Monday, February 26, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Well, I'm thankful for having my new job, but it sure hasn't turned out to be what it was made out to be in my interview. I've been in the Coon Rapids shop for the past week, and it's pretty much been a return to Scheels, where I worked before during college and during some flight instructing days. I spend most of my days in a chemical bath of sorts, degreasing very neglected low quality bicycles that customers have dragged out of the corners of their dirty garages with demands that they perform like a $1000 plus bike. I've been putting in 10.5 hour days working alongside my supervisor, who has bloody bullet holes tattooed on his neck, and who recently asked me if I "blaze" (smoke weed), apparently looking for more people to waste away with. My managers have also clued me into the fact that the company off-loads 9 out of 10 mechanics as soon as the busy season is over (July or August), so job security and promotion opportunities that were boasted about in my interview my have been fluff to get me excited to work there. I can't say as of now, but needless to say the week was less than motivating. Maybe I'll end of eating all my words about the flight industry and return to the air sometime. I wouldn't make any money, but work would be interesting. Doesn't seem to be a lot of places were you can do both. Anyhow, my point today was not to bum anyone out, just to give an update. For now I'm going to watch the Tour of California on my day off...sweet...
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
MN has been pretty cold lately. Cold and dry. This is the 3rd-least-snowy winter in recorded history, according to the local weather folks. And now we had a random warm spell, hitting the forties during the day, so the snow is not making it. Probably because I just acquired new snowshoes. But not to fear, there is much more to do outside. Alison and I decided to sleep out last night, seeing as the forecast low was 25 degrees F, and she doesn't have any winter camping experience yet. The actual low was 33 degrees F, and needless to say we were quite comfortable. We're plenty equipped for some winter backpacking when time allows. We haven't seen the Superior Hiking Trail in the winter yet, so hopefully that will happen before Spring is here to stay. And speaking of Spring, this heat wave also allowed for my first 2007 road ride here in MN. I donned my cold weather cycling garb and spun a nice 31 mile ride on fairly dry roads. I had all the usual Midwest cycling experiences- cool temps, wind, the smell of cow ass, and tubby dudes driving huge motor vehicles yelling at me in their belief that bicycles don't have a right to be on the road. But it was honestly really fun. It was no UT, but that's asking a whole lot. This will do for now. I'm just thankful that the really frigid days of the Northern winter might be over, and I got a good primer for the cycling season.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
My new job required me to go through a busy week of commuting to Bloomington (and hour drive each way due to traffic) for training. I don't know that I really learned anything, as I've already gained two years of bike mechanic experience, but I did get paid for fifty hours of easy work, and now I'm certified to fix your bike at Erik's and give your money to my boss. I'll be starting at the Coon Rapids store on Monday, and will be able to commute by bicycle and stop burning gas and money unnecessarily. I'm going to have to find some cyclocross tires for my fixed gear bike, because my mountain bike is up for sale (don't want to get it all sloppy), and I don't subject my touring bike to the salty winter MN roads. Anyhow, my schedule is somewhat slow for the next week at the shop, and the weather is supposed to warm up so that temps at night will be a balmy 18 degrees, so I may have to spend a night out winter camping. It would be nice to breath some fresh air. I don't own a four season tent just to fill my closet. As you were...
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Last night I finished Edward Abbey's The Fool's Progress. This was perhaps the best book I've read in quite a while. I say that not because I think everyone will like it, or that it contained a message that I think everybody needs to be exposed to, but because it hit a nerve within me. The best books you'll read are the ones in which you can tell the author has felt the same feelings that you are feeling, or have felt, so you relate, and it's not just a story. There were certain qualities, ideals, and opinions that the main character of the book had that I share (but certainly some that I did not). I guess sometimes it's comforting to know that others have the same delirium that you suffer from, and that there's more than one mindset in the world. The book is basically Abbey's autobiography morphed into fiction. Made me feel like writing my own. Maybe I will someday, for my own sake more than to try to sell a book. I'm definitely going to read more of Abbey's works. If you like to read, check out The Fool's Progress. It will hit you or it won't. Depends on what's already in your head, I suppose.
I just accepted a new job at Erik's Bikes and Boards here in Coon Rapids. I'll be working as a full time bicycle mechanic again. In some of my spare time I'll be helping my father in law with some flight training, as he is going after an instrument rating. I may or may not be working at a small flight school in the area too, depending on scheduling. An escape from "full-time" flying should feel good, as there never was any stability or pay in that, but it would be nice to keep my foot in the door of that industry if I should ever decide that I can't live without an unstable, underpaid, under appreciated career that demands a high level of training and expertise. We'll see. I may just have too much fun in the outdoor industry. Biking to work, working on bikes, biking after work. Not bad. This of course puts me in the position of needing a winter worthy two wheeled human powered machine, as I sold my old 1x1 in SLC. My Trek 8000 is up for sale if anyone wants it. So for now, this is everyone's notice that I found work. You can call me for more details; I'll be working through calling everyone soon.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Our old friends Sam and Jason from NHRG in Grand Forks, ND have started somewhat of a revolution in outdoor sports world. They've combined slacklining with yoga, and produced a DVD and website: yogaslackers. It's pretty wild, and looks like fun. I can't imagine how much it would build core strength and concentration abilities for climbing and any other sport requiring balance and focus. Check it out.