11 Nov 2006

Nice rides this weekend.  Yesterday for Veteran's day at Dana Peak Park and today at BLORA.

Let me say BLORA has gone to pot.  Trails have branches hanging into riders' eyes and all the signage gone.  The way this place has fallen in the last 5 years is amazing.  I know who was steward out there; it was someone who no way had the time to put in the place.  Nor did the two stewards before him.  In fact the place has been in near constant decline since Joey Roper left the sport to take up disc golf.

Ft Hood--the great place--with a very large surrounding populace cannot seem to bring the riders together to gel a club and have a nice venue in which to ride.  It's a damn shame.  

I could probably close the place with a letter or two to the Directorate of Community Activities and the garrison commander's office.
But likely I will let it go--I am sure eventually BLORA ADMIN will realize it is time for the Trailblazers to die.  And that will be a sad day--but maybe better than going out there every so often and remembering the glory days; how that hurts.

Maybe tomorrow afternoon after checking some things at work I'll make it down to Austin and ride on the green belt some.

Oh, I had an altercation with horses on trailblazer land today; they do not belong.  And then a not so nice threaded forum exchange about the whole deal with local bike shops not doing much else for riders but selling bikes and the whole Trailblazer fiasco.  Makes me irate to say the least. 

4 Nov 2006

So I have my good computer back; in fact, all my stuff is out of long-term storage from when I retired from the Army.  The house is built and I mainly have my stuff put away and am getting settled in.  The 30th was my first night here in the new abode at Price at Young, south-side, Killeen, Texas.

The job has its ups and downs.  The pay is good but I am working my tail off--not hard labor mind you, but brain and management intensive---easily 55 hour weeks, out of town seminars, and at least some time on weekends required.  Well that's life as The manager of a large contract with 220+ employees that is expected to bring 300-500K revenue "sales" every 15 days.  75% of my labor pool is disabled in some way and that in itself presents even extra obstacles to overcome.  So what has that been doing for my cycling-?--I've been on the bike 4 times in recent memory (ugh-like in the last 2 months!)--once for the hotter than hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Texas, and once each at BLORA, Lake George Town and Dana Peak for mountain biking.  

Now that I am out of the depressing 2 bedroomer I'll be more motivated.  I have my fluid ops trainer now too.  I've actually felt asthmatic since my return from Hawaii.  It was really bad in Feb/Mar, then I caught a break--but with the advent of cooler weather, now I seem to be wheezing a lot and have burning sensations in my throat.  I even had a bad case of poison oak and cat scratch rash shortly after HH100 which I just recently got over.

So I'm a mess.  The trips to Baltimore, Nashville and DC have contributed to over eating.  Last I labored my fat arse to the scales it read 215.  Need to be below 185 to feel good.  I have pain under my last right side rib too like something's moving around all torn or pulled--not constant but still there. In Tysons Corner for my JWOD U seminar, I had for cuisine, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, and Vietnamise.  Now I'm back to the land of boring chain restaurants--maybe I'll dine in more often.

Someone has made voyage to Doha, Qatar.  There is a Ramada there-brand new, with  3 restaurants and a coffee shop.  The work must be hard and I imagine the pay and conditions for OFWs barely tolerable.  Prayers and many good thoughts for and toward this person.  It causes anxious times not knowing what's happening.

Do I like the house? yes--it is 2300 sq ft.  My bike room is small compared to what I had in Hawaii, but most everything else is bigger--home office, living room, master bed and bath especially.  And I have a garage--and best of all--it's mine--well the mortgage company really I guess.  All I know is soon I'm going to dig out a favorite DVD and crank the home theater. The grass still looks pretty much crap tho--I hope it comes around.

Finally I have HD on my HDTV.  I watched the Arkansas Razorbacks hang on and beat South Carolina tonight.  And congrats to my favorite team--the St Louis Cardinals!!  Oh, my home theater (well really the living room--I wished I did have a 4 to 5000 sq ft home) is the proud new owner of a D-Link media player.  All those albums I've been downloading for just a few bucks from allofmp3.com I can now stream to my main system.

Ok enough yabberty jabber I suppose.  Maybe I can post more often and have shorter more meaningful posts.  And an occasional picture. And gasp maybe even a story about getting out on a bike.


28 May 2006

Dang; it's been a long time.  I write this on a laptop from a small2 bedroom apt I have rented in Temple, TX.  Everything is in long-term storage in California; taking advantage of the year's free storage from the government until I am sure my new job is secure and thus look for a house.

So I work as a contractor on Fort Hood; we do dining facility cleaning services--and soon, food prep and management in some of them.  Challenging and I surmise it will keep me busy.  I started 8 May after a 2 month job search.  I also was selected for a prestigious MBA fellows job with the Department of Labor in Washington DC, but for a variety of reasons turned it down.  I was turned down by HEB a regional super grocer---I did really well during the interview---but I've been able to determine that in these times, for some unknown to me reason, interviewers do not like prospects that are sure of themselves.

I have not biked all that much.  Off the plane from Hawaii in Mid February I participated in a MTB marathon race in the Big Bend desert area in Terlingua, TX.  The plane had already made me sick--and it was cold.  I finished but really scared myself.  I short gasped air and had a rapid heartbeat all nite and still felt ill days later.  Just a week ago maybe I quit wheezing.  Docs on Fort Hood told me likely the plane was a trigger for me to develop exercise induced asthma. I have also done a bunch of road riding, mountain biked my home trails a handful of times, and met Dan--my biking bud from Hawaii--in Houston and we rode 2 famous Texas MTB ranches back to back.

This labor day weekend I have been pretty lazy.  I skipped the tour de temple rode ride yesterday and was disappointed when nobody showed for the weekly Sunday road ride today.  Friday after a short work day, I did go see X-Men and enjoyed it better than the 1st two in the series.  So one more day in the holiday--I think I will salvage it by going to Austin and riding Walnut creek, go to REI and see if I can get a bed rack for the company provided Colorado, maybe go to the LBS, and maybe to eat at Taco Cabana.

Someone emailed me a wonderful new picture the other day.  This Sunbeam was a highlight (THE highlight) of my last months in Kirkuk and I really miss.

Enough for now.  This Memorial Day let's just remember all the good times/people and look forward to good times to come.  Peace.  Out.

7 February 2006

It's with sadness I write this. See on the 13th when I leave here it will be just shy of a year when I made my last major move--the move back from Iraq to Hawaii.  That move was sad too as I left many friends behind, some and one in particular-very special.  And so it goes with this move--no, no one in the same sense of  loss as when I left my OFW friend in Iraq, but still there are 3 families I'll sorely miss--they just don't seem to make friends like this in the mainland.  So..

I have to bid adieu to my best biking and all around pal-Dan, and his wife Carol and Doggie, Pudge.  

And I must say so long to the next door town home neighbors--the Kims.  Dr Jonathon and his wife Annie and their kids Nathan and Noah always had their home open to us.  Jon hosted some great block parties and both he and Annie were great cooks.

Cecily and her hubby and kids, CJ and Ryan were awesome too.  CJ was my boy Michael's best friend and lived here when he wasn't made to be home.  

And then there is Katie and her parents.  Katie is 8 and loved to come visit Sally almost everyday.  

So the Army gig is up.  20 years.  I had my final out today and all is left before flying is the transition center.  The packers come tomorrow and the next day.  Everything is ready 4 them.  All that is left is to tear down this computer which I'll do in a minute.  The road bike is already at Ft Hood waiting. There is no job yet but some good prospective ones are about.

In 9 days I'll be riding my Stumpjumper mountain bike in Big Bend in the desert.  In two weeks I'll be in the Killeen/Ft Hood area to fine tune my job hunt..

So this will be my last post for a while..

..I'm really gunna miss my friends.

21 December 2005

Well a long time it has been since I last updated.  

The visit with Mom is going "OK"; I think everyone's going to be a survivor--ha ha!  

I have a job prospect at Ft Sill doing what I'm doing now but as a civilian--the posting just closed.  I really am praying I get selected.  Five years enlisted I was at Sill and enjoyed nearly all of it.  The cost of living and in particular the price of homes is very nice.

My final day in uniform is 10 February and I fly out of here Monday the 13th.  I will be driving from L.A. to the Central Texas area.  Over Presidents' Day weekend I will likely stop in the Big Bend area and participate in Texas Mountain Biking Racing Association's Mas O Menos Mt Bike Marathon race.  I was thinking about the 24 Hrs of Old Pueblo in Tucson, but the logistics and iffy ness of it and the fact that solo spots are essentially booked already as directed me to choose the Texas event.

Someone went to Singapore for a job and it didn't work out and returned home almost immediately (I don't think an official gov't recognized OFW agency was used) .  I just now heard she is home safe.   I feel bad for.. but happy to know...someday maybe.....
I just am so happy to have as a friend and is my very special friend even though outside of prayers and verbal support I cant help now...

Tomorrow I am going to the Polynesian Cultural Center with Sally, Michael, his friend CJ, and my Mom.  It's an all afternoon, evening event and should be well worth the 63 bucks military discounted admission per person.

Essentially I have quit working.  Oh I go in and show my face.  But really I am starting my final appointments etc now and soon after the holidays it will be time to ship the car and start packing up.  It's hard to believe my time in Hawaii---and in the Army--is up.

My road bike survived a crash a few days ago.  An inadvertent run in with the car garage because we were all busy yakking instead of thinking.  Luckily it had a carbon fiber seat post--so that snapped and likely saved the frame from damage.

Christmas is upon us.  I did not do as much shopping as usual.  I just wanna go on a ride or two and leave here and get re-situated somewhere.

Peace all and happy holidays and a very good new year.  

18 November 2005

Visit, retirement, 3 words, and yummy Chinese

I can't stand it when I hit the control key coz everything gets deleted...bah...

Anyway Mom is here to visit--til after New Years; I fervently pray we can keep nice that long-ha ha.

I was off work this week but work 3 days next week--I ought to find out if I leave here in mid February like I want, or they could make me stick around and "sell leave" and not retire til the end of April.  The 25th ID goes back to Iraq later this year and i dont wanna get caught up in that--last time was ok coz of certain reasons...

..speaking of which.. God will answer our prayers in His time and way.  Patience and prayers always for GA.

I have been helmet cam/DV taping my mountain and road bike rides lately.  And editing w/ Pinnacle Studio 9+; the file size is way to big to place on the Internet so I render to video TS and output to DVD to give to my best riding pals--it's fun and neat.

We took Mom and the neighbor boys to Dole Plantation today.  Then met the boys' Dad, Dr Kim, in Kapolei to eat Chinese dinner at a place he heard about from 1 of his patients. Ho Ho are some such name tucked into the shopping center w/ the old Jurrisons and Shaka Bikes.  OMG--I have not been fond of Chinese food here on the Island but this was awesome--everything was spiced up and very tasty,  plus the waiter used to be the area manager for the Filipino Golden Coin restaurant chain here on Oahu--so there was Filipino pork roast on the buffet too--simply geat!!  Highly recommended.

So I hope I remembered everything I had posted the 1st time.  Time to go get some sleep--leave at 730 AM for the Saturday road ride.


6 November 2005

I finally ate at Auntie Pastos today.  It was pretty good; you'll have to check my restaurant page to learn more.

The ride was very fast yesterday.  We had a bunch of youngsters join us; they all sported brand new Felts and had the legs of youngsters.  I hit 30 on the flats several times.  Despite a busted spoke my average speed was the best yet for an HBL club ride.  The Bikeshop fixed the spoke today, no problemo and gratis.

My mind is set I think.  It's no big mystery 3d BDE and Division HQ (for whom I work) will be back in Iraq July/August.  Rather than sell my vacation time, I think I'll just split early so I don't get caught in the stop move/loss that will be sure to come.  I think I can be outta here mid February.  Likely go to TX and conduct job search from there if I don't already have one lined up.  Of course plenty of mountain biking is going to occur too; I can hardly wait.  I'm mailing off an app to San Antonio based HEB tomorrow for their grocery store leader development program.  Most of my qualifications, experience and training lie in hospitality/food service; learning a different line of the food business would be exciting/challenging and acceptable.

I need to break out the miniDV cam and get some more footage.  My friend in PH is hankering for a homemade DVD...

Rented a locker--$4 a month at the army base gym.  Going to incorporate some treadmill work and spinning alongside my trainer and biking regimen.  Now maybe if I can slow down on calorie consumption I can get back down to 175/80--will be hard--ha ha.  Food too good.  I'm a master of the yoyo diet.

Til next time..behave.

30 October 2005

Well it's time to go back to work tomorrow.  I am sitting here typing away listening to Alice Cooper's latest release which is really quite good.

So over my week off from work I only managed 1 road ride, 1 mountain ride, and several times on the trainer.  But I did watch all the world series games, made a DVD about the 24 hour race, added a webpage to this site for the same race, and even updated my home theater website--the 1st I've done that in years.  I also watched Batman Forever and generally just took it easy. Started that Cussler novel, too--even that series is wearing thin; authors need to reinvigorate themselves every so often--right now I think perhaps Follet is the best at doing that--always some fresh story from him, although I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to Pillars of the Earth.

I'm already looking forward to mid-November when I'll take another week.

25 October 2005

Rainy days here on Oahu.  I did not ride Saturday--perhaps tomorrow I should ride somewhere--either on post or I've been wanting to take the Stumpy up to Timberlake Camp trails.

I've just been enjoying the week off futzing around the computer and watching the world series.  The White Sox went up 3 games to none on the Astros today after a 14 inning semi-marathon.

So I finished the DVD of the 24 Hr MTB race and I'll likely give the disc to my teammates.  Nothing fancy, not even a menu.  Just 23 minutes of trail set to music with some pix at the end and a very few transition effects. Music features an eclectic array indeed however--Gold Frapp ( a Belgium pop outfit), the Sex Machineguns (a Japanese metal outfit), Molly Hatchett, Wings, and Blink 152.

I updated my restaurant review page today, something I seem to be forever behind on.

I've been checking out some mt bike blogs--there's some entertaining reading out there.

Speaking of which--maybe I'll go start reading Cussler's Polar Shift now which I've been meaning to get to.  Yeah a nice hot soak and a read might be in order.


24 October 2005

The 24 Hour mountain bike race has been over for almost two weeks.  I have not made a special page but might sometime soon.  What I have accomplished is to edit down 1 hr and 3 min of video to 20 or so min--still too long for the "net", but add a few pics, some transitions, titles, and songs and it might make a good DVD to give to my teammates, Dan and Carol.  Slow work in progress too.

I'm just taking things at a slow leisurely pace lately.  Soon I will leave the Army and Hawaii and thus a lot of change and hectic times--so slow and lazy is the word now.  I am off next week though--so possibly I will do some computing.

I have decided to quit any Star Wars books written with a time setting later than the New Jedi Order series.  The newest series sucks ballz---more alien species and ho hum blah blah more of the same ole--the new story arcs are tired and worn out.

Honolulu is sucking too.  MTB scene is still terrible as far as much organized participation.  The Rock People Race at Kualoa next weekend has been cancelled because according to the sponsor since being announced two months ago only a few entries had been received.  As far as road biking--bad news in the offing there too.  Mayor Muffi Hanneman can't stand the heat.  The poor rich multi millionaire residents of Hawaii Kai, poor souls that they are, are inconvenienced by the tri events because they have trouble navigating their Escapades and Mercedes and whatnots around the inconsiderate bikers and runners on the occasional early weekend morning...Mr Mayor is talking of canceling the 2 tri events...

...time to move.  I  really wanna get back to Texas, but Colorado I guess would be ok too.

I have applied for a GS9/11 passport specialist job--I meet all the qualifications and think I should excel at most of the knowledge, skills and abilities mentioned as well.  I hope I get some good news in Dec/Jan timeframe.

On the other front I allude to every so often--no change there.  Someday.

26 September 2005

Short update.  The Hono Century yesterday was very successful, yet brutal--and oh yeah-fun.  You'll have to select the link to read about it.

I have the helmet cam; can't wait to try it out--less than 2 weeks until the 24 hour mountain bike race.  Yahoo!

Working in the Operations Center on Schofield is all right.  The hours really vary because all of us are retiring or getting out between now and Spring so we are always covering for each other.  But it's not too hard to be away providing no flights are coming in or anything serious coming down.  Friday morning we got a WARNO to send a lot of the Division ISO Katrina recovery ops.  Thankfully by afternoon, the Army had given forces command the task.

Everything else is OK--u all know me by now-- I always think things should be better--in many cases they could.

Let's leave with that mystery...shall we...

20 August 2005

So I am in a pretty good mood today.  I got to talk to somebody the other day that I haven't heard  from (by voice anyway)  in 6 months :-)  Thank you, God. For all our blessings.

Need a helmet cam to document some of my trail rides better--also another night lighting system before October since it looks like I might be doing this years 24 hour mountain bike event as a solo effort.  Ah-but money--especially when the money is managed by "wifey".  I hate to ask--I already get lots of stuff.

Yesterday I managed 3 laps and a half on my Kole-Kole pass loop on post.  I felt really good and I averaged almost 17MPH on this hilly route.  Today, on the HBL club ride, we put in our usual 30 miler, but again I felt like blazing-and averaged well over 17---while not my race pace by any means, these are rather quick times for solo efforts and club rides.  I have not suffered leg cramps since I have started taking a daily potassium supplement; I think I'll head to the health food store and get some of the locally made product, Lava Salts, before the late summer/early fall endurance and racing season starts.  I think I'll go back out tomorrow for a 50 miler another group is doing--leaving Waipahu and going to Yokahama Bay and back.  Maybe I'll recover Monday as I'm off that one last day before...

...before I report to my new Army Company, Headquarters, 25th Infantry.  Since I submitted retirement and refused several more years with my current unit (the new Stryker unit), this is how I am treated.  Well hopefully I will retire on/about 1 May as planned.  I just hate to think I might have a weird work schedule now because the duty is in the Emergency Operations Center--no telling what they have in mind for me to do.  Oh, well.

In the meantime everyone wish me a happy job hunt.  I finished the Army Career Alumni Workshop and am starting to send out "feelers"---I really want to get one of the leadership development rotation programs that a lot of companies are hiring new college grads for.  My MBA will still be pretty current when I get out of the Army--so hopefully.  I'm thinking BAE Systems, Border Group (could be perfect--I like books), or even Wal-Mart.

I have added five more places to my Hawaii restaurant reviews page.  This at the suggestion of MTBR member -Chip, who was checking my page and noted I hadn't mentioned the best burger place on the Island.

I'm sure there are tons of stuff I'd like to talk about , but that would bore you my dear readers so 4 now..


31 July 2005

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=119032  is the link to the short track MTB cross country race I participated in today here on Oahu.  Many pictures and write-up; check it out.  The race was loads of fun and immensely enjoying.

I submitted my "retire from the Army" paperwork!!!  The Colonel has signed off on it as well as the CW4 up in Alexandria.  Now several CW5s and the one star in charge of Human Resources Command has to say ok.  Keeping my fingers crossed--and starting to look for a job in Texas.  I will be available in May, 2006.

Have been working on an Oahu restaurant review page to add as a link to this web.  Maybe I'll post it up with the next update.

Hi G.A. in PH if you ever get to check this page--thx for keeping in touch.  Hope you and your family are well.

Well that's about it--I'm fat, lazy--yet busy--and behind on stuff.  I need to put it in high gear--I have 3 novels awaiting a read--and want to finish some free online courses in lean manufacturing, sigma six, and the supply chain before I depart the service of uncle Sam.

"Out" for a few.

16 July 2005

Well it's been a while since I've updated; lot's happening.

First off a friend of mine has left Iraq to return home and seek  work elsewhere.  Very many prayers for this person.

Also good luck to Devin Oishi, a good friend that cycles with me, who has left to spend at least a year in Colorado to take some graduate courses.

Lynyrd Skynyrd really rocked Bayfest on the 4th.  It's been aeons since I've even been to a concert, let alone one packed with people like that.   Crazy.

On the 2d I played host to an out of town mountain biker from Sacramento; zon who posts on mountainbikereview.com
I took him on a 3 trail epic and we made an entire day of it.  Zon posted the story and pics on MTBR; I'll leave you to do the search. I lost my cool planetbike protoge 9.0 bike computer; must have slid from it's bracket whilst navigating under one of the many felled trees on the Maunawili.  A new one is on order--Performancebike---"ground ups" shipping to HI like takes forever.  Hopefully it will arrive well before the mountain bike shorttrack cross country race on the 31st.

Our Brigade moved back to the location we were in before Iraq.  The building was remodeled while we were away.  I have a huge air conditioned office.  Not sure how long though.  I did not elect to "stay Stryker" so a new person is here and I will be "excess".
I might find myself with orders to the mainland before too many months are up.  I am going to submit my retirement paperwork within a week or two.  But if I get orders likely I will have to serve a year in the mainland---hopefully I will get lucky and not be with a unit going to Iraq or Afghanny.  

So tough times ahead---but life is grand and sure fun filled and exciting.

I missed two weekends on the road bike.  I caught some discomfort down there--heat rash or fungus--yuck--anyway it is about healed up.  I did get in a fast paced 30 mile ride today with the "Heavy Breathers" with pasta at our favorite Italiano place after.  Tomorrow I might do a ride that leaves Waipahu at 0730 and goes up to post and beyond before returning.

So I saw the new Batman and it was awesome.  Also picked up Million Dollar Baby on DVD but haven't watched yet.  It po's me I read a movie review on an entirely different movie, and the damn reviewer let out the fact that the female boxer in MDBaby dies.  Major spoiler---and bummer.  Now I'm not in a hurry to watch it.

What else?  Probably a lot but I'm tired and morning will come quickly if I wanna ride again.

Oh--way to go Lance.  14 stages of the TDF done and Lance well on his way to win yet again!

Someone called me skinny in one of my biking pics.  LOL.  I wished.  I've yoyo'd back up to 200 pounds I'll bet.
The new hershey chocolate bars--the limited edition ones--are no help at all.


10 June 2005

So the road race, my first attempt at such an endeavor, was today down at sunny Barber's Point Air Station.  You can read about it by selecting the link.

My legs are burnt toast now. But I'm ready to ride again just maybe not in a public race that contains a bunch of teams that likely belonged in the US Cycling Federation categorized race.

Things in Iraq I still keep up with--It seems like a pretty dicey time started shortly after I left and it has only since improved just a little.  The military and the KBR contractors make nice money over there.  KBR managers between 80 and 140 thou depending on position.  Military--well I was right at 96 clear for the year.  What tees me off is the fine folks that KBR's subcontractors hire but then pay them squat.  We're talking maybe 800 a month for Indian cooks and 650 a month for the Filipina servers and even less for the dining room attendants.  What's worse, the Indian guys--some of them--don't treat the ladies with the respect and freedom they should have.  I hear via email and let's just say it incenses me.  I pray when certain contracts are up everyone makes it on to their next adventure in life, an adventure that is freely chosen whatever it turns out to be.






5 June 2005

What did I think of Sith?  Well, I liked it better than Phantom menace or AOTC, however there were scenes from Phantom (such as the Pod Race) that I thought were way more exciting than anything in Sith.  A solid 3 star movie and a good way to close out the Star Wars epic.

I watched the Star Wars bonus music from the movies DVD with Michael today while Sally was gone to the commisary.  A good review of the highlights from the movies.  Well done. Worth a buy.

So I signed up for a free MSN spaces web blog site.  I do not think I'll use it.  I like this method just as well as something pre-formatted.

Biking is going fine.  The roadie was in the shop for some minor adjustments last week.  I will have to take it back tomorrow.  Broken spoke today on the rear wheel; the mechanic must not have paid attention to tension last week when he trued it.

There is a race next Sunday at flat Barber's Point on the old Naval Air Station.  I was pre-riding the course today when the spoke snapped.  Tough headwind out there.  3.8 mile laps--8 of them for the race.  I didn't quite avg 20 MPH after 2 loops today before the spoke gave out.  20 MPH on the racing teams will get nearly a dead last placing.  I will be going off after the racer boys--maybe 19 or 20 won't be last!

We have a new Brigade Commander.  He is coming from a Ranger Regiment I think.  Anyway I can tell he's going to want the world--1 more reason to hurry up and get retirement paperwork ready I suppose.

I am pretty much in a funky blah mood lately.  I have not heard from Sunbeam since the 1st week in May; I do not know why--if I said something that got misunderstood--or if there is some trouble being given by coworkers in Kirkuk.  But I have nobody to blame but me--I have to live with decisions I made, no matter what fate brings--I'll pray for the best always though and try and make contact.

7 May 2005

Had one of those Saturdays when I just didn't wanna face anything; just stay in bed.  I blew off the road ride and did just that.  Usually when I do that I hate myself the rest of the weekend--but bah--today it just doesn't bother me--I guess I needed a break from everything.

I did get out for lunch at the Phuket Thai and had some wonderful lemongrass soup and shrimp fried rice.  And some Baskin Robbins afterwards for desert.

I am going through one of those periods of time where I haven't had any messages for a while and that always makes me anxious.  But as someone said it is because of me it is this way----and right now I'll take it this way than not at all.

Picked up a DV Elura camcorder the other day and popped in some more memory and a firewire card into the computer.  I took some footage at the DFAC during soul food meal prep the other day but haven't got up the motivation to try and capture and edit yet.  I need to make a DVD soon.

Michael has a few new buddies over for the night.  Tomorrow we go to the Hickam O club for Mothers' Day brunch.  I sent off an email wish for Moms' Day to GA in Kirkuk--hope she and everyone is OK over there.

The cat had her surgery yesterday and is fine.  Sally had her preop appt to repair a tear in her shoulder too.  That procedure is Monday and followup appointment down in Honolulu on Tuesday.

I am glad to see a lot of the critics like the new Star Wars movie.  I will probably not catch it the very first week.  It will probably be depressing to me.  I am a sucker that way and will hate to see Padme lost.

Need to get in gear.  I feel I am starting to yoyo for real to more weight---again.  I promised myself that wouldn't happen---I have to get disciplined ASAP again.

This is going to be a trying year or two.  I am about to pull the trigger and go ahead next month I think and submit retirement paperwork,  I hope I find a decent job in the mainland if I do get out around June 2006.  My dream would be a government GS 9-12 job in Texas or a job that pays 50K or above in TX or Arizona with weekends off.  I have more dreams which will remain secret to this web journal....

Til next time....do whatever makes you happy---and if you're not happy, start taking baby steps to change your scenario,

25 Apr 2005

This year's metric century road ride here on the north shore of Oahu is complete.  Yesterday's ride was a short 60ish miler that left a beach park in Haliewa traveling into a headwind to Swanzee beach park and returning to the Haliewa Market Place.  I rode strongly leaving at 0730 and by 0735 latching on to the main peloton .  These racer types were maintaining a pace ranging from 21 to 27 MPH in the head wind.  I let them "break away" at mile 10.  At the half way point I had maintained 19.2 MPH.

After a 10 minute stop to gobble a few bananas and swallow a few quick cups of diluted Gatorade, it was back in the saddle.  Several miles into the return I moved into a moderately moving pace line averaging 23 to 24 MPH.  I returned to the end point around 10:30 with a rolling tire time of 2 hrs 50 min and a final average speed of 20.6 MPH

All the old content on this journal I have moved onto a page at the link near the top of the page.

Well this will be short; I'm at work here on Schofield and am tired.  It has been a very good past week or so.  I've heard from my friend in Iraq, I've been on 4 bike rides to include two mountain bike ventures, and have kicked butt on an Army PT test.

So out for a while.

22 APR 2005

Wow, another 3 weeks gone by.  My MSG and I and our cooks re-opened the dining facility on Schofield Barracks this past week.  It is hard to believe we've been back from Iraq for 2 months.  This may sound strange but I really miss it.  And someone.  I read a post on a biking forum earlier today that stated if you meet someone and it is really good you'll remember it forever if it's only 15 minutes or a lengthy amount of time. That's how I feel about someone I met----I'll hope to meet again for the rest of my days--and maybe God will bless us someday and we really will be in each other's company again.

So the new stump jumper hit the dirt the last two days.  The ride report is at: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=95474,
as always I enjoy posting on mountainbike review.com.

Really I know these posts have been short, but all I can think about is biking, work, my family, my Iraq friend--not all in that order necessarily.  I have taught myself how to use Pinnacle Studio 9--a video editing software package.  I already can do neat slide shows with accompanying music on DVD.  Maybe eventually I'll get a DV camcorder and a lipstick helmet cam and make a biking vid.  No hurry though.  I'm just taking life mellow one day at a time.  The next year or two is going to be very interesting career wise--I can hardly wait to see how it turns out--will I stay in the Army, retire, move back to the mainland and where etc etc etc--going to be trying for a while when it all comes down fast and furious---may as well goof off, and enjoy things now while I can.

Ride hard.  Bye for another undefined length of God's glorious days.

29 MAR 2005

The trip to the big island was pretty nice; I have posted a report over on the mountain bike review site: go here: 

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=88908  just the short version---the XC riding on the big  Island is much much better!!

We got back Sunday around noon.  My step dad passed away after a lengthy illness Saturday afternoon.  We are not making the trip to MO for the service.  Mom will come here instead in a month or so and stay awhile.  He was such a great guy to everyone and will be missed immensely.

I watched Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1 on DVD with Michael yesterday.  Twas fairly good.  Can hardly wait until the end of May until the big movie comes out.

Well I'll close early.  Not feeling too forth going with the verbiage right now. Enjoying the block leave that Uncle Sam gave but I think it's time to get back in a routine.  

G.A. Here's some reds and yellows and blues.  :-)


21 MAR 2005

Sally had her MRI.  It showed a small tear in her shoulder.  She has opted for continued cortisone shots 2 to 3X a year for now rather than have surgery.  We had lunch between the appointments at the two separate medical centers.  The Golden Coin is a Filipino chain restaurant that I'd been wanting to try --oh just because--One might guess why. Let's just leave it at I got to taste Indian and Iraqi cooked food while I was away but did not sample any Filipino food.   It was tasty.  I would have a hard time describing what everything was but it was all satisfying.

Two Saturday's ago the road ride was rained out,  but this past Saturday us "heavy breathers" got to ride.  Afterwards the food at Brew Moon in the Ward Center was pretty good.  I had the spinach salad, stir fry vegies and an order of rice.  Still there are too many occasions happening that makes one eat more...

For example my neighbor Annie and Jonathan, an MD and a pharmacist, that lives next door had a big cookout and Easter egg hunt for their 3 year old son's birthday party yesterday.  Groan.  I am afraid to get on the scales.  Last time I did I was 2 pounds heavier than when I left Iraq and I'm just afraid I am going to be even another 2 pounds heavier.  

Well I have a plan.  Right after the big island trip I will go back to just covering the plate and no bad deserts or snacks---even if it means I have to throw away some food!! I want to get back to that 175 again and stay there!!

The bike shop in Aeia called saying the Stumpjumper was in.  I just got back from picking it up.  The hardtail is packed for the trip.  The new bike will have to wait for dirt til a lit later on!  It seems like the king cobra tray for the Yakima roof rack is going to hold the bike nicely.

The career manager emailed back.  I do not think he knows what is up here in Hawaii.  I will probably find out whether I'm staying here or going back to the mainland soon enough.  I just hope to stay out of Iraq.  I don't see me lucky enough getting a unit that would go back to Kirkuk and even if that did happen by some miracle I doubt if my friend would still be there by then.

Thanks G.A. for emailing when you can and remembering always those special times.   Hello to all my other friends at the Kirkuk Dining Facility.

More after my return.  Less than two weeks and I'll be back to work----groaaaaan!

4 Mar 2005

Well it seems like a lot has been happening; am managing to stay busy here on block leave.  The 4th of April will be my return to work full time.

The camera was ready today.  I will be very careful how the card is inserted after that big repair bill.  We checked out Keo's Thai in Waikiki; it was expensive and alright tasting-but nothing extraordinary! Sally got looked at by an orthopedic surgeon; she is scheduled for an MRI a week from Wednesday to see if she needs surgery or if it's just bad bursitis to live with.

The Big Island trip is booked for 22 through 27 March.

Tomorrow late afternoon I will be leaving for St.  Louis and come back on Friday.  My half sister who was a Sister died this morning of kidney and liver failure; she had been in poor health the last few years.  Burial and services are at the convent in O'Fallon, MO. While there I will visit Mom and my step dad who is in terribly failing health.  And I will check in on my pal Matthew and his wife Diane and their children, Kyle and Briana.  I so do not look forward to old age.

I am updating my Army records and emailed the top Army Food Advisor as well as the Quartermaster Warrant Officer Career Manager to see what my options are since I am nearing 19 years of service but the unit I am in is transitioning to a Stryker BDE and wants people who will be with them through 2008.  I have a feeling my Hawaii tour might be cut short and I will be returning to the mainland; we shall see.

Yesterday I ordered the bike--a full suspension 2005 Specialized Expert 100 Disc.  Likely 2 or 3 weeks until arrival.  In the afternoon I managed to ride 25 miles on post incorporating the Kole-Kole mountain pass twice.  On this hilly ride I averaged 17.2 MPH my best yet for that route.  I have been over 19 on fairly flatland.  I hit the trainer hard in Iraq so I will be curious to see what I can really do on some easy terrain on the road machine.  Tomorrow morning is the weekly Heavy Breathers Ride from Waikiki and up some of the eastern Shore.  I will join in before heading to the airport.

Early this week Dan and Devin and I finally got together for a mountain bike ride.  We did the ditch trail.  It was some awesome fun.  Dan and his wife Carol had just returned from a huge cycle trip in Tasmania, Australia.  I should see both of them on tomorrow's road ride.

Well this has turned out to be a lengthy update; there will likely not be another until I get back from Missouri.

Ride on.  G.A.--email me when you can. And remember always.

23 Feb 2005

The camera is in Canon USA of Honolulu---the damages will be 190$ US--egad!!--bent pins is why the rebel will not recognize the CF card. I won't get the cam back for about 2 weeks.

I have been posting on MTBR a lot; now it is time to catch up and post to bikemojo some.

My first biking was on the Trek7000 today attached to the fluid+ trainer.  I enjoyed an intense 1 hour workout.  Speaking of exercise, Sally and Devin and his acquaintance and their son Sean and a several of Devin's college buddies and I all got together and hiked to Manana Falls, a picturesque spot buried deep within a mountain range.  My boy Michael stayed at home. The last 3/4 mile was hiking at its best.  The reward was wonderful scenery, good friends and beneficial exercise.  We treated ourselves to Chili's in Mililani upon the finish.

So I am maintaining weight at 175, down from over 200 and as much as 187 still at New Years.  I am proud I figured out my key to weight loss and I am going to do my darndest to keep it working.  Went to the new super Wal-Mart and got a couple sized 32 waist shorts yesterday; haven't been in a 32 in years.  More like 34 and 36.  Oh--my key is to only cover the plate, eat nothing bad for dessert--only fruits---if still really hungry maybe a power harvest bar between meals--and exercise in moderation rather than 2 or more hours each day.

The only other thing I have been up to is organizing files on the computer and making everything just like I like.

It's to Schofield tomorrow through Saturday for half days to re-in process after the deployment.  Sunday is an off day and Monday and Tuesday ought to be light.  Then it's 30 days of leave.  I think I'll stop by MWR tomorrow and book a trip to the big Island for toward the end of March; Sally wants to see the volcano.  I do believe the lava is flowing.

Hello G.A. if you are reading this! Stay positive. :-)

More later,
Pete out

21 Feb 2005

The arrival back home yesterday was very nice.  The 26 hour trip was long but uneventful.

Today I got up around 0530 since I've been used to arising early in Kirkuk to get to the DFAC anyway.  After a small but nicely prepared homemade breakfast we went to Circuit City, a camera shop and the bike shop. At the bike shop I got tubes for both road and mountain bikes--and a new floor pump.  I inquired about the 05 Stumpie expert disc; they do not expect to take delivery until March/April--I will hold out. The rebel needs to go in to see why I cannot format the compact flash.  It will have to be Tuesday to the Canon repair center on Ward Ave.  I picked up the latest Cussler and Follet hardbacks and two latest Starwars hardbacks and a slew of cycling rags and a DVD etc mag at Borders of Waikele.  

For lunch we ate at the Japanese place in Pearl City where the prior road bike was destroyed earlier while I was on r and r.  I got the same yakitori combo.  Delicious.

Did I mention the last 45 days in Iraq I was able to drop about 10 pounds? I am now down to 175 and nothing fits!  Awesome!

So I haven't made my mind up when my first biking excursion will be--but I am getting ready!  I have emailed my 2 best pals to let them know I'm back and I have left some posts on MTBR.  I am taking it easy for a while  But look out.

Oh a big plug for the Big Kahuna--KPOI 105.9 FM--Honolulu's only classic rock--every song I've heard on the air since my return has been a winner.

Pete (but u all new dat!!)

14 Feb 2005

2005 02 14 kirkuk dfac 002.jpg (431654 bytes)  please click for bigger sized pic.   Valentine's Day in the DFACin Kirkuk.  I leave here in two days; I will miss this place very much.  Mustaffa and Naser and me and Girly.


29 Jan 2005

So the elections are tomorrow; it has been relatively quiet here in Kirkuk, although there have been some explosions downtown and a hit on base a few days ago while I was in the DFAC for dinner.

How can I put this?  I feel---ooohh there's a mortar attack now---no sirens yet--it's 834 PM--if the siren doesnt sound, it was off base.
Anyway I feel sad and glad all wrapped into one about leaving here and there's reasons for these feelings for both staying and going.
T---Damn another rocket--------anyway I've grown to enjoy the company of some of the contract and subcontract folks from the DFAC and --there's the 3d mortar; they must be shooting from the train station just the other side of the wall not very far from here at all!

And I'll miss the talk and friendship.  I experienced my first taste of local food the other night at the DFAC after dinner closed.  Some of the Indian gentlemen put it together just for a few of them and KBR management and me as the Contracting Officer's Rep.  We had a meal of lamb, carp, salad, and rice with almonds, raisins and noodles.  Very delicious and a better understanding of the culture.  It was their celebration of -I think the holiday is called-- the 2d Stoning of the Devil.  We learned the differences between Christianity and Islam.  The differences are not vast.  I wished the world's people were more tolerant of each other's ways.  There are very good people in all demographics.

I've made very good friends and have shared nice talk with Bosco Ishwarin, H. John Barretto, and Girly Abejero.  I apologize for misspelling any names.  I only regret I did not meet these great folks earlier.  In one instance much earlier.  Bosco and John-thanks for the favors and kindness.  Bosco, I really enjoyed hearing your appreciation for American movies and of your telling the story of your youth and two girlfriends, one of which became your wife years later.  Sunbeam!, keep shining bright and smiling---and remember. 
 I  will pray the future always is kind to you and you experience joy much, much more than sadness.  I hope you get to travel to many wonderous places, places that are full of yellows and reds and blues.  I will be in touch with all of you via email on occasion so please, please let me know if email addresses become different than what I know them to be now.

A fond farewell to the KBR DFAC management guys and gals also.  Dave and Li, both Mikes and Bridget and Naomi and Tracy and Jose--and before them--another Mike, Bill, Emily and Gary.

I will leave I assume before mid-month.  I will be glad to be home to my family and out of this dangerous place; I am just sorry my friends still have to be here.  A few short months ago I would have said there was nothing at all to miss about being in Iraq.  I surely can't say the same now.

Out for now. Pete.

26 Dec 2004

Christmas in Iraq.  Actually it was not that bad.  The DFAC people, Daud and Partners, did a terrific job decorating, cooking and serving.  The blast at the Mosul facility has everyone on edge.  Maybe I'll be out of here in 6 or 7 weeks.

The tent I moved into only has 4 people in it so it is very liveable.  I have a 100 ft powercord stretched from the powerstrip at the other end of the tent to the laptop.  

Our logistical shop had a gift exchange on XMAS eve.  Sally and Michael were at Dan and Carol's on Oahu.  Everyone had a nice time.  We had a C17 full of eqipment leave.  Also we had a soldier go down to Kuwait for washrack detail so the end I pray is near.
Still hoping for a Transfer of Authority date of 13 Feb and home shortly thereafter.

I seem to be on my 2d "cold" of the season but mot nearly as bad as the first.

Since i didn't have to have a local go downtown to buy an extension cord for me, I visited the PX instead.  Chicago double CD of their greatest hits, a CD/DVD of the Goo Goo Dolls and some vamp movie--vanHylder or something like that.  Surprisingly I did not have any Chicago in my music library.  

Speaking of which, even be4 I left, the media was huge and outgrowing its racks.  When I return I need to search for some of the 4 sided swivel racks that hold like 600 DVDs at a time or over 850 CDs.  I'll need 1 ea for CDs and movies.

Well I've picked out 3 places i wanna eat.  Tikis Bar and Grill, 3600 on the Rise, and John Dominis.

Out for now. Pete.

1 December 2004

So we are extended here.  To help assure the election goes well I suppose.  And to help the 116th from Idaho get acquainted for a comfortable period.

How long?  The new date of turning things over to the 116th is supposedly 20 Feb 2005.  So an additional 50 or so days from what was expected.  I just hope the elections happen and things don't go too bad so the date sticks.

Am I disappointed?  Of course.  When we first got here rumors abounded.  They had us leaving anywhere from Nov 04 to Apr 05.  Then we got what we thought was the permanent date of 30 Dec.  As they say, "oh well".

The part everyone is griping about most is having to move out of our mostly one person to a container quarters to 20 man tents on 10 Dec until duration.  Want the 116th super comfortable of course.

Don't really have any further comments I can share; I had a huge "political" rant developed --but that would just be inviting trouble from snoops. It's sorta a no no for military types to get too politically "opinionated".

It'll all be good.  When we get home anyhoo.

*************BIKE CONTENT****************---I really am not convinced I need or want disc brakes. The maintenance issues alone just seem a headache to happen.  Plus I am looking to go cheaper as there's other items I wanna pursue when I do get back.  Therefore the plain model full suspension stumpjumper is looking ok.  I can also upgrade stuff like the seatpost and wheels later if i really get inclined. And by going non-disc I can pretty much forget about having to get a different rail/mount for the yakima.  **END BIKE****

Well it was an early morning; we got rid of our excess baggage which we needed to do to make room for moving into tents anyway.

So it's off to the bed I go.  Next update will probably contain rantings and ravings on life on an airbase that just ballooned 60%.


 21 November 2004
Kirkuk, Iraq

 Well we are scheduled to be outta here and into Kuwait during the last week in December.  But CNN carried a story yesterday they are looking for another Brigade to stay longer; I pray it isn’t us.  I am sick of the boredom and of the danger.

The AF opened their new gym recently.  It has real spinning machines.  I am enjoying it but find it way harder to do more than an hour or so on the spinner when I was doing 2 or 3 on the other stationarys.

 I jumped on MTBR and changed up my avatar this morning.  Check it out—user name is ArmySlowRdr.

 Have you seen the rain? Well we certainly have; the rainy season in Iraq has commenced.  I have also scoped on the reigns and trances.  I’ll tellya the Giant Trance 1 is a SWEET XC bike but fully built at 3K plus I doubt if I’ll be adding it to my stable.  The Trance 2 weighs in at 2K and thus competes with the stumpie elite disc and the fuel ex.  Prob whichever bike I run accrossed that fits and feels good 1st when I get back to Oahu is the bike that’ll be acquired.

I see there is a marathon mtb race in Big Bend this winter.  Gawd, visiting the MOJO site always makes me miss Texas hugely.  Someday I wanna make it back.  Im still young at 42---lets see approx 44 at retirement—2 years maybe in VA—that’s 46---yup lotsa good youthful riding left 4 Texas.

That’s all 4 now.

 15 August 2004

Transfer of Authority is supposed to take place in 4 months; we may be actually home around Christmas, but I think all of us are afraid to be too excited yet given the tendencies of our military leadership to overreact with increased troop strength when things go awry----and the upcoming Iraqi elections could definitely be one of those “things” that need increased “oversight” by Uncle Sam..

 R and R was very nice.  Laying in my sweet Sally’s arms was the best.  Oh how I love and miss my family.  But then shopping and eating and biking were the other events that shaped my short, wonderful time back on Oahu.  Visiting and being with my son Michael was awesome too.

Total damages—probably 5,000 dollars plus.  I upgraded the tower to a loaded emachine.  Six or seven hundred bucks buys a lot of computer these days.  Also the digital rebel is a nice cam but I won’t be posting pics until after my return.  The 100 dollars off coupon from AAFES made that purchase even sweeter.  We bought a couple of oil paintings from Devin, one of my cycling friends; he teaches art to school aged children.  Finally the OCR1 road bike is no more; the Specialized Allez Elite has replaced the Hawaii Pearl.  The Allez has yet to be named as I only have a short ten-mile neighborhood ride on it.  The OCR1 met its fate after its 40th ride and 900th mile.  After 4 years of owning a Yakima roof rack we were tired one evening after a ride, and before dinner proceeded to drive into a parking garage with bike atop—ouch!

I did 3 group rides.  The first was a road ride to where the highway ends on the way to Kaena Point.  We then swung on over to shaved ice at Masumatos and then back down to Mililani for a post ride bbq (thanks sweetie) and watched pictures of six (or the final time trial where Lance sewed it all up).  The 2d ride was a loop with Devin around Tantalus.  I got a great rainbow pic atop Tantalus pre-ride that I’ll have to post later.  The last group ride met at Lagoon Drive tennis courts; we rode over to Hickam and did more or less sprints.  Well at least the faster few.  I only got one mountain bike ride in—and that was my Pupukea Loop.  My loop consists of fire road and pavement; oh how I miss Texas single track.

Speaking of mountain biking:  I still want to get a full suspension rig upon my return.  It will likely be a 2005 Stumpjumper Elite disc or 2005 Kona King Kikapu depending on which strikes me the best upon release of the pics/specs.  Bike Shop Hawaii (which I am beginning to believe is MY LBS on Oahu) will get the sale; they only stock the Specialized but is a Kona dealer and can take delivery of and service my Kikapu if that’s the route I take.  

Well to mention the eats I had.  Kaina Ana Burgers, Hawaii Joes, Verbanos, Noodle House, Harpos Grill (is that right-can’t remember), the seafood place by Circuit City, the Japanese place in Pearl City, Don Hos, the cultural cruise buffet, the Magic of Polynesia dinner, Old Spaghetti Factory, A&W, Dixie Grill, and many, many more. 

Yes, it’s kinda a bummer to be back to Kirkuk.  New boss wants to teach us lethal martial arts’ LINE training like the Marines get.  I could care less.  I’d rather love, not brawl and grapple.  But one has to be here to get back so here I am.  63% done with mission, hopefully 4 months and counting down. Well more than 50% hopefully and less than 6 months anyhoo.

 Later guys and gals.

 10 May 2004   

Well I write this on 10 May 04 but not sure when I will be able to upload or even if I will be successful.  There are extreme bandwidth issues here on Kirkuk Airbase. They finally have our mwr comps where we can get sites such as MTBR--it's a fix although they got it where most of the multi pic posts don't load--bummer.

So the degree is complete.  MBA. Graduation Sunday the 16th--guess Uncle Sam's got me missing the event on the beautiful lawn at the Newport setting.  Oh well---I missed the Connelly Awards Ceremony and  Food Service Executives' Conference in Denver also.

As predicted before I arrived here Iraq is a mess and seems to be worse---well at least our position. Probably wont even get r and r--at least there's a slight chance our tour may be slightly less than a year.

So my wonderful wife Sally sends me tons of mountain biking and road cycling mags.  Excellento.  I spin on the cycle machine at the gym and hour or two at a time twice a week.  And I go visit remote basecamps about once a week though I really don't wanna.
The mags make me dream of places like Cali and CostaRica and the Old Pueblo.  I cannot wait to get back to Honolulu and blow an obscene amount on biking stuff. I'm dreaming of a Kona King Kikapu, 959 pedals and a dirtrag chaistay guard, panaracer cinder tires, a mount for my geko gps, a kestral weather fob, a cateye cordless heartrate/cyclometer, pc99 chain, and new bar tape and a going over for the giant ocr.

Beware the Sasser.  Rather than have it fixed, I think we will get a cheap emachine which will be better than the old Compaq anyway.

Hey, try JBZ chocolate candies.  Jelly Bean slays MandMs in a huge way.

So Kerry is an outdoorsy type nut--cycling, and wind kiting and snowboarding and stuff----spoiled rich kid.  I hope he's not a looser.  

Well I'll come back later and start ramblin' on some more....
til then,

formerly FtHoodMtBkr and treknchief

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