they were into it. making mistakes, checking for understanding, physically watching the light bulb turn on internally when they figured out how to make a three dimensional model of a 6 ring carbon glucose molecule; and to add to the enlightenment they also demonstrated a dehydration-synthesis glycolytic bond between their lab partner's glucose model and their own. it was awesome. an exceptional day to a humdrum week.
i believe starting so dag blasted early for the semester predicates early burnout (mental circadian arrhythmia) and reveals holes in ones organizational skills (or in my case, the lack thereof), hence the title of Ooo-Weee!
during the week, i bet one of my students that i was correct in my argument; whilst he begged to differ. this resulted in him losing the bet and having to buy donuts for the class. i immediately said, "really mikey, there's no need to do that." this kid though, is a complete, class act. he bought doughnuts for everybody the next day. he's an affable fellow to begin with but it just reinforced everybody's vibe about him that, ahhh, now i know why he's a cool cat!
another nutty thing i do is notes redemption. i play some pretty esoteric/eclectic music and for the sheer random chance of it, i tell my kiddoes that if they can identify the artist, i'll give 'em a copy of the notes (i.e. they're exempt from transcribing it from my visualizer). being the proponent of note taking skills, i play a musical tidbit that i'm guessing nobody knows. i play artists like deerhoof, fatboy slim, vampire weekend, ryan adams, lcd soundsystem, stevie ray vaughan (yup, they don't even get him!), miles davis, ella fitzgerald and louis armstrong...etc. they come real close and once one kid actually got vampire weekend! you have to keep it interesting in class. well kids, gotta go. i'ma watch the presidential debates on television.

21 September, 2008

Ouch! Addendum w/race results!

the results of two days of ridin'n'racin' y'all!
did my first 'cross race for the '08 season today. it was painful; and, i barely made my stage time. the race marshall said that there was some more parking up front and it took me another 10 mins to find a spot and time was running out for me to same day register before my event started. made it with two minutes to spare after i hauled butt changing in the parking lot-hopefully not a whole lot of people saw my cantaloupes-and pinning my number on the left hand side.
the placement of obstacles were downright cruel. they placed it right before a majorly steep climb, on the the apex of a downhill sweeper, during a major, speed-blasting straightaway, and lastly, at a 90° lefthander before a 15% percent speed bump. cruel i tell you.
so with no warm up i stage and they begin the countdown w/two minutes to go. i spy the pack and i see two of my teammates. they actually have 'cross bikes, whereas i'm on my mountain bike. i was on row 8 with at least 6 people per row. big field this 35+. thank god it was more of a mountain bike course. i screamed on the downhills and caught one or two each lap. but where the mountain bike became onerous was on the barriers and the long-ish climb. that's where i got passed. if you've never done a 'cross race, it's like a time trial on a mountain bike cross country course. it's how long can you sustain the lactic acid building in your system for 45 mins to an hour? yup. 45 mins of l.t. and a(naerobic) t. i think i was the second mountain biker to finish out of the four of us. the first placer mountain biker was drilling it off the get go.
i knew i wasn't last because during one exquisitely painful part of this serpentine course you can see the line of people behind you. one bike racer dude i passed said, "you have suspension." i wanted to say, "and you sir, have the knack for stating the obvious." i didn't though. it's supposed to be friendly, so as i rode away from him i yelled back, "it ain't the fork, it's steroids!"
the laps were long too. we had only five laps; but boy they seemed long. it's like doing a 1-2-3 criterium. they're only an hour long so after dying in the pack and seeming like we've ridden 50 mins, you look down at your watch and you've only ridden 15. ouch.
my college bud and general homeboy charles the 3rd was there. back in the day, charles was a uscf cat II racer and during stage races we entered he'd put a couple of minutes in on me if the tt distance was long enough. nowadays he's just like me, a working class stiff at least doing something he enjoys-like me as a teacher. he owns a bianchi carbon rig and competes as a tri-geek/loser (sorry triathletes). i didn't stick around for the results. i'll wait 'til they post it in a couple of days from now on the american cycling association website. if you get there before i do, i'm number 770. we went for a 2 hour recovery ride after that ordeal. again, another beautiful day here in colorado. picked up the moose and we hung out at our house in the hills. when we came home, i walked our warring dogs and apparently the dog whisperer's techniques are starting pay off. i can now walk 'em together with only one of 'em being leashed. after a long walk, i read a book to mason and had to run upstairs to put some stuff away and here he is chillin' with a book on the couch.did i tell you the homey trinity is going to moab on the 4th of october? ooohh-weee can't wait for that! doing these 'cross races'll hopefully give me some kind of fitness (albeit for only 45 or so minutes) for our subtle testosterone-fest.
addendum well kids, this is what happens when you stop riding for about a month and start racing cyclocross on an anvil called a mountain bike for grins and giggles. 43rd out 65 contestants. not last, but not even in the middle...

20 September, 2008

Our Fair City...

it's the eve before my first 'cross race for the season and what am i supposed to do? go for a ride with chris down in denver. man, i feel a million times better compared to last week's funk. since i live in the sticks, i'm not that motivated to go down the hill to denver or really drive anywhere. saturday's my exception to drive since it's my designated cycle day. so today, early, i ride down to chris' joint in denver. the ole tilt of the earth's coming into play nowadays because i'm actually rolling before the sun comes up. i take this groovy picture on the way to chris' on highway 6. yes my windshield's pockmarked due to sanding the roads out here during wintertime. that's a pretty sweet crack that's split into the letter y huh?it was a mellow, three hour ride today. can't really avoid the hills out here so i tried not to tax my pistons too much. chris is on fire today saying some really funny and politically incorrect things. when we're together, it's non-stop sophomoric-action. the kid sure rolls though. we went out to golden, did a loop out there and came back. on the way out we pass the historic train museum and guess who's there? thomas the train boy! yes. nothing like a possessed train that kids and parents loooove a boat load. on the way back it's nothing but blue skies. we ride on the cherry creek bike path where on summer nights they have gondola rides. kinda nutty. there's a horse and carriage ride going on so i snap a picture of it. i don't know but i'm guessing horses think riding on a bike path's about as much fun as a human running on a treadmill or something.chris and his oversensitive self was belly aching because the horses supposedly squeezed him off the bike path. here he is pleading his case on deaf ears...i ride through the denver art museum too. the frederic c. hamilton art museum was designed by award winning architect daniel libeskind. it's supposed to emulate our beautiful rocky mountains (range) and rock crystals. it's a class act. it's kind of a big deal because it wreaks of culture and downtown loft/living/ surrounded by the denver public library. that's where the 23rd meeting of the g8 held their summit back in june 1997. wow! that's a big whisk and dustpan!it's like the monoliths from s. kubrick's 2001...
check out the rest of my slideshow of our fair city...