Friday, August 24, 2007

God Bless Dick Cheney!

I’ve been consistently opposed to the war in Iraq since before it even began, but now I’ve changed my mind.

It turns out that I may financially benefit from the war and do so without any risk whatsoever.

After receiving the e-mail below, I dropped to my knees, looked to the heavens and exclaimed “God Bless Dick Cheney!”


From:Mrs.Amina.A Bello.
Address: Chiang Rai hospital
31-12 Chiang Rai - Lampoon Rd,
Chiang Rai Thailand

Dearest Beloved,

Attn:The Managing Director

Before I proceed, may I humbly introduce myself to your goodself, My Name is Mrs. Amina.A.Bello, an Iraqi refugee ,my husband was one of the personal aid to the president of Iraq who was formerly overthrown out of power by American Government .
Prior to this last serious crisis that is still ravaging in my country,which recently led to misfortune of our government and my late husband position as the personal aid to the president, we were able to come over here in Thailand ,we inherited the sum of US11 million.The funds were originally gotten from my late husband proceeds.
My late husband was able to safe guard the fund with a very good diplomatic contact from my Country.

I have decided to contact you because I am interested in investing in your country which is investment friendly. Please kindly guide and assist me in making the right investment since I am also interested in buying a residential property as I will be moving my family over there as soon as every thing regarding technical and logictics details is worked out and ascertained to our respective satisfaction.

In view of your participation,I am ready to give you a good negotiable percentage for your assistance,or better still commit it into viable Joint venture projects,be assured that you stand no risk of any kind as the funds belong to me and my only survived son. As soon as I get your consent, we will quickly move this fund to your country for investment .

However, upon your acceptance to work as my partner, you can contact me for more details.I am here with my only surviving son Musa.I strongly believe that associating with you to embark on this and other business ventures will derive a huge success here after, please include you private contact telephone number and private e-mail when replying.

Yours Sincerely.


'Fancy bike' doesn't seem so fancy

The reason I haven’t blogged recently is because I’ve had it in my mind for nearly two weeks to write about the completion of my “fancy bike” project.

I figured if I waited a day or two or three, I could bask in the glory of a completed project and write about it here. And, more importantly, I could start using my new steed for extended rides and get back into an actual training regimen.

Unfortunately, this project is more complicated than I originally thought and is testing the limits of my bicycle mechanic skills.

As I wrote before, my “fancy bike” is the one I got for free on craigslist. It’s an aluminium Cannondale road bike that came in pieces – lots of greasy parts piled inside plastic grocery bags. There were some missing parts and some seriously damaged parts.

I sanded the frame, painted it bright orange and then started piecing everything together. This is where I ran into trouble.

Fancy bike?

First I discovered that something was wrong with the rear axle. It’s apparently bent and the inside of the hub it goes through seems to be messed up. That meant I had to do something I didn’t want to do – start scavenging parts off the Mighty Panasonic.

I put the Mighty Panasonic’s rear wheel on the “fancy bike” and then went to work connecting and adjusting the rear derailleur. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the derailleur to move the chain onto the big rear cog. Even though it didn’t make any sense, and I knew it didn’t make any sense, I decided to start messing with the spring in the rear derailleur. The result: I destroyed the rear derailleur.

So then I scavenged the rear derailleur off the Mighty Panasonic. (That leaves me with two inoperable bikes at this point.)

After installing the derailleur, I realized that the only way to make this work would be to move the entire rear cog closer to the derailleur. This could be accomplished by installing a shorter “spacer” on cog side of the rear axle.

Rather than go out and buy a spacer, I got the brilliant idea of using a hack saw to cut the existing spacer down to size. If I would have thought ahead, this idea may have worked. Instead I grabbed the spacer, jammed it in the vise and start sawing away at it without using my brain. The result was an uneven, diagonal cut.

I looked at it and thought to myself “Would I want to climb Berry Summit with this thing on my axle?” No way!

Today I finally decided to consult the professionals, who informed me that they sell various sized spacers that should meet my needs.

The catch is that I’ll need to walk in and show them the hack sawed spacer, which will likely result in them asking me “What were you thinking?” That will be embarrassing, but it’s something I’ll have to do.

Next week I’m booked, so I won’t have any time for this project. But the week after I hope to not only finish the bike, but take it for a ride.

After that I’m going to read up on bicycle training and take this whole obsession to a new level.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog holiday (Holiday from blogging)

Nothing to write.

Nothing to say.

Nothing to blog.

Except for this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Man with the Bloody Face

Just north of Fischer Road there’s a section of the Hammond Trail that’s lush, green and adorned with poppies, nasturtiums and other floral delights. This afternoon I was pedalling through the garden oasis when I saw a man on a bicycle off in the distance coming in my direction. There was nothing unusual about the situation, except that he was swerving from side to side.

As we grew closer, I noticed he was on a mountain bike towing a trailer. He was scruffy looking. There was something wrong with his face, but I couldn’t make it out. He was too far away.

He came closer. He saw me, swerved to his side of the trail and started to pass. That’s when I got a good look at his face. It was covered in blood. Lots of blood. It was fresh, bright-red blood.

It seemed to be dripping from his mouth, eyes and nose. There were dark streaks that looked like cuts and gashes all over. It looked like someone had pummeled his face with a 2x4 multiple times. Or maybe his face was pounded against a rock.

I reminded me of the guy in the movie “Casino” who got his head squashed in a shop vice. The trauma was unbelievable. Most of the corpses on “Law & Order” look better than the cyclist did.

He had a pained, yet determined, look in his eyes as be silently passed me and continued his way southbound.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. Perhaps I should have asked him if he needed help, but if he needed help wouldn’t he have asked? Besides, it all happened so fast I didn’t have time to do anything but gawk. Also, he looked like trouble. It was a situation best left to the professionals.

I tried to flag down a Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol vehicle on nearby Hiller Road. I pedalled as fast as I could, tried to catch up to it, and waved and waved, then the patrol car turned left on Thiel Avenue and disappeared in the distance. Damn. Next stop was the McKinleyville Sheriff’s Office, where I reported what I had seen.

“Can you describe the man?” Margaret asked.

“He looks like a transient and his face is covered in blood,” I answered, adding that he was on a mountain bike and towing a trailer.

She asked if I had any further descriptions of the man.

“His face is covered in blood. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating,” I responded.

It never occurred to me that she might want to know about his height, weight or skin color. (He was a chubby white guy, height undetermined.) His most distinguishing characteristic was his face, which looked like a puddle of blood.

Margaret was professional and polite. She took down the information and smiled, seemingly disinterested. Keep in mind that I’m just one of a thousand exuberant dickheads that wander in everyday and report such nonsense. Imagine how many times people in Humboldt County report finding human corpses that turn out to be venison guts. I don't know if bloody guys are common, but they might be.

Margaret can't afford to get excited about every report. It's best to take notes and pass them on.

I volunteered my full name and phone number. I went about my business and retraced my route home, thinking that I might come across a deputy talking to a man with a bloody face. But there was nothing.

I asked CP if she had heard anything on the scanner. No. Were there any sirens? No.

Who was the man with the bloody face? What happened to him?

Did I imagine it? Right now it’s a mystery. Next week I’ll make a call and see if the deputies found anything.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering whether an incident this morning is somehow related.

About 2 1/2 hours earlier I apparently startled two young fellows in the same area. As I blasted by on my mountain bike, a fellow emerged from behind a stump and yelled at me “Whazup, dawg?”

That’s right – he called me “dawg.”

I remember this vividly because all I could think was “What kind of stupid douche bag would call me dawg?” That’s lame.

He had something white in his hand – maybe a big plastic cup – and about 10 to 20 feet away was another “dude.” (Dudes call people dawgs, right bro?)

I figured they were smoking a joint. That didn’t bother me, because if you’re going to smoke a joint, the magical garden is probably a good place to do so. All I ask is that they don’t litter or loiter – or engage in violent behavior.

In retrospect, I must wonder whether the “dudes” had a run-in with the man with the bloody face. Maybe they beat the crap out of him and stole his stash. Or maybe not.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sun setting near Mad River mouth.8.8.07

Sun setting near Mad River mouth.8.8

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Perusing the Sunday guts

The first thing I do when I receive the Sunday Times-Standard is to remove and set aside what I call the “guts.” That’s the big pile in the center of the paper filled with advertising inserts, the television listings, color comics and a magazine called “USA Weekend.”

The meat of the paper – mostly contained in the A section – is consumed on Sunday morning. After I get my own newspaper out and I’m off deadline on Monday night, I pick through the Sunday guts while watching “Big Love” on HBO.

The first order of business is to read Dilbert, which is printed in full, glorious color. About 60 percent of the time, I laugh out loud. Then, if I’m in the mood, I read Doonesbury. That rarely makes me laugh, but I trudge through it anyway.

I know I’m about to commit blasphemy and will create life-long enemies for writing this, but it’s time to retire “Peanuts.” Mr. Schulz died more than seven years ago. Give that space to a new cartoonist. And what can be said about The Family Circus? That cartoon is consistently awful.

After the comics, I move on to USA Weekend, which almost never has anything worth reading. Still, I keep looking through it in the off chance that there’s a decent recipe or an update on Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety. (I try to stay abreast of the latest celebrity gossip. I consider it my duty as a patriotic American.)

One of the most interesting advertising inserts is the one from Big 5 Sporting Goods. I immediately flip to the gun section. I’m amazed at how inexpensive the rifles are. It’s not in this week’s flier, but there’s usually a vintage Russian army rifle that can be had for about $100. I’ve thought about stockpiling a bunch of these with the idea that I will eventually form my own militia.

I look through the Kmart, Target and Staples inserts to check the price of digital cameras. The technology gets better and better, while the prices keep falling. I'm also intrigued by the tents for some reason. If I had to, I think I could live in some of the larger ones just fine.

This week’s inserts were pushing “back to school” clothing for the kids. It was a good opportunity to get a quick update on what’s considered fashionable among today’s youth, which roughly translates into what’s fashionable for everyone else.

This year’s colors are drab and dreary – lots of beige, muted greens and grays. This is probably symbolic of the mood of the nation after more than six years of the Bush Administration and the bloody, endless slaughter in Iraq.

Speaking of gangsters, the kids are also into some sort of gangsta-chic style. The hoodies feature a fake-looking embroidery with curvy letters. I don’t recall which insert it was, but there was one fellow who was dressed just like a gang banger from East LA.

The pants are baggy and worn looking. The funny thing is that they look like my old jeans, like the ones I might wear when mowing the lawn. One pair of pants advertised even came with fake stains on it!

Somewhere in my garage I have a bag of old, worn-out jeans. I should dig them out, set up a table near the high school and try to sell them for $5 a piece.

I’ve got one pair covered in black roofing tar. That would be the cool, hip thing to wear on the first day of school. It would perfectly match a hoodie with fake stains that was featured in the Kmart insert.

I flip through all these entails, then I deposit the whole pile – except for the tv listings – in the recycling bin

Meanwhile, somewhere in McKinleyville, an insecure freshman is complaining that the pants his mother bought him are “stupid” because they look new and don’t have any fake stains. A cheerleader is convincing her father that she needs to wear low-rider jeans because how else would everyone see the “JUICY” tattoo she got this summer on her lower back.

And at an undisclosed location in Colorado, Dean Singleton is rolling around in a big pile of cash, giggling and thinking about ways to increase the volume of inserts in his expanding chain of newspapers.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Elk For Sale.8.6.07

Elk for sale.8.6.07

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