Monday, October 29, 2007

PSA - Halloween Safety Tips

As we all prepare for the upcoming Halloween season, please take a few minutes to read some simple rules to help keep everyone safe...

1. - NEVER assume the telephone calls are coming from another house.
2. - When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.
3. - NEVER read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.
4. - NEVER go into the basement to check the power when the lights go out!
5. - If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, KILL THEM immediately! It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds So be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.
6. - When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER split up and go it alone.
7. - NEVER have sex. Especially if you've noticed a few of your Friends are missing!
8. - As a general rule, DO NOT solve puzzles that open a portal to Hell.
9. - NEVER stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.
10. - If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, don't stand there sighing with relief, GET THE HELL OUT!
11. - If appliances start operating by them selves, don't check for short circuits; GET THE HELL OUT!
12. - NEVER take anything from the dead.
13. - If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. DO NOT stop and look around; GET THE HELL OUT!
14. - NEVER fool with recombinant DNA technology even if you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing.
15. - NEVER STOP when you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely ambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.
16. - If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, KILL THEM immediately.
17. - Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), the Bermuda Triangle, or ANY small town in Maine.
18. - If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, DO NOT go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange because you thought you had a full tank, shoot yourself now. You are going to die anyway, and will most likely be eaten.
19. - BEWARE of strangers bearing strange tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.
20. - If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, GET THE HELL OUT! This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad, committed suicide, died or were killed in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in your house

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Not to Look Cool as a Hunter

The setup: Last Saturday, as we rode our bikes all over the country, we took our lives into our hands as it was the beginning of South Dakota's pheasant season. The rest of the post is self explanatory with that piece of information.

Picture the following:

By itself a minivan is a fine vehicle. Even I own one. Now picture this inside the minivan:

If anybody pictured this and didn't laugh, there is something wrong with you. Of course, seeing it first hand about made me have an accident I was laughing so hard, even as a non-hunter. If I was this guys friend, he would never live it down. That's the kind of nice guy I am.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Weekend Ride and "The Pencil Box"

Last Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL fall day. Holly S., Barbara Y., and Kwen S. rode towards Volin where we hooked up with Cathy L. making her way down from Wakonda to join us. We rolled into the Volin Cafe for a snack and while we were there, Mr. Krause, my high school Shop (Industrial Arts) teacher came in. I hadn't seen him for quite some time.

It brought back a high school memory that is easy to laugh at now, but was a bit traumatic at the time. You see, Mr. Krause was a nice enough guy, but was tragically born without a sense of humor. Well, maybe that isn't true, but what was there was a pretty dry sense of humor. Then there was me; the kid who was NOT going to do well in Shop class. To this day, crafty building type activities are not my thing. Let us move on to the meat of this story.

We HAD to build a "drawer project". In order for me to survive, it was going to be as SIMPLE as humanly possible. I found some left over cedar in the wood bin and I set about making my pencil box, after drafting it in the classroom of course. For the drawer, I used some extra press board. When I was done gluing, I knew by looking at it that the drawer wasn't *exactly* square. To my defense, it DID go in and out of the hole for the drawer.

When Mr. Krause inspected my project he looked it over, moved it in and out, and then...he pulled out the drawer. He looked at it from every angle, then he looked at me, then he looked at the drawer, then WHAM! He smacked my drawer against the workbench breaking it into many pieces and said "DO IT AGAIN".

Oh the horror and the shame for a young kid. I DID refinish my drawer and received at least a less menacing glance the second time around. You know what's funny? I still have it! I'm missing the two pieces of wire that served as a letter holder, but it's still in use! It has a few nicks and marks, but hey, it was built around 1981 so it looks good for being at least 25 years old, don't you think?

By the way, the rest of the ride was very nice. Cathy rode with us to Frog Creek Road and the dreaded Rice Hill. I decided to escort her back to Wakonda and then back to Vermillion as I wanted more miles. I hope we get one more little heat wave in the upcoming weekends!

Friday, October 19, 2007

8,000 and on Pace

I rolled over 8,000 miles yesterday. I'm still being stubborn and riding outside with a mix of noon hour training in the dome. It's hard to ride over 15-20 miles within the city limits of Vermillion without going a little crazy. I've covered every in town road in Vermillion many times in the past week.

Brighter note: Tomorrow is supposed to be 74 and sunny. Winds SSW @ 12. I might try to get a century in, or at least 70. I need to increase my mileage cushion for those days that I look at the trainer and want to throw up. My "on pace for" mileage is only around 10,060. There are some (almost all) days that it's tough to want to think about almost 28 miles on a trainer in December so it's time to kick it in.

Next question: Why am I so obsessed by 10K?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poetic Justice

If only this would happen to all bike thieves.


Bike Theft Leads To Other Arrests

A bike theft in Sioux Falls took a strange turn of events for police officers last night.

The victim called police, and met them at the Hy-Vee on East 10th Street where the suspect was inside. Police began questioning the suspect's roommate in the squad car, when the suspect walked out of the store. Officers say he took off running with beer cans he had just shoplifted spilling out of his coat pockets.

As soon as officers caught him, they heard a strange noise from the squad car. There, they say that roommate had just destroyed the officer's cell phone.

The suspected bike thief, 18-year-old Kyle Klemm was arrested for charges of theft, fleeing, resisting arrest, and underage consumption. His roommate, 19-year-old Daniel Heddens, was arrested for intentional damage to property, underage consumption, and outstanding warrants.

And after all that trouble, police say the bike theft victim did not want to press charges on the men for stealing his bike.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The First Home Football Game I WATCHED

I became employed with the University of South Dakota in June of 1997. Either by default or by being an IT geek, or because they couldn't get anybody else to do it, I volunteered my time helping to run the Daktonics video board for home football games, basketball games, and track meets.

When we received our new board three years ago we actually started to get PAID (I say that lightly as we don't get paid much) for running the board. I've been slowly looking for somebody to take some of the load off my shoulders as I wanted to be able to attend a game here and there with my family and not have to work.

Last Saturday, Dakota Days, my dream came true. After 10 plus years of working games, I finally got to sit in Section E, row 21, smack dab on the 50 yard line and watch a game. It was a great experience to be on the "fan" side once again. It was a lackluster performance by the Coyotes, but a win nonetheless (24-10) in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people. The highlight was Brooks Little setting the all time receptions mark in the first half on a long touchdown pass.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Slow Down or Else!

I'm SO gonna get me one of these for people who seem to want to drive twice the posted speed limit by my house.

Putting in the Miles...

This quest for 10,000 miles is starting to be painful. The days are shorter, I hate riding inside, and I'm stubborn enough to ride outside for the most part. Today I took two different rides to amass a little over 27 miles. I got rained on the first time so I stopped at about 10 miles. Then I got another 15 in, came home and got the grocery getter and headed to the store with Laura's grocery list.

By the time I was done getting groceries, it was raining pretty hard out. I called Laura to have her check radar to see if there was going to be a break anytime soon and she said that it didn't look like it. It's a little less than two miles from Hy-Vee to home so I loaded up GG in the rain and away we went. By the time I got home I was pretty soaked.

Hats off to the Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket though. Underneath my jacket, I was dry except from sweating slightly. It appears that the jacket might get a workout too. Below is what I'm currently seeing with my addin for Firefox (you may have to click on it to appreciate it):

By the way, I'm still holding pace for 10,000 for the year, but my margin of error is getting smaller. Harder to take a day off and I can't have too many days that are of meager miles. I have an 87.7 mile cushion right now and I need to maintain a 27.40 miles per day average for 10K (currently 27.67). I can foresee many boring, sweaty trainer miles ahead in the closing couple of months.

In other news, I haven't sent an updated "GG" update, mainly because it's pretty much the same stuff I have been hauling. I'll post pictures of different stuff I haul from time to time. I'm thinking of new things to post for next year, like number of days I've ridden my bike and number of days I've driven a car (trust me, the bike wins EASILY). I like to showcase the fact I don't (and don't need to) drive much so I'll figure out ways of keeping y'all up to date.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LOST! - The Men, not the TV Show

It was a GREAT weekend of mountain biking, no matter how you look at it. Even after all was said and done, "the lost" Craig and I agreed that it was better that taking the highway back. I mean really, who mountain bikes on the highway when there are perfectly good gravel/mud roads to go on?

Let's back up and start from the beginning shall we? Craig D., Craig T., Joe P., and I all met and drove over to Maskell, NE where we met up with Kary G. from the Yankton club. A few of us had ridden the back roads to some extent around there, but not towards the river and we had been told that was a great ride.

Off we went south out of Maskell and a little over a mile later was our first "minimum maintenance road" of the day. It's a clay/dirt mixture that gets some pretty gaping cracks in it when it rains, like it has lately. For the most part everybody traversed the road well and had a good time. We hooked back up to the gravel that we normally would go back to Obert on, but went south towards the river instead of back to Obert. As we were biking along and following the river, I had noticed about how far we had gone and mentioned that I bet we could end up in Wynot, NE. Another minimum maintenance road later that basically popped out right on somebody's farm and I could see Wynot actually slightly southeast of us. We rode on into town and enjoyed a barley pop and a bag of chips before mounting up on the way home.

Kary G., Craig D., and Joe P. WUSSED OUT and took Hwy 12 back to Maskell to their vehicles while Craig T. and I decided to try to backtrack the way we had just come. Really, who takes paved roads on a mountain bike where there are perfectly good gravel/dirt roads to be traversed? One catch, it was starting to rain. Not hard and it was actually not bad to ride in at all. Even the first dirt/clay road wasn't too bad to maneuver through although it is a pretty good climb and descent. We made our way back along the river and as we were turning back towards Maskell there was more and more lightening and the rain started coming down heavier.

I was looking for the "Y" in the road that we needed to turn on and I'm not sure if it was the rain or just the fact I thought it looked familiar, but we turned about 2 miles short of where we should have. The road started out fine, but then it started looking more and more like a long field approach. I told Craig that I thought we made a wrong turn, but he was actually quite reassuring that we were going right. That lasted about another mile when the semi-gravel turned into pure dirt, which now had turned to pure mud. It was only about 10 pedal strokes before the breaks were caked with mud and the wheels were locking up. We had to ride on the edge of the grass to keep the wheels clean. In about a 1/2 mile we went south between two corn fields hoping to find a road that led back over the bluff. No such luck. We started going back east again and I noticed that I was having trouble steering. I thought it was due to the mud. No such luck. TWO flat tires. It was about this same time that I noticed something that made me hopeful: I could see the bridge going back to South Dakota. It was probably 1.5-2 miles away. PROBLEM: There was a couple more fields between us and that bridge and no more roads, just muddy fields. It wasn't going to happen. We were going to have to back track.

Strangely enough, as we were back tracking out of our situation, we ran into a pickup. A young guy and two girls were waiting for the guys buddy who was "checking a tree stand". They didn't offer to help but did tell us the best way out. I didn't want to back track as far as they were explaining so Craig and I hugged the fence line of a cornfield for probably a half mile and we got back on the initial gravel road that had taken us astray. As we were making our way out the pickup went by and offered us a ride into town, which was lucky for us as it was already about 6:00 and we were a couple hours from being finished. It was getting cold, we were tired, and getting hungry.

As we pulled into Maskell, I noticed that Craig D. was behind us in a pickup. It seems that he was sent on behalf of our wives to try to hunt us down as Craig T's wife was very worried. So much so that she had called the Vermillion police who in turned called the Dixon Co. (NE) Sheriff to look for us. This isn't the first time Craig T has been lost you see. The first time included a search and rescue mission team in the Black Hills. SO...I suppose it's acceptable for Craig's wife to be a little worried. Mine, of course, just laughed at me.

We drove back into town, grabbed my camera and headed to the car wash to clean off the bikes. Even after a good power washing, I had to clean out the inside of the tires thoroughly before replacing tubes. It was an absolute mess.

It may have been an absolutely crappy situation, but Craig and I made the best of it. After all, what is biking without biking stories to tell? Do those who rode the highway home have these stories? I THINK NOT!

Here are a couple of pictures before the washing of the bikes with the high pressure hose.

This is the best reproduction of the trip I can make from memory. Of ALL the trips to forget my Garmin on, I really wish I had it for this one! Somewhere straight south of Obert between the river to the east is where we were. I really can't reproduce it on here, but I bet I can take you there on bike. Just tell me when you want to go. I'll make sure it's raining and cold.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge

For those who haven't seen this, check out the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge. I think this is a great challenge for many people. Statistics show that 40% of all travel is within a two mile radius of your home. For me, that is pretty much all of Vermillion. Which means I SHOULD be biking everywhere (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

New Bike in the Fleet

For those of you who read Snakebite's blog, you will notice a certain posting whereby we did a little horse trading action. My Giant ATX 990 Norba Downhill bike (aka "Ol Yeller") is making increasingly frequent trips to the LBS. While Rich is always willing to work on it, it's getting to the point where some of the dual suspension pieces are about done for and hard to get parts for. That and the price of getting parts needed is not as appealing as upgrading.

Enter Snakebite and his Specialized Stumpjumper. Exactly what I'm looking for: Hardtail, ideal for towing my Grocery Getter or the Kid Cart or the Trail-a-Bike. Price is right. Issue: 3 kids, Christmas coming up soon, kids need clothes and occasionally I have to feed them, hence all extra money is needed. But I also need transportation.

Then it came to me...I needed transportation (bike) and Snakebite needed transportation (car) for a trip to Minneapolis coming up. My car has been in Sioux Falls since...hmmm....well...I think June. It needs new rotors and brake pads and my oldest brother (aka wonder mechanic) was willing to work on it for me. I told him not to worry because I really didn't need it any time soon, hence the reason it's still there in October.

A quick call to Mr. Bite to see if he was willing to knock a few dollars off the bike in return for a weekend "rental" was met with great interest. I then called my brother to make sure he could have it done in time and he said that wouldn't be an issue. A call back to Mr. Bite to confirm the deal and we are golden. I have my bike, he has a car for his trip. All balance in the galaxy is restored.

On a side note, if anybody is travelling between Sioux Falls and Vermillion and would like the company of a bike with them, I'm nervously anxious to receive my new toy. We are mountain biking this weekend and I'm a little depressed about having to take sqeaky Ol Yeller out with me.

Next on the agenda, I am taking suggestions on naming the new bike. The "Cars-r-Coffins" attitude sticker stays which is a bonus. I am toying with the idea of calling it the "Bite Mobile" in honor of it's original owner. All suggestions will be taken into consideration. Except maybe for The Kernel's. I already am cringing about his potential suggestion.

CAR! and FORE! are NOT the Same Word

It's late in the season and many different athletes are trying to take advantage of the nice October weather as quickly after work as possible as there is limited daylight to work with. Last night two of these groups had a scary run in.

Craig D., Cathy L., Kwen S., and I took off towards Elk Point on the bottom road and was clipping along into the wind when I heard a shout that sounded like "CAR" to me at first. When I went to check my mirror, I tilted my head a little and out of the corner of my eye I seen something flying at us. It seems that it was NOT "CAR" that I heard, but "FORE!". A golf ball hit on the pavement not five feet in front of us and you could actually hear the spin of the ball as it whirred over our heads.

I blame "Fatty" from the fatcyclist blog for this bit of near death fate. He has been gathering various "close call" stories from cyclists, mainly about animals. Is it a coincidence that this happened one day after his post about Surreal Moments? I think not!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monthly Mileage Update

September was a "down month" mileage wise. I DID barely squeak by with 700 miles, and even rode in some nasty rain on a mountain bike on Sunday to finish it off in style. I need to pick it up to stay on pace for 10K for the year.

There were two of my 2007 Goals picked off this month however. I hit 7,500 miles on the 29th in the middle of a "Honey-do-grocery-getter" Saturday. While I'm still shooting for 10,000, it was nice to get over the "goal hump". The other goal was one that I have been nervous about all year as I only had one shot at completing it: Run Sub 36 on the Intramural 14 mile bike race. My stretch goal was to win it at age 40, but once I realized Alex Baldwin was still going to be around, I abandoned that idea and did the next best thing, had him join our team. We worked really well together for the whole race and the wind was only around 10mph and I not only broke 36, but also 35 (34:26).

The Team: Joe P., Craig D., Kevin B., Alex B.

Mileage as of 9/30/07 - 7545.50

The Grocery-Getter Report Sept 24-30

Another fun week with GG. There may be weeks with no "picture of the week" from GG, but THIS week you are lucky enough to get THREE!

The Report:

Sept 24 - Sept 30:

* 2 laptops
* 3 apples for snacks
* 3 surplus computers
* 1 replacement tablet motherboard
* 1 tenor saxophone to and from schol
* 1 Bottle Captain Morgan (how did THAT get in there?)
* Workout clothes to and from the Dome
* 2 port replicators and a motherboard to ship back to Gateway
* 2 gallons of milk
* 1 USD Intramural Champions t-shirt delivery to Craig D.
* 1 bag of Fair Trade Coffee and 1 headlamp to Joe P.
* 2 surplus monitors
* 5 surplus keyboards
* 1 standing fan (from Freecycle! - for the dreaded indoor riding season)
* 2 Gallons of milk
* Cardboard to the Recycling Center
* $50 trip to Walmart, including a big bag of potting soil

The Saxophone:

The "Freecycle" Fan:

Cardboard to the Recycling Center:

Glue Number Two

When Carson was a little over one year old, Marissa accidentally dropped him on the corner of a dresser and split his forehead open requiring a trip to the emergency room. They glued his forehead shut and it worked very well (at the cost of nearly $1000).

Friday, on a trip to Taco John's, Carson was swinging with one arm on the table and one on the back of the table and somehow lost grip and banged his chin on the table. This resulted in "glue number two". Luckily this only required a clinic visit instead of an ER visit.

For the record, I have more stitches/glues/staples than Carson (they never offered glue or staples to me ever), but I didn't have my first set of stitches until I was five. So, he is well on his way to break my record.