Monday, December 29, 2008

Reminiscing

I've spent the majority of my computer time reminiscing on the past and remembering all the great times I had with my cycling buddies and blogging buddies. '08 really was a great year, so much better than I thought it was.
One think that I always overlooked was how my blog rose incredibly in readership over the spring.
I had maybe 40 consistent readers, and several HARD CORE readers. My fondest memory of my readers is when we recorded an astonishing 113 COMMENTS on a seemingly boring post. The comments contained humor, drama, suspense, Doug's comedic genius, and a bitter confession. Good times.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last Chance

Today could be (and will most likely be) a historic day. The Detroit Lions, the pride of my existence and the bane of my existence, face off against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
If the Lions lose, they will drop to sixteen losses on the season (with no wins). Impressive.
Go Lions!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas '08

It's wonderful to not be in school! Unfortunately I have a video project for U.S. History and a project for Algebra II, so I'm not completely free of work. Regardless, I have plenty of time to ride my bike and play video games.
On Wednesday, I went over to church to play soccer in the gym with some other highschoolers. It was pretty fun. I got play with a bunch of graduated seniors that I haven't seen in a while.

We went over to our aunt's house in Grosse Ile on Wednesday evening for my dad's side of the family, and we went over to our aunt's house in Livonia for my mom's side.
All in all, the Christmas break has been pretty good to me so far.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A New Year's Resolution

We just got something sweet in the mail yesterday. It was brochure with tons of pictures of the AAVC Junior Team. It was made by Coach Lucas, with the pictures taken by Coach Christy. The brochure displayed mugshots of all our riders and sweet action shots. It had a couple cool pics of me at the Spring Training Series.
Something about it made me feel more a part of the team. As I read the brochure, I forgot about the negatives in the 2008 season and remembered the positives. I hardly knew that there were so many positives. All season long, I just focused on the negative things, mostly because I'm a natural pessimist. My goal for 2009 is that I change to an optimist. I will be building on the positives and burying the negatives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cyclocross Video

This is the video that Joe, Zack, Dad, and I made at the Veteran's Park cyclocross race.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Surprise!

Friday night was the surprise birthday party for my mom. 80 people had been invited, and my dad was determined to make it a night to remember.
Here's what happened:
noon- Dad leaves to drop mom off in Livonia for her to have lunch with Grandpa and her sisters.
2/3 pm- Dad comes back to help us with cleaning up the basement to make room for the party.
4:30-ish: Mom stays in Livonia to go over to Aunt Mary's house. Dad leaves our house to get mom.
5 pm- Dad picks up mom from Aunt Mary's house and takes her to dinner.
5:30 pm- Josh Freeling arrives at our house. He and I head over to my neighbor's house to get the beverages for the party. We end up getting 5 coolers of pop and beer that we haul downstairs.
6 pm- Aunt Mary shows up to help the girls with decorating the basement.
6:15 -guests start arriving. I'm on door duty.
6:35- The Conzelman kids and I are still taking care of the door. We aren't sure when to lock the front door and herd everyone into the basement.
6:45: Dad calls and says that he and mom are 15-20 minutes out. We make a decision to leave the front door open until 6:55.
6:56: Cousin Alex and Uncle Jim are escorted into the house. We hide all evidence of suspicious activity and get the heck into the basement.
7:00- I make a desperate attempt to make everyone downstairs shut up. It's hard to quiet 50 some people.
7:05- the basement is dark and silent. Maria is upstairs relaying information to us via cell phone. Still no mom and dad.
7:10- garage door opens. They're here.
7:15- Dad finally coaxes Mom to come downstairs. When she enters the basement, she is hit with a loud "Happy Birthday"!

It was an incredibly successful surprise b-day party, and one that I will remember for a long time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life Lately

This week has been a pretty interesting week.

1. Tuesday ended badly as I had a nasty incident in gym class. As Byron and I were both trying to catch the football, we got all tangled up and my ankle locked up. My right leg sort of twisted and Byron (who is about 6 feet tall) landed on me. Let's just say, I took a while to get up. Ethan eventually pulled me up and helped me limp off to the office, where I got some ice to put on my ankle. For the rest of the day, my ankle totally bothered me.
I'm very thankful that my ankle healed by the end of Wednesday, because I had to play twelve songs on the drums for my youth group later that night.
By Thursday morning I was able to walk without crutches and ready to give my persuasive
speech.

2. My persuasive speech was well received. I got 99% (I lost one point for being too enthusiastic).

3. Maria has been driving us both to school. Sitting in the front seat of the car as my sister drives (without a parent) is a little bit weird and nerve-racking but at the same time cool.

4. At the end of school on Friday, as I walked down the hallway looking for Maria, I saw a familiar face. Jim Hughes was talking to Mason and a couple other soccer players. Upon seeing me, Jim picked me up by my legs and shook me. That just about made my day because it reminded me of all the great times we had when he helped out at my youth group. What a cool guy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christian Vande Velde!!!

Last night, Dad, Giff, Zack, Joe L., Mark, Rich, Dominick, Doug, John R., Vince , and I went to the Dante Alighieri Society (an Italian cultural center) to listen to Christian Vande Velde, the second American cyclists to EVER lead the Giro d' Italia. We had a very interesting experience; we cyclists were most like the ONLY non-Italians there. Everyone else was kissing (like Italians) and talking in Italian accents.
I filmed Joe interviewing Christian on his strategy for the upcoming Giro. Also, we got a group picture with Christian, and we got to touch the Maglio Rosa (the pink jersey that is awarded to the leader of the Giro).

Holding a pink jersey may seem insignificant to non-cyclists, but it put me in a state of bliss. This was THE jersey, worn by Christian Vande Velde. This jersey is a historic jersey, only the second one to be worn by an American.

Vande Velde's interactive talk was very interesting. Basically all he did was answer questions, so I knew that I had to ask a really good question. I figured that I'd ask him a provocative question that determined if either he was clean rider or if he doped. I asked him, "As a clean rider (stressing the cleanness) that doesn't not take performance enhancing drugs, what is it like to race in a pro cycling peleton that is immersed in drugs."
The first thing in his response was questionable. He said, "Well firstly, pro cycling is not immersed in drugs." which is not true.
However everything else he said was on the up and up. He attacked dopers, and proved to me that he is currently a clean rider.

After that fun night, I had to get back up in the morning and face the real world again. I neglected to tell you guys that since Ford shut down its flight department, my dad is now out of a job. He's basically got nine months of severance pay left, but he's now spending all of his time working on his resume' and making contacts. I'm scared about all of this because there aren't many other job opportunities in Michigan. However, my dad has one really good shot at getting a job at my uncle's company. My uncle is going to try really really hard to get my dad in.
Anyway, everybody at school now knows that Maria and James might have to move. Sometimes, I catch myself talking about what the WCA soccer season is going to be like next year and I have to tell myself that I might not be here. This whole ordeal is very surreal and depressing. Just after achieving acceptance at school, I might have to leave. Man, that just stinks.
So please pray for me.