Friday, March 30, 2007

Feed the Pigeons

Today is a short day at work. An afternoon appointment followed by a racquetball match.

I got to sleep in and also cycle the clothing supply at work. A couple of pants, shirts, etc. I loaded eveything into the car, started her up before going back into the house to make coffee and get lunch ready. Forty minutes later I was on the road all toasty warm.

Did you notice how the gas prices have skyrocketed lately? What's with that? They say the supply is higher now. How can that be? It's not vacation season. You would think that the summer would be the high demand season. Gas will probably go to $4.
I think we are being taken. What could the reason be for gas to be this high.

I'm playing Toby tonight and will let him get some points in the last game. Maybe even let him win. You know, if you don't feed the pigeons once in a while, they won't come back.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


It was chilly this morning. I had hoped to get some extra shut eye but the US/Guatemala match kept me up till 11PM.

Only one truck idling empty in a driveway today. (tough guy). We're almost there, being down from about a dozen just two weeks ago.

The wind didn't affect me till the last mile of the commute, when I got into the wide open industrial park. I had to drop down into the granny gear to maintain 10MPH.

My buddy Steve who is trying to get himself to start bike commuting managed to ride a couple of miles before turning back. The cold got to him. "Maybe I wasn't dressed for it", was his reasoning. Possibly, but I really think cold weather riding is an acquired thing that takes a lot of adjusting, one of which is dressing. The difference in our description is telling. He called it "cold", I said 'chilly" Those who do ride in the winter realize it's not the weather it's the layers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Dog is Fine

My worries were unfounded. On the commute home old Blackface was there to greet me as usual.

He got to his stage in order to sing me off into the sunset. I'll be calling youuuuuu, ewe ewe ewe. ewe ewe ewwwwwe.

I also mentioned Stanley the guard dog. His chore is to keep the geese away from the pond.

Stanley is new.

At the very end of the ride, I head a commotion off to my right. I'm usually on the other side of the road in the parking lot. I have heard these noise makers before, but this was our first sighting of each other.

This guy is obviously the boss.

The boss and his lieutenant.

Biking really is fun.

D'ja getwet

"How was the ride. D'ja getwet"? I'm touched that so many people in my office were so concerned about my ride home last nite.

Yes I did get wet. And no, it didn't bother me at all. It took me over an hour for the eleven mile ride. The puddles forced me to time my riding so I could swerve into the road to avoid both the standing water and the speeding cars.

Yesterday the animal control officer was in front of the home of a dog that greets me every time I ride by. He runs the fence line as I pass, ending up on top of a woodpile sending me on my way with his barking. I wanted to stop and ask if something had happened, but the owner, controll officer and a guy in a big ole pickup truck were in the street talking.

This morning I stopped and asked a woman walking her dogs if she knew anything. She also saw the dog officer but thinks she heard my buddy barking later in the evening. I really hope he is there tonight when I ride by. I'll get a photo.

Also this morning the "duck dog" was back. He is a golden retriever who is stationed at the pond in front of a neighboring business. His job is to chase the geese away. (They do make a mess because there are so many.). He came charging at me when I approached to take a photo. Stopping at the electric fence, I think he noticed the camera, looked right at me, sat down and posed. He gave me two shots before moving off to check the pond.

Only two trucks were idling in the driveways today. Ironic that I was perspiring while riding, while these guys warmed up their trucks so they won't be chilled. I always though guys who drove pickups were tough. How wrong I am on that huh?

The birds are just starting to chatter as I drive though the country part of the commute. The city's bird culture was quiet this morning.

Monday, March 26, 2007

No Thanks

A light rain began about an hour before quitting time. Two people offered me and my bike a ride back to the car. "Why" I asked, "because of the rain?". I declined all offers and rode, got very wet and kind of liked it.

Yesterday my son called from Atlanta and said "You drive 30 miles and then ride your bike the rest of the way?"

"Yea, what of it?"

"Your nuts", he said.

I'm thinking of reviewing my will.

Amazing Grace

Wifey and I had a nice weekend together. I got a couple of hours of riding on Saturday while she went to the gym. I rode to the Fort Taber Museum, for a Viet Nam Veterans event. It was chilly riding along the waterfront, and I arrived at the museum only to find the event was Sunday. (the next day). Seems the news article was wrong.

We topped off the nite in Warren R.I. with dinner at India Restaurant.

Sunday was movie day and we saw, Amazing Grace. I enjoy period movies and this one did a good job convincing us we were in 18th centuy England.


They are back at it. I saw a handfull of trucks idling in driveways this morning. I left the house at 5:30 and merely had to use the windshield washer to clean off my window. I imagine people look out of their house, see frosted windows, click their remote starters, then go shower and make coffee.

The ride this morning was chilly, I have to say. It was 36 at the start and at daybreak dropped to 31F. However, the return ride is what it's all about. Mid 50's and sunny. (So they say).

Bill Maher just keeps getting better and better. HBO is good for him.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Commuting is Improving

Friday I arose early to bike to work. The temperature was very nice indeed at the 6AM start. What I have noticed and mentioned in the past, is how much the temperature drops at daybreak. So much so that it is very noticable.

Daylight is creeping it's way into the moring ride. Two weeks ago the whole of the 10 mile commute was in the dark. One other disturbing thing that has disappeared is the amount of trucks, suv's and big cars, idling in driveways. Most in excess of 20 minutes.

I usually make a stop to say hello to the workers at the Extra Mart located around the halfway point. They were all very understanding in the winter when I would stop inside to warm up. We chatted a little and I think they kind of liked the company.

Daily I ride through the grounds of the Aslyum and every once in a while get the heeby jeebys thinking about the past residents. The buildings like this were build in the mid 19th century.

I get to the boundary of the industrial park as the morning temps begin to rise causing the mist to rise.

During the home leg, I came across this little fella grazing with mum.

Next week looks great for five days of commuting. Great for us fair weather riders.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A blog friend put the bug in my ear to do a night ride.

Riding up Union St. in New Bedford, I got a glimpse of this sight.

I was riding in Fairhaven as the sun was setting.

I took a different route into downtown to avoid having to cross a four lane highway. There are traffic lights, but it's still difficult to cross.

The state has been repairing the rail tracks in anticipation of the commuter train to Boston. I am not sure if that will help or hurt New Bedford. The train will allow people to take advantage of the low housing costs, but it will also rapidly raise the costs dramatically as the demand rises. Personally, I like it like it is now.

The new route took me to an overpass that crosses Rt6 from the bridge into the city.

This is the courtyard of the senior housing complex.

I did manage to get a this last photo before my batteries died out.

A stop in a downtown cafe for a double expresso topped of the evening before the five mile ride home in the dark. Riding through town was fine, but the bike path was very dark.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The roads are not ready for safe biking since Friday's storm. The daytime melt and overnight freeze makes the edges very slippery. The main problem is that the morning commute is in darkness.

The miles I commute over the next two weeks are part of a fundraiser for an online support group. I have pledged to ride 200 miles, and the first day is already a wash. Tuesday for sure.....maybe. I'll scout a couple of routes on the way home tomorrow and will do my best to find one. Nothing like a little motivation to get one out of bed early mornings. (in the dark).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aliens at the Aslyum

As I was about to leave on a long Monday evening ride, I noticed that Pans Labyrinth was finally playing in a local theater. I was not disappointed. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Superbly acted, and beautifully directed, this is a bewitching tale that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.

It's done in Spanish with English subtitles, that were not at all distracting.

  • Commuting.

Today was really nice for commuting weather wise. A couple of layers of light clothing was plenty. It's still dark for the whole commute and will be for at least a couple more weeks.

  • On the Lighter Side

Passing through the State Hospital grounds can trigger our imagination. When it's dark, and very quiet, we can think about the people who lived and died there years ago. Wondering about things that may have happened in "this" spot can trigger comparisons to "The CooCoo Nest" movie. Thoughts like that must also affect the staff. Which brings me to this mornings commute.

The Asylum is the darkest part of my ride, and on a winding road that passes through a wooded area before opening up to the well lit main grounds. As I approached the parking lot, I saw a group of workers gathered, looking ansy. I also noticed their discomfort may be directed at me. I was beginning to worry about trespassing. When I got close they began to smile and sigh saying, "it's a bike". I then realized all they could see was my blinkie, that has a random flashing program, passing through the trees. I can only imagine what they were thinking.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Star Lit Commute

A starlit sky,accentuated by Venus, and a bright half moon. Temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. Perfect for a morning bike commute.

One has to wonder about changing the time three weeks early. In the evenings, houses glow blue from the television. Maybe a light in the kitchen or bathroom. In the mornings, every room is lit like a Hollywood production. Most driveways have an empty vehicle running, steam or smoke spewing from the exhaust. The time change did make it very easy to get up an hour early today though.

I am involved in a fundraiser for a smoking support group, Quit Smoking Journals It"s an annual fundraiser that is tied to my bike commuting mileage, and it occurs just at the right time to get me motivated to return to bike commuting.

I did see a fellow commuter that had gone MIA the last few months. I now realize that he has changed hours and rides much earlier than he used to. He works very close to where I park my car for my commute, so I guess we will be seeing a lot of each other from now on. I say "good morning" every time I see him and eventually I'll get more than a nod from him in passing

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Yesterday was cold and windy so I used the opportunity to bring clothes and some soup to work. Soup??? Yea soup. I could be messy trying to bring a few days worth of vegetable soup in a backpack.

Today was a classic ride over to New Bedford. It's where the big Homeland Security bust took place last week. It's really causing a furor around here.

All the righties are in an uproar over the "illegal" workers. And all the lefties are in a conundrum over the owners who took advantage of the immigrants.

The pizza shop is where the workers could get their fake Social Security and Green cards for a price.

The weather report are very promising for bike commuting all week. I am working the weekend also. Seven days concurrent riding would be a treat. The only possible problem is the time change that just went into effect. I don't know how the roads will be at 6AM. That's now daybreak, the coldest part of the day and the time when black ice forms. Could be fun I guess.

The YMCA, or as the locals say, da why, is my gym of choice. I have been a member since 72 and it also has a good racquetball crowd and courts.

Plenty of people, bikes and dogs out today. It was near 50F and felt a whole lot better that that after two weeks of sub zero temps. This family biked to lunch at Pub 99. A favorite of mine by the way.

I got a good 17 miles in today and the camera was active also. There are a couple of route choices getting around town. This one is behind the super market complex and it parallels the road and the bike path.

Ole Blue's cockpit.

Another view from behind the supermarket.

This one's for Keith

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rider Down

One of my fellow bike bloggers was taken out last week in Kansas City. He doesn't look too bad after going a round with a big ole SUV. He is ok, but it will be a few days before he is riding again. On the other side of the world, I am just now starting my commutes. Today may have been the last racquetball day for a while. That's too bad, because I am really playing well.

Tomorrow I'll get a good ride in (with photos) before the "Minister of Finance" and I sit down and get the taxes done. I have been using TaxACT. It has several free programs, but I have so many form to fill in, it's necessary to use the Deluxe Edition. It does give me state and electronic filing with the purchase.

A couple of days ago there was a very controversial immigration raid up the road a bit, in New Bedford. Lots of children were left stranded, when their parents were shipped all over the country to holding pens.

Although I don't know any of these people personally, I very often meet them on the roads as we pass each other on our bikes. Being a very big fan of everything soccer, I have stopped to watch many a game being played by these workers. Most are Mayan descendants and all of them are very nice people. They must have been, and probably still are terrified. I just can't imaging going through that. Homeland Security gone amuck.

It's very ironic that this factory was making backpacks and other things for the US Government. A government inspector was on the property every day. I am guessing that the order was filled and it was time for a layoff. Like the raids on the vineyards and farms around the country, that occur right after the harvest. Coincidence, I'm sure.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Job Transfer

No luck with the bid and the job transfer. I got beat out by kids already in the craft who want to get closer to home. Maybe next time.

On the bright side. I will be able to continue learning Spanish. The workers in the cafeteria are very good teachers. Two from El Salvador and one from Columbia. My co worker from Mexico is a great help, but I am really beginning to notice the differences in dialects.

I am also taking an online course Coffee Break Spanish on iTunes. The teachers are from Scotland which presents another dialect problem. I really wonder what kind of Spanish I will be speaking when I finally get good at it.

Next week really looks good for bike commuting. The extended forecast for Monday and Tuesday call for temps in the 50's.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sunday Ride

Whenever I have out of state company, I bring them to the waterfront. They are alway facinated and make comments and point out things that I have been around all of my life and sometimes have never taken notice. Things kind of blend into the background.

I picked up my son and his girlfriend, who grew up in St. Louis and had never been to any coast. I drove the city streets and crossed a couple of local bridges on the way home. When I looked into the rear view mirror while talking to her, I noticed she was not in the least paying attention to the conversation. She was looking at the waterfront, completly taken by the view.

There are a couple of boggers I read daily from the midwest. Kansas City, Chicago, Denver etc. When I see their photos, some of them reach out and grab me. Mundane things to them, amazing to me.

Here are a few of my mundane shots.

Saturday Night Concert

Saturday nights are usually "dinner with the Johnsons" and sometimes Crys. I heard a famous singer was in town and told wifey that I would have loved to get tickets. We bantered back and forth, because I didn't think she would like this type of show. How wrong I was about that. Even though she didn't know who he was, she got us tickets. $35 each was not bad at all.

The Johnsons were not interested so Sue and I went for a pre show dinner at Freestones City Grill. The restaurant is just a couple of blocks from the theater and their menu looks standard, but many of the items are not as common as they seem.

A full moon lit our way as we walked the two blocks to the show. We ran into a few friends and a couple of my co workers outside the theater. The clear warm night added just the right amount of ambiance to put the crowd into a relaxing mood.

A DJ from my favorite radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard, took the stage to introduce the star. Here is when we were told that the show was being simulcast worldwide via the web and MVY radio. That really put some jump in everyones step. From that moment on, it was paaaa tay. Then he said it.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together, stand up and welcome to our stage and the world stage, Grammy Award winner.....

Solomon Burke"

Side note: There was a familiar face at the end of the isle. On the way out I asked him, "do you believe in magic"? He smiled and said, "In a young girls heart".

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Except for the Ice.

This is the best day for bike riding in months. The temp will surpass 50F with the sun shining bright. I had every intention of bike commuting today, until I stepped outside. A sheet of ice covered everything, and there was no indication of any road maintenance because it's the weekend after all.

The main roads were fine, but much of the bike commute sits under a canopy of evergreen trees, protecting the pavement from the sun. Tomorrow is a day off and a definite ride to the Y for some racquetball.

After work it's dinner with the Johnsons at Freestones City Grill (pictured above), as a prelude to wifey and I walking to the "Z" to see what we are anticipating to be a wonderfull show by Solomon Burke