Monday, May 31, 2010


This is our new cat, Willow. He's a blue point Siamese we got from my brother yesterday. Our other Siamese, Pieper, doesn't quite know what to make of him yet, but she'll come around. She's been lonely since the other two left us, so it's only a matter of time until she comes around.

I put in a lot of saddle time the last couple of weeks on my mountain bike. Nice weather was the norm, so one has to take advantage of it. The last couple of days have been taken up be family stuff, but maybe today will allow me an hour or two. One thing that may slow me down is a saddle sore. I haven't had one in 30 years, but after riding Thursday, something felt irritated in the sit bone area. Ouch! is all I can say. One more excuse for being slow, I guess.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Ride, Quick Post

That's the view from the top of a rocky section of the Piedmont trails here in the Duluth. There's some nice flow to this network and that's thanks to the COGGS group that designs and maintains them. If you ride in this area, it's a good chance that they are taking care of the trails you're on. Next chance I get, I will join this fine organization and contribute some time.

I finally gave up the battle over diabetes test equipment. I've been using a One Touch Ultra Smart meter since the start and didn't want to switch, as most others didn't offer alternate sight (non-finger tip) testing . But, my current insurance company, along with many others, has contracted with Bayer to supply test strips, so I dropped my Don Quixote style resistance and got the latest and greatest meter from Bayer, the Contour USB. After a call to Bayer and being satisfied that I could use it on my arm or palm instead of my finger tips, the pharmacy ordered one and I got it the next day. It's a plug-and-play unit, has no battery, charges through the USB port, downloads all test info into your computer with its own built-in software. So far, very nice to use and it's a smaller and a more portable package. It looks like a slightly larger jump drive. What they won't think of.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weather or Not

So how's the in your neck of the woods. It's supposed to be in the 70's F here for the next 10 days. Perfect riding weather for sure, so let's all take advantage of it. I know I am. This weekend was fabulous, got some MTB rides in on the trails going into Jay Cooke State Park off of the Munger Trail. I hadn't explored them much, but I was on my MTB, so why not give them a try. It was well worth it, nice trails in a great setting.

Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book called Racing Weight aimed at endurance athletes trying to get to optimum body weight for peak performance. I read some excerpts from it and it looks like it would be nice to follow to get lean and faster. The most notable thing I gleaned from what I read was this: For every ten pounds overweight you are, you have to expend 6.5% more energy to do the same effort. This means I have to produce 65% more power than I should to climb the same hill. Scary, to say the least. Not to mention how hard it is on your body to carry that much around on a day to day basis. No wonder I'm so slow on the climbs. This is a proof that the scale doesn't lie, it's proven accurate every time I get on the bike. I ride strong all day on the flats, but once the road goes up, my time does too.

On a final note, we are two more pets down. Spencer, our seal point Siamese cat disappeared over three weeks ago. He went outside in the evening never to return. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Brooklyn the Airedale developed a nose bleed the lasted for about ten hours. We took him to the vet and discovered his blood platelet count was 150. It should be at least 80,000. They gave us some steroids to give him, and he was rechecked a week later. This time he was at a normal count of 143,000. This didn't last long. Last Thursday he was bleeding out again, so we had him put down. L had him for almost ten years and they were inseparable. So first Simon, then Spencer, and now Brooklyn. Poor Piper, Simon's mother, is very lonely now that they're all gone. We may get her a kitten to keep her company and her mind off of the others.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

One In The Books


My first semester is in the books. It looks like the body count will be four A's, a B, and a "pass" in a pass/fail class. I had never been to college before and I must say, it was quite an experience. Now that it's over, I'm kind of torn over how to proceed. My major was to be health insurance management/billing & coding. Lots of jobs, steady, secure work etc. That was until I found I have some other talents, such as geography and the arts, such as photography.

The school had its annual art show this week, combining all the art classes together for one show in the main corridor. There was hundreds of pieces from my specialty; digital photography, along with sculpture, painting, ceramics, drawing, the list goes on. We could put a price on our pieces and sell them if we wanted after the show was over. I put some modest price tags on mine, just to see what would happen. What happened was this: The college bought my "Rum River 'Cross" and plans to blow it up and prominently display it in the school. Wow, my first sale, and not to a relative or something like that.

What this lead to is the predicament over what I should pursue. Stay with the original plan, transfer to a bigger school and get an art degree, or maybe, go into the geography field. Mapping the world and its population might be interesting. I've got the summer to chew it over, and a lot of that chewing will be from a bicycle seat.


The Scene of the Crime

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finals Week

The end of the 1st semester is coming up this week. I've enjoyed college for the most part and will miss some of it, but not as much as I've missed my regular rides.

One thing left is the art exhibit starting this coming Monday at LSC. I will have six of my best shots on display ( and for sale), so this weekend will be taken up with matting the photos that I had enlarged. They came out great and I hope to do well at the show. The above shot was taken at dusk by the Proctor Golf Course and reworked a bit for the mood I was trying to capture. My theme for the semester was mechanical/action/texture/industrial, so I had to concentrate on those aspects for my subjects.

We had to also write a paper on our favorite photographer. I, being a cyclist, chose Graham Watson. What was great about that is that while I was doing research for the paper, I learned some new things on how to shoot action photos. Watson's web site is a great source for getting the details on how he does things, and what he uses to do it. You can ask questions on the Q&A page and he will explain in detail how he got the various shots, or general answers on equipment choice, lighting, flash, etc. Very enlightening, I must say.

Once school is over, I will be able to get back to cycling on a somewhat regular schedule. Oh, yeah, I've got another commitment on July 11. L and I are getting hitched. Details to follow.