Monday, May 23, 2011

More guilty pleasures

I started on a post today that either needs a lot more work or to be thrown away. It's bound to draw out some opinions; I'm tempted to keep working on it for that reason alone. I just want to make sure I get it right, so instead I'm going to talk about more guilty pleasures:

  • Lady Gaga - just downloaded the new album today (thanks to Amazon - 99 cents!). Love it. Never thought I'd be this into a pop diva, but I am.
  • PBR - when I mentioned this one to a friend, he responded "Swiss chocolate is nice, but so is a Twix bar." Pretty much sums it up.
  • Training on tubulars - I had a flat tire in the masters race at Sugarhouse on Saturday, so I borrowed my brother's spare (clincher) for the P/1/2 race. I apologized when I saw him Sunday afternoon for not getting it back sooner. "That's OK," he said, "gave me a good excuse to ride on my tubulars today." I feel the same way. The ride is so, so nice. I don't even care if it's placebo effect. I like it.
  • Cup-o-Noodles - the vending machines at work have spicy Cup-o-Noodles for $1.00. I've indulged only a couple times because it's got like three days worth of sodium in it. Not worth getting fat over, but kind of tasty once in a great while.
  • Olive oil - alright, I won't even pretend to feel guilty about this one, but it's still worth mentioning. Some friends just returned from Italy and brought some olive oil and 18 year old balsamic vinegar with them. Unlike the previous item, this is worth getting fat over.
These are some of mine. What are yours?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rat in Mi Kitchen

I should be writing about the knee deep powder I skied this morning. It was nice, especially in May, and more especially because this spring has been cold and wet such that a chance to do anything outside in good conditions is something to relish. I should also note that it was day 59 this ski season. That's an amazing season no matter how you slice it.

But instead of writing (or writing more) about that, I'm going to write about what happened between 4:50 and 5:10 a.m. as I got ready to go skiing.

The rat, or rather mouse (or possibly vole--I'm no good at small rodent taxonomy), never set more than a couple steps into my kitchen. I discovered it when I opened the dryer and it scurried out from underneath and into the bathroom, where it disappeared.

"Great," I thought, there's a mousehole in my bathroom and this thing can come and go at will. Thing is, I couldn't find any kind of a gap in the wall or baseboards that it could have conceivably fit through, even though it only needed a 5mm gap.

I sat down and ate breakfast, figuring I'd deal with it later. Being a curious type, it came out of the bathroom and a few steps into the kitchen while I was eating. Then it ran into the bathroom and disappeared again.

At this point I was freaking out, because I am a full-on ninny when it comes to rodents in my house (yet somehow squirrels in my campsite are cute? go figure...). So I called Rachel, who was asleep, because I needed moral support. She came down and I told her about the problem. She insisted I go in and check the bathroom again.

No sign of it. Wasn't behind the wastebasket or under the stool or behind the toilet brush. But the plunger. We have one of those plungers with corrugated sides that's pretty deep. It could be in there. Which meant I was obligated to do something about it.

The plunger was leaning against the wall at an angle, so I pushed it so the business end was flat on the floor. Then I dragged it across the floor and onto a piece of paper. I lifted plunger and paper into a bucket and shook the plunger. Something was clearly in there. Which presented a new problem--what to do with the live rodent?

Any PETA members should stop reading now, because there was no way I was risking that little sucker coming into my house again. So I did what any red-blooded American who happily eats meat but wants as far away from the killing process as possible would do: I overturned the bucket and shook the plunger over the toilet and watched as the rodent plopped into the water and immediately started to tread.

And then I flushed.

And then I watched anxiously wondering if it would go down.

Thankfully it went down.

Rachel said she flushed about nine more times after I left just to be sure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Doing it wrong

Last summer I went to the dentist more often than I rode my mountain bike in Corner Canyon. Which is not to say I didn't ride. I was just too busy riding my road bike to get on my mountain bike. Clearly I was doing it wrong.

Sunday afternoon, I rolled out of my driveway about noon and was on dirt within five minutes. I dropped down the freeride trail (for which a 29er hardtail is particularly ill-suited), over to the Shoreline, up to the tunnel under the highway (that will open up miles of new trail later this summer), back down to the Shoreline, up Clarks, down Rush, up Ghost, down Ghost, up Canyon Hollow then Brocks then Jeep road back to the neighborhood, with the last five minutes to my house on pavement.

Ride time was 2:05 door-to-door with zero driving to the trailhead or time spent loading bikes onto racks. I was reminded why I bought a house in my neighborhood in the first place. Just because I race on the road doesn't mean I have to train on the road, right?

Even if I'm wrong, don't tell me.

Monday, May 16, 2011


One of my (many) pet peeves is when people talk about giving 110% effort or putting any effort in excess of 100% into something. It's a pet peeve simply because it's not possible.

Let's say you're a sales person, and you have an annual quota. It's possible to get 110% or 150% or even 200% of your quota. Because your quota is a fixed amount with, theoretically at least, no upper limit.

But let's say that you're the most spectacular sales person in the world and so good that everyone buys only from you, so your sales are equal to 100% of the company's revenue. It would be impossible for you to have more than 100% of company revenue, because each additional dollar in sales (the numerator in this equation) increases total company revenue (the denominator) by one dollar. Effort is the same way--no matter how hard you work, you can't put in an effort greater than 100% of what you are capable of. A 100% effort is, by definition, everything you have to give.

So it is in life, with family, work, bike racing, skiing, even blogging. I have 24 hours in each day, and no matter how hard I work, I can't use more than 100% of that time. You may have noticed last week that I didn't post. I think that's the first time that's happened that I wasn't on vacation in the three years or so that I've been at this. Life got in the way.

I didn't blog about White Rim three weeks ago or Gooseberry two weeks ago or state criterium championships one week ago. Part of that is because I've blogged about all those things in the past, and I couldn't think of an innovative spin to put on White Rim being hard or Gooseberry being fun or state crits being disappointing (disappointing for me--Junkie Boy won the 10 and under race, and even though that wasn't an official race category, we're still claiming the win). I imagine I could have thought of something interesting to say about each, but I just never found the time to think about what that thing was, let alone to write it down.

This lack of time seems to be a microcosm of my life this year. Since starting my new job in February, I've had to put at least 20% more effort into work than before. Since upgrading to Cat. 2, the races have been at least 20% harder, which means I need more time and focus in training. Unfortunately, all I had was about 10% to give either way and to give more than that to either one would require a compromise of the other. I love bike racing, but it's not my life.

Which is not to say I'm giving up or making excuses. My performance has sucked, I know why it's sucked, and I own my suckiness. All I'm saying is that my hat is off to the guys in the Pro/1/2 field, Sleevie in particular, who's got two wins on the trot against some pretty vicious competition. I, on the other hand, will be lining up with the Masters field at Sugarhouse on Saturday and will put 100% of what I'm capable of into trying to at least finish a race for the first time this month.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Me (to Dug): I'm riding at lunch. Mellow pace. You should come.

Dug: Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess) I have a team Cinco de Mayo celebration today.

Me: I've now heard it all. The company that imports Corona makes up a holiday to sell more beer. And you can't come so you can celebrate said made up holiday with a bunch of people who don't even drink beer. Wow.

Dug: They're watching The Three Amigos. I love Three Amigos.

Me: Oh well why didn't you say so. Sure for Three Amigos. I mean, had you said "Can't. Watching Three Amigos," I would've understood.

Dug: Glad I said it then.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


When I was attending business school early in the last decade, all the talk in the technology sector was about convergence. Cameras were just starting to find their way into phones, and the guys from Blackberry, who made email-only devices at the time, wowed everybody at a tech symposium when they placed and received phone calls on their prototype devices. Convergence was such a big deal that when I interviewed with Microsoft, they wanted to know what I thought the three big trends were in the tech sector, not including convergence.

Fast forward to today. I was running a few minutes late for work, so I dialed in to the conference line for the day's first meeting. My iPhone paused the podcast I was listening to automatically when I placed the call. I was on the phone for a few minutes before arriving at the office and walking into the conference room.

I ended the phone call when I got in the room. And my podcast resumed playing. On the external speakers that were loud enough for everyone to hear. And because I work for a security company, I have to type in a five digit code to get back to a screen where I can actually control the iPod, which takes some time. The podcast I happened to be listening to was Mormon Stories, and it happened to resume playing an interview with a sex therapist talking about some of the "issues" she has treated.

If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have to worry about broadcasting the words "his desire not being too dominant..." as you walk into a conference room. I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.