Thursday, December 18, 2008

Masters Indoor Track - 'tis the season

Well, I've been threatening to do this for a year now and finally, the time is now. I'm planning to sprint competitively for the first time in 30 years on Dec. 27 (pending weather) at the Upstate Holiday Classic at RIT in NY. Of course, I've not really been training for this specifically, but I have been running. Like last year, this was a last minute decision. I will be in NY for the holidays and this year, I'll be bringing my Adidas. I plan to run the 55m and the 200m at RIT. If all goes well and I do ok, I'll likely run in the Ed Temple Indoor meet at TSU on 1/11. I've already registered but not yet paid.

I tried out my sprint legs yesterday at the Murphy Center. I ran two 300's with some of the elite college runners. Yea they smoked me but I was able to stay with them for 150m, not bad for an old white guy. I also did 4 full power starts out of the blocks with my spikes. Felt fine! No leg issues except that I'm a little sore today. Amazing that I can run 2:45 half mile repeats for days and feel no soreness, but just sprint two 300's and I'm sore. It's a totally different running experience.

For my first meet, I'd love to be around 7.5 in the 55m and under 25.0 in the 200m. I'd like to 'get on the board' at the Masters Rankings website. On the other hand, if I can't break 8 in the 55m and 26 in the 200m, I think I'll just hang it up.

Maybe if I get two meets under my belt with decent times, I'll get the balls to bug Dean Hayes again to let me run in a college meet at the Murphy Center. Last year he was kind enough to put me in but I had to scratch at the last minute. I don't want to ask him again unless I've actually done it before ...
I mean sometime since 1978:

UPDATE: I scratched from the 12/27 RIT meet. It was 3 hrs away and I entertained at my parent's 49th Anniversary party the night before and didn't feel like getting up early to drive the 3 hrs to race. I would not have been able to run the 200m and the 55m would have been risky since my left quad has again been strained since the last workout. I hope I'll be ready in 2 weeks to run the 55m at TSU.

Do the right thing - spay/neuter your animal

I saw him again... that cat.

My woods are full of feral cats. They seemed to be breeding out of control.
I've always suspected a particular large black and white tom cat was the father of many of these young cats. I also suspect he has fought with my cats. I see him all the time, walking around my property, drinking from my pool - like he owns the place. I saw him again last night. So, I decided to try and trap him. I've learned that having him neutered will take away that instinct to fight and also control the cat population around here.

After less than an hour, the trap was sprung but empty. Drat, that cat is too smart to get caught. So, I reset the trap in a different location and caught a cat, but not the one I wanted. This little female tabby looked to be less than a year old. The ear wasn't tipped* so I knew she hadn't been fixed. I called the Beesley clinic and they said they could take her today so I got my coat on. As I was looking at this cat, she didn't seem feral. So, I stuck my finger through the cage and touched her. She immediately began purring. I took her out of the cage and held her. She was clearly not a feral cat. I called my neighbor and found that she had just taken these 2 kittens, neither had been fixed, it was her cat. So, I returned her cat and encouraged her to have them fixed. It looks like that cat, the big black and white tom cat will have to wait for another day.

Thanks to Tana who has educated me on this subject and has done more to help control the cat population in Mid TN than anyone I know. At great personal expense, Tana has saved the lives of many animals. She has personally trapped, fixed, and released several cats in my neighborhood. I've learned a lot from her. Tana is a hero and champion of animals. Her actions could even help preserve the health of my own cats:

As my cats get older, I don't want to have them fighting for their territory and being infected or injured by these feral cats.

*If you're unfamiliar with Snip and Tip, it is a trap/neuter/return (TNR) program that will help control the population of feral and free roaming cats. All cats will receive a left ear tip to identify them as a spayed or neutered and vaccinated cat. Probably best that you read about how to trap cats humanely if you plan to do it.

Be responsible, have respect for life and don't be a Dick:

Spay/neuter your animals!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A different motorcycle culture: high on adventure, low on chrome and noise

The mint condition 2001 Kawasaki Super Sherpa.

I have to remind myself to drive this bike every month or so. It is nearly eight yrs old and has just 1170 miles on it. It just sits in the shed covered and shiny. Today I put a few miles on it, polished it up, and put it away.

I have an identical twin to this bike that I use a lot for commuting and off road adventure. So, why do I have two?

Well, this bike is ideal for me and they stopped selling it in the US in 2003. They replaced it with the KLR 250 which is nearly 30lbs heavier and 3 inches taller. A WORLD of difference on the trail. So, I thought that I'd kill one with my rugged off road riding and and keep one in reserve after I ruined the first. Guess what. This bike has proved to be extremely tough. It fell off the back of my truck last month and even that didn't hurt it much (slightly bent handlebars but I was able to correct it). Yea, it has a dented gas tank, ripped seat, and scratched up fenders ... but it spins like a top. Extremely reliable bike.

Well, guess what (again)? Kawasaki is reissuing the Sherpa for 2009. I guess they realized what a great bike this was.

I'm not impressed by the big custom Harleys and road bikes I see. I guess I'm more utilitarian in my perception of mechanical beauty. Unlike those bikes that sound like highly amplified farting going down the road, I'll stay with my quiet and nimble Sherpa, thank you. No chrome, noise, tattoos, minimally protective helmets and gray pony tails for me. Not my culture.

In fact, I feel sorry for those guys... confined to the pavement, trying to be cool like everyone else. They'll never be able to go where I do.

This is my motorcycle culture:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Moon Room

My upstairs sunroom has a glass ceiling and it becomes a 'moon room' on these nights of the brilliant full moon.
(click pictures to enlarge)

The white moonlight gives this room full of tropical plants an ethereal glow when the lights are off at night. It was really ethereal watching the snow come down last night and then see the moon break through the clouds directly overhead.

This is also a great 'rain room.'

In fact I like it best in this room when the sun is not shining.

Next to the little gas fireplace in this room, I'll be drinking lots of Assam tea and practicing guitar for my upcoming concert season.

This is a great room to practice in. I learned two Rodrigo concertos in this room. I like it especially at night and when it rains. A great room to watch lightning from as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bill's New Myspace Music Page

I finally created a myspace music page with music clips, photos, videos, and my concert schedule.

It was hard to decide on which six MP3s to put up, so if you don't like the clip that's playing, try the next one.

Here it is:

Here's an old photo I found of a concerto I played back in the 90's.