Saturday, September 30, 2006

Return of Trivia (late, I know...sorry)

I meant to do this last night, but I ended up being out later than planned for dinner (and, previously unbeknownst to me, a vigorous round of shopping). OK, as usual I need you to follow a few basic Rules and remember to send your answers to bgoab at mindspring dot com. Okay, lets get this (re)started.

1. What is the largest (known, and not underwater) cave system in the world (hint, it's here in the United States)?

2. What city hosted the last "World's Fair" (or more properly, "World's Exposition") that was held in the United States?

3. What did the "J. R. R." stand for in J. R. R. Tolkein's name?

4. If you were to spend 18 minutes and 20 seconds listening to a folk singer's song about "The Draft", what song would you be listening to?

5. Who was the famous (perhaps infamous) American businessman who went to Northern Ireland to start his own ill-fated automobile manufacturing company?

Bonus question: Name the fathers of any three of Tolkein's characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and Isildur doesn't count).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Timing Is Eveything

If I was going to have to have another catastrophic clavicle-breaking accident, I really did pick the best time to do it. Why, you might ask? Well, it seems that my orthopeadic surgeon’s clinic is going to stop accepting my insurance carrier’s coverage after October 1st of this year. Why? I don’t know, but I can’t say I’m surprised. My carrier’s service is the absolute pits in my opinion, and if I had another choice through my employer (or Mrs. Guy’s, but her insurance carrier is the same) I would take it, even if it meant paying more. I really miss my old HMO, but when I went from one Division in my company to my current one, I lost that choice.

Does that mean I couldn’t have him do the surgery anymore? Well, I could, but I’d have to do all of the filing myself (and wait eight months or more to be reimbursed) and I would have to pay a lot more for it out-of-pocket. Not the best of situations for me.

Other than that, the timing wasn’t so great. I was really just getting back into the swing of things when the wreck happened. I had been going to do a local century ride in mid-October, and I had some small hopes of being able to be on a relay team for the 12 Hour Race on October 28th. Not anymore, I guess. Although I guess it will work out a little better for John B. now.

I had lunch with John B. yesterday. We talked about a bunch of stuff, but the biggest thing we discussed was that I will now be able to devote my full assistance to helping with the running of the race. He did have a good idea for me. One of the things that riders have commented on in the past is that they wish there were more pictures available of them racing out on the course. Since John knows that Mrs. Guy and I have discussed setting up our photography business, he thought I could spend my daylight hours shooting photographs and then head back and either help with the computer tracking stuff (giving Jay N. a break) and maybe even start downloading some of the photos. It’s a good idea, but I don’t know if I can get our business set up quite that soon. I’ll definitely look into it though, and it might even be possible that I could do it as part of his business’s race event (as a consultant, maybe) if I can’t get incorporated that fast.

Well, I guess we’ll see how that bit of timing works out, eh?

I feel that I should say thanks to the following people for their help and support following the accident. First, Mike P., who did the first assessment on me while I was still sitting in the ditch (I hadn't realized that he was an ER doc until that day, but when he started off by checking my cervical vertebrae, it kinda tipped me off). He also called the ER while I was there and talked to the attending doc about the type of trauma involved.

Thanks go to Robin, whose last name I never found out, who was passing by and offered to drive me and Allen the 25 miles back to Wally's house, and our bikes as well. She wins the "Good Samaritan" award.

Thanks to Jay N. for driving me to the ER and staying with me until Mrs. Guy could get there. I hope I didn't get blood on his (or Robin's) car.

Thanks to Philippe and Silvie for bringing my stuff to me at the ER (the street clothes and my wallet that had been locked in John H.'s car at Wally's).

Thanks to John H. and Wally for getting together to get my car back to my house. Wally and Holly drove way out of their way to bring my car to me.

Thanks to Duane for coming by the house to see me, coming way out of his way.

Thanks to my parents for coming down and spending the better part of two weeks with me while Mrs. Guy had to go back out of town on business. Thanks to She-mom as well, who is here now (since I'm still not allowed to walk the dogs myself).

Thanks to Kelly for coming to see me at the hospital following my surgery (and also for waiting until the day after surgery, when I wasn't so groggy-tired).

Thanks to all the people who called or send cards or emails, including Ron, John B., Elle (who is still recovering from her own injurues), John H., Randy & Christy, Step-She-Mom-in-law
& the half-sisters-in-law, Jon C., Jeff S., Sis, "other George", and so many others that I hate that I don't have room to type out all of them.

Let's not do this again.

Trivia will reappear tomorrow, after which I will try to go back to the "on Thursdays" schedule.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crawling Back Out From Under The Rock

Well, I'm back. I'm not really sure if I should be stealing the last sentence from Tolkein's seminal work to announce my return to the blogosphere, but then again, why not?

Frequently asked question number one: "Wha' Happened?" (Okay, now I'm stealing one of Fred Willard's lines from "A Mighty Wind". So sue me.)

Answer number one: I, um, uh,'s like this, see. I was walkin' down the street, right? And then these Chinese ninjas and some Al Qaeda guys jumped me and took me hostage, okay? And they held me in a little room at the Waldorf Astoria, uh huh, but when they started arguing over what to do with me, I ducked out by hiding behind the maid as she was vacuuming the main room. Yeah. That's it. And then I walked all the way home from there...while wearing the garb of a Masai Warrior as a disguise (which might explain why I couldn't get anyone to give me a ride - I think the spear was too long to fit in anyone's car). And that's the story.

Real answer number one: The Big Guy was involved in a horrible (yes, I said horrible) crash during a field sprint while riding on Labor Day. I'm just now getting to where I feel like writing again.

Frequently asked question number two: "A Masai Warrior? Don't you think a suit of authentic Samurai armor would have been better?"

Real frequently asked question number two: "Oww. That sounds bad. How did it happen?"

Answer number two: No. It's a well known fact that Chinese ninjas are sworn enemies of the samurai.

Real answer number two: We were racing toward the county line. I was behind Wally (on the right) and Mike P. (on the left). I'd been moving up slightly, but knew I was beat, so I was just getting ready to shut it down. That's when somebody bumped me on my left, I got pushed over and hit Wally's rear wheel with my front wheel before I could recover, and down I went - very hard and at high speed. Allen also went down (I think he got taken down by my bike) and we both ended up sliding down the road and into the ditch.

Frequently asked question number three: "Geez, that sounds bad. What was the damage?"

Answer number three: Broken right shift/brake lever, bent handlebar, banged up saddle, front wheel slightly bent, and I may need to replace the fork.

Supplement to frequently asked question number three: "Um, I actually was asking about you, not the bike."

Supplement to answer number three: Oh, right. Well, Allen ended up with some nasty road rash on his right knee. I, on the other hand, scraped up my shins, had three major abrasions on my right knee, had a scrape on my right thigh, another scrape on my right hip, a major gash on my right elbow that is still slightly scabbed-over, various scrapes on my face, and some more road rash on my right shoulder. Oh, yeah, and I broke both collarbones...again.

Frequently yelled question number four: "BOTH?!?... Geez, what is it with you and your collarbones?!?"

Answer to question number four (usually muttered): Yeah, yeah, I know. But they broke in different places than the old breaks. And it isn't too surprising given the nature of that crash.

Frequently asked question number five: "So, what's the prognosis? Slings on both arms?"

Answer number five: Nope. Surgery. I had an ORIF done on both collarbones on Wednesday, September, um twelfth? No, no, it was the thirteenth.

Frequently asked question number six: "ORIF?"

Answer number six: Yeah, that's "Open Reduction, Internal Fixation." Basically that means they cut me open, realigned the bones, and then screwed plates to them and sewed me back up.

Frequently asked question number seven: "Oww. That must have been awful, eh?"

Answer number seven: No, actually I was happy to have the surgery. It means that the bones are instantly stabilized and I'll recover a lot faster.

Frequently asked question number eight: "So, after surgery, did they have to put you in slings? I mean were you able to, um, er, well..."

Answer number eight: ...go to the bathroom by myself? Yes. Even before the surgery I was able to take care of all aspects of the waste elimination process by myself. Besides, they couldn't sling me. Think about where the straps would have to go. Not really practical.

Frequently asked question number nine: "Are you back to work yet?"

Answer number nine: No. I go back on Tuesday, October 3rd. But I am happy to report that I'm allowed to drive again as of last Friday afternoon's appointment with my ortho-doc.

Frequently asked question number ten: "So, is Mrs. Guy making you sell your bikes?"

Answer number ten: As much as she might be tempted to, I think she realizes that I'd have something major to say about that. She has tried to lay down a new set of rules for me, of which I will likely only listen to one (no more field sprints). Probably.

At this point I usually get tired of all the questions and change the subject to the recent news about spinach or something else of a similar non-bike-related nature.

And with that... exit, stage left.

Friday, September 08, 2006


The Big Guy will be out of action for the next several weeks and will not be able to post anything regularly. We hope this will last no longer than two to three weeks. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mack Daddy-Oh

Big Guy’s Road To Recovery Checklist:
Complete Physical Therapy – Check
Get Doctor’s OK to resume riding – Check
Get back out on the road bike – Check
Complete a ride of over 50 miles – Check
Get back out on the mountain bike – Um, not quite yet (but soon)
Complete a ride of over 100 miles – Scheduled for October 14th
Get back out on the tandem with Mrs. Guy – Did that one today!!!

It had been a while since I was out on the tandem with Mrs. Guy. I’m not sure, but I think our last ride was back in February or March. I’ve been, well, not really up to captaining the bike since sometime in April, and though I likely could have done it earlier in August, I couldn’t actually get to the bike itself. It’s rather heavy, and has been hanging from a couple of hooks in the basement since our last ride. Neither of us had the strength to get it down until I got enough back just in the last week or two. Then it was just a matter of timing and weather. Today was a beautiful day, and we cleared the late afternoon schedule.

We’ve only had the tandem for about 18 months now, and Mrs. Guy doesn’t feel that she is quite ready for being out on the open road with traffic quite yet (the exception being The Boulevard), so today we decided on the Third Creek Bicycle Trail, which is one of the oldest greenway-type trails in Knoxville. When Mrs. Guy was in Vet School at UT, she lived in the student housing apartments that backed up to the trail, so I got to use it some even way back then.

We parked at the former site of the Bi-Lo supermarket (now an empty building) at the western end of the trail and got set to go. We almost got started without incident, but the bike slipped out of Mrs. Guy’s hand while she was trying to put on her gloves and we got a new paint ding on the car. Goes well with all the other door dings, I said, but she was upset that it happened anyway. C’est la vie, I reckon. No big deal to me, seeing as nobody got hurt.

We started out and I got to spend the first few moments nervously refamiliarizing myself with the intricacies of handling a bike with two passengers and a super-long wheel base. Tandems handle like Mack Trucks (and yes, I have driven a Mack once before). Still, I didn’t run us into anything or anyone, so I guess it worked out okay.

Riding on the trail itself I was surprised by how many other cyclists out there were sans helmet. I announced each such sighting to Mrs. Guy as “organ donor up”. I, folks, am the poster child, er, adult, for helmet use. I’ve busted two helmets in my day, the most recent one while riding at very low speed. You don’t have to be speeding along to fall and crack your head on the ground. Low speed cruising will do just fine to cause severe injury or death. The most egregious example was the dad and two sons out riding; both sons with helmets, dad without. Setting a great example there wasn’t he?

We rode the 4.5 miles down to the UT Trial Gardens by the Vet School. They’ve really made it into a very nice park-like area in the past few years, so we stopped to give Mrs. Guy’s butt a little bit of a break (she’s not much used to the saddle right now) and to see what was new. We could have continued on to the waterfront area closer to downtown, but they are holding “Boomsday” in Knoxville this weekend, and we didn’t want to get into that crowd.

What is “Boomsday”? Well, most cities, if they are going to splurge on a huge fireworks display once a year, with shoot off half of the city’s budget’s worth in incendiary devices on the 4th of July. Not so with Knoxville. We choose to do it for Labor Day instead. Maybe we get a price break for doing it then instead of the 4th? I don’t know, but it’s a really huge draw to the riverfront area of downtown, even to the point of becoming a three day festival down there, and maneuvering the “Mack” through a swarm of sweaty humanity didn’t seem like a great idea.

Instead, we turned around and headed back to the ex-Bi-Lo, passing all manner of helmet-less cyclists and just about getting run into by a kid not watching where he was going (but instead had his head turned completely around and was intently staring at some jogger’s butt – I must admit that she did have a nice butt). “Heads up, Buddy!” was enough to get his eyes back toward the direction his bike was traveling. “Wha-“, he said as we went by.

Now nine miles total might not seem like a lot of riding today, but that’s about the limit of Mrs. Guy’s comfort on the saddle right now, and I don’t want to push the boundary of that envelope – nobody wins. We had a very nice ride on a very nice afternoon in very nice weather, and I’m happy that is what she’ll remember when it comes time to ride again (and not that I made her ride too far and got her sore). So we put the bike back on the car while talking with some folks who were just getting ready to ride (and who just happened to live in our neighborhood – they recognized our car).

So that one gets checked off the list. I’m getting there. Slowly but surely, I’m coming back. And today I got to bring Mrs. Guy along for the ride. What could be better than that?

BTW - the tandem's new name is "Mack Daddy-Oh" (decided on today), hence the title of today's post.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The 52 - Le Parigo

No ride today. I'd wanted to, but Mrs. Guy was willing to spend the day cleaning out the basement and I really couldn't pass that up. That, and it would have been spousal-political suicide to go ride given her willingness to dive in to the downstairs disaster area. I do hope to take her out for a tandem ride tomorrow, though, and I've got a 70 mile ride to do with my bike club (SCO) on Monday.

Anyway, here is the promised restaurant review from yesterday.
Nestled in along the black ribbon of asphalt that runs the entire length of Knoxville and then some, AKA Kingston Pike, is a little restaurant in a little cluster of shops. That restaurant’s name is currently Le Parigo, which serves food in more of a French style as you might expect, but the location was previously home to Mango, which was a favorite of ours up until about a year or so ago when it folded. Mango was part of a local set of restaurants started up by a man with a gift for the business, but when he drowned while on vacation a couple of years ago his family really didn’t have enough interest in the businesses to keep them going. The restaurants were sold off, with only two remaining viable. Mango didn’t really do all that well.

Fast forward to today, and Le Parigo has come in to take over the location. I haven’t really heard much about it, and haven’t really noticed them having a lot of business, so I figured they weren’t going to be around for long. All the more reason to go sooner rather than later. We were to meet Jeff, Gabe, and Gabe’s sister there at 7:00 pm, and we arrived just a few minutes early. We were glad we did.

Walking in we were greeted by Glen, who had been one of our favorite servers from Bogartz, which ended its run back in May or June. We grilled Glen on what he’d been up to (got married, still attending the UT School of Music, et cetera) as he led us to our table and seated us. Jeff and Gabe arrived minus Gabe’s sister (other commitment came up), so we introduced them to Glen and he went off to get our server for the evening.

We were given a wine menu, but I wondered a little why they expected us to pick a wine without seeing the main menu. I decided to play it safe and ordered a chardonnay (French, of course). When the server brought the bottle she gave the initial pour to Jeff, which was a faux pas (Look! I’m using French!) on her part since I’d ordered it, but we let it slide. She then gave us our menus and told us about the special for the evening.

Salads came first, and the ladies both chose Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese Medallions dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette garnished with Candied Pistachios and Kalamata Olives. Wow, I got tired out just typing all that. After the salads came out our server noticed that the pistachios had been left off, so she scurried back to the kitchen and got a small finger bowl full of them, so there were enough for Jeff and I to have some as well. For salads Jeff and I both had the Baby Greens dressed with the House Wine Vinaigrette with Prosciutto Gruyere and Granny Smith Apples. Gee, that was long, too. It took almost as long to type as it did to eat it. But it was good, especially with a few pistachios scattered in.

Next was the entrée course. Gabe had the Vegetable Tureen, which was the only vegetarian choice on the menu, but the presentation was wonderful (I understand it tasted good as well). Mrs. Guy had the Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Pommes Anna, Spinach and Prosciutto Custard, Carrot Puree and Burre Blanc. She really liked it a lot, but I figure that anytime you put scallops in front of Mrs. Guy she’s going to like them (unless they really screw up the preparation). Jeff had the Morel-Stuffed Ashley Farms Chicken Breast with Vegetable Ratatouille and Puree of Celeriac Mashed Potatoes. I’d almost picked that, but I think he likes mushrooms a little more than I do, and besides, I always hope that each of us will try different things. I decided go with the Sautéed Filet of Irish (not French) Salmon over Roasted Carrot Duo and Leek Fondat. I was very impressed by it as far as taste, but the leeks had a bit of a slimy seaweed look to them. I still ate it all, of course.

Dessert was last, and I again tried to encourage everyone to have something different, but Jeff and Mrs. Guy were having none of it and both ordered the, um, well…okay, they ordered the ménage a trios. The Crème Brulee Ménage a Trios to be specific, which was a set of three quite small crème brulees, one mocha (so-so), one vanilla (a little better), and one pistachio (fantastic). I think they should just go with the pistachio, but that’s just me…and Mrs. Guy…and Jeff and Gabe. Hmm. I guess it’s unanimous. Gabe at least tried the Mousse au Choclat, and while she liked it, she liked the mousse at Oodles (see the first of the 52) better. I had planned to have a Berry Neopolitan, but when the server mentioned that she personally had made a Pear Mousse that evening, I just had to try that instead. I wasn’t disappointed at all – she did a wonderful job. We came to find out that she’d also prepared the Pistachio Brulee, so her star rose a little bit at that point.

Mrs. Guy finished off with coffee and I had some Earl Grey with cream (which is how Earl Grey should be), and we continued the rest of our conversation while waiting for the (sizable) checks. As we reached the parking lot I asked everyone their opinions and found them mixed. I think we all liked the food, but found the service slow at times and the prices a bit high. Mrs. Guy and I were a bit disappointed in the lack of selection on their wine list, and Jeff’s main comment was that while he liked it okay, Oodles was better. Gabe said she preferred (another French restaurant to be reviewed later), though Le Parigo wasn’t bad. Overall, I feel that this is a place I am willing to go to, even happy to go to if invited to go with friends, but it wouldn’t really be a first choice for me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Out the Door

Tonight was a 52 night. I was going to post my review, but I don't have time for a full post, so I'll do it tomorrow.

I spent part of the day at work (four hours), and then came home and installed a new storm door on the front of the house. They say it's easy. Maybe if I had an extra arm or a clone of myself. Maybe they mean that it's easy for two to install. I actually didn't quite finish before going to dinner, but it only took me about 20 minutes to complete it once we got home. I also have one for our back door onto the deck. At least I now have the experience of installing one, so it should go a little faster (I hope).
OK, today is the day that I post the answers for the first set of trivia questions that were posted on this site and not the old one. Here they are:

1. What was the first James Bond:007 film to star Sean Connery? Dr. No was his first, followed by many other fine movies.

2. I’m standing in a pool of water and yell “Marco!” What should you do? I really didn't know about posting this question, but I'm glad I did. You should yell "Polo" and try to get out of my way. I didn't mention that I was blindfolded when I yelled "Marco", but I think anyone who would have gotten it got it anyway.

3. If I go to a store and ask to buy a product in ‘HO Scale’, what am I likely buying? I'd be buying model train equipment. I haven't had a model train since I was a child, but I do remember that it was 'HO' scale. I know a guy who has about $15,000 invested in an 'N' scale set-up that takes up much of his basement.

4. C8H10N4O2 is the molecular formula for what popular substance? Ah, caffeine, the legal drug. Without it I might never make it through a day at work.

5. What are the red properties in Monopoly (that is, name them)? Mrs. Guy came up with this one for me over dinner last week, and I thought it was brilliant. They are, in no particular order, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana.