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


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!


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 ( 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


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.