Tuesday, January 10, 2012


OK. First things first. Happy New Year and all that jazz. I apologize for being MIA the last few weeks...seems things have just been OC (Out of Control). It's like I feel the need to clone myself, so one of us can kick back while the other one deals w/ life.

The holidays were actually pretty nice here...we had GREAT weather! In fact, I'd venture to say it's the nicest holiday weather we've had since we moved here in 2002.

However. I think I MIGHT have mentioned it here...maybe in the comments. I leave for England in LESS than 2 weeks. For THREE MONTHS! I fly on the 23rd of Jan, return on 20 April. All for work. I'll be living in a 'flat' (apartment) in Harrogate (West Yorkshire, UK...basically about the middle of the country). I"ll have my own rental car. I'm requesting a stick shift...nothing more fun than driving on the WRONG side of the road, shifting with the wrong hand, occasionally (for the first week or so) hitting the windshield wipers when you meant to turn on your turn signal (cuz they are on the wrong side of the steering wheel). OR, when you get in the car (sometimes in the passenger seat thinking you can drive from there), and put the car in reverse, then smack the bejesus out of your right elbow as you turn to your right swinging your arm up over what SHOULD be the passenger seat so you can look to backup, only to find quickly that it's the drivers window). But by the 2nd week driving on the other side of the road seems pretty natural, and after a month it's all you remember (and you will then be screwed up when you come home).

However...I am totally frazzled. I feel like I have so much to do here before I go. And SO little time to do it. My memory is not very good any more...I think of a dozen critical things every night before bed (as I lie there trying to go to sleep) and can't remember any of them in the morning. My desk 'area' at work looks like a breeding grounds for yellow stickies (of various sizes). My home 'office' is just a MESS! It truly is OC! I need to just sweep my entire work and home office areas into a giant box, and go thru it later. However all my memory (stickies) would be in there somewhere.

Tonight I stayed late after work and disassembled my Ritchey road bike for shipment...it's a special 'break-away' frame I bought specificly for an England trip 3 years ago (which was subsequently cancelled)...and it will FINALLY get to see a foreign country! But to say I'm "Less than jazzed" about the weather I expect in February and March in the UK is a huge understatement. I expect cold, wind, and wet. All the things I HATE in weather. And I'm bringing a road bike. To ride. In that weather. But knowing how much of a 'fair weather rider" I am, I have to admit that it might be a few weeks before I venture out on the bike unless they have uncharacteristically decent weather. I have some serious mental adjustment to do. But I WILL ride, mark my words. Sooner or later. I have a nice wool jersey, a decent rain/wind jacket, tights, gloves, ear warmers, toe warmers, full on neoprene booties, wind vests, arm and leg warmers. I just have to get all decked out and get out there. That, and find WHERE to get out there without getting myself killed. The roads are VERY narrow, and I need to find some locals to ride with.

SO. The upcoming trip is somehow overshadowing my entire existence right now. And it appears my work is frazzled too...as my boss and his minions are all anxious to so a zillion tings (more accurately, have ME do a zillion things) before I go. I ended up working 5 hours last Saturday, and this Saturday will most likely be somewhere between 8 and 12 hours. All just trying to catch up with those zillion things. And I FEEL like I'm losing the battle..that I'm being overwhelmed by the situation. I keep thinking of things I NEED to pack. The entire purpose of me taking this trip is to pocket some money...2 vacations last year (Alaska Cruise in June, and then the Hawaii vacation in Nov) left me feeling quite broke. I need to catch up. SO while I'm sitting over there in my little apartment trying NOT to spend lots of money, I will be right smack in the middle of some awesome tourism stuff. Just a hop, skip and a jump plane flight away from all of Europe. I was hoping Jeannie could come over at the end of my trip, but she realizes how much it will cost and we are both trying to save some $.

And hey...final thoughts...does anybody know if NBC Sports (the NEW VS channel) will be on regular satellite/cable service? I saw a commercial the other day for it on our Dish Network satellite. Just wondering. I don't expect much cycling coverage over there..but I will have internet. So that will have to suffice. Maybe with the new Team SKY (an English Team) there will be good coverage...I can hope!

OK. This was just a quick catch-up on why I haven't been posting lately....as you can see, no good reasons, just good excuses. And speaking of excuses, excuse me while I go be frazzled some more.

Looks like I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue! (Airplane). Funny, but that's EXACTLY how I feel lately!


  1. Oh Matt! I know you will pull it together (and when you get too frazzled, remember to ask, what's the worst that can happen?-- and go from there...) Just don't forget your camera!

    Really will be a shame if Jeannie can't join you for a little bit-- amazing to me the amount of traveling you both do for work.

    You will be there for the spring classics!! Cycling coverage is much better there! Eurosport 1 and 2 carry most of the races (that is the "illegal" feed that I often watch over the internet), and as well do local national (dutch, Belgian, etc) channels. I THINK Eurosport is a broadcast channel. Oh, if you can at all manage it, try to get over to Holland or Belgium for one or two of the races! I hear that the beer and frites really round out the viewing experience.

    It seems that the new NBCSports will be carried just the same as Versus. It is Universal sports channel which seems to be going away...the over-the-air is gone, and a lot of cable systems have dropped it (including mine, although I never upgraded my package to get it).

    The temperature has dropped 25 degrees, the wind is HOWLING and we've gone from pouring rain to sleet to snow this evening. Hello, winter!

    I've been visiting a home improvement forum as I think about fixing up my 1942 kitchen and one of the sidebar google ads has been for the NBCSports channel--featuring a picture of bloodied and bandaged Laurent Ten Dam after his TdF crash. Remember that? The ladies of the forum has been complaining about the ad..."unneccessarily nasty! Disgusting! Gross! Write NBC and complain!"
    Does this mean there is something wrong with me? I see that and think (with admiration) that's one heck of a guy...


  2. Hae Rae (CHUCKLE!)...gosh, isn't the English language just baffling? If only everything was spelled how it's pronounced. But I digress...I'll be hoping that the TV channels in my 'flat' carry the races...that would be pretty cool! (only I'll REALLY be missing my DVR! Actually having to WATCH it as it's playing?? GASP! BLASPHEMY!!!!) I'm going to make the best of the LOOONNNGGGG trip, that's for sure. Who knows...MAYBE on some long weekend I'll end up on a flight over to Belgium...be pretty cool to be one of THOSE people on the side of some uber famous cobble section...we'll see tho (the purpose of me going on the trip is to pocket some $$...not to go spend it all!)

    It seems in my 'Frazzled' post I was so frazzled that I FORGOT to talk about the end of Football (college I mean). Over the holidays there was some AMAZING bowl games...I especially liked the Michigan State game, and the Stanford game (boy, their poor field-goal kicker has probably slit his wrists by now...a freshman misses THREE and they lose in overtime? That's a LOT of pressure for a 19yr old kid!) and finally the Natnl Championship game...Bama vs LSU. I was REALLY rootin up a storm for Bama...but they didn't need it. Boy, they sure showed WHO the best team was. And not to take anything away from Oklahoma State who had a small claim that THEY should be playing LSU (I say small, cuz the lost to unranked Iowa, and Bama only lost to LSU, the #1 team in the country, in overtime...which team of those 2 deserves a shot at #1? Bama, that's who). Not to knock LSU as they surely dominated EVERY team they played (except for Bama)...I thought Bama was the better team back in Nov, but they lost in OT. Such is life. Lots of crying about the BCS thing...but they are doing their best to ensure the TOP TWO teams go to the BCS championship game...and this year that did happen IMO.

    OK...I have a whole nother part of my comment but it's too big (blogger won't let me post a comment more than 4096 characters it seems)...so I'll add it immediately below.

  3. Enough on the college pigskin...a few moments on the pro's...my poor Raiders lost to San Diego in their final game, thus giving the division championship to Denver, aka Tebow. I was REALLY rooting for them yesterday vs New England tho...prob one of the only times I've EVER rooted for the Broncos. However, Tebow didn't get his divine intervention and they were clobbered (I heard anyway...I worked a 13 hour day on Sat so missed it all). I hate to admit it, but I'm kind of a Tebow fan myself...the more I learn about him the more I like him. Except when he/they are playing my Raiders...THEN I will still HATE him.

    OK...enough football (sorry to everybody except for Susie I mean...she likes football too). How about some CYLING???

    I saw a very interesting article on Velo News that the CAS refused to hear WADA's 'expert' regarding Contadors doping decision. WOW! Or I mean, MAYBE wow. I guess it could mean a few different things. I for one take it that they (the CAS) are saying "the tests you have for plasticizers aren't yet trustworthy, THUS any info you and your expert have regarding your belief that he (AC) transfused his own blood is just pure speculation". But it could also mean they they don't need any further info, that he doped pure and simple cuz the WADA code has no threshhold for Clen and he had it, and had almost no case for how it got there, and their decision is simple and don't need anybody else adding more to look at. Hopefully they (the CAS) will actually have their decision out very soon. Quite honestly, IMO, this has taken WAY WAY WAY too long, and guilty or not, he should be acquitted and allowed to ride. This far out, it's just pure BS If they were to strip him of his wins and penalize him. They MUST find a way to make this type of thing infinitely quicker. The race in question was almost TWO YEARS ago for crying out loud. Call this one a lost cause and move on, try to do better (MUCH better) in the future. IF he did cheat, then he gets away with one, but EVERYBODY in the peleton knows they can detect such a small amount and the next guy won't be so lucky. Just my thoughts. I can surely see how it will rile up people if he's let go (but again, we really have no actual PROOF he cheated...only that he did indeed have the infinitesimal amount in his blood). They (WADA) needs to establish a level that is cheating being as the stuff IS in the worlds food supply. Pure and simple.

    OK...enough on that. What about the new super-team Leopard-Shack? Cathy...you've been awfully quiet...we are still riding on your coattails and waiting any tidbits you can tell us about things. Hows training camp, and how are they looking? It should be quite the season, that's for sure.

    OK..gotta run. SO MUCH to do, so little time!

  4. Hey Matt - I've been hoping to get here all week & time got away from me. AGAIN! You did mention about your England trip a while back but I clean forgot! Hope you have a great time & make lots of moola! What will your doggies think with you away so LONG?! Poooooor babies!

    I think Rae is correct that the cycling coverage should be MUCH better in Eng/Europe than here. And if you can SOMEhow swing it, you just HAVE to get over to Belgium or France for either Flanders (4/2) or Paris-Roubaix (4/8)! It would be AWESOME for you to be there & for us when you do your fabulous reports & pics! Maybe you can meet some fellow cycling nuts in England & go over together. Maybe you could even rent a tent/sleeping bag if you don't want to pay for a hotel. It's WAY too cold for me but you & your brother have slept out in colder weather during your camping trips.

  5. FOOTBALL (hey, ever hear the old Andy Griffith bit when he talks about football? It's hysterical, but I digress).

    Did you really like the BCS Championship game?! OMG, I thought it was the WORST game ever! Not that Bama won just that LSU was unrecognizable & only got past the 50yd line ONCE!

    And anybody tired yet of my sweet cheeked little gumdrop TEBOW? ;) Yes, even *I* have to say Tebowmania got out of control, but I just adore him. A GREAT football player & such a GREAT, GOOD guy. I do get LIVID when I read & watch the TV idiots trash him. I am absolutely convinced that the current pro & ex-pro players that did not set the college football world on fire are JEALOUS of those that do & desperately want all the star college guys to fail in the NFL.

    I've got more (MUCH MORE) to write about football, but it will have to wait til next week. Except that my pics for the Super Bowl will be the Patriots & the Giants. If the Ravens beat the Pats, I will be SHOCKED, unless Brady is sick or gets injured &/or knocked out of the game. Not that I'm a huge Patriots fan (especially since they hurt my sweetie!) but I think Brady is on a mission to get at least 1 more ring. I also think he sees the end is closer than the beginning now in his career & wants to make his mark on the sport.

  6. As for Contador, I think it would be even MORE of a FARCE if he gets no suspension at all than the ridiculous delay of the whole thing. Still, I've already prepared myself for his getting off. The surprising thing is it won't actually bother me toot much BECAUSE even better than seeing him sit out a year was watching him crack in last year's Tour. What I mean is that a lot of my anger actually dissipated watching him endure setback after setback. And that he did NOT give up, even doing the final Time Trial when the podium was pretty much out of reach, well, I really respect that.

    Much MORE upsetting for me personally is that I no longer have Universal Sports! I've called Comcast about 10 times since New Year's to complain & I'll KEEP calling. How Comcast, who OWNS NBC, which owns at least a PART of Universal Sports, does not offer the channel makes me CRAZY! No more skiing or swimming or track! May both honchos of Univ Sports & Comcast be shat on by a low flyin duck. Or goose. Or seagull. Or buzzard with diarrhea!

  7. Anyway, have a great flight & keep us updated. You WILL be able to keep posting, right? Once you're over there? I'm hoping for lots of oh-so-British updates (be on the lookout for Will & Kate. And PIPPA! ;) & lots of PHOTOS!

    And hope everyone else had Happy Holidays! And can soon get back here to chat. I've got MONTHS of chatting all backed up & it wants to get out!

  8. Hellooooo all! I've been trying to comment here for the past few weeks and whenever I click on the "comments" link it just freezes my browser for a loooooong time and never does give me a chance to post. Same computer, same browser that I've always used - not sure whats up. I'm finally trying an old old version of Firefox to see if this will go through.

    Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! AND NOW we're on to CYCLING SEASON!! I've been stoked to simply have my 1/2 hour of P&P and the TDU each night. Love having the season going, figuring out who is on what team (THIS will take me awhile), deciphering what team kits look like and, this year, what team names are. Oh, and watching Jens videos on VN - oh I've missed it so. I've become addicted to Twitter over the winter months and have been spending an inordinate amount of time getting start of the season news from the cycling folks on there.

    I simply can't stand what a mess the AC case has turned into. Really?? ANOTHER delay?? Talk about crippling the sport.....We need a system that deals with things in a timely matter so that people can trust race results and not second-guess who will and will not be allowed to get through an "adverse finding". I'm disgusted with the system more each week that goes by (and I didn't think I could possibly get more disgusted).

    Matt - I do remember you telling us about an upcoming trip but had not remembered when it was. Wow. That's a long time to be so far away. I too hope that Jeannie can manage to find an airline deal and make it over there for awhile! I'm assuming that you'll be able to keep us up to date with your adventures while over there :) I'll bet you can find some good cycling coverage over internet while there. (yes, my Direct TV pkg has NBCSports on the same channel that VS used to be on - to answer your question about that). Have a great trip! I'm hoping that we get the same great "coverage" that we got of your last few trips!!

    Miss chatting with you all! Oh, and I did email chat with Cat. Hoping that she can rejoin us at some point :) Susie - looking forward to all of your pent up chatting ;)