Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ahhh...nothing like life on the edge of the rough parts of town. Our neighbor came over this afternoon to tell me that some clowns ("crazy crackheads with gold teeth") that somehow know him through some past (and somewhat dubious) associations ran into him while he was at work today. Not only did they run into him, evidently there's some sort of grudge that's still held and this led to them chasing him through town, through red lights, and finally putting a gun out their window and threatening to shoot him. I'm not really clear on exactly whether they recall exactly where he lives, but soon after he told me this, he and his wife loaded up the kids and left home. He advised me to be on the lookout for their car.

I soon started looking on the web for various shotguns since it doesn't look like my folks will make it out here any time soon with the one that I've been waiting on for over 3 months. This set the wife off, since we have differing opinions about what to do should someone try to break into the house. She wants to somehow grab the baby, finaggle the back door open, and scoot out, while I'd rather stay put and punch big improved-cylinder 12ga sized holes in them (thus saving my fellow taxpayers alot of money in the long run). I've tried to convince her how easily fences get hopped and glass gets broken, but .... I'm arguing with someone who used to coach a debate team.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Been out of commission since late Sunday night. This morning I got out of bed for more than 5 minutes and actually ate something. I don't recommend this type of stomach flu/food poisoning diet as it leads to spousal overload when there's child care involved.

It rained last night and the LW got out back and planted her peas. They germinated quite well inside and we hope that they'll bring good plants before the summer sun comes around and cooks everything.

Life is good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Haven't slept much in the past two days or so....getting... a... bit... punchy..'round here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CP is so close to crawling it's funny. She really likes going after the cats, the remote control, and our phones, so whenever they're close by she gets up on all fours or close to it. Soon though. I figure that by the time her grandparents (oops, time's up - she's awake) get here, she'll be motoring around. Gotta run.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It started snowing yesterday as my continuing ed class was finishing up at around 4:30 and continued until after CP went to bed. It's wonderful out with what looks like almost 2" on top of the car. Pictures to follow some time soon.

The LW went out a while ago with CP to the store. Before leaving, she noted that her car had been broken into and that everything had been rifled through. When she returned from the store we had a heated discussion about a fence in the front yard versus a web camera and a shotgun. It looks like we'll soon be getting all three of these and the fence will have sharp wire points at the top of it. If someone's coming into the yard without an invitation, I want them to bleed...alot. I'm really tired of having stuff stolen from my place and from our neighbors.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A third set of exposed pipes had problems yesterday and got fixed today at the Community Gardens. It was cool because someone had installed a union in the line, so I didn't have to do much. It rained here most of last night, so I didn't have to worry about the plants starving for water. It's a bit cool out though, and it makes it tough to work in the water.

CP has been enjoying raisins lately. She's just now able to work them around in her mouth and chew them up. It's pretty funny since she can chew them better than she can hold them. She drops them into her bib and then begins to look around as if someone has taken them from her. and want more. The LW is reading Ten Little Ladybugs to her right now and she's squealing and talking to the raised plastic bugs on the pages. CP is almost crawling as well. She gets up on her hands and knees, but hasn't quite figured out locomotion...yet.

This morning we were serenaded awake again by the neighbors barking dogs - yup, the same one whose pit bull escaped a few weeks ago. It seems that "animal control" is a misnomer as they don't really appear to be doing much. This morning I called the PD and spoke to them since the animal control phone# only rings once, then picks up with dead air. An officer took my information, but I haven't heard anything. The last time that I called, another neighbor had also called, so at least I know it's not just me being annoyed by these pooches.

Still no word on the LW's contract stuff, so she's been hanging out with CP and I. This week she's actually made it out in the herb garden and started on the spring herb crop. It sounds promising.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It was cold last night and didn't warm up a whole lot today. It's nice seeing snow on the peaks again this year, but it's not so nice having to get out and work with frozen water pipes. One of the gardens sprang a leak last night and I just got word that a second set of exposed pipes may have some sort of problem.

It's pretty funny to hear that people were actually calling the water company to ask why their water wouldn't run this morning! What a crackup! If you did something like that back in the midwest, they'd probably send the paddy wagon out to your house with a nice warm white jacket for you to wear.

CP is as cute as ever and becomes more expressive every day. She was really happy today and enjoyed watching the bird fiesta in the front yard from the window.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Went out with the TPD last night and it was cool....literally about 30 degrees. I took a couple of Dramamine an hour or so ahead of time and got ready to go. I found the helipad easily and rang the doorbell. Noone answered and I began to wonder if I was in the wrong place. Shortly after I rang the doorbell the second time, a rather serious looking fellow in a flight suit opened the door. After the requisite stern and ever so Paul Schnorenbergish (retired police/also father-in-law), "Can I help you?", I explained to Jeff who I was and it was all good from there. I filled out the required form and got to talk to Jeff and Antonio (sp?) about stuff. A preflight rundown and a couple of trips to the men's room - I was all set. The helo had leather seats in the back and was pretty much what I expected - sweet. The cabin warmed up quickly and we were soon off the ground and moving out toward the inactive runway at the airport. The tower cleared the pilots and we were off.

It was smooth as a baby's butt with only an azimuth wobble in the wind every once in a while. These guys got pretty busy right off the pad and we were soon over an apartment building where someone lived who was suspected of calling a pizza guy and then robbing him. Nice. That incident cleared and then it was a trip over the top of our local mall for some reason. Back across town for a 250lb woman in a running suit running from the ground units in the dry riverbed. That took a few passes with the FLIR and NV goggles. It was really fun to look around at the city. I began to recognize the streets since the mountains were dark and there wasn't enough moonlight to see them. After clearing that incident and one more where the FLIR was used to check a car for occupants, the real excitement started.

Evidently someone had just carjacked a truck and was racing away from the police down Mission 80+ miles per hour. This is a tiny two-lane street in parts that runs through residential areas. He really opened it up when it turned to four lanes and opened up. At 115 knots of airspeed it only took a few minutes to be over the chase and I could see everything as it unfolded. It was like being in an episode of Cops....really. The TPD pilots handled themselves really well. They warned me that this could get exciting and we'd discussed keeping off of the mic earlier. They said to hang on and see what happens.

Soon they made contact with the police car that was in charge of the chase and let him know that they had the guy and the pilots then started relaying information to the guys on the ground about directions and street names. It was interesting too that they called the street light conditions and warned the patrol cars about busy intersections. The clown in the truck must have watched the show Cops a few times because he was trying all kinds of things to evade the police cars. He avoided the spike strips, unlike one unlucky patrol car, and would cut the corners whenever he saw a police car at an intersection. The copilot was flying the helo at this time and would keep the left side down so that Jeff could see everything. This meant that I could see everything too. This meant that a few really tight turns were required every few minutes as the the guy switched direction in the truck. I found myself grunting/valsalva manueuver and looking around a good bit so that I wouldn't get dizzy. The guy sideswiped one person at an intersection and probably would have completely t-boned this person had it not been for a raised curb. He was soon up to about 100 mph on the highway and back off again into side streets. The pilot told the person in charge of the pursuit to back off so that this guy wouldn't kill anyone and they did. The guy in the truck must have thought that he was getting away and decided to cut into a neighborhood area. This would be his last move of the chase. He was hauling it down a four lane street and took a left turn into a small street. It was a small Dodge pickup and they're not exactly built to handle fast turns. The truck started to drift as soon as he turned it and he was soon up over a curb and head on into a power pole. The passenger got out and ran as did the driver. The passenger was subdued by the ground units and the driver took off into a group of houses. He soon realized that he had nowhere to go and gave up until the officers tried to take him into custody. After a small scuffle and a gravity check or two, he was cuffed. It turns out that the passenger was a pregnant woman. Nice going there dummy. The incident was soon being debriefed by the ground folks and the pilots moved on. I guess that I was really lucky to see this because it rarely happens around here and when it does, it's sometimes over when the helo gets involved. There's just not room to run in T-town.

One more check of a person running from the police and then it was back to the hangar. I was tired and a bit dizzy from the final spotlight check of the night, but was really pleased with the ride and the way that the pilots worked. I think that having this helicopter is a good thing for our town and would challenge anyone who thinks otherwise to go for a ride.

I've looked all over the newspapers and can find no report of this incident that involved over 10 police cars and two or three different collisions. I don't think that most folks around here really know what goes on in different parts of their neighborhood, much less different parts of the city and the "news"papers don't really report what happens.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A good Saturday spent at the garden and at home with CP and the LW. Pork roasted on the grill this evening in anticipation of tomorrow's Brookbank festivities. It should be fun if a tad chilly. We're looking forward to spending time catching up with familiar smiles.

Tonight I'm off to spend almost two hours doing a police ride-along with TPD. It should be fun, but I hope that I don't get dizzy/airsick! =0) Dramamine here I come! It'll be nice to see the city from above.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's Friday already and it doesn't seem as though I have accomplished much this week. I worked a little earlier in the week and we got out for a family bike ride to the park yesterday. We arrived to find the water fountain tagged and that someone had farmed the ball field with their truck. Niiiiiiice.......

The big news of this week has been that people with the LW's contractor & contractee companies apparently is slacking off in the actual contract signing, so the LW was told to basically put down her pen and not work. Bureaucracies are funny things sometimes.... She's getting paid for 30 hours a week, which is nice, but it definitely puts a dent in our plans for little things here and there since it amounts to almost a house payment's worth of decrease in a month.

In the good news department, Auntie Melissa was called back for a position at the UofA this week. She's finally free of the hospital setting and should start this "real" job some time near the end of the month. We're all happy for her as the hospital scene has been wearing her down for quite some time. The LW is out with her delivering the necessary paperwork and enjoying a laptop internet and scones run over to Ike's Coffee & Tea.

CP watched part of Sesame Street this morning and was out. She's almost crawling. She had the hands and knees stance the other day, but she hit the floor with her face before I could catch her and wasn't too happy or enthusiastic about trying that again. All is well though. She's sleeping soundly in the footie from Byron.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Finally got out of town on Friday at about 2:30 after having to turn around and come back to get my race paperwork. The one thing that I needed to do, call the garden folks, I forgot to do before leaving. I passed a wreck just south of Red Rocks on I-10 and traffic hadn't really slowed down yet as they hadn't even removed the people from the truck. Flat road - flipped vehicle. What's wrong with these people? Just plain silly. Got into Pahoenix right at quittin' time and went 30mph or less most of the way through town. Finally made it to the race area after dark and it was chilly. The weather folks said it was going to be close to 32 degrees and I think that they were right. I got signed in and realized that I forgot my duct tape. D'oHH! Some of the gang had a roll and I was all set to put my check in/time sheet on the front fender of the XR. Setting up the tent wasn't too bad in the dark and the wind. Some of the Arizona Trail Riders gang had already set up a campfire and it was nice to meet some of them.

On Saturday, I figured that I'd leave the little gel cushions out of my Tech 8 boots. This way, theoretically, my ankles would have more space to move around. Well, that didn't really work out and by the time I got it fixed, I had about 5 minutes to get my helmet, camelback, helmet, and gloves on in order to make it to the start line. Being frazzled at the start added to the nervous feelings that I already had and made it tough to ride for the first few miles. I made it to the first special test check-in a little behind the guys on my row, but not much. I don't remember much of the first special test except that there were some rough spots and that my hands, especially my throttle hand, started to go numb because I wasn't relaxed on the bike at all. Then came the sand whoops. Schnikeys! I made it through and checked out into the next transfer section.

I stopped for a few minutes in a sand wash and loaded up on a mocha flavored Clif Shot. After washing it down with some Cytomax, I was off and running. The transfer section was nice and easy and I began to really have a good time. I don't know how much the 50mg of caffeine contributed to this feeling, but it probably didn't hurt. I actually clicked up into 4th and 5th gear in this wash and that's a rare thing for me. For one, I know that if I hit the ground going that fast, I'm not going to bounce really well and second, the XR is only a 250cc bike and it can't really handle pulling my heavy butt in the sand in that gear.

The second special test check-in had a line because everyone seems to take a break there. Since I'd already had my break, I fell into line with a 50+C rider on a KTM - #7V. I went into the test first and he started 15 seconds later. A mile or so into the test, he had made up that 15 seconds on me and came around. I hadn't heard him getting this close and it was a bit shocking to see him scooting around me. Well, that was the kick in the pants that I needed. I just couldn't let him get away and it seemed like he had a pretty good pace going, so I wicked it up a bit. Once I started at his pace, I found that I could not only keep up with him, but I started gaining. Shortly he was right in front of me and after a few bursts of the horn, I was past him and still not going as fast as I could. Another gear, some self-talk, and a bit of singing the theme to the TV show Green Acres into my helmet, and the course just started coming under the front wheel in slow motion. Everything was just right. The bike was behaving as advertised and the trail was beautiful. This special test section had some fast smooth trail, good uphill runs, and of course, sand whoops. It came and went in a blur though and I was happy and sad to see the mile markers that showed the course was almost done. I ended that special test in a wash and would have been happy to have gone another 10 miles or so, but the final tranfer section was short back to the pits. Since I slowed down and stopped at the check-out, I started off again riding like a complete goon near the end where everyone could see. Oh well, they were only watching and I was done for the day. I took my finisher pin, thanked the crew, and was off to get things loaded up for the 3.5 hour drive home.

A smiling and beautiful baby and wife met me at the door around 4pm and my day ended peacefully in the company of family.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The new year has sneaked in quietly and found us just as short of time as last year. My new year's resolution if you can call it that, is to answer emails/use the internet when CP is napping or when the LW is off of work. CP's been taking steps while held up standing and will stand against the couch and play. It's pretty funny. She's still doing the pat-a-cake thing. It's still funny. The LW took her to baby time at the library this week and I may take her next week.

I'll be getting ready tomorrow to take the XR and head out to Phoenix for this weekend's race. The flyer says that it's 25 miles or so. It sounds simple, 25 miles on a motorcycle, but I know some of the guys that helped mark the course and I don't think anything on it will be simple. My race number for 2007 is 506V in the 30+/Vet-C class. It's when CP came around and that's easy for me to remember. I hope to use the season of racing to get me back into shape. 15 months of sitting around with a sick wife, then an infant didn't really help the waistline any. I've recently begun acquiring sponsorships using It has worked out pretty well for me so far, but I don't really compete at the level where they give you anything for free - just a price break. Every bit helps though.

We've got cauliflower and lettuce sprouts coming up in the garden and it's great. The LW built some hoop houses for me the other day and with plastic over them, they make great little greenhouses. Cabbage and broccoli are coming along slowly.

Up in Phoenix, some folks are protesting prop 300, which says that if you're not a legal citizen of this country, you shouldn't be allowed to pay in-state tuition for your college. What part of you're not a legal resident don't you understand? I had to pay my year of out-of-state tuition to go to school and I'm a veteran for cryin' out loud. Come to this country using illegal means and then expect the right to cheap tuition? Would you like a boot in the arse and a bus ticket to Calderonville with that?

Another beautiful day.