31 July 2005
After getting home we went out to look at open houses, and we found a nice new development in Coventry, where a very nice colonial can be bought for $419,000- brand new and in a beautiful community. We are still debating as it is too early to jump onto any opportunities. Owning a brand new home has always been our dream- no pet dander, no smelly carpets, no offside wall colors, no funkiness to the bathrooms, brand new everything. It's a very attractive thing, especially for a couple that has lived in fixer-uppers for the last ten years. I am done spending my time fixing up old homes. It's time to just enjoy life to it's fullest. Aside from cutting the grass and snow clean-up, I really don't want to do anything around the house anymore.
Had to clean up all of the fallen limbs after house hunting. I cut everything up and it's all loaded in the pick-up, ready for a landfill deposit in the early AM. Afterwards, I plan to drive to work and ride home by bike. This means of course that a week's worth of clothing needs to be brought to the office. Let's see if I can break 200 miles again this week. Last week's total was 214.
30 July 2005
At 6pm, we were visited by Hulya and Erol- good friends of ours who live in Lincoln RI. I had just washed up and was dressed to go for a ride when they arrived. After a few minutes of socializing I had to get going. So I took my new favorite route into Coventry- Route 115 to 116 North and then onto Hope Furnace Road, which climbs about 500 feet in a few short undulating miles. Not a difficult climb- I use the big ring, just a long series of rises and plateaus that really take it out of you. Speaking of which, I had intended to take it easy today, AGAIN, to be fresh for Wells Ave tomorrow, but I have been going easy all week, except for Lincoln, and enough is enough. I pushed myself on the climbs, pushed myself on the flats, and generally wore myself out by the time I was done with 33 miles. Avg HR 147, avg speed 19.1 mph. I could have pushed a little harder if I wanted but I had to save something for tomorrow. My legs are sore and crampy, but I think 1/2 hour of intense stretching in the am will loosen things up. I think we'll all go to Wells as a family tomorrow. Both grandmas, wife, baby and me.
Afterwards, we hope to see some open houses, because, we have decided to think about selling our home. Our realtor from Century 21, Al Alix, visited us Friday and we were stunned to learn the amount of money we can get for our home. Sell on strength, buy on weakness. That's what we intend to do. Perhaps a foreclosure is in our future, or perhaps we'll buy land and build custom home. Either way, cash will be relatively plentiful, such that only a pretty small mortgage will be required. One thing's for sure- no more 100 year old fixer-uppers. We aren't considering homes built before 1970, and our real preference is brand new to maybe 10 years old maximum.
28 July 2005
Greetings. Today's adventures include more pain the chest, which started this past Saturday and continues to be a nuisance. Just inside my left rib cage, there is some inflammation, making it ache with every drawn breath. I asked my friend Dr David Schwartz (a very talented bike rider who races for Union Velo in Attleboro) and he told me this:
"Hi Murat, I don' think that your injusry is a broken rib or anything more serious than maybe a strained muscle between ribs. You might also have a viral inflammation of the lining of the lung called pleurisy."
In a prior e-mail, Dr Schwartz said:
"Hi Murat, Your weight loss explains your improved stamina on Wednesday nights. Sounds like you have pleuritic chest pain in that it is worse when you breath deeply I don't think it is related to your weight loss. Try motrin 200 mg every 6 huors as needed and this should be better in a few days."
Isn't it great that within my network of bike racing friends, there is one who is a doctor, who freely gives his advice and recommendation? When I crashed very badly at Lincoln in the sprint finish in 2001, shredding my right knee into an unrecognizable mess, Dr Schwartz helped me to diagnose the damage and helped to console me with regard to recovery. He is one who raises tens of thousands of dollars annually doing bike rides that benefit the research and fight against numerous incurable diseases. David's no slouch on the bike either, and this season he's enduring the pain from a cracked sternum that won't heal quick enough- making his deep breathing/laughter/coughing a painful experience. May it pass quickly, and thanks for being there for me Dave.
My form today during the ride home from work, was terrible. I raced last night and was free of the chest pain, but today, I was hurting. Legs feel like over-cooked chicken and my HR refused to get over 140- a sign that much rest is needed. I rode 25 miles in 1:30:00 at an average HR of 128, max of 153- even though I pushed a fast pace up a few climbs. Tomorrow's ride needs to be one of those where I am barely pushing the pedals. Plan on riding to work and back. This week's mileage is already almost 150, after only 5 days. The desicion to ride to/from work is paying dividends in the form of more training time and more time with family afterwards. I am liking it.
I didn't realize it until about 10:00 pm, but my new DMT cycling shoes have arrived. These retail for about $300 usually and I snagged them on Ebay for only $139 delivered. My old ones (pictured) were bought in fall of 2002, raced in 2003 and 2005. The soles have been coming apart from the upper, such that I had to glue them back together with construction adhesive. The bike shop where I purchased them has asked for digital pics. I asked them for free replacements, but hedged my bets with the purchase of new ones, which are actually a higher price point because of their carbon soles. I hope I do not have the same problem with these blue beauties. Next I must get some new Speedplay cleats to install onto them. It's good to have two pairs of shoes (together a retail value of $600- most people don't spend this much dough on their bicycle, much less shoes) When it becomes necessary to ride in the rain, it's best to have an old pair to use, saving the new pair for when it really counts. Ugh, I talk and talk and talk. Who is reading this boring story? Thanks for being here. Don't forget to check out the link from Comedy Central- a very funny skit about the Tour de France. Bye for now.
27 July 2005
I have had a lot of trouble staying connected at this race held every Wed night. Well three weeks ago I finally completed it, and sprinted mid-field. The following week was a repeat, with a little better position in the sprint. Tonight though I impressed myself with an 11th place finish out of about 80 riders. The final sprint was dicey- it started to rain with 7-8 laps to go, out of 18 we did total. Course was extremely windy on the small hill, extremely fast on finishing straight. With one lap to go, I just started weaving through spent riders, choosing wheels carefully, and emerged from the final corner about 20 places back. Gave the sprint everything I safely could, considering the slick wet roads, and firmly counted only ten people ahead of me. Might seem like a small achievement, but the amount of confidance a person gains from this is huge. Only five weeks ago, I red-lined and quit this race, as in the previous four attempts. I think I can take the win at least once by the end of August. That's my plan. Some more Colavita colors in the field would be a big motivator too, but I know it's not a convenient venue to attend. Average speed was relatively low due to the rain- 25.3 mph (40.5 kph). My average HR was a little lower than usual as well- 162.
26 July 2005
So I rode my bike to work today for the first time- 13 miles. Afterwards I rode home for another 21 miles. This fever/virus thing is really starting to affect my form. Yesterday and today I feel very sluggish and tired, especially on the bike. Legs are achy and sore even though I haven't really exerted myself since Saturday, three days ago. My throat is also starting to hurt- a bad sign. If this illness keeps going at this slow rate, I won't recover fully for a couple of weeks. Tomorrow I race at Lincoln and Sunday at Wells. It's important that I really make an impact on Sunday, my hopes for tomorrow night are more conservative. My weight is down to 170 again, and our sophisticated scale rated my bodyfat % at 18, which isn't disappointing. I'll report tomorrow night on the Lincoln race- average HR, speed etc. TTYL.
How cool is my new Ford F-150 truck?
25 July 2005
22 July 2005
1. Blink 182 "Miss You" This track puts our little boy to sleep when we're driving, so that is never a bad thing. But I must admit that the video clip for this song is what really attracted me to it. There are two versions- an R rated and a PG rated. The R rated version is somewhat erotic, and this might seem crude, but I doubt if any men whatsoever dis-like this video.
2. Papa Roach "Scars" The song is a little on the light side for PR, but it is strong in the visual sense. It's impossible to misunderstand the message being set forth, and it's nice to not have to scratch your head and think, what is that all about?
3. Green Day "Jesus of Suburbia" This is the tune I can't get enough of. Touted as the next "Bohemian Rhapsody", for the children of the original Queen fans. Nine minutes long! The best 99 cents I ever spent on Napster for sure. The best track on the disk. MAX VOLUME every time.
4. Foo Fighters "Best of You" Another song that just gets my juices flowing. Cranked to max volume this song makes me feel like beating the crap out of everyone who has ever duped me or taken advantage of me or deceived me. Oddly enough, it's a good feeling, like a release of sorts. No detractors have been harmed to date.
5. My Chemical Romance "I'm Not Okay" A song that takes a few plays to wear on you. The lyrics are simple and amusing. Reminds me of the old "I'm okay, You're okay" doctrine of the children and spouses of alcoholics. This song cuts through all of the psycholigical BS and says what abused people really feel- "I'm not o-fuckin-kay". Another one that must be played as loud as possible for the full cleansing effect.
6. My Chemical Romance "Helena" I love listening to this, especially on MTV. The choreography of the music video is superb. I especially like the part when the dancers are twirling their umbrellas in unison. The dead girl who is resurrected and dances in the clip casts a spell on me every time. Excellent rhythm, excellent drum beat. Great song.
7. Garbage "Bleed Like Me" The lyrics of this song are verrrrry creepy, but the singer's voice is extremely soothing to me. Not my favorite of the disk, but it's a break from all of the head-banging of the previous 6 tracks.
8. Audioslave "Be Yourself" I really like Chris Cornell. Maybe it's because in the video for "Like a Stone" there are toddlers on the set and it gives the band a kind of "realness" that I find attractive. "Like a Stone" is on my previous mix and I love it. This song "Be Yourself" is a worthy sequel to my Audioslave taste. If it stirs emotion, I'm hooked. Having great bass and guitar never hurts either.
9. Puddle of Mudd "Blurry" My least favorite of the track, but it's pretty good to have made it on there. The music video had a big influence. Seeing the little kid torn between separated parents, is something I can relate with strongly. Good lyrics.
That's all of them. I am compiling my next mix disk but the titles aren't all picked out yet. I'll let ya know when it's done.
21 July 2005
Just wanted to document my training activity here for future reference. I have posted some charts generated by my Polar heart rate monitor. Two of the charts are about a month apart- see the dates on them. They represent the same route - you can see the course profile is a bit hilly and challenging. What these two charts prove is some dramatic improvement. Check the times- in one month I was able to complete this course in a personal best that is 3-1/2 minutes faster than a month prior. I was real happy on this day. My previous best time was about two years ago, a whole minute slower than the 1:19:25 I posted on July 14th.
The green bar chart represents all of the riding miles I have put in since I started riding in mid-April. As you can see, I have barely completed 2000 miles in a span of three months. Furthermore, I barely touched the bike and didn't race in 2004, so this was like starting from zero, less than zero, fitness-wise. I believe many of my competitors- the real contenders- are well into their 4th 1000 miles for the season. I must give creit to myself for getting into pretty decent form with such little training.
The last chart shows my heart rate and speed at the last Lincoln Criterium, yesterday evening. This was the 2nd time I was able to complete the entire race. Lincoln has been challenging for me this year. Take note of the average heart rate. It's been going down 1-2 points with each passing week- a good sign that my heart and circulation is getting steadily more efficient. Yesterday I did some work at the front of the field and didn't even come close to popping, although my conservative approach makes it hard for me to fight for position at the finishing sprint. Crashing 3 times in as many years, plus the birth of our son in 03 has made me this way- less willing to take chances. Sprints are very dangerous and my worst crash ever occurred during a sprint in 2001, at the Lincoln Crit no less. At any rate, this is a quick snapshot of where my form now stands.
Before I forget, Tuesday I was caught in a rainstorm with thunder and lightening- got completely soaked. Tonight I rode with my friend Kaan Duru, who is just dabbling in the sport for now, perhaps he'll make a serious go at it this fall or next season. Tonight I put some road tires on his cross bike and I think he might have become addicted to the very low rolling resistance, quick acceleration and speed. Who wouldn't be?
19 July 2005
Here's one of those very rare, well timed, in-focus photos, taken by a professional, sold to me on their website: www.velocityshots.com Check out their website, especially if you race in New England. There might be pictures of you in there that you didn't know existed. They will make the prints and mail them to you for a fee.
I really like how this picture came out. Our son Reis was only 9 months old, on his first journey overseas. We were at the engagement party for my brother in law Umit Kizanlik and his fiancee Ozge. I am very glad this picture was taken, it's definitely a keeper. With his spectacles on, my father looks like a professor. He met a lot of my in-laws at this party, who also live in Mudanya, and he gets together with them often nowadays. I think Reis inherited his blond hair from his grandfather.
This timeless picture was taken during the moments after my father first set foot in the United States. Notice the musical instrument in his left hand. Which 23 year old Turkish man ever traveled without his trusty "saz"? The irony lies in the fact that he now passes time during his retirement, building traditional Turkish zithers, or kanuns. An example of his work is included in a previous post. Welcome to Amerika, Charlie. I was born about 4 years later.
18 July 2005
I post this picture of myself only because I am not very photogenic, and this is in my belief one rare exception. Like hearing the sound of my own voice on tape, I hate the way I look in pictures and on camera. This picture however, is okay looking I think. It's me during perhaps my most tenacious, most daring, most energetic and most crisis filled times. If I could go back to a point in time and live my life all over again, I would choose to go back to the moment captured here.
I was probably half way around the world playing soccer or doing homework when this photo was taken. Today, the sweet little girl on the far left is my wonderful and beautiful wife of ten years. How we met in 1994, and how we almost met 5 years prior to that, is an interesting story, for another time.
I really like this picture. When he was in his 20's he bore a striking resemblance to Captain Kirk on Star Trek. I think it was exaggerated a bit, but no one can deny he was a handsome guy in his youth. Many believe that my son Reis looks a lot like him. I look a little like him, not too much.
This picture is one of my favorites, taken August 22, 1971. My father's father Hamit Altinbasak, holding me in his arms. I was his first grandson- the first to carry on the family name. My parents tell me often of how fond of me he was. He would say "this is who will carry our name". Hearing that, at a young age really hit home. He passed away when I was six, peacefully and painlessly in his sleep. He even predicted that evening before bedtime, that he knew it was his time to go. Of course everyone dismissed this completely, and everyone was shocked in the morning. A master hat-maker whose brand was well known throughout Bursa Turkey. Seven children, giving me three aunts and three uncles. He was once nominated for mayor of Bursa and declined saying that he didn't even finish grade school. I wish I knew more about him, better yet, I wish he were alive now to tell me I've not dashed his hopes for me.
Here is a nice photo taken in Turkey- September 1973. On the left are my maternal grandparents. On the right, my paternal grandparents. Only my maternal grandmother is still with us. In the center, my mom. The little guy with the great shoes, is yours truly.
17 July 2005
Greetings. I have been meaning to digitize these old photos for a looong time. One is of a couple of unidentified guys in a two up sprint in a velodrome- I don't know where- could be the one in Bursa or the one in Balikesir. The other picture with the racers and officials actually includes my father- Irfan Altinbasak. He is the bike rider on the far left. The fourth rider from the left, next to the man in the hat, is Saim Tatlicilar, a close friend of the family. His oldest son was Turkish national road champ for a few years in a row. THe cyclist 2nd from the right is Rifat Caliskan, if I am not mistaken. Here is a rider who raced in Europe at a very high level, and claims to have competed against Eddy Merckx. He is another friend of the family, one who took a special interest in me during the summer of 1989, when my family and I traveled to Turkey. Rifat took me to a race in Corum- road race and crit. Juniors had to race with the elite men. I was in rare form and placed 10th in the road race and 2nd in the points criterium the following day. I would have won it were it not for the junior gearing I had on- 53x15. I was the 1st placed junior, behind the winner of the event- Murat Suyabatmaz. Murat was an elite rider who raced across Europe, against the then youthful Bjarne Riis and Olaf Ludwig, among others. THe color pic is the podium in Corum, with me on the left. This was perhaps the most satisfying win of my junior years. The funny thing is, I found this picture by accident, on the internet, 12 years afterwards. Needless to say I was blown away that I found it. Murat Suyabatmaz is still heavily involved in cycling in Turkey and we e-mail eachother periodically.
16 July 2005
A minibus exploded in the tourist town of Kusadasi today, killing and maiming innocents, some who were British and Irish. G-d help all those who were injured or who lost their loved ones.
In Baghdad, a fuel tanker was detonated by a suicide bomber, killing over 50 Iraqis,wounding scores more. I express my sincere regrets that people are capable of such cruel carnage. Again, my heart goes out to all those who are now suffering.
Three British soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb today as well. What more can one say? We are all very sorry about this. Condolences etc. Sorry for your pain and loss.
Will these attacks abate when the US and UK completely exit Iraq? I'm not so sure, but I believe they will diminish. One thing stands clear: these daily multiple attacks in Iraq were virtually non-existent before the US invaded and destroyed the nation of Iraq in the name of "dumbocracy". Saddam was a son-of-a-bitch-bastard etc, no one can deny this, but the approach of the Bush administration was deceptive, mis-informed, and over-kill. How many innocent Iraqi civilians have lost their lives? Who cares as long as we have eliminated the Saddam regime and installed democracy? Risk versus reward might not have been evaluated properly. The attitude seems to be "hey, if you want an omelet you gotta break some eggs". As it turns out, there is no Iraq/Al Qaeda link, weapons of mass destruction never existed, and Saddam Hussein for all of his faults, kept the populace living in relative peace. This war was a big huge mistake. Those who still deny this are the ones I'd like to trade for the innocents who have died in the past two years in Iraq. If there is one thing that was done correctly, it was Turkey's refusal to support the US invasion and their refusal to allow use of the Incirlik Air Base. I salute all of the people who made that decision possible, because if Turkey had supported this debacle, Turks would also have blood on their hands and would pay the price for it with Turkish innocents dying in suicide attacks throughout Turkey. Democracy my ass. It isn't needed everywhere. Sometimes, it takes a tyrant to keep the masses under control. The US has attacked a hornet's nest. What can be expected other than a swarming of insurgents, delirious with their new found "freedom"? Yes the bombings in London killed 55 innocent civilians, we watched it's aftermath in horror. I believe that the MO of the bombers was this: "Here, have a taste of your own medicine. Your invasion of Iraq has resulted in daily bombings of innocent Iraqi civilians, police and army recruits, women and children. You do not shed a tear for their loss of life, their loss of limbs, the destruction of homes and lives. Here is a little taste of what you have caused. Swallow it down, accept this as a warning, and exit Iraq forthwith so that the bombings in Iraq will stop. They happen because of you, not in spite of you."
If this comes across as if I condone the events in London, then you're an idiot. Look at this subjectively and perhaps you might draw similar conclusions. The attacks in London should have come as no surprise. The logic which I set forth may seem incomprehensible and just plain wrong. Try being less myopic for two seconds and get over it. Justify your support for this war to the five year old little girl in the picture, trying to use a prosthetic leg. According to Reuters: "Hanin was hit by shrapnel when war planes started bombing Baghdad's Sadr city almost two years ago and doctors found no other choice but to cut off part of her leg in order to safe her life."
15 July 2005
My educational achievements are quite underordinary, at least after grade school. I went to Patricia A Larkin School in College Point New York, more commonly referred to as "PS 129". All of my teacher's names are still fresh in my mind: Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. Kosloff, Mrs. Courtney, Mrs. Viaggio, Mrs Notowitz and Mrs. Miller. Grade school was frightening for me, but so were a lot of things, especially at home. I was a studious child, in the habit of doing extra credit homework when it wasn't requested or expected, much of it very elaborate artwork. Each year I received numerous achievement awards and recognition, scored in the top 99 percentile of aptitude tests, always qualified and was enrolled in the "gifted" class of students.
JuniorHigh was different. "JHS 194" was located in Whitestone New York, and populated with kids whose parents would not seem out of place on the set of "The Sopranos". Fourteen year old kids were smoking cigarettes and marijuana, bringing lethal weapons to class, beating the crap out of eachother over a spot in the lunch line or a girl's affection. My grades suffered, my interest in good grades diminished, my desire to exceed expectations was replaced with a desire for the company of girls. At any rate, with minimal effort I managed to get myself accepted to Bayside High School and was spared the adventures of Flushing High School. This was due to my artistic aptitude, which I really had no interest in whatsoever. As it turned out, we moved to Rochester New York and I ended up going to a far better school- Penfield High School. A better overall community environment made it possible for me to actually want to at least graduate, which I did in a pretty un-spectacular way. Being one who loves to test limits, it was with the barest minimum of output that I earned a diploma. Actually, I skipped graduation to go to Olean New York for a bicycle race, and went and got my diploma a couple of months later, hand delivered to me by my old friend Mr. Sullivan. We had quite a history in my junior and senior years- I was required to eat lunch in his office every day for many months because of an incident that I can't really recall.
The following September I had enrolled myself at Monroe Community College. One semester was all I could manage because my father needed my help in the family business- actually made me a 49% owner and partner at the tender age of 19. The rest is history, I continued to learn the woodworking trade and never looked back. Today I make more money than I have ever made- working for another company, more than four times what I was making 10 years ago. I am asked quite often, almost always by people in Turkey, where I went to school. It's always an awkward response, and it's hard to explain that in the United States, learning a trade is nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite, the best plumbers, carpenters and electricians eventually are promoted into middle and high level management after so many years of experience in the field. For me, this career path worked out like a fairy tale, and I am very blessed and fortunate that my father taught and showed me every one of his skills and all of his knowledge. Where did I graduate from? From the School of Hard Knocks. I have regrets for not choosing a career that I am in love with, but not for making the choice to pass on higher education. My apprenticeship in woodworking started at the age of 11, and today I can get lucrative employment at just about any millwork company in the US. And yes, my hand skills are still sharp enough that I can work in the shop or in the field at any time, if it ever became necessary. That's a comfortable position to be in, at the young age of 34. I am often asked what I do for a living, followed by an inquiry of my education, as if it would be impossible to get where I am without a degree. For most this might be true, but not for me, so get over it. It doesn't require a six figure student loan to make a six figure income. So please, have more respect for skilled trades and stop asking me where I went to college. My father was my professor and the forests of North America were my textbooks.
Oh the pictures: My father [best known as "Charlie" here in the States] is now retired and passes time building the musical instrument that you see pictured. This was his latest creation, recently purchased by a man named Mahmoud Sagharichi. Each of these 'kanuns' takes 6 or so weeks to build, and I sell them here in the US. The money gets deposited into my dad's account and he uses ATMs to withdraw the funds in Turkey, where he has returned after 33 years in the US. I don't get a penny for my effort, but it's the least I could do to repay the man who was the biggest influence on my career. There is a very large amount of things I can say about my father Irfan Altinbasak, probably more bad than good... But I will give credit where it's due, and I salute him for his achievements and thank him for his teachings. Now, who wants to buy a kanun?
13 July 2005
Lincoln is a town in Rhode Island where a certain bicycling club hosts a weekly "training race", every Wednesday evening starting in late April and running through September. This season, I have been very unsuccessful at the Lincoln venue, in the 4-5 times I've tried it. Each time, I found that I could complete a few more laps than before, but inevitably I would see my heart rate monitor reading 180+ bpm and panic and just quit mentally. It isn't long before my deficient confidance causes me to simply quit the race.
Tonight was different. For the first time all season, I completed the Lincoln race, and in the top 50th percentile too. There were even times when I was at the front, forcing the pace. So my confidance just received a big boost. This year and in years past, I used Lincoln as a gauge of my overall fitness. When I could complete an entire race there, I knew it was time to move into more focused, more specialized training such as intervals, sprints, LT work etc. Base fitness is complete when you finish the Lincoln crit- that's my MO. I was happy to see people [other than myself for a change] who were gagging and puking and at their limit the whole time, while I was put into difficulty only a few times and recovered quickly. Average speed: 26.3 mph My average heartrate was 166 for 1 hour and three minutes. Yes today a milestone was achieved. Next week I will be even fitter and will definitely make aggresive moves to break top ten.
In case it isn't already very apparent, this blog will have heavy doses of cycling related input. I can't help that it's something I am passionate about, few people in my life take any real interest, so it's satisfying to put my thoughts out there for untold millions to [potentially] read one day.
Picture is from four hours ago. I am the one on the far left with the yellow bike and white shirt.
12 July 2005
Today I read some news about the terrorist group PKK fighting against Turkish soldiers in Southeast Turkey. Many died recently on both sides. Then I hear quotes coming a Kurdish commander whose name is "Murat"- same as me. This gives my name the same significance as "Osama" or "Adolf" or "Chuckie". For this reason, I am considering changing my name to "Marat", which is the name of a successful Russian tennis player. Regrettably, both names contain the letters "rat", which is pretty unflattering. Still, Marat sounds better and detaches me from the name of a terrorist and attaches me to the name of a skilled professional athlete.
For whatever reason, I wasn't given a middle name, and neither were my brother or sister. I would have loved to hear suggestions for a middle name. What would sound good in between "Marat.....Altinbasak"? Maybe I'll think of something watching the Tour de France on OLN. It doesn't need to be a Turkish name. As long as it fits and spells and pronounces easily, I'm happy. Busy day today. Racing tomorrow after work in Lincoln. Hope to be a contributor to the average speed for a change. It's been a struggle this year for me to complete an entire race at the Lincoln venue. It's very popular and attracts some very fast cyclists, on a challenging 1 mile course. Here's a picture of my father and my son taken in Turkey May 2005.
From the top: Thad and I, me again, Rhys Gibson, Keiran Lynch, Thad Lavalee, Mark Stockwell (shooter of top 4 pictures). Our team was represented in pretty much every event of the Attleboro Criterium on Sunday July 10th. Lots of no shows from the team- you were all missed. It was a fun day of racing. None of us crashed, although Mark flatted in his event after the cut-off point for a wheel change is allowed. We are grateful for Mark's efforts taking these pictures. I was inspired to race as a kid when I found a black and white picture of my dad racing in Turkey back in the 1960's. It's nice to have something to show your kids and friends and family, who almost never get any real exposure to the pain and beauty of our wonderful sport. Ciao. -Murat
11 July 2005
- People who use the word "that" where "who" is appropriate. This sentence is an example of correct selection between "who" and "that". Incorrect: "He's the guy that knocked me out because of my poor grammar."
- Supermarket "divider" sticks. People are terrified that the cashier will be too dumb to notice a 10" gap between piles of food. Furthermore, if you need a stick to divide our purchases, you piled your things too close to mine in the first place. Keep it away!
- Using your blinker to claim a parking spot. This one infuriates me. Don't do it. Take your chances and try to get a spot without your blinker. It is mighty gratifying. Perhaps it shouldn'tbother me, but I give people the benefit of the doubt when I'm waiting for a spot, and I don't lunge into a spot that another appears to be waiting for. It's all such bullshit anyway. I would sooner walk for 30 seconds from a far away spot, than I would sit and wait for someone to back out of a spot. This country is severely obese for many reasons, this is a tiny contributor.
- Poor "netiquette". If I have thought enough of a person to e-mail them, it is in order to elicit a response, an acknowledgment, anything. I'll even take a tongue lashing over complete apathy. I'm not talking about forwarding jokes either, I don't do that.
- Rubbish. We have neighbors who literally pack 5-6 cans of trash weekly. It looks awful, it attracts animals, and half of it is dead air- empty recyclable containers. The complete disregard for recycling really makes me mad. We barely fill two small cans with trash- all of it biodegradable- and everything paper and metal and plastic is dutifully recycled without exception.
- Buzz-words and acronyms, especially when used to mask incompetence. I'll use a few myself, sparingly, but not the same one five times in the same meeting.
- Feigning interest. I don't have it in me to listen to useless information and pretend that I'm on the edge of my seat. This has gotten me into trouble in the past. I am selective about who I feign interest to, and who I dismiss with an abrupt change of the subject.
- Donut sized spare tires, and those who will drive on them at full speed, for weeks or months. Folks that donut tire is intended to get you to the nearest repair shop or tire retailer. Flats can usually be fixed for $5 with a plug. Why risk your life and make the roads more dangerous than they already are?
- "Motorcyles are Everywhere" bumper stickers. When motorcyclists care enough about their own safety to wear helmets, then I might give a crap about them being everywhere. In Rhode Island, only a passenger is required to wear one. Furthermore, every cycle that makes deliberate loud noise should be destroyed and it's owner forced to hear my two year old cry all night, after being woken by some illiterate hick with a hearing problem driving by my house on his piece of crap "hog" at 1:00 am.
- High fructose corn syrup. Unless you're growing and eating your own fruit and vegetables, you will not be able to escape the "white death" of useless empty calories. It's in everything- take a look. Sugar used to be a costly delicacy- consumed in moderation on special occasions. Now it's as common as the air we breath. Drop all processed sugar from your diet for ten days straight, I promise you will lose 10 pounds and feel great. Another tip- eat two whole oranges a day and your plumbing will be active and healthy. There's a long and gruesome story behind why I am required to know this.
I think I am done for now. When I think of more I will share.
"And now goodnight. It's time to sleep. So we sill sleep with our pet Zeep. Today was good today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day from here to there, funny things are everywhere" -Dr. Suess from the book One Fish Two Fish... one of my son's favorites. Look at him cry. Doesn't the pain of a child make you want to extinguish it, take it away, destroy it's source? What book was it where a scorpion stings a baby and the father catches it, pounds it to mush in his bare hands? That part, of whatever book that was, has been a vivid memory since I read it as a child. I would do the same.
Mr & Mrs Smith, the movie, was a disappointment. It gave me a headache and the story was dreamed up by a teenager I think- not a gram of realism. Cinderella Man was my choice but I was weak and let the Mrs choose this time.
I raced the Attleboro Criterium today and fiinished 22nd out of 44 finishers in the 30+ event. New bike is light but feels awkward. Left calf cramped up with 10 laps to go, so I couldnt' go 100% towards the end. Skipped Sat race in NewBritain CT. Needed rest and time to build up new bike anyway. Hot hot day. We went to Goddard Park and kicked the ball around with Reis before sunset. Watching him run is like witnessing a miracle. I saw him on ultrasound, no arms or legs, the size of a peanut. Now he walks talks runs jumps yells and gives us kisses. Anyway, today's result might have been a few places better, but my form is definitely not yet good enough to win. On the bright side, I weigh in at 171 today, which motivates me even more to get better. Tomorrow- I dread it a little. Work is piling up and so is the stressful pressure to really perform. I have eight projects now- over $5,000,000 of woodworking to manage. I will be either a hero or a villain by Thanksgiving, either promoted or fired. I am trusting my instincts will soon take over and I will go into auto-pilot mode and handle everything with ease, per usual. Must sleep. TTYL.
Not the most focused picture- but that's me in the Colavita kit. Mark McCormack lapped the field in the P-3 race today and won.
10 July 2005
08 July 2005
My parents are both Turkish and were both raised by Muslims, in Turkey. When one is raised in a Muslim family, it comes as no surprise that the faith of elders is adopted and the "torch is carried" onward. I was born and raised in the US, and mom and dad did their best to indoctrinate me with their [moderate] Muslim 'beliefs'. To me, belief is not some magical feeling you get, belief is not willfully inherited, belief is not genetic. To me, belief is a choice. It is a decision to have faith in something you do not truly comprehend. September 11th and the ongoing death and mauling which Islamic extremists are responsible for, has strongly affected my belief. "Guilt by association" has driven a wedge between untold millions of Muslims and their faith, not just me. My personal Values in order of descending priority: Health/Fitness, Family, Money/Job/Lifestyle, Religion. If Religion is your first priority, it isn't likely for you and I to have a very successful meeting of the minds.
Is mine the most arrogant looking smirk you've ever seen? Well, those who know me will tell you I'm not faking it. That's okay, who wouldn't rather be more arrogant and less insecure or unsure of themselves? That's me in Antalya Turkey, at Kemer Resort Hotel- an ultra-all inclusive holiday village resort, with my LIVESTRONG bracelet and goatee. Since that time, I have dropped ten pounds, gotten a buzz-cut and lost the goatee. At any rate, now I can link this pic to my profile so that it's there permanently, until a more recent one replaces it. TTYL.
It occurs to me that I didn't mention the bombings in London yesterday. I followed the news online while at work. I do not know anyone who lives in London. Those who planned this multiple extermination will hopefully be caught alive and removed from society permanantly- I am not a supporter of the death penalty.
As promised I was in Wallingford CT today and was delayed enough that I didn't make it to MA for the 2nd appt. Mark T Sheehan High School is being renovated. I work for a company that sells and installs woodwork, cabinets, countertops, fumehoods, laboratory accessories and plumbing fixtures. The labs at Sheehan HS are being abated of asbestos. They're also being re-sized- many existing walls are being demolished and new ones erected. My job was to meet with the general contractor today and to coordinate the new dimensions of the new classroom sizes. So that's how I spent this rainy day in Wallingford, CT. Measuring existing walls and structural beams to try and determine where new walls would be positioned later on, so that my cabinets and counters will fit. I am so tired when I return from CT that I fall asleep after playing with my son for 1/2 hour. Wife let me sleep right through dinner, I must have been wiped out. Just got up and ate. Tomorrow in CT again, weather permitting, to participate in the Nutmeg Games Criteriums in New Britain. Hopefully it doesn't rain, because then I will miss an excellent bicycle racing venue. Till tomorrow... Picture of an existing Sheehan classroom from a few months ago. Thi room is now gutted completely.
It's late and I should be in bed. Typing lightly to avoid waking family. Going to Wallingford CT and Woburn MA tomorrow. Need to wash some clothes before I retire. Today I weigh in at 172 pounds and I am very pleased with my form. Caloric deficit is all it takes. Why is weight loss such a mystery to so many? My target is 160 pounds, by Sept 1st. By declaring it, I am more or less compelled and obligated and driven to achieve it, without exception. Aim for the eagle, bag a pheasant and don't eat crow... Great image of the Phenix Mill fire from a few months ago, across the river from our home. Clean-up finally started today. We hope to see this land cleared and developed into a park or some nice condos- hope to get a ground floor deal on one. Also a picture of our 1860s colonial. Could the landscaping be any more overgrown and neglected than that?