Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Life Should Be...

Its been nice to have the day off and relax, ride the bikes, watch a movie and listen to music. I haven't really taken the time lately to just to what I want to do. Well, today I did. Thats one of the things I'm thankful for.

This morning a got up and met up with a buddy at LH Thomson Trails for a mountain bike ride. As I heading to the trails, I passed a sign that said it was 30 degrees outside. I soon found out how true that was. We hit the trail about 8:30 and by 9 I was back in the car and heading home. My fingers, toes and ears were going numb. I under dressed for this ride. It was still cool to get a few miles in.

When I got home, the wife was already awake. We turned on the tube to enjoy a little Thanksgiving Parade action. I always love watching the parades. I don't know why but they seem pretty neat. Its one of the few traditional things that I appreciate. Towards the end of the parade, we started cooking up our mini feast for the two of us. This year we said screw the turkey. We're going to eat beef!! I fixed up some homemade mac n' cheese, sweet potato casserole, flaky biscuits and beef pot roast. Man was it good. As every American does on Thanksgiving, we ate too much. But we are thankful to have what we had.

The wife and I then watched a pretty cool movie. Its called "The Man Who Sued God". The movie is about a former lawyer who became a fisherman and his fishing boat got struck by lightning. The lightning destroyed his boat. When he went to claim it on his insurance, the claim was denied because of an act of God. Well, the fisherman thought this was pretty much bullshit and he knew he couldn't win a law suit against the big insurance company. So he decides to sue God. You need to watch the movie from here to understand what I mean by him suing God. Good movie though. It relates to my wife and I pretty was as she is about to be an attorney and I currently work for a big insurance company (we handle claims fairly though).

So now its about mid day and I am itching for a ride. I haven't got to ride much lately due to how early it gets dark. By the time I get home, it is almost dark. With everyone either out of town or celebrating Thanksgiving with family, I had no one to ride with. So I got on my road bike and headed out for a solo ride. I pretty much had the road all to myself. There were very few cars. I didn't really have any particular route in mind when I left the house. I just decided to take a left here, take a right there, go straight one way and turn left another. I just got out and rode. Riding solo gave me the opportunity to just relax and sort through all my thoughts. By the time I got home, I had rode the bike nearly 40 miles. It was a great ride with awesome weather.

So now I'm back home unwinding with nothing in particular planned. Its so nice to have a day without any kind of schedule. While sitting here, I am shuffling through some great music I haven't listened to in a while. My current Thanksgiving soundtrack includes the likes of Richard Thompson, Daniel Johnston, Nirvana and Ryan Adams. I am really digging the Daniel Johnston. His stuff can be hard to listen to for most but if you listen beyond the sound and interpret the lyrics, its amazing. Richard Thomson is amazing as well. As for Nirvana and Ryan Adams, their great. They don't need any explanation.

Daniel Johnston: True Love Will Find You In The End

So my Thanksgiving has been great. Life is good. Tomorrow I am going to work refreshed and will be glad not to be getting involved with the Black Friday shopping. I personally am choosing not to buy anything tomorrow because I feel that our constant consumer desires are part of our economic problems. Yes, there are many things that are too blame but Americans have the constant desire to spend money. This is a problem for myself as well. Its hard to get over. When these times are hard, we need to use this time to focus on controlling our overspending and put money away. If you do go out to shop tomorrow, I stress that you try to buy from locally owned businesses as it will help strengthen your local economy. So there's my $.02. Take it for what its worth. Hope everyone has had a great holiday!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm the Mother Flippin'!!

You watch and you will understand

Doc Watson

So I'm just sitting here bored to death. I hate that it is dark so soon. It feels like shackles around my ankles. I feel like I can't go anywhere or do anything just because its dark. I know this isn't true but that is the feeling that is instilled inside of me. Maybe I will get on a bike and ride down to a coffee shop for some coffee tomorrow night. I need to get out of the house. I am going stir crazy.

In my boredom, I was surfing the world wide interwebs. While surfing, I was listening to some bluegrass and folk tunes on Pandora Radio (great site that you can type any artist's name and the site forms a radio station for you that is similar to that artist). So while listening to Pandora Radio, some Doc Watson tunes came on. I really enjoy listening to Doc Watson. He has that old mountain sound. Its more than just bluegrass or folk. Its straight mountain music. His voice ain't the smoothest, his guitar pickin' ain't the sharpest but he is real. This is simply a guy who wrote some songs about everyday life and decided to sing about it. I respect that. I find Dylan, Neil Young and many others to have done the same thing. They found larger fame than Doc Watson. Doc Watson definitely rests in my book of great artists. And he was blind.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mississippi Mud

Its like the bottle says; Black and Tan. It drinks like a your average black and tan. For $2.75 a jug, its not a bad price either. The bottle is worth the price itself. If you have it at your local brew shop, pick one up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Was in Town...

So this weekend I had my family down to see my wife and I. We haven't seen my folks since the end of August. It was nice getting to spend some time with them.

So on Saturday morning, we all got into the car and headed to Atlanta via back roads. It was nice to stay off the interstate for once and just enjoy the rural country side as we headed to the big city. In Middle Georgia, we still have a few leftover leaves hanging on the trees. That was nice to see. I know I will genuinely miss when all the leaves are gone.

So once we got to Atlanta, it was time for lunch. We headed to my favorite restaurant called Ali Baba's Turkish Cuisine. I love this place. My wife and I almost always head here when we go to Atlanta. As always I had the lamb plate. It's so good.

After lunch, we drove up to Performance Bike for a little browsing. You know, I am never really impressed with this place. Every time I go here, it always seems like their deals that they advertise aren't really that great. I think I would rather spend my money at a locally owned bike shop. It seems that this mega retailers are so sterile looking. I like to go into a shop that has personal character.

Ok, so back to how I spent the day with family. After leaving Performance Bike, we headed to REI. Atlanta doesn't have many good local outfitter shops so REI is pretty much the only option. I do like REI. They seem to have a lot of stuff that you can't find anywhere else.

After our little trip to the "Mega" retailers, we drove back towards Macon. On the way home, we got the strange craving for ice cream. I say this is strange because it happened to be the coldest day we've had yet for autumn. So we traveled about 30 miles South of Macon and went to the Lane Packing. Lane Packing is a huge peach orchard in Peach County, GA. This place represents what Georgia is known for. They have the best peach soft serve ice cream around.

By the time we left Lane Packing, we were tired from our day. It was great to spend the day with my folks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you know Mike Brown.....

So if you know Mike Brown and have been to his house and seen his cats, this might make you laugh. Even if you don't know Mike Brown and/or haven't been to his house and seen his cats, this might still make you laugh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back When MTV Was Cool....

This video is from when MTV actually played some cool stuff. This clip is from a tv show called Sifl and Olly. The show didn't last long. Occasionally you can find a pirated dvd on eBay.

Knoxville, TN

So this week I have felt a bit homesick. Well, its not really homesick. I just have been reflecting on my childhood growing up in the greater Knoxville area. Its such a great place to grow up. Within one hour of the city you have a wide selection of natural wonders. There is the Smokies, the Cumberland Plateau, Norris Lake, the Tennessee River, the Ocoee (where the 1996 Olympic Whitewater event was held) and the Big South Fork. The mountains and streams were such a large part of my youth. I have skipped rocks, jumped into the lake from an overhead bridge, hiked up a mountain, rafted or tubed the river and rode the trails on the bike.

Not only is Knoxville surrounded by cool places, there is a wealth of cool things within the city. Knoxville has one of my all time favorite music stores. The Disk Exchange is full of new, old, shitty, great and even mediocre music. I used to walk into this store and spend hours (just ask my wife). Most of the guys here are pretty helpful.

Knoxville also has a great palate. There are great restaurants everywhere. My favorite in particular is this an Indian Cuisine called "The Sitar". This place offers some great chickpea curry.

Since Knoxville is the home of the University of Tennessee, of course there is a plentiful supply of watering holes. There are really way too many for me to list. I don't even really have a favorite because I left before I was legally able to drink. I have since been to a few but hope to explore more when I return.

So in conclusion, I do miss Knoxville. Why wouldn't I? Its a peaceful little spot on the earth. If you ever are passing through, which is quite possible thanks to I-75 and I-40, stop for a moment and explore the town. You may find yourself in the same frame of mind as myself.

Flavor of the Week

So its been quite a while since I have posted the flavor of the week. My primary excuse is that I have been broke for the past few weeks due to buying so much bike stuff. Last weekend, I did get the opportunity to enjoy some bourbon. I mostly drank all that I had while I was at the Middle Georgia Mountain Bike Festival. I did discover tonight that I had a little left over. So as I am sitting here blogging away, I am also enjoying some Maker's Mark Bourbon.

ILL Communication

I'm really on a Beastie Boys kick lately. Who would've thought that this kick was stimulated by my job. Last Friday, I was sitting in a seminar about insurance fraud investigations when the guy giving the presentation played "Sabotage" as background music for his presentation. Its kind of funny seeing a bunch of middle aged guys who are slightly overweight and wearing ties all bobbing their heads to a presentation about insurance fraud. I guess it was catchy though. It sure has grabbed my attention. Ever since, I have played the Ill Communication album non-stop. This album has way surpassed my thoughts of how great the Beastie Boys really are. So for your entertainment, I have attached a video.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Middle Georgia Mountain Bike Festival

This past weekend I attended the Middle Georgia Mountain Bike Festival. It was a fun packed weekend. There was a Duathalon on Saturday morning that went over pretty well considering all the rain we had the night before. After the Duathalon, we all divided up for group rides. I can only give positive statements about Dauset Nature Trails. This place is great. Middle Georgia is so very fortunate to have a place like this.
After the group rides, we all gathered for some bike games which included the huffy toss, tube popping contest (which I placed second in), the bike limbo (video attached below), bunny hop, tire toss, and the slow race. These games of course were accompanied by some adult beverages. Its always interesting gathering a bunch of adults and playing like we're 10 year old kids.After all the children were put to bed, we the adults really got to have their fun. This was for the start of the chariot races. The rules of the chariot race is that you are on a 2 person team. You have a bike that pulls a chariot (child carrier). Once the clock begins, the rider of the bike has to either shoot a shot or jug a beer then get on the bike, ride down the dirt road and back to the finish line in which the person in the chariot must switch and repeat. This of course adds for some crazy fun.After the chariot races, everyone just relaxed and soaked up the day around the fire. In all, this event went amazing. As I was getting into the truck on Sunday, I looked over to a buddy of mine and told him how much I hate when these events end. This weekend really showed how the bike community is like a family. We raised money for multiple causes (Arrowhead Park Restoration and the Scott Hodge Get Well Fund). As always, I look forward to the future events where our bike community can gather again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This Is Pretty Impressive....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jittery Joe's Coffee Shop is Open In Macon....

So Jittery Joe's is finally open in Macon, GA near the Mercer University Campus. They are located next to Ingleside Village Pizza on Montpeliar. If your in the area, stop by and support these guys. They are supporters of the cycling community.

You Interpret......

So as usual, I sat down to watch the evening news. The evening news is pretty predictable as I am able to retrieve most of my current news before it hits the airwaves. This is in part is with thanks to the Internet. Although, there are times that the evening news is able to capture my eye with personal stories from around the world.

This evening, CBS aired a special on what the Obama presidency is about to inherit. This piece went into discussion about the terror in Afghanistan. In particular, the piece portrayed the extremist youth of this region of the middle east. I was quite shocked by what I saw next. On this day, Veteran's Day, the evening news showed real life footage of a young Islamic Extremist blowing up an American Humvee as it traveled through a rural tribal region of Afghanistan. I found this footage to be one of the most vivid and graphic displays that I have seen on public broadcasting.

My mind is still attempting to comprehend whether this should have been aired on the evening news. Reporters are always quick to discuss these events but rarely do we see the actual footage of an ambush on American troops. The memories of Uday and Qusay Hussein's deaths comes back to my mind after watching this. Do you remember when the broadcasting companies and newspapers all over the world showed the images of the two sons dead bodies?

Part of me thinks that we should never hide from reality. Another part of me ponders about whether we should view the dead (or the acts of causing death) on public broadcasting. My conclusion is not balanced. So I have attached the news piece for your viewing if you wish to see what exactly I was talking about. I do wish to make a warning about this footage as it is real and shows the act of taking another person's life. This warning was not given by the broadcast. Unfortunately I cannot edit the advertisement at the beginning of this video.

Remember those who have lost their lives.

I have recently became a Spike Jonze fan.....

So I have been watching a few Spike Jonze films lately. I am sucked into the strange humor that his characters are able to portray. The films have this odd ball eclectic sense to them. Check out this short film by Spike Jonze:

Save Tin Pan Alley!!

New York City should not raze it's cultural history for more condo high rises. Tin Pan Alley was songwriting capital of the world for many years.

W28th between Broadway and 6th should be a national landmark. It's importance to our culture is extremely significant. Icons such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Scott Joplin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan & The Band as well as Ragtime artists gave their heart and soul for us within these walls from the 1880s to the 1960s.
According to the New York Post "The buildings, at 47, 49, 51, 53 and 55 West 28th Street, are being sold as a group for - hold on to your hat in these cacophonous economic times - a mere $44 million."

Visit and sign the petition to help save this historical musical treasure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Never Gets Old....

This vocal track never gets old. A buddy of mine shared this with me. So I'm going to share it with you. Careful, it may get stuck in your head.

A Poem I Wrote in 2005

So I was digging in some old papers of mine and found a poem that I wrote before departing on my hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

The Shelter
"A day has come when to seek shelter. A shelter of where to escape. Not a shelter of wood or stone. Not a shelter of roofs nor walls. It is a shelter of assurance, reflection and peace. The man must remove himself from all society and become who he really is. In the woods is my shelter. In the woods I am free. In those woods which I have walked a day, I feel the presence of God. Yet in the woods I am aware of the darkness. To whom I write this is but myself. To whom I write this is for those who seek something different. So I am taking my day to be away from the scoffers. This day I am honored to be the guest of myself."

-James C. Deane IV
February 12, 2005

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Awesome Weekend!!

This has been an awesome weekend. Sometimes in life, you just need stand back and appreciate what you have and realize that it can be taken from you without notice. On Saturday morning, some friends and I loaded up the bikes and headed North to Fort Yargo State Park to do some mountain biking. This ride was meant to be a benefit for a fellow biker, Scott Hodge. As posted in a previous entry, Scott Hodge got injured pretty bad in a recent motorcycle crash. The local mountain biking community got together and held a benefit ride to help Hodge out with his medical bills (no insurance). It was a beautiful day for the ride. The leaves are changing and the temperatures are getting cooler. This was the first time I have got to ride at Fort Yargo. The trails are awesome for a single speed. It was also amazing to see all the people that turned out for the ride. I left yesterday evening inspired by all the people in the local biking community. I was even more inspired by Hodge's attitude. This guy was in a brace and walking with a cane but he was all smiles. He has the attitude that nothing is going to keep him down.

So today (Sunday), the wife and I started the morning with a nice brunch at some friend's house and then left for a short drive over to Sprewell Bluff State Park. I can't mention enough about how beautiful the leaves are this time of year. I must say that autumn is my favorite season. Sprewell Bluff is a pretty cool park. There is a few miles of trails that wind up and down and all around the ridges that follow the Flint River. I didn't realize there was actually mountains in middle Georgia. The Flint River was really pretty too. It was a great feeling to be in the middle of nowhere and listen to the sounds of nature. Lately, I haven't had the opportunity to spend much time with my wife due to her school and all the riding I have been doing. So it was really nice to escape from our busy lives and cherish our time together. I am really thankful to have a wife as wonderful as she is. So this weekend has certainly been awesome!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama Is the 44th President of the United States of America!!

I'm a Georgia Voter and Proud of Who I Voted For!!

So today was a monumental day of my life. I have placed a lot of time and effort into campaigning for Senator Barack Obama. It was by far my pleasure to voice my support for him as well as US Senator Candidate Jim Martin (D) and my US Representative Jim Marshall (D).

The past eight years of my life, I have learned a lot about myself and the country I live in. Our country has experienced a lot. Our nation was attacked on domestic grounds, we have been involved in two wars, faced economic struggle and have realized the impact we are placing on our environment. This election is greatly important to me because I personally am tired from the previous eight years. It is time for a new face in office. I am very proud to have voted for Senator Barack Obama.

Monday, November 3, 2008