Saturday, December 26, 2009

Eyes Without A Face

In case there was any question Jim has gear for every situation, I submit this photo as proof.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bastaclause Is Coming To Town

Merry Christmas BASTARDS!!!!!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Working For The Weekend

Friday was a perfect work day. I ate some Christmas party food and left work early. I had a gig that night and wanted to get a nap. We set up the P.A. and lights with out a hitch. We played a few tunes and all was well. I started noodling on the drum intro to the Van Halen song; "Hot For Teacher". Normally this kind of thing drives the band mates nuts but because I am not the bands real drummer, this really and impresses them. Tony the bands singer, jokes that we should do the song.

The first set is played to three dock workers and four housewives with their backs to us. The club is empty. The place is usually packed on Friday with newly divorced, fake boobied cougars and the guys that buy them drinks. On the plus side: it's raining. Tony makes a joke or two and we play a few more songs. Half way through the second set, it looks like a tour bus of middle aged party people arrived and the joint is macking in full swing. The band decides not to break and play straight through. We've all had a few more than normal, during the low key first set. Tony is shined up a little more than the rest of us and after introducing me says:
"Play that double bass thing!"
I start the "Hot for Teacher" intro, the guitar player comes in (right on que) and we launch into the song. Tony starts singing and we drop the last verse, but basically its pretty good. The crowd goes ape shit, I feel like a stud, and Tony says Good night.

The next day is going to be perfect, I have another gig with the band in Panama City and I don't have to leave until 2:30 p.m. Ms. W.B. is taking the boys to Jacksonville and I will be able to sleep in and leave rested and relaxed. At 7:00 a.m. someone is driving cattle through my house. There are loud noises and doors slamming. My left eye creeks open and sees the clock. I went to bed four hours ago. Not to worry, I need to say goodbye to the troops anyway and then I can sleep till noon like a rock star. Ms. W.B. is glad she doesn't have to keep everyone quiet and I look like a hero for getting up after a late night. They disembark and I snuggle back in to safety under my blankies.

No one told the dog I was sleeping and she had a schedule of her own:
(8:30 a.m.) Bark at all sides of the yard, make sure all the neighbors dogs are awake and barking too.
(9:00 a.m.) Run in and out of the dog door as many times as possible, at the highest rate of speed, making sure to bark at the squirrels in the front yard as well as the squirrels in the back yard.
(10:00 a.m.) Push bedroom door open lick private parts, scratch area by tags (so they jingle) then jump on the bed and make sure man owner is still sleeping.
(10:30 a.m.) Mid morning nap.

I am in the midst of a great dream, the waves are cracking and I am on a clothing optional beach. All the women are beautiful and exercising their option. They are happy to see me as they cover each other with tanning oil. They wave as I enter the crystal clear ocean. Everything would be perfect if that bell wasn't ringing. Why would anyone allow a door chime on such a scenic beach? The scene fades and I am sucked into a vortex. My eyes open and I hear the door bell ringing over and over, like kid on Ritalin is at the controls. I drop three hundred and seventy two f-bombs in the twelve steps it takes to get to the door. I am just in time to see the U.P.S. guy drive away. I give up. It's time to make tea and get on with life.

The gig in Panama City goes off well. It is a black tie, Toys for Tots, charity event. The band has played this show for four years and they love Tony and the boys. We have access to a VIP room with a free bar and a nice lay out of finger food. Three sets, thanks a lot, drums in the car and I hit the road. I get home at 5:30 a.m. and sleep the sleep of the dead. I wake up at 1:30 stoked to find out Worm is going to Tom Brown for a ride. He sent out an email to the crew, so it will probably be a big ride. I suit up and run out the door.

Worm is there but no one else. No worries. They are probably late, so we will take a short lap and cruise back though the parking lot. As we roll up to the cars, I am overwhelmed by the stench of dog poo. I go to the hose and start rinsing off the recycled dog chow. It gets on me, my bike, and my gloves. Big Worm, who is really pissed at the crew (for their no show act) is starting to show signs of life. He chuckles as I get covered in water, shit and mud on one of the coldest days of the year. We set off towards Cadillac and a joyous day of mountain biking in the church of the open sky. Big Worm leads out, and I can tell he is going to open up on the single track. No worries, I am right on his wheel and really enjoying his fast lines. He goes into a really rooty section and takes a new line. I admire the way he rips thought it and I decide to follow him. The first root rips my bars to the left, as my right foots unclips from my pedal. I push the bars out in front of me and try to get control as the next group of bigger roots approaches. I lunge forward trying to get back over the bike when the bars leave my hands violently and I go down like a bag of hammers. I try to get up but the air intake is not working, so I just lay back down and amuse Worm as I try to breath. Worm, who was really in a bad mood, now seems to be having a great day. He has a grin that couldn't be knocked off with a baseball bat, and I find myself wishing I could try. We continue to roll and my bike begins making a sound that the Wormster (always mindful of new ways to add to my misery) diagnoses as a sound his Yeti frame made just before it broke. I have to act like nothing bothers me because I just can't bear to watch Worm get any happier and we finish out the ride.

On the way home I shoot Shin's a call at Joe's. They stay open on Sundays near the holidays. He tells me to come on by. He throws my beloved bike on the rack and rips it apart like and old woman declawing a lobster on her birthday. Parts are every where and Shin's shows no signs of anything I can decipher as good news or bad. We close the shop down and Shin's keeps throwing parts of my bike all over the counters floors and ceiling. At one point he produces a bottle of Irish whiskey and offers me a snort. I haven't eaten in six hours, but it seems like a great idea. Three hours after he should have been home with his wife and kids (on a Sunday!) my bike is rebuilt, with new pivot bearings and clean as whistle. Shin's says to come by tomorrow and settle up. In the morning I run to The Cake Shop, to get pastry for Shin's and Joey. Shin's eyes water as he eats the apple cake, and Joe's eats the lemon squares while making primal, orgasmic groans. Mission accomplished.

All ying's must yang I recon.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In The Court Of The Crimson King

Running from the dark. It is an old pastime, a deep seated fear and a primal trigger in the reaches of my wiring. My only rule as a kid was to be home before the streetlights came on. I always overestimated the daylight and underestimated my ETA to the porch. Many a panicked time trial was motored home at the top of my heart rate.

I never tired of the game and the pattern repeated. I frequently found myself waiting in the lineup for one more wave, as the fifty foot Australian pines subdivided the sun like a math graph. The switch would flip, and turn the blue ocean to oil. Over head swells look just like lull, when the contrast is turned down. The adrenalin drives the pupils open and the brain searches frantically for clues of survival. At the edge of hope, I'd catch one and aim for the last trace of glare.

I arrived at the top of a skate park snake run, when I heard my name over the P.A.. They shut out the lights and I bombed that run full speed from memory. It was quiet, roaring, calm and frantic, all in one trance. The kind of thing that makes the more aware and older in attendance marvel at stupidity, luck, and skill with equal measure. A head shake and an insult were the only payoff.

So it was that I found myself, after starting too late, with no light, picking my way out of Cadillac, Tom Brown and finally a pitch dark Fern Trail. Now the challenge is not so much how far my courage will hold, but over coming my failing eyesight. My rock and roll hearing (which is white noise at the first wisp of wind), leaves me rotating my head like an escaped mental patient, trying to hone in on what ever real or imagined threats, are scurrying in the periphery.

Safe on pavement the final act is winding down at thirty miles an hour. Nothing is as sweet as passing commuters in the bike lane, as traffic chokes the progress, of the shiny metal boxes. At last, safe in my hood, I am tortured by the smell of fire wood and combinations of dinners in the breeze. The last blocks are a hands free cruise, past holiday lights.

Darkness is a magical thing. It is where the truth lives. It is the place where love is made, and doubts grow into mountains. There is a thrill that comes with living three feet at a time, known only to those who ride in silhouette.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I don't care what anyone says, doing a cross race is easier on a mountain bike.

There is some suckage attached though, like pushing the cement filled, dual suspension, piece-o-shite, up muddy hills or carrying it, and your over developed mid section, over hurdles.

I thank (Deity of choice) that there is not any video of this horror show.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Dirty White Boy

See ya tomorrow, ya muddy Bastards!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Santa Baby

Dear Santa,
In 1971, I asked very nicely for this bike:

I am sure I wasn't the best kid on the block, but dang, Frank Verillo got one and he was an Ass#*+^!

I am going to try a new approach. Please deliver the following items to my house or there will be no cookies, or milk and I will down load that surveillance video of what you did to my plastic reindeer (BASTARD!) to

Sorry it had to come to this, but I see no other way to reconcile.


Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm fine. Help me up.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's All I Can Do

I am in the throws of another crisis of confidence. This means that I have been healthy too long, not thankful enough, and the arrival of this retched cold is proof that I am being punished for not enjoying my two wheeled gifts.

After the Tom Brown race (where I was soundly rocked) I was surprised to find out my fitness was a mirage. Then after another trip to Macon, and a mental bonk on the climbs, I was (again) denied the luxury of slaying my dragons. After weeks of hard work, dieting, and weight loss it was all a sad payoff. Back at home, I have not been able to find my groove. When I am confident, I can ride anything. When the armor fails, the demons rush in like a virus, reek havoc on all my systems, and leave me to question everything from gear, to weather I should ride at all.

All of the weeks I have spent reflecting, yielded a nugget today. I have been saving money to do the Hut To Hut this summer. All these little speed bumps have led me to wonder if I have the "stuff" to pull that ride off. If I went on that trip and failed to finish, or (horror of horrors) ruined the trip for the others, I would have a tough time dealing with it. I suffer from Asthma and I worry about the altitude. I don't know if I could do forty miles plus a day with no option to go easy or bail. The added gear and weight on the bike, all lead me to question the intent. Doubt is the bane of my existence, and it is where I am living.

I will have to get stronger on solo rides and work back to some point of comfort. Riding like life, requires that you keep moving and do the hard work alone, so you can enjoy the time with others. Felasco is the only target on the horizon. After that the decisions will make themselves.

Time for the medicine.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's New?

I used to play drums for hours when I was a a kid. Back then the radio played everything from The Ohio Players to Queen on one station. The rotation came around about every two hours and I could get through most of it before my Mom would come in, flip the light switch and let me know she'd had enough. It was a great way to get a musical education, but mostly I learned how to fix drums that were designed for kids that gave up two months after Christmas. My kit was held together with paper clips, and twisted coat hangers. It was a demented mixture of colors and companies, none of them good. I knew I wasn't going to get anything new, and if I wanted to play I was going to have to McGyver my way through.

My mother used to save quarters. I don't know where they came from but she saved a lot of them. She used them for clothes, rainy days, and once a trip to San Fransisco. She also loved the horses and quarters went to the track as well. For years I thought that's why they were called "quarter horses". She was a child of the depression and had learned to make do. She was a thrift store professional and had radar for bargains. She would take things to the counter and point out bad hems, stains and other irregularities, and then she would look at the clerk doe eyed and say what a shame it was that it was ruined. The price would magically drop and she would never let on to me or anyone that a supreme lesson in bargaining had been executed by a master.

I remember going to her in a fit of frustration, having finally had been defeated, by the pile of debris I hit with sticks. The bass drum head had broken and the rip had defied all my best efforts as well as four bucks worth of duct tape. She took me to the music store and I went to work on her to get as much as I could. I brought a pair of sticks, a snare head and the new head for the bass drum, sheepishly up to the counter. The damage was forty eight bucks plus tax. Out came the quarters, some dollars and the check book. I could see by the look on her face it was a lot more than she expected. She tried to bargain with the sales guy but, she was not in her element. Music store guys have heard all, and they have sympathy for no one. She mumbled something religious, forked over the money, and I got the heads I needed. The result was pure bliss. I was able to over look the tin cymbals, broken pedals, and the floor tom, that was really a bass drum resting on a trash can. It was thirty two years ago, but I assure you I can remember everything about that day, her face, the salesman and the glorious sound of those new heads.

It's been a very long time since I had to scrape for anything. If I need something, I just go get it. To this day though, I get a very funny feeling in my stomach when I buy heads. Some part of that day, my Mother, and where I came from, walk with me still.

I was alone, in my kitchen gripped by sadness for no good reason, when I realized it was her birthday. I shook my head and laughed as I put it all together. It has been six years since we lost her. I was on stage watching socialburn play to a sold out house at Floyd's. My phone rang and I just knew she had gone. She had been so proud of all the success we were having and used to call me to let me know our position on the Palm Beach radio chart. She used to stop people we didn't know and tell them I was her seventh son. It drove me nuts. Until the day she died, she called me her: "little kid". She was a pistol, in every sense of the word.

I make a habit of complaining about my insane family, but we made do. We learned from a master.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Dancing In The Dark

What do you fear most? Losing your spouse, your job, your life? My biggest fear has always been becoming one of them: The Normals. Nine to five in a numb case with no escape. Working, mowing the grass, going to church, conservative clothing, thinking and the slanted perpetual smile of the damned. A world of safe moves, station wagons, potato salad and small talk. Don't offend anyone. Don't say what you think. Network your way into the club man.

It's my private rebellion. My crusade against no one. I need little things, every so often, to keep me left of center. Surfing in El Salvador, a conversation with a homeless guy, a bike race, blah, blah, blah.
The time is right for riding in the dark. It takes a few weeks for the skin to grow back, for the perception to adjust. The first few rides are an exercise in twitch. The boring trail is transformed into something that demands every cells concentration. Every sound, every root, is amplified to the tenth power. There are no strollers, no dog walkers, no stink eyed hikers. The Normals are home monitoring the crock pots, and the evening news. They are moisturising. They are on their third cocktail, hoping to escape the judgement of a sideways glance. They are trying to remember the last time they had sex. They are dancing chickens with no heads. They don't know they are dead.

I know everyone does it. I know we are not making a summit attempt after two o'clock. We aren't on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan. Lets not over inflate our adventures. That would be UNETHICAL!

People in cars look at me like I am weird. My neighbors shake their heads. My heart beats a little harder on the fast section of Cadillac. I force myself to let go of the brakes. I am not one of them. I can live with that.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

You Turn The Screws

Nice ride today. Thirty five miles, twenty of which I was repeating the phrase "I hate Tyler" over and over like a character from a Stephen King novel. If you are unfortunate enough to be on a ride with him, that does not include technical single track, you will have to suffer the indignity of watching him ride away from you. Because he is a BASTARD!!!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Even Now

I am a recovering musician. I was addicted from age nine. I suffered all the highs and lows of any addict. I have learned to manage my cravings, but every so often I wander into an alley to find my old cronies. We bend the boot, hit the bag, and for a while we live in a set list thinking of nothing more than the next song. The place where minutes become hours, the groove is oxygen and melody is the sun. It is a dangerous exercise for one with such a tenuous grip on the real world. It is much easier when the gigs suck, or when I am out of practice. Then the decisions I have made are easier to swallow. The voices are quelled and my internal monologue verifies what I feared the most: that I wasn't good enough. Sadly I have been experiencing a new wave of interest in playing. I have been practicing. I have been doing more gigs. My playing is on point. The beast is awake and it is hungry.

I did a gig a couple weeks ago and my bike crew showed up to see the old man play. To them I have always been comic relief, the old slow dude they adopted nine years ago. To see their reaction and feel the support was awesome and bitter. The questions come and after all these years the answers elude. The stage is such a great place to visit, but for me it is an old love, obsessive and toxic. The passion is explosive, the fire burns, but in the morning I am still a Montague, and music the Capulet. The night is a stolen season and in the light of day, there are jobs to work and bills to pay. I have to crush my soul back into a little box and march into Monday.

It's one thing to get applause and to see your friends smile, quite another to hear questions from musicians you admire. A friend recently asked why I didn't pursue a gig as a drummer for a touring artist. The "WHY" list begins to run, but somewhere in the back of a place you never shine the flashlight, there's a part of you that wonders if you could. Would the marriage survive? Would the kids do okay with out you at the swim meets and half time shows? Would they do as well in school? It's all bubble gum for the brain because the gig does not exist. I thought for years (conditioned by organized religion) that I never found the light because I was a bad person. Today I discovered that an old acquaintance is flourishing in the world I so wished to attain. He is not as talented as I am, and he is a colossal ass to boot. The comparison game is one of my old favorites. It's all about the scoreboard and the back story is never told. It sure makes for a fun "why not me" session when you are crawling to five O'clock. The dreams and regrets walk hand in hand.

I have said it before, and here it comes again: thank (Deity of choice) that group of guys that never saw me play, took me in and let me ride bikes with them. They saved my life. Thank (Deity of choice) for the bicycle. Thank (Deity of choice) for the woods and the canopy roads we ride. Let us all pray that the voices are forever quelled by the increase in miles. Every now and then I may get to hit the drums and sing a few songs. It's nice to go to the circus as long as you don't come home wearing clown paint.

The bike is in the garage, this I know.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Lay It On The Line


I hate bikes. Racing is stupid. Tom Brown is a dumb ass trail. It's been raining. I am not going to race.


The new fall T.V. season started. No ones yells at me, or drops me, when I am on the sofa. The world is full of people that do not race mountain bikes. Cookies are good. I was planning on changing my riding style to: Bird watching cyclist.


What am I five years old? I don't have to race because of my crew. The world needs peace and love; not a bunch of middle aged dorks in Lycra, spreading testosterone in the forest.


Wow the trail is REALLY getting ridden in well. I am glad I am not racing. This is great for the trail though. I am railing turns. There's way too many people at Tom Brown.....I could beat that guy. Is he in my class? What's with the stink eye Bro?..... Yo! On your left!


I am riding a little too hard, you know, in case I decide to race. I need to taper a little more. I probably won't race. I need to save money. I am glad the shop had the new shoes, tires, Ti pedals, XTR drive train, and carbon bars I wanted. It's not my fault they sent me a new credit card. I may need a divorce attorney.


I always stay up till four in the morning cleaning my bike, laying out my kit, and checking my cleats. I can't find my lucky socks....WHERE THE F*#$ ARE MY LUCKY, oh...... here they are. I am so glad I am not racing. It makes people soooo neurotic. Losers. I'll just take the tires off one more time, to check for thorns. Did that rotor just squeak? WHAT THE F^&*?


It's so weird, I have a check right here, filled out to Gone Riding....What a coinky dink. I have to poop RIGHT NOW! I have stopped talking and smiling at anyone who might be in my class, including close friends and their family members. I probably shouldn't have told that guys kid I was going to kick his Dads ass. Oh well, all is fair in love and.....OH SHIT! My class is next! I am going to kill anything that is not in a Bike Chain jersey. Why is this guy crowding me? Home boy better chill! I am feeling the whole shot! 5,4,3,2,1.....AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Sky Is Crying

Tuesday, I was going to hit Munson. Big Jim convinced me to ride Tom Brown and Cadillac in prep for the impending "Race of Death" that visits our trails annually like a plague. Like a good soldier, I obliged. I rode from my house (because putting your bike on a car is just silly) and headed to Jim's place of work. As I rolled up, the faucet turned on and I heard that music they play when someone loses on a game show. Jim made a series of grumbling noises and I said:
"Well, I'll see you in the back lot" and I rode off to meet Tyler, who was sitting in the rain, waiting for us. We waited about a minute before I recieved the text from Jim:
"I'm Out."
You see Jim had just had his bike massaged by Big Worm. His bike was dialed, styled, and profiled. Jim likes things to be clean. Jim likes things to be in order. Jim doesn't do rain. Jim was f*#^+ng riding, if I had to kill him and "Weekend At Bernie's" his ass around the trail system. I have a vague memory of cussing into a phone and applying copious amounts of guilt. Low and behold Jim cracked, rolled up, changed, and we headed for the woods. You could have parked a truck on Jim's lower lip. What followed was one of the most miserable, mud ridden, roll outs I can remember. Within ten minutes we were covered head to toe in brown water and trail filth. You could hear metal grinding off our drive trains, cables struggling to move, and chain tolerances going to hell. Somewhere in Japan, a Shimano wept. In a scant ten minutes, all Worms work was decimated, and his efforts to make Jim's bike sing, were crushed, like the dreams of Seminole football fans.

Amazingly, we ended up on the Greenway, and salvaged a pretty good ride. Tyler's steroids kicked in, after we dropped him a few times (not because we were fast, but because he doesn't have gears.....schmuck!). He attacked every hill and robbed me of my delusions of fitness. He even gave me a smirk as I rolled up (four days after they arrived) to the Greenway trail head. The ride was good, and we logged about twenty miles, while the more sensible cyclists sat in their homes, coddled, and well fed, watching The Antique Road Show (Pansies!).

Wednesday, I was riddled with guilt. I called Big Jim to say I was sorry about his muddy bike and invited him for an early ride from my house. This would give me the opportunity to wash his Ellsworth, dump lube on it, floss his calipers and wipe down his frame (insert homophobic jokes here..). Off we went to do the big east loop, in the shining October sun and all was grand...until nearly the end of our ride, when we reached Fern. The clouds pissed rain down on us, in another bitter insult to our ambitions.

Jim has had a perfect bike twice this week, and twice it has been soaked and sullied. My mind wandered to Buddhist Monks making sand paintings for days, denying themselves food, water and sleep. When they are done with the masterpiece, they open the doors facing north, south, east, and west, surrendering to the wind. It is not an exercise in futility, it is a lesson that we must strive for perfection and accept that all our efforts to attain perfection, are in vane. It is in the striving that we live life to the fullest. I know! That was good right? I can hear the sound of one hand clapping all over the Internet.

In all the pictures Jim is smiling, which means he must pick up the burning pot, thereby tattooing himself and leave the temple forever....wait.... did I just mix and match eastern religions?


Monday, October 5, 2009

If 6 Was 9

Big highs, big lows. That's what I would say if I had to sum up my life in one sentence. I have had periods of brief stability, but mostly I am in transition to one extreme or the other. Self inflicted? Certainly. Exaggerated? Probably. Perception is reality and we all live in a construct of what we think we feel, need, see, hear, and more than anything: who we are.

Today I am well. I had the best week of cycling since March. I feel fit. I do not morn the past and my melancholy has subsided. As the pedals turn, so to do the wheels. The healing increases with the miles. This is not my default setting, so I see different colors than normal. Things smell vibrant. I hear the forest. I am thankful to be allowed to wander the trails.

I ride with caution and with a sense of gratitude. You must believe me when I say: I never thought I would make it back, I just hoped to improve. For the first time in a very long time, I have a hopeful view. My world changed over night. My boys are both in high school, and are not the people they were last summer. They surprise me everyday in appearance and in attitude. All our investments in them have started to bear fruit. All is flowing and the trick is not to disrupt the momentum. Do the dishes, get the kids, clean the kitchen, throw in some laundry, rake a pattern in the rocks, revel in the task, and not the outcome. The moment is here, the moment is gone, equal parts of nothing and something, all in balance for now. The miles are the reward, not the burden.

I know, I know, go with me on this one. It usually comes up tails.


Friday, October 2, 2009


I am riding
I am healthy
I am happy
I am

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey D.J.!


1. Every player must have his own Ipod.

2. Any and all genres of music are allowed.

3. You have five seconds to start your song after being handed the dock cord.

4. Yelling, singing along, cheering a selection, talking over songs, providing attached memories, weird facts and trivia is not only encouraged it is required.

5. Each player gets one "pull" if they disapprove another players selection.

6. Players must divulge personal attachments to selections of other players, and any physical reactions such as "goose bumps".

7. Paper and pen are needed to write down awesome selections you have never heard of, for the purpose of down loading later.

8. Points are awarded, but everyone wins.

9. Mundane selections will be met with severe verbal abuse.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

From Yesterday

Paulie Mac has got life dialed. He is one of those rare people that knows exactly what his place in the world is and he is comfortable in his skin. He can talk politics and the next second comment on architecture. He has great taste in music and his work as a carpenter qualifies him to be called an artist. With a disarming smile, he can disagree with you, making it impossible to get mad as he dismantles your argument. He has served in the Peace Corps in Africa, and ridden in the La Ruta de los Conquistadores. He is one of those guys you wish you could be but at the end of the day, you aren't as smart and lets face don't have the sack.

He has just returned home for his recent stint as a guide on the Tour d' Afrique. He rode from Cairo to Cape town over a four month period and then when it was over, he headed out on his own, cycling across the dark continent. I could go on but if you want the straight story, click on his link on my main page, and get it all from the horses mouth.

Cliffy had a little welcome home shin dig for Paulie and a small but prestigious group of folks turned out. Cliff is a great artist, a world class photog, and his house is a reflection of his tastes and talents. We drank (some of us more then others) talked (some of us more than others) and laughed well into the wee hours. We had a grand time and more than anything welcomed back one of the scenes elite. We won't be able to keep him long, but we wouldn't want to deprive him of his adventures. For an old dog like me, I look forward to reading his blog, looking at his photos, and pasting myself in there (pretend style) as he trots the globe.

Welcome home pal, sorry you can't stay longer, but we wouldn't any other way.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Glory Days

My eldest brother Ted is the kindest soul that has ever walked this earth. He would literally give the shirt off his back for friend or family. Once upon a time he defied all given logic, beating a disability and his undersized genes to slay a giant. He became a U.D.T. Frog in the sixties. The legends of the training from that era are often told to recruits of the new era. It was the toughest, and most glorious six year period of his life. As a result he compares everything that he is going through to his time in the "Teams". It is an old family jest that Ted can take a discussion about a sandwich and get going about the U.D.T. days.

I have become more like him than I like to admit. My short tenure as a band manager was by far the toughest thing I ever tried to do. Mentally and physically exhausting every skill I ever acquired as a salesman, musician, person.... everything. It took all my effort to get through a day, and when I thought I had seen it all, the next day made the previous, a joke. The problem with these type of experiences is, that while going through them you never have the luxury of enjoying the view. To do so would take your eye off the target, and peril would be eminent. It is not until the battle ends that any real perspective can be gained. You must gather with others that were there, and tell the stories like Nam vets, at a therapy group, because hardly anyone else can bear to listen. My wife has been touching me on the arm for the last three years, to let me know it's time for the conversation be normal, and not about "the time the band was on Carson Daily" or whatever story de' jour might be. Like my Bro, I can connect the thread, from any conversation back to times of fury and heroics.

What do you do when you reach a peak and nothing but valleys lay ahead? Valleys are good and peaceful, the weather is nice. It is a stable place to live. It is the easy place, where the good life occurs. I still feel compelled every so often, to slip the on ring, become invisible in my parlor, and remember the dragons breath. I try to channel the energy into my latest attempt to return to cycling form, and my flashbacks are getting dimmer by the day, but the reminders are everywhere. People remember the tragedy of 911 as a news clip, I remember flying by the smoke on our way to showcase for Roadrunner Records, gripping the arms of our chairs, white knuckled and silent. I hold my hands around the candle. I try to shut out the wind. The white noise grows and the names are all but gone from the wall they were sprayed upon, so many years ago. Like it or not all our footprints get washed away. It makes the gray paint on my cement block office walls a shade or two darker. It gets harder as the years plod on, to push the rock uphill.

Now the thrills I get come at the hands of my sons exploits. #1 on the blocks at his first swim meet, bringing home an "A" in trig, or Lil W.B. nailing a vibe part in marching band, or killing a Muse song in the garage with his band. I feel the warmth of my blessings. I thank the universe for allowing me to ride, and have a family. I have so much more than I deserve. I just wonder if the wizard will ever come back.

Hey, did I ever tell you about the time.......


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Panic Switch

For three days the lights haven't worked in either bathroom or our bedroom. I have been waking up completely disoriented, like touring days of old, in unfamiliar hotel rooms. Ms. Wrecking Ball wakes me. She has taken a cord to the neighbors, for the two refrigerators. I am am the ugly American. I have two refrigerators. My biggest problem is an over abundance of food, I am now protecting like a penguin, on an egg, in winter. The city crews are here. As I open the windows, I see a guy shaking his head and another going for a shovel.

The electricians have the fuse panel torn apart, and wires reach out like hungry children. They have been in the same position for thirty six years bringing power to this house. Now they are a chaotic tangle separated and useless, because a couple lights flickered and went out. I am starting to sweat, it is subtle, not the hard working sweat of productive effort, but the slow immobile accumulation of moisture. Sticky at first, then a stale wetness. I look out the window and remember Mrs. Hillier rapping me on the hand with a ruler for putting my sweaty arm on my paper. White City Elementary had no A/C but they made fresh rolls every day. There is a second electrical contractor truck dripping in oil in my drive and a third city truck rolls up. They are all jovial and discuss the deals they got on Beretta rifles and where they are going for lunch. I am a babe in the woods, they could walk up and say I had unicorns in my lines and I would be powerless to disagree, they hold the switch, and I can't wait to get the gadgets back. I sit like a chick in the nest waiting for them to throw up in my mouth. I hear my voice, as a child, scream in my skull: "Please, I beg you, make the monkey clap the cymbals again."

My mind drifts, I am tired. I haven't slept well for days. When did I become a coddled, power sucking, misfit? How did I get here? I used to go to the beach for hours with no water, money or food, just baggies, wax and a towel. I hitch hiked to the beach, 18 miles each way, when I was thirteen. I skated for hours on one frozen mini pizza and two Pepsi's. I used to play six, forty five minute sets, with ten minute breaks, after loading in stacks of speakers and rigging lights. Now I am in a panic, because I am sweating and I can't access the Internet. I have an irrational image of shows evaporating off my DVR. How did I end up such a pampered shadow of the "tough it out" kid I once was?

The hours erode away, each explanation is more absurd than the one before. There is a hole with five guys sitting in it. A new crew arrives. They all agree that a herd of cats inserted a computer virus into government files that disintegrated the insulation on my main line, which any idiot can see is not reading right on the meter, the guy mumbling pigeon red neck is holding. I am such a dumb ass. Everyone leaves. A new inspector comes and tells me he can hook up the power but the line will definitely fail, and soon. The new fuse box is in ($1500.00) and it looks really cool. I walk in and see green and red L.E.D.'s blinking all around. Nothing, including me, knows what time it is. I go to the bedroom, flip the light switch, and nothing happens.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009


We need to figure out things that will get Big Worm on Facebook. Top ten lists, compromising sex photos, run what ya brung people! Lets make this happen.

W.B.Z.N. *photo credit B.J.S.*

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trail Blazer

If you ride the Fern trail, you owe him. If you ride Tom Brown, you owe him. If you ride Cadillac, you owe him. If you ride nearly any trail in town, you owe him.

I remember when I started riding to work nine years ago, I would see him on his red Cannondale. He was a quiet guy and I had just started riding. I had the zeal of the newly converted and I couldn't engage him about riding, until I mentioned that commuted on Fern everyday. His eyes lit up and he told me that he was one of the designer/builders of that trail. He had hoped people would commute in the woods to work. Just before the famous Winn Dixie section of Fern fell to the bulldozer, he and I squeezed in one last ride. We stepped over felled trees and rode around the machines. He pointed out springs, plants, and all we were losing. I felt as though I was watching a man eulogize a friend.

Over the years I would see him sporadically on trails and at Cycling advocacy meetings. He was the one voice that all the tribes of cyclists, and the people we were trying to reach, respected. He never beat his chest, he never sought recognition, he just helped, worked, and smiled his way through the trying process of moving the greater good forward.

Let us not forget, he is a great cyclist. His exploits are legend. I once asked if anyone had ridden the pipe on the old Fern trail and the only response I ever heard was "I saw Harvey ride it once." That's before the stories of him getting lost in underwater caves, sliding down glaciers, and rafting rivers with Mingo in Alaska.

He is leaving us to take a job in D.C.. We have all lost a great light for the cause of all things cycling in Tallahassee. Hopefully he will make it back our way, but if not, we owe him.

"I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life, there are some that matter most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail, and it is good to see...."
Kicking Bird, (Dances With Wolves)

Thanks for everything John.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last Wave

I have been thinking about firsts lately. Most of them are clumsy half hearted attempts that never lead to anything.

My first stand up wave was on a Styrofoam kick board. It snapped later that day. My first stolen joy ride, on my older Bro's translucent Val Surf skateboard, ended in blood and a beating. My first stroll around a drum kit was a mishmash of Sears (and other worse things) with tin cymbals. My inaugural jaunt on my Kona Fire Mountain, laid my lunch out before me in the parking lot of Winn Dixie. Elizabeth O'Mara probably doesn't remember the patented half nose, half upper lip maneuver I pulled on her in forth grade, but I could close my eyes and paint that picture. There's no avoiding stubbing toes, in the off balance dances we perform, heading into the unknown. If they were on film you would turn away and suffer an involuntary wince reflex, and a tattoo on your long term montage, that no amount of editing, or slick soundtrack could make poetic. They were epiphanies and train wrecks in equal scale.

Each one of those horrific first ascents put a gaff into my side. Lifelong obsessions all. I know its corny but, a ride can change your life. A revolution can occur anywhere. I found that out, on a shoulder high right this weekend. It was like I awoke from a coma. So powerful was the episode that now my normal routine on the hamster wheel, is simply idiotic. People are having serious conversations all around me and all I hear are echoes of the phrase "Who Gives A Shit!" I ain't gonna abandon my post, but I have to say riding bikes, playing drums, and getting waves are the priority right now. My discontent has sprung from pretending these things weren't as important as they once were. All that changed with one wave. Now I am reevaluating everything.

The Kool-Aid has officially worn off. I am reading a new script. Get the bandages and motivational posters ready. LAY DOWN SOME GROUND FIRE.....I'M GOING IN!!!!