Homer's Travels: May 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Another Batch

Last year we had four batches of Mourning Doves chicks (that's what Google Lens identified them as).  Those four batches resulted in five surviving doves (the sixth left the nest prematurely, or was abandoned by it's mother, and Iago got to it before I could).

A few weeks ago a new nest appeared (in the same location as last year's nest) and another baby dove appeared.

Mother with the first Mourning Dove chick of 2018.
The chick left the nest earlier this week making way, I assume, for the next batch.

This year I'm seeing more types of birds than ever before.  Cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, robins, red wing blackbirds among others.  We even had a turkey walking down the street in front of our house.  I guess the new mix of food in the bird feeder is doing its job.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Golden Gloves Night

Last Tuesday during my bike ride I'd passed several boxers jogging and shadow boxing on the Keystone trail.  Last night I went to my first boxing match.  Actually, there were several matches as it was the semi-finals for the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.  The Wife and I were joining the Brother-in-Law who invited us to go with him.

A right to the noggin.
The matches were held at the Ralston Arena and, for the semi-finals, there were three boxing ring set up.  On Friday there were twelve matches per ring.  There was a good mixture of amateur male and female boxers.  Suited up it was hard to tell the men from the women.

A panorama of the three boxing rings.
With three rings going at once it was a bit difficult to follow the activity.  The Wife had the best idea - pick a ring and concentrate on it.  I learned this lesson late in the evening.

Iowa woman losing to a Hawaiian woman.
The boxing was a lot more disorderly than I expected.  I expected a more methodical pummeling instead of the apparently chaotic flurry of blows.  This may be due to the fact they were amateurs and not professional boxers.  Amateurs or not I would not want to get on their bad side.

It was an interesting evening. Not sure boxing is my thing but I did enjoy my first boxing experience.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Little Bit Of Chaos

So, I was going to ride my bike this morning.  I went out to top off the air in the tires and found the front tire flat.  I removed the wheel and, after a brief examination found a tiny piece of gravel (I think) poking out of the tire.

Cause of minor chaos.
I took the tube out of the tire and located the teeny tiny hole that flattened the tire.  Then I grabbed the tire patches .... well, I would have grabbed the tire patches but I couldn't find them.  I knew I had some since I stocked up when I rode RAGBRAI.  Could not find them.

I searched the furnace room for the patches.  I thought they would be there since that was where I fixed the flat I got on my trainer.  Yes, I got a flat tire while my bike was on a training stand.  The tube split for some odd reason.  I changed the tube in the furnace room so that I would get any grease or dirt on the basement carpet.  Since that's where I found all my tire removal tools I assumed the patches were there too.  They were not there.

I then checked the workbench in the tornado room (that's the room next to our laundry room where we will hide in the event of a tornado).  They were not there either.

Thirty minutes of running around double and triple checking places resulted in me finding the patches in the most obvious place.  I'd even checked it earlier but missed them.  They were in a small pocket of the small under seat bike bag where my tire changing stuff was supposed to be.  *sigh*

I repaired the puncture and put the wheel back on the bike.  In the process of doing this I messed up the front break.  After running up and down the stairs (twice) to get tools, I managed to stop the brake pads from rubbing.

I was sweating from all the running around and I considered not riding but I loaded the bike up and headed to the Keystone trailhead anyway.  I was about to unload the bike when I realized I'd left my buff (to keep sweat out of my eyes), bike gloves, and, most importantly, my bike helmet back in the garage.  For a few seconds I considered riding without the helmet but I was not feeling very lucky today.  The day I don't have my helmet is the day my noggin hits the concrete.  I said 'F'-it and headed back home.

My exercise today will be me mowing the lawn later this afternoon.  The bike will be ridden tomorrow ... if I'm lucky.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My Seven Year Caminoversary

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the beginning of my first Camino.  In 2011, on a damp day, I left St Jean Pied de Port, France and crossed the pyrenees mountains on one of the most important adventures of my life.

A shelter in the mist.
I had no idea how this trek would change me.  I gained a confidence and a sense of well being that I'd never had before.

I've lost some ground in the last year or two but I will never forget all that I gained on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Book: Masha Gessen's "The Future Is History"

I seem to be reading a lot of political books this year.  My latest read is the story of the birth and death of the Russian democracy told through the eyes of four diverse Russians.

Masha Gessen's "The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia" is a deep dive into the history of post-soviet Russia from the end of the 80s through the 2010s.  The author examines the events of these years through psychology, sociology, LGBT relations (i.e. homophobia), and the experiences of four very different people (along with their parents and grandparents) from very different socio-economic groups.  All four were very young when the Soviet Union collapsed and grew up with the new democracy and the rise of Putin.

While I complained that "How Democracies Die" did not dig deep enough, Gessen's book almost digs too deep.  Parts of the book are a bit thick but her writing style keeps you reading.  It was often hard for me to keep people straight mainly because of the unfamiliar Russian naming conventions.

The thing that hit me is how some of the things that happened as Russian democracy transitioned into authoritarianism sound scarily similar to things happening in America today.  Definitely made me wonder if I'm one of the frogs treading water in the pot.

I gave this book four out of five stars on Goodreads because it darkly illustrates how authoritarianism is often welcomed by the people who have the most to lose.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Music: Little River Band With Kim Carnes

Last night I went to the Ralston Arena to listen to some good music from my teenage years.  I enjoyed the music but I came out feeling older.

Little River Band.
Little River Band was one of my favorite bands from the late seventies.  They came out and started playing, essentially, their greatest hits album.  When they started performing I was taken back to my high school years.

Kim Carnes backed up by the Little River Band.
Half way through their set they brought up Kim Carnes who sang her own songs with Little River Band backing her up.  I knew fewer of her songs but there were some memories in there as well.

Kim Carnes finished her set with "Bette Davis Eyes", left the stage, then the Little River Band finished their set.  In all it was a good two hours of music.

The thing that got me was when Wayne Nelson, the band's lead singer, mentioned that one of their songs was a hit forty years ago.  Looking around at all the old people surrounding me in the arena just reminded me that I was one of those old people.  It might be time to rethink what concerts I go to in the future.