Money changes everything

I visit the field negro pretty often. He thinks differently than I do and I never cease to come away with a new idea or thought. Today, he quoted Jill Porter from the Philadelphia Daily News. I’m going to link to her because she hit a home run today. I’m a little tweaked out by the senseless murder of a man and his two sons last week. There are several other stories on SF GATE about it. The most heartbreaking is the wife/mother talking about being unable to return home. Her husband’s shoes are where he left them and her boys stuff is all around the house and she can’t go in there. I totally get that. At what point does the insanity stop? This guy did nothing and was murdered along with two of his four sons. His family is shattered and his wife and remaining children will never be the same again. So they got the guy. Now what? Kamela Harris won’t seek the death penalty herself but there’s now a committee in her office to decide whether or not to seek it. This guy is 21 years old, a gang member, a husband and a father and his judgement that day said to take out a gun, that he shouldn’t have had in the first place and unload it into a car that was backing up out of his way. Sorry, this shit stain has no redeeming value. What do you do with him? If ever there was a case to light someone up, this is it. In my book, this guy is up there with Richard Allen Davis, and believe me, I’m still pissed that I have to share the planet with that blight. What do we have to do in this country to stop the madness. Or even curb it? What is the matter with us?

Moving on

Holy Canoli! Biker down! Wild story.

Back at the Farm

It was a rough day at the Farm. I did my work on Quicken, which meant entering in about a month’s worth of receipts. I was cruising along until I got to the one from 6/18/2008, 4:03a.m. The category is Veterinary Bills:Beauregard. In the memo section I typed the same thing I had to type for Broderick and Rayette DiPesto, and Cody-boy and Toby-Doby…euthanasia. I’d been doing pretty good for several days until I got to that. So since I had already lost it, I thought I might as well vacuum the house. This may sound stupid, but I hadn’t vacuumed the house since Beau died. You see, he shed a lot. A lot. People who knew him will smile when I say that because they know that when you pet him, wads of fur used to come off of him. And he was a short haired dog, with a great coat. He just shed a lot. And when all the black fur is vacuumed up, my dog is gone. His bed doesn’t smell like him any more, the truck doesn’t carry his scent any more and now is fur which has gathered for years in all of my corners is gone. And I really miss that dog. Don’t get me wrong, Rita is awesome. I just miss my boy.

And said, You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Armageddon:

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Amadeus:

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Rock me Amadeus.

There, and back

Yesterday’s bike ride was a 62 miler. I’m gearing up for a century. If I don’t kill myself first. The first thing I did on this ride was slip the chain on a hill. I hadn’t slipped the chain ever on this bike before so it caught me by surprise, and I did an Artie Johnson. The first time on the new bike and God willing, the last time. Luckily, my time spent with Mr. Hardcore was time well spent. Somehow I knew to kick the bike up and take the hit myself, no damage to the bike. Later I ran into Hardcore herself on the trail and she acknowledged that he would be proud of me. You heal, the bike doesn’t. More on that later.

There was a strong wind on Ygnacio when I left. So strong I braked all the way down. I’ve hit 35 on the downhill but yesterday I kept it around 22-23mph and that was scary. I kept crouched tight to make a smaller target for the gusts, but there’s really nothing smaller about me. By the time I got to the turn I had forgotten that there was blood running down my leg and pieces of asphalt embedded in my knee. I bought new shorts last week as Rita had destroyed the good pair of distance shorts I had. These were distance shorts too. They did well on the ride. There was a head wind all the way to the turn around. I got to Pleasanton and the wind picked up again and then there were hills, not bad ones, just little pickups. I did well on them. Didn’t break any land/speed records, but handled them well. Some guys went by and asked me where the nearest Starbucks sort of place was. I gave them directions to Bernal and then about 3/4 mile or so up on the right. I knew there was a shopping center there, and if it wasn’t a Starbucks, there was a coffee shop there. I used to buy dog food there. What I didn’t mention was that Bernal was about 4 miles up the road. What they didn’t mention was the one guy was bonking heavily. I caught them again and slowed to chat a minute. There’s nothing out there in the foothills. Nothing except for monster houses, wtf? I hadn’t been out Foothill in a while and quite honestly, those monster houses are ostentatious pieces of crap. There are 59 properties in Pleasanton right now for sale, all listed OVER $2,000,000.00! Unfreakingbelievable. I liked the old Pleasanton. The one where the guys drive pickup trucks and still wear boots and do a hard days work. I like the old Pleasanton where the County Fair is the pinnacle of every year. I don’t think I like these assholes and their SUV dusting me tight and running over critters. Lots of road kill yesterday, including Bambi.

I got to the turn around and there was a Team in Training event going on there. That got me fired up. I had been wearing a jacket up to that point. It hadn’t gotten any warmer either. But I was sweaty wearing it, so I rolled it up and put it in my jersey pocket. Had a Hammer Gel and started heading back. To my chagrin I was riding into a head wind again. How the Hell does that happen? Usually the wind is on the way out and with you on the way back. Not yesterday, so the entire trip home was a fight. I should have probably taken a Powerbar with me in addition to the gels because I was actually hungry when I got to Dublin. Hungry and my toes on my left foot were cramping. I stopped, had another gel and kicked off my cleat and worked the cramp out of that foot. Once I get to the Sycamore exit it’s like running a horse back to the barn, only yesterday it was with a head wind. I was epically pissed off about it. As I turned through Alamo the wind died down and I was able to get some speed going. I ran around 20mph through there. It’s a great place to put your head down and just go. As I turned onto the trail I could feel my toes cramped up again. I’d been trying to mentally suppress what was going on but it was getting to be too much. Just before the Whole Foods I decided to stop and work the cramp out of my foot. So here I am, probably looking like warmed over dog crap sitting on the cement base of a pedestrian over ramp and I hear a voice “Hey! Are you ok?” Yeah I’m fine. Then I realize it’s Hardcore and ManChild. Yeah, I just have a cramp in my toes. After much toe cramp discussion ManChild hands me a container and says “Take a swig of this. It’s got lots of salt in it.” Don’t know what it was, I’ll have to ask later, but no more toe cramps. Then Hardcore looks at my leg and asks “what did you do there?” An Artie Johnson. Then I explained that I was on an uphill grade, the chain slipped and I was going down before I could clip out. Never fear, I kicked up the bike so it wouldn’t get messed up. “Mr. Hardcore would be proud.” I know. “When did that happen?” Oh about a mile into the ride, that is a mile from my house. “Right at the beginning, great. Well, it doesn’t look too bad.” It’s not, except for this. And I mush the swelling in the knee around a little bit. I iced it down when I got home and again later in the day. It seems a lot better this morning. I don’t know what ManChild gave me, but I got home cramp free. Stats:

  • Mileage: 62.55
  • Time: 4:57
  • MPH: 12.5 (which would be embarrassing if not for the head wind)
  • Post ride nap: 2 hours

Rock me Amadeus

Apparently several hundred wildfires burning out of the control takes its toll on air quality. I chose not to ride last night. You couldn’t see the sun. This morning it was like a bright red ball in the sky. The end is near. Rock me Armageddon Amadeus.

I chose not to ride last night. I really didn’t think the particles would have hurt me, but just the general chewiness of the air was a little tough. I made up for it this morning with a crossfit workout.

21 kettlebell swings
21 thrusters
21 pull-ups

Repeat three times

It was supposed to have an 800m run in between but my ankle has been bothering me so I’ve been laying off the running. I replaced with a 20 minute HIIT. Tomorrow will be 62 miles, give or take.

From the folks over at Miamism

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Miamism is a great hyperlocalized Real Estate blog…with an even better sense of humor. I always get a little Tubbs and Crockett feeling when I visit them. Lots of fun.

From the Peanut Gallery

I suppose some of the corporate types at the Bloodless Empire would say that I have no value. I disagree. This was deep in the comments section today:

I work for Intelius; we have been monitoring the emails coming from custserv@gmail.com. The individual using this e-mail address is not an employee or representative of Intelius but has been sending inflammatory emails posing as an Intelius customer service rep. Unfortunately, we never received his initial request. We take customer service very seriously; if your co-worker contacts me at contactus@intelius.com we will be happy to address his request. Thanks.

Now how the individual is getting the emails sent to customer service is another whole ball of wax, but for now, looks like we may have a solution. At PBE we always give credit where credit is due. And we are totally value added.

About Customer Service

Personally, I really hate having to return things. I’m not much of a consumer in the first place, so if I have to go back into a store and return something, the task is someone akin to tooth extraction in my book. About a month ago I was over at Sports Basement buying gels and electrolyte drink stuff for my longer rides. I also decided to quit drinking water from regular water bottles and get the ones that don’t leech and you can use over and over again. One of the cycling blogs had these really cool stainless steel ones. They were a little expensive, but I decided one for the water and I could put it in the freezer before the ride without compromising it too much. So I ask the guy how much and he clicks it through the machine. Fifteen bones. Hell, it’s payday why not? So then he rings up all the assortment of test gels and electrolyte drinks. I swipe my card and then he announces, “I don’t think I rang up the bottle.” He goes through the receipt and say “Nope, we’ll have to do another transaction, I closed that one out.” Well, when he closed it out, it was at $60 and that was $10 over what I’d budgeted for the trip. “Never mind, I’ll get one later.” And off I go. Last weekend, I’m doing my Quicken and now I have my glasses on. Right there in front of God and everyone is the charge for the $15 bottle I didn’t take. They are sooo not going to take care of this. I went back in tonight because it was Friday again and I figured the kid might be there and remember the conversation.  I was pretty memorable that particular night, I had brought Beauregard with me. I brought Rita this time to help his memory. Well, the girl at the counter just took care of everything, no problem, gave me a shiny new bottle, I picked up my Hammer Nutrition gels and some HEED for tomorrow ride and away we went. Judi tipped me off to Hammer Nutrition. I love their products. Their electrolyte replacement fuel comes unflavored. UNFLAVORED! So it doesn’t have that Gatorade syrupy crap taste. Anywho, a shout out to the folks at Sports Basement. You got customer service right!

And because Skip may have lost his mind, we’ll end with some fun.

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These are the new dark ages, and the world might end tonight

Can I just say how badly I want to dress in a pink bunny suit and crash the Financial Title Company picnic? Can you imagine Patty walking in and seeing a big Pink Bunny sitting there noshing on a bratwurst? How rockin’ would that be? OK the one thing that would make it better would be grooks and Skip and their ice cream trucks. Yeah, that’s better.

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Out on the Coconut Telegraph

Nascar Teddy’s Most Excellent Title Adventure is rumored to be heading the same direction that the Evil Empire and Bloodless Empire have gone. Splitsville. Spinning off the title unit. Yeah, y’all loved us to death when we were making so much money you had to count it with your tongue. Now that times are tough all the suits have taken their dividends and growth and headed for higher ground. Christ on a crutch people! BUSINESS IS CYCLICAL. You take the good with the bad. Not in this country, all the little fresh faced MBA’s have to make it now, so they’re all grafting their little piece off of the backs of the workers. Everybody gets a piece of the pie but the baker. God bless America.

Also heard on the street, the Bloodless Empire is removing an entire level of management. Not being a manager, I could give a crap, unless they would be so kind as to remove the level of management that’s been up my ass since last July, in which case I promise to greet them with open arms and shower them with flowers.

The Brother had this over on his site this morning. This dude is freaking awesome. I am insanely jealous. So much that I can say I want to BE MATT.

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Me and Rita could soo totally do that dance.

We’ve got some beans and some good cornbread

I haven’t talked about the Body for Life aspect of all this in a while.  Every Sunday I put together all of my food for the week.  That’s the best way to do BFL.  I’ve been fooling around with a recipe I got from the Chef from the Park City Olympics.  It’s simple.  Duck sausage (not authorized) orzo, olive oil, lemon, green onions.  That’s it.  It’s delish.  Now remove the duck sausage and use…I’ve used chicken breast and various chicken sausages.  Mostly, it comes out awesome.  This week, I used Trader Joe’s Italian chicken sausage, whole wheat fettucine and asparagus.  I can’t wait for lunch and it’s 5:20 in the morning.  I sauteed the sausage in a touch of olive oil and then deglazed the pan with about 1/2 cup lemon juice.  Added the asparagus, turned off the heat and put a lid on it.  That steamed the asparagus.  I added the fettucine and skipped the green onions this time.  Like I said, I can’t wait for lunch this week.  I weighed in beautifully in Vista, but came home a little heavy.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the two trips to Ruth’s Chris Steak house located in my hotel.  OK the first trip involved a seared ahi appetizer and a salad.  It was the second trip with the not so petite filet and the salad…still good until the Irish bartender said cheesecake.  In my defense, I’d already had a couple of glasses of wine and really after a few glasses of wine you can say “cheesecake”, “crack”, doesn’t matter, it’s all a good idea at that point.  It wasn’t.  I’m not used to that rich of food and I didn’t sleep at all that night.  Anyway, I’m back to fighting weight.  Tonight I have a quick 45 minute ride to keep my legs loose and then it’s 62 flat miles on Saturday morning.  I had a nice pair of Pearl Izumi biking shorts, but Rita carried them into the yard and destroyed them after the second time I wore them.  I just bought two new pairs of distance shorts.  They will not be sorted into a laundry pile when I can’t watch her.  Which brings us to another Beau-ism.  That dog never tore up anything.  Once he shredded some junk mail because he was pissed that I left him when he clearly believed he should have gone.  Like a typical Doberman he left it in dime sized pieces.  But that was the ONLY time he ever tore anything up.  As a matter of fact, he messed in the house twice in his life.  Both times resulted in hospitalization.  I was lucky to be the one that stewarded that dog through this life.

Today starts another four week powerlifting cycle.  At least I can now bench my weight.  We’ll see what this cycle brings.

I don’t need my name in the marquis lights

Last night I forgot, amongst other things, to post my ride. What makes it of any interest at all is the fires. They aren’t burning here in Contra Costa county, although it smells as if they were.

Here’s the weather report at ride time. That’s right, winds to the SW at 17mph. Worse on Ygnacio, trust me on that. I’m not asthmatic so I rode. I rode down Ygnacio right into a head wind that was so scary I braked the whole way so that I wouldn’t get blown over. I rode down in a total crouch keeping myself as tucked as possible to make a smaller (if that’s possible) target for the wind. I didn’t count on the smoke darkening the skies an hour earlier than they should have been, so when I went back up Ygnacio at 7:30 I just prayed that the traffic could see me. Obviously, I lived. More importantly, the first time I went up Ygnacio two months ago, I did it at 3mph. It kicked my ass, I had to take a break halfway up and was blue when I got there. It is a 6-9% grade over almost exactly a mile. Last Sunday I decided to start timing my ascent. Sunday it was 12:31. Yesterday 9:22. Now some asshole on a Bianchi blew by me yesterday, but that will not continue. I will continue to shave more and more time off that bad boy until I own that grade. And blow that guy on the Bianchi away.

Homesteading

It’s been a week since we lost Beau. Things are getting better around here. Rita got out of her funk and I’m getting there. I actually made it all the way through yesterday without crying. My voice crackled a few times, but I made it. On the way home from San Diego, I sat down in the center seat, because it’s Southwest and I had a “B” pass and all “B” passes get center seats. As if the planes aren’t going to be full everyone always leaves the middle seat and some schmuck like me always has to fit into it, climbing over….Anyway, I sat down in my seat and read. As they fired up the engines to take off I closed my eyes. I usually go right to sleep because I’m terrified of take offs and landings. This time I didn’t. Tears just fell. And fell. And fell. It’s not like I was crying, but I was. And I couldn’t stop the tears. I tried, God knows I didn’t want some well meaning soul to come over and ask me what was wrong. And then I thought “Oh piss on it, I don’t know these people and will never see them again.” Things have been better since that flight. I did see him walk across the living room out of the corner of my eye last night. I hadn’t seen him since he left. And he moved through Rita last night too. That was wild. I looked at her and she was black and then she was red again. Strangely the hardest part is at night. There’s plenty of room in the bed and it’s strangely hard to sleep without his big black ass in my face.

And they gazed in wide wonder, at the joy they had found

This story just makes me nuts. “Police say it was a tragedy that defied explanation.” 50 homicides in San Francisco so far this year, 65 in Oaktown. Get a clue. They’re telling us we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight “them” here. Bullshit. I’ve seen the enemy and it is us.

MFL

I was having a discussion last week while waiting for my coffee at the Starbucks down stairs. The question at hand, who is the biggest screw up in sports? Tough to pick a winner on this one. We decided that OJ was in a class of his own. Other contenders included Ricky Williams, brilliant athlete that just can’t leave the ganja alone. Daryl Strawberry, just imagine what could have been. Dwight Gooden, his crack smokin’ cousin, Oil Can Boyd, Steve Howe, Pacman Adam Jones, Mike Tyson, Lawrence Phillips. Oh my goodness the list could go on for a long time. Then there’s the idiots who don’t commit crimes beyond criminal stupidity. Al Campanis, John Rocker, Barry Bonds, Fuzzy Zoller….screw ups, but minor leaguers. But the Granddaddy of all screw ups has to be Rae Carruth. You concoct some half baked scheme to off the mother of your unborn child. Then you run and hid in the trunk of a car? We all agreed Rae Carruth was the biggest screw up in sports. So then I pick up the paper yesterday and there’s Scott Ostler talking about the Miscreant Football League.

CROSSFIT
Today’s crossfit workout was snatches. Seven total. Just for the record, a proper snatch is hard to do.
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Yesterday’s workout was a 5k, but my knees and ankles have had enough of my bullshit so I did 20 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical trainers instead.

Mercury Rising?

Escrowdude dropped by today to let us all know that there will be some “special guests” at that Financial Title Company picnic. None other than Jerry and Patty. I sooo need a copy of the flyer.

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Parallel Universe

All the bitching I do about BARF, and I know I bitch about them, then something happens that makes me marvel. Don’t worry, BARF didn’t get anything right. As a matter of fact, they had the trains all screwed up last night and when the Pissburg train rolled through it looked like a Japanese subway car. Oh, it gets better, I had a wine shipment with me in addition to my briefcase. Strangely, some young man got up and OFFERED ME HIS SEAT! Really? I stammered. After all, I think all young men should offer their seats to all grey haired women, but that’s just me. There might be hope afterall. On the other hand, I got up for a pregnant lady last week after every man looked away idly.

More McSame

Three hundred million tax dollars to develop a battery that should have been developed 20 years ago instead of putting Hummers into production? Are you kidding me? In 1985 Bavarian Motor Werks had an edict. They were to design more environmentally friendly machines. My machine gets 32mph on the highway and has a curbside weight of 4200 pounds. They didn’t care how cost effective it was, they did the right thing. (Notwithstanding the 745i or the M5 both who pay gas guzzler taxes) It is possible to build fuel efficient safe machines. Detroit, this is why you’re getting your ass kicked. Put a product on the street and see how it works out for you.

Til I can gain control again

Last year when I was in Hawaii, I wrote about the Native Hawaiians and some of the issues facing them. I wrote about reinstated.org and the Akaka Bill and Kanaka bill. The Akaka Bill, which since I was there passed in the House, essentially would give them status similar to Native Americans and the Kanaka Bill would reinstate the Hawaiian monarchy. I found this in last Friday’s Chronicle.

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Mahealani Kahau (in the orange dress) is the monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government. Right now, they do shit and the current Hawaiian government ignores them. They have their own license plates. I sooo want my own Monarchy and my own license plates.

RITARITARITA

This little dog is really amazing. I think she might have been in a little bit of a blue funk last week, and rightly so. God knows I was in a funk, no, I was hanging by a thread. Rita was in a funk. The little girl who lives next door is maybe 8-10ish. Our neighborhood is very old school. The guy across the street has been there 20 years. He and his wife used to just park lawn chairs in the front yard and jammer with anyone that would walk by. The Guy on the Corner is always working on his place and the neighborhood kids hang out there. The lady in the middle rescues dogs and the lady across the street is very sweet. Most evenings there’s a gathering in the street in front of the houses, everyone chatting and enjoying each other. When we moved in the little girl next door was fascinated with Beauregard. She used any excuse to come over here and just stroke his fur. Wednesday night I looked for one of her parents to come out so that I could speak to them, but it was hot and they were holed up in the bunker. Thursday was screaming hot too, but I wanted to take Rita for a walk. I waited until the sun was starting to set and off we went. No one was out. When we got back, the entire neighborhood was out. So the little girl and another neighbor and the Guy on the Corner came over to chat with us. Then the Guy on the Corner says “Is the other one jealous that you took her out?” I stand up, look over the little girl and say “No, he passed” She didn’t miss a beat. MOM! BEAU DIED! It gets worse because the little girl is a cancer survivor. The Grandmother is in the end stages of liver cancer, an Aunt passed last month and another Aunt is fighting for her life. So I really didn’t want to be the one that told that child that the dog she adored died of cancer last week. But that’s the way it was. It was more important at that moment for me to keep my shit together and I did. Yesterday I ran into the Mom out front alone. I told her that I wished I’d been able to let them know in advance so they could have handled it, because I knew Beau was very important to her. She told me that she was pretty upset and had talked to several adults about it. She told them what a beautiful dog he was and how powerful and muscular he was and how she couldn’t believe he died so quickly. Me either, kid. But the best part was her Grandfather. He’s been completely paralyzed by his wife’s illness. He took his granddaughter and told the story of the dog he had as a kid. He talked about what a great dog it was. It actually lived long enough that my neighbor has pictures of herself with that dog. He was able to console his granddaughter over Beau in spite of his terrible grief over his wife. He’s gone, but he’s still busy being an awesome dog.

I’ve been working with Rita and her training. Her training that was seriously lacking because Beau got pissy if he didn’t get to go out and do his drills too. He had the best footwork. They’d pull us out in class as an example of perfect footwork. Beau was just too much of a party boy to compete. He’d do about half of the discipline and then say “Oh piss on this, let’s party!” Rita’s more serious and wicked smart. I’ve got her doing turns already, after three days. She used to sit back behind me, but no more, right at heel, right on command. Her stays are improving dramatically. I think she might actually be able to compete in the obedience ring.

Table for One

This just in. Financial is actually having a company picnic this Saturday. Maybe they should just hire a piper and have a wake.

Rest in Peace

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Dreamed I was an Eskimo

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I’m back from San Diego. The meet went ok. Not great, not bad. I decided to do the “full meet” in addition to the bench meet I was already entered in. Good thing. A full meet is squat, bench and deadlift. You have to get one of each. A good squat is when the crease in your hips drops below the axis of your knee joint. I got two out of three. Didn’t come anywhere near the record (currently held by me) but got a good squat in. Then came the bench. I was going to open with 203.7, which is like a day at the beach for me normally. (also a record, held by me) But not yesterday. The first lift I brought it down to my chest, but missed my chest by about 1 cm. The ref didn’t see this and gave the “press” command. Unfortunately, I was still bringing the weight down so it looked like I hitched it, which I didn’t, I hadn’t touched my chest yet. Redlight. Then I was done, I couldn’t hit the other two lifts at all. It was screaming hot in Vista yesterday, the news said 90, but it was 95 according to the temperature thing in the rented drop top PT cruiser. (Gutless piece o’ crap) I drank 4 32 oz things of G2 and three liters of water during the meet. I learned in Chicago to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate when it’s that hot. The building had air, but it sputtered under the stress of the day.

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Looking good there.

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I gave my camera to my friend Mrs. SemperFi to take some pictures. I’ll never understand the mystery of cameras to old people. She also took this gem.

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I sure hope I wasn’t doing something really good when she got that one! Anyway, I missed all of my bench attempts…even though I really got the first one. Then came the deadlift. I was a little funky from the bench debacle and thought it best to dial back the opener a little on the dead lift. And I did by about 12 pounds, since everything’s in kg’s it’s this math bullshit all the time. So I made my opener and then the 2nd lift and figured out what I had to do to get close to the record. (also held by me) I missed the next lift, but it was enough to win the division. How ’bout my buddy, going to turn 70 this year.

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And here’s my personal spotter.

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He’s the former Chairman of USAPL in Colorado, and a ref and a rockin’ coach. It was awesome having someone so knowledgeable in my corner. I just wish I’d made that damned bench.

City Heat

The Brother volunteered to stay here with the dogs after Beauregard was diagnosed last weekend. I canceled their reservation at the puppy prison pet hotel. No one expected Beau to not make the week. So Wednesday, here I am with a dead dog and no real reason for The Brother to have to come out here except that I cancelled the reservation. He didn’t have a problem coming out here anyway. So when it hit 107 degrees on Friday afternoon, I was concerned about the boys from the City. They actually did pretty good. Loki was an excellent playmate for Rita and all worked out nicely all around.

Heartbreak Ridge

Nascar Teddy in all his ego wisdom, has hired a consulting firm to tell him that he needs to be sure that everyone they’re carrying on the insurance, really should be there. So if you work for LandAmerica, expect to have to prove that your domestic partner, husband, wife and children, really are your immediate family. I’m not sure how they handle that in Utah. And the consulting firm? A division of Fidelity? Really? I do need some confirmation on that part of the story. Anyone? Bueller? Oh what the Hell! Party on Bill, party on Ted.

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But wait there’s more! Southland? New Century? United? Buh bye!

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Nascar Teddy’s “assimulating” the brand into LandAmerica. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Bill has Fidelity, Chicago, Ticor, Security Union and Alamo, where he has numerous opportunities to piss you off and still retain your dollars. Teddy, when LandAmerica pisses them off, it’s over. This little diatribe was in my inbox a week or so ago. Funny, Teddy wasn’t copied…maybe it was a bcc because he sure needs to read it. PBE has some very smart readers.

Actually, Foley was the first to really understand that self-competition works in the Southern California market where the business is controlled by the sales reps. Back in The Day when Chicago bought Safeco, they each had about 8 percent of the SoCal business. Chicago merged the two operations, and within six months the merged operation had (wait for it) 8 percent of the business. Not to be phased by that, when Chicago bought Ticor, they each had about 8 percent of the business. Guess what happened when they merged the operations. You betcha.
When Foley bought Chicago, etc., he kept them separate at the operations level. Little loss of business, and the money stayed in the Financial system.
This only works if the local public perception is that they are separate. LandAm, in their infinite wisdom, insists on labeling each brand as “LandAmerica”. As in LandAmerica Gateway (now closed),LandAmerica Southland, LandAmerica Commonwealth, LandAmerica Lawyers, etc. You can see how well that worked out for them. When a broker gets pissed at their title company, it’s unlikely they will switch to someone who is clearly a part of the same organization. Make no mistake, from my experience with LandAm and Mercury, the brands view each other as competition, not as “sister companies”.

Smart. Very smart.

High Plains Drifter

You know when you google a name search and you get all those advertisements for finding the person for $7.95? Yeah, from Intellius, those guys. One of my co-workers was leaving our office one evening and found a wallet lying on the ground. It was full of credit cards and everything. He couldn’t find a phone number for the person so he clicked on the Intellius link and for $7.95 got the info and returned the wallet. Unfortunately, he didn’t read the fine print and they started charging his card $19.95 a month, every month. Finally, he remembered to sit down and find the spot on the webpage and email them to cancel the service. No response. Next month, another charge. So he sent them this:

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:08 PM, XXXX <XXXXXxxx@comcast.net> wrote:

What is the status of my request to cancel, please?

And their response?

—– Original Message —–

From: Customer Service <mailto:custserv@gmail.com>

To:

Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 1:13 PM

Subject: Re: Membership No. 52xxxxxx

ain’t gonna happen. that’s the status. now zip it!

Makes me want to sign up with those guys right now, eh?

I don’t want much, no, no, I just want a little bit

OK, this is the essential Friday Fish Fry.

I was watching the news and Obama challenging everyone to get away from the 527’s. I sat there and thought “what about moveon.org?” Well, question answered today.

Dear MoveOn member,

For almost ten years, we’ve worked together to change American politics. Millions of us have collaborated to build a new progressive moment, catalyzed by the Internet and motivated by our belief that the country we love deserves better.

Now, in Barack Obama, we have a Presidential candidate who has based his campaign on precisely that kind of new politics—a people-driven politics focused on the outside-of-the-beltway consensus around Iraq, climate change, and health care, not the gridlock in Washington.

Using a lot of the tools and techniques developed by the progressive movement—as well as a visionary approach to leadership—Obama’s brought millions of new people into the process. And, following in the footsteps of Howard Dean, ActBlue, and other innovators, he’s adopted a new way of funding a campaign—relying on a donor base of millions rather than contributions by lobbyists and special interests.

It’s a very exciting moment. And so the time has come to answer an important question: should we make an all-in commitment, together, to this new politics?

While MoveOn Political Action has always been funded exclusively by small donors like you, we’ve held open the MoveOn.org Voter Fund—a separate “527” organization—which can raise money from big donors. We haven’t actually taken any big-money checks since 2004, when MoveOn members matched big contributors to educate voters about George Bush’s policies. But in light of the new politics offered by Barack Obama, I’ve come to believe it’s time to close the 527 forever—and to challenge organizations on the right to do the same thing.

That means that we won’t raise any money for our election work from foundations, or even individuals who want to give over $5,000. It’s an all-in commitment to the small-donor way of doing things. But the time is right to take the leap.

Not relying on big donors means that all of us, together, have to take responsibility. So before we sign the final paperwork, we need to know that you’re in. Are you? Just click below to take the pledge and let us know:

Take the pledge!

And if you have any other thoughts or feedback for me on this decision, you can reply to epariser@moveon.org (I can’t promise that I’ll respond to all the emails, but I’ll definitely read ’em).

We’ve come a long way together in our journey toward a new people-driven politics for America. It’s been a wonderful honor to be part of it. And this is just the beginning.

Thanks,

–Eli and the whole team

MoveOn.org Political Action is a registered federal political action committee. Donations are limited to no more than $5,000.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

OK, I can get behind that. Mr. McSame? Anybody home?

Dolphyngyrl sent me this today:

funny-dog-pictures-this-dog-plays-well-with-children.jpg

From my buddies over at ICANHAZCHEEZBURGER.COM

Sonofabun would like me to quit it, he’s tired of running his mascara every morning when he reads me. I prefer to joyfully celebrate a life well lived. That being said, some pictures of the Brother with Beau on Sunday.

cremepuff1.JPGcremepuff2.JPGcremepuff3.JPGcremepuff4.JPGcremepuff5.JPG

50 miler

I didn’t get my 54 miles but I did get 50. Close enough. I had a 10am appointment and foolishly thought I was getting out of the house at 5am. The sun wasn’t up. I had to wait until 5:45 when it was safe. I got to Dublin and back. Averaged 13.63 mph, considering I go up Ygnacio at 5mph, not too shabby. I kicked Ygnacio’s ass today. Yeah, I OWN you. Used my four Hammer Gels and some HEED. I like that stuff. OK, I like that it’s not some syrupy piss yellow crap that I have to chase with water. That makes me happy.  It was 87 when I got home at 9:30.  Yikes.  I went through two 23 oz water bottles and a 20 oz of HEED.

Mongo Thirsty

I’m off to San Diego in about an hour. The Brother will be holding down the fort. I’m not sure if Rita is hot or depressed or both. She’s been very low key the last two days. OTOH, it’s currently 102 here. Reason two for riding at 5:45 a.m. I think I might add the full lift meet. I’ve been squatting pretty well and my back is healed. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. Right now, in spite of a 50 miler, I’m full of spit and vinegar.