Monday, August 30, 2010

Cyclocross Clinic in Little Rock

Steve and I are putting on a cyclocross clinic at Burns Park in North Little Rock on Sunday, September 5.  If you're in the area, drop by.  We'll be near the BMX track.

Steve made some barriers, has cones and a whistle.  Look out!

Also next weekend is the final race of the Big Ballin' Dirt Track Classic.  Racing starts at 8:00 AM on Saturday, September 4.  Sarah and Frank of the Chainwheel do a great job with this series and have put a lot of work into the track.  Get out and support this awesome local event! 

Zane and Frank, Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Trying for some "third-day syndrome"

Have you ever pressed the refresh button on an email program over and over again, because you're bored or don't want to face a difficult task?  I certainly have.  When I heard Matt Richtel on Fresh Air this week, I found out that I'm in good company.

According to Matt, when you get that notification of a new email, text or whatever you get a little drop of dopamine.  It's addictive and when you're not getting that notification, you get bored.  Terry Gross commented that she goes to email to wake her up.  (Done that too.)

Matt also wrote in the NY Times about a group of neuroscientists who agreed to go on a "primitive" trip, free of digital devices.  By the third day, everyone was more relaxed.  Emails that were important before the trip were unimportant, even "silly".  Ideas and debate were flowing.

Here are some ideas for breaking the addiction:

(1) A getaway:

Steve and I have a trip planned to Delta Lodge in Chequamegon National Forest in Northern Wisconsin along with a visit to Southern Wisconsin for family time and the USGP Planet Bike Cup.

Delta Lodge, Iron River, WI

(2) Exercise

Cedar Glades, Hot Springs, AR

(3) Meditation

If you're new to meditation, you might find this book helpful.  Seriously, everyone can find 8 minutes in their day to rest their minds.

For something more challenging:

Bye bye summer

I think summer is finally starting to release it's grip on us.  The neighbors are smiling and friendly.  Fido is more cooperative and happier on the morning walk/run.  Sure, we're still getting 90's during the day and will be for some time to come, but 91 beats 105 any day.  Anyway, now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can look back with fondness at a ride Steve and I went on with our friends Keshari and Eric on the Little Blakley Trail system back in July.  Thanks for a great ride!

View Larger Map

Pre-ride: Can you believe how hot it is?

Eric, Keshari and Steve

The trail was a bit overgrown in spots, but Keshari took one for the team (and plenty of spiderwebs in the mouth) leading us out of here.

Eric and Keshari

Steve refueling

After some seriously sketchy downhill we were rewarded with this.

Lake Ouachita

Break time

Keshari said the fish were biting her feet.

Eric and Heather from the water

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bike tire raised garden bed

Earlier this week I got a twitter suggestion from P. Allen Smith to do a second sowing of sunflowers. I haven't grown a thing all summer other than houseplants. Anyhoo, I was inspired, but was stumped on location. Then I got an idea for an experiment.

If you ride bikes, chances are, you have a lot of old bike tires lying around like we do. I decided to use a couple to make a small, raised garden bed.

I picked a sunny spot in the backyard, south of the crape myrtle tree. I used a garden spade to loosen up the ground a bit.

I used garden staples to secure the bottom tire and used a regular stapler to connect the bottom tire to the top tire. (If I had to do it again, I would like to come up with a better way to sew the two tires together - maybe twine and an upholstery needle.)

Then I filled it with garden soil making sure to get into the edges of the tire. For the two 29'er mountain bike tires, I used between 1 and 2 cubic feet of soil.

Then I planted a dwarf species (70 days to bloom).

Although not pictured, I decided to put some landscaping rocks around the bed for support until I see what happens when it rains.

I have no idea if this will work. If it does, I'll redo in the spring or make changes and try again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jolly Ranchers and AT&T

We've been having problems with the DSL since last Sunday. I've made several calls to AT&T this week, all longer than 30-60 minutes in length. A technician has come out and fixed one problem. We seem to have more than one, however.

Today, I called twice. Once at 9 am for 45 minutes and then again in the afternoon. Every time, the automated system AND the DSL technical support ask if I'd tried rebooting the computer and unplugging the modem from the power supply, because "1 out of 5 DSL problems can be solved by ..." Seriously, though, don't they think I've tried that by the 2nd or 3rd call this week?

By the second call today, I was worn down, feeling helpless. Somehow, I managed to get a woman who lives in the US. Not that tech support from people in other countries is worse, but hearing a real American accent was reassuring. (Perhaps AT&T knew I was at my wits end.) She was very nice and tried her best to help me. Still, I had to wait while "tests were run".

In the meantime, I rummaged around my desk for something to keep me occupied and found a bag of jolly ranchers of unknown origin. They were so old, the candies had become one with the plastic wrappers surrounding them. Peeling the sticky strips of plastic and licking the melted candy from my fingers kept me busy for most of the call. I ate one of each flavor, sour apple, sour grape, sour watermelon, sour cherry and sour blue rasberry, each with a hint of melted plastic.

Now, my tongue feels like it has been rubbed by sandpaper and is the color of a melted box of Crayola. I'll just tuck those Jolly Ranchers back into the desk for the next time I have a weak moment - perhaps tomorrow...between 8am and 8pm, waiting for the technician to come to the house. Sigh.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fido learns to swim

Up till Saturday, Fido enjoyed wading in water. Chest deep was his limit. That is until we threw a stick in the river. As Steve says, his desire to retrieve was stronger than his fear of drowning.

On Sunday, we went back and tried it again. Here's how it went:

(1) Steve threw the stick in shallow water and encouraged Fido to find it.

(2) Fido retrieved the stick, eventually.

(3) Steve took the stick back from Fido.

(4) Steve threw the stick into the deep water.

(5) Fido swam for it, but couldn't find it at first.

(6) Got it. Good dog!

Needless to say, we were very proud.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's hot

It's August and it's hot. Tuesday was the hottest day in 10 years at 107 degrees according to Fox16's Jeff Baskin. The heat index made it feel ... really stinking hot. We are supposed to get some "relief" tomorrow in form of scattered storms with a high in the upper 90's, yes, upper. Bleargh.

Tips for beating the heat:

(1) Walk Fido near water.

(2) Stay inside and move only when necessary, like to stretch. (JD demonstrates.)

(3) Appreciate the flora that thrives in this weather.

(4) Eat ice cream with blueberry sauce.