Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Year in Review

It's been a big year for us. All the big baby milestones, finishing Jeff's house (while living in it), moving to PA, and Michele at a job that's not considered training for the first time in eight years. Feels like I'm really an adult for the first time. Okay, maybe not, but getting closer. On the whole it's been a good year and here's to an even better 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

That's a Lot of Loot

Michele got her french oven, I got some snow gear, but it's the kid who scored big.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Thanks to a friend, who works at a certain Seattle based snow sports company, I got new gear this year.  The entire setup is a pretty big departure from what I was riding and so I figured it'd just make good sense to head up to Hurricane Ridge and see what I need to do to my setup to get it working for me. While that sounds all well and good, hiking up with an unfamiliar kit for short little bunny slope type runs is actually a pain in the ass. The setup most definitely is different from what I was on, longer, narrower, and with very different flex characteristics. My two earned runs did not go well. On the first one I bit it hard right in front of a large group and the second didn't go much better. All I know right now is that I'm going to need a sharper edge and better snow to really sort out what works and what doesn't. Thankfully, if it's not working, I just give back whatever isn't cutting it, pay less than pro-form for what is and try over next season, and with a lift a mere 17 miles from my door it's a win-win no matter what.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Stepford

er, Seabrook.

We didn't have Thanksgiving at Paul and Sean's this year, instead we all rented a house at Seabrook. In attendance there was Paul and Sean, Jimmie and Adam, Jeff, and the three of us. Since our last visit Seabrook has grown a bit, there are a few more houses, a couple more businesses, and a community pool. For those of you keeping count, this is Thanksgiving number four with this core group and even though the Mexican theme was abandoned, the meal did not disappoint. Don't know what else to say really, good time all around.

Don't know what Adam was planning with the bat, but it couldn't be good.

Paul, fighting the good fight in the kitchen. I should also point out that Mo'vember has really become a lifestyle decision for Paul. He's really rocking a Flanders grade 'stache these days.

I'm not even sure what Jimmie is doing here, but he's got a big knife so I kept my big mouth shut a took the picture.

I'm not really sure how a ghost bike is supposed to help promote the dog store, but whatever.

Out for a stroll.

After losing Paul at the store, Michele, Porter and I continued on to newer(longer) the beach trail. Still short but a nice little hike.

Look who we found on the beach, Sean and Jeff. No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, Sean's wearing pants that extend not only past his knees, but all the way to his ankles. Craziness.

Well, it was a good one. I can hardly wait to see what next year holds. Maybe we'll own some sort of domicile by then and we can host. Yeah, right...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Not So Bright

It's cold, I'm fat, and this bike currently hates me.

BTW - I couldn't handle the humiliation of the 32:21 so we're back to an 18 on the rear wheel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Happened

I've turned into one of those people.  I spend every waking moment with my kid.  I sing about everything I do as I do it.  All I have to talk about with other adults is what my kid is doing (or not doing).  It's as if I completely forgot how to relate to others, specifically the fact that they don't give two shits about my kid that I keep talking about.  Oh, and I find myself doing stuff like this to keep my kid from fucking with the goddamned TV:

*I know I already used this image on Google+ but reusing images is a part of the new me.

I hardly know who I am anymore.  Good to know I still don't have a filter for cursing at least...

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Things have been going good here in PA.  Michele is still working very long hours (but only four days) so Porter and I are getting to spend a lot of time together.  We've also had our fair share of visitors roll through in the past few weeks.  First it was my parents.  Mom spent the entire three days making goo-goo eyes at The Monster.

Dad and I actually got out for a ride, of course being dad that didn't stop him from working while we were out, here he is taking in the Elwha valley while fielding phone calls.

Rachel, Sully and Rach's sister Steph came out for a quick visit.  Porter spent the entire time picking on Sully.  It wouldn't be a problem if Sully was able to defend himself with anything other than a shrill banshee's scream.

Also Paul and Sean came out for the day a couple weeks ago to celebrate their purchase of a new car to replace Sean's Nissan that was totaled in an accident.

Also, unpictured, Tim and Lucy came back a week after the blue kid incident and stayed the night.  Of course they didn't actually stay in our house, rather they parked their truck in the drive and slept in the back. That Alaskan camper of theirs is pretty cool, a little big (and expensive) for my tastes but cool nonetheless.

Someday, I'm hoping we'll actually have something halfway decent in the way of guest accommodations.  The plan is to buy a house in the first couple months of next year and ideally we'd like to find something with a nice ADU or at least room to build one.  Until then, guests are always welcome but prepare to be stuck in a small room, on a hard bed, and next to the boy's room so keep the damn noise down after hours.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Little Differences

This is what the Monster did to celebrate his 1st birtday:

And this is how Michele and I celebrated:

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The Monster and I went out for a little adventure today while Michele had Saturday clinic.  Rather than ride from the house we packed up the Element and headed over to Sequim to ride from Railroad Bridge Park over to Robin Hill Farm Park and back.  I chose this as our ride for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, I wanted to forgo Porter's helmet and this route is completely removed from cars with the exception of a 100' stretch where it is given a 10' wide bike lane on a 20 mph rural road.  Second, it's completely flat and I was pulling with the tank. 

I also left my helmet in the car, completely unintentionally, I was really focused on getting into the park to take a piss and forgot to grab it out of the car.  It's funny how naked I felt the whole time without my helmet.  I wasn't concerned about crashing or anything like that, but I don't ever ride without.  It's akin to how I've felt when riding in a car without a seatbelt (something I haven't done since I was a teen and only then did it when there wasn't a belt to be had), just not right.

Overall I'd say we had a good little ride.  Porter did a lot of laughing from behind me and was totally mesmerized by the tractor we stopped to watch halfway back.  Porter spent a lot of time waving back and forth with the operator, that's actually a lot more entertaining than it sounds like.

So on the drive home I got to thinking about my bike collection.  You may have noticed (but probably didn't) the tank is now sporting a flat bar and some Oury grips.  The cruiser bars were damaged from over tightening when I bought the bike, nothing a couple tin shims, a new stem, and proper torquing couldn't fix, at least in the short term.  The time finally came where the bars needed to go, and go they did.  The flat bars are okay but I think a little rise may be in order.  That plus a proper seat and I don't think I'll ever need to touch this bike again.

As for my other two bikes, I've never been quite happy with the EBB on El M. and TBFKaU just doesn't get ridden due to my unworthiness.  On the drive home I got to thinking about this whole situation.  I really like El M. a lot and the geometry is spot on.  Maybe it's time to sell or part out TBFKaU and ditch the El M. frame in favor of the newer version sans EBB.  This is really just an idea I'm toying with and not really serious about (yet).  I don't know that I've ever loved or put as much time into a bike as much as TBFKaU, but it's just been gathering dust for the last few years.  If I do sell, I'm not totally sure I could part with the frame anyway, so maybe just parting out is the answer.  I really don't know.  I think I'll just sleep on it for a while.

*side note: Michele was extremely nonplussed with the idea of me getting rid of TBFKaU, like REALLY nonplussed.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elwha, Sprint Boats, and Cake

Saturday was a hell of a day.  It started with a trip downtown to the farmers market and the festivities celebrating the removal of the two dams on the Elwha river. After that I spent my afternoon at Port Angeles' new Extreme Sports Park to watch the USSBA national finals.  Pat was supposed to come up and join me in manly pursuits but couldn't get away from family obligations, oh well.  That shit was crazy and fun to watch but I could see getting tired of it after a while (like most manly pursuits).

Finished off my day with a live taping of eTown at the PA high school.  Did I mention Cake was there?  Oh fuck yeah they were, and they brought it.  played some from the new album, dug deep to play a track from Motorcade and capped it off with my #2 song of theirs, Shadow Stabbing. It was fun and not something I really expected to go down in this small town.  Good times.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Damn Kid

Earlier today Tim and Lucy paid us a visit while they were waiting to catch the Black Ball to Victoria.  While we were all hanging out and playing with the Monster he took a bit of a header.  He didn't fall far but he hit his head on the sliding door and caught his cheek on a piece of furniture.  Michele scooped him up rather quickly to soothe him and the next thing I know she's yelling 'BREATHE PORTER, BREATHE!'  I spun around to see her setting him on the carpet, he was completely motionless, silent and blue.  Less than a second later he was back at full volume and appropriately colored.  As quickly as he came back the whole sequence repeated itself for a second time.  Needless to say Michele and I were both freaked the fuck out, and I'm guessing Tim and Lucy were too.  After some digging around and Michele speaking with one of her more seasoned co-workers, we've found that this is not exactly an uncommon thing and many kids will do the same thing when sufficiently riled.  Well, uncommon or not the incident totally scared the mother fucking shit out of me. Now I can't sleep, I'm extremely tired and Michele has to leave pretty early, but every time I lay down and close my eyes I see my kid, motionless and blue.  I believe what I'm told that he's fine and it's nothing to get too worked up about, but the image of him laying on the floor not breathing is seriously messing with me.  Damn kid.

Early morning edit - Michele says she's quite sure that Porter only passed out once, I remember it being two times.  That is all.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Resistance Training

The last time I tried to take The Monster on a bike ride it didn't go so well.  We tried to circle Greenlake and he started full on freaking out about halfway around, ended up playing in the grass alongside the trail until Michele managed to catch up so she could take him the rest of the way home in the baby backpack.  So it's been a couple months and I figured the time was right to give it another go.

We have two hitches, on bolted to the back of the Beast and the other on a skewer and ready to on on my road wheels for El M.  I've been having trouble keeping air in the front tire of the road wheels (not that I've tried very hard to keep air in there) so I got everything all set up with the dirt set.  Got Porter all strapped in and we were off.

The kid did good, we rolled through the neighborhood quickly and in less than a mile we had dropped down onto the Olympic Discovery Trail (the normal one).  Riding while pulling the boy isn't so tough.  He only weighs 22 lbs or so and the trailer can't weigh a whole lot more than that.  However, the trouble I found was that the less than smooth riding style I've developed since taking up single speeding leads to some serious rubber banding between the bike and the trailer.  He seems to be catching up at my rest and pulling back hard when I'm on the power.  It's not really a problem and it certainly doesn't make riding any harder but it certainly is a little disorienting.

As we tore to the east past the end of the pavement (for a while that is, pavement picks back up again eventually and stay until past Sequim)  I noticed that the little giggles I'd been hearing for behind me had completely ceased.  Looking back I saw this:

You see his face?  Neither do I.  His helmet, and every helmet I've seen so far, is still a bit on the large size.  All the bumpiness in the dirt had caused the helmet to shift forward and completely cover his face.  I'm actually a little torn about him wearing a helmet at all.  There's not much I won't do without a helmet, bike, skate, snowboard, climb, work below others, etc. but I think he's pretty well protected in the trailer and when we are on a bike path that is protected from cars what's the worst that could happen?  Really, I'd like to know.  He may, just until his head is a little bigger at least, start ditching his lid the moment we hit the trail. Still thinking on that one.

I nearly cleaned the climb back up from the water but I was distracted by some goofy architecture and had to stop and take a look.  I'm actually still trying to wrap my head around it a little, so much so that I wish I'd taken a picture.  Oh well, I think Porter and I may ride down to the bike shop tomorrow and maybe I'll snap a picture of it then.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Embarrassment Avoided

When picking out a bike today for riding the ODC:AR I spent a fair amount of time thinking about riding TBFKaU.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't do it.  How could I possibly stand the humiliation of anyone noticing my 32:21, and on a 26er no less.  That shit is just ridiculous and I need to put it right.  Of course, I have in fact used that same ratio once before, but I had a much better excuse that time.  So with TBFKaU off the menu that left El M.  A quick wheel change and I was on my way.

Damn I felt good rolling out, and by good I meant that my legs hurt, but in a good way.  It was if I had just recently taken up mountain biking again after a long and poorly rationalized hiatus.  With my last ride at the same location I knew what to expect, at least for the first few miles.  Climbing.

Well, I'm happy to report that the climbing keeps going for nearly four miles.  It's never so steep that one needs to resort to walking, but still it's four solid miles and a cumulative gain of around 800-1000ft (my GPS is not to be trusted currently so I could be way off, but that's a different blog post).  I stopped to head back as soon as the trail looked like it was going to head downhill for more than just a few hundred yards.  Conveniently enough that happened here:

I damn near shit myself when I popped out into this clearing.  One minute I'm screaming through a dark dense forest reminiscent of the forest moon of Endor and suddenly I'm blinded by sunlight and standing in a clearing with a beautiful view of distant peaks and a valley below.  I'm afraid my cell phone's camera just doesn't do this vista any justice.  Next time maybe I'll bring something better along (although for the life of me I can't think of what that would be) and I'll probably even go a little further.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stumptown, Summer '11

Michele and I had been tossing around the idea of making one last Portland trip before she starts work for the last few months.  We finally made the decision to go on Saturday.  I called Tim and Lucy to get the okay to use a spare room and Sunday morning we were off.  Porter slept the majority of the way way down and we only had to resort to The Human Beinz on repeat for the last 20 minutes or so.  I'm telling you, it doesn't matter how crazy that kid is getting, nothing quite shuts him up as well as that song.  Okay, maybe the Colbert Report opening sequence also works but that's considerably shorter and I'm not so sure that iTunes has it. I know I have a strict no birds in my fucking house rule, but if we could get a bald eagle to do nothing other than let out a scream the moment the boy starts to cry, that rule might just find some flexibility.  Shit I get sidetracked easily.

After a quick visit to Pat and Leah's we headed of to Tim and Lucy's to find this in the driveway:

Tim and Lucy finally took delivery of their new Alaskan camper, all kinds of badassery on the back of a pickup truck.  I've been thinking a lot about something like this for a while but I think when I toss the Element it'll be for something a bit smaller, kinda like this.  Oh, and when I say "kinda like", I mean damn near exactly like.

We sat around and shot the shit for a while, ate dinner at the house, I spilled Michele's wine all over the couch, and some other things happened, but that's all inconsequential.  Porter would not sleep.  The kid was up forever, and much like a hotel, we don't feel like we can just let him cry it out in the home of others.  It took quite a while to get the kid down, eventually I had to resort to driving him around at 11:30 until he fell asleep.  Thankfully he is now at a point where I can pull him out of the car seat and he won't wake up.  Right, so Sunday night not so great.

Monday, Lucy had to work but Tim was free (retirement, am I right?) so we hit Bob's Red Mill for breakfast followed by some back to work cloths shopping for Michele.  After leaving Clackamas Town Center we headed into town to find lunch.  While driving along on SE 82nd all I could think about was how much I hated that road.  It's lined with all kinds of crap I want nothing to do with and there's a red light every 100 yards.  I remember very clearly thinking to myself "boy am I glad we landed in PA, this shit sucks".  Not 20 minutes later I'm sitting at Pok Pok on 32nd and Division drinking my "33" and eating The Best Wings I Have Ever Eaten thinking "yeah, I could have totally lived here".

After lunch we shot over to St. Johns to pay a visit to my grandmother who is now 96 (?) and can't remember anything at all short term.  It was a very pleasant visit and by the time we were leaving she was not only asked Porter's age repeatedly but also guessing it correctly before I could answer.  It's interesting how things start to stick after being repeated over and over again.  I made sure to subtly include all the answers to the questions she kept asking when I signed her guestbook.

We put a finished out the day with a visit to Red Robin with Pat's family as well as Tim and Lucy.  Yeah, that's right, Red mother fucking Robin in the land of other worldly eats.  However, if we had not gone than I would have never had the early 20s girl run up to me in the lot to say "oh my fucking god that kid is so motherfucking cute he fucking has my fucking boyfriend's motherfucking eyes, I just fucking love him".  By the way, that is a direct quote, it was delivered in a perfect Jersey Shore kind of way and it was awesome. 

The best part about the entire trip however, was Monday night.  Porter would not sleep, I could not sleep, and Michele could not sleep.  There was a lot of thrashing around, ineffective breastfeeding, and crying.  By 8 in the morning I had slept all of about 3 hours all night and had to drive us home.  We hit Pine State before rolling out and all was right with the world.

*It occurs to me that I have a hard time closing shit down here.  If I figure something out I may edit, but don't count on it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Headed out today with TBFKaU in search of a some trail closer to home, and I found it.  The Olympic Discovery Trail runs from Port Townsend to La Push across the North end of the Peninsula.  It consists mostly of the shoulder of US 101 with some paved rails to trails thrown in.  The plan for the trail is to eventually get it all off the highway and protected from traffic, but it's not quite there yet.  Currently the main block of protected trail runs from Sequim to Port Angeles with minimal exposure to traffic.

Anyway, that's not what I  was really interested in today, and that's not where I went.  I found the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route.  Oooo, it's even got adventure in the title, this has to be good.

I started at the east end, on the shoulder of the 112 and headed west.  The singletrack starts up a mild grade through dense woods and stays like that for about a mile until reaching a clearing with a beautiful view of mountains to the southwest.  The clearing doesn't last long and it's back into the woods.

I picked a great day to ride, but I picked the wrong bike.  When I rode Miller a few days ago I kept thinking to myself that I could have easily ridden SS, it was almost too easy.  Today I figured "What the hell?" and busted out a bike I'm still not quite ready for, and haven't really ridden in nearly a year.  The mile of mild grade right out of the gate took its toll and by the third mile in I was toast.

I can't say for sure it was the fault of the SS so mush as it was the 34:18 gearing that somehow slipped my notice, but I was hurting and I turned around.  Back at the car I was just shy of six miles and beat.  I'm quite certain I found my go to trails but I'm going to need help in the gearing department.

Back at home, I went right to work on fixing the problem with TBFKaU.  After all, I've switched out to my pavement wheelset on the El M. and that's not easy to switch back...

Swapping to the 32 up front is easy, but doesn't feel like quite enough so I got to work on the back.  On goes the removal tool...

...and into the vice.  With a little grunting and a lot of muscle I finally broke that damn thing free.

Hmm, only two other freewheels to be found.  I could have swore I had a couple more lurking around somewhere.

In case you haven't figured it out, I went with the 21 over the 17.  Seems awfully low.  Like really fucking low.  The last time I ran the 21 was WOR '07 and even though I came out of that alright I remember thinking I went to low then as well.  I'll try it out and probably jump back down to the 18 right away.  32:21 just sounds stupid, what was I thinking?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Ride a resident of the Olympic Peninsula that is.  I've been pretty busy since the move, there's been a lot of unpacking, a whole bunch of work to be done on the old house back in Seattle, and a kid to follow around all over the place.  Seems like we're finally starting to settle into a grove and so I took advantage of the time I had to go spin the pedals a bit.  I choose Miller Peninsula even thought it's a bit of a haul (all of 20 minutes) to get over there.  It's a known entity and I really wasn't wanting to explore, just ride mindlessly.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We've Landed

Made it to Port Angeles on Thursday night, about 12 hours ahead of our stuff. Unloading went exceedingly well, I didn't have to lift a finger after all. Gorgeous panoramic view of the mountains from the living room and we can kinda see the strait past the hospital from the other end of the house. The kitchen blows big time but these are only temporary digs so that's not a big deal. The place is big, affordable and it's home for the next six months. Still waiting on internet and a garbage can though, not sure which is worse...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

T -2 Days

The last time we moved I swore up and down that it'd be the last time I did it myself.  In the fourteen plus years that Michele and I have been together we've lived together at nine different addresses, each time we've moved we've picked up more and more crap, and each time I've been solely responsible for getting everything from point A to B.  Don't get me wrong, I've had help every time, but sometimes the help isn't all it's cracked up to be.  This time, I'm not lifting a finger.  Turns out it isn't exactly cheap getting our shit packed across the Sound, but thankfully someone else is picking up the tab.

The packers are showing up tomorrow morning to put the entirety of our life into cardboard boxes, Thursday the truck shows up to get loaded, and Friday morning it all gets unloaded into our temporary rental house in Port Angeles.  All we have to do is unpack, and that's going to be pretty minimal since the plan is to move again (still in PA) within six to eight months, again on someone else's dime.

I've still got to come back to the old place for a few days once it's empty to do a little paint and patch work but on the whole it's going to be playtime for us through the month of August.  A trip to Portland is in the works, and maybe a little something else.  It's certainly going to be nice to not think about working on the house for a little while.

Just for shits and giggles, here's a gratuitous picture of my kid, because I guess that's who I am now.