Monthly Archives: October 2011

All-County XC Meet at Laguna Lake


Savannah ran in her first XC meet since she injured her knee. Her time was nearly two minutes slower than usual. She crossed the finish line with right knee already starting to swell. Savannah was in a bit of pain. She was glad to get thru the run.

Savannah has missed most of the XC meets this season. It’s hard on a young athlete, physically and mentally, to recover from such a severe injury. Some kids never make it back and just quit.

Savannah has maintained her positive outlook throughout her rehabilitation. I’m happy Savannah is back running. She is too.

It’s Your Heart Running Around Outside Your Body


One of my dear friends gave me some advice a while back. “Kids change every day, they come home and have new experiences to share and new stories to tell. They are miniature human beings with a lifetime of living still in front of them”.

So many things about that ring true. I think about them all the time when they are not home. I hope they are seeing the world around them. I hope they experience all the beauty this world contains. I hope they find what they love, be it work or someone else.

But you know what the problem is? The problem with children is that they carry your heart with them.

Straight Block


Every Roadie remembers their first club ride. We didn’t know how to ride in a pack, we wore the wrong clothes, we said the wrong things, we rode the wrong gear. We were nervous, even dangerous. But something about riding kept us coming back for more.

I remember my indoctrination into the Roadie Tribe. I show up at the Wednesday Night Club Ride on my Sears Free Spirit. A tank of a bike. Mike was there with his Windsor Pro, Ty on his Raleigh Team Pro and George was showing off his new Klein. They all had tubular tires, Campagnolo components and Cinelli stems. In my eyes it was all beautiful jewelry. What amazed me the most were their tiny freewheels. They were all running 13x17s and 14x18s. They HAD to be strong. My 14×28 tooth was gearing for wimps.

We do the 25-mile loop and ride it hard. I’m nervous as all heck but they gave me some pointers that day. Somehow I managed not to get dropped on the hills. I was hooked.

A year later when I had saved up enough money I put together my first real road bike. It was a Fuji Finest frame with mostly Sun Tour components. I built the wheels, installed the components, glued on the Hutchinson Super Sprints onto the Fiamme Red Label rims, and wrapped the bars with Tressostar cloth tape. I screwed on a 14×18 tooth Sun Tour Pro Compe freewheel. I was proud of my new bike.

On the next ride, after showing my new ride to the others, one of them quipped “I have a 13×17 tooth on the back. It’s bigger gearing than yours”. Being one-upped on gearing was an affront to my pride, my masculinity. I had to get even. But how? I could’ve dropped this bozo anytime I liked. He was too lazy to put the training miles in. That wasn’t the point. My new bike didn’t pass muster by the tribe. I wanted to be accepted. I couldn’t afford Campy. What was I to do?

I’m back at the shop building a custom freewheel for a customer when an epiphany hits me. I’ll build a true straight-block. After a little experimentation I cobble together a Dura Ace freewheel with 16-16-16-16-16 tooth gearing. I thread it on for the next Wednesday Night ride. It wasn’t until we’re climbing the Rose Garden Hill when someone notices my new freewheel. Being that I don’t have an option to shift down I throw everything I got into an attack. I drop all and arrive at the top with a huge gap.

I took the Dura Ace freewheel off that day. No one ever again fucked with me on a club ride. I was now a badass, bona-fida member of the tribe.

Tone Deaf


Courtney’s cell phone started acting up several months ago. The phone would drop in the middle of calls and texts. I couldn’t get the issue to reproduce. I did a hard reset on it, re-synced her contacts from the iMac, and left it at that.

Another week goes by. Courtney tells me that it still “doesn’t work”. I see that the SIM Card isn’t reading into the device. I resolve it by powering off, removing the battery & SIM, snapping it back together and turning it back on. I show Courtney this. She tells me that’s what’s she has been doing all along. I tell her to hang on until we can get a free upgrade. She’s not a happy camper.

Being the geek I am, I go online and googled “Sony W518s” issues. I read the ATT and Sony support discussion boards. The next day I re-install the firmware and wiped the SIM card’s memory. It seemed to work. I handed it back to her.

About a week later, I asked Courtney how her phone was. She replied “It’s broke. I don’t use it anymore.”

I log into my AT&T account and see that she’s eligible for a “free” upgrade on December 6. I tell Courtney that it’s a few months before we can get the phone replaced. She doesn’t like hearing that. It’s late September. December 6 is too long to wait for a teenage girl.

The blog-sphere is alight with rumors about the new iPhone. I know the current iPhone will see a price drop. Apple always does this. I take the leap and tell Courtney that I’ll get her an iPhone.


I don’t know.

Why not?

Because no one outside of Apple knows. It’s a secret.

Can I get a new phone now?

When Apple introduces the new iPhone.

But I need a phone now!

Apple’s announcing their new iPhone at their October 4th Media Gathering. We’ll know for sure then.

I can’t wait that long. I need a phone now.

OK, I’ll see if I can get one to use until the iPhone is out.

I’m all in at this point. Courtney has been using friend’s phones to contact me. How embarrassing. She needs a new phone. I look on Craigslist, there are jailbroken iPhones and “hot” smartphones at ridiculously high prices and nothing else. I post on Facebook asking if any of my friends had an unused ATT/T-Mobile phone that we could borrow. No luck.

October 4th comes and goes. The new iPhone 4S is introduced, and it’s a marvel. The 4 goes down to $99. The 3GS becomes free. Availability is listed as October 14th. My teenage daughter somehow knows this. She wants to know when she can get her iPhone. The last thing she wants to hear is me babbling on about how cell phone contracts work. She just wants a phone.

I call ATT. I tell the Rep the situation. She’s remarkably attentive and courteous. I ask if there was any way we could get Courtney bumped into an upgrade right now

The Rep says Yes. Based on what you told me, we could make an exception here.

So I can get her a new phone today?

Yes you can. We can chose any phone except Apple’s iPhones.

Any phone except an iPhone?

That’s correct.

Let me ask you, if we got a new phone, does that mean that Courtney has to wait another two years on contract before she’s again eligible for an iPhone?

That’s correct.

I don’t want to do that. I do want to get Courtney an iPhone in December. What can we do for her until December? She needs something today.

Why don’t you get a Go Phone?

Doesn’t that require a month-to-month contract?

No. Just go to a local ATT store, and bring in her phone. They’ll take the SIM card and activate the Go Phone with it.

That’s all?

Yes sir. That’s all.

Yesterday I go into Radio Shack. I pick up a Samsung Go Phone. It’s marked $9.99. I bring it to the counter. I tell the clerk I don’t need to buy the Go Monthly airtime contract. I just wanted to buy this phone and activate it with Courtney’s ATT SIM card. How much would that cost me?

The clerk looks at me with an incredulous stare and says $9.99.

I feel like an idiot.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


I’m normally not the type of person who pauses to reflect whenever a celebrity passes away. But when I heard the news that Steve Jobs passed, I unapologetically shed a tear.

I bought my first Mac in 1986. I still have my Mac Plus. Throughout the years I’ve used many Apple products – Powerbook 170, eMac, Powerbook 12”, Powerbook 15”, MacBook Pro 15”, iPod Shuffle, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. They have all served me well. I suppose if I took the money I spent on Macs and invested it in Apple stock I’d be rich now. But that’s hindsight.

What attracted me to Apple was their design ethos. The interception of art and technology, as Steve famously put it. OS X allowed me to work the way I wanted to work. I tried Windows 95 & 98 and found the experience frustrating. Us Mac users rightfully boast “It simply works!”

I never met Steve. Never saw him in person. I knew him from afar. I watched his Keynote speeches at MacWorld, WWDC and Apple’s media events. His rollout of the iPhone stands at one of the best sales presentations of all time. I learned his life story. And what a story it was. Steve wasn’t perfect. But he had a vision. And he acted upon it.

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. – Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech

Several times in my life I didn’t settle. When I decided to attend college after working fruitlessly for a few years after high school. Leaving the Corporate Treadmill that was Dick’s after years of 50+ hour weeks. Relocating my Family from Ohio to sunny California. Taking up the turnaround challenge at CBO. I kicked myself in the ass to make things change. It was all about doing great work.

Today I am in a great relationship with a fabulous woman. In my heart I know Alexandra is the right one. And I know in my heart that Coast Digital is the work that I want to do. I love both. I’m not going to settle for less. Thank you Steve for inspiring me.

R.I.P. Steve



There has been a lot happening around the McCarthy household. I’ve been overwhelmed with it all. Alexandra. Doug’s field trip on Tuesday. A voicemail from one of my in-laws. Savannah’s recovery. Courtney’s busted cell phone. Steve Job’s passing. Me trying, and failing thus far, to get my site launched. Worrying about money.

It seems things have picked up speed in the last several weeks. And I’m having difficulty processing it all. Life goes fast sometimes. I know that. It’s time to buckle down and make some changes. Change is good.

The Weight


I started riding again last month. It feels great to get back on the bike after taking a nine-month sabbatical. I’m slowly getting back in shape. Today I went on the SLO Friday Noon ride with about a dozen other riders. I didn’t contest the sprint into the SLO City Limit Sign or the Turri Road Hill Climb. I did take some hard pulls in the front of the paceline. It felt pretty good out there today.

I lost eighteen pounds in five days when Janet passed. I went from 150 to 132. I didn’t have much fat to begin with. Some of that loss ended up being muscle mass. I’ve gained some of it back and I’m now at 136lbs.

It feels like I’m riding with a new body. I can climb almost as well when I was in shape. Last week I rode up the Cuesta Grade. It rises about 1,200’ in three miles. I used to climb it in a 39x21t. That day I managed to ride “tempo”, spinning a 39x23t while seated the whole way. The 39x21t will happen soon.

Elite endurance athletes perform at their best when they are lean. I weighed 135lbs when I raced competitively in my twenties. I’ve been reminded of the importance of power/weight ratio. Losing weight is probably the best performance-enhancer you can get.

Life has gotten simpler for me this past year. Flow is coming back into my family. I’ve lost more than weight. The negative energy that was on me has been lifted.