Donnerstag, 17. November 2011


Hey hey hey...

So I took a peak at my syllabii earlier this week and low and behold I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. That's right.. only 6 more Shorts Stories, 4 More Poems,3 more translation, 1 more Play, and 1 more Novel to go until I'm officially into Christmas Break. Bring on the Leberkuchen, and Kinderpunsch.

It makes me all sorts of excited. :) The sunning is setting at 4pm, and the lights of the Weihnactsmarkte are making up for it with enough cozy twinkling to give even the jolliest elf nausea :P

Ok.. it's not that bad, but German sure know how to celebrate Christmas. I mean. Honestly.. It puts us Americans to shame. As far as Christmas goes in America we got three days of good ol' celebration/fighting. AKA Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas (You can throw in New Years if you want.. still won't make a difference.), but In Germany we got The 4 Advents, St Nicolas Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Second Christmas. (I'm leaving out Mary's Conception Day, and Ephinany because while cool they're not too celebrated.), and that gives us a total of 8 DAYS of celebration. Not even the Jews got it so good.

Anyway, you can probably tell that I'm excited, but who wouldn't be. What's even more exciting is that not only do German's take Christmas seriously. They also don't mess around when it comes to Christmas Break.

Starting sometime within the first two weeks of Christmas, until Mid February, I am going to have more free time, (and thanks to budgeting and school grants :) ) and money than I can shake a stick at.

What am I to do? So far I've got three ideas, on which I can't decide, and so.. I'm leaving it up to you. My loving masses (12 people can count as a mass right? 33 if you count Nieces, Nephews, and In-Laws) to help me decide. To your right there is a poll wherein I have set the parameters for my possible January Adventures.

If further explanation is needed here are my options in detail.

1) Cycling Italy
Pretty straight forward really. Get a bike, catch a train, and go far enough South to find the sun. I'm thinking somewhere between Rome and Sicily. The plan here would be to spend 2-3 weeks, more or less riding where ever I felt like. Most towns have a Hostel and so every day I can pick a destination and ride there. Take in the sights, Catch some Rays, Get lost in Translation again. All in the life of a Cyclist.

2) Ski Bum Around Austria/Switzerland
More or less the same thing as Italy, but instead of going for sun, I'm going for snow. Places like Innsbruck, and St. Anton are Skiing Meccas for the european scene, and once again.. Hostels are cheap and warm, and ski rental prices are pretty reasonable. With nothing but a bag full of gear, and a lunchbox full of trailmix, bratwurst, and gouda, this trip could be a once in a lifetime homeless experience ;)

3) No place like home
This option I came across whilst looking for plane fair to England, but right now flights back home to Idaho are SUPER cheap. And Mom's homecooking always does a body good. Just an idea.

So go to the polls, and click your dot. Lets see where you would go if you were me.

Freitag, 11. November 2011


So a question. What has to be wrong with you before the following occurs?

So as many of you know I love bikes. I've ridden and/or competed in nearly every form of cycling from XC Races to Road to Time Trial to Cyclocross, and even DH and Freeride. I also seem to have a bike for every form of race as well. On top of that I've worked for the past 6 years in bike shops. First as a salesman, and later on as a mechanic. The collective worth of all my bikes combined, is probably more than what was paid for my last two cars (combined). I also have a name and personality for each one of my bikes. :) Ok.. so maybe love is too weak of a word here, but I believe I make my point clear that for me, biking isn't just a hobby, it's a passion. Whether that passion borders on the sociopathic, I'll let you decide.

Anyway... knowing who I am, I knew it was going to be tough living here in Germany without a bike. I thought I could make do. I mean "logically" it's only ten months, it'll be winter most of the time, and it wouldn't be worth it to drag a bike all the way over from the states. Little did I know that not only beauty, but value is also in the eye of the beholder, and I was scarcely here a month before I realized the gravity of my error in coming to EUROPE without a bike.

And when it rains it pours, because we're now a fair chunk into November and we've yet to even hit below 0 C (32 F for Americans). Heck.. today was warm enough to spend outside with only jeans and a t-shirt on. And everywhere I look there seems to be someone with a bike (The apartment bike rack is right outside my window), and more than once I've contemplated buying a pair of bolt cutters.

Obviously something is up, and in order to keep myself from going Rogue and ending up in some German Prison with nothing but a single Bratwurst and a warm beer (ask a german for bread and water and he'll just look at you funny), I've found many small ways to cope.

First, was the internet. Specifically Second came Bike Magazines (an article rating Germany's Mountain Bike Parks caught my eye), and most recently it's been visiting Bike Shops on my free afternoons, specifically a shop not too far from my house called Stadler. Imagine Performance Bikes, but larger selection (Sorry for those who don't know about Performance Bikes. You'll have to remain out of the loop [and if the paranthesis(or would that be parenthii?) are bothering you, just skip em. They're kinda useless comments anyway.].).

Well earlier this week I was going through one of my normal perusals of their wares, when a pretty snazzy looking bike, for a decent sum, caught my eye. Pulling it off the shelf for a closer inspection I found it even more appealing, and decided to take it for a spin(This store has a built in track for test riding.), and much to my dismay I found that the bike was COMPLETELY out of tune. Rear Shift Cable needed tensioning, Front Derailluer was out of alignment, handlebars were rolled too far forward, front quick-release was loose (didn't get too far with that one), and the wheels hadn't been tensioned properly (most likely not at all.).

Disappointed, but knowing that sometimes these things happen, and that the mechanic responsible for building this bike was probably a newbie like I once was (I remember weeks, where everyday my VERY patient boss would bring my works back down from the sales floor and tell me to get it right) I found a salesman and told him what was up.

And guess what he said. He looked at me somewhat confused and said "Oh, that's not one of our test ride bikes." HUH? Wrong answer there buddy! I don't care if this is a test ride bike or not, 1) if you intend to sell this bike, you better well be concerned that it's built right or you're going to have a very pissed off customer, and 2) if you're going to let customers ride around on bikes put out on the floor then you better make sure that they're safe to ride. That and about 4-5 points drilled into my head by my boss over the last few years ran through my head, but arguing with someone who doesn't know what they're talking about is alot like arguing online with people in the comments section. You may be right, but you still look like an idiot.

So I didn't say a word. Just nodded, put the bike back, and went home vowing to myself that I'd never buy a bike from this place.

Now here I am two days later, and nearing the end of this lil' novella. It's friday afternoon, and I'm once again bored (aka can't read another novel about German Buergertum or else my head will explode), and in need of some fresh air I find myself wandering through the automatic doors of Stadler again.

Accept this time. I've got a multi-tool stashed in my pocket. With all the relaxed-suave-super chill moves of Danny Ocean I slowly make my way to that poor deprived soul (I mean the Bike, and yes.. they do have souls.) to see if anything had been done. Nope.

A careful look around shows that we're alone. I can't spot any cameras swiveling from the rafters, and all the workers seem to be occupied with one task or another. I've got my tools in my hand, and while pretending to be simply "looking" I loosen, adjust, and retighten, one piece at a time. And then, hop on the bike and go for a short spin around the track, secretly loosening barrel adjusters, and putting the derailleur stops back into place. All under the secret guise of a simple customer, testing the fit of a bike.

The whole process was maybe ten minutes. And most of that was spent doing a few victory laps around the store, because after getting the love she deserved(didn't I explain that all bikes female, I don't know how they reproduce, but they are), she was so in tune that she sang like the fat lady at the end of the show. It was great, and I think I may have found myself a new level of bike obsession to keep me satisfied until I can be reunited with Miss Devinci, Fuji Apple, and Sweet Pea next summer. Namely: Superhero Bike Mechanic (any nieces/nephews who wish to submit crayon drawings of my superhero outfit will be greatly loved [I'd offer presents but Uncle is poor and love is free.].).

Or maybe I'm just sick. But if this is sick then I don't want to be healthy.

Dienstag, 8. November 2011


So as many of you already know. There's a certain man in the LDS Church who is kind of a celebrity amongst Saints, Airline Pilots, and German Speaking Missionaries, and if you've managed to come this far without reading the blog title I'll give you a hint. He's the only German Second Counselor in the First Presidency. That's right, it's President Dieter F.(Short for Friedrich I believe) Uchtdorf, and his birthday is on November 6th, (Guy Fawlkes fans may enter their own "Remember Remember Jokes here"), and in order to celebrate he decided to throw a fireside. Quite the partier wouldn't you say? Well I guess when you've got enough friends to fill two stake buildings, a fireside is the safer way to go, but anyway I digress. Back on topic, in celebration of his birthday, President Uchtdorf came back to his home stake and held a fireside for the members he's known almost all his life.
And luckily for this German bound guy, President Uchtdorf is the former stake president of the Darmstadt/Frankfurt/Heidelberg area, which just so happens to be my stake. :) hooray.
But wait, there's more!
In a special invitation to many of the YSA in the area who are active in institute, the choir seats were left open as a place for them to sit.

So... fast forward to last sunday, as the chapel, cultural hall, overflow room 1, overflow room 2, and overflow room 3 were filling themselves one mini van sized family at a time, this skinny college student managed to squeeze a spot roughly ten feet away from the podium. After assuring that both the podium, and estimated seating arrangement of Uchtdorf and Frau were as close as possible, and that a clear line of sight would be maintainable at all time I settled in for the next 90 minutes.
As he walked into the chapel there was the expected wave of silence, as the congregation stood, but what took me by surprise was how instead of taking the most direct route to the pulpit, he progressed around the chapel through a series of hugs, and handshakes from one old friend to the next, until he eventually made his way to the stand where he took his place.
I didn't have a camera handy, but my friend Sara was kind enough to provide this shot. Basically if you remove that clump of hair on the left side, and slide the camera a few inches over to the left you'll see me. :) I know this is about as much proof of my being present as there being life on other planets, but hey.. they're both plausible right?

Anyway, President Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk, that as far as my notes say was about the using of small and simple things to build and bear testimony. He didn't have a specific topic as far as I could tell, and mostly his tone was that of speaking to friends and family rather than teaching a specific lesson.

He provided a few anecdotes, recalled a few memories, and gave his testimony of the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My favorite story, was probably the one he tells of when a newly baptized family first came into his ward. There was a young woman in this family that he described as "the one with large brown eyes", and he explained how as a teacher, he'd try and organize his route while organizing the sacrament so that he could be the one to hand her the bread/water. He always wore his best suit on those days, and made sure it didn't get wet or wrinkled or worn.

She knew him as: The boy who always wore the same suit.

He argued it was the only one he had.

Needless to say that brown-eyed girl eventually became Sister Uchtdorf, and it's funny to note the effect one pretty girl who knows her standards, can work on even the scrawniest of deacons.

All in all the fireside was a grand ol' time. And after the closing prayer Uchtdorf surprised us by running back up the microphone to tell everyone to not run away so fast, as he still needed to track down some friends and catch up. We surprised him in turn by sinking an off key, multilingual rendition of Happy Birthday.

I didn't get to shake his hand, but he did shake the hand of the guy next to me, and was probably about to shake mine, but the quickly growing mob (interesting that now our Prophets are mobbed with handshakes and hugs) swept him away before he could. It's all ok though. I got to stand a few feet from him, and got to look him in the eye. (He's shorter than I thought), and that really was more than I could've ever hoped form.

Sonntag, 18. September 2011

Coolest Companionship Ever

I have the strangest urge to listen to what they have to say.

Lift Where You Stand

As most of you know my coming to Germany had a large part to do with some very wonderful school opportunities, but always in the background I've had the feeling that while here I would also have the opportunity to learn some gospel truths.
Its exactly a month since I left, and as I was winding down for the day I was puzzling over all that's happened in these short but seemingly full weeks a conference talk came into mind that I'd heard once. I can't recall the name of the talk, nor the speaker, but I do remember clearly the phrase "Lift Where You Stand." coming clear in word and meaning from across the pulpit.
Often, in a society where much knowledge is present, we as humans tend to focus so much more on sharing what we know, and as consequence to our mortal limits lose focus on doing what we should. The balance is hard to find, and I as often as not, tend to end up on the wrong side of the focus as well. But as I recalled that phrase, two examples came to mind of events that conspired in the last week that I was privileged to observe.

The first took place Thursday evening after the weekly Institute lesson, during dinner. Many of you may already know this, and many of you might not, but for those in Europe of the young single adult age, we do not have Singles Wards or Firesides or Linger Longers. Most of us don't even live in the same stake, let alone the same town. But one of the greatest blessings we've been able to have is the Institute Centers, which are run, voluntarily generally by Senior Missionaries, or Members (Most of which are not young). And due to the distances traveled by many of Young Single Adults every week after institute a dinner is held, (Matt 15:32).
These facts may seem trivial and a digression, but please bear with me. They have a point. And that is every week Sister Ybarra (a lovely old woman who you want to just hug as tight as you can, but you're scared too because you may snap her in half), calmly prepares a meal capable of rivaling most Thanksgiving tables, (usually missing out on the lesson), sets the tables, waits for everyone to be served, and quietly cleans up afterwards. Without saying so much as word. Honestly.. I'm sure she finds great pleasure in the work, but on last thursday we had lasagna on the menu, and it was clear by the 4 or 5 lasagna pans that were now lying empty on the serving table, that Sister Ybarra would very likely be washing dishes well into the night. I was just noticing this, when I saw a man, who of a generally quiet nature, got up, walked over to the table, and gathered the pans into his hands and walked into the kitchen.
Maybe it was the spirit, maybe it was guilt, maybe it was both, but I too got up and joined him. We didn't get much done. Just scrubbed, and dried the lasagna pans, before we were pulled aside to help with something else.
Between the two of us the whole deed took probably less time than its taken to read this anecdote, and honestly the whole thing was forgotten soon after.
That is until yesterday, when Sister Ybarra stopped me in the foyer, looked at me with a smile, and just said "Thank you." in a voice that clearly meant it. I don't know if it was the dishes she was thanking me for, or if it was for noticing her and stopping to help. Probably doesn't matter in the end, but thank goodness for that quiet observant man.

The other story, while much shorter, and maybe not as impressionable, is one that is just good. As many of you may know, I'm in possession of one very ragged, and worn sweater vest. Many of you have often stuck your fingers in the holes and said with all the deduction of Sherlock Holmes.. "There's a hole in your vest." To which I generally smile, and say "Yep". I really don't know why I like this particular sweater vest. In fact... I generally dislike vests and sweaters all together, let alone a combination of the two in argyle brown. But when I wear it I feel good, and so like a tattered comfort blanket I carry it from continent to continent. Well as you might've guessed... as this story was taking place. I was wearing it. And once again, a very observant friend of mine said. "You have a hole in your vest." To which I said.. "Yep, a couple actually" and I pointed out a few more as I explained that this used to be my Dad's vest when he was my age, and that it's my favorite.
She smiled.
Then she pursed her lips in thought.
And in a very stern voice she said "Take it off."
At first I thought I hadn't heard her right. But she repeated herself, and motioned for me to take it off. Still somewhat confused, I obliged her, thinking maybe she wanted to get a better look at the holes, and handed it over.
She held it up. Looked at. Pursed her lips in thought again. And then rolled it up and stuffed it into her purse.
"I'm going to fix it." she said "I'm not very good at sewing, but I think I can take care of those holes." And before I could nod, she turned back to her scriptures ending any argument.
It was so simple. She saw a need. She thought maybe she could do something about it. And acted upon that impulse.

The admonition to "Lift Where You Stand" is a wonderful teaching, but anyone who's attempted to eat the core of an apple knows... fruits taste much better than seeds.

Freitag, 9. September 2011

I want my ball

So earlier this week after classes were finished I headed into the city with my friend Sara to go looking for school books. We were one our way from one book store to another, when I noticed a little girl, probably around two years old, trying to reach her ball which was floating in the city center fountain. It was just inches away from her fingers, and her face was just a mask of determination in reaching her toy. My first thoughts were how cute, but that was rapidly followed by an almost audible UH-OH when she started raising her chubby leg over the small wall of the fountain. Those of you who have ever raised a two year old can already guess the outcome if she succeeds in mounting the wall.
Spying no parents on their way to intervene, I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she needed someone to get her ball. She kinda looked at me like "Duh", but was kind enough to just simply point and say "Ball" a few times. Which was good enough for me. I asked her to hold some papers I had on me (schedules, syllabii, book lists, normal first week stuff) and then reached out into the fountain to get the ball (which had now floated farther away). I was just about to grab the ball, when a splash of water drenched my arm. Looking over I saw my chubby little friend had tried to use my papers to extend her reach, but had succeeded mainly in dunking my papers. She was about ready to go for it again, but by then I had the ball and as quickly as possible I exchanged her wet ball for my wet papers. Which seemed like a fair deal to her. And I went to dry off my papers while she looked ready to toss her ball somewhere else.
Crazy kids. They're just too cute and smart for they're own good.

Mittwoch, 7. September 2011


Last night the Mannheim/Heidelberg Stake a wonderful fireside, and I'm sure you can guess by the title why. Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was here and needless to say the meeting house in Kaiserslautern was PACKED! I arrived late because I had a class I couldn't miss, but when I got there the parking lot was so full that people had filled the lanes between the rows of parking spots. Everything was bumper to bumper, and you could say the same thing about the seating conditions inside. Luckily I managed to find an open piece of wall up on the stage I could lean on, and despite the heat there seemed to be enough people fanning themselves with their progams to create a subtle enough breeze through the place. I don't know if he gave a talk or not, but when I got their E. Bednar was doing a Q&A Session with the members.
While there were certainly tons of questions, some of the one that stood out in my memory were:
From a 12 year old deacon:How do I prepare to become a Missionary?
Bednar: You are a missionary now, and you should have a good 6 years of missionary experiences before you become a full time missionary. He pointed out that he could 1) Pray like a missionary, 2)Read like a missionary, and 3)Invite others to come unto the Gospel like a Missionary.

From a mother of five daughters: How do you raise children to be able to live in the world without being of the world?
Bednar: Speak less, Listen More, Invite to Action.

From a Father: Which form of Football do you prefer? American or European?
Bednar: I prefer the favorite sport of which ever country I am in.

And one answer to which I cannot remember the question I remember hearing E. Bednar give strong testimony to the amazing power of the atonement. He admonished that the Savior does in fact know us by name, and personality, and that whatever it is we're going through. WE CAN DO IT.

In the end he bore his testimony of the Savior and firmly admonished his role a a witness of Jesus Christ, and of the reality and divinity of The Man.

It really was a great evening. One that left me staring out the car window in thought on the ride home. Kinda cool to have what we have :D

Montag, 5. September 2011

First Day :)

Well It's 10:30 and I'm just about ready to head off to my first day of classes. Here I go :)

Mittwoch, 24. August 2011

Help... someone stole the soap

Not joking... about that title their. So I've been in Germany almost a week now, and so far getting settled has had it's ups and downs. The biggest of which has probably been my search for an apartment(found one by the way.. but more on that later), so for the past week I've been bunking in a hostel just south of the university, and going into the city during the day to get stuff for school figured out. Registration, Paying fees, opening bank accounts, eating fatty cafeteria food, perusing the want ads for apartments, and so on and so forth.
Well not two hours ago I had just made my way back to my bunk, and given the incredible humidity of the day I was ripe for a shower. So I gathered up my things and made my way over to the showers only to find them occupied. Not really wanting to go back to my room just yet I figured I'd step outside and walk down to the Rhein(about 50 yards)while I waited for the showers to open up. A thunderstorm was rolling by in the distance and I figured while I watched the lightshow I'd try skipping a few rocks out onto the river. Putting my hat, shampoo, and towel, down onto a bench I walked the last twenty feet or so to the river.
The lightning was awesome, and the storm was close enough that the thunder felt like the sky was being torn in half. Even the wind was strong enough that I could stand out on a rock and lean out over the Rhein without falling in. It really was something to behold.
The storm was quickly passed, as most summer storms are, maybe five minutes at the longest, and then I turned around to find my bench completely empty with the exception of my hat.
Seems I'd just been robbed.
I tried to be upset, and it may have worked for about 3 maybe 4 seconds, until the picture of some homeless man walking around town with nothing but a bottle of shampoo and a towel and around his waist popped into my head.
I guess the guy really needed a shower, as that's all he took.
I still feel the need to chuckle when I think about it. Maybe next time I'll leave a razor and some shaving cream out. ;)

Dienstag, 16. August 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well it's T-30 hours, and it finally seems a reality that I'm going to be spending the next year in Germany. It's funny how the mind can refuse to truly comprehend something until the very last minute, while at the same time it while take the body through all the motions of packing, saying goodbye, and I dare say...flying. Even now I don't really think it's fully dawned on me yet that I'm actually leaving, and for how long. Strange...
Anyway as I woke up this morning and looked at my bare 10' X 10' bedroom it kinda hit me that I'm out of here :) All that's left to do is pay some final bills, roll up the sleeping bag, and unplug the tv. It's going to be weird. It's going to be hard. It's going to be alot of things, but most of all... THIS IS GOING TO FREAKING ROCK!!!! And if not... well at least I got to go on a plane ride :D

Freitag, 5. August 2011

Me in Fifty Years

Ok... so my roommate Myka is a pretty big fan of the band Angels and Airwaves... He showed me this and while the movie is cool I really thought the old man was definitely a futuristic version of me. What do you think?


Also this video is pretty rad as well. Kings and Queens by Thirty Seconds to Mars

Montag, 18. Juli 2011


Ok... so I'm sorry for not really being that up to date on my whole germany thing. Most of you were notified through text or phone when the exciting news came, but for those who don't already know. I'M GOING TO GERMANY or in other words ICH GEHE NACH DEUTSCHLAND. But what I find even more interesting is the vast majority of people who think I'm going to be getting married over there. Everyone from Professors, CoWorkers, Friends, Bishoprics, and even Family have all asked the daunting question. So if you look to the column on the right you'll find a poll. check yes or no as to whether you think I'll be coming back with a little Fraulein.

Samstag, 7. Mai 2011


After 4 months another project has finally come to a close. These two manila envelopes are currently on their journey across the pond to a small little city of Mannheim, Germany, and my stomach hasn't stopped churning since.

Some of you may already know this, but for those who don't these two nerve-wracking envelopes contain my application for a study abroad at the University of Mannheim. I'm hoping that this fall I'll be able to finish my BA in German Studies in Germany, and that I'll be able to do it in the city I once served in for 4 months in.

This city is absolutely beautiful, and the idea of going back is one that makes both excitement and nervousness pool into my gut at the same time.

There's a longer story of how I came to this point, much of it directed by the spirit, but I'll save you the messy details. Lets just say this is a once in lifetime opportunity that doesn't even happen to those who do a foreign exchange.

Normally an exchange student will go to a predetermined sister school, and when I first started looking at doing an exchange that's what I did as well, but it didn't quite feel right. Then a little voice said "what about the university in mannheim" and so I shot off an email to the international students department at Mannheim U and found out that they had an entire program for students like me.
Many prayers, fasts, and piles of paperwork later I finally sealed the envelopes and penned in the address. I was so nervous I had to rewrite the address twice because I kept leaving out letters in the address. On top of that I even made a photocopy of all my transcripts, applications, photos, and letters of recommendation and put together a second envelope "just to be sure" my application arrived.

And so now I wait......

The University won't even begin to look at the applications of foreign exchange students until their semester ends at the end of May, and so I won't even know if I'm accepted into the program until mid to end June, and it's killing me.... Every couple of days I get on google maps and look at the satellite imagery of the city. It seems that tracing my path through the city with a mouse is the only way to keep myself calm.

I don't know what the future will bring, but it sure looks exciting.

There are two more posts below this so don't hit the little x in the corner just yet. Scroll down to see what else is new in my life.

Little Black Dress

One of the greatest advantages of having four seasons within a year is that not only is there a change in pace between cycling and skiing, but that there is also some downtime from riding that allows you to really put some tender loving care into your bike.

Ever since I first purchased Miss Devinci (My downhill bike )back in 2009 I've had plans to eventually rebuild her into a race worthy machine. Well this last winter. Thanks to a very hefty tax return and some friends who are great at scanning the internet for deals I'm proud to present:


If you can't remember (or even cared to remember) what she looked like before just scroll down a couple of blogs and you'll see some pictures of her stripped down to the frame just before I started painting her.

The paint job sure took awhile. I started back in February by first stripping all the paint off the frame and bringing her down to bare aluminium (No pictures were taken of Miss Devinci naked, it wouldn't be proper), and then with a loosely obtained permission from my landlord I pitched a tent in the yard and through the month March I began laying down layers of primer, and then paint.

Unfortunately Winter made a come back for the beginning of April and the process was put on hold, as part of the painting process requires a full day where no wind or dirt or rain could contaminate the drying paint. I don't think I've ever followed the news as closely. Also not to mention that between each coat a paint the surface had to be wet-sanding and any paint runs or mistakes had to be removed before the next layer was put down.

On top of that the rear shock was sent off to Fox Racing Suspensions to be overhauled, new bearings for the headset and bottom bracket were dug up, and a brand spanking new set of race wheels were located by my friend Ty (Who desperately needs to get back from the Middle East so we can go ride).

You may not understand everything that was done but it's ok. A picture says a thousand words, and I think I'll let Miss Devinci tell you everything. Here are a few less than professional quality pictures.

For Luke

One of the sweet things about going to school is that you often find the most random things floating around campus. One of them is the Comic covered Professors door. Every school has one. Maybe every department. Down here at ISU it's kind of a fun game to enter some random building, take the stairs above the classroom to where the teachers offices are and walk around looking for funny stuff taped to doors. Well early this week I found the following comments posted on a teacher's door. It reminded me of Luke, but given that we're all children of our Mother, I figured most my siblings would enjoy the stupid humor. :P Read on.

Following every Qantas flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction.

The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial reaction was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheet before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints, and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

P= The problem logged by the pilot.

S= The solution and action taken by the engineers.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.

S:Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.

S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.

S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P:Dead bugs on windshield.

S: Live bugs on back-order.

P:Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces 200 feet per minute descent.

S: Cannot reproduce on ground.

P:Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.

S: Evidence removed.

P:DME volume unbelievably loud.

S:DME volume set to more believable level.

P:Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.

S:That’s what they’re there for.

P:IFF inoperative.

S:IFF always inoperative in the OFF mode.

P:Suspected crack in windshield.

S:Suspect you’re right.

P:Number 3 engine missing.

S:Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P:Aircraft handles funny.

S:Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P:Target radar hums.

S:Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P:Mouse in cockpit.

S: Cat installed.

P:Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.

S:Took hammer away from midget

Montag, 18. April 2011


Tax Day has come and gone, and while many of my fellow Americans were busy crunching numbers and digging through W-2 forms I found myself in an elementary school parking lot surrounded by small cluster of men and women wearing tights. All of whom were eyeing the queasy looking sky and thinking the same thing. "What in this good green earth encouraged me to leave my warm saturday morning bed and come out here?"
The reason. Race Day! Hosted by ICE(Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts, but i think the pun was intended) the annual Tax Day race was only a few minutes from starting. I hadn't competed in a race in nearly 5 years, and judging by the mass of $2000 carbon fiber road bikes lining up next to me on the starting line I was starting to regret my decision to come, as all I had was my $300 steel single-speed. I figured if I finished I'd be happy.
Well the race started off, and I'm sorry I didn't have anyone to take any pictures, but one hour eleven minutes thirty-seven seconds and twenty miles later I rolled across the finish line a full twenty minutes ahead of second place.
Not bad I thought.
Considering I dropped the pack about a mile into the course and never saw another competing soul until the end, but what really gave me bragging rights was the laughable fact that some kid on a cheap piece of steel was able to finish strong let alone finish. Felt good.... maybe I'll have to go start wrestling Sitani, and Noah, and Jace so I can brag about beating little kids as well :P

Mittwoch, 9. Februar 2011

It's finally finished

Ok... So I'm pretty sure that most of you have no idea what's finally been finished, and that it's a project that's been in progress since last summer. In short, the three room basement apartment that I rent with my roommate Myka was originally equipped with a bedroom for each of us and a shared living room. But as Both Myka and I eventually invested in our own personal flat screens the living room became a very lonely unused room. Then last August as Myka and I were preparing to start another riveting semester of "academic joys" we looked at our living room and saw the potential for a tidy little workshop.
First steps included removing all previous furnishing from the room.
Second, thanks to the pile of unused lumber and a couple extra large pieces of shop counter tops removed from the trash heap outside of Scotts Ski and Sports, a workbench was made.
Third, a used bike stand was located.
Fourth, tools were unpacked
Five, Shop apron was found.
And sixth, Miss Devinci has been given her own Spa Day :D

Plans for a Shock overhaul, new wheels, and regreasing of bearings are in order. Along with a deep cleansing scrub that bubbles down to the threads on the nuts :D I'm hoping to enter into the Utah Downhill circuit this year to see how I can do and so I'm very excited to now have a place to myself where I can tune my bike. :D

Now of course some things are going to have to be acquired over time. Tools like a truing stand, headset press, Bottom Bracket Removal Tool, and cable cutters are all on the mind, but first addition will probably be the all essential stool. I'm currently using this bad boy fashioned out of three 4x4's and a piece of particle board I had lying around. It's fastened together with furniture tacks and I've nailed a 2x4 underneath it to keep the thin 'seat' from bending when I sit down. I know many carpenters out there are groaning quite loudly at this abhoration of construction, but really it's quite sturdy, and effective, but I too cannot wait to find a padded cushion to sit on.

But all in all it's quite a pleasing site to see. The workbench really brings it all together, and needless to say I'm pretty stoked at the whole idea. I've been wanting to piece together my own home shop ever since I started working at Perfomance back in 2005. Crazy eh. Well I guess this will serve as my blog for the first half of the year. Over and out.