Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Watson: My Dog

Mid-week I happened to on my way home from a petroleum cleanup site in Houlton when she called me.  Wife found a small private farm advertising the 5 week old Aussie Pups the Uncle Henrys.  I was right near by and planned to meet her at the farm.  While standing among two litters of baby Aussies one of them walk up behind us, tap me on the foot, and sat down at heel position.  As if to say, 'Hey, Pick Me."  
 After waiting a few weeks for him to grow to 8 weeks by the 10th week we had started a puppy obedience training class.  This went very well, thou the memorable moment was when we learned that he could be submissive and peed on the floor from fear of the training woman once.  But from that we learned how to use the clicker training technique and his behavioral keys to understand how to maximize his potential.
Shortly afterward Wife took Watson for agility training classes.  This mostly served to reinforce voice commands.  When he was 3 and 4 years old Wife also found a woman in Stonington who had sheep and did herding instruction.  That was expensive but worth it for the few extra voice commands he learned, such as 'out' 'in' and the hand commands to wave him left or right.  
An incredibly loving dog Watson would lick the wax out of your ear then move over to your mouth if you'd let him.  More than once he basically 'french kissed' me. So gross.  Snuggling in bed was an exceptional skill.

Every day, rain or shine, 365 days a year he demanded high energy play.   And we gave it to him just about as much as he needed and we could handle.   During winter Wife and I would often switch half way through a session so that the other could warm up by the fire inside.  Frisbee was his athletically preferred sport, following a close second with chasing an 10" rubber ball (Jolly Ball).
In short he was the best dog ever.
But it only  took three weeks.  He had developed a cough.   We took him to the vet and found that his lympnodes were swollen but it might me a result of kennel cough. He was given some meds, that by Wednesday we knew were not working.  Watson stopped eating. And running much.  And was now sleeping out side for the whole night, alone.  
I went back to the vet with W ('W' pronounced Dubya, short for Watson) and I was told that he had lymphoma. Cancer of the lymph system.  This was not good.  We got a referral to a vet in Portland and got the next available visit.  
 Tuesday 9:30.  When I got in with the vet tech and started to give her some background on W, I totally started crying. BooHoo-n' even.  I knew by now. I had a whole day to google the shit out of the topic.  And by this morning his eye had tinted yellow. A sign of jaundice and an indication of  cancer migration  into his liver.  The Portland vet said he was to Stage IV probably even V by this point. That indicated to me how aggressive the disease was.  We, of course, talked about the chemo treatments but it just does not make sense to spend that kind of money (5-grand) only to extend our own emotional and physical agony.  And he may only live for 6 months.  No.  That is not good for us or him.
I texted Wife, she was at work: 
'Can you come home?'
 'To say goodbye'.
I had scheduled for the vet to lay Watson down that afternoon.  I had too, it was the only way.  We went in at 1:50pm.  
Holding Watson as he died,  hearing and watching as he exhaled his last two spastic breaths was without a doubt the saddest day of my life and I feel a profound deep sadness for him.
We decided to have him cremated.  The place that conducted it did an excellent job, and even included some clipping of his fur and a little certificate with his paw stamp. 
I will miss Watson forever.

We got Watson, a Red Merle colored, Australian Shepard, in Old Town, Maine in May 2003.  
He died of lymphoma on  November 9, 2010.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crazy, crazy world

The other night I was 'surfing' the web via Stumble Upon.  I came across a screen cap of some girl/womans facebook postings.  I read the first section and immediately recognized this as internet gold. So I turned the camera on myself and read aloud, word for word, as best as possible, each and every segment.   People of the internet....I bring you, New Englander reading a Eubonic Rant.

Note: lots of foul language.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


This past summer on our return trip from Hungary we stopped in Paris, France for a couple of nights.  In less than 72 hours we visited a good chunk of the major attractions.  Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe  and the Louvre.  LilGuns did really well in that very large city.  We managed to keep him under control and occupied even with the high temperatures of 30 Celsius.  One night Wife and her mom we out and took some pictures of the tower all light up. It is quite a sight. 

That's about all I have time for.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Graffiti: Its Art.

This morning I walked past the Asylum in Portland and saw that the graffiti art was changed recently on the rear wall. This is a great example of graffiti art. It is uniform in its theme, mood and color. Stephen King should be proud of this one. A nice portriat of him, the clown of It, the cat of Pet Cemetary and a bloody Carrie are all represented. I couldn't get Carrie in the shot, no light.
Have a nice day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Usless Commuting Statistics and a Friendly Challenge

Commuted into work by bike today. The typical route from Yarmouth to Portland via Middle Road. The weather was perfect and I felt good.  
My statistics in this morning were: 
  • 14.14 miles
  • 0:46:12 (hr:min:sec)
  • 18.3 mph average speed.
The whole trip right through the stats are the usual. Today however there was a plot twist during this otherwise normal bike commute.  
I was just starting off from a traffic light (yes Ma, I stop at traffic lights) in the last 0.3 mile or so on Preble Street, when a guy on a white single speed in road racing style clothes buzzed past me.  I immediately stood, pumped to get up to speed and shouted 'CHALLENGE'.  He was staying just ahead of me as we were traveling at 27 mph on flat road.  Too high of a speed for me to sprint and overtake him. 
Then for the first time I really understood and felt how & why being behind a leader gives you the tactical advantage.  I could see he was on a single speed bike. I could see his pedal strokes and that he was working hard to stay ahead. I could see him looking back to check form.  I also knew that the road was about to pitch up and he would surely loose some momentum and slow.  
He did, and by the time we hit the next traffic light, I had him.  
Before the light turned and we went our separate ways I said something like 'Have a nice day or that was fun.'   Whatever I said it started off the day with a great little friendly sprint challenge.

Thanks to the dude on the white single speed with the flavor-saver goatee.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

F. Moser buildup continued.

The previous posts to this story are HERE and HERE
Today I had my 3oclock appointment at Port City Bikes  (FB) with Peter and Percy to start the build up of my Moser Leader AX.  I had learned that the frame has taken a special spot on the wall for protection and perhaps admiration.  Regardless today it came down and Percy and I added parts while Peter order some additional items for it.  
Added today were: 
  •  2007 Campagnolo Record bottom bracket. 
  • 07' Campy Record crank. 53-39 with 11-23 in the rear.
  • 07' Campy Record rear deraileur
  • 07' Campy Chorus breaks
  • 07' Campy Record hubs were placed into the dropouts. The rims are due to arrive.
  • 10' Ritchey WCS seat post
It was a great experience again building up a bike from the frame. I had done it as a kid to get my 1986 RL Osborn General Pro, which I still have in my shed, 24 year later. I'm thinking the Moser will be around that long too and spending the money to build is will be worth it.
And hanging out in the shop cleaning parts and shootin' the shit about bikes, movies and with customers was pretty relaxing and a great way to skip work for two hours.  I am really looking forward now to seeing the remainder of the parts to come in.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Kerekpar uzleti dolgok (part 2)

 The frame made it home in one piece in only about 7 days.  I unboxed it and brought it down to the basement shop.   First thing I did was re-attach the fork. Then clean it really well and inspect the whole thing.  I do not see any major problem.  I find some numbers stamped in the bottom bracket, that I believe are indicating frame size (54) and some short model numbers and/or year 95. I weighed it without the fork, 1,885 grams (4lbs 2.5 oz., includes headset and cartridge bearings). 
 Next was to use the great interwebz to learn more about this F. Moser with the 51.515 on the label, with real short chain stays and a frame routed rear brake cable portal in the top tube.  To start there are a couple of website stickered onto the stays: CicliMoser.com, the Moser company web site and Matuzmaster.hu. a Hungarian bike web site.  Through those two sites plus other images appearing in google searches and ebay searches I am fairly comfortable in saying that the frame is the 'Leader AX' model, a light steel tubing, silver brazed, chromed under the paint, made for racing. The only thing that is not right is that originally the bike used a 'quill' style seat post and a previous owner had modified the post with a hole and cut to use a seat clamp.  Probably to reduce weight.  I don't know, but I do not think it will pose a problem.
It is currently at the shop and the building begins this week.  Ill list out the all the parts in the 'big reveal' post in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kerekpar uzleti dolgok

The first Hungarian bike shop we visited.
Title: Bicycle Shop (my Hungarian Translation without letter accents)
  So before we left for our trip to Hungary one of my secret self-centered goals was to come home with a bicycle.  Preferably something old and something Italian.  
During the several drives between families homes I spotted two shops.  One morning Wife, LilGuns and Wife's Uncle 'Steve' brought us over to the both shops.  At the first I found a nice pair of gloves and a decent Specialized riding jersey.  At the second shop we got a really nice German made handlebar bag and a Cofidis cycling cap.  At this point I pretty much declared victory for bike shop related souvenirs.
A couple of days later 'Steve' and I with LilGuns left the house early to walk for groceries. He said we'd be quick and will stop at a bar and get groceries on the way.  its about 8am.  Well, yep we stopped at a shop were we each got a shot of palinka and an ice cream cone for Sam. Did the shot and walked over to the small grocery store for breakfast foods.  Of course this included paprika's.
About an hour later George showed up and I could hear they kept saying 'bickli'. That i figured they must have been talking about another bike shop. So the three of us went over.  We walked in and were looking around. I was a shot, and two beers in at 9am so i wasnt really thinking clearly.  I didnt really see anthing of interest, mostly hybrid style bikes, until i turned around and this 'wet white' frame with chrome fork were hanging.  I started to look at it and didnt think too much of it. Then 'Steve' reaches over, pulls it down and sticks it in my hands. 
'Hmm, this is pretty light. Oooo. huh?' I think and mumble as I look over the frame.  Clearly a racing frame.  'How much is this?  20,000 forint, about $87USD.  'Whats the size? do you have a ruler?' 'its a steel frame, right?'and since I know basic frame geometry I sized it up.  Apparently 54 cm. MY SIZE. 'Is the bottom bracket english or italian?' Italian.  I was slowly digesting the facts here.  And as light dawns on Marblehead I say to George,' for $87 its worth the risk to send it home. I havent heard of a F. Moser but its got all the right signs of a good bike.'
I bought it. and the shop guys removed the fork for shipping.  We got it home and sized it to the luggage, too big.  We quickly returned to the shop and they had an extra bike box and spacer for the rear dropouts.  Afterward, we packed the bike and and called around for shipping.  Fucking UPS wanted $576 dollars to ship it back home.  FAHKYOU GUYS.  We went to the regular post office, $75 dollars US; AND it got to the house in 6 days, undamaged. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Travel with George

Wife, LilGuns and Grandma had left for Hungary a full 10 days earlier than George and I.  He had to mind the Garage and get repairs done before leaving and I dont have that much vacation time.  So were left to travel together.  My dad picked us up and brought us to Logan airport. (Thanks Dad).  George and I then proceeded to get our tickets, check bags and all that wicked fun traveling shit.  Once we were through and found our gate we realized we had more than an hour to kill before boarding.  So we sat in at the nearest bar, order beers and watched the World Cup game.
 Six beers later (each) and after a quick pit stop, we glided over to our gate for boarding. 
Once we made it into the Charles DeGaule airport  in France and figured out what the hell to do there we managed to find our gate (Pict).  It was about 7:30am local time and George found a couple of 5% 0.5 liter Heineken cans to past the time before the flight to Budapest.
The flight to Hungary was relatively uninteresting except for the decent picture of the Alps I took from the plane window. The moral of the story is, if you can call it a moral, is when traveling with George be prepared to drink beers as many and often as possible.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Went to Hungary

The Family had a fairly good trip to Budapest. I'll hold off on calling it a vacation because there was really no relaxing..  95% our time was spent going between family members houses, depending where we were staying. 
Even when we went out to Lake Velence you still have to deal with worrying about people stealing shit or where Sam was running off to, or holding a conversation with your wifes cousin. 
And it was so fucking hot the whole time. and no one has a god damn fan blowing, anywhere. I think electricity is really damn expensive or something.
Anyway, Ill stretch this out into a few posts to capture parts of it. I did manage to keep a handwritten day by day journal upto date.  That works out well and is something I have done in the past.  Not only do i keep a written log of the day but I keep tickets, receipts and other small papers in with it as mementos. 

In the picture above is the Kiss (pronounced Ki-sch) residence, Wifes grandparents.  Their property (~45 ft x 250ft). called in the family 'The Garden' has everything. Very self sufficient.  Cherries, loads of grapes, apples, apples, peaches, cabbage, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, squash, kohlrabi, chickens, aloe, beans, and tons more.  It is jam packed with every bit of land growing something.  It the shit were to hit the fan, this is where you'd want to be, or at least have something equal.  The cellar under the house is a cold cellar.  Down here the wine and palinka is made and stored and the apples from last season were still perfect.  

And since you can access the wine right from the barrel in the cellar you might was well have some, even if it is only 8am.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Boy the World Traveler

It has been a silent, enjoyable and somewhat lonely few days since my wife and son left for Budapest four days ago.  While I have the dogs to keep me company and I have been able to knock off house chores left and right I am looking forward to seeing them again.  
Through the wonders the of the interwebz and the marvel of Facebook I am able to still talk with them. And today for fathers day's I got this picture of LilGuns in the Boston airport.  Wife tells me that he did the same thing at the change over in Paris and in the Budapest airport. Not even 2 and already a world traveler.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bike commuting-office details.

I think one of the things that keeps people from commuting to work by bike are the subtle details. One of the biggest keys is having an employer who is accommodating to this style.  I am lucky in that health and fitness is important to my boss and he understands that healthy , exercised employees work better and are more efficient. 
How to dress, change and store the bike then become easy to figure out.  While it definitely varies from workplace to workplace it can be done.  In my office space I have added a false wall  with a cubicle divider to hide my crap behind. Granted, I have the luxury of a little extra space, but it works well. I keep a small luggage bag with clothes and shower supplies there as well. This way I do not have to lug clothes and risk getting them wrinkled each time.  And I occasionally change behind it.  A small shower located in the building is where I clean up and in about 10 minutes I can be at my desk, all set to go.  I have really enjoyed riding to work for a number of reasons.  I burn about 800+ calories each way, get some good miles in, reduce the stress level and add a bit of adventure to the day.  My only regret is not living closer to work so that I could go right from door to door with each trip.  I have a video I made this past week showing a little bit of a typical ride.  I hope to get that up here soon. 

Monday, May 03, 2010

EPA Establishes Web site on BP Oil Spill

WASHINGTONAs part of the ongoing federal response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, EPA today established a website to inform the public about the spill’s impact on the environment and the health of nearby residents. The website – http://www.epa.gov/bpspill - will contain data from EPA’s ongoing air monitoring along with other information about the agency’s activities in the region. Also today, Administrator Jackson joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to tour the region. The Administrator will spend the next 36 hours visiting with community groups and meeting EPA staff responding to the spill.

Additional information on the broader response from the U.S. Coast Guard and other responding agencies is available at:  http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

We are taking every possible step to protect the health of the residents and mitigate the environmental impacts of this spill,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “For several days, EPA has been on the ground evaluating air and water concerns and coordinating with other responding agencies.  We are also here to address community members -- the people who know these waters and wetlands best.  They will be essential to the work ahead.”

EPA has established air monitoring stations along Plaquemines Parish on the Louisiana coast. EPA established those facilities to determine how oil set on fire in the gulf and oil that is reaching land is impacting air quality. EPA is monitoring levels of a number of chemicals potentially emitted by oil, including volatile organic compounds such as xylene, benzene and toluene.

EPA has also deployed two Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzers – mobile laboratories that collect and analyze air quality samples in real time – to monitor air quality in the region.

EPA tested smoke from the controlled burn two days ago and found the Louisiana coast had not been affected because an off-shore breeze was blowing away from land and out to sea during that time. The agency will continue to collect and share data with the public, and will coordinate and share information with local health officials.

In addition to monitoring air quality, EPA is also assessing the coastal waters affected by the spreading oil. EPA deployed our twin-engine aircraft to assist in the collection of air sampling data and photograph the spill and surrounding area.

All of the data EPA collects will be posted to http://www.epa.gov/bpspill , along with frequently asked questions, fact sheets about potential health impacts of the spill, and links to more information on the spill and the government’s response.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wheel Build Success

I left work early yesterday because of this cold I have (poor me). After I got home I laid on the couch and watched The King of Kong. A very good documentary about the quest to get the world record score in Donkey Kong. I recommend streaming it via NetFlix.
Anyway, afterward, all alone in the house with just one dog, I decided that this was the perfect chance to pull out the rim, spokes, nipples and hub and lace up the wheel.  (The other dog is recovering from an expensive TPLO surgery. Alms for the poor?) I have laced a wheel in the past but it was two years ago and under bike guru consultation.  This time it was all solo and some help from a bike repair manual.  I used a standard 3 cross pattern.  It took me probably longer than it should but in about 90 minutes it was done except truing. 

  • The rim is a gold, aluminum, Velocity Deep-V, 700c, 32 spoke with machined side walls. 
  • Spokes are silver, steel, DT Swiss
  • Hub is a silver, aluminum, Surly, 100mm O.L.D., 32 hole with solid axle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wolrd Water Day

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March of each year as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution.This world day for water was to be observed starting in 1993, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development contained in chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21.
States were invited to devote the Day to implement the UN recommendations and set up concrete activities as deemed appropriate in the national context.
The Subcommittee welcomes the assistance offered by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre to contribute to an information network centre in support of the observance of the Day by Governments, as required.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Useless Commuting Statistics

Today marks the first day of 2010 bicycling commuting for me.  But before I list the stats of the ride in this morning I would like to post my 2009 results and some other thoughts.
In 2009 I commuted 16.5 days
The average commute distance was 14.12 miles averaging 18.55 mph.  
The total mileage was 465.99 miles. Burning 25,857 calories.
I figure my car gets about 30mpg. So commuting by bike saved me from using 15.5 gallons of gasoline for a financial savings of about $42

CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline = 2,421 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 8,788 grams = 8.8 kg/gallon = 19.4 pounds/gallon  Source: EPA

By cycling to work last year I kept 19.4x15.5= 300.7 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

There are approximately 3,500 calories in a pounds
By cycling to work last year I lost 25,857/3500= 7.39 pounds from just the commuting.

Pretty amazing stuff once I break it all down like that. And dont forget the other benefits that cant be calculated like stress reduction, fitness and straight out enjoyment.  I also didnt need a gym membership.
For 2010 my goal is to beat the previous year and considering that I am starting a month earlier than last year, I am on track to do it.
Todays stats for the ride in: 14.18miles at 15.9mph.  Slow in comparision, but the season is just getting started for me. I should be back to my usual speeds and times in a month or so.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time and Effort

Keeping this blog has been great. It still is functioning as my original intent, journal. Though more recently I have been unable to put the same amount of time and effort into posting,  I do not apologize for it.  For the time being, I have shifted my priorities and work has been too busy to post from there. With that said, the picture below will explain where I am putting my time and effort these days.

Can ya' blame me?

Friday, January 29, 2010

RAAM Documentary Trailer

Bicycle Dreams.

While I wouldn't mind trying to do a ride from coast to coast, I have no desire to try and get it done in 10 days.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Juggling Skills: The Flaming Torch

I went for a walk today and came across this guy juggling flaming torches.

I love walking Portland. You never know what interesting thing you will see.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Basement Shop Is Open

My basement hidey hole is coming along pretty nicely. After a slow start I have finally got most of the major pieces in place.  The "L" shaped top is 1 1/2 inches thick, 3/4 inch plywood under 3/4 hardwood flooring left over from the work upstairs. 
The shelving was 10 bucks at a yard sale. I've had that for about 4 years now and Im glad it's finally on a wall.  The peg board was also 10$ at a different yard sale. I've only been sitting on that for a year or so. Some old white LED christmas lights provide under bench lighting while a fluorescent shop light (came with the house) is for the main illumination

I painted the concrete wall white, using that DryLok product. The manufacture claims it will hold back water up to 10psi. Ill believe that when I see it.  Regardless of those claims, the white color brightens it up nicely.  I dug out an old 3-disk CD changer for some tunes whilist I work and even managed to hook up an old 13-tv to a cable connection.  The dart board on the right side will provide a little fun and the woodstove (not pictured) will keep it pretty comfortable down there.  I even dragged over a recliner from my bachelor days into this general area.
All I am really missing is beer fridge. That I am SURE can be arranged.

Friday, January 15, 2010

First Post of the New Year

Greetings.  yep, its 2010 and we're off to another year.  What are my expectations for the new year? Well, at the homestead keeping engaged with the boy is the major priority; of course if I can get the rest of the trim on the house painted and gutters up all the way around Ill call it a good season. 
I definitely need to get several more trees down around the back yard, too much shade.  Plus, the oaks are a real pain to rake up after in the fall and the hemlocks just suck up space and sunlight. They've got to go.
I would love to get a new bike this year (here) but considering my VW golf has 272,000+ miles I think that a new (new to me) car is more likely.
At work I would like to really kick ass in honing project management skills and maybe learn some of the business operations. Also I need to submit my application for my state of Maine Geologist license.  I absolutely should have it by now.
Oh and my New Years resolution: MORE MUFFINS.