Ghost Surfers

A few weeks ago, two young chaps had a laugh at the expense of some teenagers.  The night started out like many others.  The birds stopped chirping and returned to their nests or favorite places to perch, the sun set in the north, the fragmented moon began to shine, and the stars stayed hidden due to all the light pollution coming from the porches, street lamps, and cars of Beaverton.  But…this was not to be an ordinary night.  

It was late on Saturday, maybe 1:00AM, and our two heroes were on their way home to get some sleep before a full day of surfing at the coast.  The driver of their vehicle had actually just completed a day of surfing, and had come to pick up his friend in order for him to spend the night so that they could take off early in the morning.  Four surfboards were still strapped to the roof of their car.

As they continued driving home, they passed a small gang of miscreant highschoolers hanging out on a surburbia street corner.  It was quite obvious to our two protagonists that they were up to no good, or were hoping to be up to no good but hadn’t quite stumbled upon the right ingredients yet.  All of that was about to change, as our two surfing characters (we’ll call the driver Kent and the passenger Quincy), had a brilliant plan.  Quincy suggested they turn around and make another pass, as it was obvious that the teenagers needed some entertainment.  So Kent waited until they were out of sight and he turned the car around.  They drove back by the street corner, where the five kids stood and sat on the lawn near the curb, watching the red car with the four surfboards go back the opposite direction, thinking that they must be lost.  But of course that was not the case, for the car turned around again, this time in plain sight of the teenagers, and passed them once more.  This time, their heads all visibly turned as they wondered what must be going on.

Back in the car, Kent and Quincy couldn’t contain their laughter as tears strolled down their cheeks and they gasped for air.  More drive-bys were needed, that was obvious.  So they turned around again out of sight, and a minute later they passed the teenagers for a fourth time.  This time, two were standing up a few paces back from where they had been sitting near the sidewalk.  It was not Quincy and Kent’s goal to scare the poor adolescents, but if that was the case, so be it.  Because the laughter that they were continuing to experience was well worth it.  

Kent noticed the gas light was on, and suspected that it had been on for some time.  They briefly discussed finding a gas station, but thought against it as they turned around for another pass.  This time they approached slowly, then gunned the engine and loudly accelerated past the hooligans.  Kent flipped the car around again when they were out of sight, and this time passed the kids going slowly, with loud music.  They had now all retreated from the lawn where they were sitting, except for one.  The rest were standing back from the corner, backing up to one of their houses.  

Kent and Quincy turned around again, and this time Quincy planned on showing them a pressed ham, but realized he’d have to wait until they were driving the opposite direction so the passenger side was facing the prey.  As they turned around after passing once again, Quincy had an even better idea.  He got in the back seat, where the windows were heavily tinted, and Kent reclined his driver’s seat all the way and leaned back so that he wasn’t visible at all from the side.  He could just barely see through the steering wheel to the road.  Kent rolled down the window and he and Quincy slowly passed, going no more than 10 miles an hour, slightly swerving due to not being able to see.  When they had passed the kids, they burst into a type of laughter that makes one breathless and weak.  They pulled off the road for a minute to get control of themselves.  Snot was steaming down their noses as tears blurred their vision.  After much laughter, subsiding of laughter, then laughter starting up again, Quincy and Kent finally calmed down.  Gas was needed, so they spent about five minutes driving to look for a gas station.  They gave up pretty quickly deciding that there probably was plenty of gas left, but mainly just not wanting their prey to escape while they were gone.

Who knows what the teenagers were thinking at this point.  It had been five or ten minutes since the driver-less car had passed them.  Had it been possessed by surfer ghosts?  Had it simply been a prank by a team of robotics engineers floating above in a blimp who were controlling the car by remote?  Well, it was all over now.  They could settle back into their routine of sitting on the curb at 1:30AM waiting for a case of beer to appear out of thin air in front of them.  

But no, such was not the case.  For Quincy and Kent drove by again!!  The teenager’s hearts skipped a beat, then rappidly skyrocketed.  The brave one stood up as his friends scampered back even farther away from the curb to a nearby bush.  He posted up with his hands covering his crotch like a soccer player creating a wall.  His chin lifted up as if to say, “What UP!  You messin with ME and MY possee?!?!”  

After two more passes, he had retreated back to one of their houses along with his friends, which was, for Kent and Quincy’s benefit, located on the same street.  They were scared, but still too curious to go inside.

Coming in to their final pass, Quincy had a brilliant plan.  Although always tasty, pressed ham still was not on the menu.  Something even better.  Much much better.  The equivalent to a $50 piece of lobster sushi, or a really giant burrito.

As the two trouble-causers came upon the house where the kids had relocated, they rolled down the window and slowed down to a stop.  Four of the teenagers were hiding behind a truck in the driveway, one began fleeing as he saw the ghost surfer’s window roll down.  At this point, one came out of the house with some adults.  Quincy, wasting no time and not stumbling upon his planned speech whatsoever, said:

“Excuse me, do you know where Southwest Linden Street is?”  The adult, who was now walking to his car with the other adult and aparently ignoring whatever his kid had told him about the ghost car, said:

“Hmmm.  Southwest Linden Boulevard.  No, I don’t know where that is.  You know a cross street?”  
“Well…no,” Quincy replied.  “But they told us it was near the 217…” 
“Well that’s about three miles that direction,” the adult pointed.  
“Oh. Well Ok.  Thanks then.”

Flawless. Kent and Quincy drove down the street a little ways, pulled a U turn and passed the teenagers a final time, who were no longer hiding behind the parked truck. As they passed, they waved to the teenagers, forever confusing them and giving them something to wonder about for the rest of their lives.

Drilling

These past two weeks have been full of drilling.  “What am I doing drilling?” you may ask.  Well my answer is this:

I was hired by an archaeology company to do grunt work for a project they were hired for.  It’s for the CRC (Columbia River Crossing) project–the new I-5 bridge that’s going across the Columbia river to Warshington (maybe).  Our job is to make sure there aren’t any significant archaeology sights, such as Indian burial grounds, directly in the path of the drill, and therefore none anywhere in the path of the new I-5 bridge.  We’re also using the data to map the prehistoric landscape.  

My job consists of many things, but mostly it consists of standing around trying to keep my hands out of my pockets to appear busy.  This is my biggest challenge.  Appearing busy in an office setting is much easier.  As long as your staring at a computer screen, you might be doing work.  Chances are you’re not.  Like right now if you’re at work, you’re reading this blog which is not at all related to what you should be doing.  But no one will be the wiser.  Not so with an outside job.  To appear busy during a drill job or any other similar type of thing, one must have a constant look of confusion or deep concentration on one’s face, as if in a perpetual state of bewilderment and or meditation.  To compliment this look and further promote the deceit of having intellect, a pen in the hand and/or even a piece of paper will suffice.  Make sure to write on the paper and look at it once in a while, because this is what people who are actually working do.  Keeping your hands out of your pockets is a must, as it screams “money-waster.”  If I don’t have anything in my hands I like to keep them folded across my chest or resting on my hips.  The second option does wonders for appearing thoughtful and smart.  Cock the head to the left ever so slightly.

Luckily, the dress code calls for jeans, boots, a neon safety vest, and a hard hat.  I say ‘luckily’ not because this is how I like to dress (except for the neon vest part) but because of the attire’s air of importance.  Think of all the things people in hard hats and vests do.  Holding stop signs, drilling things, being a fire man…the list goes on and on.  And when doing any of those jobs, you certainly look busy and important.  Just imagine how busy and important I must look with a hard hat, neon vest, long pants, and a clipboard.  Pretty damn busy, I know.  And even more important.

But as busy as I may appear, I am not.  And neither is anyone else.  Before I go any further, let me explain who else I’m talking about.  There are the three drillers (John, Billy, and Greg), and then there’s me, Matt, Kendra, and Jeff.  These are the main people on sight who have an actual job to do.  Kendra is an archaeologist and Jeff is the geologist.  They both have to be there, analyzing the core samples when they come off the drill rig.  Other than the drillers, they’re the only two people that really need to be there.  Next there’s Matt and myself.  Matt is an intern for the geology company, and I’m me.  Then there are two people who work for the CRC project plus a trainee or intern of there’s.  Then there’s two other geologists, including their boss who’s always calling Jeff to get updates.  Then there’s a safety guy from some safety department that I haven’t seen since the first day, an ODOT guy or two, the boss of the archaeology company, another archaeologist that’s come once or twice, a few people on the phone that are in charge of something but haven’s shown up yet, and my dad–yes that’s how I got the job.

That means there are roughly 20 people that come to the core sites from time to time.  That’s a LOT of people standing around trying to look busy, although some of them are too important to have to appear busy.  If I was a suck up, I wouldn’t know who to suck up to because there are so many bosses.  

Back to appearing to be busy, the best thing to do to appear being busy is to actually be doing something.  But that requires there to be something to do.  A lot of the time, I’m just standing there, looking down at the core in it’s 5 foot wooden box, along with the other people staring at it.  A look of puzzlement comes across my face as one of my brows lifts.  My eyes squint as I bring my forefinger and thumb up to my chin, which sits in the slot right between them.

“Do you concure, Kennett?”  

“Why, yes.  Yes, indeed I do concure.  Proceed with the analysis.”  

That’s what I’d say if I was important.  But my job is actually to load the cores from the truck into their wooden boxes.  I also label the boxes with a marker, drill the boxes shut once the cores have been looked at, staple the box’s nylon fabric hinges that are always breaking, transport the boxes to and from the storage facility in Vancouver, and help the drillers run errands like filling up their water tank.  This may sound like a lot, but it isn’t.  At times it gets pretty hectic with all the noise and cores coming off the drill rig, but most of the time it isn’t.  And to make matters even worse, the stuff I just listed above is pretty much the same job that Matt has.  Plus he’s an intern, meaning so he’s super eager to do everything that does or doesn’t need to be done.  It’s a race to get to the stapler first to fix a broken box hinge.  We play rock scissors paper to see who gets to screw the boxes shut.  He’s always trying to get one step ahead.  Maybe there’s no competition and it’s all in my head (probably).  But nonetheless, he’s quick.  Someone needs a strip of duckt tape? Matt’s got three torn in 4 inch strips with no dangling hair strands lined up and ready to go.  A core section is about to be sent down the ramp from the drill rig?  Matt’s been standing there for five minutes waiting for it.  A box needs to be moved to the saw horses?  Wait, what box?  Matt went back in time and moved it there 10 minutes ago.  Paying someone low wages and constantly reminding them that they beat 100 other applicants to get the job so they better be happy about it must be a good motivator because Matt is a great worker.  When I look around at all the people at the drill sight, I see the person making the least amount of money doing the most amount of work.  All the salary guys have got their hands in their pockets.

I started riding my bike to work, which is a 55 mile commute, to get some exercise.  The first day I commuted by bike, the storage facility key jumped out of my backpack side pocket some where along the route.  So as my penalty for trying to be environmentally friendly, I lost a key that’s most likely going to cost $300 to replace (the whole lock).  Now when I ride two and from the job, I have my eyes locked on the ground searching for it along the roadside.  I haven’t crashed yet, but I did get hit by a car yesterday.  Right before the Sellwood bridge, a car passed me going around the corner–only 20 feet before you merge onto the bridge.  He immediately had to put his breaks on, and hadn’t even fully passed me yet.  I was still just a few feet off his right side when he began turning.  I’m not going to yield to a damn car when it’s cut me off, so I held my ground and turned with it.  The idiot still didn’t see me when we straightened out on the bridge and bumped up against my handlebars and leg.  I yelled at him and said some profane language to watch where he was going, then waved him off when he slowed down to offer assistance or something.  I didn’t crash or get hurt at all, just a tiny bump.  But it’s occurrences like this that will keep ordinary people from commuting to work on most roads.  I’m amazed by the number of commuters I see every day in Portland, but it’s nothing compared to the number if idiot drivers stuck on I-5 in gridlock.  That’s why we’re doing the preliminary work for the CRC project–to make the bridge bigger and in doing so, decongest traffic in Portland during rush hour.  And it needs to be done too.  I can see how slow the traffic is coming into Portland from Vancouver in the morning and going North in the afternoon.  It’s stop and go every single day.  But making the bridge bigger/making the roads 8 lane instead of 6/raising the speed limit isn’t going to solve the problem.  The problem is cars, like I always say.  And I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I don’t care.  Cars and bikes need to be separated if people are going to commute to work in mass numbers.  And the bike path along the river in Portland is proof.  That thing is always jam packed.  We need more bike paths like that throughout the city and more bike lanes and bike routes from the surrounding suburbs.  Someone should really get on this and do something about it.  I would, but as you know, I’m already super busy.  Just look at me: hard hat, vest, typing on a computer.  Well, I Better get back to work.  There’s a core that needs some of my intense inspection.

Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. Neskowin to Portland.

Last week I did the Rapha race/ride from Neskowin to Portland. It was a 137-mile team time trial; an unofficial race since there was no traffic control or referee. There were two checkpoints that we had to make and the race ended at some bar in Portland.

Jim won a Kink radio contest (or in my opinion robbed a bank) last winter and the prize was a huge amount of money in gift certificates at Spanish Head Hotel– just south of the race’s starting point. So, our six-man team, which included me, Jim, Chris, Rob, Adam, and Brian, plus our drivers Karey and Gavin, lived large the night before the race. Money was not an issue. If something on the menu looked good, you could just have it. Appetizers, room service, wine, Champaign, brandy, cigars, tea and crumpets, dinner at a restaurant where burritos were not on the menu, you name it, we had it.

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Here Jim and I are at the dinner table showing off a gold colored piece of tinfoil wrapper from a piece of chocolate.  Now that’s high class.

After horseback riding on the beach, we each relaxed in our own private saunas before being treated to massages with happy endings. Later in the evening, we took a helicopter tour of the coast and saw a pod of blue whales. Jim wanted to get a closer look and the rest of us agreed that a bird’s eye view was not the best way to observe Mother Nature, so the helicopter pilot took us back to the hotel and we switched to the submarine.

Whale watching grew tiring though, which is a reoccurring issue when living the lavish life. When one is as privileged as we were, one grows ‘tired’ of things. Such as: “Alfred, I grow tired of these jesters, off with their heads.” We needed something to pick up the evening before dinner, and a good bit of fencing was just what the doctor ordered to give us an appetite for our 12 course dinners.

Having accomplished all the things rich people must do (eating appetizers, horseback riding on the beach, helicopter rides, submarines, fencing), we went to sleep in gold leafed quilts and had nightmares that we lost all our money in poor investments or stupidly gave it away to orphanages.

The next morning we rolled out from the start line as 76 trombones played for us and the massive crowd that had gathered. It was an awesome ride, one of the more fun ones of the year. I started with the idea in my head that it was going to be simply for fun and I didn’t care how we placed. But my legs were feeling good in the cool, coastal air as we ascended our first climb of the day. It was almost foggy out and everything was green around us, just like I had predicted it would be. All of a sudden, we passed our first team.—-there were 23 teams in the race, with the slowest going first, followed in order by faster and faster teams at 3 minute intervals. We started 20th, meaning the organizers thought our team was the fourth fastest. That meant that the first team started an hour before us.—-Anyways, we caught that first team within ten minutes somehow and I began to think of victory. No longer were my thoughts on going at a pace everyone was comfortable with. We had tasted blood, and now it was time to hunt down and kill the rest of the weak prey in front of us, smearing their dead carcasses across the road like the road kill they were equal to.

But things didn’t quite go like that. Because 20 or 30 miles later, the team that had started behind us, Nike, was within a minute of us and we could look back and see them on the long straight sections of road. We ramped up our pace immediately. Being the prey seemed to spark a little fire under everyone’s saddle, and we began pedaling with urgency.

It worked too, because they soon became out of sight. By now we had been making excellent time, averaging over 23 miles an hour over some hilly terrain. The pace felt good. But about 2.5 hours into the race, we came to a stop at a country gas station. Some of us thought we were stopping because it was our first checkpoint, and when we learned that it was only for filling up our bottles, we got pissed. Nike caught us as we got back on our bikes; luckily they stopped for water too. I was mad because I thought we had just thrown away two minutes for no reason. It wasn’t hot out yet and most of us still had a bottle and a half left (we each carried 3).

Turned out that stopping was a very good idea, because later on in the day, some of the guys would be hurting a lot from overheating and dehydration. Those two minutes could have easily been 20 minutes if we hadn’t stopped.

Chris and I rode pretty hard on the front for the next couple miles as we burned off some frustration. By this point, I wanted to win and just felt like hammering it the rest of the way. But one of the main ideas about this race is that all levels can do it and compete together. We had a team with two cat 1’s, two cat 2’s and two cat 3’s. And finishing and working together was our primary objective. Plus we were racing against teams with cat 5’s and single speeds, so if you think about it, winning was probably the least important objective.

Although, one thing to always keep in mind if you can’t succeed, you should always attempt to bring others down with you (or preferably below you), which is why I yelled taunts to each team we passed. Yes, tears were shed, which in turn gave our team more drive. I thought I over-did it when I yelled “BOOM. Gotcha,” to the women’s Veloforma squad, but Chris was the meanest out of our group by far. I only made vague insults about how slow the other teams were riding. But Chris took it a step further, attacking their personalities, appearance, mothers, and even their choice of bike frames.
“Not only are you fat and stupid-looking, but you’re riding a Trek 1200. Were you beaten as a child or what?” And this was him only getting warmed up.
“Watching you attempt to peddle that thing makes me want to gouge out my eyes, roll around in a black berry bush, then hop in a bath full of lime and salt. A legless hippo riding a unicycle would be more graceful than you. I hope your tire slips out on a piece of gravel and you slide under a semi truck.”
“You call that pedaling?? How about you hand that bike over to me and I’ll show it how it’s supposed to be ridden, kind of like I did with your mother last night. And by the way, she was about as pleasant as the up-slash of a porta-potty.”

His insults, fueled by his rage for seagulls and other ocean dwelling avians, grew into intimidation and then physical threats.
“HEY! Out of the way, Ironclad, or you’re going in the ditch!” Chris shouted as he shouldered one of their riders to the ground.

At mile 80 or 90 Brian and Rob were hurting pretty badly; we had just come down from the coast range where it had been cool and shaded. Now the terrain was flatter and exposed to the sun’s 90 heat. Things started going downhill.

Chris broke a spoke during a gravel section, which took about 5 minutes to get figured out. We still had a lot of riding to do and people were getting more and more tired. We had to take an emergency stop at Ace Hardware for something to drink and eat, which took a huge chunk of time. But it was necessary.

There were about 25 miles to go after that stop, and suddenly Jim started getting a terrible stomach cramp. A few minutes before, he had been fine. It was either some Coke he drank, the heat, or something he ate, but whatever it was, it completely destroyed him.

With 10 miles to go, we started climbing Thompson hill to get into Portland. I think it was a 3-mile climb, but felt way way longer. Maybe like 3.2 miles or so. Chris, Adam, and I pushed Jim the entire way up, while Rob and Brian suffered behind with one thought in their heads “there’s beer behind the hill,” which is what I think Rob’s mantra had been since mile 50.

We got into town, rode through traffic to the finish line, and came in 5th overall with the third fastest time of a little over 7 hours. Not bad at all and some serious celebration was in order that night.

TeamORaphaRiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we are at the finish line bar.  Apparently Rob went so hard he lost a massive amount of brain cells, Chris went so hard he thinks Brian is Karey and is about to kiss her balding head, and Jim went so hard he’s taking a nap standing up.  Much like a horse.

ps Adam, I stole this picture from you, so thanks.

New post on the way

I have some good material for a new post, but I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Most likely, I’ll forget what I was going to write about by the time I write it, but I will try to remember. That is all I was going to say.

Healthcare

The other day I was driving in a car somewhere with my brother and his friend and I farted. Before I could smell any flatulence, the aroma of greasy fried food drifted through the open window and completely overpowered any and all other smells. A Burger King was about 150 meters up the road from us. We hadn’t even passed it yet, but its smell swarmed into the car and extinguished what would have been a gasser you could be proud of. A gasser that left you grinning and waiting for the reaction of when it hit the nostrils of your prey. A gasser that had just the right amount of noise, length, and aroma. A gasser worthy of a name, such as Hamilton or Marshell. Why am I writing this? First of all, it gave me an excuse to write about farting. Second of all, I think it brings to mind a very current event. Healthcare. The day that a semi-vegan fart is vanquished by the drifting scent of a fast food restaurant a block away (who’s food tastes just about as good as a decent fart) is a sad day for all of us. It use to just be McDonalds, but now it seems like every fast food place pumps out that greasy smell of fries and frozen meat patties so heavily, you can’t think about anything other than food. And with ever increasing amounts of these fat shacks polluting the continent, the streets will only become more saturated with the stench*, just like our arteries.

In the United States 127 million adults are overweight while 60 million are obese. You can blame the people themselves for being either lazy, poor, over-worked, for their unfortunate upbringing by obese parents, or even for their poor genetic make-up. You can blame fast food and junk food corporations for their Philip Morris-like attitudes towards their customers. Or, everyone likes blaming government for things, so why not blame them for selling out to the fast food companies and giving subsidies for the cheap production of their nasty food? Did you know that from 1995-2006, we’ve spent $56 billion on corn subsidies alone? That’s a lot of cash on the cob!!! Just think if that money was spent on broccoli and carrot subsidies instead of high fructose corn syrup. There’d be a lot of pissed off children for one thing. But a lot of happy rabbits. Over the years, I think schools have wised up and realized they could make a tiny bit of much needed cash by serving hamburgers and Coke for lunch. I’m not sure if it’s better to have fat educated kids or stupid skinny kids. I guess in this country you have to pick one or the other. Although smart is probably an exaggeration. Who else is there to blame? Television of course. It’s just another excuse for us to sit on our asses, as is the internet and blogs. Then there’s the car companies for making it unnecessary for us to walk anywhere. City planners for making it impossible to walk anywhere. Iraq for hating our freedoms. Dentists for fixing our teeth and making it possible for us to continue eating candy… The list goes on and on until you reach the very bottom. The sole reason why the US is reaching an obesity epidemic: Farmers. If it weren’t for these pure evil, black-hearted demons plotting and laughing like mad men up in their combines, there would be no obesity issue at all. And because of this, I suggest the new healthcare system includes a mandate that does away with all farmers. Assuming the rest of the world follows our lead (because of course they would–they want to be free like us), the scenario would play out as such: There would be a short period of time where people died in the hundreds of millions as they unsuccessfully fed themselves on the remaining livestock, natural animals in the woods, dogs, cats, squirrels, the 17 fish that are left in the oceans, and then each other. I’m guessing the world population would go down to around 10 million before we reached an equilibrium with the planet and all the other animals. Assuming all of the governments were still functioning and continued to forbid any type of agriculture, humanity would remain here in a state of hunter gatherer peace. No more wars, large scale disease, famine, obesity, pollution, or traffic jams. No more homework, debt, or paper cuts. No more brilliant farts being cancelled out by the smell of french fries from a block away. Obama, please take my plan into consideration, as I believe it is the best way to address healthcare reform. Either that or model it after our tiny, third world, embargoed neighbor to the south, Cuba.

*I actually like the smell, but it sounds better if it’s a negative thing.

Ecstasical Euphoria

It’s about time for another post.  I don’t feel like being creative though.  So screw you Nick Skenszickche.  It’s going to be a list of facts and events in chronological order.  Wow, it just took me forever to figure out how to spell that word.  Anyways, like I said this post is going to be no nonsense and purely functional, just like this jacket:  Coat Store.

I will be speaking this in a German accent–in my mind mainly, so do not expect me to be writing in a German accent because that would use up my time unnecessarily and would not be no nonsense; it would be an excess and therefore not functional.  If you do not have necessary German accent in your mind now, I trust you will click on the link provided above and watch you the video so that you do have a German accent in your mind to hear.  Then you must read this last paragraph again.  

Thursday last week.  Or maybe Wednesday actually, I went to the coast with mein father to look for a shipwreck.  The location and details are top secret, though.  So I cannot tell you them.  We took our kyakas, which are made for rivers but are functional in many conditions, to the beach and paddled out through the surf to investigate sea caves where we thought there might be shipwreck remains.  The idea was that the pottery shards, which is what we were looking for for evidence of the wreck, would be more preserved in the caves due to less weathering.  Unfortunately, there were no sand beaches or shelves in the caves like we had hoped (just vertical rock walls) and therefore no chance of us finding anything without using diving equipment.  But the caves were cool anyways, and we did a bit of surf kayaking afterwards even though the waves were tiny that day.

 
Cave#4LookingIn

Cave#4KennettFront

 My dad, who’s taking the picture, is somewhat claustrophobic and was happy to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

KayakSurfingBack

A few days later on Saturday, my brother and I went over to the coast again, this time to investigate some waves on our surfboards. It was our first time surfing at The Point in Seaside, and the waves were great. 8-10 feet with big intervals. We would have caught tons of waves if it weren’t for a couple greedy guys there that went for every wave in the set. This one guy with a blond pony tail and yellow gloves probably had 70 rides in the time we were there. I think I had less than 10. Actually, Yellow Gloves had more like 100 if I had around 10. He’d always be up on the wave first, and if you know anything about surfing, you know that you can’t take the wave if someone else catches it before you. He’d always paddle up and cut into the inside, take the wave right out from under your nose, ride it perfectly with however many cutbacks he felt like throwing in, and get back in time for the next set to beat you to your wave again. Every time.

Galen caught a decent amount of waves there, but we got out after 4 hours and ate lunch while discussing ways we would have liked to see Yellow Hands perish. A gray whale had come within 20 feet of us, and about 5 feet away from another guy out there, and I personally would have liked it if the whale had gone Pinocchio style on Yellow Hands and made him into a quick snack. We also would have liked to see him get smashed up on the rocks or attacked by a sea lion. In fact, if I had a sea lion pall, I would train him to go around and bite the leashes of everyone else’s boards.

After lunch we surfed the Cove, which is next to the point but closer to the beach. The guys surfing there weren’t as good, so we got plenty of waves and surfed until it began to get dark. I don’t have any pictures of us surfing, so I’ll paint a picture in your mind: it was at the ocean…there were waves in the water…it was kind of cloudy but also sunny. That aught to do the trick.

Sunday and Monday: Qwin (Quinn Keogh) came over on Saturday night to spend the night so we could get a mini training camp in over the next two days. By the way, I’ve stopped thinking in a German accent by now. I stopped a long time ago. On Sunday we did a nice little 5+ hour jaunt in the Sherwood/Newburg area. Bald Peak, Parret Mountain, a bunch of flats, and some other hills. It rained on us for a few hours and was super windy, but we got fairly lucky and had good weather for most of it. We ended the ride at his house in Beaverton, ate food and watched the Vuelta, went to bed, and got up the next morning to go on a ride with some other guys out to the Bridge of the Gods in the Gorge. Today, as you know if you spent any time outside, was not very pleasant for the most part. The pace was hard, for Qwin and I at least since our legs were loaded from the day before; and the the rain and cold drained them even more. Qwin got a flat on a giant pothole that I failed to point out while I was on the front, and that’s when we all got cold; while he fixed the flat. I had forgotten what that sensation felt like. Cold. Wet. It’s already becoming a distant memory, but I think it was unpleasant.

When one is cold and or when one is growing tired, in fear of bonking, has bonked, or just wants to drop a number of hammers,,, one should stop at an establishment that serves the beverage known as the Hi-Rev Mocha. One must fill a cup with the liquid, drink as much of it as one can in a short while so as not to be seen by the cashier, then fill it back up. While one is drinking a Hi-Rev Mocha, one must slurp loudly and quickly, so as to not let the flavor escape into the atmosphere, for the flavor of the Hi-Rev Mocha dissipates as one nears the bottom of the cup. It is not known why this occurs, but scientists believe that it is the mischievous doings of spirits and or fairies. Upon completing one’s cup and a half (or two cups if one is a very fast drinker and does not care if one burns one’s lips), one will experience a feeling of ecstasical euphoria. [Not to reader, the author just made up that word, which is derived from ecstasy but used as an additive]. The feeling will last for quite some time, as the sugar and caffeine content of the Hi-Rev Mocha is beyond measurement. During this time of ecstasical euphoria, one must ride a bicycle fast. Or attempt to do so.

I drank my hi rev mocha and we were on our way again. It had stopped raining, and the rest of the ride was nice. I felt pretty good during the hard efforts and had plenty of energy the rest of the way home to Sherwood to make it a 130 mile ride in a little over 6 hours. By the way, OBRA race promoters, I think (and everyone thinks) that the road season should NOT start in February, end in June, and pittle away with a bunch of crits in July and August. I like crits, but I’d much rather have road races or a weekly circuit race in the summer. Or both road races AND crits. Ok, at least some road races. At least 4. Or even 2. Please, at least 1. That’s not too much to ask for is it? And they’d be well attended because A) if you started the season 6 weeks later instead of in February people wouldn’t get as burned out so quickly and would still be racing in the summer B) road races are much more pleasant when it’s hot out than when it’s raining and snowing at Hagg Lake, and C) rats have good night vision and sturdy tails, therefore making them excellent at climbing during dusk. As evidence of people wanting to do more road racing, I present the Rapha race. Why are people so excited for it? Well, to answer that I’ll have to do another alphabetical list: A) they miss road races, B) they’re tired of short, 60 minute crits in parking lots, C) it actually isn’t a road race, but it’s kind of like one, D) it involves winning lots of beer, E) I don’t know why the moon does all the stuff it does, F) I imagine there will be lots of trees to look at. And studies show that walking through a forest decreases stress, G) stress is spelled with the same letters as trees, H) rats come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common is the black rat, which is black and shaped like a rat, I) just want to tell you how I’m feeling.

My next post will be about the Galapagos and I will include many pictures of sea lions and other Galapagos aminals.

Words from a full-time Vegan

–Written by Sam Nicoletti, AKA The Tiniest Sprinter–

hola and holla, all!  it is i, sam n, and this is my guest bloggin’ post for kennettron5000!

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last week kennet asked me to write something to post up here about what it means to be vegan.  the vagueness of that request was appealing to me, because it meant i could pretty much point this topic in just about any direction i wanted to and pull the trigger.  unfortunately, just like when i’m faced with too many kinds of apples to choose from at the grocery store, instead of making a decision and moving on, i choked…

anyway, after days and days of standing in a puddle of my own drool, staring slack-jawed at the mind-boggling variety of crispy fruit, i think i’m finally ready to put something in my cart and check out.  and by that, i mean i’m ready to write something.  about being vegan, not about apples.  although apples are vegan.  see how i came full circle and linked everything up there?  that’s called “magnificent writing,” dear readers, and you can learn more about it at your local library.

ok, on to the vegan stuff!

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first off, i’d like to say that being vegan is a lot like bike racing, in that both of them are really awesome.  being vegan is like bike racing in other ways too.  try to follow me here:  imagine the racer as the vegan person, and the bike as the vegan guidelines that they ride on.  as all of us who race bicycles know, the racers are the boring half of that equation, right?  right!  so we’re going to focus on the bikes.

obviously, in a bike race, not everyone rides the same bicycle.  while all race bikes have some strong similarities and the same ultimate goals (speed, efficiency, expensiveness), there are still so many different kinds.  some people ride konas, some people and their moms ride matching cervelos, some fancy people ride vanillas, some old people ride treks while wearing black shoes, postal service jerseys, and clip-on rearview mirrors…  the list goes on and on.  furthermore, even if three people all ride the same type of bicycle frame, it’s very likely that two of them will be using brands of components crafted out of twigs, dog feces, bad dreams, and baby tears, and the third might be using campy.

vegetarian stuff is just like that.

you’ve got a lot of people who are vegetarian (myself included), and while there are some basic rules that most of us share, there are so many different approaches that you can’t safely just lump us all together.

as far as i know, none of us eat red meat, and almost all of us refrain from eating birds.  bicycles have two wheels and handlebars, and most have brakes.  you dig?

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from there, the types of vegan/vegetarian lifestyles start to differentiate from one another with the details.  lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat any meat, but do have milk and eggs.  there’s a word for the people who include fish as well, although i can’t think of it right now and i certainly can’t be bothered to reference the internet.  there are people who don’t eat meat as a general rule, but make exceptions for meat that comes from animals that were raised on certain kinds of farms and/or killed in a certain fashion.  there are all kinds of rule-sets that people make for themselves and their vegetarian diet, and even more reasons for each them.

and then you have the strict vegetarians, or vegans.  that’s how i roll.  in this brand of vegetarianism, you stay away from all animal products.  you don’t eat cows or pigs, you don’t eat shrimp or sardines, and you don’t eat eggs or dairy.  you don’t eat whey protein, you don’t eat gelatin, and you don’t eat fish oil pills.  this brand has probably the least amount of variation.  you can only buy it built up with campy.  there are still some gray areas for sure – do you eat white sugar, sometimes bleached with bone char?  do you drink beer that’s made with isingless finnings or gelatin? how about honey? – but they’re not as big as whether or not you consider fish to be meat.

if it comes from an animal, whether you cut it off of them, squeeze it out of them, or take it from their nest, you just stay away.  those are the “rules.”

i put “rules” in quotes because it’s a convenient way to describe the lifestyle, but it’s not what i would consider the right word.  if people imagine there are rules, then they can easily picture drawing a line between ok and not ok, so in that regard, “rules” is a helpful word.  in reality though, every rule of a vegetarian lifestyle is generally self-imposed, so “choice” is probably a much more accurate word.  if somebody really wants to fit a strict definition of a certain type of vegetarian, then by all means they should approach it as something with set rules to obey, but i personally don’t know anybody that lives the veg life for that reason.

and that brings us to the reasons to be vegetarian!  jesus, i haven’t made a transition that slick since i was wearing elastic-waisted jeans in middle level writing class!

ok, so just like saddle choice is totally personal and not really worth trying to analyze too closely, the reasons to abstain from eating animals are as numerous as the people who abstain from eating animals.  probably more, actually, because i know i have a lot more than just one reason.  i’ve got health reasons, environmental reasons, and of course moral reasons.

everything else takes a back seat to the moral reasons in my eyes, though.  there’s a lot that goes on in the animals-for-food industry that i think anybody would be hard-pressed to justify, and i’m not ok with that.  however, that’s a post for another day – and on my own blog.  i’ll just say this:  even if being vegan made me slower and shortened my life expectancy, i’d still do it.

that said, the good news is it probably does just the opposite!  all the fly studies show that doing the vegan thing is good for your ticker and your fudge factory (heart and colon), and i can say with complete certainty that my athletic performance right now is the best it’s ever been.  also, i haven’t been sick in like 2 years.  and i’m really good looking.

now don’t get me wrong, as a big fan of science, i’m not about to attribute the above to me being vegan.  i obviously haven’t done experiments and used bunsen burners and squeezed bulb pipettes or anything, so don’t think i’m claiming that being vegan is the answer to a stinky crud cavern and consistent dfl finishes.  i’m not.  all i’m saying is, it certainly hasn’t appeared to hurt me any, and my gut tells me that it helps.

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also, keep in mind that, as a good vegan, i pay some attention to my diet to make sure i’m not missing anything i need.  a bad vegan could easily turn into a big pile of health crisis if he or she ate freedom fries for every meal, but note that the exact same thing holds true for the omnivore.  a bad diet is a bad diet, meat or no meat.  i really believe that having a good diet is easier as a vegan though.  i get a lot of questions about what i do for vitamin/mineral supplements and protein, and the answer is pretty much “eat lots of vegetables.”  i take a b12 vitamin, and that’s it.  plant-based foods have no shortage of the things that are generally associated with meat and dairy, and they have so much of the things that people lack when they displace vegetables with more meat and dairy.  i’d love to start throwing around facts right now, but “facts” on “blogs” on the “internet” written by “vegan bike racers” probably come across as “credible” in the same way that 50 cent comes across as “a good rapper,” so i’ll refrain (i’ll also stop using quotation marks so much).  i’ll just say this:  it seems wacky to me that some people think a vegan diet for an athlete is crazy and full of supplements and pills and whatnot, when those same people are drinking accelerade-hammer-whey-powder-4:1-saltlick-shitsoup from water bottles all ride long before going home and making a milkshake-smoothie-3000%-daily-value-protein-barf-stew with a few scoops of mystery powder from a big tub.  if one supplements as an omnivore, they’ll probably supplement as a vegan, and if that person doesn’t supplement as an omnivore, there’s certainly no reason they’d have to start if they made a vegan switch.

oh, and being a vegan makes it pretty easy to be skinny if you want, which i hear makes your powertap graphs all ten kinds of better…

and that’s how being vegan/vegetarian is just like racing bicycles!  it was a flawless analogy, am i right?  of course i’m right!  all right!

ok, i’m gonna pinch this one off.

but not before putting in one more cuss word:

i fucking love you all,

the tiniest sprinter

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ps:  kennet, i can’t wait to see what you type up for my web blog.  bonus points if you work derek’s mom into it somehow.

pps:  kennet, please add baby pictures to this, if you feel up to it.  the secret to finding the best baby pictures is searching for “fill in the blank baby” on google, and using whatever comes up on the first page so that you don’t have to waste energy clicking the little arrow at the bottom.

The Plauge

Why I liked the book called The Plague by Albert Camuut  

By Kennett Peterson

Mr. Dyer’s Class Period 5

The book by Albert Camut called “The Plauge” was written in 1947 by Albert Camut.  Albert Camut was a French existentialist.  Existentialist believe that life is meaningless.  In Albert Camut’s book called “The Plauge”, he talks about many things.  The first one of these things is that the people in his book don’t like to do boring things like go to work.  The second thing is that there is a lot of rats in the cities and rats spread diseases like polio.  The third thing is that people don’t like to be trapped in a city that has lots of people dying of diseases and lots of dead rats that have bad fleas.  I will talk about these things and more in my essay on “The Plague” by Albert Camut.

The people in this book live in a big city in Algeria, but they speak french for some reason.  No one knows why.  Scholars still debate.  The people in his book go to work in the morning before they want to wake up, then they work, then they come home and go to sleep.  They don’t like to do this but they are only concerned with making money.  They work during the week and then they are very tired on Saturday and don’t do very much, but go out to cafes at night.  I don’t know why they go to cafes at night.  But the young people in the city like to go to them and stay out late and be loud in the streets.  Then on Sunday the people in the city likes to go to the beach and go for a swim.  Albert Camut says they debate whether or not they should go to church, but usually they decide to go to the beach instead because they want to be happy in the short term.  

Rats have lots of diseases and live in sewers.  They come out of the sewers one day and they start dying all over the place.  Thousands of rats die and throw up on this old guy’s shoes.  That guy owns a hotel and hates the rats because they are bad for his business, so he throws the dead rats outside and he swears a lot, but the book I’m reading has the swear words crossed out with a Sharpie so I can’t see what he’s saying.  That old guy, who’s first name is Mme. picked up a rat by the tale one day, and a few days later he dies and gets a bad fever.  All the people in the hotel don’t know it’s the plague but the main character in the book, who is a doctor, begins to get suspicious when his patients starts to die too also.

A lot the people in the book start to die a lot later in the book. they get the plague and the city is closed off other people and they are trapped.  No one likes it their anymore and they hate being trapped.  But they don’t really do anything that different than before, but they don’t like being there anymore.  Camut is showing that they are stupid and don’t realize that their lives were the same before they were trapped by the plague and now that they are trapped by the plague they just begin to realize how pointless and stupid their lives are.  That is my thesis statement.

I like the book called “The Plauge” because it was very interesting and it showed me that A) rats spread disease and I should not pick up a dead rat by the tail B) rats can be very large C) rats have thick legs that are good for climbing D) rats not only eat cheeses, but they also eat dead things and things in sewers and in storm drains E) rats are very intelligent animals and their wiskers are sensitve.  I think everyone should have a rat as a pet.  This book was a good book because it also showed me that I should just go to the beach every day instead of just Sunday.