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

Ooo-Weee!

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...

16 September, 2008

Lady Bug Oasis

here you go little lady bugs...
my daughter maura decided to make a little lady bug hangout. it involved a tunnel they had to crawl through and if they made it, she gave them a little creature comfort at the end of the tunnel. she has a heart of gold. it just occurred to her to give lady bugs a little reprieve in whatever lady bugs do for a living.
here's the tunnel viewhere's a bed of moss for what ails you lady bugs...
i have a righteous little girl y'all...

14 September, 2008

At Least One Of Us Rode Today

here's da moose doing his brian lopes imitation on our semi-dry driveway
video
the weather was pretty much ill all day up here, even though the forecast called for mostly sunny skies. that's okay though because we got other things accomplished during our winterizing phase of hillbilly living. my father-in-law is now living with us-that's another story-so we got some more of his things from denver or what us hillbilly's call down-the-hill. we got his snowblower, which will be a huge help when the snow starts dumping, a wheelbarrow, speakers for our home stereo, a decent espresso machine, and some other helpful stuff. we're going to have to rent a log splitter one more time because our wood burning habits are towards the comfy side of warm. once we got back uphill, i moved another truck load of wood to our stash near the house, vacuumed, and cleaned the cat boxes. am i exciting y'all yet? am i one domesticated bastard or what? anyhoo, the weekends go by too fast.
before dinner and after we do our chores, after maura's bath she asks if i can give her a teddy bear hug. it's kinda chilly up here and to help her warm up i wrap a towel around her and try to get as much of my surface area on her by giving her a huuuuge, daddy bear hug. oh yeah. she's my little princess. mason doesn't go for that but he does like being wrapped in a towel cocoon and laying his head on my shoulder as we go from the bathroom to his room where the heater is. melissa cooked a slammin' vegetarian dinner and we ate together as an extended family. i said something foolish and maura said something about you better talk nice or santa's not going to give you anything.
to which i replied, santa clause is a chump. that's when grandad almost lost his drink from laughing. you should've seen the look on her face when i said that. it was the look of downright sacrilege and scorn from an innocent child to an iconoclastic father-me!
from a relaxing and satisfying dinner it still boils down to soccer, house upkeep, winterizing, mental stress relief, sleep deprivation, kid raising, bike racing (if you can call it that), bike therapy (or lack thereof), reintroducing our fighting dogs, being nice to family members, thinking of work...damn i don't think i've ever been this busy before; or maybe i'm just thinking way too much about it. i truly don't have any reason to complain, but if i don't blow off any carbon from my mental and physical engine it's like my circadian rhythm's all wacked and i can't mentally settle or be capable of being nice (which i think i am at least 51% of the time). shoot i remember back in the day when i was going to university i never: thought about insurance, went to the doctor, considered a retirement plan, considered how to pay off a mortgage...etc. am i going through a mid-life crisis or am i a 41 year-old baby (no need to answer that)? sometimes, like last week, i swear i just wanted to scream in padded room and get it over with, or do 3X5 intervals on the bike 'til my lunch came up, or take it out on a punching bag (i used to do that back in texas at my parent's house when i used to be in kara-te).
damn, have i mentioned the weekends just go by way too fast?

07 September, 2008

We're Almost Ready for Winter

yeah. the dog whisperer came over today and we did some more re-introduction techniques for our poochies. we did a lot of side-by-side walking with them and ruby didn't attack addie. we let them sniff each other too, but did it in such a way that they couldn't snap back at the sniffer. addie the most anxious of the two-i could tell-was getting stressed and lisa said to end the training with a positive note. so end we did and nobody got attacked. yea!
changed the oil in melissa's 4runner (mobile1 oil and filter baby!) and reset the maintenance light to boot. when melissa took off to take her bestest bud kim and her son leo to the airport, grandpa set the moose down for a nap and i did my two hour hill training ride loop from my house. again, the weather was righteous. saw my friend and teammate jeff as he was descending (and i ascending). talked a bit. we're going to do some cyclocross later in the month. the two people i passed on the climb passed me back when jeff and i were chit-chatting. after we said our goodbyes, i got back on the steed and chased those two transgressors down. i know it's contraindicated to common sense but boy oh boy i love putting the ipod on shuffle when i'm riding solo. gosh, especially on such a fantastically weather friendly day like today, it's like all sensory planets are aligned. two or so hours later i'm back and mason and grandpa are chillin' by the fire pit. talking like the best of friends. so we switch and i take the moose. we fire up the atv and ride down to the edge of our defensible space to pick up some kindling.
can you see the kindling woodpiles?the moose is my hood ornament on the atv. he likes it when we drive down to the brush piles and i ride over the rough patches. if we fill the shed to the brim, we're set for deep winter. i'm probably a quarter of the way through stuffing the shed.
here's the moose profilin' for y'all...i worked a late shift friday grading papers so that my sunday night'll be work-free. ahhhh. another beautiful ending to the weekend. damn. i hate mondays y'all...

06 September, 2008

I Rode!

maricel had her first soccer game today. she's pretty coordinated; but she's not a rocket ship like her sister maura. it was cool watching her. the game seemed like it was a million miles away though. it was all the way down in this town called castle rock. not exactly a convenience for us hillbillies. she seemed like she had fun. one of the reasons why she's so into it is that her best friend grace is also her teammate. man, the other team had a bunch of ringers. i still dig our team. they're called the stingers. yeah, sting 'em y'all! she played the entire game. she drove it pretty good down the field a couple of times. well, long story short the final was 5 to zip. unfortunately we were the zip. next time y'all. next time. after the soccer game she went with grace, her li'l sis abbie and her dad andrew to one her classmates' birthday party. it was inside a gymnastics place where they had full reign of the equipment. that's a cool way to have fun in a place that doesn't have people dressed up like forest creatures and without a bunch of plastic balls full of dioxin to mess 'em up later down the road. good clean fun without any gimmicks baby...
as for me, after they left, i head down to chris' joint to do a team of two ride. nothing hardcore. we're both no longer put in the killer miles we used to due to work and his graduate school program in mechanical engineering. so we just cruise the flats for three hours and change. mellow-yellow.
on the way to golden, the birthplace of coors beer, i see this sign...
not exactly a pick-me-up as a cyclist. kind of ominous though, don't you think? just happened this year, on a road my teammates and i normally take for granted that our lives won't end here. this road though has twice been a place where motorists have confronted us with their opinion of how cyclists should not be here. one confrontation ended up with us calling the state police and the motorist being fined, the other time we were run off the road but we had the wherewithal to get the dipshit's license number. so further down the road we see his shrine...puts things into perspective no?
on the return trip we're just talking up a storm. we usually talk about about personal stuff because we're pretty good friends. nothing i'd like to share with y'all but it's been stressful for both of us recently. nothing like bike therapy to ease the mentalness of being stressed. the weather has been absolutely beautiful the entire ride-slightly chilly even-but on the way back we're in much better spirits than when we left and i take some photos o'chris being chris.here he is trying to show off his downhill skills on the flats-needless to say, ouch. you gotta dig the trees' canopies almost touching above the streets.three and change hours later we head back to chris' and i'm cooked. my legs haven't moved that much in a while and again i'm bummed due to my lack of fitness. it was a great ride today with my boy chris and equally as cool watching my oldest tear it up on the soccer field. thank goodness for weekends y'all. amen.

05 September, 2008

Dizzamn!

kids it's been a long damn week!! yes it's only a 4-day week but what a week it was! the addition of my new class and the accompanying increase in workload, a head cold mason gave me from his daycare buds, and wednesday's parent teacher conferences it's causing a mentally stressful accumulation o'shizzle that my reptilian central nervous system can't assuage. i'm so busy i can't even get any ride therapy in during the week! the conferences started 30 minutes right after our duty day officially ended. the parent-teacher committee fed us dinner-a nice gesture-but; to not discredit them, they usually forget about the two vegetarians on staff here at our school (me being one of them). so, for my turkey sandwich i pick off the meat and give it to my friend tom. even the salads have chicken chunks in 'em so i pick them off. the antipasto has cheese chunks but i'm guessing too it's made using rennet; so alas i eat the oh so yummy desserts. not very satisfying but it curbed my sweet tooth for 2008. thursday i'm dragging ass and i come up with a great reading assignment that i think will help kids comprehend typical, sterile, science reading. yup, science reading. it had great graph interpretation, complex symbiotic interactions...it went over like a ton o'bricks. i hate to make comparisons but jeez, my non-honors kids have about as much work ethic as a trust fund baby (minus the trust fund, that is).
here at my district we're under new supervision a la a new superintendent whom i happen to like. he's trying his darnedest to improve how we teach stuff and my administrative personnel are amazingly supportive but have they really tried using researched-based methods? we're trying all these new models and on paper they're great and it's superseding the antiquated shizzle with thought-provoking ways of validating grading and student work; but, no instructional model can ever replace the parental support asians, europeans, and indian families have for their kiddoes. this support, may i add, is not too dependent on socio-economics. unfortunately here in the states, a strong correlation with (low) student achievement and free and reduced lunches exists. i know that the typical american boy or girl has no idea what kind of fundamental changes the global economy is undergoing currently. by the time they reach adulthood they're going to be in for a rude awakening when china takes over the number one position for being the economic badass. Ph.D. carrying non-americans will create such a state of high-tech, ultra-competition globally that the students who slacked in my class-and other classes in this country-might only qualify for a shitty, hourly gig. be ready for a paradigm shift teenage slackers that have no parental support. hopefully your maturity'll guide you to an educational and work ethic enlightenment.
ite den. i'm done with my diatribe of non-sequitorial nebulousness. tomorrow i'm going to take maricel to her first soccer game of the season. i'm going to be shutter buggin' y'all...
phew. i'm writing this the next morning now. i'm much better now, thanks. this is what the thermometer said when i woke up (interior: top; exterior: bottom number).our backyard with mr. sunshine starting to wake up.
had to fire up the oven to take the cold edge off the house.