Lots of words and then the George Hincapie Movie!

I have to say, I loves me the pro cycling. It is a maddening sport of late. I hate the doping, but I also hate the inept press and the reactionary cyclists=dopers backlash from the public at large. Look America, if your 138 lb euro-pro cyclist is doped to the gills, do you really think your football players are not? At least most of the cyclists are multilingual. But anyway, this is not a doping post.

I think I was saying I loves me the pro cycling. I like to watch them suffer. I am occasionally fit enough that I can pretend that I know what it is to suffer on a bike. In reality, I don't. But I like to try anyway. I like to watch the tiny bike men climb the high mountains and suddenly attack, or suddenly loose 5 minutes in two kilometers. But I really like to watch the slightly less tiny bike men power through the rolling hills and cobbles of the spring classics.

I also like two cyclists a lot, because they are both merrican, both about my age and they both have been rolling at the upper echelon of cycling since I have been paying attention. The first is Lance Armstrong. Yes, Lance E. Poo and I have a complex relationship, what with all the innuendo and whatnot, but I have to say i am a unabashed fanboy. Go lanciepoo! My first lance memory came when I was 16 or so. I was a hot shot runner, I had the engine to turn the bike decently and I was a pretty good swimmer, so I could usually win my age group in a local triathlon. After podiuming in a Coors Light Biathlon in upstate NJ, I thought I was the stuff. I checked out inside triathlon, or some other tri rag, to see who the national ranked competition was, and there in bold print as the number one 18 and under tri-geek was Lancie Pants himself. Thus he was on my radar for the last 20 years or so, can't help but cheer for the guy.

The second guy is George Hincapie. Not so big george. Sure he is taller than me, but I am pretty sure I could out rassle him. But anyway, he is a big guy on a bike that was riding for some NE junior pro development team around when I was paying attention. It helps that I sort of look like him if I was to grow three inches and lose about 30 pounds. Big george my ass. Big Maggie Backsteld, now that was a big feller. But anyway, slim georgie is one of my favorite cyclists. He sort of can sprint, he sort of can roleur, he sort of wins alot, he is always there turning the pedals. If I was a pro cyclist, I am pretty sure I would be a rolleur. So go slim george!

Anyhow, Georgie wins pretty often, but in reality he is like the Chicago Cubs of the pro cycling circuit. He never wins the big one. Roubaix. We love you anyway george, but whats with roubaix?

So anyway. I clicked on an ad on velonews and watched this excellent trailer for a movie called a ride with george:

The best part is where the interview shouter says "I don't understand why the f$#^ you haven't won roubaix, I don't get it", yeah me neither. I really like the trailer, but am worried it will be more "the tour baby" rather than "the fog of war" but we will see. I am pretty psyched for it anyway.
Anyone see this yet and have a review before I go ahead and buy the DVD?



Though I have been eating them for weeks as sour little bites, the recent increase in bird activity coupled with glowing red fruits -
Harvest time I think

told me it was harvest time. So Elena and I grabbed a few pounds off the tree in twenty minutes. Plenty left on the tree for us in the next week, and plenty for the robins.

A couple of pounds in twenty minutes


Abstract weevilage

Wevils in the hollyhocks

Hollyhocks in space

I am guessing the hollyhocks might not really bloom due to some sort of fornicating infestation, but they are kind of fun to have. Happier than a boll weevil in a cotton field.


Not so fat winkie

Wink256 is down around 17lbs! I wish we could claim victory as cat parents of the year, but it was serious health problema (possibly surgery causing constipation, horay!) that pushed us to radically change his diet and by extension, make him sort of skinny. He was a mighty 25lbs earlier last year at some point. See him at the height of his powers

See him now:

The key? Well, with 3 other cats we just left food out all the time and Wink256 had some self control issues. Now we have stopped that, and feed the other three cats seperately from winkie. He gets only soft mostly protein food and some greenies. Thats it. Mixed with some special laxitive stuff. Yummy! He is much better and now can get on the counters and up trees where he never would get before. He also complains constantly about being starving, see video above. But in reality, he just craves kibble. No kibble though, it has the possibility for relapsing him into constipation hell.

Also, he likes to remind us that we still need to spend vet money on him. This time he got his ass kicked by one of the two big black tomcats in the neighborhood. Now he is sporting the poodle look, gets the antibiotics and cost us 80 buckeroonies. Thanks Pal. A least the vets were impressed with his thinnitude.


I, Nimrod

Warning, if you are squeamish about killing the tiny animals read no further

This week my friends I have kilt the hell out of a gopher. It was not my first gopher kill. Nay, I have killed before, finishing the botched work of the felines, I have even paid others to kill on my behalf, tens of gophers killed on my behest. It was not even the first time that I have set traps with intent to kill. Today, however, was the first time I intended to kill a furry or feathered creature (bigger than a mouse) and succeeded. I am absolutely delighted. Here is my tale.

I hate gophers. Unlike the mole who loves thems the insects, the gopher tunnels beneath the ground and eats the tender roots of only the plants you care about. They breed prodigiously, they live out of sight. They resist humane methods to remove them. They actually mock common remedies.

Place cat litter in their holes to cause them to move away?
Please. They regularly churn up a sandy area in our yard that is often used as an outdoor litter box by the cats.

Buy these sonic gopher chasers that release "intolerable underground vibrations every 30 seconds" that will keep your yard gopher free?
I also have this bridge thing to sell you, our gopher dug air holes right up to the chaser the first night I put it in and continued daily fruit tree smorgasbord within 5 feet of the gopher chasers. Also, the underground vibrations are quite audible at 50 feet with the bedroom window open in the middle of the night. Also, you just laid out 100 dollars you could have put toward better things. Sucker.

I paid alot of money over the last two years to have someone come buy and trap (kill in a trap that is) gophers, 10 bucks a dead one, 20 bucks a call out (call out lasting a month). I am guessing that he has killed at least 15 on the property since we moved in. So there is gopher blood on my hands metaphorically right there. Also a couple hundred dollars in gopher killing fees. Sucker.

The murdery felines caught at least three more, but they don't kill gophers, they just mutilate them and disorient them and leave them to a slow death. So how do you kill a gopher? Well, let me tell you, I know that you do not break there neck like you do a mouse (hold back of neck down with something hard like a key or a finger and yank the body back), it just does not work at all. And gophers have bitey yellow nasty teeth. How do I know? Well I picked up a one that the cats killed, only it was not quite dead yet and it reanimated to give me a terrific bite with its large nasty yellow teeths. Thankfully I was wearing my creature disposal gloves (handy for birds, snakes, gophers, mice and chipmunks, guaranteed!) which were made of thick leather. However, I did sustain a mighty bruise for the effort. So how to kill them? First a digression.

Our murdery cats do not generally kill birds. We have belled them, and in one case multibelled them so they can't sneak up on anything that listens. (alas snakes don't listen). The house, on the other hand, takes sadistic pleasure in reflecting a feasible flight path in its windows, hence we have a fair number of dead, maimed and dying birds to deal with. I need to dispatch them quickly so the cats do not mess with them for hours before eating them. I learned to my dismay that you can twist their heads around 360 degrees to break their necks, so their head is only attached to their body by the skin, yet still they live and breath and squack and generally make you feel like shit. So I came up with a quick effective possibly humane solution. Put them in a bag and step on their heads. They die right quick.

So how does one kill a gopher. Put them in a bag and crush their heads underfoot. So there is gopher blood on my hands, or properly on my shoes, for this, but this is not me killing by choice, it was me killing because it is better than letting the cats have their way with a half dead creature and letting it die over hours.

But this year, I resolved to protect the crop of fruit trees I bought with our populist BS tax refund last year, but I wanted to man up and fight those gophers myself. So first I bought some gopher chasers that are solar powered. As stated before, the gophers mocked me and me wasting my money on such things. So I sighed and went back to the local hardware store and got a few more Victor wire traps. I know, in theory, how to catch gophers with traps, I have read books, watched people at work trapping gophers and I have tried many times before, but I usually wimp out and don't place the traps far enough down the tunnels into the main arteries. The ground is a scary place and I don't like reaching far down hand sized tunnels chockfull'o insects and bitey bitey gophers. But dammit, this year I was going to set a trap and purposely kill a fucking gopher all by myself. So I did.

I spent a few nights planting traps in the insane maze of tunnels around the slowly dying peach and plum trees. I pushed the traps deep in the ground, down the air vents and around the corner into the main tunnels. But I was thwarted. It seems that there were many abandoned tunnels around. I carefully smashed all the holes down so it was clear what was old, and then the next evening I went back and dug out the new gopher mound way back until I found the tunnels and trapped two of the three. I waited until the next night and dug them out and huzzah! I killed a little bastard. The trap did its job and that is one less prolific breeding root chewing pest in the yard. That night I lit a bonfire and wore the gophers fresh pelt on my head and danced naked howling in the moonlight in triumph. AaaaaaaaaaaaWooooooooooooooooooooooooo!'

I don't really feel bad at all. I usually feel terrible when forced to kill a maimed bird and even felt really bad when I had to kill cat mauled gophers in the pre-bite-era... But now, yeah, it feels good. We have lots of peaches to eat off our tree this year and I want to eat them for years to come.

There are some other methods I did not explore, one is poison, which is just stupid, but I can totally see going for it if you were at your wits end. The local hardware store has ample supplies of gopher poison, but no thanks. The next is the Rodenator where you pump propane and oxygen into their tunnel and ignite it. The tunnels collapse as do the pests lungs. Its organic! (really! check out the ridiculous website, great videos!) Our town here bought a system to blow the hell out of all the gophers that have invaded the ball fields aroun town. I would love to do this, but the worst gopher infestation is right where the gas lines are at my house. So not only could I take care of my gophers, but the entire neighborhood, gophers, houses and all, in one big boom.

Now I have a minor gopher disposal problem. I think the right disposal source is to just jam the dead critter way down the tunnel so it can return its nutrients to the earth from whence it came (foul demon). However, with the cats, neighborhood dogs, racoons and skunks about, I think they would dig up the smelly tasty corpse making a big mess. I think our local raptor center would take them, but I am not sure about storage, unless they take ones and twos at a time. I could eat them, which would feel right to me, I hunted it, I kilt it, I should eat it, but there seems to be conflicting information about their plague carrying status, NM seems to be one of the last places in the US that you can easily get plague, every year a couple local cats and children in town catch the plague, so I will try to minimize the exposure, besides they are not very meaty... I wish the town had a bounty, I have heard up to $2 per gopher in places, but alas not here. That at least would give my neighbors reason to take care of their gophers that usually move into my yard when I have made vacancies... I guess I will call the raptor center and see what the dealy-o is.

So in conclusion. I thought about it, I set traps and I killed.
I hunted.

I, Nimrod.


More Schwinns

I spent a few hours Saturday afternoon getting the schwinns roadworthy. They need work, but they roll and stop and are perfect for neighborhood cruising.
I did have to bust out the special wrenches to get them running.

I busted these out

And clear out the wasp nest under the saddle.
Subsaddle waspage

But the bikes are good and the generator lights even work.

The generator headlamp still works

The chariot trailer hitch neatly replaces the serrated washer on the SA hubs and, though overgeared, Elena and I and Aida headed out for a family cruise saturday evening.

Family portriat

more photos of the excellent Schwinns

Chrome chainguard


Ooops, more bikes

Somehow I think I added 4 bikes and a trailer to the horde this week. It was an accident.
From reverse order of accrual:

Matched purply goodness

Found a matched set of his and hers Schwinn Travelers at a garage sale early this morning, they were asking too much, so I came back at 2pm as they were shutting down and we haggled it down to the point where I have them now. Bwa ha ha ha. SA AW hubs, 1964 &1965 date stamps, finned fenders, front and rear generator lights, all original, needs new rubber and cables and brake pads and some other love, but the chrome is in good shape, the paint is purplicious. I have not bought a fair number of derailered Schwinns of this era as they all seem to be untunable wrecks, but these have the lovely AW hubs and the nicer quality stems, and chrome bits on the chainguards and the like. Good stuff. More details:
Excellent Pedals

Miller lamps

Finned fenders

I think there were never any Schwinn shops in Los Alamos as Chicago Schwinns are few and far between at garage sales here, and when they appear, they are often imports from other states. These were bought at the George Garner Cyclery in Northbrook IL. Anyhow, great stuff.

At a different garage sale we scored one of those plastic tricycles with a long handle that ties into the steering system. I think Aida has a few more inches before she can reach the pedals, but she is getting there... No pictures of that.

Finally, we got a double chariot trailer/jogger from a coworker for a good price. We already have a single, but the only downfall of the single is lack of cargo space in addition to the baby, so we got this so elana can go shopping by bike and bring the baby... If it does not fit in with our needs, I am pretty sure we can sell it or the other one quickly... It came bundled with the bike attachment, the jogger wheel and the "daddy rickshaw" attachment. It also came with a pretty nice 12" ralleigh kids bike which will go in the waiting for aida pile. I may pull the cranks off it to make a lik-a-bike type contraption. Here is me hauling it all home from work on the P/R:
Haulin more bike crap on home


Rain barrels from the county, Wink256 found and Quemazon trail riding

Cheaper rain barrels from los alamos county ($60 per each with spigot hardware and netting top) made their way home in a manner befitting a kinetic sculpture race, I was tempted to detour into Ashley Pond, but was worried that the front end lacked buoyancy.

Dual barrel action

They are garlicy barrels, unlike the olivey ones we got before. Yes, riding was possible and fun:

And riding too

One is set up as south west corner downspot collector and the other is currently acting as an overflow catch for the 200 gallon tank on the north side. I think .25" of rain gets us a full 200 gallons on the north side, maybe more, so additional collectors are needed. We got almost 2 inches in the last week of may and it would have been nice to bank a bit more of that for the rest of the summer.

In other news Wink left the house at around 6:30 pm and did not return until after 10pm. It is very unlike him to leave for more than half an hour. We thought for sure he had made a nice meal for a coyote, but he eventually returned and he smells pretty bad. I think he probably got into a fight with some other creature and was hiding somewhere until he calmed down. He seems no worse for the wear. Last time he got in a big fight he was stinky and freaked out for days (seen below).

Crazed wink256

Finally, I went up the whole of the Quemazon trail on the single speed this evening just as Wink256 had gone missing. I had not been up it the whole way since the aspen puncture incident of ought seven. I have run and biked the nature trail up quemazon down loop a bunch of times, but not up all the way. The top part is even more fun than I remember. I remained unpunctured, but got the queazies when I passed the incident point. But it was all good, and the whole eight mile loop is able to be done in something like 1:15 of riding time while taking it slow. The trail head to pipeline intersection was 44 minutes of riding. My record on the single speed is 34:56 during the hill climb time trial back in '05 when I was all skinny and stuff. But that was a brain cell killing hard effort. This was for fun.

Quemazon trail, looking back toward town and the Sangre de Cristos behind.