Ramblings

Usually drunken.

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Mountain Biking - Part 2: "The Wipe Out"

Mar 24, 2009, 7:58 am by John

So yesterday afternoon my buddy and I went riding in Terry Hershey Park here in Houston. It's basically a 7 or so mile long park following a creek with a concrete path on one side and a mountain biking/hiking dirt trail on the other. About 20 minutes into the ride we decide to switch bikes just to see how the other rode. So my buddy and I are riding along the dirt path and get to this fairly steep 10' tall hill. Neither one of us makes it up the front side and have to walk to the top of the hill. He immediately jumps on my bike and makes it down no problem. At the end of the hill was a big tree lying across the path and so he jumps off the bike to get under it, just as I take off from the top of the hill.

So the path down the back side of this hill is covered in roots from rain water washing the dirt out and other mountain bikers. This usually is a bigger deal going up than down so I didn't think too much of it...yet. So I start off and go over a couple roots no problem and then I get to this one that's sticking up about 6" above the trail. I'm not sure if I didn't try to pick up the front wheel or as I did I hit the brake, all I know is that I hit the root and my front tire stopped immediately. So, this isn't the first time this has happened and usually I just jump off the seat, put my feet on the ground, and awkwardly walk down the hill. This would not be the case today.

As my front tire stopped I jump off my seat, put my feet on the ground, and said "Uh oh!," immediately catching my buddy's attention so he could watch the events unfold. As my feet hit the ground the rear tire lifted and I went straight over the bars. As I fell over the bars I tucked my right shoulder, I think I do this because of the number of times I jumped off my house and out of trees as a kid. Anyway, as I tucked my shoulder my left foot came up first and my heel caught the pedal of the bike, lifting it and sending it soaring in the air. As I landed flat on my back I looked up at a bike, that isn't mine, flying through the air. It landed about 4 feet away.

At this point my buddy is also on the ground, except he's laughing his ass off. He somehow squeezed out "are you OK?," and by this time I realized that I wasn't in too much pain. I got back up, checked his bike and our cell phones that were in my Camelback. Thankfully there were no injuries to the rider, the bike, or the phones. We continued our ride and got a solid 13 miles in.

My buddy swears it's the funniest thing he's seen in a long time. My shoulder's a little sore this morning.

Actors & Politics

Oct 2, 2008, 8:39 pm by John

So Take i on this subject ended with a not very well thought out ramble complaining about people giving their opinion when that is what they are paid to do. so i didn't really have a reason to complain in the first place and decided to remove my post. after more thought i decided to give this another shot.

take ii:

the other day i was watching the morning news and they talked about how the ladies on the view got into a big to do about political matters. i then decided that i didn't like that they were giving their opinions in the first place, but mr. stiverson pointed out that they are paid to do just that. so why are tv hosts asked to give their opinions in the first place? some how i see a disconnect between their daily lives and mine. for that matter, i'm sure that their lives are drastically different than 95% of the people who watch these shows and maybe are falsely leading people to a certain candidate.

so people are paid to give their opinion...i don't like it but i can't do anything to stop it. i think what really turns my stomach, and why i don't like this so much, is that these people might actually effect how someone else votes and who wins an election. does anybody think that an average american would watch one of these shows and actually vote because of who someone like a barbara walters is going to vote for? (comments please, i'd like to know what you think) i'm of the opinion that a person should base their vote on the debates or other speeches from the candidates. this is the only time you get to see how a candidate, from their own mouth, feels about a subject (without the media's "filter"). maybe i'm more of a free thinker than i thought...

Olympic Protests

Aug 8, 2008, 11:39 am by John

what are the olympics? well i thought it was a time when the best athletes from around the world to get together at one place and compete against each other to see which country is the best in different events. Boy was I wrong. Appearently it's the the time of year when everyone and their mother decides that they want to protest whatever their mind feels like. Having been an athlete for the majority of my life I know what it is like to train for hours a day, everyday of the year. Of course I was never close to Olympic calliber but it gives me a good idea and great respect for all of the work that these athletes put in. Now when these athletes get to show the world their talent and share it with their countrymen, in what should be an event that the entire world gets together and watches, people who don't have anything better to do take to the streets and try to stop one of the greatest world traditions, in the running of the olympic torch.

exactly how will stopping the torch fix all of the world's problems? i'm pretty sure it won't. people say things like, the olympics shouldn't be held in china because they are communist. well i'm sorry, i didn't know that being communist had anything to do with athletic ability. in that case, why aren't all athletes communist? maybe they are....hmmm.

why can't people put away their differences for 2 weeks and just stay at home and watch the Olympics? The Olympics are about sports. For those of you who didn't catch it the first time...the Olympics are about sports. if you and your ego feel that you are so important that you need to show the entire world how you feel, use other means. i'm all for getting together and voicing your opinion and marching up and down the streets with signs. I don't want to take anyone's rights away but I can gaurantee you that when an american goes into a gold medal match, for whatever sport, he doesn't care about the person on the other side's political views...he just wants to beat the snot out of them.

a quick note, the iraqi athletes were nearly disqualified from the olympics because their olympic body was disperessed...like it was their fault. i don't see why anyone shouldn't be allowed to compete despite what their government does.

let's talk politics in a few weeks. get out of the streets, go inside, watch the games on tv and for now, sit back and enjoy an amazing display of athletic talent.

tropical storms II

Aug 6, 2008, 7:05 am by John

so the storm of the century came through yesterday and somehow i managed to survive.

on my way out the door at 6:20 i could see it coming. it was on the horizon and looked like a big gray blanket about to sweep over the entire area. it was coming from the east so the sun rising behind it made it look pretty spectacular. the roads were deserted. there must have been about a quarter of the normal traffic load. it was the best drive to work i've had in the 2 months i've been here. as i got to work the clouds started to sweep over northwest houston.

the rain started around 9am. i walked over to a window to see this storm i'd been hearing about for, going on, 3 days now. when i walked over to the window i noticed that the sky was a light shade of grey and it was sprinkling. i thought to myself "there must be some mistake. this storm should be bending trees over and dumping rain down so hard i shouldn't be able to see more then 50ft." if only i hadn't listened to the media's hype i might have thought it was nothing more then a spring time shower.

i checked back with the storm every hour or so and at one point the wind might have been gusting up to 20mph. it did rain hard at times but nothing to worry about. as i checked the radar in the early afternoon i noticed that instead of turning north like the meteorologists had guessed the storm came right through downtown houston. i work just northwest of downtown so this had me a little worried...worried that i might get wet on the way out to my car in the afternoon.

as 3:45pm came through i left my post and headed out to the parking lot. it was sunny. i lugged my umbrella around just knowing that i would have to use it for this tropical storm, alas, it stayed dry. no rain coming into work, no rain leaving work. how disappointing. the best part about the entire day was the drive home. when i reached my car the temperature outside was 80°, instead of the usual 100, so just getting in my car was more pleasurable. then, when i got on the road it became appearent that the hundreds of thousands of people who didn't go to work in the morning were still at home and the roads were clear again. finally, to sum up the whole day...the roads were dry.

i've decided we should have a tropical storms more often. people will stay off the road, my car will stay cooler, and since everyone will have already filled their cars up with gas i will be able to go to the gas station and not have to wait for 10 minutes to get a spot. thanks for a great day edouard.

ps. i laughed my ass off when i got home, looked down the street, and saw that the house on the corner had all its windows covered in plywood. hilarious.

Tropical Storms

Aug 5, 2008, 11:39 am by John

Preface: As mentioned before I am from Dallas and we don't get tropical storms or hurricanes up there.

So my only previous tropical storm/hurricane experience is with Rita when everyone in College Station freaked out and school was canceled. Then the storm turned north and absolutely nothing happened. Once again, Mr. Stiverson will correct me if I'm wrong but tropical storms and class 1 maybe 2 hurricanes seem like big thunderstorms, atleast when you are more than 50 miles inland. If you are on the coast it might be a different story, I don't know, but it sure doesn't seem like something to freak out over.

Yesterday I went to Kroger to fill up with gas. Big mistake! I did not go because I fear evacuation or gas price increases but because my gauge was near E. When I got there it looked like they were giving the stuff away. People were lined up 3 and 4 deep! The same story at the Exxon across street.

Today they were talking on the radio about how people were buying up all the water and supplies at grocery stores. While I was passing up Kroger, I came back later for my gas, I noticed that the grocery store was packed as well. I don't get it. We'll see here in a few hours, when this storm hits, but I think it's going to be a lot like when a line of thunderstorms sweeps across North Texas, except it will last all day. Down here I don't even have to look out for tornadoes! What's all the fuss about? I don't want to knock people around here for getting ready for a hurricane but Edouard (or however the hell you spell it...what kind of name is that anyway!?) is a tropical storm... S-T-O-R-M. So maybe I'm wrong but 35-50mph wind sounds like good kite flying whether to me. This thing doesn't even seem to have lightening to worry about.

More to come after the storm of the century passes

Stop Lights

Aug 1, 2008, 7:34 pm by John

Since this is my first post on here I feel that I should put up something that I feel passionate about...stop lights. As Mr. Stiverson will atest, I despise the people who program stop lights, or forget to, in every town except my hometown (Plano, TX). Is it really that difficult to spend 30 minutes at a traffic light at 3 or 4 different times during any given day and figure out how to time the light? Or heaven forbid, get in a car and drive from 1 light to another to determine the time it takes to get there!? There is no reason I should hit every single stop light when traveling with heavy traffic in the same direction. Also, its 2 AM and I am the only car in the entire area and I have to wait 3 minutes at every single light. Are you kidding me!? I know all of the intersections now have sensors in the ground to detect if there is a car sitting there. After 11 PM I shouldn't have to sit for more then 15 seconds at any given light. Also, why am I waiting at a light when I am at an intersection where a 6 lane road crosses a 2 lane road? Why aren't the lights flashing yellow on the big road and red on the small one? This is better for all parties involved. I don't have to wait on a car who has been sitting at this light for 5 minutes and he wouldn't have to waste 5 minutes of his time waiting on this stupid signal. You might say if it's the middle of the night just run the red light...but I know that as soon as I do the 1 car I am sharing the road with is a cop.

Plano has figured this out and driving around most of the time is a breeze. At night all of the small intersections have flashing lights and when you pull up to a big intersection the light immediately changes. It's not that difficult. The part I also enjoy is knowing what a particular light will be when I get there. If I know I take this turn on this street, on this day, at this time, the light will ALWAYS do the same thing. Then I know what to expect. This may be a lot to ask of College Station, but I'm in a highly populated section of north-east Houston. Let's get it together!

I'll save my rant about left turn only lights for another day.

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