Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Hope yours was as good as mine! I'll see most of y'all next weekend at Old Mill.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A week and a day

Is how long it's been since Everett got T-Boned. He's doing much better, thank you very much. He's still taking antibiotics and a cough suppressant, but he's moving much better tonight than he has all week. He's shaking and stretching like nothing hurts. It'll still be a couple of weeks before we let him run, but I think he's making huge strides!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Wire

Do you have HBO? If you do and you don't watch 'The Wire', you're missing the best TV....Ever. If you don't have HBO or have somehow missed 'The Wire', rent, buy or steal it and watch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Everett update


Thankfully, Everett should be ok. X-rays show only one broken rib, no punctures in the lungs. He's on crate rest for the next two weeks (probably we'll go longer) and will be running again probably in February, missing the Winter Challenge for the first time in 3 years.

Let me say that I don't blame the breed of dog for what happened. What I blame is the owner for having a restraint that was not sufficient for the breed. An already broken, knotted rope does not make a good enough leash for a Pit.

Thanks to everyone at the trial who stepped up to help or just show support after Everett was hit. It means so much to Ruthanna and me that we have such terrific friends in this sport. There are more people than I can thank, but know that all of you are appreciated.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Everett


Everett got hit hard during the BoB runoff yesterday in Tallahassee. I don't have much to say about it right now other than it was a Pit-Bull that T-boned him. I'm having x-rays done and I'll know more tomorrow

Friday, December 08, 2006

How much would you pay?

Developer builds two half million dollar houses in an Atlanta suburb. I guess their tape measurer's weren't working that day...

From the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Friday December 8, 2006

A majority of the Forsyth County Commission decided late Thursday that premier developer John Wieland Homes can bring out the hammer, nails and checkbook — not the wrecking ball — to save two half-million-dollar homes that were built too close together.

The houses in Weston, Wieland's South Forsyth County development, were built 6 feet apart. They are 4 feet closer than the 10 feet that's required and so close that Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman has said a car fire in one driveway could easily bring the other house down.

The Forsyth County Commission voted not to force John Wieland Homes to tear down two half-million-dollar houses built 4 feet too close together. Fire-safety modifications were recommended.


District County Commissioner Brian Tam, who represents the part of the county that includes the Weston development, recommended that Wieland be allowed to finish and sell the houses, with some fire-safety modifications.

"The choice is simple: Try to find some common ground or tear the houses down," Tam said.

Two other commissioners agreed to grant embarrassed Wieland executives a variance on the houses, which were 85 to 95 percent complete when county inspectors realized last June they were too close together.

County Commissioners Dave Richard and Charles Laughinghouse opposed the variance, and Richard warned Wieland executives about proceeding. Richard said he plans to ask the new commission, which takes over in January, to overrule Thursday's 3-2 vote.

He said an experienced developer like Wieland should never have made such a mistake.

"It is extremely noticeable," Richard said. "This is a clear case of asking for forgiveness."

Terry Russell, chief executive officer for John Wieland Homes, said the company was embarrassed to ask for a variance. "It's not the way we do business," Russell said.

As part of the conditions for the variance, the company will have to tear down the front porch of one home and replace it with a smaller one to put more distance between it and the driveway of the other house. Tempered glass also has to be placed in some windows in both houses.

In addition, the company is donating $5,000 to the neighborhood, Russell said.

Bowman told commissioners that the proposed modifications will improve fire safety. But he cautioned: "The houses are very close."

Tam hinted that the county may share some blame. "This is something that should have been addressed in the early phases of construction, not when the house was done."

Weston resident Jeff Dyer appeared at an earlier meeting of the commission to ask that the builder be forced to abide by the law, even if that meant tearing down and moving one of the houses.

"It's an eyesore, and if it's allowed to stay like this, it could affect our property values," Dyer said.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Control...

Not sure where this came from originally, so if you know then let me know so that I can give credit where it's due.

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you NOT understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the
others.

13. 64,999,987 firearm owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies: rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their job safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

More...

You might notice that I've added a couple of columns to the right side. Music and books. The lists are a bit short right now as I haven't had time to sit down and compile the books I've read in the past couple of years. Music will be a bit more current, keeping up with what I listen to day to day. I'm a firm believer that social networking is the best way to expand musical tastes and experience different genres of music. So, if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Updating the dogs. Sweeney is just about ready to get running again. His toe looks really good and he's finally not showing any lameness. He's been free running the backyard for a couple of weeks now with very good results. Not sure what's up with Lobo. Talked to one of our friends and she thinks it might be a slight tendon rupture. He's not very lame, even when he is. Right now I think we'll just let him rest a bit. No reason to push too much! Everett is doing well after his collision with Zydeco last Saturday at the Regional. That was one nasty wreck! Everett got thrown into the air ass over tea-kettle! He had the wind knocked out of him, but luckily that was the extent of his injuries. He finished 4th in the Regional.

Everett continues to amaze me. In St Louis, he finished his LCM 8 on Saturday, got first Sunday and took first on Friday before the Regional. So, he has 2 firsts and 100+ points for his LCM 9. I'd like to get that finished this year, just depends on how much we do. I know we'll have the end of year, but beyond that, maybe just ACC. We'll see.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? I'm thankful for my wonderful family and great friends. We're blessed to share our lives with some pretty cool dogs too.

Try not to take anything for granted. Be Happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yeah, Right!

If you ever go back and look at my grades in high school, you know this is a lie:
You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz



Tip of the hat to Tam.

SLASH

Last weekend Ruthanna and I made the trip to St. Louis for the SLASH field trials. Thanks to Karen Frederick and all the folks from SLASH for having me up to judge. It was a great time!

The boys did really well! Everett went BoB both days over 20 Whippets. Lobo took 4th both days. The run of the weekend for me was Lobo's final run on Saturday. After having a not so great prelims run, Lobo went out and nailed the course in finals, getting the highest score for any course for the day. Way to go Little Buddy!

The field at Purina is really nice with a lot of terrain, making it challenging for the dogs. They really had to pay attention in order to do well.

I really enjoy getting to go to other parts of the country to see how our dogs compare with dogs we don't see all the time. Region 7 is usually a hotbed of Whippets, but there are still plenty of really good dogs in other parts of the country and it's good to see what else is out there. I think Everett really earned the BoB's he got this weekend and defeated some really nice running dogs.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIP

Rest In Peace Atlanta radio. It was announced today that 96 Rock will be changing format tomorrow to Active Rock (whatever the hell that is). I think it's what my kids listen to, basically screaming laid over a constant bass riff.

When 96 Rock started in 1974, I was 7 years old, not quite up to listening to Rock music (Mom and Dad were more of the easy listening types). But when I started to form my own taste in music 96 Rock was THE station to listen to. Through High School, that's all there really was (with a bit of punk and some new wave thrown in). Bruce Springsteen, REM, Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin were all standard fare and, cheesy as it sounds, the soundtrack to my teen years.

More recently 96 Rock had morphed to sort of a Classic Rock format. Not bad, mostly stuff that was already classic when I was in High School. My taste in music has matured quite a bit since those days, but every once in a while 96 Rock was a good fallback. In addition, they had the best morning show on radio in Atlanta, The Regular Guys. TRG show was, for the lack of a better term, shock radio. Nothing really terrible, just inventive, funny stuff that was original and entertaining. TRG got suspended a couple of years ago because of a backwards porn stunt they were recording to poke fun at FCC rules in the wake of boob-gate. They were off the air for about a year but came back and were better, and smarter, than ever. Their latest incarnation lasted until last month when Clear Channel fired TRG.

I haven't listened to 96 Rock since that happened and probably wouldn't without some major development. It is sad to see though that the station that I grew up with is going away.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Coursing

It was a good coursing weekend, even if the weather was less than desirable. Decent weather on Saturday, highs in the upper 60's until the rain swept through around 2:30 and the temperature started dropping and the wind picked up. Miserable 30+* mph winds all night Saturday night prevented us from getting much sleep and then the wind pounded us almost all day on Sunday.

We had our friend Karen with us for the weekend and had a blast! She's so wonderful, wish she and Mike would just pick up and move down here! :)

The dogs did well. Not a huge entry, but top ranked dogs. Lobo went BOB on Saturday and took 1st on Sunday. Everett finished 2nd both days. Quite the turnout by the boys!!

Sweeney had his stitches out on Friday and the toe is looking good.

St Louis this weekend. See ya there! :)

*Estimated. Your mileage may vary

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A distraction...

I've found something interesting that might have fulfill my wish from a few days ago. I'm playing with it now and finding it quite fun! I'm not going to say much more about it, but rest assured, it's pretty cool!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sweeney and Ruthanna


I love this picture of Ruthanna and Sweeney from way back. Another great photo from Dan Gauss.

It's cruel to be kind

What's up with people these days? I see blogs of people bitching about the rudeness of others all over the web. This is just another one of those...with a twist. What I notice and hate is when someone does something nice for someone else and isn't acknowledged. The most obvious example of this is in traffic. I make it a point to try to let people in to traffic when we're not moving very much (and believe me, in McDonough, GA, that's a lot). Well, why don't people at least give you a little wave as just to say 'thanks'? I was raised in the South and taught from a very young age to be courteous to others whenever possible. I'm not perfect, but I sure try as often as I can. I just don't know why people just can say a little thanks for the kindness.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Are you worthy?

Are you worthy of US citizenship? I am! :)




You Passed the US Citizenship Test



Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

P...P...F


That's Sweeney and Dresda.

I'm looking to make a move. Don't go getting all freaked out, there's just something else I need to do in my life (in addition to the other stuff, not instead). Maybe I just need to decide once and for all what I want to be when I grow up! :)

Sweeney's doing well. We're 12 days post-op (or 7 days post-post-op) and did the second bandage change last night. The toe looks good, but looks kinda like a naked mole rat foot.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happenings

Last week was the week from hell. Thank God this week has slowed down a bit. We had a small complication with Sweeney's surgery on Thursday so he had to go back in and have the to re-sutured. Probably more traumatic for Ruthanna than for anyone else. Unfortunately, when it came time to change his bandage for the first time, I was out of town at a conference and wasn't able to help. Not that I could have done anything to avoid the problem...

Anyway, Sweeney is doing much better. We did a bandage change a couple of days ago and everything looked great.

Last night being Halloween, we took Emily trick-or-treating. We all had a great time visiting a neighborhood near us. Man, I've never seen anything like that! I'd say at least 90% of the houses were decorated and lit. I bet that there were 1000+ kids roaming the streets. What a trip! I mean, this was a regular street party atmosphere! Kudos to Joyner Estates for putting on such a great show. They should charge admission!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweeney is a stud!

So Sweeney had his surgery today and is out and on his way home. Dr. Carmichael removed the P3 cleanly and closed the pad over the removed area. Sweeney will have crate restriction for a few weeks while the toe heals, followed by a prolonged rehab period (don't ask how long 'cause we play it by ear).

Now to the really cool part. While Sweeney was on the surgery table a Chihuahua came in needing an emergency c-section. She had already had several pups at home, but evidently the rest just wouldn't come. Well, Dr. Carmichael did the surgery but the Chihuahua needed a transfusion. The clinic didn't have any blood on hand, so they used Sweeney for the transfusion. So while he was out, Sweeney saved the life of someone's beloved pet and mother to puppies. SWEENEY ROCKS!

This is broken

Good and bad from the SEGC trial this past weekend in Cartersville. Let's do the good first. Sweeney won FCh Greyhounds on Saturday pretty convincingly. I do love to watch that dog run. Takes my breath away every time. Everett finished second on Saturday out of 17 FCh Whippets and Lobo tied for NBQ but we forfeited. On Sunday, Lobo finished 2nd in his flight of 10 and Everett finished 3rd in his. So, not firsts, but Maurice and Deb brought some damn good competition! Congratulations to them for their sweep on Sunday (1st in Open, FCh A, FCh B, Vet and BIE). DebMar's Lilly took Best in Event.

Now for the bad news. Sweeney broke a P3 in finals Saturday. He's having it taken care of as I type. With any luck at all, he'll be mended and back on the field soon. After being cared for by the immensely talented Dr. Toby Carmichael, Sweeney was barely aware of any injury and was being his usual goofy self.

If you have any questions about what is going on, or you hear any rumors, please feel free to contact me personally and I'll be glad to give you more info than I'm sure you'd want!

On another topic, sportsmanship is important. Let's keep this in mind especially when we're disappointed in the scores our dogs get. I know that I've had my moments on the field and shown my ass, but I hope that I've been able to make amends for those moments and have been able to grow and learn. Anyway, please try to remember that what we do is fun and a judge's score can't injure your dog. What's most important are the two ends to the dog. If they're wagging their tail and grinning then it's all good. No matter what the judges say.

Friday, October 20, 2006

SEGC


SEGC is this weekend at Old Mill. We should have good weather for the hounds (60's-70'ish) and hopefully dry.

Here's a picture of Sweeney.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another Dan Gauss pic!



That's Lobo.

Thanks to Dan for this great picture! Once again, thanks Dan!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where the wind comes sweepin down the plain

Spent the weekend in very rural Oklahoma. What a nice place to run the dogs! We were at Windyglen in Boswell Oklahoma. The trial was smallish, but the dogs that were there ran quite nicely. I saw a number of very nice open Borzoi and IG's. My guys did well with Ev taking breed both days and Lobo finishing second and third. Nellie had great practices both Saturday and Sunday. Very exciting stuff!

The best part of the trip was getting to see the good people in Region 4. I really enjoyed myself. I love that part of the country too. I think that if I had to move anywhere in the country, it would have to be somewhere in New Mexico/Texas/Oklahoma. The people are nice, the land is beautiful and sparsely populated and I just like the feel of the place. Go figure...

I've got a weekend off upcoming and then back out to the field. SEGC is the 21st and 22nd. Ya'll come!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Falling

It's been neat to get to go north for a couple of weekends in a row this year and see an early fall. Here in GA the temps are still getting to the 80's during the day even though it's cool in the mornings. It was quite different in WI this weekend, albeit far from unpleasant. The weather cooperated well and we had a couple of very nice days for the dogs to run. MWCC's field is quite nice, large enough to put a nice course on. I was pleased to see dogs working a bit more this weekend and putting in some nice runs. Thanks to Greg and Kevin for having me up to judge, especially after I had to cancel last year due to my torn hamstring. I got to see some of the 'Minnesota Mafia' again this weekend. They're nice folks with good, competitive dogs. Hopefully Al will come down for New Year's in GA. I'm big on getting the best dogs together and competing head to head to see who's the best of the best. Maybe I'll work on contacting as much of the top 20 and seeing what kind of entry we can get here.

Once again, flying isn't my favorite thing in the world. I'm glad that I don't travel a lot for my job and wonder how my father ever was able to travel as much as he did. When I was growing up, he would have to spend quite a bit of time away from home, travelling the world for business. I never really noticed how much he was away and just took it as a part of life. I know that I would be miserable if I had to spend so much time in airports and airplanes away from family and friends. At least on this trip I wasn't folded into a seat as I was flying Midwest and their service to and from Atlanta is all business class seating.

This coming weekend is GIT in Oklahoma. I know, Oklahoma isn't Texas... Hopefully they'll have had a little rain and the ground won't be baked hard as a rock. We're going to take the dogs with us and get them out for the first time since my trip to NY during the summer. Hopefully they won't be too 'soft' to compete!

Around here things are quite busy. Em is playing softball and that takes a lot of our time. Softball is pretty serious business around here so we spend a lot of time at the ball field either practicing or playing games. Their team is good, but very young for their age bracket. The girls have a lot of fun and that's what it's all about.

The peeps are peeping. I'm wondering if I actually saw eggs in the nest of if I was seeing things. We'll know soon enough if we hear the cheeps of baby peeps!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dogs that run

Finally! The weather is getting cooler and the dogs are getting restless. We're in the 50's here in GA in the mornings and it's making the hounds crazy. They're ready to get out and do some coursing. It'll be a couple of weeks, but we're getting ready.

Last weekend I judged in Minnesota, kicking off a busy schedule for the Fall. FWIW, flying sucks. My flight Friday night was delayed 2.5+ hours and my flight Sunday was canceled and I was originally re-booked on a flight Monday morning. Thanks to a really nice Delta ticketing agent, I was able to get out on Sunday night, albeit 3 hours later than scheduled. I'm appreciative of the fact that I can hop an airplane and get most anywhere I need to go pretty quickly, but I absolutely detest the experience of waiting... Waiting in line at security, waiting at the gate, waiting in the plane to take off, just generally waiting. I only really have one complaint though focusing on the airline. I hate the CJR. I'm kind of a big guy, broad in the shoulders. I was absolutely folded into the seat and I had an aisle seat. Ah well...

This weekend I'll be heading to Milwaukee, WI to judge. This should be fun as I'll be seeing many of the same people that I saw last weekend. Finally, next weekend we're going to Oklahoma. Finally the dogs will get to run a bit!

Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years

It's the 5 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. It wasn't an attack on New York, on the WTC but an attack on America. Too many people have forgotten that. Try not to forget.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Post


I've been too busy to post for a while now. So today I'm just going to post a picture of Everett doing what he does. Thanks to Dan Gauss for the awesome shot.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Say What???

According to Mark Malloch Brown, United Nations deputy secretary general, referring to the war between Hizbollah and Israel:
"It’s not helpful to couch this war in the language of international terrorism. Hizbollah employs terrorist tactics, it is an organisation however whose roots historically are completely separate and different from Al Qaeda."

Ummm, ok. So they're different in name, but make no mistake that Hizbollah is nothing more than a terrorist organization. Just another indication that the UN has lost it's usefulness...

Friday, July 28, 2006

I don't know

I don't want to believe that Floyd Landis used performance enhancing drugs to compete in the Tour this year. I think everyone should reserve judgement until the B sample is tested and tested again. There are explanations why his sample would come back positive. Until it is proven beyond doubt that he used, the headlines should read "Landis innocent of doping."

I have an update on Beth. She came through surgery well and is talking, sitting up and even went for a short walk yesterday. She's had some seizures but this can be expected with this kind of surgery. The best news is that the biopsy came back as benign. Let's pray for a full recovery.

Edit: Here's a nice, succinct comment on the Landis issue.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tattoo you

I've been thinking a lot about tattoos lately. It seems like it's time to get something done (it's been a year since I had Sweeney put on my arm). I've got a rough design in mind but need to work on it some to get it to a refined enough state so that my tattoo artist can sketch it out for me.

I'm not sure what it is about tattoos and being tattooed. I like the artistic side of tattooing so I enjoy seeing the artists interpretation of an idea. I like the idea of wearing a piece of art on your body. I enjoy the process of being tattooed, it sort of becomes this zen moment. The buzz of the machine combined with the rhythm of the needle against skin puts me in some sort of a meditative state.

There's still a lot of stigma that goes along with being heavily tatooed. But as Marisa DiMattia explains, tattoos are becoming more high brow.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes. I've still got a few images of dogs I want done. Those will probably be realistic with little creative (beyond the photos Dan took ). So what I'm looking for now will be a little more creative and allow for more artistic interpretation.

On another subject, my good friend Beth Alley is in the hospital right now recovering from brain surgery. She was having some strange symptoms for a while and finally went in to the doctor and had an MRI. They found a tumor in her forehead about the size of a golf ball. She was immediately sent to the hospital for further tests and diagnoses. A neurologist did some more tests and looked at the MRI and decided that the tumor needed to come out immediately. So she had surgery yesterday morning to remove what turned out to be a grapefruit size tumor from her brain. The surgeon is confident he got the entire tumor and that she'll recover well. Please keep Beth in your thoughts and prayers. She's still in ICU so won't be able to receive visitors for a while and can't have gifts at the hospital. I hope and pray that she bounces back from this in typical Alley fashion.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tivo

I mentioned Tivo in my last post. Just to expand on that a bit, Tivo Rocks! I've had some sort of PVR system for 5+ years. First it was the PVR offered by Dish Network. Not a bad product at all. Nice as an introduction machine. When I got pissed off at DN for screwing around with their contracts and using thier customers as pawns, I got DirecTV. DTV offered a Tivo based PVR system integrated with thier satellite receiver. It didn't take me long to figure out the Tivo is the way to go.

It's been a couple of years now since I got my Tivo and recently we began having trouble accessing recorded shows. Uh-Oh, that's a sure sign that the HD is going out. We were faced with a choice: Get a new PVR or fix the Tivo. After a little research, I confirmed what I had already heard - DirecTV no longer uses Tivo based PVR and has switched to a proprietary system. The choice became obvious, fix and upgrade the Tivo.

The nicest thing about Tivo (from a technical standpoint) is that it runs on the Linux OS and is open source. What that means is that it's pretty easy for Joe Anybody to hack/upgrade. What I was able to do is get my hands on a nice 300 GB drive (your average computer hard drive) and copy the OS from the old Tivo drive. I was skeptical at first, thinking it really couldn't be as easy as people make it out to be. Well, if you can swap out HD's, you can upgrade your Tivo. I went from a 40 GB drive (about 27 hours of recording time) to 300 GB (~265 hours)!!! All this for the cost of a drive (less than $100 if you shop around). Wow! No brainer!

The next thing I want to do is hack the system. Tivo offers something called HMO, Home Media Option. This allows you to show pictures, movies and play music from your computer through your Tivo box on your television. Unfortunately, HMO isn't enabled on the DirecTV system. So, you have to go in and hack the kernel to enable the USB ports and enable HMO. But, once this is done the Tivo box becomes another device on my home network, addressable from any workstation. Niiiiiice!

More...

I hadn't had a chance to watch the stage yesterday before I posted so I went home, cranked up the Tivo and watched 4 hours of domination. I have never seen nor heard about anything like what Floyd Landis did yesterday in the greatest bicycling race in the world. Landis left the peloton on the first climb and never looked back. He worked his way up to a lead of 9+ minutes over the holder of the Yellow Jersey, Oscar Periero. I actually had to laugh as he caught up with the breakaway group (6 minutes or so ahead of the peloton) as each rider did a double-take realizing that this was the same Floyd Landis as the day before.

This is the man who bonked on the most important day of the race. Actually, what he did was bonk and make yesterday the most important day of the race. Landis worked hard yesterday to make sure that he didn't bonk again, constantly pouring water over his head, drinking (he even kept an extra water bottle in his hands most of the day) and eating at regular intervals. He was making sure there was no way he was going to hit the wall for a second day. You could tell this was a man posessed and determined to regain his rightful position in the race and show the world that Wednesday was a total fluke.

I don't figure much will happen in today's stage. It's a rolling stage with a couple of catagorized climbs. Robbie McEwen might work to solidify his hold on the Green (points/sprinters) Jersey, especially working for his fourth stage win of the Tour. There probably won't be much change at the top of the General Classification. Floyd will ride a defensive stage and just work to keep his posistion in the GC. Damiano Cunego has a 5" advantage for the White (young rider) Jersey and will be looking to pad that lead. Mickael Rasmussen will hold on to his lead in the Polka Dot (climbers) Jersey with no challenge coming from the second place rider Floyd Landis.

Look for Floyd to ride a strong time trial on Saturday. He stated yesterday that he's not satisfied with a stage win, he's going to get the Yellow Jersey in Paris. Look for him to be the third American to be in Yellow on the Podium in Paris.

Vive Le Tour!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Amazing TdF stage

I can't believe what happened today in the Tour! Actually, the story begins with yesterday's stage when Floyd Landis hit the wall and just had no energy whatsoever. Floyd went from 1st to 11th, losing over 8 minutes as well as the Yellow Jersey.

Flash forward to today's stage. This was not as difficult a stage (yesterday was the most difficult mountain stage of the race), but still included some challenging climbs and nail biting descents. Landis today made back all but 30 seconds that he lost yesterday. After a small break by about 10 riders, the entire Phonak team rose to help Landis with the push he needed to break free of the peloton. From that point, it was all Landis. He caught and dropped every rider in the earlier breakaway, riding solo for most of the race and finishing the stage first. He's now risen to third in the General Classification and has an excellent shot at Yellow on Sunday when it matters the most!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Taos, NM

Listening today to ktao out of Taos, NM (www.ktao.com). The DJ's are way too liberal for my tastes, but I get to hear about what is happening in Taos and hear some good music as well. I love Taos and the area around it and have to get a fix in every once in a while. I can smell the sage and pinon just thinking about it! I can't wait to get out there and spend a few days again.

We got to go see Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest this past weekend. The movie was great! I'd say it's even better than the first even if there are a few weak moments. The comedy is better in Dead Man's Chest and the CGI and makeup are incredible. I mean incredible! Take a couple of hours and lose yourself in this flick!

The movie was great, but what's with families going to an 8:30 showing and bringing young kids??? I mean kids young enough that they're going to wail througout the movie! Get a grip people. We spend good money to see a movie in a theater so that we can experience what the director and producers intended, not to hear your brats screaming at the top of their lungs!!! I know Hollywood blames the internet for most of their financial woes, but perhaps they should blame theater owners who can't control the patrons...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Musings

Today I'm listening to Drive By Truckers.

Tolerance means that we shouldn't judge a culture for their rituals and practices, just as we expect another culture not to judge us. We can't hold the whole world up to our Western ideals and expect everyone to comply with our perhaps misguided perception of right and wrong. If we choose to judge another culture's values, we are no better than Islamic terrorists who judge bomb our country because of our values and customs.

The Tour de France. I'll admit that I didn't start following the Tour daily until 1999 when Lance won his first. Sure, I have been a casual observer for 20 + years (ie I know a bit about Greg LeMond and I remember hearing and reading about Miguel IndurĂ¡in's wins), but I never really followed until Lance began his dominance. I wondered how it would be watching this year's race without Lance. I've not been disappointed (except by Jan Ullrich, et al who have been caught up in the doping scandal). George Hincapie looks like the man to beat since he's stayed with the leaders in the sprint section of the race, can climb as well as anyone else (just look at how many climbs he assisted Lance) and he does well in time trialing. My prediction is that he'll be on the podium in Paris, probably in Yellow. My almost dark horse is going to be Cadel Evans. I just have a feeling that it's Evans' year to shine. Look for him to be on the podium in Paris as well. As for the third spot, I'm not sure. It easily could be another Discovery member, but I won't be so bold as to predict. Floyd Landis looks good as well, Levi Leipheimer isn't quite shining like many thought he would before the Tour.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Holy Guacamole!

This article talks about getting kids started saving money early on. I'm proud that it seems our kids are aware of the importance of saving, even if their mother and I sometimes don't demonstrate it. What struck me was this: "...the US savings rate has turned ``negative," and millions are saddled with credit card debt. (Collectively, we spend more than we make, and 43 percent of households spend $1.25 for every $1 they make...)."

So now I don't feel so bad alone! In reality, we're working hard to be on the other end of that statistic. It's damn hard work, but soon we'll be there. Sometimes it's hard not having a credit card (not for extra spending $$$, but for expense account type stuff), but in the long run it's worth it.

At least it hasn't been 2 weeks!

I know, it's been a while. Haven't been too busy to post, just not motivated.

I spent Sunday and Monday running the dogs in Cartersville. It was extremely hot but the people and the dogs all survived. I'm a believer that if your dogs are in condition and you provide plenty of warm up/cool down and water the dogs will perform well and can handle heat. There was a lot of good news from the weekend, Everett finished 3rd on Sunday, Lobo finished 2nd on Monday, Ev BoB Monday. The best part of the weekend was Nellie's little practice run on Monday. For the first time, I practiced Nellie by myself without her running from me to Ruthanna or versa vice. She took off like a shot and handled the little turn with grace. That girl really knows how to handle her body while she's running. She has exceptional agility and good speed. I'm absolutely thrilled that she's showing a desire for "the game"!

I've been listening to a variety of music over the past few days. Of course in the car most of my time is spent listening to Sirius, mostly Raw Dog or Blue Collar Comedy. At home, it's been The White Stripes and Gorillaz mostly. I've recently discovered the quality of The White Stripes and really enjoy the relative simplicity and basic, almost bare tunes of their music. As an extension, The Raconteurs are quite good. This group of Detroit musicians includes Jack White from The White Stripes. It's a bit of a different sound with a little more complexity and range.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Quote of the day

This from Neal Boortz, regarding the proposal by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley to tax pimps and hookers: "Hookers could not possibly be a greater blight on our society than politicians."

Read Nealz Nuze.

What I'm listening to

I thought I'd start posting what I'm listening to every once in a while. I absolutely love music of all kinds. I'd like to share with you my impressions of what I'm listening to and hopefully get some recomendations of other worthwhile music I could check out.

This morning, I'm enjoying the latest by Ben Harper, Both Sides of the Gun. This is an awesome release, spanning the range from Blues and R&B to downright grinding Rock. it's a pleasure to listen to all the varying textures of the disc. If you haven't checked him out lately (or never) get theeself to the record store and check out Ben Harper. You won't regret it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

What I did last weekend

I spent the weekend running the dogs in Lewiston, NY (pretty much Niagara Falls area). Yep, drove up there last Thursday and Friday and got back today at 2 pm. I had a great time coursing at the Lake Country Lure Coursers club trials this past weekend. It was good to see Karen and Mike again (we just don't get to see each other nearly enough). Sweeney was sure happy to see ya'll. Thanks so much to Patty and John for extending their hospitality and putting me up at their house. I had a great time and ya'll can put on quite the spread.

I wish that they had a little more rain before we had gone since so many dogs blew pads. I know the two winning greyhounds from Saturday blew pads and couldn't come back on Sunday and quite a few top-notch whippets were blowing pads. This heat/drought is getting out of control. At least we got some rain down here over the weekend and continuing today, so hopefully Cartersville will have good footing (parkerism) this weekend.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New hosting service

I've changed my hosting service recently. If you have any trouble viewing my web, please contact me at todd@toddbirchfield.com.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

He Gay?

It's time to get political. What the hell is going on with the Bush administration? First they come out with a convoluted, poorly organized "plan" to deal with illegal immigration, now we have a proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. Amend the Constitution? To what end? Is gay marriage so dangerous to the United States that language banning such has to be in our foundation document? Jefferson is spinning in his grave! The last thing we need is more government in our lives. BACK OFF G.W.!

Monday, June 05, 2006

BII

Even though I didn't get to go to the II this year, I wanted to share HUGE congratulations to Miller and Teri and Jack for the BII win! Miller is an awesome hound who has proven his mettle on the coursing field. At last year's II, he earned a well deserved spot in the BII runs. I thought he had won last year but was just edged out by Sweeney. This year I was lucky to have had the honor of judging him in Lawrence, Kansas at the HCA/NCA Memorial Day weekend. Miller won Best in Event that weekend against a strong field of competitors. He followed that strong showing with his BII win last weekend. What a strong running little guy! It's always a joy to see such great hounds run and be recognized for their accomplishments. I just wished I could have been in Colorado Springs last weekend to witness his latest win.

Friday, June 02, 2006

What's going on...

Some random thoughts...
  • Here it is June already. Dayam.
  • The II is this weekend and I'm in Georgia and not in Colorado.
  • Kudos to ASFA president Marilyn Staderford for doing the right thing!
  • I wonder how people become so judgemental. Before you choose to judge someone's actions, you better look at how you live your life.
  • Work is going well. I just finished a pretty cool little db project for a department on campus.
  • Kids are out of school for the summer. But the summer only lasts for 2 months now. Amazing!
  • Heads up to anyone who might be used to viewing this, my site might go down for a few days. Hopefully it won't be for long. I'm shopping for a new hosting service and I think I might have found something.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lobo

 Posted by Picasa

Kansas

Spent the weekend in Kansas judging for Heartland Coursing Association and Nebraska Coursing Association. Thanks to Marilyn, Kent, Russ and Vickie for having me out to judge. I had a great time. The clubs put on great trials with wonderful amenities. If you get the chance to go, you should. I met some really wonderful people who have some awesome hounds. Look forward to seeing ya'll again.

To everyone going to the II this year, have fun and I hope your hounds run well. Please drop me an email or add a comment to this and let me know how things are going. I'm looking forward to possibly getting to a few regionals this fall and the II next year in Minnesota.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Brother and sister (Sweeney and Dresda) tearing up the coursing field.
photo by ShotonSite Posted by Picasa

Three beauties

I'm partial to the ones holding/attached to the leash! :) Posted by Picasa
photo by ShotonSite

AKC

Went up to Cartersville for the day Saturday so that I could help Les with the MAWA AKC trial. Had a good time overall. I always enjoy getting out and seeing good dogs run. Deb and Maurice were there, it was good to see them. Their little bitch Pearleen took Field on Saturday, handily defeating all of the whippet competition and dominating Best in Field. That's a hella litter you have there!!! I still like Roux. :)

The ASFA board needs to get a grip on what issues they decide to exercise jurisdiction. You're alienating a huge segment of your coursing population with your decision to ajudicate a disagreement between two breeders. The ASFA board should only have jurisdiction over issues that arise at field trials, ocurring between roll call and ribbons. The message you have sent is that an exhibitor with a beef can use the ASFA board to punish someone they don't necessarily like. It could be me or you (or a member of said board) next on the chopping block. If you don't know where your ASFA representative stands on the issue of jursidiction, please ask them. If you don't know who to ask, look at ASFA.org . Les Pekarski (lpekarski at aol.com) is making some signs for people to put on their vehicles and display to bring attention to the board's over-reaching actions. Contact him if you'd like one.

I'm looking at the AKC coursing program and thinking I like some of what I see. The AKC seems to know a little restraint when it comes to personal issues. One issue that I'm looking at seriously is that the per-capita is lower for AKC than it is for ASFA. My biggest gripe (and this is a deal killer for me) is that AKC requires a hound to have a JC in order to compete in a trial. There is no grandfathering for hounds who already have ASFA titles (a much better indication of running ability, imho). So, my BII Greyhound, my LCM 4 Whippet and my LCM 7 Whippet will be staying away from AKC until/unless this is changed...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Back?

I've decided to try this blog thing again...

Not going to the II this year. Too many factors to list, but suffice it to say, I hate not going but I know we made the right decision. Everyone have fun at the II this year. We'll be on the road agian later in the year with Sweeney, Everett and Lobo. Oh, and look out for Nellie.