Saturday, August 30, 2008
I have had several inquiries from readers (okay, just my aunt asking three times) as to the true story about the loss of the pinkie. So in order to disabuse any false notions and to put all rumors to rest I now present the real tale; the veracity of which cannot be disproved.
It was a dark and stormy night (no, really, it was) in Cleveland, Ohio on that fateful date, January 16, 2001. I was wandering alone along the docks, my hands deep in my coat's pockets and its collar turned up against the wind and snow. It was as cold as the heart of the waitress I had met the night before. I thought the extra fifty buck tip I slipped her would provide the kind of entertainment that I read about in Penthouse, but all she wanted to do was talk.
"My name is Kat," she said. "Kat Schrödinger. I need your help. I think someone is trying to kill me. I found some hydrocyanic acid and a Geiger counter in my room. I need you to find out who it could be."
"Look, Doll Face, you're making as much sense as String Theory. Just tell me who you think it could be and give me my fifty bucks back," I replied.
With my fifty and a couple of new C notes keeping it company in my wallet, I found myself looking for Tony "The Nose" Luchelli. He was also known as "The Quantum Mechanic" because those who displeased him would feel pain down to the subatomic level.
That is how I found myself wandering in the dark on a snowy night in Cleveland following a guy who would appear in one place, disappear, and then be somewhere else instantly. After an hour of feeling the nether regions of my body turning into ice cubes I found myself standing outside a dive named "Causality".
A deep, gravelly voice behind me snarled, "Who are you and whatta you want?"
"I'm just an average guy doing his job," I answered. I turned and found myself face to face with Tony "The Nose" aka "The Quantum Mechanic." He was so fat he could bend light and his breath made the liverwurst on onion roll sandwich I had for lunch come back up. I added, "Followin' you was easy, real easy. I just played the odds."
"Used probability, eh? Well, pal, since you seem to be a sportin' man, lemme show you a little game we play wit' smart guys like you." With those words, his two goons, Erwin and Max, grabbed me from behind and dragged me into the back room of the bar. "Make sure he's comfortable," Tony said. That's when everything went black.
When I woke up, I found my right hand encased in a metal box. Tony and his sidekicks were standing there. Tony said, "Inside this box is a mousetrap with a spring strong enough to cut through a broom stick. Your little finger is strapped to that mousetrap. Holding the spring down is a piece of cheese. Also inside the box is a sedated mouse. The question is how long will the mouse stay asleep? And when it wakes up, how long will it take to eat the cheese? I know what you're thinkin', punk. Is your finger still there? Or, is it gone? Or, is it both at the same time? Well, to tell you the truth, in all the excitement I forgot. Why don't we open the box to find out?"
Everything went black again. And, when I woke up I was in the gutter grasping a bottle of bad gin in a paper bag. A cop was pushing me with the toe of his boot, "Go on, ya lousy three fingered bum. Get yerself home before I run ya in!"
And that is the true story of how I became Three Fingered Frank. I never saw Kat again, nor the 250 bucks that Tony lifted from my wallet.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
"Can you read the bottom line?"
"Sure. F, Z, 2, G, and I really like your shoes."
After they dilated my eyes I had to do the "push the button when you see a flash or flicker" test. I drove the poor girl crazy. Everytime the screen reset itself it would flicker and I would hit the button causing it to flicker again which meant I would click the button again. After a couple of minutes of this she took the clicker away and said, "I'll tell you when to start" She handed it back, but *flicker* and boom, I hit the button again. I was clicking the button as if I were in Jeopardy, "I'll take 3 Fingered Morons for $200, Alex."
All in all it is a fun exam. Especially as I get older my eyesight has been progressively getting better, though slowly. At this rate, if I live to be 150 years old, I could potentially get to 20/20.
Bjorn looks a bit too happy. Which as the sign says, is the wrong way to pose for a mountain bike picture.
Keir is attempting the classic pose. A hint of a smile, mixed with a dash of a grimace, intense concentration, and a decent pretense of pushing it. For him just being on the bike was pushing it. He is recovering from food poisoning and he really gutted it out today. *Sniff* I am so proud.
I on the other hand, have no trouble "gutting" it out. I am trying to suck in my stomach but failing miserably. I am attempting the "I know the camera is there but I am studiously ignoring it while simultaneously accelerating up the hill because I am too cool" pose. Maybe if I was wearing my prom dress I could pull it off. But as you can see...........
I have been back from Southwestern Colorado for a few days and am really missing it. If I had the opportunity, or the intestinal fortitude (I have the "guts"), I would move to Dolores in a heartbeat. The people up there are about the friendliest I have ever met. definitely very welcoming and open. If you're ever up there, the Dolores River Brewery is a place to hang out and relax. The beer being good is just an added benefit. I do want to try out the German Beer Garden next time.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I did meet one of them when I went to get my book out of the car. She asked me if I was from Louisiana. I said, "no" and asked her why she thought that. She replied it was because I was barefoot and only people from Louisiana went barefoot because a lot of them didn't have shoes. Guess where she was from? A hint: In the space of five minutes she mentioned okra, shrimp, gumbo, and the French Quarter. I had nightmares of her asking for beads. No, don't ask.......*shudder* But it is cool how different regions of the US have different habits and viewpoints.
I was reminded of the time I was working in Durham, North Carolina and my co-worker asked one of the electricians where a good place was to meet girls. The electrician replied, "The car wash is a good place to find girls." (this is not the word he used, I will not stoop so low). My buddy looked at me, paused, looked back at the electrician and said, "The car wash? What are they doing at the car wash?" The electrician's reply is one of the classics of all time. In a very slow southern drawl he answered, "Wah ya dumb f**king Yankee...Thar washin' thar cars!"
I know we Southwesterners must have our own regional idiosyncrasies that seem quaint, if not just weird, to visitors (like the German I chased around yesterday).
After such an enjoyable road ride yesterday, today I went back to the Boggy Draw trail system for some more single speed fun. The Soulcraft is made for this place. I added the Italian Canyon loop for some new fun.
This loop is not very hard but it does have, seemingly, twice the amount of climbing as Boggy Draw and two real steep short climbs. I made the first climb, but completely toasted my legs on it. I didn't even attempt the second one.
Here's the split from Maverick to Italian canyon. These trails are amazing. I was telling myself how confident I am riding with tubed tires here versus my normal tubeless ones. No cactus or super sharp rocks.
Here I am two minutes later down the trail. Stupid trail Ninjas.
Here is the Dolores River valley from Sam's Lookout.
And a view up Italian Canyon.
When I was done, I stopped by Sol Cycles in Dolores to chat and buy a couple of tubes. Then off to hike a bit and just hang out doing nothing. All in all not a bad day. Some hot soup and chili on the stove for lunch and woo hoo....
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Mesa Verde won out because I wanted a chance to wear my new road bike shoes. Just before leaving Phoenix I bought a new pair of Specialized shoes. I had just replaced my older Sidi's with a pair of Northwave. But they just didn't fit me well, and since I am very picky about what's on my feet I kept looking for replacements. I was tempted by the Specialized's fit, weight and features. Actually, I dazzled by them because they are white. Even if I am slow I still want to look good. I embarrassed to admit that I chose a killer ride just to wear new shoes.
It was fairly windy at the bottom (maybe it was my windy bottom) and the first 4 miles sucked. It was hot, but the tears of pain falling from my eyes kept me cool as they evaporated. I find it interesting that climbing starts off as a miserable experience until the legs and lungs start to find their rhythm.
I had found my rhythm when I reached the unlit tunnel , about 5 miles up the road. At the entrance I had to toss a tidbit to Cerebus. the three headed dog, who was guarding it. It was as if I was entering Hades. Most of the way through I could not see the road surface at all and kept praying that there would not be a pothole in my line. You can't see the road and can only aim for the, I'm not kidding, light at the end of the tunnel. I was lucky that no car or Winnebago came through as I was in it otherwise that light might have had a different meaning.
I stopped at one lookout to take pictures (and find my rhythm which had fallen off somewhere after the tunnel) where I met a great German family. They took a picture of me trying to look like I am not ready to throw up. I also pumped my legs to make them look extra muscular, but they still look like sausages. And, check out those fancy white shoes! Pure sweetness.
After chatting with the father for a while he seemed to want to get away. I am not sure if it was the bugs in my teeth or if I had body odor. But, I kept chasing him down to have an excuse to stay where I was. When I asked where they were from he said they were from southwest Germany, but he got a nervous look in his eyes and changed it to Norway. I think he thought I was going to follow them.
The ride back down the hill was great. It's what makes all the climbing worth it. I love keeping up with all the traffic, especially when the speed limit is 45MPH. The tunnel was, once again, a scary adventure. I just closed my eyes and held on (hey, I already couldn't see).
After the ride I decided to do the Durango, Silverton. Telluride, Dolores, Cortez loop in the car. Just as I left Mesa Verde I found these Anasazi pots on the side of the road. I didn't realize how large the Anasazi must of been. Check out the ladder leaning against the largest pot.
I took my first stop for some lunch at Coal Creek Pass. Here is a pic of the flowers at over 10,000 feet in altitude. It was perfect. Even though there were a lot of people stopping for the view and the bathrooms, it was still quiet enough to hear the wind through the trees. Well, it was quiet until an old man sitting in the car next to me started to cough and hack his lungs out. This was as I was trying to eat my chili in peace. I almost lost my appetite. He must have sucked a lot of air into his stomach while coughing because he immediately started to belch with a resonance that would make a fog horn proud. With apologies to the Bard, "Who would have thought the old man had so much air in him?"
Downtown Silverton. A happenin' place. I bought a postcard for Arlette and mailed it to her. I hope my poor attempt at French is comprehensible. I've been calling her in France everyday to describe where I am and have been. She's living the trip vicariously. It's a lot of fun to hear how much she is enjoying my trip. Silverton reminded me a Gallup in the sense that all the stores cater to tourism and sell the same style cheesy t-shirts and keepsakes. But, if it pays the rent, I am for it.
Mountains by Telluride.
The drive out of Telluride was a lot of fun. A Mini Cooper wanted to play a bit so I obliged him. But I think he was discouraged to see a car with two bikes on it catching up to him in every corner. Especially when the driver had his arm hanging out the window. He finally gave up, pulled over and let me by. I am not the competitive type (just ask my friends) so I derived no pleasure from crushing his spirit like a grape.
A perfect day ended with another veggie sandwich at the Dolores River Brewing Company. Of course, it was washed down with two pints of their ESB.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
As an afterthought, beware the trail Ninjas lest they attack your tires!!!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Never, ever keep a cell phone in your pocket that might accidently speed dial someone while orally composing a pornographic novel. It just might be recorded in all its *ahem* glory on their voicemail. And if this does happen, pray that it is not a female friend that receives said erotic saga on her voicemail. The only thing that can make it worse is if her voice mail times out and your phone dials her again thereby leaving a continuation of the previous train of thought.
If this ever happens to you, you must hope she has a good sense of humor or you might be visited by badged personnel in the middle of the night.
What is this sick, sick world coming to? I understand the story had something about teenaged, hitchhiking nuns in it, but my sources are vague as to the veracity of this rumor.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Amy owns AEC Reprograhics in Flagstaff and does all of my copies and prints for my projects up there. Always fast and excellent service (yes, this is an unashamed plug). This week she is preparing to open a new gallery/store on Leroux in downtown Flag called Local Color between Route 66 and Aspen. The doors should be opening in early September. Be sure to check it out. It gets Five Pinkies (no stars here). All this in addition to training daily for triathlons, running a business, and doing a complete restoration of a house by herself. I get tired just thinking about everything she does.
And, speaking of "local color", Anna is at the annual American Historical Society for Germans from Russia gathering in Casper, Wyoming. She has been updating her blog at Value Meals on the Volga daily and I have been enjoying reading her descriptions of the local interests. You can find her blog at http://valuemeals.blogspot.com/. (yes, more shameless pandering). Anna works full time, is an author, editor, president of the local AHSGR chapter, and more. Her blog also receives the coveted Five Pinkies rating. I don't want to be around when her adrenalin runs out.
All this begs the question, where do they get the energy? Well, in true Three Fingered fashion, I hereby volunteer to give all my energy to them. Yes, I will step up and place the onus of "kicking back" upon my broad shoulders. It a tough job but I am willing to do it. For them and for the nation.