Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad’s birthday and since I can’t be with him to celebrate I thought I’d use this opportunity to wish him the best.  I spent some time tonight flipping through old pictures of Dad and it’s funny how much we look alike at similar times in our lives.  I guess it really isn’t that funny considering that I’ve got half of his DNA, but it is still fun to look at.  It must be something in our DNA, cause why else would we both wear that mustache?  Happy Birthday Dad, can’t wait til next weekend.

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The Most Important Magic

Last night my friends Nick & Ashley stopped by on their way to Tennessee for the holiday weekend.  I was really looking forward to hanging out cause I hadn’t seen them since they helped me to the hospital after my accident.  We went out to dinner at the local Peruvian joint and then went to see Dark Knight (for the third time).  It rocked as hard as it did the first time I saw it and I already can’t wait to see it again.  The fun really started when we got back home and fired up Bubble Bobble.  You fight through each level by blowing a bubble to trap your enemies in and then grabbing the assorted loot they drop.  You’re matched against enemies with names such as, Beluga, Hullaballoon, Stoner, Willy Whistle (aka Drunk in Japan), and Super Socket, or as Ashley calls them “Ching-Chongs”.  Aimee & Ashley plowed through the entire 99 levels within an hour and then had to face the Grumple Gromit (aka Super Drunk in Japan).  The end boss to this game is one of the most ridiculous bosses I’ve ever seen.  He bounces around the screen spewing turkey legs at you and is at least twice as fast as you.  That, coupled with floaty controls made for an amazingly annoying task.  After 15 or 20 minutes of trying to defeat him, Aimee handed me the controller in disgust.  Ashley and I were determined to beat him and after another 20 or 30 minutes we finally sent him packing only to receive the most epic end game message ever.  This totally made our combined efforts worth it.  Who would have thought that two bubble blowing dinosaurs could have taught us so much?

Candy, in More Ways than One

This is a picture of my favorite pedals ever, the Crank Brothers Candy.  They are amazingly simple in their design and even 7 years after their parent product (the Eggbeater) was released they still don’t have any real competition.  I’m not saying that there aren’t other pedals available, but nothing with this brilliant and simple of a design.  Nothing that works as flawlessly or is as easily user serviceable and in my opinion nothing that even approaches the sex appeal.  Ok, I realize I’ve just discussed the sexual attractiveness of an inanimate object, but I just can’t help myself.  I’ve never run across a bike component that I would endorse as strongly as the Crank Bros. pedals.

Another Beautiful View on the Root Beer Float Ride

From time to time I really miss the road riding scene in Farmville, VA where I went to college.  We had a weekly shop ride that would draw 8-10 solid riders and we would really crank.  There are no hills in Farmville and we would easily get an average over 20mph, especially when the tandem would show up and pull us along.  As much as I enjoyed the rides in Farmville, there is simply no comparison to what Lynchburg has to offer.  Our weekly shop ride here is full of gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.  We go at a slower pace, but we actually have hills out here, so it’s to be expected.  The ride is wide open to riders of all skill levels and we stop at every intersection to regroup.  The group that shows up is full of the friendliest people you could ask to ride with.  The absolute best thing about our shop ride here is that we stop about 3/4 of the way through the ride, after all the hills, and get root beer floats and smoothies from Sonic.  It’s the most friendly, fun, and beautiful shop ride I’ve ever been on and I’m really bummed I had to miss it so many times this summer.

Two Bugs Sharing a Flower

I was out taking a water sample the other day and while down by the creek I noticed some flowers that I wanted to take pictures of.  I finished taking my sample grabbed my camera and went back down by the creek.  When I got back down there I noticed these flosses (moths) landing on the flowers and sipping their nectar.  I started snapping pictures and just kept getting closer and closer.  They were so intent on filling their bellies that they couldn’t be spooked away from the flowers.  As I continued to shoot, I noticed this flower with a grasshopper on it as well.  I felt really privileged to get these shots without a macro or telephoto lens, I just jammed my lens right in their face and they didn’t budge.  I was so happy that I had a digital camera because I didn’t have much depth of field to work with and I wanted to make sure I got some keepers.  Knowing I had plenty of room on my memory card I just kept shooting and shooting.  I took over 900 pictures that day and it didn’t cost me a cent more than my initial investment.  Sure I deleted 700 of them, but that is the beauty of digital.  You can take as many pictures as you want with no penalty, so why not take more pictures.  If I had attempted something like this with film you’re looking at 900 exposures or about 37 rolls of film multiplied by at least $4.00 for processing for about $150.00.  All that money and you still had to wait a week to see if you got anything or not.  You can see why I simply couldn’t afford to continue to shoot when I left for college.  I’m grateful that I was finally able to resurrect my hobby now that the digital age of photography has reached the mainstream.

In the Beginning

This picture has a lot of sentimental value to me.  It’s solely responsible for getting me interested in photography and it’s one of the only memories I have left of my first “real” mountain bike.  I was in a photojournalism class and was really interested in learning how to use my camera, but wasn’t having much luck and was feeling a little discouraged.  Our assignment was “motion” and we had just gone over a lesson on panning, the idea of moving the camera while you take the picture to blur the background.  I grabbed my friend and tossed him on my bike and headed out to try and get a shot.  This was more than 10 years ago, so I was shooting film and doing all the processing and printing myself.  I took about 20 frames and I had to wait all weekend to process the film on Monday and see if I got anything.  When I look at this picture now I’m not as impressed as I was 10 years ago, but it was my first taste of success and it motivated me to keep learning.  It’s also a great example of preserving a moment in time to reminisce about later.  The bike was stolen, those woods are a gas station, Nick doesn’t wear soccer shorts anymore, but it’s all preserved forever in this one image.  I know the image is below my current standards, but the weight of the memory makes this one of my favorite pictures.

Bowling

I’ve been feeling a bit timid lately about doing anything that could possibly cause my recovery to take any longer.  My girlfriend asked me what I thought about going bowling since the only danger was slipping and falling.  I was really excited because I love bowling and it’s cheap on Sunday nights.  After throwing a warm up game, we started betting chores on each game.  After the first game I was going to be stuck doing the dishes so I knew it was time to step up my game.  I won the next game and then my girlfriend foolishly bet me double or nothing.  Well as you can see by my exquisite form, it was over before it started.  I had a great time and it got my mind off my mouth for a while, at least until the woman at the counter told me about getting kicked in the face by her horse.  It’s almost over now and I’m starting to get excited about what next week will bring.  I am going to demolish some food and I promise you, this fat kid knows how to put some food down.

Previous Dental Woes

Some of you may have noticed that the picture on the banner of my site displaying an X-ray of my broken jaw also reveals that I have two crowns for my front teeth.  It happened at the end of the summer before my final year of college, right before my grandmother passed away.  My girlfriend and I were hanging out at my house and got into a silly argument.  I don’t even remember what we were battling about, but I’ll admit I was pushing her buttons.  Unable to respond verbally she began to grab objects lying around her and use them as projectile weapons.  I simply responded by pulling my comforter over my body and deadening the blow.  After hurling a pillow and a slipper with no luck she decided that a nearby 6 in 1 screwdriver might yield better results.  Just as she let go of the screwdriver like a Nolan Ryan fastball, I pulled the comforter down, unaware of what I was in for.  As you can see, I caught the butt end of the screwdriver in my mouth and lost two of my front teeth.  I actually swallowed them on impact as my mouth started gushing blood all over the bed.  Luckily it was a Friday night so I wasn’t able to see a dentist or get any pain medication for days.  I went to Richmond Monday morning and had two root canals and then had to hop back in the truck and drive to Ohio for my grandmother’s funeral.  It took three months and many trips back to Richmond before I was able to get my permanent crowns.  The moral of the story… don’t antagonize your girlfriend until she breaks your face.

Poppin’ a Cap

I was looking at some old pictures today and came across a few pics of me shooting my guns.  It’s really unfortunate that as quick as I picked this hobby up, I had to drop it when I moved.  Who would have thought that moving to Lynchburg from Richmond would have put a cramp on my shooting?  I started shooting when I got out of college and had some dispensable income.  I was interested in learning how to use a gun for personal protection so I joined an organization called the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).  IDPA is focused on simulating real world scenarios in a competitive form.  Your gun must be carried in a concealed fashion and you aren’t allowed to modify the gun for “speed” shooting.  The competition is really only to help add stress to the situation and therefore make it more realistic.  It was a ton of fun and helped me gain quite a bit of proficiency using my gun.  Sadly there are no IDPA competitions within an hour of Lynchburg and I haven’t shot in almost two years.  I realized the other day while I was out with my new camera wandering around the ghetto taking pictures that it was those types of situations that made me want to learn to shoot in the first place.  I think it’s finally time that I go take the concealed carry permit class and start shooting again.  If any of you have any interest in learning about the safe handling of guns, let me know and I’ll take you out shooting with me.

“Little” Richie

Today my cousin left his small midwest hometown (Sardinia, OH) for the big city of Boston, Massachusetts.  He will be attending Harvard University and will also be joining the football team.  His father was a great football player and we joke that Richie was born with a football in his hands…

Despite his pedigree of athletic prowess, he earned his way to Harvard with his intellect.  Ivy league schools are prohibited from offering athletic scholarships.  I’m so proud of him for all his hard work and I can’t wait to go see him in action.  He’s been studying the play-books his coach sent him all summer and has a great chance to start for the team his freshman year.  He is already the biggest defensive back on the team so you’re probably wondering why we call him “little” Rich….

Cause this is Big Rich!  I wouldn’t say I’ve got small thighs, but look at his calves.  They make my thighs look like toothpicks.  I love them both so much and the whole Cox family and can’t wait to see them again soon.