Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Don't Know How to Feel About This

I'm a closet motor sport fan. Within that closet, I'm an unabashed fan of Scuderia Ferrari. Schumacher was Ferrari F1 for so long that I'm a Schumi fan. And now this.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Cycling/Triathlon, Cooking, BYU football. These are my hobbies. Each fall I look forward to being able to enjoy all three with the luau, Fall Perfection, and the football season all overlapping. Fall also used to include hunting, fishing, and camping, but kids and a full-time gig pushed those off the list. I had too many hobbies and so some had to go. Apparently, there are plenty of people in Utah that need more hobbies besides just watching football. Fans on both sides take the game entirely too seriously. As I read about this incident, I couldn't help but think that too many of those fans base their identity on the team. They also don't seem to have enough healthy outlets to blow off steam.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Return of the Tri Geek

Until a week and a half ago, I hadn't been on my road bike since some time in August. I hadn't stopped riding, I just stopped riding my road bike in favor of mountain bikes. And strangely enough, I spent most of my time on a single speed. And it was awesome. But now, IM St. George is looming just over the horizon. And I find myself planning my Saturdays around my training. And riding road bikes. And working on my swimming form. And worrying about HR's and training volume. Yep, the tri-geek is back.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Ugliest Word

Upfront, let's make it clear that I'm not including swear words. However, I feel this word is uglier than all but one of those - uglier even than the eff word. I contend the ugliest word in the english language is heifer. My stomach turns a little even typing it. My closest friends growing up were part of a ranching family, so I spent a considerable amount of time around cattle. Even then, the word always bothered me. It seems that recently I've heard more people use the word as a derisive term for a woman. Ouch. As much of a hater as I am, I'd still have a really hard time calling someone that - even behind their back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Moving Violations

Dug's post today inspired a rant. The other day, I fell victim to the Timpanogos Temple Speed Trap - it's capitalized because it's a well-known speed trap. Plus, it's so well executed that even if you know about you eventually fall victim. Anyway, the whole traffic ticket idea is fundamentally flawed. I'm not talking about the principle of providing rules for how fast you can drive and punishing you for driving over that speed. That's fine. I'm sure it makes everyone safer, which is a good thing for government, right? My problem is that with the local governments receiving the money for the tickets they apparently spend the vast majority of their time lying in wait in speed traps because that makes them money. They have a direct incentive to write as many tickets as possible, regardless of whether it makes anybody safer. And a disincentive to go out and actually investigate crimes. Because that costs money. I don't like to trash on something unless I have a different solution. My solution - send the money from the tickets to a different group - like to the state general fund. I'm guessing there would be a lot fewer speed traps and tickets would tend to be issued more for people who were actually driving dangerously. I'm just saying.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All Stars

Today was open-mic day. And the All-Stars showed up to put on a show. We can usually count on one or two of them, but today they all showed up. In a surprise appearance, The Advice Column showed up, along with the always dependable Sewing Circle Storyteller, the Tattling Teen, The Ambling Adolescent, and that crazy old lady who says words without saying anything. The five of them dominated the time in impressive fashion - a true classic.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Last night, something happened that I never thought would happen. For the entire length of my swim, I was the fastest person in the AF Pool. As I reveled in the glory of the feat, it occurred to me that maybe it had something to do with the fact that the only other people in the pool were a 350+ lb woman who was backstroking her way to better health (which I applaud) and a fellow who was clearly just learning how to swim. I take small victories however I can get them.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Bike Cycle

No, it's not a mistake. I did mean to type "bike cycle." The "bike cycle" as explained to me years ago by Stu is the aggregate, rolling value a person has in bikes. "The stable" is only the current manifestation of the bike cycle - the bikes you have right now. But as Rick S. (not his real name) recently pointed out, the bike cycle allows you to trade a bike you currently have for one you really want. And there's always another bike, so you keep the money in the bike cycle and keep it rolling. So, I also remind all of us of Stu's sage advice - Never take money out of the bike cycle.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Next Level

Most guys spend a considerable amount of effort to be one of the guys - often by taking care of their own, keeping an eye out, and knowing when enough is enough. And always being consicous not become "that guy." I always thought that was the worst thing to be - "that guy." I was wrong. I've been introduced to a new level - "that one guy" - he who stands out from even "that guy." It's a long story.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some People Send Christmas Cards

I throw the annual Fisherstyle Luau. In the past, I tried to do most of the work with just Cindy and I, but it's simply too big for that now - over 350 people showed up this year. And it's truly a family affair. Alika and Brittney postponed a hunting trip to help me prep the night before. Kuhia also postponed a hunting trip to make the haupia (which is legendary) and run a grill station. My sister decorated, including putting together pineapple centerpieces. B, Jon and Delena, Benson, and many others pitched in countless ways to help us pull it off. This year, we managed to avoid any trips to the emergency room, which allowed us a little more time for setup. It also decreased the stress level by several orders of magnitude. B and the Hansons showed up and setup started in earnest at 4:00. Ben was there shortly after and took over the first grill station in order to get the first round of chicken out while I ran the second grill station with sausages and kalbi. The pork was already holding as it had come fresh from the ovens. Kuhia showed up as we were finalizing the initial preparation and took over the second grill, leaving me to run the finishing station and to keep an eye on the line. The official send off was at 5:30, mainly because there weren't very many people there at 5:00. And then it was on. For the next two hours the three of us furiously turned out food as fast as we could. At any given time at least three of the four main proteins were available, with one of the four occasionally running low or even temporarily out while we scrambled to cook more. We kept up the pressure and managed to survive the rush, which started to taper between 7 and 8. Since I'd been head down and hammering, I had a tough time telling how it was going, but it seemed like people had a good time. Despite running out of plates (we had well over 400 plates to start) and rice, I think the luau was a success. But I saw for the first time this year signs that the luau was becoming a victim of its own success. Or at least that some people were willing to abuse my good will. For the last six years, the luau has been a time for me to bring together my various groups of family, neighbors, classmates, cycling friends, and coworkers to share a meal and for the various groups to catch up amongst themselves. I've always told people to bring others within those circles that I may have overlooked or for whatever reason didn't know about the party. Until now, all of the people who showed up had at least one of two things in common: 1) they knew me, Cindy, and/or one of my siblings well enough to pick us out of a crowd before the event and/or 2) they were appreciative of the effort. For the first time, some invitees took the liberty of bringing friends who were neither. It was disappointing to have someone I didn't know, nor could I immediately figure out who they were with, give my wife a strange look that almost questioned what she was doing there. Later being able who that person was with didn't change anything. It was also frustrating to be treated like a caterer on the line (by someone I didn't know) by something more akin to a demand for more of a particular item rather than a request. This didn't sit well with me at all. Some of these same people wandered off with all of the centerpieces, leaving me and those who helped out without the much anticipated pineapples. My immediate family, given that it's as much their luau as it is mine, have always had and will always have carte blanche to bring whoever they want. From now on, I'm going to ask everybody else to bring only people who 1) know me or my family and 2) can avoid boorish behavior. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Last night Cindy and I did our version of movie/date night - we watched "Adventureland" while we ran together on the treadmills. We cranked out nine miles and I felt comfortable the entire time. We're definitely sick, because we both loved it. Fall Perfection is upon us again. DR and I headed out today early and did the Road-Ridge-Tibble loop. A light drizzle kept us cool on the way up. Not only did the rain keep us cool, it kept people out of the canyons and packed down the trails to the perfect consistency. I've taken to calling those conditions point and shoot, since my tires stay where I put them I'm able to ride much more confidently and a lot faster. I was grinning the whole way down, even with the ruts the throttle monkeys put in the trail earlier in the year. I was encouraged by the prospects for the fall riding season - I have enough fitness to enjoy the long rides, which will help me extend my fitness long enough to start training for IM St. George.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Luau Countdown

I recently talked with a buddy who wondered if the luau was still on, since there had been a lack of luau related posts this close to the date. It's definitely still on. The park is reserved. The beef is currently aging. Soda has been stockpiled. Non-perishable items are at the ready. A trip to the Asian store and the final purchase of the more perishable chicken, pork, and sausage as well a few vegetables is all that remains to be done before cooking begins in earnest. September 12, after 5.
View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My Dad is 78 years old. He went out to the National Forest and killed a deer. With a bow and arrow. I'm just saying, my old man is a badass.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Utah Half '09

Several years ago the Ironman company tried to do a couple of races in Utah Lake in June. The first year a fellow had a cardiac episode in the choppy conditions and died. The next year they canceled the swim because of the chop, and the next year they moved the race to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. Two years ago a local group brought the half distance back to Utah with the Utah Half in August, which I skipped. Last year DR talked me into racing the Utah Half with him. There was little wind, but it was scorching hot. I won entry to this year's edition in a raffle, so I was back again this year. The other half distance races I've done this year (Oceanside, CA and Boise, ID) both ended up being windy and cold, so I was actually looking forward to warm weather and calm winds. But, apparently the long-course-triathlon gods hate me. As the start time neared, the wind and clouds picked up to end what had been a pretty calm morning - and ruining any hope of a calm swim. I bobbed in the water as the original start time came and went while the race directors tried to figure out what to do. Then my guts sent me the emergency launch sequence notification. I barely noticed the five minute warning over the din of the alarm bells from my stomach. There was no way I was going to make it through the entire swim, nor any way I could make it to the port-a-pottys all the way over in transition and back in five minutes, even if I wasn't wearing a wetsuit. So, I became a cliche. You know, one of those you-know-you're-a-triathlete-when cliches. Fortunately I have a two-piece wetsuit. So, I swam to the very end of the pier (well away from the other swimmers), pulled down my wetsuit pants, and released what had already become at best a tenuous grip. Unfortunately, I race in a one-piece trisuit. So, strenuous and liberal irrigation was necessary, which I accomplished via the opening in my trisuit. For once, the merkiness of the water worked to my advantage, hiding me and my deeds. I did this all in less than the five minutes I had left before race start. And before they announced again that they were going to wait another fifteen minutes, despite the calm conditions. It bothered me. I mean, apart from the obvious inconvenience, the way I saw it the waves weren't that big since we were swimming in the harbor. Besides, anybody stepping up to the long distance shouldn't be whining about the chop. In my usual, subtle and understated way, I suggested that to one of the race directors that they make the swim optional: "Hey, why don't you make the swim optional? That way, those guys who don't want to swim can go put their pullups on while those of who brought our big boy pants can swim. I'm just saying." Yep, I was making friends and influencing people Saturday morning. The race directors decided on a compromise - instead of cancelling the swim altogether or doing the entire two loop course, we'd swim a single loop. The start line was about 100m from the exit, so my best guess is that the course we did was about 1000m. (1900m=2L+100, Ts=L+100). The swim went better than expected. I was able to stick with the group swimming into the wind until we made the turn. The tailwind pushed me back in. I was to the exit at the ramp in about 18:30. And out of the water at about 21:00 - I couldn't get out of the ramp. My one complaint with the race was the lack of carpeting on the snot slick ramp. I slipped and fell back in no fewer than four times and ended up crawling out of the water. I burned too many matches on the bike, despite the 3:00 flat split. Most of the course wound through the back roads of South County near the lake. I hate that route from having ridden it countless times in punishing crosswinds that seemed to hit me at a yaw angle that negated any tailwind component, regardless of which way I was riding. Saturday was especially bad since I was riding a disc wheel, the winds were at 25+, and I was actually worried about my time. It may also have had something to do with the fact that the rinse cycle portion of the emergency launch process had washed off all of my anti-chafe. 56 miles on a bendover bike with no chamois and no anti-chafe - it sucked a lot. At least the hail on the way back in distracted me from my broken junk. Cold and chafed, I was not happy coming in to T2. Shortly into the run, I met up with DR, who had flatted twice on the bike and called it a day. Despite his official DNF, he decided to run with me anyway. The first lap went well, better than expected even. I slowed a little on the second (and final) lap, but was still on pace for a comfortable PR both on the run and overall. I was also on pace to go sub-six for the first time. And then I paid the price for the bike at mile 11 as I imploded. I was still able to 'run', but was doing so at a pace that was 2:00-3:00/mile slower than my previous pace. I ground it out, with DR's encouragement, coming in at 5:53. It was a good day - a PR day, in fact - despite falling apart on the run. I estimated that if the swim course hadn't been shortened, I'd come in around 6:10. I figured that 18:30 put my 100m times at 1:51, which would put the extra 900m at around 17:00. I'm comfortable with this since I'm always faster after the first 1000m.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've often lamented by descent into becoming a triathlete, not someone who does triathlons. And I still am. Part of that is because of the stupidity exhibited by tri geeks. They (and I'm not including myself in this discussion of the group) swallow whatever anyone tells them, as long as they promise it'll make them faster. There are several, many of which I'm sure to touch on later. The first one is the best: You should ALWAYS ride in the aero position. This is my absolute favorite - common sense be damned, the tri-geeks persist in this. It seems like common sense that there are three things determine how wind acts on you as you ride: 1) How big of a target you present, 2) How hard the wind is apparently blowing, and 3) the direction the wind is blowing. Apparently, since tri-geeks can only control one of these three things, they believe that presenting as small a target as possible is the solution that makes you faster all the time. Not so much. The aero position only provides an advantage if the apparent head wind is greater than 17-18 mph. Apparent wind is the remaining vector after you factor in your direction of travel and the direction the wind is blowing. With that in mind, there are three common situations where staying in the aero position (which is as uncomfortable or even more so than it looks) is stupid or maybe even dangerous. First is climbing. On a calm day, riding uphill in your aerobars at 12-13 provides no aerodynamic advantage. Yet I see tri-geek after tri-geek grinding away up AF Canyon in their aerobars, convinced in the truth that its faster. You know, because somebody told them it was. Second is descending. A friend of mine, let's call him Jared, called me one day as he left the emergency room to tell me there was a hazardous section on the road up AF Canyon. Apparently hazardous for cyclists anyway. When Jared explained to me where the spot the spot was, I knew it immediately. It's really nothing more than a slight dip. Unless you're in your aerobars. Descending a curvy road. With no access to your brakes. And all of your weight is over your front wheel. Which was exactly what the genius Jared had dropped off at the hospital was doing before Jared found him. Based on the evidence, Jared said it looked like genius had hit the dip and then hit the road, leaving large patches of his face and several teeth as he skidded along before slamming to a stop into the hillside adjacent the road. I prefer to have my weight and hands positioned so I can control my bike when I'm descending, even if it is 1-2 mph slower - I'm picky that way. Third is in a stiff tail wind. At the Vikingman last year, we battled 30+ mph headwinds on the way out. I was lucky to do 12 mph on the flats. With an apparent headwind of 40+ it made sense to 'get aero.' But at the turn, that same headwind turned into a tail wind. I passed scores of people at 30+. You see, they were all tucked away while I made myself as big as possible by sitting straight up to catch the wind. Each person I passed shot me the same confused look, wondering how I could possibly be going faster than him while not being aero. Apparently the idea that wind can push you where you want to go, you know, the sail concept, was completely lost on them. Or at least ignored. Ignorance of the realities of something as basic as wind, that's one of the reasons I hate grouping myself with triathletes.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Off Topic

Most of the time, my perseverations rotate between family, food, bikes, and combinations of the three. Lately, I've been thinking a disporportionate amount about Southeastern Utah. You should skip this one if wrestling with small town issues isn't your thing. I was born and raised in Southeastern Utah - in Blanding. Blanding is a town that was founded by Mormon settlers sent from St. George. The vast majority of the people who stay in the town for more than a year or two are descendents of those original settlers. At least tangential descendents. The student body at the local schools reflects this. Blanding is also near both a Ute resevervation and the Navajo Nation. As a result, the other significant group that attend the local schools are native americans. My family moved to Blanding in 1971 and frankly, I'm not sure what kept us there. Since we were neither native nor really white, it seems we were caught between the two groups. Friends of mine from Blanding may challenge that assertion, but I'm pretty sure they never had a girl they were sweet on tell them, "My grandma, and I guess my dad, don't want me to see you anymore because you're . . .mmm . . . well . . . you know . . . not white." I also doubt they ever had to stand up in front of the class and proclaim they were the pineapple capital of the world. I'm glad I grew up in Blanding - for good or bad it shaped me. I've made friends that will last a life time. Some of the best people anywhere live there. However, as time marches on, my feelings about the town have become mixed as I think about generations-old, town-wide issues of racism, xenophobia, and family cliquishness. And never more so than the last couple of weeks. The FBI recently conducted raids in which 24 people from Blanding were arrested for violating the Antiquities Resource Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) and/or the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The actual raids and arrests were ugly enough, but the fallout is more far-reaching as many people from the area take one position and the Salt Lake media and others (including many who aren't familiar with the area) are taking a position that is the polar opposite. Both positions are based on over-simplifications, exaggerations, and name-calling. What's worse, the simplifications and exaggerations appear to be based on a lack of understanding of either the law, a desire to sensationalize, or both. This past weekend I loaded the family up and headed to Blanding so my kids could spend some time with their grandma. As I sat watching the parade, I overheard the comments of several people on the whole situation. Unfortunately, in general it seems that the raids polarized people there in such a way that they feel entitled, even proud, of the xenophobia and racism that had previously lurked just beneath the surface. Although many of the residents remain grounded, it seems like the area has taken a step backward. Or maybe the only thing to change about Blanding is my perception of the place.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Inspirational Dishes

I love food. Big surprise I know - you probably believed my big-bone argument. In any case, I was thinking today of the dishes I've had that were inspirational. Not just good, or a little memorable, but ones that are benchmarks. Choripan (Argentina Sausage Sandwich), Chichi's Place, Buenos Aires Lengua a la Vinagre (Tongue Vinaigrette), Chichi's Place, Buenos Aires Schnitzel, Kuhia's House, Salt Lake Quail Fois Gras and Escargo (separate dishes), Inn on the Creek (Jean Louis), Midway Prime Rib, Magnum's, Chicago Oyster Shooters, Pacific Seafood Company Outlet, Rockaway Beach, Oregon Apple Cider Pork Ribs, Ben's House, Lindon Duck Spring Rolls, Metropolitan, SLC Braised Short Rib w/Horse Radish Cream and Polenta, Pizzeria 712, Orem Garlic Shrimp, Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, Kahuku Ribs, Pat's BBQ, SLC Baby Greens with Truffles, Vinaigrette, and a Soft Boiled Egg, Pizzeria 712, Orem Fried Chicken, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, Inglewood Lemon Grass Pork Bahn Mi, Dew, Provo Thai Basil Rice, Rooster, Provo Update: Duck Breast with Wilted Leek Risotto, Swiss Chard, and Cherry Gastrique, Pizzeria 712, Orem. It really was unreal - the standard by which all duck shall be measured.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Fortune

I'm fortunate that some of my very best friends are amazing artisans who are passionate about the same things I am. Add Video
For example, anyone who's seen a Sabrosa knows that Jon's attention to detail is unsurpassed. But as many mass-production companies have proven, there's more to how well a bike rides than how it looks. That's what makes Jon's bikes even more impressive - every aspect of the bike from the exact (and I do mean exact) head angle to the nature and type of the dropouts is thoughtfully selected. The result is a bike that handles intuitively from the first time you ride it.
Anybody who knows Racer knows in addition to being easily the best mechanic in all of Utah County if not the state, he's also the nicest guy in the whole world.
And then there's Rooster in Provo (in previous location of Racer's Cycle Service coincidentially). A foodie's kind of spot without the foodie's entry fee. Andy and Simi are providing something out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1L Summer

Between my first and second years in law school (my 1L summer), with the help of some friends I was able to land a paying clerk gig at a law firm in Portland, Oregon. I'd previously only been to Portland once on a whirlwind 36 hour run with Jem. Surprisingly enough, that short trip wasn't enough for me to get to know the town very well and not the apartments at all. Cindy had recently been promoted at work and didn't want to leave her job. She stayed back in Provo. That left me to find a place on my own. Fortunately, another one of the clerks wanted to split an apartment. Cindy found a place for us that seemed (on paper) to be the right combination of price, size, and proximity to the office. We only had one car, so I built up a commuter bike, threw it in Jem's truck, and headed north. I had been living in student apartments for several years. And not the nice ones by Condo Row either. I lived in Miller for two years before I was married. There was a reason that Miller was the cheapest place on the approved list. After I was married, I lived in toaster oven of an attic apartment. My point is, I had very low expectations for the apartment. Even with these low expectations, to say I was disappointed with the apartment I ended up with would be an understatement. While the wet carpet in the place when I arrived pointed to management having recently cleaned the carpet, I remain convinced that nothing short of completely gutting the apartment could remove the smell of dog shit and stale smoke that permeated the place. Maybe not even that. And it was mine to stew in, with no car to get away from the place. My roommate had brought his girlfriend out and there was no way they were going to wallow in that mire any more than they had to. After a while I thought the smell had dissipated. Not so much. I'd just become accustomed to the smell. After a month of the smell B stopped by on his way to a family vacation. He informed me that the place reeked and it was then that I realized the smell must still be permeating everything in the apartment, clothes included. In all likelihood, I had been walking around the office smelling like a dog with a fecal fetish, an aversion to bathing, and a nicotine addiction. Not surprisingly, our co-tenants had some issues as well. As we learned through several police raids in the middle of the night, complete with battering rams and foot chases, for many Cornell Courtyard Apartments was subsidized housing. One afternoon as my roommate and I were getting home, we were followed in by a middle-aged women dressed in a smart suit. "Good to see someone in here getting out and trying to get a decent job," my roommate commented. A few minutes later, she emerged in her regular clothes to soak her feet in what a sign described as a pool, but what in reality was an infrequently cleaned duck pond. As she sat down, she made clear, "That judge was a total bitch!" Of course. She then recounted how the judge had made clear she needed to be doing more of what she agreed to do if she was going to retain custody of her six-year old girl and her infant/toddler, who appeared to be about a year old. Maddy, an ostensibly single mother, didn't seem to agree. All of this is background for what has to be one of my favorite overheard conversations. Toward the middle of the summer, Cindy and our ultimate travelling/dining companions Lani and Patrick came up to visit. After an epic day at the coast, the four of headed down town for some seafood at one of the restaurants on the Willamette. When we finally arrived back to the apartments, it was well after one in the morning. Maddy and another snaggle-tooth were out front smoking cigarettes and talking. As we passed, Maddy excused herself, "Well, I'd best get going - I've got a man in my bed." "Then you'd better go, you don't want to keep a man waiting," her companion concurred. "Nope, don't want keep him waiting." I never did actually see this man as he was gone the next day to never return, but I imagine he was a keeper.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boise 70.3 Recap

The Short Version: - Boise is a pretty cool town - Wind and rain made for a long day - Two flats and only one spare tube made for an even longer day - I finished and enjoyed it, for the most part We spent Thursday night in Burley and headed out Friday morning for Boise. I'd allowed twice as much time as things could possible take to keep things relaxed and calm. It worked for the most part. Friday afternoon we spent leisurely getting ready - signing in, dropping off the bike, doing a practice swim in cold, open water, and driving the bike course. There was even time for a short swim in the hotel pool, which was too cold to spend too much time in. I'm used to waking up on race day and putting my game face on as soon as possible since most races start at 7 a.m. or earlier. The 2 p.m. start threw me off. Even after sleeping in and eating a full breakfast, I still had hours before I needed to board the bus to take me to the swim. It wasn't until we arrived at the swim venue that I started getting excited to race. The swim was a disaster. The wind kicked up enough to cause waves big enough to completely envelope people. It made it tough to find a decent rhythm. It also blew the buoys all over the place. The last turn buoy was blown nearly completely to shore. Of course, I followed it all the way there before making the turn. I was confused at the line the other swimmers were taking as I headed for the finished. I later learned that the buoy was several hundred meters off course and that some of the kayakers had directed the majority of the swimmers back to the swim finish at the right spot. I wasn't one of them. I completed the first half of the course in 21 minutes and felt stronger and faster on the second half of the swim. Based on this, I'm estimating the detour added between 400-500m extra (300 out, plus the difference between the hypotenuse and the opposite leg on the way back in). I also had the added benefit of calf cramps about 200m in, which was a nice bonus. I came out of the water in 50:20, but wasn't too disappointed as many of the bikes from my wave were still in the racks. It turns out the swim was slower for every body as I finished near the middle of the pack. The bike had promise. Shifting winds and rain were the order of the day on the bike. I do well in that kind of weather and was feeling particularly strong. I kept my eyes on my computer and tried to stay steady with a cadence over 85 rpm, HR below 160 bpm, and power over 200W and below 300. Everything was going according to plan until I flatted at mile 30. No big deal, I had an extra tube. Just over six minutes later and I was back on course, enjoy the only steady tail wind of the day. And then I flatted again. This time, I didn't have an extra tube so I walked the 500-600 yds to the corner that was manned by some police. 25 minutes later the volunteers showed up - apparently they had went to the wrong place and didn't realize it for several minutes. The time off had let my legs get cold and it took several minutes for them to come back. Once they did, I caught up with Devin, who had apparently passed me while I was changing my second tire. Though I have no proof, I suspect from that point forward I acted as a rabbit for Devin to chase as he picked up his pace and we traded places for the rest of the bike. I came in at 3:29:48, which was about the same time I did in California without the flats. Despite soaking wet feet that had started to numb my toes, I had a decently quick transition and felt very strong coming out of transition. Remembering the California run, I focused on rehydrating and saving something for the second half of the run. Despite what I thought was a decent pace, I'd only managed to put a few seconds on Devin and didn't see Dave until near the end of the first lap. I assume that he'd put on a burner and was finishing his second lap - which would have put his total time around 5:20. If he had been on his second lap. But to my shock,the wasn't and was in fact just over a mile behind me as I started my second lap. I was nearly a mile ahead of him and had thoughts of being able to push to the finish to pull out a very improbable win in the grudge match despite the flats. I continued to push on the flats, but despite the increase in effort (and an ever bigger increase in pain), I was only maintaining the same pace I had on the first lap. Then, completely unexpectedly, Dave caught me between miles nine and ten. And the wheels came off, motivationally speaking . We slowed and waited for Devin. Devin refused to walk and Dave and Devin traded sharp jabs while discussing running slowly vs. walking. And then we were done. All things considered, I had a good day. I enjoyed most of the swim, most of the bike, and most of the run. The venue was good and the Boise down town finish was awesome. This is a course that I'll be doing again in the future and I actually can't wait until next time. Next up is the Utah Half, where I'm hoping to avoid the mechanical demons and finish well regardless of the conditions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wrist Rockets Aren't Toys

Elden's post today reminded me of my own encounters with skunks. And since I haven't had any real inspiration for blogging recently, I'm taking his inspiration. Recently, in a rare occurrence a skunk sprayed somewhere around the neighborhood. My guess is that someone hit it while it was crossing Canyon Road. My wife was sure it had sprayed our dog in our yard. I knew it hadn't- I had first hand experience as to what skunk spray smells like up close. The smell was just too weak, too distant. There are certain things you learn by growing up in the sticks. When I was young, one of my older brothers assassinated a rogue skunk that had been stealing eggs and killing chickens at night. It was a gifted shot from the roof of our house into some bushes over 25 feet away. Lit only by moonlight, my brother had hit the skunk in the head. But in its death throws the skunk managed to complete half a revolution while spraying wildly. So the bushes near our shed were a hemisphere of skunk spray. I was asleep in the room below my brother's vantage point, so I learned quickly what skunk spray smells like in your yard. I also learned I didn't want to have anything to do with that again. Several years later, I stepped out on the front porch one evening to feed my cat and see how she was doing. She was a long-haired cat, with fluffly dark fur and tabby markings. As I reached down to pet her, I wondered what she had on her coat as it was streaky. I managed to figure it out just before I touched its head that it was not so much my cat, but a skunk. Like any properly raised teenage hick, I instinctively ran for the .22. My dad stopped me, reminding me what happened the last time we shot a skunk. He had a different solution, one that still boggles me to this day. His solution: a wrist rocket. You know, the super-duper sling shots that have the extension that braces the handle to your wrist so you can pull back the super stiff bands? One of those. I figured it was exactly the wrong tool - too much force to keep the skunk from feeling threatened but not enough to be finish the job. Both of these scenarios ended in spraying. My dad insisted - he grabbed the wrist rocket and sent me to grab a marble from the marble can. Now armed with a wrist rocket, my father headed out to confront the skunk. The skunk saw my dad approaching and responded by lifted his tail and meandering away. My dad loaded the marble into the pouch, pulled back those bands further than I would have previously thought physically possible, and moved-in ridiculously close to the skunk. Instead of hearing the skunk spray (which I figured was immiment) I heard a terrific thump as the marble found its mark. I was stunned by the absence of an overwhelming odor - my dad had hit the skunk squarely in the spine, which disabled his tail immediately. I looked on in stunned disbelief, asking my dad as he came near, "Aren't you going to finish him?" "What for?" came his response. And that was that.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pre-Race Jitters

I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a triathlete. Almost. And triathletes all have one or two 'priority' races they train for each year. My first priority race is this weekend, Ironman Boise 70.3. Which means I've been tapering since last week. The decrease in training volume has me doubting myself. Being well-rested has me feeling like I haven't trained all year. I think I have a pretty good idea of how my fitness will hold up, but the fresh legs have me wondering if I've done enough. Even though the odd and random aches freak me out, I'm not going to do anything rash and will instead focusing on my mantra during taper weeks - 'Run what ya brung.'

Friday, June 05, 2009


Last night Cindy and I had an opportunity to go to the rehearsal dinner for Rooster Dumplings and Nooble Bar (DNB) in Provo. The way I understand it (from Google), Sriracha = Rooster = One of the Owner's Favorite Hot Sauce. If you liked Dew, you'll like Rooster, although there isn't too much overlap. The Chinese Dumplings, Pho', and Lava Cake carry over. New offerings we tried included four additional varieties of dumplings, a new noodle dish, a new rice dish, and new Sesame and Bean Paste Doughnuts. I very much appreciate the fact that each of the new dishes was different than anything I'd tried before. My personal favorites were the bulgogi dumplings and the new pork rice dish. It was definitely a culinary adventure and one I'll be repeating soon. It's exciting for me to see people in the UC willing to cook good food that is original. The P712 guys have been tearing it up for a while and I am excited to see others having success as well.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Taco Stands

Although I brought lunch today, I just wasn't feeling it. I needed some Mexican. Real Mexican - no Los Hermanos, no Cafe Rio. So I heeded DR's advice and followed the latino construction workers to their preferred taco stand on South Temple and West Temple. It was worth my time.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Elden was recently bitten by a dog. Chad has also blogged about this. In the past, I've noted my run-ins with dogs on my wife's blog. In any case, it's worth repeating - I'm not a big fan of being bitten by dogs. But much like being hit by a car, my reaction depends on the other party's attitude. If were to get hit by a car and then have the motorist get out and start yelling at me to get off the road or whatever, it could get ugly pretty quick. If on the other hand, they're sympathetic, that's a different story. Similarly, if a dog owner is apologetic about their dog attacking, I can understand that. But at the end of the day, I have a pretty standard approach to a dog giving chase. If I'm riding and a dog chases me long enough and hard enough to get close enough to bite me, I operate on the assumptions that 1) the dog intends to bite me and 2) there's nothing the owner can/cares to do about it. With those two assumptions in mind, I kick the dog. Period. I'd expect someone to do the same if for some inexplicable reason Jesse decided to chase somebody down on a bike. What about the dog owner? I don't really care - after all they're out with a dog that either they can't control or they don't want to control. And when it comes down to choosing hurting their feelings or risking a dog bite, I know which way I'm going.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Salem Spring Tri

Last week I decided to start my taper for Boise last weekend by switching a really long brick out for the Salem Spring Tri. I didn't do anything to get ready for this race other than pack my things and head down there - I did my hardest run this year on Wednesday, swam hard with the masters team Thursday, and went mountain biking on Friday morning with B, DR, and Alika. So, I wasn't exactly fresh to start the race. But, that wasn't the point. The swim was a mixed bag. I hadn't done any recon on the swim course. Without knowing where I was going, the swim felt really long. Plus, for some reason, even though there were only 75 or so people in my wave, I spent more time running into people than I have at almost any other swim - I simply couldn't get clear. After what felt like an eternity, I came out of the water in 13:51. I'm not sure how to interpret those results since there is a slight current in pond. But, I did finish 186/645 in the swim. I guess we'll see how it goes at Boise. As I started the bike, I felt the effects of fatigue. It felt like the swim had soggied all my matches, and the fuel for the matter, so I couldn't get moving on the first lap. Even that guy with the mountain bike helmet that was going shirtless passed me. Finally, after fifteen minutes or so, my matches dried out and I was able to light something to get moving. The bike was a two lapper, with my second lap coming in four minutes faster. As I started the run, I was sluggish and I felt that heavy dread that I may have to push through the entire run while I felt like crap. I hate that feeling. It soon faded and as I started the second half of the run I actually started enjoying it. My overall time was definitely slower because of the built up fatigue, but I had fun and either my wife or I will be doing this race whenever we can.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Commuting Etiquette, Mass Transit Style

In the last year or so I've switched to mainly commuting by car to mainly commuting by mass transit. On occasion, which is less often than it should be, I ride my bike to the bus stop and take the bus in. On those trips, I usually don't bother with cycling shorts on the way in since the ride down is so short, but usually do put on cycling shorts for the ride home, which usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour. And I always wear the courtesy baggies for the bus ride back to the UC. Everybody should. There are a couple of semi-regular commuters who ride one of the same later buses I take - one of the buses I catch when I've been too lazy to get up early and ride to the bus. I call them Bent Pedro and Short Bus. Short Bus is apparently a PhD student in physics or the like and insists on wearing his helmet the entire time, but at least he's wearing baggies. I shouldn't say much more about the name, lest I risk being sent to hell. Bent Pedro on the other hand is a multiple offender. He rides a recumbent. I'm just saying - a recumbent. And spandex. Sans the courtesy baggies. It's disturbing. Picture a bus full of guys in shirts and ties, women in suit pants, and Bent Pedro make his way along down the aisle with his pinnochio pants on. And then he finds that lucky person to share the ride with and sits down right next to them. For 45 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe there is a time and a place to go with spandex - and straight spandex to boot. You don't want to show up to a group road ride and be that guy - you know who I'm talking about, the fellow on the hybrid with the baggy shorts and 20 oz. of root beer in his cage. There is a definitely a time and a place where the spandex is appropriate. But it's not on the bus.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Big Day

I've always wanted to do a multi-course dinner, especially with a group of people who love food as much as I do. Pat's admission to medical school provided me a pretext, so after a month or so of thought we made it happen. But first, I had to get some suffering in with the wind with Chuckie and Mahana. Good company to suffer with. It was a meal to remember. The menu: Appetizer - Tuna Sashimi with Fresh Ponzu, Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Aoli Salad - Amy's Salad (Spinach, Bacon, Walnuts, Feta, and Poppyseed Dressing) Bread - Whole Grain Bread, Vanilla Whipped Honey-Butter Fish - Garlic Shrimp, Sticky Rice, Fresh Ginger Soda Palette Cleanser - Fresh Fruit Smoothie White Meat - Apple Cider Baby-Back Ribs, Potato Salad with Homemade Lemon Mayo Entree - Filet, Potato Waffle with Fresh Horseradish Cream and Port Pan Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables Dessert - Vanilla and Chocolate Creme Brulee We were all too full when we were done with the entree so we skipped the cheese course, which was supposed to be Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese with D'Anjou Pears and went straight to dessert.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday and Thursday Mornings

B is back in the game - we're riding Tuesday and Thursday mornings before work. Tuesday involves a brisk ride up AF Canyon and Thursday is for mountain biking. DR comes along as well when he can. I push myself when I ride with these guys to try and keep the gap at least respectable, which I wouldn't do without them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good Morning

I love South Fork in the spring. Hard-packed and tacky without a hint of dust. I've had an SEG going ever since I started the descent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I know it's early, but the planning and purchasing stages are already well underway. This year, the luau will be held on September 12 starting at 5 p.m. and going until it gets dark or every body leaves. The menu will follow closely with years past, with chicken, pork, beef, sausages, my brother's famous coconut pudding, as well as various sides. Please don't feel obligated to bring anything. That rarely works as some people insist - if you're the insisting type you can bring a salad or a desert or if you've got a particular side you want to eat with Hawaiian food then you should bring that. Hopefully you can make it and have a good time. It will be at Timpanogos Cove Park in Cedar Hills again at Timpanogos Cove Park, which is at 9508 N Timpanogos Cove Dr. I'm super excited.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Cultural Barriers

I spent two years as an Mormon missionary in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the mid 90's. Most of the missionaries in my MTC district were headed to the same mission. One of them was Ryan. Ryan came from a pampered background. Which I heard all about during the MTC. His dad was a VP at an international hair care products company and his mom was a phsychologist. He also had plenty of photographic evidence to back up his story. He lived in what I would still consider a mansion, complete with a large swimming pool and hot tub, a gym - the works. His parents bought him a nice car, a nice truck, a bullet bike, jet skis, a boat . . . .. well, you get the picture. Ryan hated the conditions in the MTC and didn't hesitate to voice his complaints. It only got worse for poor Ryan once we arrived in Argentina. As it turned out, Ryan and I ended up in the same apartment, which was a squalid dump even by South American standards. I was partnered with an American, Ryan with an Argentine named Campos. Campos spoke no English. Ryan not really any Spanish. As we they tried to settle in that first night, they struggled to communicate. Finally, in frustration, Ryan decided to take a shower. No hot water. Regardless, at least he could wash his face before he went to bed. As Ryan was finishing up, Campos started laughing. At Ryan. Campos did his best to explain the situation to Ryan, but to no effect. So he explained it to my companion in Spanish, who translated what had happened to Ryan when my compansion could compose himself enough to talk instead of chuckling. You see, Ryan had taken the time to really clean his face with a facial cleanser. After having rinsed it off, he had grabbed the first towel that was handy and dried his face with it. After all, the maid at home always kept fresh hand towels at the ready. The towel he grabbed was not a hand towel. And it was by no means fresh. Ryan had thoroughly dried his face with a well-spotted bide towel that was crusty enough to stand upright by itself. Dirty enough that none of the others would use it for any purpose, regardless of how desperate they were. Or even touch it. After Ryan learned what he'd done, he spent the better part of an hour scrubbing his face again - which was red the entire next day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Different, But Definitely in a Good Way

This last weekend, I made it priority to get to Dew. It's a tiny little joint in Provo. The food was amazing. We had a little bit of everything - the boba drinks, the dumplings, the pho', the bahn mi, and some dessert. If you're looking for something reasonably priced that is a break from the freeway food ubiquitous in Happy Valley, I'd definitely recommend you stop by. If you happen to stop by on a Friday night, we'll probably see you there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lessons from RAWROD

When it comes to epic adventures, time tends to dim not only the memory of the pain that would otherwise teach me to avoid future endeavors, but also some of the lessons learned during the day. So, I'm writing them down to help me remember them next time.
  • Proper bike preparation definitely includes making sure the fork settings are correct. I hadn't ridden my suspension fork in about six months and I didn't have the settings handy. I realized after a bit that the fork felt a little low both in the compression spring and the damping chamber, so that it felt like something like a low travel pogo stick. I ended up riding about half the day with it locked out.
  • Don't forget the camp chair. I always forget it and always regret it.
  • Take ear plugs for the night before. I was down before 10, but unable to sleep until much later. I don't do Ambien, etc. What I really needed was The World at War on my iPod - puts me right out every time.
  • Take more Carbo Rocket - I took the better part of a bottle, but at the concentrations I use it, that wasn't enough. I needed to put more water and other fluids in the truck as well.
  • Dan is my epic riding partner-in-crime. Do whatever it takes to get him there. If he's not going, I shouldn't go unless I am 100% comfortable with the likelihood of spending most of the day alone. And in the wind. And dehydrated. And not having very much fun at all.
  • Scott and TM are awesome. I need to feed them something awesome some time soon. Let me know when works for you guys.
  • No long runs the week of the ride.
  • Take a lens cloth for my glasses.

A few things went right:

  • Using only things that didn't need refrigeration was a good call.
  • The potato chips were awesome.
  • The cupcakes were also awesome.

I'm almost definitely not going to ride next year as I'll be doing IM St. George the following week. Maybe I'll head down and cook instead. We'll see if I can get Ben to come along and help with that.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


It was an epic day yesterday, even more so than this route normally is. I really hadn't planned on going since Dan was out and I didn't have anyone to ride with. I really had no interest in suffering in the desert alone for an entire day. The riding commitments made that swayed me in to going turned out to be campaign promises. So after getting an early start, I was left for dead on the first climb and spent a lot of time riding alone in the wind. At mile 30, I ran out of water and bonked. After riding alone and dehydrated in a demoralizing 10-15 mph headwind (gusting to 20) for nearly 20 miles, I'd had a gutfull of it and come to grips with packing it in. TM found me limping along and shepherded me back - gathering water, dragging me to the White Crack stop, and making sure I had enough food and water in me at lunch. I was thinking in terms of getting healthy for the truck ride in. TM was more thinking of pedalling. After lunch, we rode together for 10 more miles and I was back to about 80 percent. My legs never did come all the way back from the dehydration. We then had the pleasure of a cold, pounding rain storm. At least it came with a tail wind - for all of about five miles. I joined up with Scotty Pants as the sun came out. With the wind at our faces again. Mile after mile we slogged along in the wind and ground out a finish. I've never been so deep so early and am actually more than a little surprised that I finished. P.S. A little research has turned up different wind speeds. 10-15? That was in the morning, with gusts in the 30's. When the wind picked up in the afternoon, the sustained winds were closer to 30 mph with gusts in the 40's. For several hours.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peer Pressure

It's that time of year. No, not administrative professionals' day, but RAWROD. Looking back on years past, I figured this year the ride just wasn't in the cards. I told myself that I need to be at the office to be available for work. It's slow and I need the hours. And there's the issue of who to ride with. I'm the special needs uncle in the family - the one who someone needs to keep an eye on at the river during a family reunion while every one else is fishing. And while the fish are biting. I'm that guy. But Sabrosa Jon wouldn't take no for an answer. He offered to leave later and to do all the driving. When that didn't work, he started enlisting help by sending over representatives to help resolve any doubts I might have about the ride. But I have long running doubts. The first year, I was at the same weight and a little less fit. I suffered miserably, mainly because I did it on a cyclocross bike. The second year, I was heavier and not fit, but chose the right bike. Not nearly as bad for most of it, but I ran into the back wall of the pain cave coming out of Horsethief. Last year (the third time) I had more fitness, but was heavier again. Dan had hit the back wall of that cave by lunch, and was deep-hole mining his own personal pain cave until his pick broke, forcing him into the truck at mile 85. Jon persisted and I find myself caving to peer pressure. Even if I find myself exploring a Mariana Trench of pain, the ride down and back is always worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Fisher Clan Brings It

Alika married Brittney on Wednesday. The weather sucked, but the food did not. We brought it. Mahana put me in charge of the food organization and Kehaulani in charge of the decorations and such. And it was on. We did garlic shrimp, spicy and regular; my luau-style chicken, kalua pig, roasted whole sirloins, potato salad, salad, poi, fresh fruit,and haupia. Kuhia ran the pig and the haupia and helped Lani grill the chicken. I ran the shrimp station. It was a memorable day and it was great to see the Fisher clan pulled together to go really big. P.S. I'm paying for it now. Two days of standing in front of the stove did a number on me - my knees and hips were hating it during today's (Saturday's) workout, so I pulled the plug on the ride and did some swimming instead.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Before California, I was worried about having a big drop off in motivation after what was supposed to be a training race. The very thing happened the first time I did California. Not so much this time. I'm motivated. I'm even a little bit excited about cranking up the intensity ahead of Boise. I'm also looking forward to some good MTB time in the summer and then hopefully back to it ahead of IMZ (assuming I can get a spot in Boise). I'd done my best to get out of RAWROD, but it looks like Mr. Sabrosa has worn me down and I'll be heading down to get my suffer on to hang out with the crew. Hopefully Racer can at least make the drive this year.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


As many-a-roadie can attest, motorists often underestimate the catch-up speed of road bikes. Especially in town, with the stop signs, and the traffic lights, and what not. With this underestimation, motorists sometimes find themselves in an awkward situation when you catch up to them - you know, after they've just shouted some lame remark or, better yet, tried to scare you by swerving as close to you as possible and/or honking or yelling. Every cyclist has been there. And instead of the usual one finger salute, you finally have a chance to actually call them on their behavior. What to do - do you dump a water bottle in their window, do you smash their window, or do you just look threateningly at them as they try their best to look straight ahead and ignore you? I rarely get it right. One time I did. Jared Hill, Ben Rabner, and I were headed back from a trip up Hobble Creek Canyon. It was spring time, late May if I recall, and during the week. And in the middle of the day. I was in college and school was out - what can I say. Anyway, we were riding downhill near Springville High when a couple of girls drove as close to me as they could. The girl in the front passenger seat shouted, "HEY" at the top of her lungs. The car speed off, the girls giggling with satisfaction. And then they ran into a line of cars at a four-way stop. I saw my chance and gave chase. I quickly realized I had plenty of time to catch them and plenty of time to plan what I'd do. I really wanted to get it right. With my plan thought out, I moved in close to the line of cars and slowed down. As I neared the vehicle, I leaned in until my head was nearly in the front window and screamed, "WHAT!?" The girls shrieked and jumped, which caused the former shouter to spill her drink all over herself. As I rolled on, I could hear the rest of the girls giggling - I assume about how the shouter was now covered in Diet Coke.

Monday, April 06, 2009

California Trip/Race Report

The Highlights, in time-saving, bullet-point format: - We had a lot of fun as a family, especially at Disneyland. - The location of the condo across the street from the beach and 200m from the transition area made the trip much more relaxing. - I got a wicked stomache ache from choosing the safe route and doing pasta the night before the race. To hell with it - next time I'm eating something I actually like. - I hate being in the last wave - waiting over an hour in transition before our wave staged sucked. - I had fun at the race in spite of an outgoing tide, lots of wind, and cramps on the run. - We managed to eat at only local joints for the entire trip.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Day

Saturday was a good day. I had a great race at the AF Icebreaker. Afterwards I won an entry to the Utah Half during the raffle. Pat was admitted to med school at the U. Sushi with my brothers. A good day. It's getting me through the snow today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Recently Aaron analogized his relationship with winter as a girl friend. For me, winter is more of an in-law. The kind that does nothing to veil their contempt for you. The kind that mocks all of the things you like. The kind that comes to stay with you for a while. Most of the time, the trips are scheduled, which makes it a little easier to deal with. That way, at least I know she's coming and about when she'll leave, though in Utah that can vary widely. When she does show up, we do our best to deal with each other - by staying away from each other. I stay primarily inside, spending a lot of time in the pool and on the trainer watching movies. And working. That way I pass the time while she does her thing. And when she leaves, I feel reborn. I love spring. These last three weeks have been great, with long rides full of soul cleansing sunshine. And then that bitch showed up unannounced and ruined everything. It took me two hours to get to work because of the iced up roads. And like real in-laws, I can't just throw her out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Back to Zero

Ever since my first half-ironman race I've been on a steady decline. I hope that last year was the absolute bottom with absolutely dismal days at both the Vikingman and the Utah Half. While I was able to gut out IMZ, it got the better of me. I'm not about to go back to the Vikingman, but I'm heading back to Idaho in June - to Boise this time. Dan almost has me convinced to do the Utah Half again. And if I can get a slot for IMZ at either California or Boise, I'll be heading back to Tempe this fall again. I'm hoping things are better this year and that I can get at least closer to how things went for my first race.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Si Se Puede

I learned to speak Spanish on my mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I love languages - so I was excited about the possibility of learning in a native environment. I actually chose to study the language while I was there, going so far as to pick up middle-school level grammar books. I've never denied that I'm a nerd.
Anyway, it turns out spanish is a particularly useful language to know round these parts. There are plenty of latinos around to practice my spanish with. However, while living in Utah a lot of latinos have learned that switching to spanish doesn't necessarily allow you to talk about somebody without them understanding. There are just too many RM's who've learned spanish. I've learned that this isn't the case outside of Utah.
Several years ago I was in Oregon fishing for steelhead. When we showed up at the stream, we were the only ones there. After trying out a couple of areas, I settled on a particular spot based on how the water was flowing, etc. Minutes later, droves up people started showing up all at once. It felt like a quitting time scene you see in a movie where people come pouring out of a factory as a whistle blows. Except they were showing up at the river.
Anyway, it seems that I had stumbled on to the sweet spot as suddently I was at the front of a line of twenty people queued up nearly shoulder to shoulder and apparently casting at the same spot. Strange. Stranger still were the two standing right next to me.
"Fijate en el tipo este (Check out this guy)," the guy next to me said while looking right at me. I turned and looked at him in surprise. There was no way he just said that.
"Si, no tiene ni idea (Yeah, he's clueless)," his friend responded while joining his buddy in looking at me.
"Si le molestamos, tal vez el salga (if we bug him, maybe he'll leave," the first continued. Casting close, tangling me up, drifting their gear into me - these guys were on a mission to get me to leave. And they discussed it all very openly (in spanish) while looking me in the face the whole time. Finally, the first guy hooked up. As the fish flashed close, it was clear that it wasn't a trophy fish.
"Es chiquito (it's a little one)" the first guy said to his friend. I saw my chance. It was the beginning of the year and with Oregon fishermen limited to 20 salmonid total per year, it was a good assumption that he'd be letting it go.
I had already reeled in as soon as he'd hooked up (just good ettiquette). As he reeled the fish in, I pulled out my leatherman as quick as I could. "Queres que lo suelte (Do you want me to let him go)?" I asked.
"What," he stammered, his eyes bulging and mouth agape with confusion. The other guy couldn't even look at me. I repeated myself, using my thickest Porteno (Buenos Aires) accent. "No, he's little but he's nice. I'm going to keep it." He finished. The two gentlemen then quickly made their way the shore, bonked the fish, and left while it was still twitching.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bus Etiquette

I was listening to the radio as I drove to the bus stop the other day and the DJ's were yapping about how Fi'ty Cent's advice to Joaquin Phoenix was to rap about what he knows. Here's what I know, some thing has to be done about the etiquette of a group of commuter types. Unfortunately, experience has told me that the primary offenders in my group also work for the organizational arm of the dominant religion around here. At the beginning of every bus ride some Righteous Roger is sure to let every woman in the area go to the front of the line and board the bus first. He'll even box out and hold up the line if he thinks he sees a woman coming down the road who might want to board our bus. Seriously. Of course every other person behind him emphatically agrees with him- he speaks for everyone. Manners first, you know. I swear there must have been a memo about it. I don't know what's up with my TPS reports - I guess I didn't get the memo. And apparently the bit about 'ladies first' was all that was in the memo because that's where the manners on the bus end with this crowd. Loud yapping is a favorite. When I'm talking to someone in a public, crowded environment that is generally pretty quiet (like say, on a commuter bus in the morning), I try to actually look at the person I am talking with to be able to more accurately aim the spew that is coming from my cake hole their way. On one occasion, one of my least favorite riders (he looks like an Ernie, so that's what I'll call him) was talking to someone behind him and across the aisle while he tapped away on his laptop. Ernie likes the grenade approach to conversation to ensure full coverage of the area, raising his voice to one decibel short of shouting so that his friend could hear him. You'd think what he was saying was really important to use that technique. It wasn't - I can tell you for sure since I involuntarily heard the whole conversation. At the next stop that same day, a fellow who looked like a Stanley (a serious power-tool) boarded the bus. As the bus rolled on, he made his way to the seat in front of mine. The seats on the express buses recline, much like the seats on airplane. When I want to recline, I depress the lever and slowly recline it. Not this guy, he sat down, grabbed the release switch, and threw his entire weight backwards thus flinging aside anything in my lap that might have been in the way. I wanted to slap him upside the head. Maybe next time I will since manners are checked at the door when you board a commuter bus.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This is a blatant request for music. As much as a creature of habit as I am, the current training mix on my iPod is killing me. I'm looking for some good, new-to-me training tunes. I'm really up for anything as my current mix includes stuff from Boz Scaggs to Morrissey to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! I'm looking for a good rhythm. So, help a bradda out. Please.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Driving Parents

I need to get a new alarm clock. My old standby has stopped working so that I can no longer set my alarm and raw laziness has kept me from getting a new one. Or is it forgetfulness? I can't remember. Anyway, without the alarm I've missed the bus a couple of times this week and had to drive to Trax in Sandy and in one case all the way to down town. I've noticed an interesting phenomon as I pass the bus stops during the drive. Apparently, the combination of a child in the car and the sight of a bus stop turns parents into idiots. The standard process seems to be to slow down while remaining in the middle to left side of the lane. This makes for some good times on the single lane roads I drive to get to the freeway. Often, the parents then stop suddenly. And then nothing happens for a few seconds. Either they start talking to their kids about the plans for the day or they start looking for the perfect place to pull in and wait. I can at least understand this part, though I absolutely don't approve. The next series of moves are a complete mystery to me. It's like some kind of strange dance. The main step is to erratically swerve between the shoulder and the road. They also throw in some sudden stops for good measure. Apparently, the dance paralyzes their left hand as nary a turn signal is seen during the entire process. When the child is finally out of the car, you can only hope the finale of the whole performance is a u-turn. This is no normal u-turn, and if I weren't so lazy I'd name it. Predictably, the turn signals are still omitted. The excitement comes as the parent fails to even glance back into traffic while simultaneously hammering the accelerator. It really does take talent to pull it off. Try it some time when you're not dropping off your kids - your common sense will keep you from doing all three moves at the same time. I just hope my commuter dance doesn't tangle with their drop-off dance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not Safety Minded

During the summer between my 2L and 3L years in law school I lived and worked in PDX with Bryan while our pregnant wives stayed at home and kept the jobs that provided our insurance. Bryan's wife was due before the summer ended, so he headed out a couple of weeks before I did. On the night before he was to head home, Bryan and I decided to go for a bike ride in Forest Park with Dave - a ride that was a little different than our preferred route. I seem to recall it being the 8A-8B combo, but I'm not sure. The lower portion is pretty steep. The last time I had been on that stretch it was raining. The train had made the mud so slick that I tumbled down most of the lower portion in a series of falls. I have a pretty sensitive toughness-reset switch, so I was tentative heading down that part of the trail as it was. Some of the local BMXicans had built a jump by stacking logs at the beginning of the runout of the steepest section. I use the term 'runout' loosely as it was a very short flat section that ended with a 90 degree turn down another steep pitch with exposure beginning at the turn. All the scenarios that I imagined when I looked rickety construction and the steepness of the approach ended badly. Bryan must have seen something different. Perhaps he saw a fluid jump and flawless landing. Maybe he saw a perfectly executed tripod turn that flowed him into the corner. I don't know. Whatever he saw was enough for him to ignore me when I said jumping off that ramp was stupid. He hiked his bike back up the approach - which was too steep to ride - and headed back down. He picked up what appeared to be the right amount of speed on the approach. His front wheel launched off the ramp at the perfect trajectory. As his front wheel angled skyward off the ramp the top log, that had compressed with the load from his front wheel, rebounded. The rebounding log caught his rear wheel in time to turn his perfect jump into an airborne nose wheelie. Amazingly enough, Bryan landed the nose wheelie and rode it for a while. He was riding it so well, it looked like he could hold it indefinitely. The impending turn, however, forced him to make a decision. Instinctively, he grabbed his brakes, which sent him toward a pile driver. Just before his head hit the ground, he was able to tuck his head and neck enough that he landed on his shoulder and back, which rolled him into a somersault. I followed proper crash etiquette and asked if he was okay. "That wasn't safety minded," he said as he gathered himself to stand up. Seeing that he was apparently okay, I started laughing and we started the usual post-crash analysis. The banter was interrupted when Bryan spit out some blood. I asked him if he had hit his mouth and he said he hadn't. Then he coughed up some frothy, bright red - almost pink - blood. Dave reactively blurted out, "I shot a deer and it bled like that once. Then it died." Yep. Dave actually said that. Banter turned to concern. I left Dave to keep an eye on Bryan and I hurried back to the car. Once Bryan was back in the car, we tried to assess the situation. I wanted to head straight to the emergency room. Bryan flatly refused. Only someone who's tried to talk Bryan out of something to which he's entirely committed would understand the futility of trying to change his mind. He wanted to avoid the emergency room if at all possible and ask some people who might have some answers. As we made some calls, it became clear that there was 9,999/10,000 chance that it was a spontaneous pneumothorax (or something like that) that had collapsed his lung and that his lung would reinflate on its own in short order. The other possibility was that it could be something much more serious and that if it went badly we had 30-45 minutes to get to the hospital. Bryan decided to try his luck (against my strenuous objections) and assured me that if he felt worse, we'd run to the hospital immediately. So, we headed back to the apartment where I spent a stressful night watching Bryan while the "Royal Tenenbaums" played in the background. It turned out he was fine and he left the next day for home (again, over my strenuous objections). As he left he said, I'll try to be more safety minded this time. That story is as good an excuse as any as to why I avoid jumping my mountain bike.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I thought I'd write down the unwritten rule of parking because some of the people who visit my neighbors apparently haven't heard it. Here it is: if possible you should park on the street in front of the house that you are visiting. People who visit one set of neighbors in particular don't seem to get it. A single car will park on the street in front of our house even though the street in front of the neighbor's house is empty. Strange. One time an unknown young man lingered in front of our house for so long that I considered calling the cops and instead walked out to talk to him. He could tell I was a little worried, so he rolled down his window to note that he was waiting for someone else to arrive so they could both show up together at the neighbor's house. I'm not saying there aren't circumstance where they shouldn't park on the street in front of my house - if the street in front of the neighbors is full, like when they're having a party - by all means park in front of my house. Now to convince my neighbors of that.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cabin Fever

Unlike a lot of people who live in Utah, I don't head out into the back country much during the winter. I used to snow shoe a lot, but haven't been in a while since I haven't been able to get excited about the zero degree temperatures at night, which is when I have time to go. As result, I spend most of my winter indoors. For some reason, the three hour training rides on the spin bike were starting to get a little stale. Finally, this Saturday it wasn't snowing and was above 40 degrees. As I headed to the AF Fitness Center I saw a surprising number of people out to take advantage of roads that were merely wet rather than covered with ice and temperatures that were above freezing. You would have thought it was spring time. It was good to see others were suffering from cabin fever as well. In the afternoon I headed out for a road ride. I'd forgotten how good a nice ride outside could be. The sushi endeavor was okay. I hate getting up in front of people. Predictably, it started late, which made the rice a little clumpy. The organizers did a good job of setting up and decorating. I probably could have served Uncle Ben's and it would have been okay. It was also no surprise that we had entirely too much food.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Blame Game

I've somehow made it on the do-not-call-to-ride list. Either I changed to make it off the list or the list changed and I just didn't make the cut. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg. With the lack of riding partners, I've found myself turning more to triathlon. Or was triathlon what got me off the list? These are two of the possibilities. Is it that triathlons drove me away from mountain biking. Could it be that I turned down invitations to go on really good rides and/or that I was intolerable company by turning a fun ride with friends into a training session for a triathlon that left me lagging so far behind that the others simply couldn't put up with it? Or is it that the lack of riding partners drove me away from mountain biking. It could be that I turned to triathlon as my former riding buddies decided, for whatever reasons, to leave me off the call list. I'd understand. In year's past my complete lack of fitness made me a less than ideal riding companion, especially for my riding buddies. But for the last few years, I've been in my best shape ever, making me a more suitable riding buddy. That leads me to think that maybe most of my old time riding buddies have moved on from recreational rides to racer types, thereby embracing Elden's theory that every ride is a race. If every ride is a race, I'll never be a worthy 'riding' companion for the racer types. So, I've looked for something else to pass the time. After all, I don't need other people to train for triathlon - solitary suffering is kind of the point. Regardless of how I got here, there are a couple of things I need to come to terms with. That I'm slow is not one of them, I came to terms with that years ago. Primary is that I need to start looking for riding companions who ride for the same reasons I do.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Impending Doom

It's coming. I like to help out in the ward where I can and so I agreed to help out with a ward activity. The idea was that 4-5 couples would show up at somebody's house and I'd show them how to make some basic sushi rolls. No problem. I have enough equipment to turn out enough rice to turn out 8-10 rolls in one go, which would be enough for people to get a demonstration and try their hand at it. Those 4-5 couples are up to 26+ and it's going to be at the church. With sushi, timing and moisture content are everything. The timing and logistics of making 50+ rolls at a time in a foreign and unstocked environment is more than 4-5 times more complex - it's more like an exponential function. I'm going to crash and burn, but I'm already on the hook. I predict sweating, nervous banter, snapiness (if you've helped with a luau, you've taken more than one pointed instruction), and several instances of profanity. I have a feeling I'll be off the hook from now on.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ice Fishing

Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Several years ago I joined B on an ice fishing expedition. He had initially planned to go do some ice fishing with his Young Men and his co-leader Lee. I had no interest in a Young Men's activity, so I declined his invitation. The morning of the event, he called to say that none of the young men had shown up. He and Lee for were already all set to go and figured I'd be interested. I didn't have much else going on, so I met them at the mouth of Provo Canyon. I jumped in Lee's big ol' truck, where I was joined in the back seat by Zach. I greeted Zach and received a two-pronged response. The verbal component was something most akin to a Chewbacca groan. The ohter component was an overpowering fecal smell. Not like he'd passed gas, but more like Zach had filled his pants some time before and nobody had bothered to change him yet. I mentioned I changed the name of the innocent - Zach was not really his name, but is rather a reference to how his breath smelled 'xactly like his a*$. When we stopped in Heber to get snacks for the day, I excused myself from changing him - "Not it to change Lee's special younger brother's depends," I whispered to B. It was then that B pointed out that Zach was neither Lee's younger brother nor did he have specially needs - at least not technically. Although he did point out that he wouldn't disbelieve that Zach could have had a brown out. As we piled out of the truck at Strawberry my lungs burned as I gasped as much of the -5 degree air as possible - anything to get the stench out of my nose. I got a short reprieve as Lee took Zach on his snowmobile as we headed to the fishin' hole. Once there, Lee and B set up their ice fishing tent, complete with a heater, seats, and a fish finder while Zach and I sat on the snow mobiles. Unfortunately, I'm not Han Solo and can't understand wookie. Fortunately, like Chewie, Zach understood English. As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. Since my eyes and nose were pretty much frozen shut, I figured it'd be a good idea to get a little payback. We hadn't had so much as a nibble the entire day. I had deciphered some of the gestures and grunts as questions from Zach as to why we weren't catching any fish. I told him about the magical fish finder Lee had and how it showed how many fish were around as well as how deep they were. I also told him that I didn't really understand how it worked, but that he should definitely ask them about how it works. I also mentioned they might have snacks. And maybe something about warmth. For nearly half an hour, the comfy enclosure that was keeping my companions warm served as a steaming pouch for the aromatic goodness Zach had to offer. To get Zach's head out of the tent, Lee suggested that Zach take the snow mobile out for a spin. Zach got the feel for speed quickly. Unfortunately, his skill didn't follow. Soon after he started riding he took a huge jump and pancaked the landing. Instead of falling off, he held on to the handlebars for dear life. His death grip on the handlebars had him maxing out the gas. After digging a 50 yard trench with his legs, the snow mobile sucked him into the tread, pulling his hands from the handlebars. His plaque-caked grin belied his shreaded overalls and ice-encrusted whiskers. Apparently, he'd never had more fun. Lee and B on the other hand had already had a gut-full of ice fishing by then, so we loaded up and headed for the truck. All the excitement had stirred up Zach's odor enough to what I had thought were impossible levels. Seriously, it was overwhelming. Lee couldn't take it and cranked up the fan as high as possible. Nothing. Lee rolled the windows down, but even though it had warmed all the way up to 10 degrees, the highway speeds still made the truck a blast chiller. In desperation, Lee ripped open five or six Tree-Deodorizers and started jamming them into the vents. Lee tried in desperation to wolf down his sandwich while the trees masked the odor. He was still working on his first several bites when he started sputtering the sandwich out into the wrapper. "You've got to be kidding me!" he screamed in disgust as he threw his sandwich out the window. After a while, the smell settled in the back (with me). Lee opened a bag of chinese crackers and offered us all some. Zach was happy to get involved. Lee asked whether Zach would like more and then promptly offered him the entire bag. I was confused. Lee was starving and he was giving away a nearly full bag of tasty crackers. Sensing my confusion, Lee glanced at me in the rear view mirror and then fake licked his fingers. Apparently, Zach had been licking his fingers after each handful. Lucky for me, that wiped out any appetite I might have had. As fun as that was, I haven't been ice fishing since.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Party with Pat's Barbeque

I'm currently sitting on my couch in a rib and bread-pudding induced stupor. I wouldn't have it any other way. Tonight was the premier of an episode of "Diner's Drive-Ins, and Dives" on the Food Network. Pat's threw a huge bash to celebrate and my buddy Pat (Lorimer, no relation to the pit boss that I'm aware of) picked up some tickets. We got there fashionably late - in time for there to be a line out the door. As we neared the buffet line, a table opened up and we pounced on it. Great call - it gave us great access to the buffet line. The line was moving slowly and Pat (the pit boss) had his entire menu on offer. The small plastic plate was quickly filled with sides, even though I skipped the salad. To make more room, I employed the expand-a-plate (trademark claimed by Pat (my buddy). The expand-a-plate is the sacrificial bun I placed on top of the sides that provided separation and a buffer between the meats I stacked on it and the sides below. The chicken was excellent - but remained chicken. The pulled pork was somewhat disappointing. The BBQ Meatloaf was worth the gastrointestinal real estate, as was the brisket. The star of the proteins was predictably the ribs, which I saved for last. In the past I've made the mistake of starting with the very best. It's a mistake because there's only so much of one dish you can really enjoy and if you start at the top, everything else is a let down. So, I did it right and finished the proteins with the ribs. As I was working on my third rib, Pat (my buddy) had abandoned the proteins and was focusing on his second huge piece of bread pudding. I should have known it would be good by how he ignored the best ribs around for a desert. When I tasted it, I immediately had a food-O, complete with goose-bumps. I continued eating past the point of common sense until I was sweating and exhausted. You know how the saying goes - Hawaiians don't eat until they're full, they eat until they're tired. It was worth it. If you're in the mood for some amazing food, head over to Pat's near 21 South and West Temple in the industrial area of Salt Lake. I'd suggest a half rack of ribs with the red beans and rice. If you can, head over on Thursday and order the bread pudding - they make it Thursday and predictably it doesn't last long. A special thanks to Cindy for accommodating me tonight by watching the kids while I pigged out.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Most Disgusting Thing I Can Remember

If you're disturbed by boogers or snot, stop reading now. Otherwise, enjoy. This story was so disgusting the retelling of it made my sister vomit. Seriously. Maybe it's a family thing, but other people's phlegm, lung cookies, or whatever you want to call it fouls me out instantly. If I see a loogie hanging in a drinking fountain, it's all I can do to limit the noise from gagging and hope to not lose it on the floor. So it should come as no surprise that a childhood friend of mine frequently disgusted me--to protect the innocent, let's call him Nate. You see, rather than being booger-phobic he was booger-philic. That's right, he was a booger eater. During church, he would often take the time to load up each of his fingers with the finest his nose had to offer. Thereafter, he'd take out his retainer and then savor each one in turn. He'd do this while sitting in the choir seats. And no, that's not the most disgusting thing he did, though it makes me throw up a little in my mouth to think of it. The nastiest thing he did happened right before lunch hour while we were in the sixth grade. The rest of the class had lined up for lunch but for whatever reason the two of us were running behind. Mr. Toledo sent us back to the sink to wash our hands. As I followed Nate to the sink, he sneezed. A hearty, lung clearing sneeze from his flu-filled lungs. As he assessed the damage, he realized his retainer had snagged a good portion of the lung cookies of his sneeze. There was no way he was going to let that go to waste, so he slurped his retainer clean. I am now gagging uncontrollably, so I'll have to stop.