Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Mobeus Family Tree

I found this poem in a clan newsletter. If I might make a suggestion, it sounds best if you hear it in your head spoken in an Irish accent.

I am my own grandpa!

Many, many years ago when I was twenty-three,
I got married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her, and soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother, for she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse, although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became a brother-in-law to dad and so became my Uncle,
Though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle, then that also made him brother
To the widow's grown-up daughter who, of course, was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son, who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson, for he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother and it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife, she's my grandmother too.
If my wife is my grandmother, then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it, it simply drives me wild.
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa.

As I'm off tomorrow, stretching a long weekend even longer, I'd like to wish y'all a Happy 235th Birthday. Enjoy the burgers and brats and a Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oh, there's just one other thing...

Do you hear that, Fezzik? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when the six-fingered man killed my father. The Man in Black makes it now.
- Inigo Montoya

As anyone who’s ever wandered by here knows I’m a total sucker for a good Princess Bride quote or reference. And while I’m not making the sound of ultimate suffering, there’s a bit of … melancholy to this post.

Peter Fault, known best as “Grandpa” in the Princess Bride to anyone born after, oh, 1975, and before that as Lt. Columbo,
died today at age 83.

Grandpa in the Princess Bride seemed like the kind of grandfather we all might want. He’d come to visit us when we were sick and bring us presents we didn’t know we want.

The Grandson: A book?

Grandpa: That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.

The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?

Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...

The Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.

Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

I think I know what may be on my playlist sometime this weekend…

The Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow.

Grandpa: As you wish.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things that make you go "Hmmm"

I was headed downtown on Saturday evening to enjoy the High Life with some friends at 18th Amendment. Since the city has become somewhat (OK, totally) Draconian in its parking regulations and enforcement duirng the past year, I chose Metro. (Seriously, who enforces parking meters until 10 p.m. on a Saturday? Yeah, D.C., that's who.)

It seems Metro must have recently gotten some of those new Matter Displacement Trains allowing them to speed up their operations by having two trains on the platform at the same time. I can only assume this because this is what the info board read at Braddock Road...

As they say on Mythbusters, "Well, there's your problem..."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lost and found

Some good news here. Someone found my lost saddle bag and phone on Sunday and, apparently, I must have lost it a lot earlier in my ride than I thought.

You see, I know this because whoever found my phone began trying to find me at 9:38 a.m. when they made their first call. They obviously didn’t find me since a) I didn’t have my phone, b) I was riding until almost noon and c) most important, I actually wasn’t in El Salvador where they were tyring to reach me. I was in Bethesda. An easy mistake, people make it all the time.

I understand this confusion. You find something that obviously fell off a bike, c’mon, the spare inner tube, multi-tool and inflator are a dead giveaway, but the phone, the phone could throw anyone for a loop. “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.” And in the confusion it’s totally understandable someone could confuse Alexandria and El Salvador - they both have an "L" as the second letter, and "A" near the middle and a "D" near the end. (There was also $30 in emergency Gatorade/Snickers cash in there, but I consider this a finder’s fee for the effort to find me.)

And they tried hard to find me for the next five and a half hours until I was rude enough to brick the phone. So, to the person I inadvertently cut off in the middle of your valiant attempt to locate me and get my phone back to me, I apologize.

This Good Samaritan’s efforts to find me in El Salvador were revealed to me yesterday when my shiny new iPhone beeped with a text from AT&T telling me, “You have exceeded $200 in voice usage charges. Manage your account @ to find the plan that’s right for you and minimize a costly bill.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the effort someone went to find me. I don’t know if I’d have spent five and a half hours of my Sunday accidentally calling another country trying to find someone so I could return their 5-year-old Motorola Razr, but it’s the thought that counts. Right?

Now here are some words you’ve probably not heard before:

I <3 AT&T

Yes folks, it’s true. Not only did an actually human (a very nice lady whose name, sadly, I didn’t get) answer my call on the second ring, she spent the next 15 minutes chatting with me as I promised her this was all a misunderstanding and that while I was glad someone was trying to find me, I really wasn’t in El Salvador. She understood completely and within minutes the more than $200 in charges between 9:38 a.m. and 3:16 p.m. were removed from my bill.

I’ll say it again – I <3 AT&T! They rock and they’ve earned a customer for a very long time.

One final thought. To anyone who says this is a victimless crime, I call bullshit. There was a victim here, multiple victims in fact – AT&T and everyone else who pays higher fees because a corporation writes off these losses. Theft like this is no different than someone trying to steal from Wal-Mart or Target.

And it’s only because AT&T was kind and understanding enough to write off more than $200 in charges for services stolen from me, that I’m not digging myself out of a hole.

So, to AT&T, thank you very much.

And to the douchbag asshole who used my phone to steal from me: Fuck You!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Round and round...and round

Wheels keep on turning and turning and turning
and nothings disturbing the way they go around.
Wheels keep on turning and turning and turning
and nothings disturbing the way it goes around.
-The Wheel by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians

Who here doesn’t know there personal record for solo miles driven in a single day? Be it either a midnight-to-midnight period or a continuous 24-hour period. Hmmm? (And yes, I know the song lyrics above have nothing to do with driving, more the wheel of life, but we’ll get to that).

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours…

My personal best came on a drive from Pittsburgh to Beaumont, Texas. As insane as I may seem sometimes, I knew I couldn’t make that in one hop. But I did make it in one really long hop and another that was considerably shorter. The first day, the record day if you will, started around 6 a.m. north of Pittsburgh and ended 17 hours later at 10 p.m. just south of Jackson, Miss.

“Wait, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. is only 16 hours, so you’re lying already!”

Under normal circumstances I might be stretching the truth a bit, but I'm not. In this case I had the benefit of crossing from the Eastern to Central time zone, thereby gaining an extra hour of driving time.

In the end, when I dragged my ass into a motel in Jackson, I looked at my trip odometer and it read “10.” As in 1,010 miles. I’d rolled it in a day.

You get past 900 and something in your head is like, “No way I’m not getting to a thousand.”

That’s kinda how I felt this past weekend. I had an odometer at 973 miles and there was no way the weekend was ending without hitting a thousand. About halfway down Ohio Drive SW, 27 miles into a 33 mile ride, and at a 17 or so mile per hour pace, the odometer on my bike rolled from 999.9 to 1,000.0.

It was a very moving moment for all involved. Cymbals crashed, fireworks exploded and the band played on.

Or that could have just been the sounds of traffic around me. I like my way better.

Overall, it took me a little more than a year to reach this mark. Truth be told, I probably hit a thousand miles sometime in May, but since I got my bike in April 2010, but didn’t get my computer until the end of May, there are some lost miles. Probably about 100.

Now I know, from a hardcore cyclist point of view, 1,000 miles in a 13 months is not a whole lot. My brother, who bought a new bike about a week before me last year, put 2,000 miles on it before 2010 turned to 2011. But 635 of those came during an eight-day ride from San Francisco to San Diego in October. Still, that kicks a lot of ass in my opinion.

But I’m pretty happy with my accomplishment and, while I don’t think I’ll roll to 2k this year, I’m pretty sure I’ll actually put at least a thousand on the bike before the year ends…unless I keep up my current pace which would see me rolling from 9s to 0s sometime in October.

We’ll see.

One sour note to my triumphal ride: If someone happens to find a small saddle bag with a spare innertube, tire spoons and inflator (not to mention a Motorola Razor) on the Capital Crescent trail between G-town and Bethesda, drop me a line, I’d like the tire-changing gear back. I already bricked the phone and replaced it with an iPhone, so that’s really all good. More on my new toy in the future.

And, finally, we’ll end this 1,000-mile post with some pictures of other people riding bikes. These are from last weekend’s Clarendon Cup. The race was 100k on a 1k circuit in Clarendon. These guys did 60 miles in about two hours twisting and turning their way through the streets of Arlington.

For more pics of the race, go to my
Flickr stream (or click the cool box to the right).

On your marks...get set...GO!

This is like, two laps in and these two guys already put some distance on the field.

Yes, I laid down on the street to get this picture.

I tried to crop this picture and the next two as close as possible to the same ratio since they all took place in about six-tenths of a second. Click...

If you want to take a 100-degree turn at 30 mph, this is how you and your friends have to do it.

This was a snap shot. I was sitting and enjoying a beer at the Wood Grill and I looked across the street and saw this, I assume, father and son. I yanked the camera out of the bag and let the motor drive run as the peloton sped by.
Imagine, if you will, being in a pack of cyclists going 30+ mph around a 100-degree turn. Allatonce. It might be enough to make you want to slam on

Stay on target.

Not a completely bad motto to live by.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A picture's worth...

Everyone ready for the crushing heat that's coming our way? The number I heard for today contained a 9 and a 3, and for tomorrow the 3 is replaced by a 7. Get ready to sweat D.C.

Changing topics, I came across a couple of pictures in the last day or so I feel like sharing.

First, this amazing view of Saturn taken by the Cassini space probe in September 2006:

Here's part of the description of the photo from NASA (for more, go here):

"This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006. The full mosaic consists of three rows of nine wide-angle camera footprints; only a portion of the full mosaic is shown here. Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.

"During this period of observation Cassini detected two new faint rings: one coincident with the shared orbit of the moons Janus and Epimetheus, and another coincident with Pallene's orbit."

Now, anyone who's wasted a moment or two reading The Foggy Dew in the past knows I'm an unashamed proponent of man's exploration of space. There is much to be learned on the other side of our atmosphere and I believe mankind's destiny is in space.

But there is another reason and (sadly) I'm going to use a bit of a quote from a TV show (From the Earth to the Moon) to express it properly. We need to continue into space for the same reason Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott chose (in the show) to land at Hadley rille, "Grandeur. And I believe there's something to be said for... exploring beautiful places... It's good for the spirit."

Who among us wouldn't want to watch in awe as Saturn eclipsed the sun?

OK, now onto the funny part. Got this picture from a coworker. Don't know if it's true or not, but I get the feeling it is.

See, the way I always heard the way to tell them apart was to kick them in the balls and then run and climb a tree. If the bear climbs the tree and eats you, it's a black bear. If it pushes the tree over and eats you, it's a grizzly.

Happy Tuesday. Try to stay cool.