What the hell ya think I want, ya dumb muthafugga?!

got home late the other night. from riding Windgate with Alex Rentzis and then watching league finals at Cap Basin. An excellent way to spend an evening. Rode Beckie’s Superlight, and found myself way to close to the bars, so I kept not recovering on the climb with too much weight up front and felt really sluggish steering on the downs. Still we had a good time and finished just at dark, a minor doinger going through Paradise Wash a rock reached up and grabbed me. Finals were good, Al’s team which seemingly should have been defeated long ago won, so there ya have it let’s hear it for the champs. I showed up in my jersey, to which JT and Stoli sassed me on my flamboyance, but when I revealed back pockets full of beer the compliments abounded at my ability to combine form and function.

Anyway, got home late and wasted. G woke up soon after, held her, did a pants-check, she kept crying…then she walked over and grabbed the legs of her high chair. She looked at me like “duh?! get with the plan? gimme sumptin ta eat!”. Wow. very clever baby. A friend of mine from high school Cindy Barr wrote a book on baby sign language, I haven’t gotten to read it but the idea is pretty cool. It seems pretty intuitive to me, from having dealt with Jo, Kila and the cats. They don’t talk, but say plenty if you know what to look for. G definitely sends clear signals, and they are not hard to see if you pay attention. I’m not sure how much more the communication would benefit from sign language, but I’ve got about 6 months to find out.

A big difference with the animals, however, is that they don’t have much to say. G definitely had more complicated things to say. Kila never wanted to bang on the keyboard; Jo wants to eat the keyboard, but G stopped doing that months ago; and Diego just wanted to sit on the keyboard. Genevieve knows that hitting the keyboard makes the monitor do stuff and makes cool noises. Kila gets hungy and just hangs out and looks needy, she never picks up her dish and bangs it. But G, stupid as she is, had more complex thoughts about the same things than the more mature animals do. Its a cool example of maturity vs. intelligence.

the drunk windtalking welder

coming back from Moab we gassed up in Tuba City, and there were 3 dudes hanging out in the shade next to the back exit of the quickie mart. Its about 1pm, one of em starts giving my friend Stan the pitch for a handout, he actually brings up how his people were the windtalkers during ww2 and how much America owes them, Stan escapes and he turns on me…drunk, slurring, telling me he had recently been up in Colorado working as a welder for $32/hr, but now he’s back here and broke. And apparently making a full-time job out of panhandling people stopping for gas.

So let’s recap: the man has skills that pay some good wages, but not in the middle of nowhere Arizona where no one is building anything. He knows about money, and a job, and how hard work equals good salary. He knows good work for him involves travel. He chooses to return to Tuba City.

I’d like to ride like Lance Armstrong, but not train. I’d like to be rich, but not work. I’d like to have a job that completely maximizes my skills, but be able to work from home. I’d like to bang the hottest chicks in the world, but do no situps, buy no flowers, and put up with no attitude. At the risk or massively over-generalizing, I am so damn tired of hearing complaints from Tribes or tribe members about how hard they have it cause they can’t escape the poverty and hopelessnes of the res, but, YOU NEVER HEAR THEM SERIOUSLY CONSIDER MOVING!!! Everything is a trade-off. You live where you call home, you don’t have a fixed schedule, or sprawl or pollution, you live around people you know and are part of your community, you don’t have gang crime and high property taxes and traffic, or work-related stress, no one says how great those things are on the res? The res has problems, but it also has attractions for some. Why is it that trade-offs are common sense, but both Native Americans and everyone else seems to ignore commons sense when talking about the res? Its like our collective hard-on for the small American farmer who is no longer efficient or particularly good in his chosen field or able to survive without intrusive government assistance — we have this sentimental or guilt-laden or simply co-opted view of an issue and want to have everything at no cost. We want Native Americans to be able to live on the res, but have it be like Scottsdale.

White people just enable this sort of thinking by not making the discussion about economics, and instead suggesting that we need to help the Indians, that somehow the way they are perceived to be living is wrong and must be corrected. The windtalking welder knows this quite well, it laced his entire pitch. He didnt say “can I earn some money from you”, he said his people helped America 60 years ago so should get paid now, that he didnt have work because he was in Tuba City not that work was unavailable to him. The problems we see on the res go with the lifestyle. The Tribes (generally) have made it really clear that they like their location and will go to incredible lengths to preserve their locations, that their homes and their connection to the land is the most important thing to them, that they are a community and not a group of individuals. Clearly, the people who choose their connection to their tribe as their social identification (as opposed to an unencumbered free agent in a liberal democracy…or, your typical mainstream American) don’t want the lifestyle changes that are the cost of higher standards or living and cures for many of their res’s problems. So why is there such a liberal guilt about it, and why do we look at drunk windtalking welder and think this is a problem with the res? Its what it is, its the trade-off, it will work itself out, or it won’t. Trying to fix someone is just hubris. Who are you to say its wrong? Who are you to say it needs fixing? And why should I pay to fix it for someone who ignores the economic forces that are as crucial to my way of life as his connection with his home is to him?

Moab 07

Fri-Sun we rode in Moab. This was my 6th trip, and 5th time on Al’s Moab Tour, 7th Al’s Tour alltogether. The group grows out of Phx ultimate frisbee, but over the years has connections with lots of other riders in the Valley, SLC, Boulder, etc. via work and people who moved. Lots of good people, and each year I see old friends and new. This was the first trip Beckie missed, which was too bad cause there were a lot of women and they were as forceful as the guys in setting the tone for the rides. Probably 35? people all together, about 10 women, which is a huge change from the normal 9:1 sausage fests. Its weird going to Moab so many times — I never tire of it or the trails, but now its like an old friend. My *wow* over Moab is different, but I still love going there every time. each trip has been special in its own way, but I didn’t take a lot of photos this time around.

Rode up Friday early with Stan Marks and Kevin Hatch. It worked out good to meet at Stan’s near 51 and 101, but like everything when you have different people in the carpool, it took awhile. Mellow ride up mostly, except for the most bizzare gas station incident ever. The shut-off valve on the pump didnt shut off, and gushed like 10 gallons of gas onto the parking lot. The “manager” gave us great shit about having to pay for it, threatening to call the cops when I threatened to contest the charge…he actually told us it was our fault since we did not pay attention to the sign that said not to leave pump unattended. Stan carefully noted that there was abosorbent all aroundt he pump, so clearly this was not the first time. Much finger-pointing, call to the owner, finally Kevin just paid the $15 difference and we got out of there. Still, gotta call the AZ dept of weights and measures and report that f*ing crook.

We got to Moab finally about 3:30, just in time to unpack for Slickrock. I committed this year to no-car-in-town, so hoofed it 2.5 miles up to the parking area. The weather was err 50-60 maybe and overcast. From the start I just felt good, not so much physically though the strength and wind were there, but the flow on the bike was smooth. I was descending fast (for me) and taking speed through turns really well. I could tell all the night rides on National and the other rides I’ve been doing with faster MTBR riders had helped a lot. I just flowed over the bumps descending, and it made the whole ride so much easier to have that boost going back up. Slickrock can get in your head cause you risk going otb but if you dont carry speed you go ot-seat on the uphills. Choosing the right gear is usually a nonstop angst-ridden nightmare of doubt and remorse. But really, none of that happened this time. I just flowed flowed flowed. Stood strong on the steeps and cleared everything but one, the nearly ungettable double-hump-out-of-sandy-wash taking the loop counter clockwise. I actually slid down the hill on that and got some nice burn to show for it. The weather was just a whisper of rain but windy and sand in the air, so lots of sliding out on the trail. Plus my shoes are getting so old there is like no rubber on the bottom anymore. Bloopers video would have been quite amusing for some of the slides, but we didn’t get too many. At the top of one hill early on, I found a super nice fleece hat and a compression headband someone had obviously dropped. Though I tried, no one claimed it, and it was a godsend cause I managed to forget all headgear for the weekend. Wore those things practically all weekend cause it was cold cold cold the whole time except the morning we left. About halfway through Slickrock, I lost my little gear on the rear. Rick later told me it was just my old-ass drive train, and that I should just get through the weekend and replace it. Which it was, and I did, and I did. Halfway through when we were just about at the Arches lookout about as far away as you can be, the wind picked up and I thought for sure we were gonna get dumped on, so I hammered from the far point of the ride all the way back and down to the condos. It was cool as I was alone for almost all of that, and that never happends on Slickrock. It was so worth it, made the social pace worth it to have some personal time as well. Hit 30+ on the descent back. Dinner at McFisters, then crashed knowing we would likely sleep in to let the weather clear.

Woke up at 8, saw it was raining, rolled over. Woke up at 9, repeated. Woke up about 10ish, got some coffee, and slowly motivated to do Sovereign trail. Sovereign is a neat 14 mile out-and-back, mostly singletrack, with a taste of everything Moab on the way. We did it about 3 years ago, but this time started from the other end…it was cool I mostly forgot the trail that way, so it was exciting and felt like a first time. The flow over the slickrock fields and in between the rocks was awesome, again I felt good carrying speed and carving turns. I mostly yo’yod at the front of the pack with John Roach riding his 6/6 Rocky Mount. Apparently this was his first ride on the bike, and first ride all season. He did great, and we had a good thing rolling. Couple other guys got in our little pack, and we had a blast tearing through the terrain. One spot I carved so hard the bike slid out – i put a foot down and saved myself, but was more scared about getting pounded by the fellas behind me then falling. Near miss, all was well, fortunately I had ridden with Justin and Sean the week before at Black Canyon Trail, so I was pretty comfortable with them by that time. Right after, near the end of the outward leg, I punched whole through my aging rear Weirwolf, which worked out good the pack caught us as I was changing it. At the far point on the out, a lot of our group got worried about weather and took the road back to the cars. Me and John said screw that we are here to ride, what’s an hour of rain?!? that moxie lasted about 15 min til we started missing lifts with the trail and our tires covered in red sand. The weather threatened and misted, and John and I agreed to hammer home and not much stop. Light bike, pride, competitive friendship…whatever, I dropped him quickly :p! Right about when the weather was making me grumpy, we ran into Guy and Karen, Aaron, Kathi and Ally, who all had started later from the other side. Was just the lift I needed, and we all played around on the trials up the one big climb for awhile. Guy is blast, just like snowboarding he’s a nut in his special way — man I like my friendship better with him now that we don’t play ultimate together anymore, likely he says the same thing. The weather cleared up a bit to where even the mist stopped, brake preservation was in order and actually worked out well by heading for the sand pits every time I needed to slow down. Again we had the trail mostly to ourselves woohoo. Bombing the last DH was great.

Kevin coming up the first climb\last DH

how I spent my time ahead of the pack

Back at our condos, the partying started early. Karen, Kathi and their friend Ally brought the Boulder ultimate tradition of carbombs to the party, and it was a huge hit. at least I think it was, I really lost track after the 3rd one. The Utah basketball game was on, so I didn’t have much idea about the extent of the drunkeness until Guy stumbled into our condo all sloppy blaming Freight Train (renamed Light Rail by Kathi during the carbome extravaganza). Maybe it was the rain driving everyone inside, but after a couple of carbombs it felt like being back in college. All of us crammed into one condo, loud as shit and sloppy drunk. There was broken stuff, there was vomitting, there was a subsequent nasty letter from the management. It was almost as good as our wedding, and best of all, I managed not to be the cause of any of it!

Amazingly, we managed to motivate for Porcupine Rim in time to get back for the start of the Suns game at 1:30. This year me and only Ray opted to ride the 10 miles to the trailhead, and it got plenty cold and dreary on the jeep road up. Around mile 8 with the trail getting slushy and the wind chill getting in my head, I had my doubts. the additional hour-long technical climb to the Castle Valley overlook really hurt, and I felt cold all over. but it was such a fun climb as always. snow patches were mixed in with spring wildflowers of red, yellow, purple and white. Some stuff I didnt try knowing I’d slip off in the wet sand, but mostly I just spun slow and cleared it all and had fun working my way up the hill. At the overlook, there were maybe 30 people at the top, a far cry from the hundreds you usually see there. So while we didnt stop long, and it was cold and muddy for the first 1000 feet down, the trail was virtually ours alone! My little group of 5 (John Roach, Al, Nick from Park City, and Greg ??) took full advantage and sailed down everything — I actually tried to avoid braking as much as possible to save my pads from the destructive sand. The little bit of jumping I’ve been slowly adding to the repetoire was a big help, and I really started wanting a bigger bike to launch off of things. We got in “the zone” like a few years ago when Matt Westfield, Alex, Beckie and I tore ass down this run. 5 miles of descent went by in no-time, we stopped when John had a little slide-out on the sandy rock, but were glad to give our hands a break. It was still cold, so after just few min we were off again and were past the Diving Board and onto the singletrack in maybe 45 min total. The single track was divine — John and Al a few hundred yards in front, Nick and Greg a few hundred behind, and no one else in sight! This never happens!!! It was total blast just focusing on the technical descent and the river 400 feet below and not worrying about running up on someone or someone riding my butt. I was able to be patient and let the lines appear before me instead of worry about crowds, a few things I went back and hit twice. I got in a great zone, just going with my flow, and nailed everything but the stuff that imo is unridable — the best run down that trail I’ve ever had!! Bad memories of my endo 2 years ago just faded away and I just was in the moment rolling through this incredible, beautiful trail.

We were far ahead of the group, and it was still cold. Al wanted to synch up, but I talked John into coming along as my part-time puller. He didnt take much persuading…Back just in time for the Suns game. More partying, more friends, virtually no blood or bruises the whole trip!!! A great weekend cant wait for next year when I hope to tack on 2 days in Fruita!!

Peas, the phone

the baby loves peas. I discovered this a couple months ago. its hysterical watching her tinyHuman fingers plucking individual peas tinily into her mouth. for some reason peas have fallen off the rotation lately, and i was noticing both us and daycare sometimes fall back to giving her too much carbs and not enough veggies. So peas were on the menu tongiht, and they came roaring back to the top of the cool list. wow did they ever. Its like in the Eminem song “The Way I Am”. They feed me the fuel that I need for the fire to burn and its burning and I have returned”. Wow…what a meal. First, the baby plucked peas, but with great aplomb. Then she began to take peas out of the container, then she began to place peas back in the container. There was pea rolling, pea dropping, pea spooning (though that did not go well), pea grabbing, pea mashing…quite the entertainment must have taken her 20 minutes to eat.

Sometime after the peas, when the filthy hands got clean and the mashed peas which now looked like parrot shit were wiped from the floor, the phone rang. G actually knows now what the handset is and grabbed it when it was ringing. This was neat, she’s been into phones for a long time and I always thought it was just cause they were shiny and make noise. But lately I started to figure out she liked em cause we used em, and last week she actually started putting her cell phone (“her” cell phone…the demo phone they gave her at Best Buy to keep her from having a meltdown when Beckie was buying a $3000 washer dryer) up to my face to try to get me to do something. So, I called our house on my cell and tried to talk to her. Not sure it worked too well since we were right next to each other, but I’ll have to get Beckie to help and try it from across the room.

Mexico

we got down to RP last weekend. we saw this weekend coming up open and used our in-season week to hold it, really needed to chill from my workhell and Beckie changing jobs.

we went, we rolled through Maricopa and G was asleep and we thought we had just enough fumes to make Gila Bend, and we did, but for some BACF pulling out in front of us at 10 mph and i slowed so down from 75 to 10, and so we ran out of gas 1 mile from the end of the Mobile road. I rode it out on my bike, I knew this was coming, and I kinda got a twisted enjoyment out of saving us with my bike. in the convenience store I walked up to the counter with the bike in one hand and the gas can in the other, and asked for the can plus the price of a gallon. This feaked out the cashier, who said whuh whuh??? it took her a while to tumble to the siteeation. A mile back with a fistful of gas, and on our way we were. but abrief 25 minute delay…should have stopped in Maricopa.

The rest of the trip was good times. Mexico times. Many good photos of G and K. and this video of many seabirds feeding on a pod of fish. The darkness is not a trick of the eyes, its the fish.

At night we watched “8 Below” about some sled dogs who were left to fend for themselves one winter in Antartica. It was cool, but I swear Kila got emboldened by the movie. The next day on the beach she was very assertive, playing and pushing other dogs around — it was like an Italian guy watching Rocky. You can see them romping in the backround of one of the pictures.

Kila!

Beckie and I are convinced G is saying Kila, and if so this would in fact be her first word. I’m cool with it, Beckie seems ok with it too. It makes sense, since its a word G hears more than just about anything but her own name, the first word she hears when she gets home. All the effective means of associations are there — repetition, paying attention, happy times and positive reinforcement, unambiguous. At first we would go “Kila!” and G seemed to be going “keeewaahh.” Maybe a coincidence, the kid babbles a lot…but lately she will say it when the dog comes in the room, and last night when the dog was barking at the door she said it too.

2007_0422_mexico_06_blog.jpg

Today for the first time G held out her face like I do for the dog to lick her. Everybody seemed to enjoy that, especially Kila, who would greatly appreciate if the damn baby would just start to learn to treat her in a manner befitting civilized dogs.

Babies Gone Wild!

Uh oh…here comes the evil black-hearted parrot!

Run!

**I reordered these photos for artistic and narrative purposes; G is not this smart. Her first scar is on her right index finger where the parrot got her (not this time, I am not that bad of a dad).

New Daycare

G started at a new daycare last week.

her first report…

I wish I could do dirt exploration and be cheerful.

This place is more expensive and more rigid w. schedules than the last daycare. But their setup for 1’s is a lot better. The old place’s 1’s room was kind of dismal and they didn’t offer too much in the way of activities. T he teachers seem much more focused and involved with the kids, on the whole, than they did at Kiddie Care. There were lots of nice people at the last place, and as an infant it was great, and being able to bring G in whenever we wanted and only pay by the day was huge. But it was definitely hit or miss with the staff — some were great, some just didnt seem so sharp. Don’t know if it was the neighborhood or what, but as a group they seem better and a bit more stable at Kinder Kare. Seemed like it was time to make a move, and spend some of the money we saved the first year. Plus with Beckie taking the job at Cox we really need something close to home that doesnt have to be on our commute route.

So far G has been very shy when we drop her off, but she was that way at the last place in the 1’s room too. The teachers seem to get this and always try to settle her in. I’ve noticed too with G that the transitional phases are where meltdowns are born or defused. Most of the days thus far she has had a Cheerful day!

More unsolicited compliments about the smart baby

Some of the teachers at the new daycare (more on that in another post) are now telling us how smart G seems. Whew! I couldn’t stand a stupid baby. Eventually she will stop being cute and I will have to deal with this human for the next 50 years, its a good thing she is not a moron. that would make for unpleasant Thanksgiving dinners, not to mention no support in my old age from her salary at Jack-In-The-Box.

We heard this before from the old daycare, but thought maybe since it was in a less-affluent neighborhood that maybe there were some less-gifted kids there, so she just looked good by comparison. The thought that income and intelligence could be correlated and affect the average intelligence of G’s peers at daycare was surprising to Beckie, but seemed common sense to me. All else equal, we always say of a smart person things like “they are gifted”, “they will do well”, “they have potential” etc. etc. So why is it not fair to assume that there may be an equal correlation between lower-incomes and lack of intelligence, which gets passed on genetically and culturally just like we assume smarter parents will have smarter kids? Its a little harsh, and hard to look at other babies and think they lack some potential due to their genes: “sorry little boy, you are doomed to be slack-jawed your whole life.” It made me a little sad, but mostly just happy G has a brain.

Dome Light

I turned on the dome light the other day and G started laughing. I turned it off, I turned it on, more laughter. I put my hand on the switch, and by now she had figured it out and was anticipating me turning it off. She’s figured out her own cause-and-effect, but this was probably the first time I noticed she figured out cause-and-effect for someone else.