Friday, July 31, 2009

metal gods defined....

yes I am...

As many of my regular readers (LOL) know, I've been rebuilding a guitar recently. With one ofthe boys being a rather accomplished guitarist, I thought it would be a great idea to rebuild it with him. I decided to do one part a day with him so he wasn't overwhelmed and it didn't get boring with an all day event and too much information. At first he was a bit aprehensive because let's face it, when your a teenager you ALWAYS have something better to do then to spend time with your dad. NOTE to teens everywhere - get over that reasoning and spend time with your dad -he will appreciate it way more than you understand... So each day we've had our 15 minute class, and as it's progressed I've noticed more and more interest in doing it with me :) Just the other day while we were working, something came up about guitar builders (Luthiers) and he told me I AM a luthier... Funny, even though I took a building class a couple years ago and know how to set up electric guitars and all the details that go along with it, I never considered myself (until he mentioned it) a guitar builder. so personal discovery thanks to my boy - YES I AM....

The guitar is coming along beautifully and I plan on finishing it this weekend. Just in time for vacation :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I finished the tour!

Well with my eyes... This past year we FINALLY took the plunge and ordered cable TV. Funny story, back in the 90s we would subscribe to cable TV in late June, watch the
Tour de France coverage, and cancel the service in the fall. Crazy... So this year the coverage on the Versus network was plentiful. One thing led to another and I managed to watch a majority of EVERY stage. Before it started, I picked Andy Schleck as my favorite to win. Not far off... Great racing this year. Even though I may not be the biggest Armstrong fan, there is no doubt that his comeback to the sport, and ultimate 3rd place podium finish are nothing short of incredible.He even rode diplomatically on the team never being the agressor if Contador was part of the equation. And Contador? ALLEZ Alberto! When he flexed his muscle ONLY Andy Schleck could respond. Great racing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

whatever it takes. 50 good ones!

I did NOT want to go to work yesterday. I was off Monday which basically delayed the "Monday blues" by one day. So while having breakfast I decided to ride to and from work on the single speed road bike. I have to admit it did make a difference, and on the way home the frazzled stress level I was feeling melted away as the ride continued. So since this week is a somewhat busy one, I decided to make the ride time worth while. I added another 20 miles by heading out toward the Palos area. I actually decided to hit the horse trails for a few miles. Climbing the up and down sections of loose rock, dirt and gravel on a single speed road bike made for a way cool ride. Thank God for "coping with life thru riding"

Priest! Priest! Priest! Priest!

I don't listen to much "metal" music anymore. However, Sunday night I went with jr. to see the one band I will always love regardless how soft my musical tastes become - JUDAS PRIEST 3rd row. I've never been disappointed by this band. From the minute they take the stage and Halford appears I'm thrown back into a time long ago when it was all about leather and loud music. TRUE I have very little patience for the steroetypical metal head ESPECIALLY in a beer drunken concert frenzy environment. But seeing Rob command the stage always delivers, and I wouldn't miss it for anything. They did a 30th anniversary British Steel tour, and it seemed like an odd anniversary year to promote an album but the cool thing about that is they played some great tunes off that album that I never seen played live before. It KICKED! Jr dug it as well. As an added bonus we finally seen Whitesnake, and seeing David Coverdale was excellent. That guy is definitly rock and roll royalty. GREAT show. Hope jr dug it as much as I did. ESPECIALLY the fact that I shared my passion for a band with him that has been ongoing for the last 30 years or so! I'm big into stuff like that - memories last forever!!

Defend the Faith!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

beautiful chocolate strat ingredients

It's coming out beautifully! The guitar I'm rebuilding's finish (so far) is a work of art. I've took the time to carefully look it over after each clear coat application and there is nothing wrong with it anywhere. It's time to let the nitrocellulose cure for about a week, then comes final sanding and buffing. The most important ingredient has been PATIENCE. You can't rush a work of art... The color is a brownish chocolate with blackened grain and subtle hints of purple. It's unique, and it's great looking. I've taken a couple pictures but they don't do the guitar justice so I will wait until the finished product before I share it with all you regular readers (LOL)I'm going to set it up with a Seymour Duncan Custom-Custom pickup. It closely resembles the tone of the mighty Van Halen's 5150, and some 10s for strings. The strings will be a change from the typical extra lights I've used, but my guess is will provide a slightly beefier tone with more sustain. PATIENCE...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WTF? - baby riders

I must be old or the riders of the modern day tour are too young and spoiled. Yesterday I tuned into the tour coverage only to see the peloton rolling along at a pace that I could have kept up with. All because they were not allowed to use race radios. F'n babies.... So the teams had to send domestiques back to the team cars for on the road strategy, and the lead groups had to look at the motorbike with the chalkboard to see the gap. NEWSFLASH - That's how it was done before, and it made for great racing. Rominger, Fignon, Chiappuci, Museuww, Pantani, Bugno...Didn't need anything more than a chalkboard, and amphetimines LOL. I turned the coverage off in my own form of protest. I'm not saying that the radios don't help the race situations nowadays, but come on....
On a separate note, yesterday was the first time I found myself out on a run by myself in a while. I've been helping my long time personal manager train for some of her goal races, and also been accompanied by one of the little guys on his bike for most of my runs. Yesterday I was all alone and found it a bit weird! I did turn it into a really good tempo run in which my legs felt good at a quick pace.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting dirty - the kids do it differently nowadays

This past weekend for the first time in a long time I went off roading. I decided to hit the mountain bike trails I used to frequent. Turns out a LOT of it has been redone, and or closed off. Granted I did have a good time, much more so toward the end of my ride when I finally was starting to feel a bit of the off road handling coming back. I diddn't realize how much I missed it, how long it's been since I did it, and how much "bike english" it takes to be good at it. I had it but temporarily lost it... Nice to have options...

Friday, July 10, 2009

lesson in life when rebuilding the guitar

I'm in the process of refinishing my homemade strat. For those readers new to the site (LOL) it used to be a Van Halen 5150 replica but the paint used began cracking under the clearcoat resulting in a less than perfect guitar. I have read elsewhere on the net that this is a common occurence using the paint recommended. I then stripped it down, and decided to stain it purple. The problem was I was impatient and somewhat ignorant to the process. I wanted it done NOW and rushed thru it. The bottom line is the finished guitar sucked. I decided to strip it down and rebuild a 3rd time, but this time is different. I've been practicing patience, and taking my time. I find that I want instant gratification, and I am making a conscious effort to take my time. Every time I start telling myself I NEED to get a step done before I'm off to do something(rushing thru ssomething) I stop myself. I do the other tasks(non guitar related) and come back to the instrument when I have time and no deadlines or pressures. The result is proving MORE than worthwhile. It's actually coming out beautifuly. The cool part of the color is while stripping all the old finish off, I began to get a vision of how it could turn out with the color in the wood, and the stains etc I considered. Nobody I talked to seen the beauty of my vision except for my minds eye. It is now becoming that vision. I can now understand artistic vision from having experienced it first hand. I do the same when building up bikes.... So I'm just about to start clear coating it, and I am COMPLETELY satisfied with the color, and the wood preparation I did is top notch. It is literally perfect. I am thrilled at the results so far. Lesson learned for life in general, and I'm about to have the guitar I had hoped I could build.
Rock on....

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Even though I don't race anymore, I still try to get in the best shape I can with the time I have to train. So each year I try to get at least 2 organized rides in. The one of interest is the annual 4th of July 100k. It's pretty much in the middle of the summer, and where I'm at at this time of the year is probably about as good as it gets for me. So I've been typically going at this ride as a test of my legs, and historically trying to come close to 3 hours. It's funny, because going out to this ride had me excited along the same lines as pre race jitters. Anyway, night before I actually found myself doing all the prerace rituals. Pack the car up with helmet, gloves, jels, ride mixed bottles getting my ride kit out so I would be ready. Bike cleaned, tires filled. The hole deal. FUNNY... So I showed up, signed up, met up with a few old friends and decided to start out the ride with them to do a bit more catching up. Then it was off we go. About a mile into the ride, as it began to rain, we were joined by a dozen or so teammates mostly from a local 5 team or the host group. I took a pull at the front, and that was the last I seen of my friends. I pacelined with this group for a a couple miles, and after pulling up a decent hill I pulled off. I was then reprimanded by what I assume was one of their group leaders. I was told to keep the effort consistent, NOT the speed of the paceline when on climbs. I simply replied in my somewhat ticked and smart assed reply OH, OK THANKS, and proceeded to drift toward the back of the group, I bided my time until I could take off on my own which was a short time later at the quick to arrive rest stop. I kept going after a quick bottle refill break. I then proceeded to ride this event as I intended, as a test of my fitness. I rode like a rider possesed. It was like one of those epic break away stages, where the rider takes off on a solo break all the way to the finish. (It's enjoyable to live out a fantasy like this :) ) I was that rider, in pouring rain and wind the whole ride, I was inspired. I was digging deep like I used to when racing. It was great, it took focus, group after group rider after rider, mile after mile. Attacking the hills with no regard for a consistent effort, other than head down and breaking away mode. The beauty of it all, when I arrived at the finish my elapsed time was 2:59:59. I proceeded to average 21.04mph for the event. I won my stage, I came in with a time, and an average that I didn't believe I was capable of anymore. I earned my ride. 3 hours of no concern with the worrys, and frustrations of life - more so nowadays than I want deal with. It was me, the bike and the road to my own victory finish.

Friday, July 3, 2009

crazy for the mouse

It's funny, even though I have mentioned a number of times that I'm going to minimize my time running, something always has me lacing up my shoes. This time around it's a good one. My long time personal manager is the ULTIMATE Disneyworld fan. So she finds out about a marathon they do in January, asks me to help her prepare, and the next thing I know we're both signed up to do it. It will be her first. An epic event in the most magical place on earth. So here we go again :) Other running news, I ran 13 miles with my brother this morning. He's prearing for Chicago in the fall, and I've been wanting to get out with him. Not sure if he had "pre-RAY" jitters, or he's in some really good running shape. At any rate the first few miles were surprisingly quick for an L.S.D. run, but it turned out to be a good run. I get a kick out of him. He picked me up in a warm up suit, and proceeded to run the entire time with it on, jacket and all WTF?! We REALLY DO bring out the best in each other. Tomorrow is the first day of Le'Tour, which almost makes it a religious holiday. A good day to do the annual 4th of July metric century. Let's see what kind of legs I have this year.My hip has been slightly irritated today- maybe from my fall on it last week... At any rate, I'm hoping to see some friends I have been meaning to catch up with. Hopefully I will. I think 100k will be good for the unacceptable amount of stress due to family illnesses and other sad things I've been having a somewhat difficult time dealing with.
God if your listening, could You please give me a break? AMEN