Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Friday, December 31, 2010 10:00 PM

End of 2010

Throughout the firstweek back from vacation there are some singificant rain storms - nothing like the major league rainstorm in Cambodia last week. But major storms with lots of flooding nonetheless. Each day I leave work early and get in good workouts with the weights to get back into the swing of things. And, of course, there is no jet lag at all. Jet lag? There is no such thing.

On Tuesday on the way to work I start hearing weird noises from the world rally car and notice an instability as the car will not track straight. And then an explosion and loud regular banging on the side of the car. I manage to slow down safely and get off the freeway at the truck scales. I pull over and see an overpass and stop underneath it since it is raining very hard. And I notice a freeway emeergency vehicle parked under the same overpass. A quick look confirms that my front tire is destroyed and I haven't the faintest idea where the tire tread went. I walk slowly over to the emergency vehicle and as the guy rolls the window down he says, "Please don't rob me. I only have two dollars with me". But I show him my front right flat tire and I pull out the tools to start changing the tire. He pulls out a jack to jack up the car and as we're pulling the old tire off and putting the new one on, he says to me, "What's going on? You decided to drive your son's car today?" (He's referring to an old man like me driving a world rally car.) And I just say its my car and say , 'Thanks, my friend, for helping me get back on the road". The entire incident of changing the tire took less than 5 minutes. On Tuesday night I order new tires and have them delivered to a Long Beach location for installation.

On Thursday the rain has let up so I ride the motorbike to work. It feels good to be back on two wheels. I have a productive day at work and then decide to call it quits early for the year. I ride on home, jump on the mountain bicycle, and get out for a good gusty aquarium ride. There is nothing that feels as good as being on the motorbike and a bicycle after such a long time away. I get a call indicating that my four new tires for the world rally car are ready and I have an appointment for 8 am on Christmas eve to get the tires installed.

Friday starts with new tires and an alignment for the wrold rally car. The tire installer notes that the rear caster was way off and we try to figure out how that could be. But we both decide that that would not contribute significantly to tire wear and probably wouldn't affect the car's handling that much. BUt driving home I notice the pesky understeer appears to be gone. When I get home I spend a lot of time cleaning up the yard after being neglected for 5 weeks and from the rains. It feels good to be productive and to make the yard look nice again. After relaxing I get in a good session with the weights and watch the DVD of $2.25 to watch it instead of $10 at the theatre. Just after 6 pm I call Tree in Thailand, Duke and Tra in Cambodia, and Terry to wish them Merry Christmas. All are surprised from the calls. And I note that I have many more calls to make on Christmas day itself.

Christmas day looms foggy so I wait until mid morning to go cycling. I ride the extended aquarium ride and try to holler out a "Merry Christmas" to many of the riders. And I actually stop and coo over a little girl's brand new bicycle as she's learning to ride with her father in tow. I also stop a couple of visitors from Chicago and welcome them to the Long Beach Christmas of ocean breezes and warm temperatures (as compared with Chicago's bitter cold and wind). When I return home I make quite a few Merry CHristmas phone calls and then relax.

Monday starts by taking the world rally car to the dealer for a tuneup. My favorite service manager, Tony, is back after a five year absence. So I catch up on things and then I skate on home. I get out for the extended aquarium ride and then have a visit from Ruby to discuss websites. Ruby drops me off at the Subaru delaer to pick up the car and everyone is shocked that I'm not on my skates - as I usually skate from and to the dealer when I leave the car there. Later in the evening Person Ch_C comes to visit and we hang out until it is time for sleep.

On Tuesday I drop the Yamaha YZF-R1 off at the dealer for a tuneup. And take two buses to get home. Person Ti calls me and we have a chat and decide to hang out on Thursday. I finally get up the courage to get all muddy as I put on old clothes and start digging around at some sprinkler heads that need re-adjustment, replacement, or re-positioning. The effort goes quicker than I expected. I ride the bicycle over to Subway to pick up lunch and then I go stand in the garage and ponder the re-wire job that I want to do. I'm not quite ready to get started, so I just stand there staring at the effort and pondering the parts and materials that I need and the order of the job steps.

Wednesday is a blah day since it rains. I get in a good workout with the weights and do some web programming and some reading. I also get out for a short walk to the hardware store to buy parts for the garage rewire and I rent Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. THis movie is farily enjoyable (as opposed to The American). Late in the day I take out two hammers and a long screwdriver and pull out a section of the drywall that covers the wiring in the garage that will be replaced.

Thursday is a good day. Early in the day I shut off the power to the house and garage and remove the old wiring and actually get a lot of the ne wwiring in place. Not all of it, but a lot. A call from the Yamaha dealer indicates that the Yamaha YZF-R1 is ready and Person T_U gives me a ride over to the dealer to pick it up. On the way home I wind it up to 95 mph and it feels good to be back on the mototrbike even if it is breezy and cold. When I get home I switch over to the World Rally Car and pick up Person Ti_Ca. We go have lunch at a place we selected at Belmont Shore after walking the entire length and trying to decide where to eat. Afterwards we drive over to the pier and walk along the ocean and out on the pier until it gets too cold. At that point we drive back to my house and hang out. Finally I drop Person Ti_Ca back to his house in Bellflower and relax for the rest of the evening.

The final day of 2010, a cold Friday morning, starts well as I put on warm clothes and cycle down to the aquarium and extend the ride and head for home. But then disaster strikes. I'm on my home street riding home and the next thing I know i"m lying on the pavement. I'm not even sure what happened. But I pick the bicycle up, pick up some scattered pieces from the light, and walk home. It turns out the bike has no damage all. Contrarily, I have a scraped left kneee, a scraped left hand, a scraped left elbow, a scarped right knee, a right hand that is now the size of a watermelon, and right ribs that feel as if they are actually left ribs. I immediately put an ice pack on the right hand and I'm shocked when the hand has trimmed back to the size of a pineapple. I continue to perform a body survey and don't see any significant damage. I guess I also find a scrape above my right eye but that's barely visible. I take a few Alleve to reduce inflammmation and grab some Thai pain pills that I happen to have and spend the next few hours continually surveying my body and making sure I'm not headed for shock. Person Ch_C comes to visit and I show him the damage and he asks if I need anything but, since I don't feel a thing from the Alleve and Thai pain medicine, I guess I don't need anything. In the afternoon I feel well enough to finish wiring the garage and pull a bush out of the front yard. But then I head for sleep at 9 pm.