On a long road trip a long time ago, I once saw a small, hand-painted sign attached to a post and wire fence somewhere deep in the high dessert expanse of New Mexico or Arizona. It said, simply, ‘Used Cow For Sale.’

This was over 15 years ago, but I still occasionally think about that sign. Strange use of the word ‘used.’ Would the common qualifiers of used apply — lightly, with care, occasional? What about maintenance? Would anyone ever consider posting a sign giving away puppies, kittens or even grown dogs or cats describing them as used? The marketing-savvy car sales types might say pre-owned, but that is implied with animals. What about a sign offloading a relationship? Not the girlfriend or boyfriend, but the relationship. LIke you could just step into one — pre-ownership implied — with all the routines, traditions and glitches there for you to add, carp about or vainly try to undo.

I bought a piece of plywood yesterday from the local salvage yard. Used half of it and have a pretty useful, future proof chunk waiting for some other project. However, there are several odd-shaped scraps I thought about posting on craigslist. Here’s my hypothetical listing:

For Sale

Pre-shaped Plywood!

I’m selling a used piece of 3/4″ plywood from a non-smoking garage pre-cut into roughly a rectangle with a smaller rectangle removed from either the top left, bottom left, bottom right or top right corner, depending on how YOU align it! Measures approx 3′ x 2′ (minus the super custom cut out!) Hundreds of uses. Cut into multiple smaller pre-loved pieces and resell for mega-bucks!

Cash only. No trades.

Any idea what I should charge for this? I’d go the $1 or straight OBO route, but I only want serious inquiries. Those bait tactics just get all sorts of shady folk.


New Perspectives

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I bought Chloe a balance bike before she was born. Yes, I was excited for her learn to ride. However, the bike just wasn’t designed so well and despite being marketed to the 2 year old set, I couldn’t lower the seat enough for Chloe to feel comfortable on it. That was 1.5 years ago. Then, while in a bike shop looking at bikes for myself, Chloe took every single Strider (the bike in the above pics) in the store for a ride. They were all the same, just different colors. Pink one was the best according to her. She had a blast, I bought her one and so began round two of the balance bike odyssey.

I think she was a little rattled by the first go round so that even with her pink bike — which she talks about all the time — it took some warming up. Now though, it’s on. MTB team in high school, MTB camping trips, it’s coming together. Well, in my mind at least.

But just going up our driveway and then down our street, which are no small hills for a half-pint, I see her working, and I know I’m working too on my teacherlyness, patience and expectation control. Nothing is better than hearing her say “Wheeeee!” — yes, she really says that — as she feels the thrill of balance or speed or both as she puts it together. IMG_7405


My vicarious bike adventures continue.

My neighbor is somewhat new to biking and completely new to mountain biking. We went out to Tamarancho this morning and rode the standard loop which is the gold standard for legal singletrack in Marin and simultaneously one of the following depending on whom you ask: super-advanced, black diamond, expert only terrain or quintessential XC with a nice variety of ups, downs, little bit of tech, litlle bit of flow. After .5 mile in, which is all uphill and loaded with tight switchbacks we stopped and Robin told me she would’ve turned around if I hadn’t come. Right there I was stoked to have offered to go with her.IMG_7407 IMG_7408

Thing is, I had just suffered through two weeks of very painful Achilles tendonitis which landed me in a walking boot and obviously no riding, no running, no hiking and hardly anything else. I was totally fine with a remedial ride.

What I didn’t expect though, was how much I would enjoy going at such a slow pace. I could have rode ahead, waited, rode back and sessioned sections, etc. I did that a little, but mostly I just tried to ride slow enough that Robin could see me, but not feel like I was watching her every move. The trail felt completely — and I mean COMPLETELY — different at the slower speed. Roots, rocks and ruts I’ve never noticed loomed large and required addressing. Trailside views I’d never seen just popped. I got off my bike a ton and took these pictures. I walked around off trail a bit. And while I am in no way an advanced rider, I realized how much I’ve taken my experience and accrued skills for granted. I reconnected with my early forays into mountain biking and was amazed anyone sticks with this sport because for as much fun as it is, it is damn HARD when you’re learning to ride. Props to all the new riders and all the guides and clinic instructors. But of course, it is as much fun as it is hard.

And lastly, Tamarancho is the very same trail that I dogged when we first moved here. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and truth is, it is not a game changing ride, but for a go-to trail, it’s pretty impressive. Varied, beautiful, close. New Tamarancho, meet the new less judgy me.IMG_7422

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True Story

In the not so distant past, male grooming was very much a crap shoot. Shaving blindly, many men were covered in horrific facial scars, many died. Merely surviving the act showed a certain prowess that went a long way with the ladies. But being able to pull off something resembling symmetry on your face would vault a lad to the status of, in the parlance of the day, the shit.

Fast forward a hundred or a thousand years (surely not a hundred thousand, but a shit load let’s say) and grooming has become so fastidiously tricked out that men either can use new-fangled or old-timey (both are somehow cutting edge) fancy doodads, cremes and tinctures of their own, pay someone silly money to have them employ their even fancier doodads, cremes and tinctures, or, like the most ironically waxed and twisted hipster mustache, chose to have an ironically waxed and twisted hipster mustache or shaggy chic neck beard.

Sidenote: Yo, you owe it to yourself to google images neckbeard!

The point is, symmetry looks gooood. Biology says so. Neckbeard, urban lumberjack, you are the fashion Mungo Man. So out of the darkness leapt mirrors and all this blind shaving nonsense withered and died. Now, astute reader, I can hear you asking, “but what about blind men?” Good question. Blind men, with their finely honed sense of touch, were already so far ahead of the curve they could then (shit load years, remember?) and still do, shave like motherfuckers.

To summarize: This all really happened because why the hell not? Truth is evanescent. Just like fashion. Once, lopsideburns were A-OK. One day soon, in the highly unstable future, we may see neckbeards rule the day. I pray it isn’t so.


Rumination on Ruination.

Not sure if it’s just me or if this is something that all/most/some fathers of daughters struggle with. I see my kid playing and being silly with all the innocence of a 3.5 year old but sometimes I can’t help but worry. Like the other day when we took Josey for a walk. Alls going well until we get to a street sign. Chloe likes to grab onto trees, or signs or poles and then just grab on and hold on. And hold on. And shimmy up and slide down. First thought — No. Anything but this. You cannot like this at all.

We finally get home and she bites the string on my hoodie right as I go to toss her on the couch. First thought — as a kid, I once found an old bootleg Twizzler under the couch and went to eat it but it was rock hard. Undetermined, I bit down hard to break it off some and before you know it I yanked my tooth out clear across the room.

Now that the string was out — thanks Chloe, by the way — I don’t think I’ve ever cinched down a hoodie — she proceeds to tie my hands to the door knob for about a half hour. Total brow-knit concentration. Then, I’m instructed to tie her hands to a chair. First thought — nope, this is not happening. Not on the heels of that pole routine out on the street.

So between sweating the implications of everything my daughter does translating into a father’s worst nightmare and then thinking that I might make her look like Bobby Orr, I got worry.


That’s more like it. Exploratorium. Science. Brainy stuff.


Or this. This is fine too.IMG_6802 IMG_6852

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Looking back down the ugly climb up to one of the more fun trails in Marin.IMG_6858 IMG_6929Warriors v Clippers, Game 3. So close, but so far. Oracle is LOUD! It was pretty cool to see a bunch of ex-Warriors in the crowd. And not just long-retired veterans, but current NBA players who are now on different teams — Brandon Rush, Jarrett Jack. To me, that says a lot about this team.


Hawaii and miscellaneous photo dump

Holly is such a rockstar that once again, she sold enough used cars to earn an amazing club trip! This time to the Big Island, Hawaii. We all had a great time mostly relaxing. I read more than I have in three years and four months. We also swam every day in either the ocean, the pool or both. Following are some pics (thanks for the motivation, Suz) of Hawaii and some other general snappies.



Preggers getting down.IMG_6645

Chloe on her way to her “own special special party” and Holly and I on to ours. I drank for both of us. IMG_6620

Deep sea fishing. Notice what’s missing — no marlin, no tuna. We didn’t even put a line in the water. At least it was free!IMG_6595

The view from a run I did one morning in Kohala. Windy.

Little bit of kayaking with the kid at the Fairmont Orchid.

Chloe’s a pro at chilling. We rented a house in Kohala which Chloe dubbed “the pretty house.” She cried a little, literally, when we left.IMG_5817A torrential downpour sent us scurrying all over looking for dinner. It was looking grim and I was ready to eat any old slop when Holly found this spot in Waimea which turned out to be amazing. Ed and I split a BBQ plate that had ribs, brisket, pulled pork and Portuguese sausage. We also got three massive desserts (chocolate cake, banana cream pie and macadamia coconut cream pie)  which took us four days to eat all of it.

The rest of the pics are not from Hawaii, and therefore don’t deserve comment.

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Except this last one. Is that air bass? On the beach? That’s my girl.


Photo Dump

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Previous two pics are of Big Rock Ridge, a non-technical ride which is still tough for the climbing and offers some nice panoramas.IMG_6411 IMG_6408

Chloe has been obsessed with fishing lately. I just bought her a pole and she’s been practicing her casting all over the house. We’ll go back to Bon Tempe Lake, pictured above, for a picnic BBQ and some fishing this weekend.IMG_6468

Rocking out to the Specials.IMG_6434 IMG_6426 IMG_6425It’s pretty hard to make out, but the little whitish speck in the center of these pics is a coyote. Josey working hard for her Oscar-nomination as a tough dog. Straight mean-mugging that yote! Just heard that for the first time the other day, yote. I don’t know what I think about it. Reminds me of a roommate in college who would by cheap cassettes by the bagful and listen to music that he hated. Eventually, he’d like it. I’m not talking about the familiar refrain on music that you’re not sure about because it’s inaccessible, but after several listens you get it. I’m talking about shit he straight up disliked. Then enjoyed. Through routine exposure. Which can, in sane people, make you dislike music you originally liked. He also never got angry.