Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Flashes from the past ...

Ever start on a project and get so wrapped up in the details that the original project you started morphs into something completely different? Well, that kinda happened to me last week during the Thanksgiving break. I was actually going to clean up the office area that we haven't really moved into yet when I came upon this box of really old pictures of family from days long gone by. As I thumbed through a few of the pictures, the thought of putting them into a photo album jumped into my head and I suddenly forgot all about cleaning the place up. Photo after photo revealed aspects of my life that I had completely forgotten about or never really realized even existed. For example, I came across an old picture of my grandfather and me along with what appears to be several other folks on my grandfather's side of the family. It dawned on me that the only people I recognized were my grandfather and my grandmother. The other folks seemed to be complete strangers. At first, I didn't even recognize my own father until later when I blew the photo up on my computer. What's the point? Well, I thought that it was pretty strange that I don't know anybody in my immediate family beyond my grandmothers and grandfathers. To me, that's a real shame because I'm sure there is a lot of family history and great stories buried in those old photos that will never really be told, or written about. Some of these photos will forever be beautiful diaries of lives and events that are locked away forever. Only the imagination of the prospective viewer can deduce what story the photo really holds. Like I said, I thought this was a real shame, so I embarked on a project of my own to document and unlock the stories behind the photos for which I hold the key. Let the story begin ...

The palest ink is better than the best memory.
Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Century amongst friends ...

Last Sunday I led another local Century ride around the city and by all accounts it turned out to be a pretty good ride. Since the time change we get a little more sunlight in the early hours but now it is getting cold. OK, cold for Vegas, low 50's. I sure don't miss that midwest cold anymore: low of 30 °F in Illinois this morning! No thanks. Been there, got the t-shirt. I'm always amazed how many people we get on these rides. Long distance cycling seems to bring out the one's who compete against themselves more than against their fellow riders. Take Jason for example. This guy rides a Century on Friday on his road bike, rides a Century on Saturday on his Mountain Bike ( 4 x 25 mile loops) and then, rides with us on Sunday for another 100 miles! He either loves his bike or he likes daily pain!

Actually, I like to mentor some of the new folks along. I guess that's why I joined the Air Force to fly jets, got a Masters in Business, and now work as a contractor instructor for the Air Force. Strange what lines of work we all fall into in our lives. Anyway, it was great to see Tracey come out and brave the ride with the guys. She doesn't ride real fast, but she can definately motor.

One thing we always get a chuckle out of is how nobody who lives and rides on the Westside of town waves back when we offer a brief wave and a smile. Must be something in the water over there in Summerlin. Same goes for the "racer dudes" whom we affectionately refer to as the "owners" of the road. As we cruised past Red Rock, four of the "owners" past our peleton with that non-approval, you are a Fred look and started a rotating paceline. Being on the front of our group, I calmly and shamelessly kept our group well protected from the wind in their ensuing draft. I must admit, I felt a little guilty but not really! I subsequently noticed that a few of the "owners" were getting a bit winded as we approached that last little hill of the day. I got one of those Mr. Grinch kinda grins and waited patiently for the opportune moment to strike. Suddenly, there it was, a small but noticeable break in the pace: from 32 mph to 29 mph. I pounce like a cheetah! My group follows me and we smoke the owners up and over the summit. God that was fun! We trade leads with the owners for another couple of miles and I guess we got their respect because as we departed company we got a nod of approval and a, "nice job gentlemen." I smiled and thought, "yeah, I need your recognition dickhead!"

Oops play nice with others!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Huntington Beach, California

Ah the beach!! There is just nothing like it. Crashing waves, clean, clear air and plenty of sunshine. No matter if the weather is hot or cold, the beach is just plain rejuvenating. Last weekend Bobbie and I decided to escape the craziness of Las Vegas and exchange that for the craziness of Los Angelos. Actually, the LA traffic is much worse than here in the heat of the desert. The drivers suck worse than anyplace else I've ever lived. Even the drivers in Naples, Italy drive better than they do in LA. At least the Italians give you the common courtesy of using their horn!

Anyway, back to the beach. Huntington Beach is huge compared to the others we've visited further south of LA. You can literally see for miles. Checkout the picture of Bobbie on the right. There is endless sand everywhere and the surfers dot the close-in shoreline like seals waiting to be fed. The weather was excellent but just a bit on the cool side for this time of year.

The highlight of this trip was just plain good 'ole rest! Something Bobbie needed in a big way. This No Child Left Behind bullshit is a serious republican pipe dream! But, that's another rant for another time. I'm not much for sitting around, but this trip was great for the overworked, stressed soul. No grading papers for 4 hours a day on the weekends, no chores around the house to do, and no bloody telemarketers ringing the phone off the hook. Yep, just plain rest and fun.

We treated ourselves to some great long waits in the LA traffic on Highway 1 through Long Beach and up to Manhattan Beach in search of these rather precious blue jeans that you can only purchase in California and New York. Bingo! Found'em! And...yes, they were expensive. But, boy, do they fit nice!

We cut the trip short one day and headed back to the desert because the dog missed us, the birds missed us, and we missed them. The drive back was really fun on I-15, especially on a Saturday! I'm doin' 80+ and you would think I was in a parking lot sitting still. I guess all these Californians can't wait to pay for my electric bill. Yep, the lights are still on in Vegas! Thank you California. Now, we'll send you some more water out of our Lake. Oops, yet another rant for another day.