Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Sour Grape Tree in the Jar?

Josh belled me up the other day told me that there were some really big black and white grapes growing out of a tree on College Street at the 301 South block. "How Big?", I asked, "Like Basket Ball Big", he responded. When I heard big black and white grapes the size of basket balls the first thought I had was that could mean some really good black and white wine which I cannot ever remember having. Josh and I rolled down to the urban vineyard on the low end of College St through a minor Styro Snow Squall to find this amazing sight. There they were dangling in the wind, a single bunch of humongous black and white grapes bigger than Josh's head. We studied this newly discovered fruit of the vine and came up with some thoughts. These things will make an unbelievable raisin, even by the time it is dried it will be a raisin the size of a football which gives a whole new dimension to the oatmeal raisin cookie. The fermentation of these grapes will result in a fine urban wine and as a mirror of society we could make the choices black or white. As special once a year we could mix the 2 in the secondary fermentation process and call it a Mulatto 08, from the South College Vineyard. The grape jelly that could be crafted with these types of grapes opens up a new market as well. Black Jelly on white bread or White Jelly on Pumpernickel or any combination you can come up with to stimulate the senses. With all these new ideas of our place in the world wide grape market Josh and I realized that we had to do something smart. So we have applied for a patent on our new discovery in the name of the Charlotte Messenger Association. Look out for Black and White Grapes, they are about to change the world.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

4 Humane Society Fosters/Great With People

Little Miss Lightning(white bolt down her neck/spine)
McQueen(the fastest of the 4)
Dent/the only boy(who has a dog named Dent?)
In a few hours these 4 foster Beagle pups will be going back to the fine folks at the Charlotte Humane Society and placed in the system that will have them adopted out in like less than 2 seconds from when they are first seen by the public. I know 4 is not 6 but it is 4 and when that number is added to the 3 already in place plus a cat, rabbit, bird, fish and rat that equals more than I have ever had under one roof, ever. These little ones have taught me something from the minute their little feet hit the ground here in their foster situation. The beagle is a hunter which is innate at 6 weeks old when the training begins. They are fast, smell driven, quick witted and like to have fun with their minutes awake and dream about playing while they sleep. They are brave at the same time easily submissive when the older dogs bark, they key being the bark, it's tone and sense of urgency or not. Smart, curious, honest, reliant on humans which transfers in to trust and humble tail wagging loyalty. Not to pick a fav but Little Miss and I have made a special connection. All I have to do is say in a low tone, "ohhhhh Liiiiitttttle Miiiisssss" then she roles over with big eyes that start watering, paws in front of her face and then she wags her entire body.
Go be a foster, they need your help and it is easy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Header Image(Brave Sir Cubby) + Runner Up!

A week ago this morning at roughly 0833hrs I dropped my last mail, rolled up on the Square of downtown Charlotte and saw the above seen. At first I figured that Cubby was the bravest man Charlotte for being more than half naked sitting in a kiddie pool like everything was okay. I watched in disbelief as the productivity based society went on around Cubby as normally as if the sight was no more alarming than if I had set myself on fire after dowsing myself in gas right next to him.
I took out the camera and commenced to documenting what was going on in the Jar. At one point Cubby turned and looked right at me asking, "Who do you work for?" Through the glass I said, ", of course" He smiled and gave the wave that is in the header runner up above. The very next day I got an email from Cubby letting me know that he saw his picture on my blog which he thought that was great and that my blog was interesting. All you ladies and/or guys out there dreaming about strapping on your smallest bikini to join Cubby for a body rubbing dip in that little kiddie pool filled with baby oil, send me a note and I will pass it on. I hear he works for free.
PHOTOGRAPHER'S USELESS ART NOTE: Behind Cubby in the top image is The infamous wheel of Charlotte(it was in Hell Raiser the movie). You have to understand that the artist who created it saw it as his visual interpretation of man. So it is man or woman, humanity whatever...not one or the other but all mankind, right? I think I have a small grasp of the understanding of the artist's creation. When I was taking the image I was seeing and if you look closely you will see in the composition a reflection(click make big to see what I was seeing) of the wheel in the Bank Of America Plaza behind it. So, Man's reflection is in the window, the window is lined with the buildings framing which gives the impression of bars in a jail cell. Now the artist's gold wheel rendition of man in reflection is trapped behind the bars of the incarceration of existence while Cubby shares his body with us.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sherman Branch-Storm Damage Report

Family matters left me with 2 hours at Sherman Branch last evening. Hi Doll is my baby's Great Grand Mama and she is in the beginning of her 9th life which to most means she is 90 years old. She woke up with serious neck pain and was rushed to the ER yesterday which is the second time that has happened in 3 years. The first was a result of pressure in the spinal cord in between her c-4 and c-5 vertebrae that was fixed by a surgeon who opened her neck to relieve the pressure, then had her out of the hospital and back to work within a month. That's right Hi Doll has been working for almost 30 years since she retired back in the 70's. She spends 4 ten hour days serving bread to people out at the K & W on Independence and she drive commutes alone each way. Yesterday Hi Doll spent the day at CMC where by the afternoon they had done a CT scan and ruled out pressure in the cord like what had happened before. This time the problem is being caused by deteriorating arthritis in her neck in the same area which is causing nerves to be pinched resulting in pain and possible mobility problems. Even though this crazy lady volume 1 can tolerate pain(she lived through the Great Depression in Arkansas) she is still in hurt. Her spine doctor was with her yesterday afternoon and after the results of the scan were read he let her go home for the night. Today is another day, maybe the pain has let up a bit

So, after riding home from work, I tended to the animals at the house which at present totals 13 living creatures, I fixed my rear brake with 2 adjustments and then I headed out for Sherman. I did have music in, the light was right and even though it was over 90F degrees I felt really lucky to be moving through the woods under my own power. The plan was to ride the Roller Coaster loop 3 times before completing the way around. On my second lap I saw a familiar bike frame and rider's form way out ahead through the twisty. It was none other than Tim Kingery and I snuck up behind him after like a 3 minute chase. I sat behind him for at least a speedy mile before he realized over his own music that I was actually there. We shared a laugh and once out of the section we split up for I had to go around the Roller Coaster one more time to stick with my plan and he was proceeding through. The rest of my ride was by my sweaty self, I saw no one. Small amounts of wind damage on the main zig zag section but then after the lake loop on the main back towards the end there is major. Some huge old hard woods have been ripped, twisted and torn down leaving themselves strewn in random directions. Because I rode there last week I am assuming that the last line of bad weather we had Sunday night caused the destruction, it would have been something to have been there when it happened.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frank Schleck's Tour de Swiss crash

For those of you who have not yet seen this crash be prepared, it is a loud one. Here are 2 clips of the same crash that happened last Tuesday in Stage 5 of the Tour De Swiss. Frank Schleck had been in the lead off the front when he was caught by Markus Fothen who was the lone chase. The two worked together for a bit up the mountain, over the top and then as you will see Schleck crashes into the rail on the twisty descent launching himself clear of the road with around 4km to the finish. Fothen went on to win the stage. Frank Schleck somehow lived, climbed up out of the ravine and got back on a new bike riding away to finish the stage in 44th place. Seems as if that drop on the other side of the rail was large enough to kill or maim him instantly but his reflexes, luck and a strong body combined to save his human form. I like the commentary on the first one better but the audio of the impact is more impressive on the second.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Marlo Chapman

Here's one that you would not find being broadcast into the homes around the Queen City on one of those sexy local TV stations that employee journalists not journalists with nice cars and sweet hair cuts.
Last evening I left the house for what was supposed to be a quick trip(over an hour time warp) to the closest gas station for 2.5 gallons or roughly 10 dollars of petroleum for my mower and then up the street from there is the Spanish Mexican produce stand where I was going to get 20 limes for 2 bucks(lime aide is cheaper and better than lemon). I hate mowing the grass, deep down I always have and even though I push it out as far as I can, sometimes 3 weeks between it is still inevitable and I still disdain the act.
I pulled up to the Circle K which is less than 2 miles and 2 roads from Dooleyville, as I got out of the car I was immediately approached by a beggar. Not quite like the basket cases(literal bread basket in hands extended for charity) I have seen in far away off the continent poverty but a different American urban version. His tall frame was clad in work stained khakis, a stained white t-shirt and sneakers. He was on me as I made my way around the back of the car and at first I was sort of thinking that this was going to be the minute that something goes down. He was twitchy, clean under the dirty and not wanting to make eye contact after he realized that meant I was going to be looking into his soul. Out of the side of his mouth he asked me for some help to get some gas. My eyes reached for contact with his as I gave a dollar for him to get 1/4th of gallon, he asked for more but I told him that I couldn't.
As I stepped around the pump and on to the curb to enter the establishment a woman approached describing herself as an author in need of help. I told her that I would be back in a second as soon as I paid. At the counter a woman in line with something else on her mind asked me for 50 cents. I gave the register man a 10 asking him to put 9.5 on my red tank and leave the lady the rest. On my way out I stopped to chat with the author in need of help and when I made eye contact with her it was a lock. She looked more in to mine than I could have possibly seen in hers yet it was mutual. Meet Marlo Chapman, born and call it raised in New Bern North Carolina in December of the same year of my birth. I listened to her story which was extraordinary and she gave me a flyer where she clearly states that she needs help which is supported by a paragraph as to why. I looked at a few pages in the book and the sentences were simple, short and sounded like her voice which I had just been introduced to.
I could not afford her book, the only money I had left was for the berde limons(limes) so I excused myself to fill the red tank. I could not stand it so after the 2 minutes it took to pump the gas I parked the car and went back over to Marlo. I asked her if it would be okay if I took some pictures of what was really happening and asked her some questions for my blog. "What's a blog?", she smiled honestly. I asked her to tell me about her book titled CHANGING FACES and she replied, "It's about me.", oh your biography?, "Yes, it is my biography". This woman who dropped out of the school system in Craven County in the 5th grade went on to one of the most horrifyingly real not dramatized life scenarios that one could imagine. She grew up in a house with 2 brothers, 1 sister, a really, really mean drunk dad and a mother that did not do anything about it until it was way too late. Marlo was abused on all levels starting as an infant when the bonding that should have been taking place to support her little growing brain was replaced with drunken uneducated debauchery. That transfer combined with on going physical abuse from her brother caused this girl to go in to her formative years completely reckless. After dropping out of school in the 5th grade she started using drugs, alcohol and sex as a way to fuel her constant need to fill her perceptions with what is real. By the age of 16 Marlo had had sex for money, free and sometimes even without her own consent with nearly 1,000 men. That is when the money and drugs she could buy with that money first landed her in jail.
Over the next 14 years until she became clean 4 years ago she had 6 children of which two she was not even sure of the father and the other 4 were from different men. She spent some of that time in and out of the system and her kids in the care of the county. For the past 4 years she has remained clean enough so that she has earned her GED and can now obviously read and write. It took her 4 months of making notes and then another 5 months to put together the manuscript which was recently published by Black Ink Books here in Charlotte. I have not read Changing Faces yet but I did scan a few pages and I am interested enough find her in the next day so that I can purchase a copy.
When I asked her ultimately what caused her life to be such a self loathing nightmare she replied simply with one word, "Ignorancey"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cowbell Challenge in Images

This was the 2nd year in a row that I was able to make it to the 12 Hour Cowbell Challenge as a spectator. The venue this year was in Davidson North Carolina at Fisher Farm Park 20 miles North of the Jar. Danger and I got there 2 minutes before the start and I must admit we were quite excited to see the Team Dicky, Dejay and Fuzzy show down south. Even though that turned out to be one of the funniest mountain bike leg pullings I have ever had the fortune to be affected by there was still so much to see and do. I had never been to Fisher Farm and from the perspective of someone who did not have to go around the course for 12 hours it was an excellent visual venue. There were lots of rolling and flat open fields lined with ribbons of single track wide trail rolling up and down and over. At a certain spot on the lower left field the vista was wide open and you could see 5 different sections of the course. I spent the first hew hours just walking backwards through the woods and fields taking pictures of the racers as they went on by. Occasionally I would recognize some familiar faces and give them some extra moral support by yelling, "HOP, HOP, HOP, HOP!", which means go in German. It was amazing to see how many people actually sped up when they heard me yelling that!
A bit later in the afternoon Bruce Dickman armed with Police style Mega Phone and I took bikes in and down to that crazy uphill switch back right log crossing. I had sort of met Bruce once before when Dicky came in top 10 overall and 1st SS at last year's ORAMM, he made me laugh then as he did in the now. Everyone took the friendly loud encouragement with a smile and a high five if you made it over. Tim K. cleared the log but then Bruce's huge high five 10 feet later knocked him over all the way to the floor. I took close to a hundred images at this one spot and as an added bonus I laughed hard most of that time at what Bruce was saying to the riders. Heckling is so much more fun than actually riding in one of these things because it is easy to bring a smile to the face of the one doing it, plus heckling is free without entry.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thirsty Beaver Header Image

Check out this blood shot eyed Beaver dumping out the dregs of his sudsy last pitcher. This is the side wall of a fine establishment dubbed The Thirsty Beaver out on Central Ave, near the tracks. If it had been open I may have gone in for a coldie but the best I could ride away with was this image.