From the Top Of The Hill

My butt's planted back in Lincoln. The livin' is easy and friends are aplenty. Life is good.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My weekend.

I had a fairly quiet weekend. The biggest news is that I took my CDL written test on Saturday and passed. That's right, folks, I'm gonna be driving a big rig! Or at least the Manitou truck and race trailer. After I took the test I went to Ventura, which is about 30 miles straight west from where I live, to enjoy the beach and escape the heat of the canyons. Had a nice time walking the shore and watching the surfers. I took some photos which you can see here.

On Sunday I went to a morning showing of Star Wars episode III so as to avoid the crowds. It was okay. It was better than the previous two, and tied up everything nicely to lead into the original Star Wars. I didn't get overly excited over this movie, so I guess it didn't let me down. I have friends who loved it and others who hated it. It entertained me and I'll leave it at that.

The big news from today is that I drove the truck for the first time. It was just the cab, without the trailer, but it was still big. And fun! I also put a suspension fork on my single-speed mountain bike. It's the R-Seven, Manitou's new light-weight cross-country fork. Not yet available to the consuming public. It is STIFF! Racer-boy may still whine for a lock-out lever, but I really like the SPV. I'll hopefully soon get a picture to show you all.

Taking aim at the guy who kicked sand in my face and stole my girl. Who has time for Charles Atlas and dynamic tension?

A view from the pier.

An artsy view of a seagull.

An artsy view of the pier in Ventura. Longest wooden peir in the world, or so they claim. Currently 1600 feet. Was over 2000 feet at one time.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Poked and Prodded

Yesterday, both my faithful, trusty Volvo and I received physical examinations. I had to turn my head and cough along with all sorts of other "fun" activities so I could be cleared physically to drive a semi. My car received the same sort of treatment, the oh-so-popular California smog test, so she could be cleared to drive in this fine state.

We both passed with flying colors. I drove up to the smog testing place right at 6pm, when they close, but the guy who worked there tested me anyway. He was really nice, and a little skeptical if my car would pass the test. After the testing he was amazed at how well it tested--far below the maximum allowed limits and at or below the average results. That car is a testament to fine, Swedish engineering and the mechanics at Economy and Performance (I need to send those guys a case of beer or something.) I ended up tipping ol' Giancarlo (the smog tester) for being so friendly and staying open late for me.

I'm planning on taking my CDL written test tomorrow, which will give me my CDL learners permit so I can start driving the truck. I still can't believe that li'l ol' me will soon be driving a big ol' truck.

I haven't seen the new Star Wars film yet. I'm not really into the whole midnight viewing thing. Too many crazed fans (read : weirdos). My friend Mark Albracht saw it last night and said it was great, and that it ties everything together really well. I'm planning on seeing the movie sometime this weekend with Mark and Anne (his wife). Should be fun.

Today was "Ride your bike to work" day here in the LA region. Everywhere else observes "ride your bike to work WEEK," but you can't get too hopeful with this car-crazed culture. I've already ridden to work twice this week, and met up with about 12 other co-workers on the trail this morning. Of course, most of them will return to driving their cars tomorrow, missing the whole point of this day. And they work at a bicycle company. tsk tsk

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Midnight Ride

Well, I suppose everyone is waiting for my first crazy, California story. I guess it happened this last Friday. My friend and fellow transplanted Nebraskan (GI in the hizzy!), Todd Munson, invited me to join him for the Midnight Ridazz, a monthly event in LA.

The ride is over a year old and has swelled from the original 7 participants to 322 at Friday’s ride. The theme was “The Prom” and people were encouraged to dress up. For those who are familiar with the event, think of The Groundhog Prom on bicycles and you have a good idea of what it was like.

I thought the ride might not happen when an LAPD helicopter circled the ride’s gathering spot for 10-minutes, shining a spotlight on the crowd. Nobody scattered, and merely waved to the hovering annoyance. I thought for sure patrol cars were going to swoop in and bust the party, but it never happened. I guess the LAPD had more important things to do than harass a bunch of goofy cyclists.

The ride took me past many a LA landmark, including my first “celebrity home.” Glenn Danzig lives in a small home that Johnny Mohawk might dub a “cubicle of hate.”

The ride wound through the Hollywood and Echo park areas of LA and ended up at a bar. Todd and his friends who were with us decided I needed to experience the “happiest place in LA,” Jumbo’s Clown Room. Courtney Love “worked” there before she became famous for marrying Kurt Cobain. We all had a happy time and left with smiles on our faces.

On Saturday, after waking up out of my fog created from the night before, I went to I. Martin, the bike shop Todd works at in Beverly Hills. Trivia note, the upstairs warehouse of the bike shop was the dance studio where Shirley Temple learned to dance. For the bike nerds, I saw Dan Koepell shopping for tubes.

I visited The Bike Kitchen, a very cool bike shop in LA. It’s a non-profit place that is staffed by volunteers. Its mission is to promote cycling in LA. They’re web-site can explain much better than I ever could.

I’m going to include a bunch of photos, so enjoy.

The night started fuzzy...

The infamous Mr.Munson and I on the ride. Note his powder-blue suit.

If you've seen the movie Swingers, you'll remember the Dresden Room as the bar with the unique lounge act of Marty and Elayne. I plan on catching their set soon.

Enjoying a refreshing beverage after the ride and before visiting the happiest place in LA, Jumbo's Clown Room.

My first view of the Hollywood sign, as seen from the roof of Todd's apartment building.

Observing Griffith Observatory, also from Todd's roof.

The Bicycle Kitchen. It's all about getting around on 2 wheels. If I have the time, I'm going to start volunteering here. Probably will have to be this fall.

Inside the Bicycle Kitchen. You can "rent" bays for $7 an hour to work on your bike, or pay for volunteers to fix 'em.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

LA Story

Well, it's been a week since I've posted. I'd like to tell everyone about all the exciting things I've done or all the celebrities I've spotted. In actuality, I've done very little.
The first thing I did was find a new coffee shop to hang out in (or loiter, depending on your viewpoint.) I asked around and actually found a place, Java & Jazz, that is friendly, cozy and most importantly, NOT a Starbucks. Well, I've been everyday since. They already know my name and I've been welcomed by the regulars. It ain't no Coffee House, but it'll do.
I've been down to LA to see my friend Mark, his wife Anne and their son Ian twice. Last night I went with Mark to an entertainment networking event called Nebraska Coast Connection. If you can't guess, it's for Nebraskans living in LA. The lead animator for South Park spoke, he's from Holdrege. Kinda cool.
Work has been going well. I've torn apart a bunch of forks. Some cool stuff. I'd tell you about it, but then I'd hafta... well, I'd at least poke you in the eyes. I'm studying up to take my CDL permit test. I'll be behind the wheel of one big ol' truck pretty soon.
The event season is going to kick off in about a month for us. It's going to be pretty crazy. A couple events in Canada, possibly a lengthy stay in Vancouver. 10 days in Wisconsin. Mammoth Mountain, Mount Snow in Vermont, maybe even Italy.
I hope to have more pictures up soon. There really hasn't been much to take pictures of. Yeah, there are mountains here, but they have no trees, just brown vegetation. And the only thing to see where I live are strip malls. Wheee!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My new home in California. I got in safe and sound last night.

It's only a joke!

Stopped off to club a few baby seals.

This is just one small section of the beach where thousands of Elephant Seals were lounging in the sun. I really didn't club any baby seals.

Just a serene little spot off of HWY 1 where I noshed on some lunch.

This one is for Sandy at Cycle Works. This is the beach at Carmel.

My last night in Oakland. Having some pizza and beer with my buddy Scott. He's currently being treated for lockjaw.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Me and the City by the Bay.

My new best friend. This guy really knows how to party. Met him at the Phoenix, an Irish Pub in the Mission district of San Francisco.

Wyoming sucked.

Just a pic to give homage to my former home, the D Street Hotel, aka the Dirtbag Mansion. Corey, Jill, John and Matt (and Sam), you guys were the greatest roommates and all will be missed. To the curious, I lived on the third floor with the raccoons.

I ran into a little snow and ice on my way to Cheyenne. Good thing I planned to stay with my Aunt Sally and Uncle Jerry there, because I-80 was closed west of there.

I'm not really moving to California to go to work for Manitou. I really purchased this new business with unlimited earning potential. I saw an infomercial for it late one night after getting home from O'Rourke's.

I made it to CA

Well, for those who want to know, the ol' Volvo can do 87 mph while fully loaded and with two bikes on the roof. Ok, so maybe descending the mountain with a 4% grade helped, but it was the fastest speed I reached. I know this because I never got over 85 anywhere on the trip, and... I got pulled over by a state trooper in Nevada. He was nice enough to knock the speed down to 80 so I could avoid a $200 ticket.

California is great. I've spent the past few days in the San Francisco area visiting my friend Scott Berggren. We drank some beers, almost got killed by a crack dealer, I thought I lost Scott over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge and ate a burrito that rivals D'Leon's.

I leave for my new home in Canyon Country tomorrow morning. I plan on traveling down HWY 1 and taking in some scenery. I should post some photos soon.

Take care and keep in touch.