Sunday, November 19, 2017

Plumbing - And I Keep My Pants UP!

Every toilet fails eventually.  Even really cool, chrome, auto-flush variety toilets fail.  When they do, you need to call the pros.  Or you can call me.  A trusty pipe wrench and a flat blade screw driver is all you need.  And my adductor muscles feel like I've been doing Jane Fonda workouts.
 Some steps may be omitted from this photo essay, but you get the picture.  Shut off water with screw driver, use pipe wrench to remove parts, yada yada yada, it's apart.
I forgot to mention the towel.  Pretty important.  There will be water.  Anyway, reverse the above actions, yada yada yada, and you've got a flushing toilet that doesn't leak water.  Tune in next time for more helpful plumbing tips from a guy who is not a plumber!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

I love Dogs, Even WerePoodles

I love dogs.  I've had a few dogs in my life and they have been amazing creatures which is why I was saddened when I got bitten by one for the first time a few weeks ago.

I was doing a little cyclocross action on a Tuesday night.  I rounded a corner and there was a lady walking a big ol' Standard Poodle.  He was a pretty thing, really tall, brown, and...on his hind legs.  I surprised them, and you know what happens when you surprise a dog.

I skirted him pretty well and thought I'd gotten by.  But as he came down, his mouth grabbed my leg, super quick, by my hip pointer on my left hip.  Bam.  He bit me and I never missed a pedal stroke.

I kept riding.  I was cussing of course.  It hurt a bit but not bad.  I was wearing bib shorts so it wasn't easy to pull them down and look for damage.  There was no blood, how bad could it be?

Well, it was kinda bad when I finally looked at it a little while later.

I didn't say anything really, and I didn't want to chase the lady down.  I was in no danger of turning into a Standard Poodle, like a Were-Poodle or anything.  I saw no reason to berate the woman or cause any trouble.

I will say dog bites kinda suck.  I'll have some permanent blots on my leg.  I will, however, survive.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Highs and Lows, Yin and Yang, 99 Problems

Eli broke his leg a week ago.  Sort of ankle, I guess.  The hefty little bulge at the ankle is a broken fibula.  A lot like my broken leg/ankle a few years ago.  He's being a lot better sport about it, though.
You know how kids really want to ride in those electric carts at the store that are reserved for people that have trouble walking?  Bonus!  Breaking a leg gets you a first class ticket on the Walmart Express.
And then it rained.  The night before cyclocross races in St. Louis is a good time to play amateur meteorologist and predict rain.  Because.  This time, the race was at Queeny park.  Much grass.  Much, much wet grass.  Surprisingly, no mud.  Pretty awesome, really.  And the temps were good for just a jersey and bare legs.
Things went well.  I didn't catch the leaders of the 40+ or Single Speed, but I managed another 1st in 50+ which was good for 3rd overall.  All in all, it ended up being more fun than I thought. (photo credit to Katie Van Hook!!!)
Another weird moment on the scale today.  I was shocked to see 165lbs Friday.  This afternoon it was 162.something.  What the hell?  Part of me is curious to see the 150's. Part of me is curious to not be dying.  That's a joke.  Seriously.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Cyclocross and Funday!

 I started the day with Mo' Money, Mo Money, Mo Money!

Not true.  I started the day by looking out at the dreary day wondering if I should actually go race the cross race at Pierre Marquette.  I mustered the courage and drove all the way the hell up the River Road.  The course wasn't a sloppy mess, so that was good, though there were plenty of mud holes by the time we finished our race. But the wind was whipping at 20+ and the course was flat as a pancake.  Bad for this dude.  I managed another win in the 50+ and tried my best to take the overall but I lost contact with two younger dudes and that was that.

Naturally, the sun came out and the sky turned blue and it was a brilliant drive home.  Ah, it was glorious.
Glorious enough to stop at the only fast food joint on the main drag in Alton.  Love those Chicken Littles.
While I was grubbing down the KFC, I noticed there were some old codgers gathering with their first generation Thunderbirds.
 There were two red, one white, and one black.  They looked quite good.
I hate these things.  I'm trying to figure out one that keeps 'forgetting' it's programmed openers. Hopefully I have it solved this time but history says that I do not.

What I'm not doing tonight is cleaning my muddy bike. That will have to come another day, when energy is in greater supply.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Stair Club is not all Fun and Games

You may think that running in Stairclub is just a laugh a minute.  Alas, it is not.  There is a LOT that goes into just GETTING there.  I usually ride my BMX bike over there.  It's a great warmup and results in about a 10 mile round trip.  The biggest snag in riding to Stairclub?  Water.  I hate bringing water on the little bike.  So I plan my route accordingly.  In the warmer months, the drinking fountains are on.  First stop: drinking fountain in one of the little parks alongside River Des Peres.  I usually have two hardcore sprints in the bag by the time I hit this one and I really need this.
Fully watered down, I climb a couple hills to reach Wehner Park.  It's the old standby being so close to Stairclub.  Sometimes there are games going on here, but today it was completely vacant.  This water fountain has been a life saver over the years.
 A couple more hills and I reach the destination.  Stairclub.  Today the temps are low and the trash has been more or less cleared.
 But not the walnuts.  They abound.  They're everywhere!  I took a stroll up and down the steps to sweep them away.  I bet I cleared 50 of them.
Quivering quads and all, I conquered the stairs and head home.  But not before hitting the fountain at Wehner again.  And of course there were a few more sprints on the way home. It's all fun and games until they turn off the water for the winter!

Monday, October 09, 2017

The Best Laid Plans - Or What I've Done the Last Three Days

I really had Friday planned out well.  Or I thought I did.  Car problem(s) changed those plans very early. My hooptie had the original battery from the factory.  Yep, 7 years old and 152,000.  I should have given this battery a 21 gun salute.  Thank you for your service, dude!
As luck would have it, I was a mere 100 yards from the place where a good friend works.  He brought his car over to mine and jumped started it.  About a 1/4 mile down the road was an Autozone, and they sell batteries there.  I have noticed that the negative terminal was gathering a lot of corrosion, so this large crack in the battery shell was no surprise.  You mess with the bull, you get the horns.  Or in this case, a dead battery.
 Fully charged, I went on to work on the days big project.  More security cameras.  Crawl spaces are devilish places, full of insulation and exposed nails.  I managed to NOT get a nail to the head and found the spot in the hardest place possible.  I yelled "kick ass", not knowing there were others in the house.  A little embarrassed but proud anyway, the others were time consuming but not difficult.  Pro tip:  insulation is still itchy.
 Needy dog, needy owner.  When you're down, you need a good dog.
L.L. Cool J famously rapped "Don't Call it a Comeback, I've Been Here for Years".  So yeah, I raced the Sylvan Springs cyclocross race yesterday.  I opted for a new kit instead of the aging team stuff, dubbed "Volt".  It helped my aging body win the 50+ field.  It was awesome!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Perfect Fall Day

I took this shot from behind home plate at Eli's baseball game in Ballwin on Sunday.  It was a very un-St. Louis kind of day: perfect temperature, low humidity, light breeze, bright sun with patchy clouds.  The icing on the cake: our team chose the shady dugout.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bet You Don't Do this much on YOUR DAY OFF

 Installed one of these.
 Replaced a bunch of these.
 Drove this.  Boy was that memorable!
 Paused to take in the irony.
 Fueled up with this.
 Paused to ponder the peacefulness (in my spot, no doubt).
 Rode this.  Hard.  Best to clear the mind.
Ran these.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Prepare Yourselves! Bubba Cyclocross Series is UPON US!

 It could be dry.  Hot, humid, dusty, sticky or arid.
 The mud could be as thick as peanut butter.  Or worse, Nutella.
 It could be raining cats and dogs or goats and sheep.
 It could be snowing, ice could be forming, and your winter clothes might be inadequate.
 Who knows, the astronomers could be wrong and there could be another eclipse?
 Or Dog willing, it could be bright, sunny and absolutely stunning!
But be certain of this: There will be Cyclocross and your life will be better for it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Car Watching - 1969 Dodge Super Bee

A short while ago I caught one of these gorgeous throwbacks at a local car show.  Mopars are more rare than cool Chevy's or Ford's.  They were made in smaller numbers and have fewer survivors.  This particular Super Bee was awesome.  The Bee name is there in part because the Super Bee is based on the very successful B-bodies, an internal designation from the Chrysler corp.
This particular B was a 383 V8 model.  There were Hemi B's and 440 Six Pack B's, but the most common was this guy.  Seems like it was not much of a bummer to have the base engine, as it was rated at 335 horsepower.
The scoops were mostly for show, but they did help this car stand out in a crowded field of muscle cars.  Dodge and sister companies Plymouth and Chrysler were pretty good at standing out, especially with the B-body cars (Coronet R/T, Road Runner, Charger, etc).
The interior was really nice.  Pretty stark, too.  Very straight forward and down to business.  This guy has the 4-speed manual transmission, too!
There are those kick ass scoops.  They bring out the kid in me.  Kind of makes me want to play with a Hotwheels car right now.
The view that a lot of other cars would see if they messed with the B-bodies.  Kudos to the owners of this bad boy for keeping it alive and in such great shape.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First Football Game for Eli

 It turns out that Eli is not bad at football.  Not my choice of sports, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.  He looked so small when he posed in his kit.  Uniform.  Outfit.  Whatever you call this thing.
But here he is, #10, waiting to start his first real game against Chaminade.  He looks like a pretty big dude.  Is that really him??  Anyway, he made the first tackle of the game and darn near intercepted a pass.  Affton Jr Cougars won 34-0.

Can't argue with success, eh?

Monday, September 04, 2017

Car Watching - 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra

 The Fox Body Mustangs (1979-1993) were not my favorite Mustangs.  I have a healthy respect for the Fox, but that's it.  If I had to pick one to own, this would be it.  The 1993 Cobra.  You see very few of these in the wild, as less than 5000 of these were produced. (I'm not including the limited edition Cobra R here, as only 107 of those were produced.)
 You can say this was the peak of factory Fox body performance.  It received a healthy dose of go-fast stuff above and beyond any GT.  GT40 cylinder heads, all wheel disc brakes, and 17" wheels were things that never graced regular showroom Mustangs in those days. 
 I've always liked the wheels.  They look fast sitting still and sit very well in the Fox's wheel wells.
My favorite view:  Special wing on the hatch-back and tail lights that were never used on any other Fox body.  It was only rated at 235 horsepower.  That's strange, as regular E7-headed 5.0's were rated at 215.  Regardless, it's a cool car and it's very existence meant that Ford was starting to pay attention to factory-built hotrods and the Cobra's of the future would be very intense, indeed.