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Good morning. ...and if you are on the west coast (or even into the Rockies from what I was reading on some personal sites last night), it may be a wet one! least if the predictions hold.

Let's see... State Report from Hell? Done and turned in. Book report? Done and now with the editor for review. Colonial Cabin? Done!!! ...and scheduled to be turned in around 0842 local. Sanity? Maybe. Truly not sure. Family status? So far holding. Nerves? Shot. Attitude? With himself, j.g. around, we'll just not go there. Survival? One day at a time <g>.

Behind on things? Oh, heck yes <g>!


Better late than never <g>! We attended the boy's Open House at school tonight; I put a couple of shots of the finished projects up over at Shelley's place... Man, I am soooo glad that stuff is over and done with. We still have homework to do, but it's the usual stuff, not the major projects. I think Brad's caught up on his reports and Daniel only has one left to go. ...and that will be done with this weekend.

The weather has been a bit crazy since Sunday night. The farmers in the area are assessing the damge from the hail storms. ...and I have a shot or two I may put up over the next few days. First and foremost though is some rest.

Catch you later...

Remembering 09/11/01


I've had a few questions in the last week or two about roller blades as an exercise tool. I'll try to summarize questions from both Svenson and David Griffin as well as some general ones that crop from time to time...

Blading itself isn't particularly dangerous. Contact with solid objects like concrete or asphalt pavement, steel poles, or things like cars is. The initial safety system is to learn to blade where none of those things exist; rinks and parking lots may be a good idea. ...and for me, gear boils down to what I'm going to injure; in other words, find out how you fall. With both the boys, I started them out in full gear and watched them. Daniel needed wrist guards; Brad decided not to fall. Easy...

Inherently, blades are safer to use on the streets than four-wheel skates; objects that get stuck in the carriage of a four-wheel system and dump you over simply bounce away when a set of in-lines makes contact with them. That said, the few times I have fallen have always been forward; so I always wear wrist guards. I also use 'Heavy Hand' weights; they provide me with a simple method to help balance (think angular momentum) and also act as a mild shock absorber when I do fall (rare: still less than five times in seven years).

What to buy... This one is tough to do without spending some decent money. Generally blades aren't returnable and it can get expensive to try several brands and styles out. Many people start with an inexpensive pair just to see what works for them. I sure did; but I'd broken mine within a month due to mileage issues. I personally liked Oxygen's stuff when it was available, but RollerBlade makes some excellent starter skates and they are usually available at the sporting goods stores. Roces and K2 make nice blades. My current favorite is a pair of Solomons. They fit my body's geometry very well.

The main issue for the blade is to have the boot attach firmly to your foot and snugly to your ankle. ...without damaging any soft tissue. I prefer blade shells with soft padding, and I've come to prefer laceups with a top buckle over a full buckle system. I like my feet held firm and some ankle movement, but I want ankle support at the same time. You can get an idea of how a blade will feel by trying them on; but unfortunately, the acid test only comes when you are a few miles away from home.

Once you've determined the shells fit you okay, you can turn your attention to the wheels and bearings. The ones that come with the skates will get you started; but if you have any sort of a regimen going, you're going to blow through both often enough. The generally available bearings are rated as ABEC-3 through ABEC-5, with the fives being a better bearing. I do have a set of threes around that I keep mounted up on a set of wheels for when we visit the rinks, but I run fives on the streets. Why? I want the least rolling resistance I can find. I can always skate harder and faster to increase my workout level; but if every step is uphill, upwind, in the snow, you just won't come back for more. With decent bearings and wheels, you can actually relax and cool down as you work out...

...which brings us to wheels. ...and diameter and durometer. The diameter of the wheels is important for the style of skating you're doing: hockey uses small diameter wheels (52 and 60mm) to allow for tight turns and quick acceleration; there's just no top end... Distance and exercise blades use a larger wheel (72 to 80mm) to allow for greater speed and more distance per leg stroke (think gear ratios in a car's differential; hockey is a sprint rear end; distance is a higher setting). I generally use 76mm blades because they are readily available here. I'd use 80s if I could get a steady supply. The higher gearing allows for a longer time between strokes, letting you slow down if you need a break.

The wheel duometer is the one that can fool you if you're not sure what's going on: the higher the number, the harder the wheel... The harder the wheel, the longer it will last on rough surfaces such as asphalt. The harder the wheel, the harder the ride! ...and the less 'stickiness' to the road surface. I'll make it simple: use an 82A or better for the streets; it won't wear all that fast and you can let your shell give you some cushion. The reverse is true at the rink: that set I have mounted up for the rink has 76A ratings; they give me a softer ride (I have a 'known good' surface) and they're a little 'stickier' for the corners there at the rink.

Oh, yeah; then there's 'rockering'... That's where you either use the washer system that came with your shell or use an aftermarket system to push the inner two wheels on each set outward by about 4mm to effectively give you only two wheels in contact with the surface at any given time. Way cool; you can get wicked fast turns going. ...but you may pay for it with your ankles. It is a nice option though...

That should about cover the basics... If you have a question, feel free to drop a line.

Now to get to that tech question from a week or two ago!


Janeen and I decided we weren't going to settle for "behind" going into the weekend. We decided that "non-critical" more than adequate! Man, what an interesting day.

...nuff' said!


So I blow out of work a little early to meet up with Shelley... She's pulled the boys from school and we're off to see Star Wars. I figure the game plan is a good one: first the flick, then home to blade, some dinner, and then a night of net work. I have a list of things to do and tonight would be a good jumpstart.

Plan A went bust right when we got home: I saw water leaking over by the meter. ...again. Hoo boy. We'd replaced a chunk of pipe last year because it had been eaten through by some sort of chemical reaction with the soil and water. In all, four of the five homes in our end of the block have had to change out the pipes where they cross under the sidewalk. All I could hope for was that it was the neighbor's, since he'd done his own work last year (we had a contractor come in).

So, I decided to go blading first. I knew if I didn't get out, I'd get sucked into a black hole of time and it just wouldn't happen. So off I went to see how much the heat this week would bother me. The answer came back as 'not too bad'. ...and then it was time to deal with the inevitable.

Time to try to A-B it between the neighbor's line and mine: turn off our water and wait. Oh-oh... Yep that sure looks like it's stopping! Wait... Wait... Yep, bad news. Turn the water back on... Yepper, it's our problem. Dig we must; I simply want to see if it could be the chunk between the shutoff and the meter (forlorn hope, but I have to try). Bail, bail, drain, drain. Nope. No such luck. Darn.

I have Shelley put in a call to the contractor. ...and I start digging in the hope that it's not under the sidewalk like the last time. The neighbor wanders out. ...and helps me lift the vault off the meter just in case. Dig. Dig. Dig. See Dan dig. Dan doesn't like to dig; but a quick check with pressure made both of us think it may be in the stretch before the sidewalk. ...and the neighbor has a wrapper-clamp left over from his problem last year. Dig. Dig. Dig. See Dan dig. See Shelley wishing she had an Automatuic External Defibrillator because she is sure a cardiac event is imminent! Dig. Dig. Dig..

By this time it appears that out guess is correct: the leak is accessable. So I bring Bradley in to help me; I fill the drain system (applesauce jars) and he empties them. By this time I'm laying on the ground to reach the site (it's a biggish hole!) and I'm mess. ...but we can see where the leak is and it's patchable. On goes the patch; on goes the valve. ...and it holds. Cool. ...because I'll be darned it I'm going to lose a three day weekend to a water leak. ...and the contractor dude can't make it until Saturday.

...and he's on hold now: I want a ruling from the city on this one. The rule seems to be "galvanized pipe for the first ten feet"; I want to know why the heck I can't use some schedule forty in there. I mean, this is now a recurring problem and I want an answer! Back fill with clean sand? Add a dielectric fitting? Let us use PVC? Something! I can't see throwing more money down this rat hole. So. The hole is covered; the contractor is on hold; the tools are cleaned; and I've been to the store...

Time for dinner...


[May 25, 2002, 11:40 AM] Network Problems Sprint has advised us that they are having an extended outage and maintenance window in their Maryland POP this morning. Although this has not affected our circuit specifically, several customers have reported difficulty in reaching our network through Sprint. Sprint expects to have the problem resolved by 12:30pm Eastern time.

From pair networks, my host... If your email to me was bounced this morning, please try again; evidently none of the servers at pair were visible to some of the net.

...and good morning out there, or afternoon if you're a time zone or two east of me. The grand plans for today include starting out with a blade session to keep me from stiffening up too much from last night's adventures...

After that, I'm going to work on my part of putting the living room back together; I mean, like, you know, like, that carpet installation was weeks ago! ...and then there's some gardening to line out and some web work that I just didn't get to last night. Hmmm. it looks like there's plenty on my plate. ...and it's time to get to it!

I'll check in later...


Saturday turned out to be a mixed bag... I managed to get some things done, but others just didn't happen.

I suspect I overdid it Friday night; even with a lot of fluid intake, I think I got way behind on things and I'm just now feeling better. ...but i still seem to be a little heat sensitive. On the plus side of the ledger, my part of the living room is taken care of: both bookcases are in place and the stereo is once again ready for business.

...and one or two other things happened. ...but the web work I had planned just didn't get off the ground. I'll need to get on that today because I would like Monday available for finish work on those projects.

So, I guess that means it's time to get to it!

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