Sunday, August 19, 2018

It's the Little Things

As many of you know, I started a new job in June.  Friday, I realized that I have managed to keep the same two pins I was given on my first day.  I thought that was noteworthy given my track record of keeping track of anything smaller than my bicycle.
Not so awesome:  my inability to park.  I've always been an horrific parker.  My Focus is so small, yet I can't park it evenly between the lines.  This befuddles me.  Baffling, really.  Every day I can look out the office window and see my handiwork.  It does bring a smile to my face, but it's also a reminder to me that I'm not nearly as cool as I think I am.

I slept at a Holiday Inn Express

 I kept thinking there ought to be a light right there....
 ....and so it was.
 It's a shame when a door ruins a really nice wood floor.
 It's also a shame when said door is 200 pounds or so.  And your alone.  But, I'm strong like bull.
 It's kind of a shame, too, when you don't want a door there.  A bigger shame when the doorway is not completely square, nor are the dimensions conventional.  But I had wood, screws, saws, hammers, drills and determination.
But someone else had the real skill and finished the job up nicely.

A Trip to Chicago

We took Hanna and Eli to Chicago for a fun weekend, sort of celebrating Hanna's transition to college.  The first things we did were quite tourist-ee, but who can resist this enormous Farris Wheel??
 Just so you get the idea of how big this thing is, that's Hanna, Deanna, and Eli standing at the bottom of the thing.
It was hot.  We went to the beach to check out Lake Michigan.  The water was chilly but really, really refreshing.  Lots of people, too.
 Boats love Chicago and Lake Michigan.  There were SO MANY boats!
 Chicago has it's version of the Lime bike.  It's called Divvy.  Meh.
After hundreds of miles of walking, we came here, super close to the venue where Lalapalooza was going on.  Ok, maybe it was like ten miles of walking. 
 Then, there was the bean.
 And we took our picture in the bean.
 Lots more tourist-ee things the next day on Michigan Avenue.
 A ton of these lighthouse displays on the curb.  If you love lighthouses, it was a great chance to see them decorated in so many different ways.
 The Nike store was pretty cool.
 The Underarmour store had this big shirt.
 We went up into some really, really tall building.  It took like three hours total.  The view was pretty spectacular, though.
 Chicago is a big city.
 I became fascinated with the building-top pools.
 And more pools.
 That old building in the center of the photo?  It was in Transformers "Dark of the Moon."  It's the building that Sentinel Prime placed the pillars on to bring ruin to Earth.  It's a lot smaller in real life, but I looked for this darn building the entire trip.
Me, standing in front of skate boards in the Nike store.  I've never ridden a skate board, but it's not a bad photo so let's go with it.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Serious Off-Roding on the Road

 I was pleased to drive this monster around a bit today.  Monster is kind of a misnomer because it drives like a pussy cat on the road.  The interior is really nice and the steering wheel is something I'd love to have in a Mustang.  It's only a monster when you ask it to perform like it's creators intended.  I don't know anything about that, but it's widely reviewed as the most fun you can have with your clothes on, so to speak.  And it looks mean, which means other F150 drivers look at you with envy.
 Yeah, just the name makes you want to take it to Baja.
This is the control room.  450 horsepower and 510 lb/ft of torque at your fingertips.  Or the tip of your shoe, really.  With an aluminum body and bed, it's hundreds of pounds lighter for 2018 as well.  Hauling ass, indeed.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

A Cobra Feast for the Eyes








I attended a recent get-together with the Gateway Cobra Club.  The variety of designs and builds was impressive.  These are no longer the "kit cars" that people talk about.  These are purpose built from the ground up to match a person's style and taste.  Just wow!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Late to the Party

This is a baseball glove.  It's my baseball glove.  It's the only baseball glove I've ever owned, and I bought it last week to play catch with Eli.

Oh yes, it's a cheapie.  It's from the bowels of Walmart's sporting goods department.  $28, I think.  But it will do the trick.

I never played ball sports as a kid.  Maybe I grabbed a glove that belonged to my brother, or used one at school for gym class.  But if you looked into my past, you'd never find a bat, a glove, a football, cleats, mouth guard, etc.  If I used any of that stuff, it was belonged to someone else.

But now that I have a glove of my own, watch out.  I will be dropping and chasing balls with the best of them, but I will have my own glove to throw down when I get mad.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Creve Coeur Heartbreaker Mountain Bike Race

Chaos always reigns when you're mountain bike racing.  From the weird, semi-controlled starts to the vague and sometimes arbitrary passing rules, it can be daunting.  But this wasn't my first rodeo.  Indeed, I've raced mountain bikes for 31 years.  Today marks the second race this season, thus the second race of "retirement racing".  Today, we mashed it up at Creve Coeur park, a very twisty, turny, blind-spot infested, river-trail-esque place that most people write off for being too easy.  Let me tell you, it's only easy when you're riding...it's hard as hell when you're racing!
Today there were 18 people in the Cat 1 race.  That's a fair sized field.  As luck would have it, the sun stayed away and the trail surface was freaking awesome!  I hung on to the two leaders like grim death for nearly an hour and a half, finally managing to grab second place.  I was being given a clinic on turns, that's for sure.  And power.  In fact, I was outclassed at everything, and I got second more because of experience than anything else.
All props to my podium mates.  These guys were a classy act.  And I must say, it was a very strong field.
My thanks go out to Mike Barro and his crew for putting this race on.  I had never thought much of racing at Creve Coeur, but I'm so glad I did.  And also thanks to the tireless work of GORC, the crew that makes all of our trails so nice!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tim Kakouris = 1, Dryer = 0

The parts arrived today from the evil empire and booya...I have a functioning dryer.  I win this round, Mr. Samsung.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Older we Get, the Faster we Were!

Most guys that I know that raced BMX in their younger days just never let go.  They either talk and talk and talk about the good old days, or they actually still have a bike and ride it.  We are lucky enough in the STL to have a bunch of guys that still actually ride.  We got a few together today and did some riding around Forest Park and Washington University.  Now when I say ride, we don't glide down the sidewalks.  There is actually riding going on here, some sprinting, some jumping, and oh hell yeah, some crashing.
In the little gathering today, you'll notice some youngsters.  Those guys belong to Maurice, a mainstay of BMX racing in St. Louis.  One hopes that they recognize the significance of 44+ year old men thrashing about on kids bikes.  There is at least one guy who wasn't able to attend today who has grandchildren.  I ask myself... what the hell would I have thought of my grandpa on a BMX bike?  Any bike??  There you have it.

Thanks to Donald Williams for the photos, and for taking the time to gather the boys, old and young, to ride.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Modern Dryers - Making Grown Men Cry for Years Now

Ooooh, so you have your eye on that slick new dryer, do ya?  The one that costs about a grand and dries clothes like nothing you've ever seen before?  Yeah, that's the one.  We were sucked in by the front load washer and matching Samsung dryer in 2008.  We've done 3-4 loads of laundry a day for 10 years.  What you see above is what has to be removed from that oh-so-sexy dryer when it tumbles and rumbles but won't put out any heat.  Each one of these things has 4-8 screws holding them together, too.  Kind of like an erector set for grumpy old men.
Nope, not a keg of beer.  It's the drum.  But you could fool someone by saying  it's a keg of beer.  It's really light, so it would be an empty keg.
The shell of a once sexy dryer.  You have to take it down to it's very last pieces to get to here.  The heater element...a wear item...was buried in there.  Kind of like putting the oil filter on a car in a place that would require you to lift the engine to change it.  Yeah, exactly like that.
And here is the offending little SOB.  It's super flimsy.  It costs $16.95 on Amazon.  The belt, which turns the big keg of beer drum, is $8 and I'm going to get one of those just because I don't ever want to tear down this dryer again.  My bleeding arm thanks me.  Now I will wait at the mail box until the parts arrive from the evil empire.

Schwinn Fastback LTD - 17 Years of semi-Greatness

In a desperate attempt to keep my reputation for building bikes like the Toy Story baby head with spider legs character, I made it a point to refresh my second-oldest bike.  The 2001 Schwinn Fastback LTD, built in 'merica.  It started out with a clear anodized bare aluminum finish.

Somewhere along the line, maybe 6-7 years ago, that clear ano finish was getting really crazed.  So I coated it with, what else, black Rustoleum.  That began to look pretty sad, too.

To the rescue, baby head with spider legs!  Metalic "Dark Steel" from Rustoleum!

Yep, only the best for this baby head.