Monday, June 30, 2008

Let Us Talk of Cabbages and Fingers

I love the looks I get from people who shake my hand. When they realize my hand is a bit smaller than they are expecting their expressions run the gamut of surprise, wonder, and even once, disgust. That one was classic. I could read the surprise in his face followed closely after by a slight narrowing in his eyes as if he had stepped in something unpleasant.

Most people, after shaking my hand, try very hard not to look at it. They fight the urge but then started glancing down. Almost like a man talking to a woman and battling the desire to look at her breasts. (I never do, I'm a gentleman). But they need to know what felt so different. No matter how hard they try to concentrate on where the conversational path is heading, they are distracted. It is like being at a party and you are talking to a total stranger who has a big piece of food stuck to the side of his mouth. The relationship is not close enough to say, "Hey Dude. You got, like, a totally gross piece of cabbage stuck to your face. Jeez!" so you try not to stare, but no matter how hard you try, you keep staring at it until all else in the universe disappears and all that exists is that one piece of cabbage. Then he thinks you are a total moron and leaves to find someone else more intellectually stimulating or who will point out that he is a slob.

That's how it is with my hand for strangers. All else disappears and their thoughts are invariably drawn to my hand. My small hand is my piece of cabbage.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tomorrow Is Another Three Fingered Day

I started the build on Tate's wife's mountain bike today. The only new parts are the rear wheel, rear derailleur and shifters. Everything else came from the parts bin. The frame had a trashed bottom bracket shell but Tate and I managed to get the threads clean enough to install a bottom bracket. It's coming along and it should be ready by tomorrow night. Pics will follow when the build is done.

It's hot in the garage, though. 109 DegF!!! As you can see Jack is prepared for the weather.
I am reminded of a song by the Dusty Chaps:
"It's 110 in Gila Bend in Buckeye it's a 102. Summer's here and I just can't find a way to stop lovin' you"

I had another "three fingered moment" today but the pain from hitting my finger with a rubber mallet drove it from my mind.

My legs are still sore from yesterday’s run
Mashing my finger today was not much more fun
Scarlett O’Hara did say
"Tomorrow’s another day"
“Really?”, is my response to you, moron.

I actually had someone say "tomorrow's another day" to me earlier in the week after they were complaining about some trivial matter (unlike my trivial matters which are extremely important). I am constantly amazed at the pseudo-philosophical platitudes that people live by. "Tomorrow's another day?" I would certainly hope so. How about, "Everyday is today some day?" Or, "Yesterday was another day?" I have always felt better when someone says, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Wow. That's profound. Especially to the condemned man on the gallows. The one song from the musical Annie that I always detested is "Tomorrow." You bet your bottom dollar I do. The Romans had a more realistic view of "today" which they put on epitaphs, "hodie mihi, cras tibi." Today to me, tomorrow to you. In other words, "Maybe I'm having a three fingered moment today, but tomorrow it'll be you." Well....I took some liberties with that paraphrase.

Maybe I shouldn't be too snooty because of the poor quality of the little poems I throw in this blog. When I can write like Ogden Nash, then I can be judgemental. But to end my little rant I will quote from a real philosopher, somebody who has a clear and consise vision of change. I give you.....Snoopy: "Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement." You can actually use that line for anything or anyone. For example, William Shatner. "Yes...terday...I...was...William Shatner. Today....I'm....William Shatner...Tomorrow...I'll probably Shatner. Sigh! There's so..little hope... to be Leonard..Nimoy."

Yesterday I had a three fingered moment, today I had a three fingered moment and tomorrow I'll probably still have a three fingered moment. Sigh! There's so little hope for getting a fourth finger.

Now that I have finished frothing at the mouth with my holier-than-thou attitude, I admit that I, perchance, may have over reacted a bit. It'll be better tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Running Sucks But Running at 7000 Feet Sucks More

I'm whining. I went to Flagstaff (yet again) and ran the Northland Hospice 5k. I felt really good for the first mile but when I tried to pick up the pace, my lowland habituated lungs failed and I was barely able to finish. When a 400lb monk in his cassock and sandals sprinted past me with 100 meters to go, I couldn't even respond. I finished 30 seconds slower than last year. *whine* What added to the discomfort was having to pee as soon as I started running. Hey, there's my excuse....

I love watching people run. It is amazing to see someone who looks like a goofball standing still just fly with a beautiful, natural style. Others run with the Marvin the Martian stride. They don't bend their knees, they just move their feet back and forth at a very high rate of speed. I, myself, use the "Stick-Up-The-Butt" technique. It looks awkward, but has the advantage of keeping the competition in stitches from laughing so they lose a bit of speed. I have to use what God's given me. In this case, fortunately, a sense of humor about my lack of running style and/or skill.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Thing a Thong of Thixspence

It's been a good week. A couple of great rides and a good run. I took advantage of having to work in Flag deliver a bike to triathlete extraordinaire, Amy, which she commissioned me to build for her. I think she thought she was getting Michelangelo to paint her the Sistine Chapel but got instead one of those guys that draws the awful caricatures at the county fair. It did turn out to be a very sweet build, though.
It felt good when I came back down the hill to the valley and there was a wonderful smell of rain in the air. Monsoon season is just around the corner and I can't wait. It's my favorite time of year.
I had another "three finger moment" when the car cassette adaptor for my iPod died on the drive up to Flagstaff. I was seriously bummed and tried all the usual tactics to get it to work. Ejecting it and reinserting it 40 times. Staring at it and willing it to start working. Banging it against the car dash. Pleading, crying, throwing my fists to the sky in frustration, and cursing the fates. The one thing I didn't try was to check was the volume setting on the iPod. Somehow it had rubbed against something while driving and turned itself to the minimum setting. Oops.
I do rest assured that at least I am not in the position of being ridiculed nationally for having my thong's rhinestone clip pop off and hit me in the eye as did a 50 something traffic control/parking enforcer in LA. I read in the news that she is now suing Victoria's Secret for pain and suffering. I could not believe that she and her lawyer were interviewed on the Today show about this horrendous and debilitating incident. Ah, the quality of the American news agencies. The media made a big deal about her age which to me is not fair. There are many 50 year old women who I know would look quite ravishing in a thong ( I couldn't get away with it, it'd look like a rubberband on a potato) The best quote was by her attorney, "Her life is changed forever." I know mine is changed forever. I'll never look at another meter attendant in the same way again. I'll always be wondering what they are wearing under their alluring uniforms as they place a ticket under the windshield wiper with a certain "come-hither" manner. I am sure that someone in Congress is going to convene a panel to investigate this danger to the unsuspecting public. Super models will be called as witnesses and to display the offending garments. Soon the goverment will require all thongs to come with a warning label. WARNING: IMPROPER USE OF THIS ITEM MAY LEAD TO SERIOUS INJURY TO EYES OR GOOD TASTE
I met a meter maid wearing a thong
and parked my hand where it did not belong
she told me to stick it
and threatened a ticket
unless I'd keep moving along

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jesse Trevino

I revisited one of my favorite artists tonight on the web via an incredible website called Mark Harden's Artchive. Jesse Trevino is from San Antonio and he is one of he most important Hispanic artists living today. I found his art on the web a few years ago and fell in love with it.

Look for Trevino in the list on the left of screen.

Miscellaneous Whines, Moans and B*****s

Well, I am finally recovered from the Picacho Peak time trial on Sunday. I was warned by Amy not to do it because I was feeling under the weather, but would I listen? Nooooooooooo. Not me. I'm too tough to give up. To make a long story short, I stunk up the course. I felt I was doing okay until the 30 second man behind me, my buddy Dennis, passed me within the first 2 kilometers going by like I was sitting still. That didn't bother me too much since he is much stronger, but when the two Dutch tourists with loaded bikes passed me uphill into the wind, I knew it was going to be a long morning. I crossed the line, rode back to the car and almost passed out from dehydration. Oh yeah, did I look good.

I did have my daily "Three Fingered Frank" moment afterwards. I was so fragged I put my t-shirt on backwards. As I headed over to the convenience store to load up on water and gatorade, the girl parked next to me said, "Hey, I think your shirt is on backwards." I replied, "That's so I remember where I've been." Two points strike me in retrospect. One: That even sick, I am still a smartass. Two: I must have been in bad shape because at the time I thought it was a hilarious comeback.

Well, France is out of the Euro Cup. Italy beat them up in a 2-0 romp. Lowlights were Ribery hurting his leg 10 minutes in and Abidal getting the boot after drawing a red card in the 24th minute, so Les Bleus were at 10 men the rest of the match. I was proud that they held Italy to only 2 goals (they were lucky it was that low), one of which was helped into the goal accidently by Henry. The French threatened but could not make the shots. Oh well, I'll root for Germany Thursday in the match against Portugal. That should be a great game.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Man Does Not Live On Bread Alone but I Like My Pumpernickel

To those who tell me to cut all breads from my diet remember these words: Let he who is without glutenin cast the first scone.

Tomorrow is the big Euro Cup '08 day. France meets Italy with a trip to the quarter finals on the line. I will be embarassing myself at work with my World Cup '98 jersey on, but France must win! I still have to congratulate Timo on his team's (Netherlands) win over les Bleus, but I am still choking on my words. But I guess I have to admit that the sun will shine on every dog's butt someday and the sun is shining on Holland so...congratulations. The strange thing is that I am also half Italian but I just can't bring myself to root for the Azzuri. They play with passion, they beat my team in 2006 for the World Cup title, but I...I...I..prefer Germany for my second team. There, I said it! I admit it. So if France doesn't make it tomorrow, I'll root for the Deutsch. I am so ashamed......Forgive me father for I have sinned.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Not a True Story - Would I Lie?

I was buying something at Walgreens today and an older guy next to me was asking the clerk which aisle the diapers were in.

"Child or adult?" she asked.
"Depends," he replied.

*insert the sounds of crickets here*

Friday, June 13, 2008

I don't hafta!

I was listening to NPR today while driving to an appointment. There was a brief sound bite of President Bush reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to allow prisoners in Guantanamo Bay to have the right to Habeas Corpus. I was struck by the way he phrased his response. He said, "I don't have to agree with the decision of the Supreme Court." Now I am not going to make any political statements about what I believe in regards to this issue, but I was struck by how weak this statement made him sound. Of course, he doesn't "have to agree" with the decision. He has the right to agree or not to agree. Or, was he stating he had no need to comply with the ruling? "I don't have to agree because, as President, I can do as I wish. Although, in this case, I will comply with the ruling." The terms "have to" and "do not have to" refer to the obligation or necessity to do something. "I have to feed the cat. The cat does not have to poop in my shoe." To my ear Mr. Bush would have sounded stronger if he had simply said, "I disagree with the ruling." No ambiguity and no reason for me to get on my high horse. Maybe I am sensitive to the "I don't have to..." remarks because of raising four children.

Child 1:"Dad says to clean your room!"
Child 2: "I don't hafta listen to you!"
Child 1: "Do so!"
Child 2: "Do not!!!"

The upshot of all this is that now I am more aware of how I phrase things. I want to be more precise so there is no misunderstanding in what I am trying to say. I have to feed the cat but he does not have to poop in my shoe. You do not have to agree.

France lost to the Dutch 4-1 in EuroCup 2008 action today. *sob* They did not have to lose, but they did. Will the make the next round? Je ne sais pas.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Parlez-vous Engineer?

Some gems I found while reading project specifications today.

" Words implied, but not stated, shall be inferred, as the sense requires."

" Singular words shall be interpreted as plural, and plural words shall be interpreted as singular where applicable ..."

"Imperative mood and streamlined language are generally used in the Specifications. Occasionally, the indicative or subjunctive mood may be used...."

Get out of here with the imperative mood! Although, if I had studied more in school, I probably would understand the subjunctive mood. I prefer the indicative mood, myself.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Hot Tomaters, Salmonella, Value Meals, Happy B-Day Ma, and Do I Have the Legs to Wear This Dress?

Amidst the news items today, two headlines caught my eye in particular. "Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain are study in contrast" followed by several headlines refering to the tomato salmonella scare.

The "potential" first lady headline had me laughing because a following sub-title stated that the difference between their husbands was even greater. Gee. You think so? I get confused differentiating between the candidates every time I see or hear them. I promised myself I would never use this blog as a political forum, but this is how the article started:

Obama, wife of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, and McCain, who is married to Republican John McCain, are both known for an elegant sense of style, lending glamour to their husbands' campaigns.
McCain posed in size zero jeans for the latest issue of Vogue. Obama, who has also appeared in the fashion magazine, was praised by style writers for the violet sheath dress she wore to her husband's Democratic nomination victory rally and has been compared to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

It's seems to be normal journalism these days to compare the sartorial sense of women before getting into real issues; their positions on policy, etc... I pray for the day when an article on the differences between Obama and McCain will start off with:

Mr. Obama was stunning in his well fitting gray Armani suit. Mr McCain suffered a slight fashion faux-pas when the pant legs of his Men's Wearhouse suit were cut a bit short revealing mismatched socks. However, his wonderful tie and shirt combination allow us to forgive this slight miscalculation on his part.

Plus, what's up with the "lending glamour to their campaigns" line? Does that mean they can take the glamour back at any time? What are the terms of this loan? As voters I think we need to know the interest rate on this loan...or...maybe not....

"Okay, for two days of glamour in Indiana, you pumice my corns. For a day in Louisiana, you add, 'Yes Mistress' to everything you say to me. Otherwise you are on your own and you know I make you look good!"

Maybe I am just a bit jealous because I no longer fit into my size zero Calvin Klein's . I know at one time I was much smaller than I currently am because years ago, while dressing in the dark, I inadvertently put on Kelly's jeans and was almost to the office before I realized my mistake. They did seem a little tight in the ankle and my co-workers thought they made my butt look big. My kids are still wondering about that incident (and also the one with the dress. Hey it was an accident! But I do admit to a wonderful feeling of freedom).

But speaking of hot tomatoes, there seems to be another outbreak of food poisoning. This issue stands out because Chuck, Marilyn, and Amy are suffering from gastro-intestinal malaise brought on by bad food. So in their honor.

After praying to a porcelain god
one has thoughts that can be odd
Especially as one does choke
On an undercooked fried egg yolk
What exactly are nature's laws?
Are they effect or are they cause?
All I know as I clench my buns,
it's not only yolks that get the runs.


In the soft early morn's gloaming
are the sounds of somebody moaning
for bad whipped creams
leaves one, it seems
at the porcelain god's altar atoning

Yes I know I used porcelain god twice, but I am just happy to know how to spell it. It reminds me of porcine which is one of my favorite words. Use as an adjuective and you will feel better. You cannot say, "I play in a porcelain porcine polka band" without smiling. Use it to an insult. "Excuse me sir, but your porcine eating habits are leading me to feel ill." I just wish I knew what it means.

If you feel like an underachiever (as I do quite often), visit Anna's blog at Value Meals on the Volga. I guarantee you will feel more like a slacker than ever. But it is a great read. I am amazed at how much she accomplishes. An inspiration (and one of the reasons you get to read this blog).

Last, but not least, Happy Birthday Ma!!! You've been gone 33 years and I still miss you!!!

Now, please excuse me. I have some tomatoes to eat.

Monday, June 9, 2008

French Football and Cafe au Lait

Allez les Bleus!!! Allez France!!!!

I knew it was going to be an interesting start to the work week when the office coffee tasted like, well, like crap. A little sugar and cream and I hoped it would at least be palatable. The first sign that I was to be disappointed was the swizzle stick coming out of the cup melted.

The French football team started off their 2008 Eurocup campaign against Romania. I have nothing personally against the Romanians, but Les Bleus are supposed to win. Alas and alack, it was a nil-nil draw. Gasp. unheard of. Unthinkable. Then the Netherlands crushed Italy in the same group, 3-0, thereby taking command of the group standings. It's going to be very tough for France to progress, with upcoming games against the Dutch and Italy. Very tough. sigh.....

From Jamaica came Karma John
Who'd say, "I love my Dharma, mon."
But when he died
His spirit sighed
For he came back as grated Parmesan

It's a bit frustrating trying to get this update posted since my cat, Hoagy Charmichael, is trying to help me type. He's not helping.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A perfect weekend

What can I say except that this was one of the best weekends in a long time. Yep, it was! Sigh...I'll be smiling for quite a while.....I hope this doesn't mean that this upcoming week stinks.

Went back up to Flag for a nice long road ride in gale force winds. Fortunately my weight prevented me from being blown off the road. Amy, being a light weight (pun intended) suffered. Others didn't seem to be that affected by the wind. All this fun was followed by lunch at Mountain Oasis. The Shitake rolls are awesome. My falafel plate was comme ci, comme ca. The Lemon Tart at Macy's for dessert was worth the drive. There's more, but not enough room to describe it. Suffice it to say I got home at 1:45am. Now, that's a good time!!!!

On Sunday I subbed for the regular bass player, at Oasis Community Church, who couldn't play. I hadn't played in almost two years, but it all came back quickly. I really hit the groove in practice but what Three Fingered experience can pass without at least one embarassing moment. I was flying through the opening song during the service, but I couldn't hear anything through the amp. Yep, I got half way through the song before realizing that the amp was off. What a Gaboik. I should be happy that I only had the one major faux pas. Usually, there are quite a few more. The regular bass player happened to show up and I have never seen anyone so not worried about being shown up by the replacement. But he did say that the part where my amp was off was the best bass playing he had ever heard.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yes, I'm a Schmuck

Yet another work trip to Flagstaff. I should buy a house there. The highlight was going for an after-work road ride with Amy. Plus, I was happy to see her dog, Bean Sprout, for the first time in quite a few months. Sprouty is the ultimate dog, smart and sweet, and she loves me.
My heart was greatly buoyed
when I saw sweet Sprout
and how she was overjoyed
to smell my crotch with her snout

Amy did crush my spirit on the ride. I can usually out muscle her on climbs, but this time I spent all my energy keeping my tongue out of the spokes trying to hang on to her wheel. To add a bit of salt to my bleeding ego, she had already done a running/swimming brick earlier in the day and this was an easy social ride. I did get her on the downhill on the return leg of the ride. It was my superior bike (and maybe an extra 40 pounds in body weight?), descending skills (ok, 50 pounds?), and leg strength (55 pounds?). Actually, she has gotten a lot stronger so kudos to her (@#*&%@#).

Enough whining. At lunch, I was reading some news headlines on Yahoo, and was struck by two in particular. The first headline read "Stupid Flies Live Longer". It was followed by "Dutch Man Injures Posterior in Mooning Incident". I looked back upon my life and realized at the rate I am going for "stupid" incidents, I may live forever. This would also make a great "tell-all" book about the incident. "RED MOON in the NETHERLANDS". A chilling tale of ass cracks and broken glass.
I am also thinking of of patenting and selling a new product guaranteed to increase any person's life span. A small hammer. "Hi! Billy Mays here with an exciting new product. Scientists have shown that stupid people live longer. And, until now, the prohibitive cost of stupidity has only allowed people like Paris Hilton to live longer. But now there is a product for people like you. The GQ37 LifeSpan Extender. This simple product will add years to your life and it's easy to use. Watch how by applying the blunt end of the GQ37 LifeSpan Extender to your head in short, repeated motions adds years of pleasurable living to your active life style. Plus, you can build up those biceps and triceps at the same time. The head is made of the finest carbon steel which is specially hardened to give it strength and many years of use. The wooden handle is made from Terra Fuegan oak, especially chosen for its beauty. If you are within the first 150 people to call, we'll throw in a second GQ37 LifeSpan Extender at absolutely no extra charge." ad naseum.....

It looks like my secret identity has finally been discovered: