Monday, October 31, 2005

Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!! Happy Halloween!

A bunch of things went wrong today, actually, starting with an early-morning social blunder so painful that I can't even talk about it, promptly followed by me tripping up a flight of stairs and accidentally erasing two entire assignments from my digital image card. And due to my cold, I haven't had a good night's sleep in a week. Needless to say, I was entertaining thoughts of making an appointment with Freddie Kruger, just to put me out of my misery.

However, one thing I was happy about was this assignment:

Noah Kloor, 14, a student at Boulder High School, has been turning his family home into a haunted house since he was seven years old. This year's theme is the "Killer Karnival."

This kid was great. He hammed it up for my photos, but otherwise was totally mature, funny, enthusiastic, and smart. He was very entertaining to talk to... he made my day. I thought it was pretty damn cool that he owns a life-size Jason AND a smoke machine.

A Halloween staple around here is the Headless Horseman. He rides around this one neighborhood, scaring schoolkids and waving at passing motorists. Due to the craptastic day I was having, this picture is not what it could be. But at least you can see what he looks like.

Now I think I'll go home and go straight to bed before anything else screwy happens. ;-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Operation Was Successful!

I'm happy to report good news today: I'm feeling quite a bit better (knock on wood, but -- hooray!), and Zack fixed Spanky! My cyclocross bike, affectionately known to me as Spanky (I have a dorky habit of anthropomorphizing my bicycles), has suffered from a mysterious creaking/pinging sound for quite some time now. It eventually got loud enough to make me ride with an iPod, I'm sad to say. Now, Zack Vestal spent some time looking at various components, back in the day, and then gave up, saying it was probably the frame, but he didn't really seem to have time or inclination to look into it. (And I never quite wanted to take it to a bike shop, only to get charged a zillion dollars for labor while they wasted time looking at every damn component just to satisfy themselves that I knew what I was talking about when I said it's the frame.)

So: Zack P. took it upon himself to "beat the professional mechanic" in problem solving. Here he is inspecting the frame for hairline fractures (a VERY bad thing that had me worried):

After much flexing of the frame in every direction, he speculated that the riveted-on water bottle bosses were creaking against the frame. (The bosses are the holes in the frame that allow you to bolt on a water-bottle holder, or "cage" as they're called.) He used large amounts of every type of bike lube, grease and spray that I had in my toolbox, and after much wiping, jiggling and flipping the bike around, the sound was nearly gone. We stared at each other in elated disbelief, but then heard another ping as he torqued on the frame one more time. Ugh! But I was willing to guess that he was still right, and that it was just going to take time for the lube to penetrate the dry rivets. I took the bike outside and rode around, standing on the pedals in a big gear and applying as much torque as possible to the frame. No sound!!! I love it!! Zack is the man. My Spanky is a silent stealth machine once again.

Zack during our ride today:

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Okay, I'm Over It

I'm sick of being sick!! I got this cold last Sunday, and then for the past four nights, at 2am like clockwork, my sinuses fill up like Hooters on a Saturday night, and I'm awake the rest of the night because I can barely breathe. And I've had to drag myself to work every day, too. Now it's finally the weekend, and I feel like crap. Great!!
So I guess I'll call the Waaaaambulance and have it park in front of my house so I can just curl up in there permanently. :-)
Needless to say, Brad and I are not doing my lactate threshold test anytime soon. AND I'm missing out on yet another cool cyclocross race! Double drat!!

Well, to keep this post from being a pathetic whine fest, I'll include the last of my decent photos from the summer:

Jim Forslund, a local attorney, reads a book while waiting for a client in the Boulder County Justice Center on Thursday morning.

David Hackett, of San Diego, Calif., performs a move called a "rock and roll" at the Boulder Skatepark on Monday afternoon. Hackett, current World Champion Bank Slalom skater, came through town after competing in a national championship skateboard race in Breckenridge last week.

Amy Self, center, relaxes while midwife Elizabeth Moore, right, and Self's husband, Ed, left, paint her belly at Moore's office recently. When mothers-to-be reach 37 weeks in their pregnancies, Moore paints their bellies to celebrate the fact that they are far enough along to safely give birth at home.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yesterday's Stuff

Sometimes I really enjoy assignments like this. I can just mess around with light and try to make it as pretty as possible. But let's face it, what I liked even more is that they gave me the chocolate when I was done! I find that if I touch the food while "arranging it for the camera," they tend to give it to me afterwards. :-)

This Viognier from the Bookcliffs Vineyards pairs well with all-natural chocolates from the Belvedere Belgian Chocolate Shop in Boulder.

And then something completely different: the vigil for the 2,000 American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. Not to make fun of this event in any way, but I did find it slightly amusing that no one had the attention span to stay silent the whole time. People started talking, or leaving, or just getting fidgety. You know they were all thinking about what to make for dinner, or how their workday went, or some other thing. But I think it's just human nature that you can't totally relate to something unless it's happening to you directly. I was impressed that 350 people showed up, period.
This picture didn't run in the paper; I put it here so it will have an outlet.
I'm always wondering how much kids understand when they attend vigils like this.

Emerson Guy, 4, and Penny Guy, of Erie, participate in a candlelight vigil to mourn this week's tally of 2,000 American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. The vigil was one of many across the country.

I don't feel like I made a great photo at this event... the lighting conditions are so bad that it makes it hard, plus people are sometimes a bit uptight. Luckily these folks were nice to me. I feel like the Vigil Queen because I did one for the Katrina victims, too:

Charles Gilford, left, and Tynesha Matthews listen to the University of Colorado 's Umoja Gospel Choir during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of Hurricane Katrina at the University Memorial Center on Wednesday evening. Matthews had planned to attend Xavier University in New Orleans this fall. The event, held simultaneously with vigils at nine other universities, was organized by CU's Black Student Alliance and the Big XII Council on Black Student Government.

Plus all the other vigils I've attended throughout my ten years at the Daily Camera... but I can't complain. It's still a pretty interesting job!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lucky Shit!

Check this guy out. I literally turned green with envy when I saw this.
He basically spent the entire summer traveling and riding his bike in all the most beautiful places in the West. Grrr!

And for your visual entertainment, a few more photos from the paper that I shot this summer:

Olga Marble, left, and Paola Gonzalez, right, dance as part of the grand opening celebration of Ballet Folklorico Mexicano "Tixtlequita Consentida," Marble's dance studio in Lafayette. Marble, a Mexican immigrant, focuses on traditional Mexican dance and includes history and cultural lessons as well.

Boulder Police officer Mike Pease watches as Kathy Arnold smells a plant that looks remarkably like marijuana, which he picked out of a flower bed on the Pearl Street Mall.

That one's a favorite for me, because the circumstances were so weird and the cop was so funny. Basically, someone planted some seeds of "something" that really did look like pot in the tulip bed on the mall. Everyone that saw it was convinced it was the real deal, but the cop was skeptical, saying that marajiuana needs a more humid environment. And there are other plants that have a close resemblance to the hippie herb. He took the plants back to the cop shop for testing, but we never found out what they really were.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No Need to Pimp This Ride

My friend Clay Watson of Kustom Kar Audio did this amazing car stereo install into the Volkswagen Touareg driven by my friend Nick Martin, who runs the Trek Rocky Mountain Regional mountain bike racing team, of which Volkswagen and the stereo company JBL are sponsors. (whew, that was a mouthful, or eyeful, whatever). Everyone involved wanted pictures, so I got hired to shoot them. They might end up in a local cycling magazine called VeloNews, and perhaps in other car stereo magazines as well.

So to cut to the chase -- this thing THUMPS. No surprise. Nick is going to be one of those morons who can never hear fire engines and ambulances approaching.

And Clay took out the spare tire to install this thing, so I guess if Nick gets a flat, he'll have some great tunes while he waits for AAA.

Here's the happy team, just waiting to bang their heads.

My Brother Rocks.

I have to just add this today, because it cracked me up:

My poor brother Joe hurt his back, and he called me for advice. He added, for those of you who know the reference, "If I whine about this any more, Michelle will dump me for a younger guy!"

Hope you heal fast, Joey! Thanks for the chuckle. :-)

Giraffe Takes Over Boulder

I took an easy ride this morning to enjoy the nice weather, since I'm working nights this week. I had to stop and snap a photo of the giraffe at the Gateway Fun Park, because a couple of months ago, they called the paper and thought we should do a little story about this thing. They tried to talk it up, how awesome it is, how much kids love it, blah blah blah. They tried to make it sound like it was freaking out passing motorists. But really, it's pretty boring. It's sunk into some concrete, and it just sits there. It would be way better if it's head dipped down into one of the miniature golf holes and ate your ball. I mean, it looks kind of evil, doesn't it?

Then I took a loop through the Holiday neighborhood, so named because it's built on the site of the old Holiday Drive-In. I really want to live here, and there are quite a few permanently-affordable units throughout the neighborhood. I need to get busy looking into it!

Monday, October 24, 2005

If you need some online entertainment

this site is very amusing.

Another Banner Summer in the Life of Marty

Well, what a summer I had! It's a good thing I like change, because I got dished up a big heaping plate.

To recap:

I got dumped out of the blue by this guy:

After hurting my back really badly I managed to make a decent comeback at the Winter Park race series, placing 4th:

I spent an awesome weekend in Crested Butte and a week in Moab with this guy:

Although I was too dumb to shoot my own photo, I actually went on a couple of rides with this famous guy:

Andy Hampsten

And although it was a time of low motivation work wise, I managed to shoot a couple of decent photos:

Sean Knight, left, and Loren Schuessler high-five with their drumsticks while perfecting their marching technique during the first practice of the University of Colorado's Golden Buffalo Marching Band.

Cooper Knight, 8, works with speech therapist Dan McLellan at the Knight home in Niwot. Cooper's mother, Ali, believes that one of the factors leading to the boy's autism was the MMR vaccine he received at 18 months.

Casey Craig, who runs the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center with his father, Pat, gets a look from a curious black bear on Thursday afternoon. The center, located near Hudson, Colo., takes in bears that became nuisances near urban areas, as well as those from circuses or those bought as pets.

*** *** ***

Now I'm living in a groovy new place with a very cool roommate, a CU grad student named Jeanette McQuade, and I'm doing some cyclocross racing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this strange sport, it looks like this:

This guy is my teammate, Peter Schaffer. (I didn't take the picture!!)
It involves riding a dirt circuit that has periodic barriers, either man-made, like this, or natural, where you are forced to get off the bike and run. It's often described as steeplechase for bikes. It's a blast!! I've been really enjoying it, although this season has been a bit lame for me so far. In my first race, at the same location as this picture, I almost missed the start and had some issues with the sand packing up into my brakes, so I placed 8th (out of 17). In my second race, I was attacked by goathead thorns and after double-flatting, was forced to abandon. That was proof of my newbie status in this sport... everyone else had the sense to bring spare wheels and spare bikes. Okay, so now I know. ;) Then lastly, I couldn't race yesterday because I woke up with a raging sore throat and headache. Bummer. I went to watch for a bit, and it was a tough-looking race, with a lot of steep hills to run up and another sand pit, but everyone seemed to think it was a blast. Hopefully I will feel good enough by this weekend to race.

This Thursday my coach, Brad Seaman, and I plan to perform my lactate threshold test. This test determines my current fitness by establishing my heart rate at lactate threshold (LT). That threshold is the approximate limit where your body is producing lactic acid faster than it can be cleared from the blood, and sustaining exercise beyond this point is pretty difficult. So, once I have the heart rate for that threshold, it will determine the heart rates for the training I'll do all year long. (I think this is fascinating stuff. Maybe I should learn to be a coach!) So it's a pretty important test, and one that you sure can't study for. I know I've already lost some fitness since the end of the mountain bike season, but it's inevitable. Your body can't stay at top fitness all year round... it's just not possible.
Once this test is complete, I'll settle into focused training for next year. And the beauty of next year is that my team has a new title sponsor, Blue Sky Cycles out of Longmont. Great people!! I'm so glad we've got them... it should be a great year of races and events. Check them out at
Speaking of the team, I nominated myself for the race/volunteer coordinator position. This would be quite a lot of work... hopefully some folks will step up to help me! But the online voting is still under way -- with any luck, I'll lose the election. :-) Needless to say, I didn't vote for myself!!

Speaking of voting, I don't think I changed my address in time to vote this November. I'm kinda pissed at myself, because I think the local elections are almost more important to your daily life than the national ones. And there's this annoying, pot-smoking, Wal Mart-supporting nut-job running for city council. I really want to vote him out, but now I'm hosed. Rats.

Well, there's the update! I hope you all enjoy this blog. Please feel free to make comments... how riveting this blog is, how amazing my photos are, how hot I look in cycling clothes, etc.