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Monday, March 31, 2014

Please File That In The "Freakin' Obvious" Section.

So this morning as I opened up the computer to begin my day I couldn't help but notice this blaring news article...

Global warming dials up our risks, UN report says

Associated Press

    FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, Syrian refugees cross into Iraq at the Peshkhabour border point in Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. In an authoritative report due out Monday, March 31, 2014, a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
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    YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — If the world doesn't cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, the already noticeable harms of global warming could spiral "out of control," the head of a United Nations scientific panel warned Monday.
    And he's not alone. The Obama White House says it is taking this new report as a call for action, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying "the costs of inaction are catastrophic."
    Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that issued the 32-volume, 2,610-page report here early Monday, told The Associated Press: "it is a call for action." Without reductions in emissions, he said, impacts from warming "could get out of control."
    One of the study's authors, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said, "If we don't reduce greenhouse gases soon, risks will get out of hand. And the risks have already risen."
    Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, according to the report from the Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists. The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes even more, the report's authors said.
    "We're now in an era where climate change isn't some kind of future hypothetical," said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California. "We live in an area where impacts from climate change are already widespread and consequential."
    Nobody is immune, Pachauri and other scientists said.
    "We're all sitting ducks," Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the report, said in an interview.
    After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary — which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word "risk" an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.
    "Changes are occurring rapidly and they are sort of building up that risk," Field said.
    These risks are both big and small, according to the report. They are now and in the future. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water. Other risks mentioned in the report involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser and more qualified extent some diseases, financial costs and even world peace.
    "Things are worse than we had predicted" in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report, said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University in Bangladesh. "We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated."
    The problems have gotten so bad that the panel had to add a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was "high" and colored blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, "very high," and colors it deep purple.
    You might as well call it a "horrible" risk level, said van Aalst: "The horrible is something quite likely, and we won't be able to do anything about it."
    The report predicts that the highest level of risk would first hit plants and animals, both on land and the acidifying oceans.
    Climate change will worsen problems that society already has, such as poverty, sickness, violence and refugees, according to the report. And on the other end, it will act as a brake slowing down the benefits of a modernizing society, such as regular economic growth and more efficient crop production, it says.
    "In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans," the report says.
    And if society doesn't change, the future looks even worse, it says: "Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts."
    While the problems from global warming will hit everyone in some way, the magnitude of the harm won't be equal, coming down harder on people who can least afford it, the report says. It will increase the gaps between the rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, and men and women, van Aalst said.
    But the report's authors say this is not a modern day version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Much of what they warn of are more nuanced troubles that grow by degrees and worsen other societal ills. The report also concedes that there are uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate risks.
    The report, the fifth on warming's impacts, includes risks to the ecosystems of the Earth, including a thawing Arctic, but it is far more oriented to what it means to people than past versions.
    The report also notes that one major area of risk is that with increased warming, incredibly dramatic but ultra-rare single major climate events, sometimes called tipping points, become more possible with huge consequences for the globe. These are events like the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would take more than 1,000 years.
    "I can't think of a better word for what it means to society than the word 'risk,'" said Virginia Burkett of the U.S. Geological Survey, one of the study's main authors. She calls global warming "maybe one of the greatest known risks we face."
    Global warming is triggered by heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, that stay in the atmosphere for a century. Much of the gases still in the air and trapping heat came from the United States and other industrial nations. China is now by far the No. 1 carbon dioxide polluter, followed by the United States and India.
    Unlike in past reports, where the scientists tried to limit examples of extremes to disasters that computer simulations can attribute partly to man-made warming, this version broadens what it looks at because it includes the larger issues of risk and vulnerability, van Aalst said.
    Freaky storms like 2013's Typhoon Haiyan, 2012's Superstorm Sandy and 2008's ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change's ever rising seas, he said.
    And in the cases of the big storms like Haiyan, Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the poor were the most vulnerable, Oppenheimer and van Aalst said. The report talks about climate change helping create new pockets of poverty and "hotspots of hunger" even in richer countries, increasing inequality between rich and poor.
    Report co-author Maggie Opondo of the University of Nairobi said that especially in places like Africa, climate change and extreme events mean "people are going to become more vulnerable to sinking deeper into poverty." And other study authors talked about the fairness issue with climate change.
    "Rich people benefit from using all these fossil fuels," University of Sussex economist Richard Tol said. "Poorer people lose out."
    Huq said he had hope because richer nations and people are being hit more, and "when it hits the rich, then it's a problem" and people start acting on it.
    Part of the report talks about what can be done: reducing carbon pollution and adapting to and preparing for changing climates with smarter development.
    The report echoes an earlier U.N. climate science panel that said if greenhouse gases continue to rise, the world is looking at another about 6 or 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius) of warming by 2100 instead of the international goal of not allowing temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius). The difference between those two outcomes, Princeton's Oppenheimer said, "is the difference between driving on an icy road at 30 mph versus 90 mph. It's risky at 30, but deadly at 90."
    Tol, who is in the minority of experts here, had his name removed from the summary because he found it "too alarmist," harping too much on risk.
    But the panel vice chairman, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, said that's not quite right: "We are pointing for reasons for alarm ... It's because the facts and the science and the data show that there are reasons to be alarmed. It's not because we're alarmist."
    The report is based on more than 12,000 peer reviewed scientific studies. Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, a co-sponsor of the climate panel, said this report was "the most solid evidence you can get in any scientific discipline."
    Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University who wasn't part of this report, said he found the report "very conservative" because it is based on only peer reviewed studies and has to be approved unanimously.
    There is still time to adapt to some of the coming changes and reduce heat-trapping emissions, so it's not all bad, said study co-author Patricia Romero-Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.
    "We have a closing window of opportunity," she said. "We do have choices. We need to act now."

    ....and it got me thinking, does anyone really still try and contradict this?  Even more importantly, why has our generation even tried!?  In our modern day of instant communication and information all it takes is a few memory engrams or perhaps a Google search to realize that as early as the most recent Bush administration hand picked scientists were being trotted out in front of the media to contest any findings supporting the theory of "climate change" or the more water downed "friendly" tag line of "Global Warming".  Yes, lets face it, they even try and soften the blow by altering our perception of the impending damage.  "Climate" catches our attention.  We can all recognize it's importance and the word "Change"?  Well, no one really likes change.  Change is perceived in the generally pessimistic mind of humans as bad.  SO, with the more recent positive, hand holding, good feelings associated with the word "Global" we hear that word and say "ahhhh, isn't that nice?" and "warming"?  Well, what else but nice, fluffy, candy coated connotations can be compared to the secure feeling of being "warm".  We like our terminology to be friendly!
    So as I'm reading this article an intense feeling of "Deja vu" comes over me, quickly realizing that this is all like tuning into a really bad rerun of some lack luster 80's sitcom!  I've read this ALL before, many times over.  The warnings, the impending disaster and the responsibilities we ALL must embrace to change it.  However, I have no doubt that all the hand ringing, "concerned" powers that be will do exactly what they have always done.
    Whether we accept it or not the majority of our culture looks to politicians and media to direct us on how to "react" to any given situation, all the while bemoaning the fact that they all lie.  But when, in the rare chance, they actually tell the truth, our blinders go up and we rally against them, as if somehow the bad news was their fault.
    Could you imagine what would happen if a policy maker stood before the American public and told them what they really needed to? 
    "OK folks, from now on a few changes.  First, any vehicle with an MPG of less then 45 will be immediately impounded, destroyed and recycled.  Second, each remaining vehicle will be limited to X amount of hours on the road, and each household will only be allowed to have one registered vehicle.  Furthermore, petroleum prices will now be in excess of ten dollars a gallon, with the additional tax being used to fund clean up and green energy development.  Industry will be met with emissions restrictions ten fold their original limitations and any infraction will result in fines of billions per day.  Any and all fossil fuel producing company henceforth will be required to invest 50%  of all profits into renewable energy research"
    Well, that politicians career would end the second he left the podium as the majority of everyone lines up to lynch him!
    Our reaction to global warming can be sumed up in this little tale.
    "A man stands at an intersection with his Son and his grandson.  As the cross walk light signals "walk" the older gentleman begins to step off the curb when he notices a truck barreling down on them, ignoring the red light.  The older man stops, fearing his own demise and taps his son on the shoulder and points to the oncoming truck.  As they both watch the truck speeding headlong through the red light, they allow the younger boy to walk into its path and be crushed"
    Yep, that's what we are all doing folks!  We SEE the dangers we KNOW they are lurking out there but we fail to act each and every day!  Nikola Tesla predicted "Climate Change" at the beginning of the 20th century, but was ridiculed and silenced by the power elite. Why"  because it cut into their bottom line, and they needed to discredit him.  Which they did.  The most brilliant mind in human history with so much more left to give humanity and he was driven into obscurity, and for what?  So Edison could rule the electrical industry. 
    Yep, same old song and dance, money and power.
    OK, OK I know, I'm railing! 
    The morale of the story is we each need to stop waiting for someone to tell us the right thing to do, like a bunch of mewling, unruly babies that want to kick and scream and hold our breath because Mommy told us we couldn't have a freaking cookie!
    Reuse, re-cycle, re-purpose, walk, ride a skateboard, ride a bike.
    yea...sorry...I'm in a mood.

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    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    Sometimes Seconds Are Better!

    Yesterday morning, shortly after opening, we got a call from a gent looking for a  couple minor parts.  Of course we had them so I bade him come by.  After hanging up I went about my usual morning chores making the world safe for cyclists.  Long about eleven a gent came by, the self same parts procurer, whose order we filled, post haste.  As I was ringing him up he told me a short story that contradicted the term "sales and service". 
    In his search for a few trinkets to rebuild his ailing ride he first went to a local "boutique" shop that was closer to his home.  His clear and highly agitated statement "Don't EVER go to "_____ _____" apparently summed up a harrowing experience.  Being the inquisitive sort, I bid him to tell me his tale of woe.  Apparently, being an early riser, he beset upon the aforementioned cycle shop about 9.30am that morning, arriving at the doors (which were open) at about 20 minuets 'till.  Unfortunately, as he stepped through the threshold, eager to purchase his needed materials he was met by the owner with an intensely gruff  "Can't you see we are closed!" The customer stammered, felled by the vicious vitriol, and was met by an equally venomous "Can't you read?! we don't open until ten am, now go away, can't you see I'm busy!?"
    I feel very sorry for the gent having to endure that kind of treatment, when all he was looking for was to get his ride moving again.  And after all, I think some of these other shops forget, that's what we are here for, anyway!  Look, our posted hours are from 9am to 6pm, but after dropping off the kids I'm here no later then 8.30.  I've had folks come in as I'm bringing out the sign and display bikes , heck, I've even had customers help before! The way I look at it, we are damn lucky folks want to come in and sample our wares, so I have no problem with a little accommodation!
    Sorry, it's just, I wonder how anyone could get into customer service if they don't like people!
    Yea, it has been "Saturday Morning" pretty much all week long around here!  Chide me if you wish, but I never really grew up.  I scored big time on E-Bay and picked up the complete "Looney Tunes" Golden collection (24 DVD set!) with loads of extras!  Three days straight and I'm just now on disc five!  WA-HOO!  Brings me WAY back! 
    Another embarrassing moment in my life: Yesterday morning as I was doing my computer work, a couple who had brought in a bike for repairs at the beginning of the week came into the store.  I stared at them blankly as they gazed at me with a mixture of expectation and curiosity, waiting for me to do something.  Finally I asked "can I help you?" to which they responded "we're here to pick up our bike" in a kind of "no duh!" tone.  I blinked, paused, then inquired "we haven't worked on it yet, I thought you wanted to pick it up Friday?"  They both glanced at each other in the same way you looked to family members when crazy old uncle Jake has dressed for church with his underwear outside his pants and used chocolate pudding for hair gel.  They then turned back to me, blinked and said in a very cautious tone, as if to a confused child "but today is Friday..."
    Yes, it has happened!  I have become SO reliant on technology, that I have lost my ability to keep track of the passage of time without it!  At the beginning of the week, my cell phone tweaked out on me and I had to pull the battery to get it right.  In so doing, it somehow threw the clock and calendar back to preset mode.  I reset the clock but not the date!  I lost a day and didn't even realize it!"  
    OK, having fully exposed my soft white under belly.....
    Thanks so much to the gent, new to the area, who shares in our belief of trying to buy locally!  He came in and gave the Schwinn Ranger a good new home!  We appreciate the patronage, although I did find it rather quaint that he was looking for  "locally owned" bank to set up his accounts.  Is there even such a thing anymore?  Also, as always, thanks to all for the continued repairs!  Keeps us hopping!  Did manage to put out three newbies yesterday, all in the "reasonably priced" category!  Check 'em out below! 
    Yesterday marked a milestone around the house.  And luckily, I was not there to put a pall on it!  Logan made his first solo trip to the store! 
    Now, that may not seem like much of a milestone for a twelve year old, but mind you, for an overbearing, over protective parent such as I, the milestone was, I didn't explode when I heard! Hence why Angi let him go while I wasn't around!  Softens the blow.  My big thing is crossing Sunset Point Road.  No cross walk and a bunch of idiot drivers that don't pay attention to anything but their cell phones! 
    ANYWAY!  Gotta git back at it!
    Lot's of goodies to work on, so I'm off!
    See ya soon!

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    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    It's What Happens When Texts and Phone Calls Compete!

    So, last night I got embroiled in an ongoing multi-device, multi-player conversation that, quite frankly,  I had no business coming in the middle of! 
    I'll set the stage.
    Elijah, whilst stumbling about the globe, had a stop in Boston (and Brockton) this week.  Apparently his itinerary called for some down time at the end of the week and he had originally planned a pilgrimage to Red Bank, New Jersey ( see posting for Monday, March 24th for the whole skinny).  I did inform him, while he was in Boston, he should contact his grandmother and aunt and try and schedule a visit. This request was acknowledge with an uncommitted "yeah" but I left it at that.
    As he is prone to be permanently linked with Facebook (check it out if your interested in what he had for dinner that night, there's pictures!) his Aunt picked up on is presence in the North and informed my Mother.
    Now, here's where it gets hazy.  See, I am one of the worst when it comes to keeping in touch with my extended family.  Months will go buy without me talking to them, and it usually results in them getting in touch with me should something arise that requires my knowing.  Quite frankly, years back, that was originally why this blog got started!  It was a way for my family to keep abreast of everything going on in our family without me having to make the effort of repeating the same story several times over!  God bless the Internet! 
    So, whenever  my family has to contact me they contact my beloved wife.  At one point, my mother didn't even have my number!  As a result of this, Angela knows much more of what's going on in my family then I do!  She tells me tidbits, that she thinks my muddled mind can absorb, but retains an impressive store of everything else that is and has gone on in my family for generations (were it not for her I would have forgotten every ones birthday this year...and last...and the year before that!)
    Anyway, (and please, the sequence of events are still rather hazy to me, so I am probably not getting it all right) through a series of "snarky" text's my mother communicated with my sister and in turn with Angela trying to determine exactly why Elijah had not contacted them when he arrived in Boston. As it turns out, his company set an appointment in Michigan, cutting his downtime.  Of course, Angela, the diplomat, politely tried to dissuade their feeling of neglect and get to the bottom of it.  Unfortunately, communication with Elijah can be choppy.  As he works third shift, but travels at all hours, its a crap shoot to get him on the phone.  Once I arrived home last night, they were passing texts back and forth on a delay and Angela informed me that I needed to contact my mother and let her know why Elijah may have not contacted them.  Well, in true Yankee tradition, my text was short, curt, sarcastic and to the point.  in effect " Elijah is an adult now.  I am no longer his social secretary, he probably just got busy."
    I figured that would clear it up.
    First off, Angela, the true southern socialite, felt my response was way rude. And my mother (apparently having received pretty much the same synopsis from my sister, informed me I needed to communicate with her)
    Oh, it got all kinds of confusing.
    As we went out later that evening to the store, Angela received a few more communiques and informed me that I needed to contact my Mother and smooth things over.  Unbeknowst to her, but knowst to me, was the fact that when she was in the bathroom getting ready, I had already talked with my mother, and in fact, smoothed things over.  Apparently the text she read was outdated, for when I called my mother, repeating what I had said earlier, she in effect responded "DUH! Call your sister!"
    Which I did, at that point having a great chuckle with my Sister about just how screwed up the whole scenario was!  I love my sister.  I'm the male version of her! And we both get our "snarkyism" from our Mother!
    If any of you understood any of that your smarter then me!
    Yesterday allowed a slight reprieve from inclement weather and folks took advantage of it!  The Kitty Hawk went home with a grateful young lady having graduated from a 20 inch right into a 26! Sent one of the "charity" rides home with one of our regulars.  The 29'er cruiser didn't last five minuets after opening, finding a home with a multi-visiting gent who has been in search of the perfect size for him for awhile now.  The Hyper 20" BMX became the property of a grateful young man who had originally came in with his dad to get one of the lesser priced ones we had had previously but sold a few weeks back, apparently having lingered on Craigslist after I thought I deleted it.  Sorry for inadvertently misleading you, but we gave them a break on price because of it. Also sent the other charity ride home (at least for the week) with a gent visiting from London.  I really appreciate the fine kudos he heaped on us as apparently our rental "buy back" program is unheard of over there.  I have heard that those in the biking industry in England are even more snobbish then some of the "boutique bike shops" over here!  WOW!  That is so hard to believe possible!"
    As always, thanks for the daily slew of repairs and your trust!  Not to mention the flurry of referrals we keep getting.  Many folks new to the area are being turned on to us by family, friend and casual acquaintances!  SWEET!
    We managed to get only one new one out yesterday but she is a peach!  This one is a Schwinn Tourist commuter heavily upgraded!  New sealed bottom bracket, full Tektro brake replacement, upgraded crank, grips, integrated shifter, seat, cables, tubes...etc, etc!  Yea, we went overboard!
    Today we have a ladies cruiser in the rack with another to go then s couple MTB's given to us by Bullet!
    So I got a lot to keep me busy, better have at it!
    (plus, I scored BIG TIME on Ebay, getting the entire "Looney Tunes" library on DVD for a SONG! Yes, I am building bikes and happily reliving my childhood!)
    What could be better?

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    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Wash, Rinse, Dry...ONCE!

    The other day Angi called me sporting her very best agitated voice. Thankfully it wasn't because of something I did or didn't do!  As she was working on the laundry (left over from the HUGE mound of clothes from the kiddo-purge on Sunday) she informed me it was taking three to five trips through the dryer to get just once load dried.  Seems the old Maytag had finally gone to the great beyond.  I stated I'd call Sarge, our used appliance dealer, and have him bring over another.  It's sad, really.  Most folks have their usual grocer, or hairstylist, we are on a first name basis with appliance and furniture retailers.  SO much so, we don't even have to visit a store!  Just call 'em up and state "send over another dryer" or "We need another living room set!"  And it's not like we are upgrading!  The previous years furnishings are fit only for the curb! 
    I digress.
    Once I said "Sarge's" she said, in a very polite, diplomatic way "Well, if you would please indulge me,  I have another option"  (although the phone connection must have been bad because it sounded like she said "I don't want another out of date piece of crap that we will have to replace again in three months") As she put it so eloquently I was compelled to listen.  She had done her research prior to calling me and had located a NEW high tech, triple-loader, with all the bells and whistles that we could get on store credit.  She had also discussed terms and dollar figure and that she could have it delivered the next day, with free removal and set up.
    Gosh!  How could I say no.
    Honestly, it was the smartest choice.  With full service and warranty, plus the energy savings of not having to run the dryer five times a load, it was a no brainer! 
    So, they delivered it yesterday morning, and she gleefully went to work on the laundry, having finished all the kids and most of hers by the time I came home.  Then, like a professional spokes model, she happily demonstrated it's many functions.  Touch screen display, a multitude of settings, with features ranging from load sensors, weight balancing and auto fill that determines the exact amount of water for the weight of clothes.  AMAZING!  And as we stood there marveling at the new addition, two thoughts came to mind.  First was how lucky I was that not only was she a good partner and mother but that I had a wife that appreciated the gift of a washer and dryer.  Some men have to endure the demands of diamonds, vacations and luxuries to keep their significant others satiated.  I'm a lucky, lucky man!
    Two:  Just how much of a redneck am I to spend my evening playing with this heah' new fangled' gadget!
    Yesterday was a busy Tuesday!  Picked up three new goodies, and with barely enough time to prep them for sale, two of them sold out from under me!  Also, sold one of the MTB's we got in for the "Bike Ministries" so they can get more rides out to the homeless. Of course, repairs as always were unabated, thank you all so VERY much!  We are still managing to get most of them done on a same day basis!  Also we send a shout out to all the folks bringing us in new goodies we ALWAYS need!
    Also a personal "bless you" to our friends from way up North, "Ay", as they returned their rentals from their Snowbird visit, they also brought along a bevy of their unused food stuffs.  This time of year our pantry begins to swell from the generosity of our many lovely patrons!  Which reminds me, I forgot to mention the wonderful ladies from one of last weeks gatherings who brought over a huge tray of left over bread pudding.  Thank you so much, mam.  it was wonderful!  (Irish children.  Of course they are going to love bread pudding!)
    So, now I need to get back at it.  First though, Got a long over do visit from Uncle Chippie this morn, out for his Wednesday route on "Queen Anne's Revenge" and during our visit gave me the skinny on a posting on You tube he's in.  Gonna check that out real quick!
    See ya soon!

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    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Slumber Interuptus

    Ever have one of those mornings?

    You wake up, perhaps earlier then you wanted too and quickly realize the chance you are going to be able to snuggle back into bed and get an extra half an hour is completely out of the question.  Free will is completely out of the question as your responsibility compels you to perform any number of sudden, necessary tasks, all with the sliver of hope that should you complete them, you will be able to lay down for a scant few moments more.  But, cognitive awareness wrestles with involuntary movement and you are awake.  So you brew a pot, do your best to drag a brush through your hair, and except the inevitability that the day has begun, and whether you want to participate in it or not is irrelevant.  As a form of self preservation, you "buck up" except the inevitable. trying to conjure up a thought or image that may plaster a smile on your face and make consciousness bearable. 
    As you force your body into concealing fabric you feel a certain degree of discomfort, your skin not yet ready to surrender the softness of linen to coarse denim.   As you go about your days preparation a small voice in the back of your head cannot help but ponder the query "why is it still so dark outside?"
    Then you recognize the familiar sound undulating through the bones of your home....
    Undaunted, you draw a deep calming breath, except the fact that you're going to get a little wet on the way to work, and press on.  You sit, sipping your coffee, desperately grasping to fleeting, ethereal "good thoughts", when you realize that you are not alone in your desperation.  Those around you begin to rise, each one wrestling with their own inability to except the reality of unwelcome consciousness.  It is then that you realize the old adage "misery loves company" is not appropriate for the situation!
    So... how was your morning?
    Yes, I'm trying desperately to get motivated.  Yesterday, even given the onslaught of rain, we managed to be quite busy with several repair drop offs coming in.  Sent a couple more goodies home with new families, and even managed to get a few more in.  The Genesis 29'er we got in Saturday ended up being a complete rebuild in the end, but worth it, as it found an owner first thing this morning.  Have no fear though, we have plenty more newbies to work with. 
    So with that, I'd best think "happy thoughts" and move on with the day!

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    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Any Given Sunday....

    And playing the part of the football?  Take your choice of kid!
    So..... every Sunday we do the "all hands on" fluff and stuff of the house.  By "all hands on", I of course mean Momma, me... and to some extant Logan. The others engage in various bouts of "its not MY mess!"  and "How come I have to do EVERYTHING?!"  This of course becomes old, quickly and those of  a "pissin' and moanin'" inclination serve out the remainder of the cleaning cycle with face firmly in a corner. 
    Recently Kaleb decided he was going to rearrange the older boys side of the room into a subdivided "Man's Cave" in response to the eternal bemoaning perpetuated by all the boy's of "you're on our side of the room!" Angela had ran an invisible line down the room utilizing the sofa as the international border.    Owen decided he wanted to duplicate set up and commenced to move furniture.  Well, as he weighs about 70 pounds soaking wet, you can imagine the difficulty he had trying to move a heavy wooden bunk bed set.  He did manage to push their bureau up against the back of the couch, which led to one of the most petty arguments I have heard in some time!  This one is SO bears repeating! 
    As Owen was moving the furniture, Kaleb sat on the couch (on the older boys side, mind you) with his hand resting over the back of the couch.  As Owen pushed the bureau against the sofa, Kaleb looked on, refusing to move his hand as his it was "on HIS side!".  Owen, not deterred, pushed the bureau tight up against the back of the couch pinning Kaleb's hand, resulting in him releasing an angry growl and muffled profanity.  As I was sitting in the Living Room folding clothes, I bound into action!  Kaleb was giving Owen the stink eye, his hand still pinned, as if it was held in the steely grasp of a bear trap!  Once I was informed of the situation and growing tensions, wanting to avoid a bloody cross border conflict, I made the declaration once and for all to properly determine the exact borderline and broker a peace accord, however tenuous it may be.  SO, with the assistance of my lovely aide and fellow negotiator, miss Angi, we took out the measuring tape and determined the rooms exact median!  Repositioning the sofa and older boys bed at the very edge, I gingerly removed Kaleb's hand from its bindings and informed him, should, in the future, he choose to rest his hand on the back of the sofa, his fingers would be in violation of the current Peace accords, and void the "non-aggression pact" achieved at this current Summit Talks! 
    We have now achieved an uneasy cease fire.
    As we moved on, Owen removed his mattress and box spring in an attempt to make the load lighter.  It was at this point I realized just what I would be doing the remainder of the day!  Several loads of laundry had been packed and shoved underneath their bed in such a way as to question the laws of "Mass versus Volume: in effect creating a spatial anomaly!
    Even though we had weeded and organized just a short time ago, it was well apparent that we needed to do it again!  So for the next few hours we not only sorted through all those (lo and behold I discovered where all my socks and underwear were disappearing to!) but also had Rozy empty out her closet and bring all that out for us to sort!  It quickly dawned on me (and this is NOT an exaggeration) that each girl has enough clothes that they could wear a different out fit each day of the week and not wear they same thing twice,  for four months!  The sad part is, that as she refuses to clean her room, the closet is SO disorganized that they end up wearing the same things all the time!  They just pull the clothes from the clean laundry each day!  And they have some really cute outfits! 
    As mentioned briefly on Saturday, Elijah is headed up North.  Well, he's technically up North already, finishing up  a job in Connecticut, then it's on to Brockton Mass (about 25 miles south of Boston) Where they start work on Sunday.  It appears as if he has downtime this weekend and had planned to travel to Red Bank, New Jersey and do a little "Kevin Smith" sojourn, visiting both "Jay and Silent Bob's secret stash and  the "Quck-E-Mart" immortalized in  Smith's earlier works IE: "Clerks" "Chasing Amy", "Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back" etc.  As we talked this morning he brought up the idea of taking the train from Brockton to Red Bank.  It will probably take a little longer, but the more we discussed it the more I became excited for him.  THIS was the kind of adventures I had hoped he would be able to enjoy on this job, so I started doing a web search for him for schedules and times and hopefully I can get an itinerary for him before to long. 
    Anyway, I'll let ya'll know how it works out!
    On to business!
    Saturday was a traditional one, thankfully!  Many a ride found their way to new homes!  Also managed to get in a few goodies as well!  We put out four newbies (selling one from the get go) and have more to do!  Special note: two of the ones we put out are consignments, and for a good cause!  Saint Nicholas church has a bicycle ministries that provide used bikes for the homeless.  Working through the Elks Club they take donations and a retired military volunteer rebuilds them.  Occasionally they get in bikes in "like new" condition and try and resell those to raise the capital to buy parts for the bikes they are rebuilding.  We offered our store front and services to sell them and ALL monies go to the cause!  So check 'em out below and if you are in the need of a solid MTB, then pay us a visit!  It's all for a good cause!
    So, this week is Spring break!
    That means the kiddo's are in-house for the week. 
    In an attempt to keep the battles to a minimum, Kaleb is joining me at the shop this week.  I could tell first ting this morning when I woke him at eight am the unbridled joy he felt with the knowledge that he would be with me!  It was tremendously heart warming just how happy he was, he could barely contain his joy!  The way he rolled over, groaning and whining "but why do I have to go!?"  I knew that it was just his way of hiding the overwhelming euphoria he was experiencing! 
    Really, really touches the heart!
    Best get at it!  Got some heavy chores to do!
    See ya soon! 

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    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Why we do what we do for our kids.

    I am officially green with envy!
    After much prodding and cajoling Angi and I convinced Elijah to stick with his job.  His home sickness was presenting a real stumbling block, but as predicted with time he is starting to realize thebenefits, money not being the only one.  As his tenure at mucking through the mire of the Midwest is coming to a close he is branching out to the North East (lucky little bugger!) as he heads to Boston (as I say that there are tears swelling in my eyes, coupled with a heart wrenching swell of desire to once again stand in the greatest city on Earth!) they will be making a stop for a job in, of all places, the Holy Land!!
    Red Bank, New Jersey!!!
    To those philistines not availed of this promised land, in the heart of its historic district sits....*choke* "Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash"! 
    This shrine to all things holy to Geekdom is his weekend destination!! 
    All I can say is he better send me a T-Shirt!

    "Frozen" Thaws Disney!

    Catchy headline, hunh?
    Special shout out and Kudos to our boy, Elijah!  He checked out the flick "Frozen" last week and was so enamored he ordered a blue ray copy for the family and had it shipped in plenty of time for "Family Movie Night" yesterday!  He raved about the flick, saying it was one of the best animated films he's seen in a long time, and I trust his judgment.  Scary part is, it's a traditional "Disney Musical"
    So my son likes show tunes?  What's next, drapes and track lighting? 
    Disney has had some hits and misses over the last few years.  I'm talking just Disney, mind you, and not their affiliation with Pixar.  2012's "Wreck it Ralph" was a hoot with traditional Disney teary eyed moments, but the 2013 Cars spin-off "Planes" crashed and burned!  2012's weak "Brave" which seemed to me to be a sorry  re-telling of "Brother Bear" lost its courage!  But 2010'2 "Tangled" had it all tied up! 
    They have redeemed themselves, in SPADES with "Frozen"!
    Here's the rub courtesy of IMDB,
    "Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey - teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven - to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. From the outside Anna's sister, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret-she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It's a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can't stop. She fears she's becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her."
    I'm not a huge fan of musicals, but not even that can dampen the appeal of this film.  And a couple of the ballads they belt out really amplify the scene.  One in particular is Elsa's coming-to-terms show stopper she belts out while creating her ice castle.  "Let It Go" could easily be an anthem for any trying moment in any ones life.  On the other side, is Olaf's hilarious, fanciful mid movie romp "In Summer", the whimsical musings of a snowman as he expresses his imaginings of how wonderful Summer would be! 
    Olaf, the eternally optimistic and loving snowman is wonderfully voiced and portrayed by Josh Gad.  I've never seen him in anything else but the comedic relief he provides is priceless!  Further comedy is provided by the versatile (and in my opinion today's BEST) character actor, Alan Tudyk (yes, Wash from "Firefly" so my opinion is a little slanted).  He provides the voice for the conniving "Duke of Westleton (everyone mispronounces it as Weasel Town) the neutral antagonist of a bordering trading village that besets his henchmen on Queen Elsa with orders to eliminate her, when her powers are revealed, thinking her a monster. 
    In the Pantheon of Disney we have seen a long line of princesses.  Each generation they have grown ever stronger in strength of character and personal fortitude!  From the original Snow White, while having strong survival instincts, in the end still needed her big strong man to save her and make her life complete.  Alice, didn't need a prince to save her from the wicked queen, but the credit for granting her strength has to go to the stories original creator.  Belle, must be given credit for "saving" her prince, thus we begin to see a realization of a woman's power.
    This movie, really seems to be the culmination of that ideology, for at the zenith of the film, as young Anna is struggling to save her own life, having been accidentally struck in the heart by her sisters icy powers, the films true villain,  Prince Hans is about to deliver the killing blow to a weakened Elsa.  Instead of reaching her "true love" (for the prescribed "act of true love")  Cristoff and saving herself  she instead places herself between Elsa and the descending sword just as the full effect of Elsa's "freezing power" overtakes her, turning her into a life sized ice sculpture. 
    Part of the true joy of a film like this is watching the expressions of my own children.  And Boy, did Disney revive their Magic in this one! At this point in the film, I was compelled to watch Izabella rather then the movie, it was so heartwarming to see the range of emotions wash across her face.  Genuine concern shone across her face as Anna turned to ice.  Izzy hands clasped over her mouth exhaling a sharp gasp.  Urgently she clinged to Angi, pleading "But Mommy, they GOT to save her!"  as  Elsa flung herself over the rigged form of Anna, her love (and Anna's self sacrificing "Act of true love") began to melt her frozen heart.  We urged Izzy to watch the film, as the warmth spread from Anna's heart and began to melt the ice, revealing a revived Anna, Izzy pumped her fists, jumped up and down, mouth wide open shouting "YES!" in glorious joy and relief. 
    Yes, Disney has definitely recaptured the lightning in a bottle.
    I love the revelation that a sisters love can be just as, if not more then, powerful then the need for a "man" to save them! There is no stronger message then this to give to my young daughters!
    And for a REAL good laugh watch the special features at the end of the flick, specifically the "Making of Frozen" short!  HILL-AIR-EE-OSSS!!!!
    In conclusion, if you haven't seen it, get it!
    Thanks to all yesterday for coming into pick up your repairs, I can now loosen my belt a little as it is easier to walk trough the shop!  Sent a few to new homes yesterday and managed to put out a couple more!  With a real nice tandem in my rack as we speak!
    For now, I'd best get at it, heavy chores to do!
    See ya soon!
    ONLY $125.00!!

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    With or Without Raisins?

    My brain feels like freaking tapioca!  Yes, it's that time of month again! No, not that time of month, it's the time of the month when we give away money to the State of Florida for the pleasure of further compromising my sanity and impeding my already tenuous grasp on reality! Yes, it's that moment when I take the 7% each and everyone pays when they purchase something and hand it over to the faceless robber barons to, presumably line some enormous mattress or perhaps pay for "corporate outings" at one of Tampa's many fine  "Gentleman's Club's"!  Oh I would rather flatten my "wedding tackle" at the kitchen table with a ball peen hammer each morning for breakfast, then have to deal with these disorganized, bureaucratic numbskull's!  Now, at this point some of you may be asking "didn't we have to hear this already?!"  Well, yes, but each time,  just when you think it couldn't get anymore ridiculous, they throw in  new twists to make your mind become akin to a Salvador Dali print! 
    After last months fiasco with trying to pay our taxes, I opted to sign up for E-File.  Everything done on the computer, no fuss no muss!  Or so I thought.  Turned out they had ample fuss with a hearty side dish of muss!  Once enrolled, they gave me a print out of all the info and "code numbers" I would need to make the payments.  Then, in traditional redundancy, they mailed me similar information but in the form of a three page script, presumably as to what the automated service would say and questions they ask when you called.  In the script were blank lines where one enters in the variety of codes.  OK, simple enough. 
    heh, heh... or so I thought.
    Once it came time to pay the taxes this month, I called the number on the form and entered into a pre-recorded mire.  About half way through the three pages I hit a roadblock.  Seems one number, in particular, was incorrect.  The number they sent me.  After three tries, I gave up the ghost and called the "helpline"
    heh,heh....Apparently "help line" translates into "hold on while I transfer you"!
    Three separate numbers, five transfers and several scratched heads later, I ended up talking to an intelligent, well informed and pleasant woman who surprisingly knew exactly what the problem was!  I got a huge laugh out of her when I exclaimed " WOW!  you are intelligent, polite and well organized, why the hell are you working there!?"
    She explained to me that the script they sent was for telephone payments.  The first three codes are the same for both telephone and online but the remainder are for complete filings online!  Three clicks later and I was right where I needed to be!
    The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity, sending home at least seven babies to new families.  And the building ha not abated, even though some of the new rides we are working on are proving to be bears!  After the repairs were done yesterday we were only able to get one out (sad face) a men's 26" dual shock "DAILY BANGER SPECIAL!!"  We got several more in trade yesterday, even though two had to just be parted out. 
    So with that, I'd best get cracking!
    See ya soon!

    ONLY $80.00!!

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Sign of the Times

    So, Ok, anyone following this blog will know that a few months back I broke down from the families incessant hinting towards the benefit of cable and signed up.  For those of you just tuning into the Blog, " A few months back I broke down from the families incessant hinting towards the benefit of cable and signed up."  So now we are all caught up.
    Personally I don't watch much of it.  2000 channels and 99% of it is crap.  If I ever do plop down it's to watch documentaries or "true crime" and forensic shows.  (the two series I do currently watch with Angi, we do so on Hulu).  So with that in mind you will hopefully forgive me if what I am about to talk about may be "old news" to some of you.  As we were watching "Forensic Files" last night, the commercial brake was coming on and before I tuned it out I noticed something heart warming!  The opening shot of a "Honey Maid" (known for snack foods)commercial was two men playing with an infant and they were clearly not beer buddies changing a diaper during halftime!  The commercial, running under the tag line "No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will", goes on to show an interracial couple with children, and a family fathered by a tattoo covered gent, looking fresh out of a Thrash Metal band, gleefully playing with his wife and cute little girl. 
    The connotations of the commercial are blatant and brilliantly portrayed!  in a scant 32 seconds you enter the lives of families, while not the iconic image of what a family is supposed to be, are clearly loving, well adjusted and wholesome.  THAT'S the point.  Oh sure, the makers of this product in conjunction with their advertisers are profiting from the shifting demographics of many of our countries family types.  But that's what advertisers do!  More importantly, for an inter-national company to look at the shifting landscape and make the bold choice of recognizing that change, in a national ad campaign, AND tagging it with the word "wholesome"?!  They are my heroes!  They know how the American mind works.  When watching an ad, we half listen. Our mind strives to tune out the words, and only processes half the images.  Like with any good story you have to make the first paragraph the reader reads have punch.  SO they opted to show a tender image of two gay men caring for an infant, then as your mind begins to process that image, they put in the tag line with a vocal emphasis on the word "wholesome".  Your mind cannot help but cross reference the image of two gay men caring for a baby as "wholesome"!  BRILLIANT!  I applaud this company (and sadly such social conscience is so scarce in companies nowadays) for their brave attempt to make the Heartland and bible belt possibly rethink their theology the next time they are toasting "S'mores" on their next camp out.  All I know is the next time Angi and I go shopping we will (as I stood up and exclaimed while applauding the commercial the first time I saw it) buy as much "Honey Maid" products as we need!
    America needs more of this.  As supporters of gay rights, gay marriage and the right for gays to adopt (are you LISTENING FLORIDA!!!!) Angi and I were pleasantly amazed by this recognition.  I say "recognition" because I have ALLWAYS hated the term "acceptance".   It's a lot like saying "I except that a frog is an amphibian"  How do you "Accept" something that nature created?  They just "are". it's a shame you have to get the majority of the population to "recognize" what is! 
    I grew up in the 70's and 80's when homosexuality was a taboo subject portrayed only occasionally in traditional superficial "flaming" stereotypes for comedic relief.  Yes there still is some of that around but slowly a balance is being achieved.  With the advances that have been made in a few of our states legalizing marriage, it's only a matter of time. 
    Sorry, have to cut this short.  Has been getting real busy this morn and I gotta get at it!
    See ya soon!
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    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    The lone, mornful cry of a solitary raven...

    Yesterday was as quiet as a....


    From the first few moments of opening up the skies did the same and we were cursed with torrential rains all bloody day!  I cannot blame anyone for not coming in, it was HARSH!  And of course with the weather reports shouting out hurricanes and tornado warnings, that didn't help.  I did however use the time wisely (short of briefly reading a few pages of one of the Mickey Spillane detective novels I got in the mail via E-Bay) to get caught up on all our repairs as well as put out two new beauties.  And what gems they are!  The first is a Schwinn Range "Cross".  Now don't get all "Ewwww! Wal-Mart Schwinn!?"  This is a way before Wal-Mart, quality Schwinn Hybrid, or "Cross".  A Cross is that which predates the hybrid.  But this one, while a classic, is still in excellent shape.  Well...NOW it is!  Also, and this one was the biggest surprise of the day, A Trek 730 Multi-Track hybrid.  When I picked it up, I did so thinking I was going to part it out for the wheel set as the body looked SO rough!  All the...everything, was frozen up with rust, and it was covered in such filth that it appeared as if the body was rusted and scratched as well.  Fortuitously though, As I picked it up I had some rusticate and grease on my hand. When I placed it in the rack to perform it's striptease, I realized my cleaner soaked hand had removed a small layer of filth revealing a perfectly preserved paint finish!  Now with the shimmering dawn of hope, I quickly removed its parts and commenced to clean.  With what turned out to be very little effort, I uncovered an almost FLAWLESS original metallic emerald green paint job!  Also, as the majority of the components were alloy, they cleaned up perfectly as well.  Well, almost.  I did have to change out the headset and a few more minor pieces, plus all new cables, tubes and tires but in the end, we came away with one of the best looking classic Trek hybrids I have seen in a LONG time!! 
    Not resting on our laurels, we have several more goodies to work on!  
    Today, thankfully, looks to be cloud free and very sunny, so there is absolutely NO reason why everyone cannot come out and play!
    GAME ON!
    See ya soon!

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    Monday, March 17, 2014

    You Don' Know Jack?

    Well, let me introduce you! 
    Yesterday afternoon whilst we were waiting for the barbecue meat to marinate, Angi and I took the kiddos to the neighborhood park to burn off the sugar they consumed at their "Saint Patty's Day" donut breakfast.  Yes, as much as I like to cook, the amount of time I spent in the kitchen on Sundays preparing both brunch and dinner was getting to be a little to much.  So if I'm doing a big dinner spread, easy breakfast!  As per usual, there is always a grump in the lot when we go.  This time it was Kaleb's turn.  He doesn't have just a stick up his patoot, he has an entire, industrial sized lumber yard wedged up there!  The whole testosterone fueled "everyone is against me" schtick is getting SO old!  I have to give my lovely "Irish" wife a HUGE helping of kudos for NOT taking a 2 X 4 to him!  Lately, almost every word oozing out of his mouth is drenched in vitriol, riddled with disrespect and wreaking of contempt! His justification?  He is on restrictions because he's failing almost every class, and we have the audacity to expect him to perform (in conjunction with Logan) his nightly chore of the dishes and laundry.  OH MY!  How insidiously evil of us!! To think we are so cruel as to expect him to interrupt his afternoon nap before dinner to help out!
    Sorry, got off on a tangent there!
    As we were walking home from the park, Owen, with his keen eye and affinity for nature noticed something on the other side of the street.  A small little critter writhing about on the sidewalk.  He quickly alerted me and I found it to be about 3 inches long, no bigger then my thumb, but with great effort, fighting for life.  It took a few minuets to realize it was a newborn rabbit!  Owen gets his empathy for animals from his dad as we gingerly scooped him up and carried him home.  A little research later and we figured out what he needed to eat (kitten milk with a pinch of ascedopolous) made him a up a make shift cage out of receiving blankets, sheets and a laundry basket.  We had no heating pad, but Angela came up with the idea for a "rice sock" heated up in the microwave.  He took to the syringe feeding very well, and once I got it in his mouth (big front teeth) he went through his evening and morning feed right quick!  I did, however, realize I had two limitations.  The information on wild rabbits is varying and contradictory.  Baby rabbit need help pooping.  You have to stroke them from under the front legs past their bottom to induce a bowel movement, but some say you have to do it from birth, others say they don't defecate from day one, but rather just urinate, but not knowing how old he is (although his eyes were not yet open so he was definitely less then ten days) I didn't know when to expect him to go, and didn't want to risk hurting him.  Also, he is a wild rabbit and once old enough, needed to be released back into the wild.  That's where I would have a real problem!  I know me.  I would definitely grow attached to him (heck, I already named him) and would, against natures better judgment, want to domesticate him.  And that should not be done.  So it was with a great deal of reluctance that I did some calling today and got in touch with the ASPCA and the Avian and Veterinarian Hospital in Pineallas Park.  They came and picked him up today.  He will get a full check up then be released to the care of a trained wildlife rehabilitation expert and hopefully have a fighting chance.  I have high hopes as he is a fighter, hence why I named him Jack. Jack for Jack rabbit, but also because Jack Murdock was the father of Matt Murdock, aka: The Daredevil and Jack was an ex-prizefighter.  Not to mention the way this little guy climbed over all the blankets to get to the rice sock, he was definitely a bit of a Daredevil!  So now, I have the un-envious task of explaining to Owen why I had to send him away. 
    Back to reality!
    Saturday was a brisk day of repairs but managed to send two to new homes.  We were able to get two new ones out, but both of them were sold while they were still in the rack so that really didn't fill any holes!  Have no fear, though, as we also managed to score several newbies as well!  And a couple are some (soon to be) nice hybrids!  Can't get enough of them!
    So without further adieu, I'd best get at it!
    See ya soon!

    God speed little guy!  Our prayers go with you!

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Let Me Show You My Selected Briefs....

    OK.  Yesterday was a series of fits and starts resulting in very little actually getting built. 
    Mind you, the distractions were welcome ones, as we had many new folk discovering us with nothing but nice things to say as friends and relatives had referred them.  Sent three rides to new homes, and picked up several more to play with!  One of which has already sold while still on the rack!  That, coupled with the slew of new repairs and I have my work cut out for me today!  SO I will keep this brief!
    Last night was movie night.  With very few to pick from that we haven't seen ("Frozen" doesn't come out until next week) we opted for "After Earth".  Mind you, I am a Will Smith fan, and think his acting chops have only improved with age.  Epitomized in "The Pursuit of Happyness", however his penchant for promoting his son?  Enh.  I hope the kid keeps working at it, but I have to be honest when I say I think he overdoes it a little.  The movie itself is a 2 out of 5 star movie.  Many critics panned it, predominately for similar reason I would, but I couldn't be that harsh on it.  M Knight Shyamalan's directing gave it an intriguing pace. filled with a lot of traditional sentiment, while at times rudimentary and predictable,  did have tension mounting moments.  My biggest problem with it (and many Sci FI movies to date) is the obvious lack of thought given to the science part with  more emphasis on the fiction!  With the ever evolving abilities of special effects, the basic thought is "if you can think it up we can present it".  So more "WOW" over doing the previous.  Truly, the only movie I have seen in years that got the science "dead on" was "Gravity". OH boy!  Check that gem out, but don't forget your Dramamine!  "After Earth" gave more thought to the genesis of the set design (a combination of interactive technology and organic textures) then the adversaries!  SPOILER ALERT.  in short.  A thousand years before. man had effectively made Earth uninhabitable (global warming) and survivors fled the surface to a new world.  Turns out, there was an alien race on that world and sought to destroy humanity.  Now here's the rub!  They did so by unleashing hordes of genetically engineered monsters to hunt down and destroy humans.   OK, so here we go with the mindless killing machines, again.  Would that really be an effective weapon?  But that's not the biggest "????".  These creatures are blind.  Bred that way.  They seek out humans by sniffing out their pheromones.  Again....Why? Would breeding a monster with an inherent handicap be very wise?  Some dinosaurs had incredible olfactory senses but they could still see when they got to the prey!  Now I'm not a maniacal genius or anything but if I were an alien race looking to destroy humanity and I had advanced bioengineering capabilities, I think I'd visit accounting, check the books on "Material acquisition" and say to myself "WOW!  Just the raw biomass required to make ALL these HUGE monsters is astronomical.  Perhaps, we catch us a human, do some diagnostics and find out just how frail these little guys are , then develop a bio toxin to quickly and effectively spread the virus and wipe them out.  Yea, I know, no "Spielbergean" moment of graphic "WOW!"  but a much more effective way to do the job!   Anyway, with only a few small moments of "Icky" this is a good film to watch with the family!
    Allright, now I am getting busy so I gotta 'git!
    See ya soon!

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    The Forbidden Planet!

    What a classic!
    Last night Angi finally gave in and opted to humor me.  As we were having our usual evening of hanging out at the dinner table after the kids were tucked up in bed and the boys and I were done having our regular nightly game of Magic, I convinced Angi into coming into our bedroom and settling down.  Having tried to get her interested several times before, she actually suggested it!  I realize she was doing so to humor me, because she realizes I enjoy the old school crudeness of it, and even though she was willing to give it a shot (I've tried several times recently, but couldn't convince her) she still seemed resistant.  But,  I put it in and after a while she seemed to relax and even stared to get into.   Let's face it, all the new fangled productions are flashy and a lot of fun, but there is just something very appealing about the raw almost primeval enjoyment of  it!  Guy's if your into that sort of thing, for your next date night I strongly suggest you locate it and convince your significant other to give it a shot!  You will NOT be disappointed!
    So ON TO WORK!
    Thanks to several folks who came in and picked up their repairs!  Once again it was starting to get tight in here!  But now we got room to breathe!  Put out another three!  Yea, I know, not to many but one of them is an old school Panasonic road bike that needed A LOT of TLC!  But "Golly Bob HOWDY!" does she look sexy!  Also, another "Daily Banger Special!"  in the form of a sweet 26" dual shock MTB!  And topped it off with a real cute 16" boys Schwinn. 
    Today, we have the newest batch of repairs then once we bang through them already have the new builds lined up!  Starting to put a real dent in "Bone Row"!
    So without further adieu, I'd best get at it.
    See ya soon!

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    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Manners Matters

    OK, I'll fess up.  I am as guilty as the next man for falling prey to stereotyping.  The other day we had a gent come in, said our hello's and he went about browsing.  My first impression, given his "hip" attire was that he was perhaps a man of the "street".  No, not homeless, more "hip hop".  As I was conversing with another customer at the time,  I gave him acknowledgement, then I went back to my other customer.  Once that was completed, I asked him if there was anything I could do for him.  At this point he shattered my preconceived notions, as he spoke the "King's English" very clear with no hint of slang.  As it turns out, he had come in with a repair request, but as he recognized I was with another customer, he patiently waited his turn.  He went out, retrieved his ride, and began walking me through the perceived issues.  As we were talking another gentleman walked in.  He was dressed very sharply, with dress shirt, tie and slacks, clean cut, neatly shaved,  very business like....and just started talking.  No excuse me, no preamble or greeting, just matter of fact "pay attention to me....NOW!  The first gentleman took one step back, smiling a patient smile but it barely hid his disapproving annoyance.  Once I answered the second gentleman's abrupt inquiry he left with not so much as a good day.  I tuned back to the other gent shaking my head, only to notice that he was doing the same,  "it's sad what is happening to the world today" was his response.  I agreed and then he added that he had been in the hotel service industry for some years, and has noticed how quickly manners, etiquette and conversation have diminished.  Again, I could not agree more.  Quite frankly, I exclaimed, I blame the creation of our new forms of communication.  Most folks communicate more with computers and cell phones then with a confab over coffee!  And when you are constantly texting, everything becomes abbreviated.  Sadly I think that has bled into the way we talk in person.  Hardly anyone says please, thank you or may I anymore.  Everything is matter of fact and to the point.  You don't have to "wait your turn" or be patient when you are texting someone, so why do it in person! 
    Yes, I do utilize texting, but as my wife will often comment, I am "wordy" when I do so.  Even worse, is that she cannot receive some of them because they are too long.  That's because I hardly ever use abbreviation or "acronyms"  (although from time to time I will use LOL or ROFLMAO).  I give it ten years until grade school curriculum will mandate that each child takes a semester of "language and communication skills" to combat this epidemic! 
    ANYWHO!  There was really no point to all that, just making conversation!
    ON TO WORK!!
    We did manage to put out two yesterday but I will not bother you with the particulars because they sold even before I could get a pic of them!  I have one almost done, in my rack, that is turning out to be quite a looker!  She's a "Big Boy" Panasonic DX2000 road bike and is in BEAUTIFUL condition, and she has some of the prettiest Shimano 600 components I have seen! 
    Once that is done, it's back to the repairs and get them taken care of, as I picked up a lot more goodies yesterday I want to get out!
    So without further ado, On to the show!

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Stella Got His Groove Back!

    Things was ah swingin' yesterday!
    First thing in the AM we got real busy with several looky loo's.  We sent a ride home early, a few repairs and phone inquiries.  Then about eleven things quieted down and I got to ah grooving on builds!  Had one of our regulars drop off a bike donations, saying it was just a little to heavy for him, perhaps I could use it for parts.  He was quite shocked when I gave him a big thank you, and informed him the bike was worth the effort to fix up.  He is a wee it of a collector, and has about 12 bikes to his name, but the majority of them are higher end.  This ride was a Huffy MTB, so he thought it had little value.  Oh Nay, Nay!  Everything has value, especially a relatively inexpensive mode of transportation in this day and age!  So we did her up, lickety split and sent it to a new home about an hour later!   All in all we put out six new rides yesterday!  WA-HOO!!  And got more that need a doin' today!
    At the tail end of the day (literally t-ten and counting) we got slammed!  Oh I love those times where I gotta make these old bones shimmy!  Had two young ladies come in, fresh in from Ohio setting up a new life.  Once they realized the convenience of using the Pinellas trail in getting to and from work and home, they opted to do it "Bikah style!" and leave the gas guzzler at home!  Welcome to the "Cool Kids Club!"  They grabbed the ladies 26" Roadmaster and 26" Trek, respectfully.  While they were road testing, we had three repairs come in of the "we need them right now" type.  Sure, no problem!  They were minor tweaks and tube changes to get them back on the road.  While all that was going on, another very nice lady came in and patiently waited her turn for service.  That's one thing I have to say, with all conviction, we are fortunate to have some of the nicest folks come in here!  Rarely do we get an individual in here that is impatient.  Rather, they recognize that for the most part I am here alone and they diligently wait their turn!  Whence it was her time in the spotlight she had already made up her mind and grabbed one of the new MTB's I had just put out!  WOOF!  That was a  hectic 20 minuets!  Thanks to my loving and understanding wife for not being to peeved at me for getting home late. 
    Before it gets to late, I need to get at it and get some more newbies out, not to mention the slew of repairs we have already accumulated this morning!
    See ya soon!
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