Tuesday, December 27, 2011

STELLAAAAAAA

I have recently been having some issues with my Light and Motion Stella 120, it would only last about 25 minutes before it would start to flash and then power down to the low setting. Since I only had the light for about a year and the website says that it should last at least 2.5 hours on high I started to do a little research. Apparently in the box there were some pieces of dead, flattened trees bound together with bent metal; on these pieces of trees were words... I think they called it an instruction (IN STRUCK SHUN) manual. Apparently they put these weird things in everything you buy, I am not sure I'm buying that though, I am sure I would have seen one before now if they actually did such silly things. Any way I peeled back the tiny pieces of flattened trees only to find a whole world of informative gibberish and mumbo jumbo.




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Whoa... did I just buy a lighting system for my bike or did I agree to adopt a small child?!?! 

Exercise your battery every 3 months, it rides along with me isn't that exercise enough or do I need to hire a battery walking service? 

Charge your battery immediately after your ride, fully charge it but not too much... anywhere between 0-24 hours depending on if it's the first use or subsequent uses and then dependent on how long it's been sitting, whether it recently went for a jog and is fully exercised and of course it also depends on how long you used it because then you just charge it for that amount of time, sort of because the charging time is not 1 to 1 but more a 1 to 5 ratio; you almost need a chart or some sort of mathematical degree to figure out how long you are supposed to charge the thing without over charging it. There is not however any sort of battery level indicator or even a yellow, green and red light indicator to help you know the state of the battery so you pretty much just guess. I do like that you pay over $100 for the light system and their solution is to buy a $3 egg timer to safely charge your battery... seriously?!?! To me that sounds like you're being setup for failure, that and they put all this information in the instruction (IN STRUCK SHUN) manual that they hide right there inside the box. I of course tossed this IN STRUCK SHUN manual aside when I opened the box because I figured it was just paper to keep the light safe, I mean really don't they know that the male genome doesn't allow us to read anything contained inside a box that might shed some sort of light (no pun intended) on how to use, assemble or care for whatever shiny bauble is in the box? I seriously thought those things were written in secret code, and the only people who possessed the decoder rings were female... who knew the male of the species could access the instructions so easily. 

So after careful (that is to say I skimmed it and read the larger gray "Warning" or "Caution" boxes) reading of the IN STRUCK SHUN manual I came to the conclusion that perhaps, maybe I might have conceivably contributed to the problems the light was having... perchance. So I decided to run the light all the way down and then charge it a full 10 hours and only 10 hours, not one minute longer so as to not inadvertently damage the battery as per the IN STRUCK SHUN manual. As it turns out in the confines of my house while attached to the kitchen chair after already running for 25 minutes of high, 45 minutes on low and sitting uncharged for two day the damn thing ran on full for another 1:45 minutes... so in theory, I could totally ride safely in the kitchen for well over the 2.5 hours as described in the manual. I was going to need to get a much bigger kitchen!! 

After discharging the battery and then re-charging it for ONLY 10 hours I let the battery sit for a day before I used it tonight, I am not sure if it's fixed or not but it totally ran for an hour and a half without issue... and this was outside, without the kitchen chair attached to the light! Then when I got back I made sure I only charged it for the one and a half hours I used it, IMMEDIATELY after I was done riding, also as per the IN STRUCK SHUN manual. I am not sure that it's completely "fixed" but if I follow the set of instructions more in-depth than the care of a Mogwai perhaps I can actually use the light to ride in the dark for a longer period of time than it takes to get out of the driveway. 

If they wanted us to read the manual they should have made it more interesting to us, perhaps title it differently or put this picture on the cover and say it is the steps necessary to meet her... then I wouldn't have tossed the thing so quickly. 




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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lovely weather for a sleigh ride...

It is lovely weather we are having right now but maybe not for a sleigh ride in the traditional sense but I did get out on my "sleigh" for a ride. Lincoln was like a ghost town today, it is kind of amazing how the one holiday that generates so many retail dollars is also the one that makes the retail machine almost completely grind to a halt for one day. Other than movie theaters, some gas stations and a few restaurants or other eating/drinking establishments pretty much everything else is closed. For someone like myself with no family in the immediate area you either stay home and watch the NBA (PUKE!) or you find other things to occupy your time, I opted for option B. I figured the roads would be mostly devoid of traffic so I opted to have a little bit of company, even if it was the electronic kind, via the iPod shuffle. There are worse ways to spend Christmas than having Pink whispering in your ear, yes whispering all you need to do is turn the volume down. Hey it's my Christmas story, I'll tell it how I want. 

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Where should I park, sure hope I can find a decent spot. 

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Not a single car in the entire Haymarket area, I reckon that this is what it will look like after the zombies come... minus the zombies, fires and chewed up corpses of course. 

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It's a cog-o-saurus... personally I think it was the lack of helmets that killed off the dinosaurs, sometimes being cool is not just dangerous but deadly even if your brain is the size of a walnut. 

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I'm guessing this is about 78th and Pioneers Blvd looking west... or I could have just looked at the street sign... did I mention that there weren't many people out and about today?

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The cog taking a refueling break at the possible/potential/maybe halfway point... might or might not have technically been halfway but it was where my fat butt let me know I either needed to get some water/drink and something to snack on or it was going to stop pedaling.  

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, whether that meant sharing it with your far off relatives, your dysfunctional immediate family or all by yourself naked, in a bean bag chair, lights out, with a jar of Vaseline, some wet naps and a personalized copy of HOES HOES HOES; The Unauthorized Story of Santa!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Freezing warm

Bank clock said it was 21, weather man said 20 but that it felt like it was 13 with the wind chill... I am guessing since I made my own wind I might have lost a few more degrees. It amazes me sometimes how cold it can be anymore and I still consider it a good night for a ride as long as it's dry. The weird thing is once I am layered up and on the bike it doesn't seem that cold at all anymore, there used to be a time when I'd hang the bike up once it got below 40. Having warm gear and a light has really helped me to extend the riding season to where I can pretty much ride year round, that's not to say I don't miss the year round warmth of California but I'm adjusting. Now if I could just convince the water in my bottle it wasn't cold out maybe it would stay more liquid and less ice.





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Saw this billboard tonight while out riding, not sure Santa would trade in reindeer power for a gas powered sleigh; even with food and boarding reindeer are probably cheaper than gas.





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I know she's a sweet ride boys but no need to fight over her, she's all mine so you'll have to get your own.

Temps are looking up for the next four days, two of them potentially as high as 50. I'm definitely getting out on the bike this holiday weekend, I might even be able to forego the layers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the lane, snow is... missing

Fives days before Christmas and not much in the way of snow, kind of looking like a brown Christmas for Lincolnites. I am a bit torn, on one hand it would nice to have a little white stuff on the ground to make it seem more like Christmas but on the other hand the lack of snow has enabled me to get out for a few rides as of late, which I am loving. Got out again tonight for what turned out to be chilly ride, started out fairly warm but turned cold fairly quickly which gave me a chance to try out both my face mask and the Pearl Izumi shoe covers I picked up recently. 

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Either my face is on crooked or the mask is I think it definitely would have been better with the goggles, there was a bit of a fogging problem whenever I stopped or started breathing hard. The face mask was more than warm enough but wasn't very breathable, I noticed post ride that there was a ring of moisture on my jacket from where my breath would exit out the bottom of the mask, it was a bit of an odd experience. 

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Shoe covers worked awesome, it was nice for once to not have my feet be the coldest part of me.

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Best part about Christmas time is all the lights, I'd hate to see this guys electric bill come January but it's definitely pretty. 

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If the dry weather holds out there just might be a Christmas day ride in my future... hopefully the fat dude in the red suit brings me what I want. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two for two

Managed to make it out again today for an earlier and chillier ride, I can tell that missing the last month of riding really has put a cramp in my endurance... I felt physically tired after the ride today then I should have. I am kind of glad I didn't make it out on Friday night after all or I might not be able to walk today. I had/have hopes of trying to get out again tomorrow night but right now the forecast calls for crazy winds so it's going to be touch and go for sure. It would mean that I finally get to try out my skull face-mask on a ride, ever since I've got it it's  been too warm to wear it on a ride... maybe tomorrow night will be the night. I did wear it once to shovel so it should be plenty warm enough and I even managed to pick up some warm looking shoe covers at Scheels as well so hopefully those will help with my feet getting cold/numb.


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I am thinking I should have gotten the black and white or all black goggles now, live and learn I guess... but the blue ones just sort of "pop".


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Look ma, I'm a "snow bike". I think I managed to find one of the few non-brownish/grayish snow piles left in Lincoln... until Tuesday when it's supposed to snow again. I hope everyone had a great weekend and managed to get out and enjoy the great weather we had because it looks like it's not sticking around for long.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jesus Geese

Temps were great in Lincoln today to get out on the bike, didn't even need to dress up in the full winter gear. Light/Medium jacket, under armor shirt, light gloves, leg warmers and a thermal cap is all that was necessary. Had thoughts of trying to get out to Wilderness but figured with temps in the high 30s to low 40s it would be nothing but mud, so cement paths were on the menu today.


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New "Pinnacle Arena" is coming along, seems to be moving at a snails pace but what do I know... I can count the number of arenas I've built on one hand by making a big fat zero.


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Sun was shining, not a drop, uh, flake of snow in sight and nobody on the trails; maybe I died and went to heaven.


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My ride took me behind SouthPointe mall, judging from the number of cars in the parking lot this recession that they say we are in isn't keeping people from spending money around Christmas time. It it better to give than to receive they say... especially after you receive that credit card bill in January. That could explain the slight lingering odor of burnt plastic that seems to permeate the air around shopping malls.


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Religious or not most people have heard that Jesus could part seas and walk on water, I have to admit I was  a little skeptical just like most people would be if they hadn't seen it for themselves but then I saw these Jesus geese today... ICE... that's how you walk on water you wait for it to freeze. Oh that Jesus, such the prankster.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Went for a short walk with my daughter today along the Rock Island trail and took a few pics. It's odd because the foot was acting up again, not sure if it's the shoes or what but I ran 3.25 miles on Tuesday and it didn't bother me at all but for some reason every time I walk this section of trail it starts to bother me. Maybe I am allergic to walking.



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Look at all the snow, what a difference a week makes... would have been a great picture if I had gotten out early this morning when the trees were all covered in the heavy frost.



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Despite looking so desolate there were plenty of tell tale signs that bikes, joggers and walkers.



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Stopped to build a mini-snowman, dude could use a haircut.



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Waiting for spring to come along and the warmer temps to return.



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Looked like fun... should have brought the sleds.



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Technically not from the walk but it is a huge icicle. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Osprey Viper 10

I had been eyeing Osprey packs  for awhile now online but never pulled the trigger because at $84 or greater per pack it's one of those things that you want to see up close and personal first, unfortunately the only Osprey packs I have been able to find around here are the large hiking packs but no mountain bike specific packs at all. I finally got a chance to get my hands on one recently on my trip to Seattle, I stopped into Center Cycle looking for a water bottle and discovered that they happened to carry Osprey packs.

After checking out the fit/finish and construction of both the Viper and the Raptor series packs I ended up going with the Viper 10, the upper middle of the size range for the Viper series they are available in sizes 4,7, 10 and 13, each number representing the liters of "stuff" they can carry as opposed to water volume. It struck me as a bit of an odd way to measure internal capacity but their website does convert it into cubic inches. For comparison the Viper 10 (610 cubic inches) is just a bit smaller than the Camelbak M.U.L.E (763 cubic inches), the Viper 13 is a bit bigger (793 cubic inches) but both carry 3 liters of water. I am not sure why but even though the Viper 10 was only slightly smaller than the M.U.L.E it felt like a much more compact pack. I have three Camelbak packs but after using the Osprey I might be a convert... at least for new pack purchases I'm not going to just trash the ones I already have, that would just be almost as financially irresponsible as the government. The Viper does have some features that I really like more than those on my Camelbaks.




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The Viper 10




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The bite valve has a magnet on it that connects it to the chest strap, at first I thought I wouldn't really have a feeling either way on that but after using it I found myself really kind of loving the concept. It did a fantastic job keeping the bite valve secured and conveniently located on the chest strap where it was easy to find and out of the way even over rough terrain.




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Probably the coolest feature that the pack has as far as I am concerned is their Lidlock helmet retaining system.




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It's so simple yet effective, pull the plastic clip away from the bag, put it through a vent hole on the helmet, turn it sideways and it keeps the helmet secured to your bag. I have noticed that the loose-ish fitting visor on the Fox Flux helmet can get knocked off fairly easy if the visor points downward so if you have one or another helmet with an easily detachable visor it might be a good idea to remove it and stick in in the pack if your going to be walking around with the helmet attached to the pack.




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There is even a drawstring so you can increase or decrease the tension on the Lidlock.




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Two of the other features I thought were superior to Camelbak you really can't see in pictures but both the bladder and the pack itself have an internal piece of plastic that helps to maintain the packs rigidity when used without the bladder and the plastic in the bladder helps to make sure that the water in the bladder is distributed evenly during riding rather then pooling in the bottom of the pack like a half full Camelbak bladder tends to do.




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There is still much more testing to do but as of right now I am kind of digging the pack and would be the front runner if I were looking for another pack. If your in the market for a new pack I would recommend checking out an Osprey as well, although I am not sure where you can find them around here so you might have to get one online unless your like me and have to be able to fondle it first. It'd be nice if one of the LBS would start carrying them, I really don't mind paying a little bit more for something if it supports the shops in town.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't Blink

If you're not a fan of country music there is a song out there by Kenny Chesney called Don't Blink, if you can't stomach listening to the music you really should read the lyrics because it is such a truthful song... life does go by way to fast.

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My kids grandmother is dying, not in the same sense that we are all dying but actually dying, dying the kind where you might have anywhere from a few months left to potentially taking your last breaths any minute. The Ex recently gave me a stack of pictures that her mother had taken from when the kids were really young, pictures I didn't have since I really didn't start taking lots of pictures until after the Ex and I parted ways. I guess for some reason it never dawned on me that I should be taking every opportunity to make sure I had plenty of memories of not only the kids lives but my life also, I suppose it was the first time in my life that there was a chance that there would be something important out there that I might miss if I wasn't careful.

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Scanning in those photos brought a flood of memories; memories and realization of just exactly how many years have passed between then and now... and inversely how it seemed like it hadn't been that long at all. It's weird how you don't even think about how fast time is passing by until one day you stop and look around and everything is different; everyone is older and a few people maybe are even gone. It seems funny that we all know that we only get one life yet how many times do we find ourselves wishing that it was tomorrow or next week or next month. Why are we in such a hurry to get to get older, grow up and move out on our own? There are numerous inspirational posters, placards, calendars and knick-knacks conveying a message that the only day we have is today, how we should live in the moment or how everyday is a gift but how many of us really live those sentiments?

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In the pictures my kids are still little, still innocent, they still believe in things that they will someday learn are only things of childhood that they can't bring them with them into adulthood. Here in the real world where the clock never stops ticking they only slightly resemble those faces of their youth in the pictures, one is in High School and the other in Middle School. Almost adults, almost ready to start their own lives... and through it all I can't help but think how much I have missed, how many birthday parties with their friends, how many "family" Christmases, all the growing up they have done that I only saw from the outside. As the non-custodial parent there is so much you miss out on, most of the little day to day things and all you are left with are weekend glimpses, a pile of photos and thoughts of what if...

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People often comment on how many random pictures of random things I take, how it is odd that I seem to always have a camera of one kind or another on me and maybe they are right but maybe they aren't and maybe I am not willing to take that chance. I would rather be at the end of life surrounded by memories of my life that I can pass on to my kids, grand kids or great grand kids than to be at the end of my time with a failing body and memory with nothing to show to anyone that I was here, that I lived and that I too was young... once.

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"Don't Blink
just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
just might miss your babies growin' like mine did
Turning into moms and dads; next thing you know your better half
of fifty years is there in bed> And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend, one hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't Blink"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Restitution

Another year has come and gone, a new one is upon us and of course that means everyone and their dog is making some sort of resolution. I am not sure why it is that people need to wait until a certain date to promise to do something for themselves that they probably promised themselves last year and the year before that... and the one before that. I am not saying that people shouldn't strive for self improvement and set goals but how motivated are you really if you have to wait until the first day of the new year to start it? I think that maybe what we need instead of making a resolution to do something next year that we failed to do by the second or third month of the current year is self acceptance. I know when we are knee high to a grasshopper we are all told that we can be whatever we want to be if we put in enough effort. Unfortunately that is just not true, while there are things that you can accomplish through hard work there are also things that no matter how hard you try you just aren't going to change... if you are five foot tall no amount of trying, wishing or resolving is going to make you six foot tall, we all have different genetics, different strengths and different struggles; no two of us are alike and we should never judge our own happiness based on other peoples opinions about us. Instead of trying to figure out what it is about ourselves that we think we need to change maybe we need to figure out why it is we don't like whatever it is about ourselves that we want to change. I think for a lot of us some of the things we think we need to change to be happy are things that society tells us we should change about ourselves which is why we continually fail. Society tells us we should all be thin, we should all be non-smokers, we should all dress alike, look alike, act alike, think alike, basically we should all conform to "the norm". Maybe we fail at resolutions because deep down inside we don't really think whatever it is we resolve to change really needs to be changed as much as we feel we SHOULD change it because we are told we should. If you don't like to go to the gym and you are relatively healthy, why force yourself to go to the gym because someone told you that you need to lose 15lbs... as long as what you like to do isn't illegal and doesn't harm anyone else why let someone else tell you that you need to change? I guess the way to tell if you are serious about making a change in your life for yourself is when you do it, changes made by you for you are those made on any given Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of the year, those are the changes we truly want to make. The ones we need to "resolve" to make are probably those destine to fail because of a lack of real desire. I have no resolution this year much like I didn't have one last year, I have goals for this year but most of those goals are a continuation of goals from last year built on a foundation of hard work over a course of a life time not decisions I felt I needed to make on a whim because it's a new year. This year maybe we all need to give our selves a New Years Restitution... to give our lives back to ourselves and to do whatever it is that makes us happy and to give the finger to all of those who think we need to do something different because they aren't happy with our choices. This year maybe we should choose to love ourselves for who we are and not who we think we need to be.