Nov 21, 2005

Farmer's Market Sunday

Yesterday was a great day. I woke up at 7am with intentions of taking some post card type pictures of a statue which stands behind my house next to the expressway. I wanted to catch the statue while the sun’s morning rays were shining on its face. However… I forgot that the statue faces west, so the morning sun was shining brightly upon the back of the statue’s head. Go figure. I took a couple shots of my bike and headed back to my house to shower and ride over to Natasha’s for breakfast.

After breakfast (jiffy cornbread – my favorite) which Natasha had already cooked and was just pulling out of the oven when I arrived, we had to do some light work on her bike. Just had to swap out her old rear tire and tube for some new rubber. Natasha snapped away with the camera while I played with her bike… and her little dog Doris. We both got pretty silly.





Sunday is Farmer’s Market day here in Baltimore. So we headed over that way with only one crucial item on our minds: Cave Aged Cheddar. There’s a cheese stand that sells this awesome cheese down there and we both picked up a chunk, as well as some bread for dinner later on that night.

The Farmer’s Market rocks. You can get some really great, really fresh veggies, bread, fruit, meat, flowers, you name it there. It’s becoming our “Sunday thing” to ride to the Farmer’s Market and then spend the day on the bikes.

After we left the Farmer’s Market we stopped by the Camera Shop and I picked up a few .jpgs I had printed out. Nothing too exciting about this, however Natasha and I did look over some new Puma’s at the Foot Locker in the mall. Puma’s rock.

Next stop, my place to ditch some clothes that we were baking in. Then, we hit up the Owl Bar to grab some lunch and watch the Steelers loose to the Baltimore Rat Birds. I’m a Pittsburgh fan… too bad. This was a great lunch… chicken pizza with caramelized onions… and it was free! Yep, the bartender was embarrassed by the slow service and gave us the pie for free. Excellent. I took a couple photos inside before we headed on our way to Pla-za Art Store to say hi to Phil on our way home.


An excellent Sunday, looking forward to Thanksgiving!

Mike

Nov 19, 2005

Walkin' around my neighborhood.

Today was a mighty productive day. It started at 9 am when I left my house with two military duffles full of my dirties. I was on my way to the laundromat to get my smelly dirties smellin' like roses again. Laundry was done by 11am. Then I set off for the Camera shop to get some B&W 400 film and dropped off some .jpgs to have printed out.

Riding the fixed gear down St.Paul Street I had to stop and investigate as to why there were 3 DC Cop cars in downtown Baltimore. Then I saw a bunch of people with headsets and movie cameras and I realized they were filming a movie. A little investigating (and getting yelled at for taking pictures) learned me that they were filming "The Visiting" which is a spin off of The Body Snatchers. I was told that this scene was supposed to be a DC scene... funny.

I carried on my merry way towards the Camera store and banged a left onto Pratt street as usual... only to plow smack dab into the back of a Thanksgiving Parade. (Little early I'd say) Yeah, so I was famous for a few blocks while I rode through the Parade to get to Calvert St and lock up.

After grabbing film I pedaled back home, grabbed my camera and took a nice walk around Mt.Vernon, my neighborhood. I took a bunch of unsatisfying photos of this and that and made my way to the Enoch Pratt Library while doing so. Once at the library I checked out an Ansel Adams book: "Letters & Images" which is pretty interesting so far. It's composed largely of letters to and from Ansel speaking praise of his work and telling of his great ventures; I'm going to like it.



By the way whoever is posting this "tag" all over Mt.Vernon... please stop. This is THE LAMEST spray painted scribble I have ever seen (2 photos below)
  • Nobody can read it
  • You posted it EVERYWHERE
  • It's not a good tag
  • You're probably a freshmen at MICA


And not even 10' away is:

(Note the proximity of the two "tags")

Not a whole lot else to tell about. Chinese food for dinner, with the infamous Natasha, where plans were made for an early morning bike ride down to the farmers market, then a trip to the grocery store later to further stock up on food stuffs and perhaps catch the new Johny Cash movie. Should be a great day.

-Mike

Nov 18, 2005

"The Infinite Hour"

Three o'clock on a Friday is what I call "the infinite hour"... There are actually 90 minutes in this hour. This is the hour in which you wish to leave work to do anything else in the world but be at work... "why didn't I schedule that tooth extraction for today?"

A lot of people think I'm a "professional photographer"... I'm not - I only play one on TV (I'm freelance!) My "real job" is that of a Quality Assurance Inspector at an engineering firm here in Baltimore. My company designs, fabricates and installs custom interiors for rail cars. We have multimillion dollar contracts with Kawasaki Rail Car, Amtrak, the MBTA etc... My duties are to inspect, basically, everything that goes on here.

A lot of what I inspect are fiberglass wall panels, structural car body parts, electrical & plumbing assemblies and various small parts as well as the in-process inspection of bathroom modules, showers or dining car units.



Today I spent 7 hours inspecting wire harnesses for bathroom modules. This is important, but can be tedious if you're not particularly fond of following schematics all day and probing here and there with your multi-meter. Piece of cake... just monotonous when you have to do it all day long.

Anyway, I took a break to shoot my desk, and some of what I was working on. Enjoy my "real job" exposures.

-Mike




Nov 17, 2005

Race Pace Cross - 9th place

It's been, nearly, a week since my last race. I have been completely lazy about updating this news blog this week - please forgive me...

So this past Sunday (11-15-05) I raced in the Killer B's at Race Pace Cross, the 6th race of the MABRA Series of Cyclocross races. The race was held on a beautiful sunny, warm day at Freedom Park in Sykesville, MD. Not exactly your typical cross weather, but I wasn't complaining. Sunny and dry means fast fast fast! I was fast... but not fast enough to do better than 9th place!

As usual, Natasha, took all of these great photos. I'm lucky to have a girlfriend with such photographic skills no? Oh yes... :]

This race was basically a grass criterium. It was easy to cary speed to through a lot of the corners, there were some areas to get catch some areas and also plenty of pavement sections to make up for any lost time spent... oh.... say... going off course in the tight turns! Ahem. The course was really beautiful though. Mostly wide open expanses of grass, golf course style paved road sections, some really nice tree sections to weave through and to top it all off, the barriers were on flat ground - hallelujah!

embarrassing shot 1
embarrassing shot 2

Sailing off course through a sharp turn didn't help me much today... I really ought to try to avoid doing that in the future. It's pretty embarrassing. It also made me have to run up a rideable hill.

I planned on just opening it up in the first couple of laps and that's what I did. I, leisurely, worked my way to the front of the pack one racer at a time... no hurry... then sat in for most of the first lap. When I was 3/4 of the way through the first lap, I attached. I passed the racer in 1st position and stood up for the nearly the rest of the next lap. I didn't look back and just pretended I was Ryan Trebon. Hammer hammer hammer!

I led for about 2 laps and then slowly started to fade. I realized that I couldn't hang with the pace I set for the rest of the race and racers slowly began to gain on me. After a while I slipped back one position at a time until I was settled into a comfy pace in 7th place. By the end of the race, two more racers managed to pass me and I put in every bit of juice I had left to make sure I didn't drop back any farther.

Lesson learned: Once you get out in front with a really huge lead... ease up a little and settle into a pace that is fast but also comfy... don't go hard till you explode.

I have this weekend off. Should have some nice ride report photos to post as I'm planning on doing a nice long relaxing cross ride on Saturday.

-Mike





Nov 13, 2005

3 hours in an alley.

Yeah, just like it reads... I spent three hours in one of my favorite alleys here in Baltimore. The intersection of N. Lovegrove and E.Trenton Streets proved to be quite fruitful in terms of interesting items to keep me and my Nikon occupied. I won't ramble on and on about each photo, but instead, I'll just describe the alley I shot:




dirty sidewalk, faded paint splotch, rusty nails and cables,

twisted metal coffee cans, glass jars; faded labels.

drifting litter, old transmitter, cardboard soft and soggy,
chrome fender, legal tender that won't add up for coffee.

soda tops, loading docks, dirty shattered windows,
old tires, frayed wires swaying while the wind blows.












Nov 8, 2005

Double race weekend... 42nd & 7th

So, this past weekend I had two races. These were numbers 5 and 6 for the MAC Series of UCI races.

Picture at left taken by Kevin Dillard. Cyclocross Rock Star and Freelance Photographer. Check his site!

Saturday's race was held in Camp Hill, PA at Lower Allen Park. Conditions were dusty, dry and fast. For some reasons, I really don't want to get into, I had the worst race of the season this day. I had a great starting position on the line but botched up my start with a terrible starting gear selection and horribly clumsy clipping in issues. I just couldn't get going.

A couple crashes in the first lap, left me with a painfully pulled groin which pretty much ended the race for me. I did the remaining 5 laps sitting down, and just soft pedaling. It was a bad bad bad.... bad day for me. I placed 42nd.

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!... after kicking my own ass for a poochie performance the day before, I lined up for Sunday's race in Highland Park, NJ ready to put the hurting on. (On myself AND the other racers). That's exactly what I did. I ended up with 7th place in the end, and I'm happy with that. What I most happy about is that I managed to make myself hurt the entire race and I didn't let up once on the effort pedal. Total commitment to winning... just... no win. Hmm... anyway, I laid it all out on the line, the way you should.

So, in a nutshell: Saturday; bad race. Sunday, great race!

Nov 1, 2005

Wing Night.

10 wings, hot; less than $6.00 at Nino's on the corner of Charles & Preston St. - Very tasty.

Below are a few random photos from tonight's little walk around the block. I'll even throw in a little descriptive comment with each one... swell of me.


So yes, Nino's was open for my business tonight (and every night):
Oooooh... a spooky alley way... and shortcut to buffalo wings. Actually, a black cat did walk by while I was hiding in the shadows. Take a close look at the ground next to the wall in the picture below:
It seems, you can't go one night in Baltimore without seeing a fire engine go whizzing by:
I've been meaning to take a couple shots of these yeller leaves lit up by this street light for about a week now:
Time to get some shut eye.
-Mike