Saturday, September 3, 2016

Happy Birthday!

A couple of birthdays to talk about today. First off, our little darling (MONSTER) Sophie turned TWO back on Wednesday! Jeannie made her a cake (all doggie friendly ingredients, which is why PG didn't really care for it at ALL). Here's a couple of shots from her little birthday party:

She sure is a cutie-patooty, isn't she (for a little Kracken-Monster anyway)!
Her tongue is hanging out as Jeannie just got home and when either of us get home she runs around like a wild animal and exhausts her a pretty humongous tongue for such a small monster! And that's not even all the way should see it when we are at the park and she's chasing the tennis-ball!

We still can't believe we've had her for over a year and a half already...seems not very long ago she was a little 4 month old puppy we brought home (December 2014). But she's fully grown now thankfully, and even tho I haven't weighed her lately, I'm betting she's close to 60lbs. That's a LOT for how small she's like picking up a ROCK! But PG is still large and in charge (the 3 legged Whippet/Terrier can see her in the first picture checking out the happenings). She will turn FIFTEEN in early Dec...which we find pretty amazing, as she doesn't really ACT like a 15 year old...she still plays with Sophie most days!

And then there's another birthday: my CAR! My little ol' VW Jetta wagon. I've now had it TEN years as of the 6th (Tuesday). It's an 03 (so it's actually THIRTEEN years old). I bought it used at 3 years old in Sept of 06)! It turned 250,000 miles-old last Friday on my way to a Mt bike ride...that's a QUARTER OF A MILLION MILES! Not too shabby at all...and I like to think she will easily make a half-million miles (and MORE)! Diesels are FANTASTIC!!!

Here's my car in it's birthday hat.

And then there's yet ANOTHER birthday (that hasn't quite happened yet)...mine! Gosh...I'm getting old...back in July I went with my brothers to Nevada to spend the day with our Dad (who turned 85)! of THIS Friday I'll be 56, and 85 will only be a SHORT 29 years away! How on earth is THAT possible??? I mean, I look at my dad and think yep...he's kind'a old (tho in pretty good shape)...but to think that I'm only 29 years away from 85?? I can't wrap my head around that...I mean...I'm still riding bikes.... a LOT (both mt and road) and I'M STILL GETTING STRONGER! So HOW can I be SO OLD?? It just doesn't seem possible! And to make things worse, time seems to be picking up speed! It's like the years are going by FASTER than ever! I blink and it's a new year. Blink again and it's summer...half a blink later and summer is OVER (like it was as of this weekend...Labor Day). The next blink and it will be Thanksgiving, then a quarter-blink and it's Christmas! Gosh...I'm totally afraid to blink anymore! Gotta prop my eyes open with toothpicks or something!

Anyway, that's the haps here. Oh, and I accidentally found that I DO have the UHD (Universal High Def) sports channel! I don't recall EVER seeing it in our lineup before! It's like it suddenly just appeared (and Jeannie has already canceled our upgraded package that we had for le Tour and the Olympics). Note: I have a full-time 'record' option setup so that the DVR records ANYTHING that has "cycling" in the title...I've had it record all kinds of US Crits and tiny races I've never heard of and such over the I know it works...for the life of me can't figure why it didn't record the Vuelta from the start, and I would have known it was in my lineup. So anywho, I have it set to start recording the Vuelta starting with Stage 14 tomorrow! So I'll stop reading about it on VN every day and start WATCHING some of the stages (woo-HOO!) I see it's only a 2 hour broadcast every day, that's a good amount that I can deal with. (another note: years ago when I did the package upgrade for le Tour I found I got Universal Sports with the upgrade, and after the upgrade was canceled I lost I've never looked again until this year, and I'd SWEAR I didnt' have it even w/ the package upgrade...but I"m guessing it was there all along and I didn't know it was now called UHD).

OK. That's the scoop from the CA Central's just Birthday CITY! I hope things are good for you and you're not taking life for granted! Get out there and do something FUN! Time won't wait for you...that's for sure. So ENJOY YOURSELF!

HAPPY LABOR DAY! Get out there and DON'T do any labor! (except I will ignore that as I will be PAINTING some on Labor Day...and painting is indeed LABOR).



  1. Just watched the Vuelta stage 14 (I believe it was Saturday's stage)...WOW! What a fantastic race! I picked a GREAT day to find I had the Universal Sports channel! (Seriously...I can't believe it's been in my lineup all this all-encompasing "cycling" record option should have picked it up...I did see that the cycling search is recording the Tour of Brittan starting today). And it's a GREAT move by NBCSports to have Paul and Bobke as the commentators! That makes it SO much better than the commentating on USN in past years (IMO). It was a HUGE race to the top, and Simon Yates pulling the BIG move pulling himself up into 4th overall, and just seconds off the podium! Quintana did all he could but Froome held on to his wheel all the way to the line! Valverde was the BIG loser today, went from 3rd to what, 11th (or worse?) overall, losing 10 minutes to the leaders. What a race! I'm only sad I didn't know I had this channel to have been watching the entire race! But at least I get the final week! Woo-HOO! More Grand Tour racing! Game ON!

  2. And the Vuelta Stage 15 is in the history books, and WHAT A STAGE! Bobke and Paul were beside themselves the entire stage, lamenting the fact that Froome and the entire Team Sky was totally caught off-guard at the start, near the back of the peleton. Contodor and Quintana jumped into the breakaway from the get-go with teammates and drove up the gap. The peleton had further split, and Froome was ALONE, ZERO TEAM-MATES in the chase-group! His ENTIRE TEAM was way back! As the short stage progressed he was totally in danger of losing his podium spot completely, and Contador was the main potential winner, hoping to climb back UP to the podium! As it turns out, Team Astana saved Froomes bacon (neither Bobke nor Paul could understand why they were working for/with Froome, but they did). I think without Astana Froome would be back in 4th or worse place after the stage, but due to their help he limited his loss to Quintana to ONLY a bit over 2 and a half minutes! Contador GAINED over 2 minutes on the podium and ended up in 4th, only a few seconds away from Chavez in 3rd (who literally saved his OWN bacon by breaking away from the Froome group on the final climb and saving his podium spot...barely).

    Today's stage 16 (they only broadcast it at 7pm) will likely be a sprint finish, then a rest day, and THEN an ITT. We'll see how Chavez does in that...can he hold off Contador? Obviously everybody thinks Froome will decimate Quintana in a TT, but now Q has over 3 and a half minutes cushion to work with, due to yesterdays AMAZING ride! Wow...stages 14 and 15...I really picked a good day to find I DID INDEED HAVE Universal Sports channel!
    I've got more painting to do today, but I HOPE To watch the Tour of Brittan stage 1 (from yesterday)'s pretty loaded...Wiggens, Cav, and others...possibly the best sprinting field this tour has had in ages!

  3. MATT! I came here just now to tell you that you "would" have LOVED Sat & Sun at the Vuelta! I thought about you the whole time & how much you would love it, what with all the attacking by Quintana on Saturday & the crazy day on Sunday! And now I see you have the UD-HD channel after all! WHOO-HOO! You truly tuned in to the best stages so far. Can't wait to see what Contador, Quintana & Froome has in store for the final week! It's blatantly apparent that Team Sky sent their "B" team (or "C" even) to this race. Wonder how Froome feels about that now. I'm happy about it as I did NOT want Froome to win another GT, especially back-back, in the same season. I like Froome more than I have before, but the hubris of it all just irritates me.

    Question about Contador - do you think he just doesn't have it any more to REALLY be able to not just compete with but beat Froome or Quintana at the Tour? I know he crashed early in this race too which might still be affecting him, but watching him lose time to Quintana on that last kilometer on Sunday made me think he really doesn't have that edge any more. I HOPE I'm wrong & that getting away from Tinkov will give him new life next season, but I wonder if he really wants to sacrifice everything that will be necessary to train to beat them. I think that's another thing that was so amazing about Lance's 7 straight wins - that he kept that killer instinct alive & stoked even while winning.

    Alrighty, gotta scoot for now, but WILL be back this week to chat/reflect the Olympics, which seems like a DREAM now! A 2-week dream! Except for occasional sightings of Michael & the Final 5 on TV, you'd barely know the Olympics actually happened going by the utter LACK of attention by the media! sigh.

  4. Ooh, don't have time to read you post yet but Happy Birthday to Sophie & your car! :) :)

  5. I just checked - Wed (tomorrow) & Saturday are the 2 remaining mt-top finishes so they should be great (as long as party-pooper RAIN doesn't come!). And Friday is the TT; also impactful.

    As long as Quintana doesn't crash or get sick, I think he has a 90% chance of winning at this point. Not 100% yet because Froome & Sky could try something tomorrow or Saturday. I would imagine Movistar will NOT allow themselves to be caught at the back of the peloton like Sky was on Sunday & that Q will stick to Froome like glue no matter what. Contador is a wild card though. He apparently is the guy who really got that winning break going on Sunday & Quintana saw the opportunity & hopped on board. Froome can't let either Q or Contador get away now or he'll lose the podium altogether. Although it seems most guys who have actually won the Tour no longer care about mere "podium" places at other GTs; it's the TOP spot or nuthin' for them. I guess we'll see tomorrow!

  6. Pretty wild finish to the Vuelta yesterday...a BRUTAL STEEP climb for the mt-top finish...really thought for a bit that Contador would be able to put time into Chavez and move into 3rd...but Chavez was up for the fight and the top 4 (Q, Froome, Chavez and Contador) were alone in their GC battle to the line..Froome was dropped several times but each time he regrouped and spun his way back to the other 3, and he rejoined them just before the line, keeping his 2nd place. The TT will be interesting...I don't know what kind of TT-chops Chavez has...we all know Froome is fantastic and will be in the top few, also Contador is pretty good...Q is NOT (but he has OVER 3.5 minutes on Froome) the question is will Contador be able to leap-frog Chavez (he only needs 5 seconds to tie, 6 to be ahead). It's a pretty exciting race for SURE!

    I've also been watching the Tour of Britain...which has been quite fun, as it's also MC'd by Paul and Bobke (how cool is THAT!) I've never got to watch this tour it that NBCS has taken over Universal...hope this goes on in future years (that they broadcast OTHER races). OK...gotta scoot.

  7. Oh MAN! I KNEW it was too good to be home last night (Thurs) and went to watch the Vuelta stage...and just like that, we no longer have the Universal Sports must have been just a week long my DVR recorded 2 hours of NOTHING! (and after the Vuelta it was going to record the Tour of Britain stage, also NOTHING). DANG IT!!! I KNEW I didn't have that channel...if only it would have lasted thru Sunday! RATS!!! At least I got to see some fantastic stages...tho would have really liked to see tomorrows mt top finish stage...DANG DANG DANG!! They had my hopes up that it was now part of our regular channel package! DAMN YOU DTV!!!

  8. Happy birthday to you, Matt! Keep trying, but you won't catch up with me I think!
    Oh and congratulations to The Tongue, having survived two years without emergency stomach pumping!

    I feel your pain re Universal -- but at least you got to see 2 great stages of the Vuelta. My cable system doesn't even offer it. Today I am searching for an English stream of the GP de Quebec -- one of my favorite races of the year (someday I WILL go to it); so far it looks like I am going to have to settle for Flemish commentary. And, I will be spending the afternoon watching instead of being productive...


  9. What? WHAT?! Don't they know it's your BIRTHDAY?! That's no way to treat the birthday boy! Are you sure you've lost the channel? Maybe it was just a glitch. Do you often get "promo" channels? Can you call your cable provider? Call them & complain! Demand the channel! Damn, & I just found the UniHD will broadcast the World Championships too! Also, I don't know if you like watching World Cup Skiing, but last season this channel had almost EVERY RACE & not just for 5-10 skiers but 30 or more each race. It was GREAT! Plus, after the demise of the Universal Sports network, Universal HD (not the same channel or network) became the channel for the figure skating & other Olympic winter sports (some long & short track speed skating), XC skiing & even Biathlon.

    Well, hope you're having a great birthday anyway! Doing anything special? More painting? :) Hey, how's that going?

    And it's some kind of bad karma or a 'conspiracy' or something, but I still wasn't able to get here & write up my Olympic memories. By the rate I'm going, the NEXT Olympics will get here 1st. ;) If I had home internet or was working here tomorrow, I could then but still not yet & no. Sigh.

    Great to hear from you Rae & sorry you don't get that channel either. It's my FAVE sports channel these days since NBCSN nowadays just shows Premiere League, NHL & Nascar! And not that Comcast isn't a pain at times, but can either of you get Comcast in your area?

    Well, gotta scoot. Have a great birthday, Matt & great weekend for you both! :)

  10. Hope you had a great birthday!

    Saturday's Vuelta stage was very disappointing. At least to me. Contador lost his podium spot because Chaves attacked EARLY on the 2nd to last mt & AC didn't follow. He realized too late that Chaves was putting too much time into him & then Movistar wouldn't help him out to chase (he apparently thought they would since THEY hopped on HIS break last week which actually is the main reason Quintana won the whole thing). Unless they had a prearranged agreement, I can't believe Contador was so naïve. Bet he learned his lesson - depend on NOONE but yourself & maybe your team.

    And then, even though Froome TRIED to attack a bit on the final mt, it was far too little, too late. Damn, it was sunny too! I can't be too hard on them because this entire race has been monstrous - great for mt fans like us but the poor riders! I'm thinking by Saturday, most of the peloton could barely pedal.

    Wonder why Quintana was not able to race quite like this at the Tour? Sure, part of Froome's Tour dominance was his team, but Q was FAR stronger in the mts at the Vuelta than at the Tour.

    I saw a headline this morning that Froome is supposedly already planning a Tour-Vuelta attempt next year. Is he kidding? Does he think it was a fluke or something that Q beat him? He SHOULD be thinking just the opposite! Now with the confidence of winning 2 Grand Tours, I think Quintana will be ready next July. (Actually, without Contador's early breakaway that Quintana hopped on, I guess Froome COULD have won this race).

    I also hope Trek puts a STRONG team around Contador (including at least 2 mt helpers) & the AC trains his butt off for 1 more Tour attempt. BTW, I think AC needs to lose weight before the Tour - maybe his extra pounds (compared to his ass-dancing mt ways of 6-8 years ago) is what's holding him back. He's certainly not chubby but you know how all the top Tour guys are either emaciated or munchkins.

    I was very happy for Talanksy- 5th at a Grand Tour! And look at the guys who beat him! Hope he can be on form next year at the Tour too. And that Tejay is out of his slump by then also. I do not understand why BMC put TVG in the Vuelta at all if he wasn't going for GC. Wonder if he has some kind of virus. I'm worried for him.

    Ooh, gotta run. Later gators. :)

  11. Didn't get to WATCH the last few Vuelta stages (boo-HOO!)...but at least I got to read about them...nice that AC had jumped Chavez in the TT...but was sad to see he lost it in stage 20. Can't take anything away from Chavez/Orica tho...they did what they needed to get on the podium. And I don't think a 3rd means that much to AC...his stats are he WINS or is off the podium...has NEVER had any other place. I agree Susie that he needs to lose weight, or train better...or SOMETHING (for one, stay freaking UPRIGHT). He's not THAT old...he should be killing something is going on for sure.

    As to Froome/Sky...the numbers show that they lost it on that stage when Movistar jumped w/ AC...but hey...that's cycling. As to expecting Movistar to help him when they are quite busy trying NOT to lose any time to Froome, also agree...that just wasn't going to happen...tho I do wish they had tried (payback...they owed Movistar HUGE). But I do understand why they didn't and can't fault them for their move.

    Talansky...YOU GO DUDE! Loved to hear he moved up again in the TT...he's THAT CLOSE! Maybe next year, w/ his great season and good finish in the Vuelta he will come in w/ confidence and we will really see him do what he's capable of. I'd like to see him on some Grand Tour podiums!

    Can't knock Froome either...he (and his BEST team in the biz Sky) CRUSHED the Tour...sadly they sent him a B team to the Vuelta or he likely would have won that too. Nothing against him, but it was nice to see him get beat. That will likely drive him next year tho...should be interesting for sure! That one stage where his ENTIRE TEAM was in the back was inexcusable. You've got the 2nd place guy going for the win, and the ENTIRE TEAM is in the back for some reason? And they THINK none of the other top teams will notice?? Can't screw up much worse than that. Can you imagine that happening in le Tour?

    As to TJ...not sure what to think. He was horrible in the he didn't care a bit. Almost like he didn't want to ride it, but his team decided they're paying him a LOT of $4 and darn it, he's going to do SOMEHTING. We'll see how his team plays him next year...I think BMC realizes he's NOT their Grand Tour hope. And for Orica...between Yates and Chavez, I think they've got 2 GT podium guys there...give them a great team and let them run...should really make interesting races for sure! Next year is really shaping up for some fantastic action (I HOPE) at the GT's!

    Bday was quiet...spent it at home being lazy (was sick at home Tues and Weds...some kind of stomach bug jumped me Tues morning...(either that or food poisoning...which I guess IS a bug). Felt terrible and unable to eat ANYTHING for 2 days. By Friday I was much better but not ready to go out and kill it w/ a 4 hour mtb ride (my usual "Friday off" ride). OK..I gotta scoot too. Later gaters!