Sunday, November 30, 2008

christmas tree construction

today was the day. mrs k takes the christmas tree construction very seriously. she spent half the day cleaning in preparation. here, the boys begin putting on the ornaments. note eli's grateful dead t-shirt.
before the tree was decorated, the boys made a thomas track around the base, sort of like their favorite video.
the boys fought over who got to put up which ornament. yeesh, you'd think they were battling over a million bucks or something. hanna's ornaments will have to wait until she's here to put them up.
tyson doesn't look pleased about eli's ornament placement. eli, naturally, doesn't care.

sometimes during the fiasco, you could see the look of sheer horror on mrs k's face. she just couldn't believe that two boys could be so much trouble. neither can i.

ooooh, that's a cool one.

hey mom, how come we can't put up those little glass ornaments??

hey mom, move your foot, i think i see another spiderman ornament!

good thing the fake tree has strong limbs. they were getting loaded down with all sorts of stuff that probably shouldn't hang on trees.

santa's going to love this!!!

check this thing out!

eli had to document the train derailment before the authorities arrived.

found the camera

this was a photo of the biker chicks after we got back. note there are no casts or splints or ice packs of any kind.
eli and isabelle were cooking up a storm in the playhouse....

.... and i was asked to preview it before it was to be sold to the general public. not bad, i say.

mountain biking with the girls

black friday was quite busy at the store. we started early (NOT 4am, as some stores!) and it was pretty much busy the whole day. which was why the beautiful mrs k and i were ecstatic to be able to let it all hang out on a mtn bike ride saturday.

we met up with cristel and jen on saturday morning at castlewood. it was chilly, but the trail was dusty dry, witnessed by the girls backsides. all of them were very powdery when we got done. it was a lot of fun leading them around the trails. only a little carnage, a few tip overs. in the end, i followed deanna up the lone wolf climb as she cleared the entire thing! that little chainring was working overtime!! i rode a little extra while the girls were changing into warmer clothes, and ran into doug nishumora. seems he's the man in the adventure racing category. yikes, sounds like a lot of work to me!

we converged back at cristel's place where eli and his little girlfriend were hanging out with a sitter. after watching a little tour of africa on the dvr and a ham sandwich, we were on our way.

there would be photos of this great adventure, but i can't find the camera now. sigh.

Friday, November 28, 2008

random hanna photo

whoa!! is that a quarter down there??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

santa rides a train

we've been watching this video for the last couple of months. eli makes us watch it nearly every night. i have to admit, it's pretty fun.

santa rides a train, or "ornaments" as i think it is officially called.

talk about perseverance....

turkey day ride

sitting on the trainer last night, watching the 2001 tour de france video for the 25th time, i was certainly dreaming of greener pastures. like chubb. i haven't been to a thanksgiving day ride for a number of years, and it's just not right. well, the circumstances all came around to make this turkey day different.

with everyone here still pretty much in bed this morning, i hit the chubb. the first smiling face that i saw was none other than super cake ethan johnson. we talked a bit, and got ready to ride. there were lots of others, though, like matt black james, boz, craig thrasher, farrrrinnnnellla, you name it.

sc still rides a good ride. as a matter of fact, even with my super bike, super cake keeps up with me in the technical sections like it was 1997. he was bellyaching about not being in shape, but we had a fine ride anyway. down the flint quarry, he was giving me cold sweats. i didn't ride down the drop off on the way back, and he did. ug. i'm going to revisit that and see what i can do.

all in all, it was a killer day. we warmed up to the point of sweating and got a killer workout. we saw the team seagal ballers in the bottoms going the other way, and lots of others.

too bad there isn't enough time to do turkey day rides every day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

lost valley

despite my immensely painful pinched nerve, i slogged out to lost valley tuesday morning to ride the single speed. it was pretty cold early on, but the sun warmed things up and the trail was in absolutely superbe condition.

i've chosen a 32/19 combination for gearing, and it's working out pretty well. i successfully climbed the center gravel road and even climbed the nasty little pitch up to the hamburg when i was done. i'm getting used to the rigid pace fork. it's a pretty rough ride for those of us that are accustomed to a suspension fork, but it flexes a LOT over obstacles so you know it's working as hard as it can to keep the comfort flowing.

there weren't many people out there. in fact, i only saw one other person. it's pretty lonely during the week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


i took a very brief escape to chubb trail today. although still pretty cold this morning, the promise of great trail conditions was too good to resist. i loaded up the jet and did a little chubbin'.

tons of hikers on the trail today. all of them quite courteous, i must add. a few bikers, too. i had to slip out of the way of a couple of gonzo riders smashing their way down the gravelly peak on the west tyson side.

the jet is just freakin' awesome. the suspension is very well sorted, the big wheels just keep rollin', and i'm in love. seriously, i adjusted nothing from my maiden voyage on tuesday. i take that back...i added 10psi to the rear shock. i was lovin' it.

i even saw schvonzie and his maiden hiking on the flint quarry trail. he failed to tell me about the sweet little note he left me on my car. thanks, schvonze. love ya. now go get your mtn bike and be a real man.

short but sweet. that makes 3 short but sweet mountain bike rides this week.


since i sold my rats nest of tires on saturday, we had fun money for the movies. the previews for BOLT had been out for a while, and the promise of miley cyrus being one of the characters' voices made sure it was a must-see movie for us.

it was a great movie! it was exciting, the characters were adorable, and the action was pretty much non stop. the super dog concept was hilarious. and i don't think you'll look at hamsters the same again.

shhhh, it's time for a nap

eli gets really crabby when he doesn't get his nap. somehow, he really seems to take well to hanna. he was very tired on saturday afternoon, so she coaxed him into laying down on our bed, and soon he was asleep. it looks like she was whispering something to him right here. they are so sweet together.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

train works!

he's pretty proud of something here. maybe those bridges were giving him trouble. seems to work ok now.

great smile

hi, welcome to the kakouris household, can i help you?

rock a by rosco

yes, his eyes have rolled back into his head. i wish i could sleep that hard.

Friday, November 21, 2008

thursday morning ride with the missus

it was a cold thursday morning. eli kept us up all night. i would have just as soon rode the trainer in the basement. then the beautiful mrs k piped up: let's go mtn biking.

think about that for a minute. she and i haven't gone mtn biking together for more than a year. hell, we haven't ridden road bikes together in a couple of months, at least.

how could i say no?

we loaded up ourselves and 40 pounds of winter cycling gear into the freestyle, bikes on the back, and off to the 'wood we went. it was the inaugural ride for the orbea ss 29'er, and i was psyched. i was also psyched that she was so excited to ride.

instantly, i knew the ss was a winner. it was so fun! much, much more fun than the single 26'er.

so we played on the milder trails for a while, then we got cold, then we left. it was way too much fun to leave after a little more than an hour, but numb fingers don't make for good biking.

we've GOT to do that more often.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i'm sold

wow. i'm sold on 29" wheels. wow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lanza 29er SS is done!

almost. again, i'm not sure about the stem arrangement. it's going to have to wait for a shake down ride. this thing is pretty light. more than that, it's like a big bmx bike. i'm excited to put the screws to it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a great quote

a friend of mine mentioned that when he gets on a bike, he "feels like a dog chasing a frisbee."

that's a great quote for all of us to remember.

what makes you feel like that?

Niner Jet9 is done!

so the orbea single speed build had to take a back seat when the jet showed up on friday. i was feeling quite bad on friday, so i was getting ready to leave for home early when the fed ex guy showed with a gaggle of niner's for me and my friends. just as i was leaving, the kaiser popped in with his latest weight weenie creation (404's with ac hubs) to taunt me. i quickly shuffled off to buffalo before he could chastise me for getting such a heavy bike. he can be quite intimidating in a weight weenie sort of way. once i felt better (not really, i'm still in bad shape), i got around to working on the jet. i put a bit of it together on saturday, then had to break when eli started beating on it with his plastic hammer. i started again tonight after a pseudo nap this afternoon. it's hard when there are so many parts and pieces to sort through, swapping this from one bike and that from another.

anyway, it's mainly done. i do have to sort out the stem length and seat post. the race face post is cool, but it's set back 10-15mm and with the slack seat angle on this bike, that's too much for Sammy Short Femur. the stem, i don't know. it's hard to judge, but i may need a 110mm. a real ride will tell all.

i'm excited!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

orbea lanza single speed 29er

to round out my arsenal of 29" machines, i sidelined the re-furby-ished homegrown single speed to build up this lanza. yes, it's quite worked over, but since i stole it from dan, who cares? it will do the trick. i ain't no matt keeven!

big baller seagal-er jim valentine donated to the cause by letting me borrow his trick carbon pace fork. it seems out of place on this hodge podge of a machine.

for you ss aficionados, don't sweat the singulator. it works. it's not about the bike, right?? i just really want a single to train on, i fully believe in it's benefits, and it's fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sick, back hurts, my gums ache

i've been battling the head cold from beyond this last week. no cough, no watery eyes, just a massive stopped up nose and the associated kleenex deluge.

what's worse, my upper back is extremely out of whack and deathly painful. the wife is blaming it on stress and my axe swinging during the back yard bonanza. i've visited a chiropractor already once this week, and i'm going again tomorrow. i think i may have an associated pinched nerve, too.

i'm all ate up.


what a ham.

bed head

hanna sleeps HARD once she hits the pillow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

happy birthday mrs k!

i'd like to take this opportunity to wish the beautiful mrs k a happy birthday!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

you gotta love a dog

my friend chris and his wife just got a new dog. he's the cutest thing. he's 8 weeks old and he weighs more than rosco, who is 9 years old. some dogs are big, and some dogs aren't.

niner in my garage?

my future racing plans include endurance off roading. after a season of checking out the fast guys, slow guys, and guys that have fun, lots of them agree that 29 inch wheels are the shizzy. of course, if i solicited 100 different people i'd get 100 different responses, so let's just say my mediocre skills are attracted to the 29'er.
some great things are happening at the store, and one of them is the introduction of NINER to our product line. i'd love to have a one9 for training, but what really get's my motor running is the jet9. i even like the kermit green. i think i'll get black, though. i'll have a full report on the line on the ghisallo daily news.

kids saturday

saturday's are always big days around here. although i think this photo was taken friday, or maybe even thursday, i think tyson is grinning about all the hectic festivities we have planned.
if it's saturday, it means soccer. unfortunately for us, it was 39 degrees and WINDY. hanna was bundled up properly with a rather stylish dogfish hat, and tyson had an adult sized craft underlayer that later fell down to his knees. hanna, eli and i just stayed in the car and ate snacks while we watched the beautiful mrs k coach the boys game.
later, hanna and tyson created a restaurant in her room. it was a nice spread. eli and i visited after lunch and we got calamari as an appetizer. his meal was spaghetti, while i got pickled pigs feet and a pepsi. we topped it off with oreo ice cream. all for $37 in barbi bucks.
that evening was cookie making time. we were joined by max and gus. sugar cookies and colored icing.
these cookies have WHAT in them??

eli had no trouble mixing colors. most ended up on the cookies where it belonged.

hanna looks more like she is creating a mad scientists concoction rather than sugar cookies.

wow. cookies are ready!
max approves.

gus approves, too. maybe. cautiously. he'll reserve judgement until after he's had a couple.

gas prices

$1.87 ! ! !

whoa. holy 1990's batman.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

gas prices

was i ever surprised to see $1.99 at the quik trip last night? you betcha, by golly!

i know it's temporary, because it's difficult to put that genie back into the bottle. the taste of $4 gas is one that probably can't be resisted by the oil business. market forces will probably return with the upswing in the economic health of world markets.

geez, i sound like a news soundbite. but, i'm temporarily happy for a $32 full tank, instead of a $64 full tank.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

you tube

this is just wrong

i never post you tube stuff, but this was just too funny.

Monday, November 03, 2008

heavy yardwork part two

the rest of my saturday afternoon, after the big john matthews ride, was a completely domesticated affair. this jungle of a fence is exactly what mine looked like. 50 year old heavy wire fencing, patched in spots with chicken wire and inexplicably nasty wire of other types, co mingled with all of that growth. this is actually the edge of my yard where it connects with the neighbors.
this is the finished product. a short concrete wall is the edge of my yard, the privacy fence is the neighbors in the rear. note piles of carnage.

a closer view from the other direction. rock pile is from base of fencing, who knows why. the two stumps were on their way to axe heaven, but a major blister on my thumb stayed their execution. i'll have to ask someone to chainsaw them, i'm not man enough. the dirt marks the line where the foliage jungle extended to.
upper left is fencing, folded up, with associated growth that couldn't be removed. at right is the pile of trees, bushes, shrubs, sticks, some of my skin, and possibly squirrels and rabbits that got caught up in the extraction process. foreground is pile of rocks, which only represents half of what is there.

day out with thomas

sunday was the big event: the day out with thomas the tank engine. deanna, denise and i took the three boys, tyson, gus, and eli. of course, we were pressed for time, compounded by a rather lethargic bus driver from the east st. louis metro stop. but, we made it. here, eli gives us a little idea of what he thinks.
tyson and gus used the train time for shenanigans. the train was pretty full, and it had a cool upper deck. thomas is a small engine, so it was hard for him to pull the heavy coaches.
eli, in awe of the east st. louis landscape. actually, so was i. it's amazing how much industry and infrastructure has been taken back by nature.
eli couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear. tyson saw a gargoyle with wings and a serpents tail just before the photo was taken.
gus: i wonder if we could get one of these trains to work in our backyard?
tyson: sure was a bad day to quit wearing sunglasses.
eli: what would happen if i unhooked this chain while the train was underway?
you can see thomas' coaches in the background. it was a rather crowed day in an enormous gravel parking lot, so dust and dirt was the name of the game. in other words, a kids paradise.

eli figured a guitar solo in the middle of the dance floor was appropriate to celebrate the occasion.

the kids got to do a little jam session with the crazy guy doing the music. the inflatable "air guitars" were a nice touch. eli was fascinated with it's bendability.

tyson started feeling the groove. all great rock stars really live the music like this.

after a while, the groove left him, and it was back to dust, hay, and hee haw.

crumpled air guitar or not, eli got out onto the dance floor and kicked it. he was surfing the crowd, throwing punches, and generally causing mayhem. it was a thomas day to remember.