Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Southshore Trail

Last weekend I was able to sneak off and take aim at the South Shore Trail in Palm Bay Florida.
This short little trail runs along a canal easement just off of I-95. From what I understand the trail itself is neither governed or sanctioned by any particular body, but is rather tolerated by the South Florida Water Management district.
The main part of the trail is only about 2.5 miles long, but what it lacks in distance it makes up in fun. There are quite a few steep decents, gapped drops, double-up jumps single jumps and short hill climbs packed into a really tight space. As well as the main trail, there are also smaller routes that can be used to bypass some of the more technical features.
One of the nicest parts about this trail is that because it is so short, you can do mulitple loops as well as double back to hit the cool stuff. This allows you maximum exposure to each trail element. In most places, to hit a really cool jump 5 times, you'd have to make 5 trips out there. Not so at Southshore, here you can do 3 laps of the trail in an hour, and then turn around and camp out at a certain feature and hit it over and over again.
This being said, I was able to get more jump and air time in during the 2.5 hours that I was there than I did all of the rest of the year total!
Anyway, awesome trail, awesome time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A response to "Responsibly starting solids"

I just finished reading a post on regarding starting babies on solid food. Always one to play devils advocate I had to throw this out there . It shy's away from the topic a bit, and certainly isn't meant to discredit or argue any of Dr. P's points. Just another point of view is all.

In a hunter gatherer society, both parents were responsible for providing for the well being of their children. As the popular "ring sling" hadn't been invented yet it's likely that more parents shoved a chicken leg in their kids hand and got busy with trying to survive than sitting around breastfeeding for 8 out of the 12 waking hours of the day. If you look at the cool vids and pics of African Bush people on National Geographics, many of the children are down in the dirt playing and fending for themselves while being watched by older siblings while the parents are off taking care of their responsibilities. The children that are being carried are only a few months old, and are being carried in a sack on the back instead of being carried on the front. Naturally we aren't native African bushmen....bushwomen....whatever, but the argument was about hunter/gatherer people and the bush people are the best example we have.
I have also even seen videos of some Asian cultres pre-chewing food for babies that appear to be less than a year old.
Not to say that breastfeeding is bad, in fact I think it's great! I just can't help but wonder if parents are stifling a child's natural independance and growth to satisfy a personal need to nurture.

My personal opinion is that there is a certain amount of instict that plays into this. Many children will go after the solid foods as quickly as the breast at 4-6 months. Should they still get the good stuff? Of course. How long? who knows? I don't think that breast milk is going to take care of the dietary needs of a teenager or adult, so at what point do you draw the line?
In my strictly non-medical but commonsensical opinion A child should be given the option of solid food as soon as they are able to eat it. Infants are physically unable to eat solid food, they don't know how to pick it up, or put it in their mouths, they don't have the teeth or the dexterity of the tongue to gum it to pieces, and so they obviously need milk, and mommy's is best. Once they are able to overcome the obstacles of feeding themselves solids, I think they should be eating said solids.

I also believe that this new "breastfeeding" movement has become more combative over the years and is not more about the "rights" of the breatfeeding mother than the well-being of the child.

Many of the breastfeeders (members of a league which I will not name) seem to think that a mother keeping a full time job is a bad thing. "They aren't putting thier child first". That's a bunch of crap. I'm pretty sure that a child that is raised in a financially stable environment while eating pumped milk, formula or solids is in a much better environment to thrive than one that is raised in a financially strapped, stressed out household where mom stays home with them. Of course if Dad is making enough dough to keep it together on his own then great, but I think you will find that by percentage, this is a very small demographic.

Also, let's look at the flaws in the belief that this "is in the best interest of the child" Childhood makes up a very small portion of our actual life. And while our experiences during childhood may have a pronounced effect on our adult life it is by no means the deciding factor. If you were to ask a large group of degenerates, fatties, drug abusers, womanizers and people with poor health if the lack of breatfeeding, co-sleeping etc was the root of their problem they would probably laugh at you. with the few exceptions of medical conditions and the obviouse genetic predispositions to certain diseases you will find that the majority of these situations are the result of poor dietary or life choices made during adolescence or early adulhood. Sorry ladies, when you decide to withhold the breast, and/or start solid foods isn't going to have a big impact on their adult lives.

I think that what has a greater impact on a child as they grow up is how much love they experience and how much responsibility and independence they are taught. Children thrive in a constant and happy environment. They crave the interaction of mommy and daddy, and they are pre-wired to start reaching and branching out on their own. These are good things and should never be overlooked or dismissed.

The choice to breastfeed a child until they are 3 or 4 years old, and homeschooling them may even be a detriment to them. I have personally known and/or read about teenagers that distinctly recall being weened from the breast at 4 years old, or the ones that weened themselves out of embarassment at 6 or 7. This is an apron string that will need to be cut, cutting it once they have reached the age of conciosness is in my opinion extremely unfair. It's kind of like taking a 4 year old boy to get circumcised. That's something he will never forget. Ask any adult that was circumcised as a newborn and they don't remember anything about it. Keeping a child homeschooled for their entire life can be equally unfair. I personally fight with the crap that my children are exposed to in public school on a daily basis. But! I would much rather expose them to those things now and teach them how to work through this ugly world than to turn them loose to college as a clueless 18 year old where they will not have me to guide and teach them.

Some parents and experts say not to give your children aceteminolkadf;l......(whatever) or ibuprofen. So....when they are cutting teeth and screaming their heads off at 3:00am should we....use the old rubber mallet to the head trick, or maybe some whiskey on the gums? What about when they're 7 and get a nasty bone bruise? Maybe an expensive trip to the hospital and some good ole' narcotics? Just a question, I don't have the answers feel free to post some.

One thing that I will definately agree with the experts on is feeding children stuff that contains bleached flour, preservatives and other nasty chemicals. These really are bad for everyone. Unfortunately our life only has so much time and money set aside for food prep and while our family tries to eat healthy sometime "good enough" just has to be good enough. The baby gets a lot of fresh veggies and organics, but the rest of us.......let's just say that we will be well preserved when we die.

To sum things up, I'm not trying to start a fight, or tell people that they way they are raising their children is wrong. Far from it, what I am doing is asking that people be open to other ways of seeing and doing things. I do not know your life or how your life decisions are affecting you now or how they will affect your children in the future. Conversly though, you do not know our lives and how things are working out for us. Keep an open mind, question everything and weigh it against common sense. And above all be wary of anyone that says they have "the answer" Only God has "the answer" anything else is just human speculation.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't ask


Trail work....

Somehow, 7:30 yesterday morning found me unloading the chainsaw, weedeater, gas cans and a machete out of the back of my Kia. I had been asked to help out with a bit of trail work at our local bike park and figured why not, the kids are with the grandparents and I've got a little free time.
For some of you this may not seem like a big deal but for me it's huge. The reaon being is that I HATE that bike park and everyone in the club knows this. The park itself is the crowning acheivement of our club in that we even have a legal trail. But it's flat, and tiresome and poorly marked and full of mud.

Anyway, I headed out and put in 2 hours of weedeater time and screwed around on a few other projects for a few minutes and figured I'd done my good deed for the day. After I got back to the parking lot and changed uniforms I headed out on the bike. I was amazed by what I found. I was actually able to link the trails together and get in a 7 mile ride. I only got turned around once and didn't have to wade through any mud. It seems that while I've been sitting around hating, or heading out of town to ride, there have been a handfull of people that have been working their asses of to make Halpat a decent trail. The trails were pretty well marked, most of the overgrowth had been beaten back (I helped on that one) the trails had been re-routed around the mud where possible, and in other places literally tons of shellrock had been loaded in or really well made ladder bridges were installed. Color me impressed.

Halpat still isn't much of a destination for me because I have this strange addiction to hills and stuff. But it is turning into a really nice XC trail that can be ridden by amateurs and pro's alike.

Congrats to the Halpat crew, you've done a great job

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm not at all wierd....

In response to McMamma's list of things that she absolutely does not do, I had to make a little bit of a list of my own.

I absolutely do not complain about masticating animal flesh off the bone. Really!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with baring your teeth whilst ripping into flesh. All the while smearing the edges of your mouth with whatever type of sauce was applied to said piece of meat while cooking it. Even the sound of a room full of people performing this savage act is music to my ears. It almost sounds like a pack of lions shredding a wildebeast carcass.
Nope, it doesn't bother me a bit......

Monday, September 8, 2008

Crowning achievement

I am so "the man" right now I can't get over myself! Actually I'm having trouble getting over much of anything with this everlasting cramp in my leg.

This past Saturday I headed down to Markham park with some buddies for my monthly out of town ride until you can't move session. We got to the park and hit the trails at about 10:00 in the am with 80 degree weather and not a cloud in the sky. The trails were pretty empty as much of South Florida was preparing for the "oh my god we're all gonna die" hurricane Ike. (who never bothered showing up for his own party but that's another story)

We banged out a few trails right off the bat, hitting the warm up loop, washing machine, lost ring and Area 51 topping out at about 5 miles and then headed for some R & R. Those of you who haven't ridden Markham park really have no idea how much 5 miles of trail will take out of you.

The trails take total concentration as there are sharp little rocks everywhere and there are also some short steep climbs that you can't really get set for. I'm sure that the local's are probably laughing at me right now, but I only ride once a month now since my home trail has been closed.

Anyway, after our break we headed straight for "gunrange" which get's it's name from the fact that there is literally a gun range on the other side of the hill. I can say with all certainty that this is the most difficult trail in all of South Florida, and one of the toughest in all of Florida. It has a lot of super steep climbs over loose rock, chunks of cement and tree roots. Also the way the trail is layed out it is difficult to get a good run-up especially if you are following someone. This trail is also covered with a lot of small obstacles that have to be hit nearly perfectly to keep from crashing as well as some long narrow ridges that drop off about 15 feet onto rocks and some insane terraced downhills that'll make your pooter pucker!.....Pretty much one of the coolest toughest trail around.

So why am I the man? (Ok, I'm a man, does that count?) I made it with only 2 dabs! For the non-bikers out there, a dab is when you put your foot down to steady yourself when riding. Again, the locals down there probably don't think that's too much of a big deal but for a fattie that only rides once a month that is a total accomplishment. I'm not going to say that I owned it, but I made it and that's the most important part for me.

The downside is that I put so much of myself into that trail I was so whupped that I ended up walking up the hills on "Jet Ski" (wouldn't miss those decents for the world) and finally bailed to the trail head while the rest of the crew did "Crime Scene" and "Deep dark forest."

Well, I guess every long and boring story has to have a moral, so here's mine.
Set a goal and throw yourself at it with everything that you have and then some. Even if you don't make it you'll either be amazed that you did as well as you did, or you'll be too tired battered and bruised to give a damn!

Here's a link to some Markham vids and pics.
Some of the pics are kindof old but they give you the general idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's 3 sumthing in the Morning....

I dunno what happened? I was sleeping, blissfully ignorant of all that surrounded me and then.....My alarm clock went off. I smacked it roughly and rolled back over vaguely aware that Danielle had gotten out of bed. Hmm......that's odd, why is she up? It's the weekend, and the baby's not crying. I lay there for a few minutes trying to make remember if I hit the snooze on the alarm clock or if I actually turned it off. It was then that I realized that it had been the baby's motion detector alarm thingy going off and Danielle had gotten up to take care of it.

I'm sure you're wondering at least one of two things; First, why didn't I get up to check on the baby too? and Second, why in the hell do I have my alarm clock set on a Saturday morning?

Answers, The baby has a habit of sleeping in the darndest positions (yes I did say darndest) and get's squished so far over to the edge that the motion sensor can't register her movements. As for the alarm clock, I'm going on a bike trip and I have to meet up with 3 other people. Making the group late for an out-of-town trail ride is not a good way to keep friends.

Anyway, I digress. So Danielle has straightened out the baby monitor and fed the baby and come back to bed herself, and I'm still staring bug-eyed at the ceiling. I'm sweating my kiester off ( I don't know why but I sweat at night) the Ceiling fan is making some odd clicking sound, the Fridge is going through a defrost cycle and Danielle is moving. I'm about to loosing my ever lovin mind.
So I figured I'd come out to the 'puter and share my misery.

Friday, September 5, 2008

You want to know what I hate?

Hate.....What an ugly word..But still, there are a few things that I hate.

I hate driving down the road and seeing these little circular signs surrounded by flowers. These signs list the name, birthdate and date of death of the person that died at that exact spot. I don't so much mind the signs themselves, but I hate that there is a need for the sign.

I hate seeing young women walking around with colorful bandanas tied around their heads. Again, not that I hate the bandana, I just hate the cancer that has brought them to that state.

I hate seeing parents rushing their children through a hospital. In a perfect world children would never need to see the inside of a hospital.

I hate reading the names of Children in the Obituary column.

I hate reading about yet another thug committing a crime against an innocent person.

I hate election campaigns that spend all their time telling about how bad their opponent is instead of showing me how good they are.

I hate Okra.

I hate Nike airs when the air chamber pops.

I hate.......Whew! I guess I'm all hated out. Thank you all for indulging me, I just needed to offload some negativity. As a counter thrust, here are a few things that I love;

I love My wife
I love my children....All three of them
I love my house
I love my job...Such as it is.
I love my Parents
I love fresh flowers still covered with the morning dew.
I love cats
I like dogs
I love riding my bike
I love Lasagna....

Did I miss anything?
So tell me, what do you love.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

3 down 1 to go

Whoo Hoo, We've finally got our 4 year old AJ off of the training wheels. She's been riding with the training wheels really well for a few months now, and I knew she was ready even if she didn't.

I got her out in the front yard riding but due to the resistance of the tall grass, she wasn't making too much progress.....what to do what to do.....

I got the bright idea to take her over to the local baseball stadium and let her ride the parking lot there which is paved with a fairly slick asphault which I was fairly sure wouldn't chew up her legs too much in the event of an accident.......At least I was fairly sure that it wouldn't hurt me anyway. As an aside, this is where I took Christian to perfect his riding skills.

We started out on the dirt driveways and she did amazing!

She did however run out of steam and crash a few times which gave me cause to take her over to the paved areas.

I told her the rules, had her get a firm grip....gave a shove....and she was off! She must have ridden for 5 whole minutes before wiping out. Of course it was get up, brush it off and keep going. I think she probably put in 45 minutes out there and racked up at least 2-3 miles in that time. I was standing there with the camera grinning like an idiot. I'm so proud of her I just can't stand it.

Now that we've got Christian (6), Danielle (30ish) and now AJ (4) riding we just have to figure out how to get the baby riding and we'll be a complete bike riding family. We have gotten Nati one of those bike trailers but she totally hates it. I'm not sure why, I'd love to be sitting back staring at her mothers rear while she does all the work........Guess Nati doesn't feel quite the same about it. Anyway she's bound to get used to it sooner or later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


So I just got this cool new background like?
Bad thing is that when I uploaded it, all of my sidebar stuff dissapeared. Now I have to go back and try to remember what was there and put it back together.
I guess nothing is as simple as is seems.
But who cares! I got a new background! Whoo Hoo!

Friday, August 1, 2008


My dreams have finally come least some of them anyway (winning the lottery is still waiting in the wings).
Last night after dinner the entire family went for a bike ride! I can't even begin to accurately describe the flood of emotions that overtook me as I was riding along and looked around and saw Christian and Aj riding their bikes in circles around me, Danielle riding her new bike (with a loose seat post, new ones in the mail) and Nati riding in the trailer behind me.
We were just cruising along with the wind blowing through our hair and the post afternoon thundershower smells wafting through through the breeze. It was like this unending sense of freedom, of joy, of.......I dunno, something.

This has been a long time coming, at our old house there was way too much traffic to get the kids out bike riding and most of the time I just loaded them up and took them to a school parking lot. Danielle was never really interested in biking and didn't even have a bike, and Nati....well, she wasn't quite old enough for the bike trailer.
We now live in a nice quiet neighborhood with very little traffic, it is safe enough to let the kids ride around, I was able to build a nice bike for Danielle and of course we now have the trailer for Nati. All is now right in my world.

I can only hope and pray that this new found freedom and joy will be able to be taken advantage of on a regular basis and that we will one day be able to expand this new found freedom as the children get older and become a biking family. For the last 2 years I have watched entire families on the bike trails and have dreamed of the day that mine could join me in the sport that I love and has given so much back to me. This is the begining of that dream and I hope that it never ends.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Spandex :(

This is a post that I made on a bike club forum in response to the use of spandex

1. Spandex should never be worn by men after their family jewels have dropped....usually around 5-6 years old. The exception to this rule is that spandex may be worn by men with small "packages" when (and only when) competing in an actual sporting event. Individuals with large "packages" should refrain from wearing spandex in public at all times.
2. Women are welcome to wear spandex at all times up until the point that the back side of said spandex do not look like the face of a 16 year old male (dimpled)
3. No person should wear spandex that has become threadbare or overstretched to the point that skin tone is visable beneath.
4. The use of spandex that has been overused and has developed little fuzzballs is generally discouraged.
5. Use of Generic spandex is strictly prohibited as it will invariably lead to "wardrobe malfunctions".
Failure to follow these rules may result in a trail visit by an overweight hairy, middle ager wearing nuthin but a g-string and a smile

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back to the basics

  • Back to the Basics

    In a time when fuel prices are topping out over $4.00 a gallon many people are turning to bicycles as an alternative form of transportation. Riding a bike around the neighborhood and even to and from work is an excellent alternative providing you have the extra time and is also a good way to get in shape. On the downside though as I have seen more and more adults riding bikes I have also noticed that most of those people are putting themselves in unnecessary danger. So now it’s time to review the basics starting with purchasing a bike.

    If you are planning on purchasing a new bike you should stay away from the ones sold at the major “chain” retailers. These bikes are not only poorly built with marginal components and are extremely heavy but they are usually assembled by people that are not trained to properly assemble and tune a bike. Unless you are willing to spend upwards of $800 don’t even bother looking at the full suspension (shocks on the front and rear) bikes. The small amount of “squish” that you might get out of these poorly designed models is far outweighed but the actual weight. If you have the means, it is best to start shopping at a shop that specializes in bicycles. By shopping there, the professionals that assembled your bike will usually allow you to test ride several sizes and models so that you are able to find one that fits your size and riding style. At a bike shop you should find that most of the bike styles will start at about $300 which is well worth it.

    Chances are that if you are like most adults that already own a bike you haven’t ridden it since college. If this is the case you should take it to a qualified repair shop for a tune-up. The professionals there will check your tires and tubes, lube your chain adjust your brakes and make sure that everything is bright and tight.

    Getting ready to ride
    Now that you have your new bike or finished cleaning up your old bike these are a few things to keep track of before every ride.
    Check your chain. Chain slippage or breakage can cause you to fall not only off your bike buy potentially into traffic.
    Chain should be well lubed and free of rust
    Every link should pivot smoothly
    Check for sag
    Check you tires
    Follow the manufacturers rating for tire pressure keeping in mind that more pressure = less rolling resistance but also less control.
    Check for nicks and dry rot in the tread
    Check your axles
    Axel nuts should be tight and the wheels should turn smoothly
    Check your handlebars
    Check your handlebars by gripping the front wheel between your knees and pulling upward or pushing back and forth. There should be no movement of the bars and stem independent of the rest of the bike.
    Check your seat
    Make sure that your seat clamp is securely tightened
    Check your pedals
    Make sure that your pedals are securely tightened
    Check your reflectors
    Check to make sure that your bike is equipped with reflectors and that they are clean and easily visible
    Do you or will you need lights?
    If there is any chance that you will be riding near dusk or dark be sure to use a bike light on the front and rear of your bike. It is also a good idea if these are flashing lights which will make you more visible to cars.

    Now that your bike is in order it’s time to make sure that you are ready to ride.
    Avoid shoes with laces.
    Shoes laces can become wrapped around your pedals causing sprained ankles and falls resulting in more serious injuries.
    If you don’t not have shoes without laces, find a way to tuck them in or tie them so that they do not hang down where they can be entagled.
    Avoid long pants.
    Long pants legs can and often do get caught between your chain and chainring (gears) causing you to fall.
    Wear proper body protection.
    Depending on the type of riding you will be doing it may be a good idea to invest in knee and shin pads
    Always wear a helmet! This is not just for children. Adults are can fall just as easily as children and closed head trauma can kill an adult just as easily as it can a child.
    Bike helmets have come a long way in the last decade, while still hot and less than cool looking they can help prevent serious brain injuries that can take place if and when you fall.
    Florida State Law requires children to wear a bike helmet when riding a bike.
    Make sure you have enough water.
    It’s summer time folks. If you plan on riding for more than about 15 minutes make sure that you have a water bottle with you.
    Make sure you have enough energy for your trip.
    You wouldn’t take your car out on an empty tank, when riding a bike you are the fuel tank and engine. Running out of steam on a bike trek can leave you stranded. Make sure that you have eaten a balanced meal within the last few hours or even take some energy bars with you
    Once you’ve run out of steam, even after eating it can take hours before you have the energy to get back home.

    On the road.
    Now that you have checked out your bike and geared up it’s time to hit the road.
    Stay off the sidewalks
    Riding a bike on the sidewalk is against the law in most areas
    Riding on the sidewalk puts pedestrians at risk
    Cars on cross streets usually pull up past the cross walk before turning which means that either they will hit you or you will hit them.
    Ride with traffic
    Riding with the flow of traffic reduces your chance of being hit by a car.
    If you are hit riding with the flow of traffic the impact will be less severe
    Obey traffic signals
    If you are riding a vehicle on the road you are expected to follow the same rules as other vehicles.
    Do not cut across traffic
    Cutting across traffic puts you in a location where you are not easily seen or expected to be and drivers will not usually see you.
    Expect to be unseen
    Bikes are small and drivers are usually not paying close enough attention to see you.
    Make sure that you are watching around you for other vehicles and be prepared to dodge off the road if necessary.
    Do not expect drivers to see you or yield the right of way at intersections, keep you hands on the brakes ready to slow down or stop if necessary.

    Keeping all of these tips in mind every time you venture out with you bike will not only help to ensure that you have a successful enjoyable trip but they may even save your life.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The topic of discussion this week is...MOVING!
After nearly 4 years in the same house, our family is moving up to a larger and nicer house in the same area of PSL. I am really looking forward to getting into a bigger house but it is not without mixed emotion.

I have been in this old house for about 4 years now, I got a great deal on the move-in back in 04. The house had been vacant for a while and was completely trashed. The landlords were willing to let me move in with only 1st months rent and exchange the other deposits for fixing the place up.

In the time that I have been in this house, My Son and oldest daughter have grown so much. I have been through a divorce, and remarried and had another child, all in this old house. Over the years and with Danielles help I have fixed the place up pretty nicely, we've painted, replaced light fixtures and plumbing fixtures and covered the walls with photos of the children turning the old house in to a home.

This old house my not be pretty, but she has been a strong and sturdy shelter through all of the storms that life and mother nature have thrown at me over the years. I survived a divorce in this house and sought shelter fromt the now ex-wife by living in the garage for 3 months. During the hurricanes of 03 and 04 I sought shelter in this old house and she protected me, my family and our belongings when many others lost everything. I met my Wife Danielle while living here and concieved Natalie, watched her grow in her mommy's tummy and brought her home in this old house.

Aside from not being overly attractive, this old house had a few design flaws that I cussed often and ruthlessly such as the small master closet and poorly designed laundry room but these things not only gave the house character but I'm sure that in some small way have added to my character as well.

If these walls could speak I know that they would have quite a story to tell. Although it was only 4 years, it seems that I have amassed a lifetime of memories here and even though I'm looking forward to moving on, I will miss this old house very much........

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The "ie's" have it.

I don't know what it is about a little girl that makes the world such a beautiful place. I've been spending a little extra time with AJ lately and I am in awe at how she is in love with so many things. Adults are just unable to express the amazement in seeing new things and seeking out familiar objects in the world around us quite the way that a child does.

My daughter who is four doesn't come right out and say "I love the birds, or horses or cat's or dogs" She expresses her undying affection for these things with the suffix "Y" or "IE" Such as kittie or doggie or get the picture.....Maybe not, but I just did and it warmed my heart in a way that only a daughter can for her father. And that moment of love and amazement came with one word......Daddy!

I know that as the days turn in to weeks, and the weeks turn into months, and then into years she will drop many of those ie's and y's. The horsie will become a little less special and turn into a plain ole' horse and the beloved doggies and kitties will become commonplace and be simply called cats and dogs. I truly hope and pray that through the years, good times and bad times that I will always be her......Daddy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shee's I'm FAT!!!!!

Ohmagoodness! I was looking over a few photos in the trusty family photojournal and couldn't believe it. .I had done really well at keeping my weight under 180 for the last few years (necessary because of foot problems) right up until Danielle started gaining baby weight. I dunno what it is, pregnant women make me fat. I think it's some sorta hormone osmosis sort of thing but I swear it really happens.

Anyhoo. Right now I'm camping out at about 20????? ok, 205 which really shouldn't be too bad cause I was 220. I've lost a total of 15 pounds in 6 months. Les see.....That works out to......divided by 6, carry the 3........find the calculator cause I'm an idiot...... 2.5 pounds a month or....... 8/100's of a pound a day :( I am not even remotely impressed with my will power.

I think the biggest problems (I love casting blame) is that my wife can really cook. I mean, anyone can put some groceries together but this woman can really COOK! She has spent a lot of TV time watching food network and has retained much of what she has seen. To make matters worse regardless of who's cooking we always seem to cook enough for 5 grown people in our house. Not such a bad deal except we're only 2 adults, 2 punks and a baby. I was of course brought up under the war cry of "clean your plate, there are starving people in china that would be greatful for this food" I didn't much care for that concept then but it kinda stuck. So......calculating the shipping costs of sending my leftovers to China sorta scared me so I feel that it is my patriotic duty to make sure that none of this food goes to waste. I'm afraid of leftovers after they have been in the fridge for more than 4 hours so the only logical place to put it is...IN MY BELLY!

Again this wouldn't be a problem if it was bad food, I'd find some way to ship it to China but since Danielle is doing such a good job and in the interest of not finding fault with myself, I guess I should resign myself to being overweight until all three kids increase their appetites.


And for you crazy internet voyers out there NO! I will not post pictures of my belly chub.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Graduation day! Already?

Wow, it seems like yesterday that my little guy was running naked around the deck playing with water, and today he graduated from Kiddi-garten!

To start things off let me just say that I was a little dissapointed by the whole ordeal. Notices were sent home a few weeks ago but didn't say anything about the time. It just said "kindergarden end of the year program" No mention of time, or of it being a graduation. So I emailed the teacher a few days ago and she informed me to the time, and that it was technically a graduation without actually calling it a graduation.....Hmmm....back in my day we had real graduations for kindergarden. Oh well, back in my day you could fill up your gas tank with loose change found under the seat.

Anyway, the kids put on a cute little show sang a whole bunch of cute songs that they had been practicing for the last few weeks. This was followed by some announcements and then handing out of the sheepskins so to speak. (actually they were laminated pieces of paper but who cares) I was soo proud of my little guy, he stood up straight and sang really well....Mostly. He did skip out on a whole lot of smiling but his excuse was that he was trying to be serious instead of acting crazy. I guess I need to explain that he can be serious and still smile...I dunno we'll work something out. Unfortunately Dannibee missed out on the show as she was MC'ing a presentation for a mulit-million dollar job for her work and couldn't break free so it was just me with the video camera.

I'm posting the video here but you have to understand and forgive me for the fact that I am no videographer of photographer for that matter. Most of the still and motion picture shots that I take garner much criticism from my wife and other family members. Don't like my work? Tough! I'm all you got, and that's my little man up there doing his thang! For those of you who don't know which one is him, you only need to watch where the camera is pointed most of the time. Forgive me for the bumping and moving around. There wasn't a lot of room for the tripod so I used it one legged style.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thar's GOLD under them thar waves

A couple of days ago I was searching through some old photos and found one of me and my dive buddy on the treasure hunting ship Virgalona. Danielle, not having been with me then thought that I should write about it, so here it is.

During the Summer ot 2003 I was working for and by myself as an industrial engineer. I had a not quite 1 year old son and I was not doing a very good job of bringing home the bacon. One day a friend of mine mentioned that one of his clients needed a flybridge designed and built for his yacht. I met with guy and we talked design and price and finally settled on $8000.00 which was a pile of money to me who had none. Turned out he got a better deal than he should have but that was another story.

About the time I finished building the fly bridge the boat owner asked me if I wanted to do some treasure diving with his crew. The deal was that he would buy my dive gear and pay me $750 a week cash to dive 8 hours a day 6 days a week. At a time when most treasure divers worked on a comission which rarely paid anything and the fact that I had zero experience I should have been worried but I took the job anyway.

My first day diving was on the good ol' Virgalona. Mel Fishers old boat which was now owned and captained by Mel's old Captain Moe Molinar. I was diving with a veteran Coastie named Byng who was a few years my senior who had been treasure diving for years and the Boss' son Danny who was a complete idiot. Byng showed me what to do and regaled me with tons of stories in the first few days of diving. Our first few days was scan diving which is basically swiming lanes on the reef with a metal detector and digging up any hits that we got. In those first few days of scan diving I had a chance to remember all the crap that I learned in dive class some 4 or 5 years earlier and became super comfortable in the water again. In fact one of the jokes we would play on each other was turning off your buddies air during a system check and then shoving him in the water. After a while you just got used to this stuff. We really were a bunch of pirates!

Those first few days of scan diving however did nothing to prepare me for the sheer terror that I felt on my first hole dive. Hole diving is where you use a device on the boat called a mailbox that is positioned over the propellers to direct the prop wash to the bottom and blows huge holes in the sea floor all the way down to the buried reef or rock. To start off with, I was still pretty unfamiliar with shipboard life and duties such as rope coiling and using hydraulic winches and had a rude awakening on my first day out on the Virg. In order to blow holes you have to position 3 anchors, one off the bow and two off the stern. This is done by tying the bow anchor to the stern of the tender, and then haulin ass about 300 feet out and dropping the anchor and then repeating the process with the tow stern lines one at a time. Not an easy task! If you've never towed 300 feet of 1" poly line with a 12' boston whaler you have no idea how difficult it can be. After dropping the anchor in position, the lines are tightened using some ancient and rusted hydraulic winches which are also used to adjust the boat by either lengthening or loosening various lines. If all of this sounds tedious.....It is, and painfull too. Poly rope tears the hell out of your skin. Anyway, after all of this was done, we through the dive ladder over and I was told to go down and pin the mailboxes? How? You don't know? I didn't either. I suited up, and geared up and dove in and fought with the boxes for about 10 minutes all the while being really really nervous about hanging on to an 18" diameter prop while the engine was idling up above. After about 10 minutes Byng jumps in with a mask and little else and pins the boxes in about 45 seconds. My first day wasn't going well. I stayed in the water while Capn Moe firewalled the engines for about 5 minutes blowing an enourmous hole in the sea floor. As soon as he throttled down, Byng dives in, and motions for me to follow him down. As we are descending, I can see a dark cloud billowing up at us......and then it hit! Holy Crap!! it went pitch black! Black like you can't imagine if you've never been there. If you put your hand on your mask you couldn't even see the skin that was touching the glass! I don't think that I had ever been so scared in my entire life! I tried to fight the panic but lost out after a few seconds that seemed like a few hours. I kept trying to figure out how to surface without slamming into the bottom of the boat whose props were engaged at idle speed to keep the hole from filling in. Honestly, I couldn't even figure out where up was! I finally pumped a little air in my BC and swam like hell in a direction hoping for the best. Luckily I popped out of the cloud before I popped out of the water and was able to get my shit together before anyone on board saw me. I hung there in mid-water for a minute trying to get a grip on myself and finally decided that this was my last chance to feed my family so I guess I'd better get on with it. After all, a job is a job....Right?

Surprisingly enough after that first episode I didn't have any more panic attacks under water. After a few drops it became routine. Engines go to idle, dive under and grab the mailbox, let the propwash shoot you to the bottom, turn on the metal detector, crawl around the hole counter-clockwise in an outward spiraling circle while your dive buddy does the same thing going clockwise spiraling inward. After about 7 minutes the visabilty clears, and within 10 minutes of hitting the bottom you're usually done and back on the dive ladder. If you get a hit, you bury one hand in the sand, or hang on to a rock if available, grab your dive knife and dig it out. Most of the time all we found were cans, bottle tops and lead fishing weights. All of these had to be retrieved even if you could tell by the hit what it was. ( you don't want to have to dig it up again)

This routine went on, 5 minutes on the ladder, 10 minutes in the hole from 8:00 in the am until 5:30 in the pm day in, day out. The only time we were out of the water was when we were filling our tanks and swapping gear. Hell, we even ate our lunches and smoked while hanging on the dive ladder. After a few days it became boring as hell, but the pay was good, the company was better and of course there was always the chance we would find some gold!

We only had a few adventures and mishaps. One time we blew a hole, and I went down to the bottom and found no hole, just hard packed sand. This went on for 3 or 4 times before I went down and hit rock. Keep in mind that when you hit the bottom your BC is completely deflated if you are even wearing one, and the props are still turning at idle speed so the water is kicked up pretty bad so you have no idea where up and down is. So anyway, I'm crawling over the rock, running my metal detector and not really finding the bottom to be what I expected. I keep crawling along, and all of a sudden the water clears and I realize that I'm head down in a crevace that is slightly larger than my body and about 20 feet deep in the ocean bottom. I was only about 2 feet from the end of it! I still get chills when I think about what would have happened if I had reached the end of that crevace before the water cleared. I like to think that I would have kept my cool and figured it out, but more likely I would have freaked out and died.......

Another time Byng and I were in the hole in Sebastian and the water was the color of Haitian coffee even before we messed it up, I'm in the hole doing my thing and head for the surface where I run into Bying on the Dive ladder looking like he'd seen a ghost. Turns out he reached out to steady himself by hanging on to the bottom and grabbed a shark or some other big fish by the tail. He said the he could tell it was the tail area by the shape, and it was big enough that his hand didn't fit around it. Yikes!

And of course who could forget the time that we were diving just South of the Sebastian inlet, I think it was Corrigans and we had a school of hammer heads decend on us. I was actually on the boat while the other 2 guys were down (not the usual state of affairs) when about (4) six foot plus hammer heads swam up to the boat and kind of circled around. Bying and the other Mike came up and quickly got out of the water and then we realized that someone had to unpin the mailboxes or we weren't going anywhere! Good ole Byng dove in and unpinned the boxes! Sharks be Damned! What a guy.

Turns out, we didnt' find any gold or silver that year. All we found were some musket balls, part of a gun, and what later investigation revealed to be a section of the bow of the former German Kaiser's personal yacht.

I never did go back to diving, giving it up for a more practical job. Sometimes I miss it though...... and who knows, we could find some Gold!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My New Bike, Finally

It's been a long time coming but I've finally done it! I bought a new Full Suspension Bike.
This story starts about a year and a half ago with my first trip out the the Fort Pierce Bike trail.
When I started my new business back in January of of 07 I decided to make a whole bunch of changes in my life at the same time. The biggest of these changes was getting my fat butt in shape. Since Business was a little slow to start off with I had a little bit of spare time so I hooked up with my Cousin Jefe' and started swimming at the college at lunch time. Turns out that I hated swimming so we left off with the swimming and switched to racquet ball instead. About the same time, one of my friends who happens to be 62 years old mentioned the bike trail and said we should check it out as it was a good way to get in shape. So the next day we went out there and decided to run the trail. I couldn't believe how bad off I was! we started out running and after about a hundred yards I gave up and started walking. My feet wouldn't let me do the running so I decided to get a BMX bike. I used to ride BMX in my early 20's and would ride on over and above anything I could find so I figured that I could do this no problem.....Yeah Right! My first ride on the trail was a nightmare with lots of going over the bars. I left the trail and immediately went to the LBS and picked out a barely used Mountain bike for $270.00. I figured that if I didn't like the sport I wouldn't be out a whole lot of money and wouldn't have a big money bike collecting dust in the garage.
Bottom line I started MTBing and fell in love instantly. From that day on, I kept upgrading parts as quickly as I could afford until I had pretty much maxed out my frame......Now what. I'm still riding a crappy hardtail frame with rockin components and I feel like I'm getting a little old to be banging around the trails on a hardtail.
I had been eying a couple of FS bikes at the LBS but every time I thought I was getting close to buying one, something would come up. Poor Chris at the bike shop endured hours of me stopping in and drooling over the FS bikes and asking tons of questions about all of the bikes usually starting with "how much" This last few weeks though I made quite a few breakthroughs at the office and had most all of our bills paid off so I finally had a chance to pick out my "dream bike"
My newest purchase is a Trek Fuel EX-8 and it is the first thing I've ever bought that actually works as advertised. It accelerates and climbs like a hardtail and rides the trail like you'd exect from a 5 inch travel bike. Now I just have to find a chance to go hook it up on some real trails!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pushing the limits?

Ever since our little bee started making consious movements and stuff I've been pushing her to go a little farther. At 3 months old she was sitting on my lap one day and I got an idea (usually not a good thing) I held her by her hands while she squatted down on my lap, and I gave a slight lift and said "stand up" Guess what? she did it! I of course followed that with "sit down" and the repeated the process about 100 times....Ok, it was actually more like 10 but still, I was stoked! Now she's six months old and I'm try to teach her how to stand up by hanging on the the sofa. Not working out so good, she'd rather shove herself over instead of hang on.....maybe we'd better hold off on that one for a while. But still, in the interest of having a successful moment I got her to stand up next to my legs long enough for few pics.

I dunno, maybe I'm pushing too hard and I'm sure that in a few years I'll wish she was still the cute little bundle that pukes on me every time I hold her, but for now she's kinda like a new bike....I wanna see what she'll do!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This one is a little late, but I figured it would be nice to have a little more on my page than just the typical hey how ya doing sort of stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a road trip for some biking. For some of you this may not seem like too big of a deal but for me, these trips are few and far between. Our local bike trail is closed due to some legalities and the only place left to ride within an hour sucks! So I load up the gear; bike, extra tires and tubes, a couple of jugs of gatorade, helmet, riding shoes, body armor and a hefty stack of energy bars and hit the road for Ft. Lauderdale leaving about 9:00 in the AM. I'm planning on meeting some friends down there so luckily I won't be riding alone.
Turns out, Markham park has just instituted a new rule that you have to sit through a really dull video (about 5 minutes long) and then sign a release of liability and get an ID card to ride the trails there now. So after 2 hours on the road, I spend another 20 minutes in the park office an fulfill my obligations. Time to hit the trails! After all, this is what I came here for.....right?

I hook up with Mike and Cindy (who just finished the video) and we head to the trail-head and gear up. As intelligent and health concious individuals we do a quick warm up lap on a fairly windy but completely flat trail to get our cardio up and running and then head for the big stuff. Our first "real" trail is called washing machine and gets it's name because if you run it fast it's like getting thrown around in a washing machine....lots o fun! We get about half way through the trail (about 2 miles) and I'm riding through a transition area where there is literally nothing going on, pretty harmless flat terrain, and I stand up to pedal and WHAM! my back goes out. I don't mean like I had a little pinch, I mean it went OUT! I started screaming like a little girl who just lost her barbie doll and wrapped my body around my handle bars. Mike and Cindy come racing up thinking I just racked my man parts on my bike. After much cussing and screaming they get me off the bike and on the ground....bad idea..... I ended up spending about an hour and a half laying in the dirt beside the trail trying to figure out how in the hell to get out of there. Mike ran off to get some help while Cindy held an ice pack on my back and fielded questions from everyone that had to stop and see if there was any blood. Usually when someone is lying in the dirt at Markham they are bleeding profusely and of course everyone wants to stop and see the carnage. "what happened""he threw out his back""oh....nothing to see here guys lets go" Jerks! Actually a few stopped and asked if they could help but there wasn't much to do. Eventually Mike get's back with help and they inform me that I might want to get carried out on a spine board...I don't like this idea but concede that it may be the only way until they inform me that EMS is the only people that can make that happen. ARGH! not on this trip they aint. After much pushing, pulling and screaming (rumor has it folks though Ned Beaty was in the woods) they manage to get me back on my bike and roll me the mile or so back to the trail head. After a quick lunch consisting of part of a sub and half a bottle of advil they get me in the car and send me packing.

I have to give a quick shout out to my sister who talked to me on the phone the whole way home, without her help I'm not sure I would have made it. After getting home I had to crawl into the house all the while hoping nobody would see me, and collapsed on the floor. Luckily the older 2 were with the grandparents, and Danielle and Nati were out shopping I really didn't want to be seen like this.

Bottom line is that I took about a week with a few Chrio visits to get up and going again and now I'm trying to figure out when I can get back to Markham to finish where I left off.....Funny thing is that despite being in excrutiating pain, I was and still am more upset about wasting a whole day than about the back thing.

Let's hope the next trip turns out better.

A Mountain Bikers Perspective

Well now, isn't this intersting. I guess I've graduated from Myspace to a more...Mature blog spot. I guess that's ok because I never bothered to write too much stuff on myspace anyway. It was too much of a pain to log in and find my blog and stuff and stuff and stuff...... Ok, let's face it. I'm lazy. I'll try to keep this updated fairly often with some entertaining bits from my life.

For starters I'm a dad with 3 children. 2 from a previous marriage and one from my wife Danielle. Lets see.... We have Christian who is 6, Aj who is 4, and Natalie that just turned 5 months. I'm married to a wonderful woman, Danielle who has joined our family and made it her own. I'm also a Mountain biker who lives in Florida! Yeah, go figure I guess I could have chosen a less appropriate sport for our area like maybe ice skating but one ridiculous time-sucker of a sport is enough for one family man to handle.

Being a family man, biking has taken a back seat the other aspects of life like running a business, washing baby bottles and taking care of the 2 older kids. Biking is, and will remain a favorite sport for me and I look forward to the day that the rest of the family is able to join me on the beloved bike trails.

As for my blogs, please don't pick on my spelling, punctuation or subject matter. I write the way I think and that's usually long, disjointed and full of commas, , , , or long pauses........ I'll write about anything and everything and may get a little worked up. Please don't be offended. If I'm writing it, that means that I'm not shouting it at anyone.