Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pinewood 09 Video

This is just some clips of Rig's many reactions as the finals took place.   He was pretty into it as he is with everything.  He took 1st in one of the four final's heats, but the refs said it was no good.  You can hear my reaction.  It was a fun night.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pinewood 09

Rig had his first Pinewood Derby last night.  As a first born, I suffered through 3 slow pinewood derby cars.  It wasn't until Beetle and Roman that the Ricker started having any success.  Luckily, for Rig's sake, the Ricker was able to pass some of his secrets on to me allowing Rig to have a pretty good showing his first time out.  

Rig was grinning ear to ear once he had a few wins under his belt.

I was the guardian of the cars which will not be my first choice next year.  You try keeping a bunch of 8,9 and 10 year olds from touching their own cars for an hour and a half of racing.  

Sara was on the awards committee.

Rig's sisters were proud of him.

The awards podium was supplied by RCHS wrestling.  Rig barely made the cut. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

RC Cribs

This is my crib! Where I spend 180 days a year.  
(Or at least that's the goal.) This was actually filmed 
a couple of years ago and shown on our video bulletin 
at school. Since then I have added some nice pieces 
to the crib, including a howler monkey head and a 
gigantic elk. (The elk was a Christmas present from the 

P.S. The burn out is NOT a special effect.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rig and Liv Rage Some Single Track!

The only thing better than Mt. Biking, is Mt. Biking with Livi.  I asked Rig if he wanted only me and him to go last Saturday because sometimes Livi holds us back a bit.  Rig said he thought we should bring Livi so she could get better.  Apparently he is a better brother than I am Dad.  Regardless of who is the better family member, one thing is for sure:  bringing Livi is always more entertaining than going with out her.   

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Island Life!

The cheapest Island getaway I know of is Catalina Island.  Hence it has become a Smart favorite.  This trip we were lucky enough to have the usuals (Rick, Cher and Phyl) plus Beetle, Mindy and co.   

Sunshine and smiles on the ride out.

The cousins were front and center for the boat ride.  Notice anybody missing from the last picture.  Beetle and Mindy played ditch the dummy on Sara.

It's official!  Those shades have Grandpa status written all over them.
Ricker was trying to cut my grass as Caroline's "best friend."

Caroline and Benson were hoping to stow away for some real adventure.

The first thing the kids wanted to do upon arrival? 
The beach of course.

Benson had to go potty.  Beetle told him to go in the water.  
He minds really well.

The water was frigid but that doesn't stop the Smart kids. 

I can't resist Caroline, especially in polka-dots.

Ricker's fishing exaggerations are second only to those of his Irish blood lines.  
Above is the catch of the day, complete with trick photography to help sell his story to anyone not present.  Below is a legitimate photo.   

Better luck next year Ricker.

Rigdon tried catching a pigeon.

Benson tried catching some ZZZ's.

Grandma Phyl-Phyl, the Matriarch of the whole clan.
She also tried cutting my grass as Caroline's best friend.

The submarine ride was a hit for everyone old and young.

On top of the sub for the ride back to port.

Grandpa Ricker always treat's the grandkids to ice-cream and they make sure to all get Rainbow Sherbet so they don't have to share with Mom or Dad.

The Snorkeling Crew.  People always think me and Roman look like twins.  Try to tell who's who in full snorkel gear.

The only thing that is better than watching Beetle put on a wet-suit that is too little is listening to him shriek and squeal like a little girl as he enters the cold water.

Sara saw this picture and said "Dang we should have kept our sunglasses on!!"

Then she saw this one next and said, "Whoa, No we shouldn't have!"
Ricker may have gone Grandpa status, but at least he didn't go Walmart status like his firstborn.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Truck or New Bike?

I have always thought it would be cool to have a mountain bike that out valued my car.  A friend of mine, also a teacher, obsesses over fancy cars that he will likely never own.  He subscribes to Car and Driver and keeps up on all the latest car reviews despite himself  driving a green 94 Ford Thunderbird.  

I drive a green 96 Chevy Cavalier the sister car to the Thunderbird.  I am also a teacher but I obsesse over fancy bikes that I will likely never own.  I subscribe to Mt. Bike Action and keep up on all the latest bike reviews despite myself riding a Schwinn (the equivalent of a 94 Thunderbird or 96 Cavalier.).  Basically, my Schwinn is to a Cannondale as a Ford Thunderbird is to a Ferrari.  Really we both live very similar lives or lack thereof.  The only difference being the price of the fanciest of  bikes would barely even rival a new Kia.  Even though fancy bikes are only a fraction of the cost of fancy cars they are no easier to convince your wife you need one.  My wife has been no exception to this rule. 

                   Every year at tax return time we lobby for our items of choice.  Any of  the last 4 tax returns I easily could have convinced my wife to let me spend the entire thing on a new truck for myself.  My wife sees vehicles as a necessity and therefore worthy of  multiple full tax returns.  At the same time she sees bikes as a recreation item and therefore not worthy of a fraction of a single tax return.  Most guys would be more than stoked to get the OK for a new truck.  The problem is vehicles just don’t interest me much. Mountain bikes do.  A new truck wouldn’t bring me one tenth the joy that a new bike would for only a fraction of the cost.  Sure my 96 cavalier with no AC is hot in the summer, it doesn’t have a radio, and is moderately embarrassing to offer others rides in, but it still gets me from point A to point B and does 80 on the freeway.  What else do you really need?  However when I bring up using some of the tax return on a bike Sara immediatley starts guilt tripping me about my many costly hobbies that are so much more expensive than the rest of the family’s hobbies combined. Then she’ll bring up that she wishes I would spend 5 or 10 times as much and get a new vehicle instead.  This must be woman logic because it makes no sense to me. 

   Well, this year the trusty Schwinn was in worse shape than ever, frame cracking and a ‘parts needed’ list that was near the price it originally sold for.  So I finally got the go ahead from our tax lady (Sara, she truly can do it all!) to start bike shopping. 

I am not someone who makes big decisions easily. This was a big deal.  I would be committing to ride this bike multiple times a week for years to come.   I immersed myself in bike reviews often reading them until one or two in the morning. It quickly became an addiction. This was driving Sara crazy.  In the long run this worked to my advantage.  The longer it went on the more money Sara relinquished to my bike fund.  My new bike that was supposed to be only a small step up from the Schwinn eventually grew into my dream bike, with Sara begging me to buy it just to end the whole process.  However in the end my frugality wouldn’t let me and though I tried multiple times I just kept chickening out.  This wasn’t however making Sara’s situation any more bearable.  Apparently she isn’t as frugal as I am, because in wife super-hero fashion she bought me the Cannondale while I was at school one day, and at least until I beat it up a little bit, my bike currently out values my car.      

In honor of my new bike, here is my list of the top ten reasons to be a Mt. Biker.

 10)  Cannondales are a lot cheaper than Ferraris.

9)   Spend time in the great outdoors. 

8)    Easier on your joints than running.

7)    Sneak up on wildlife.

       (Usually a good thing, ask Beetle about the cougar at Bennie Creek)

6)   By calling yourself a Mountain Biker you have a better chance of getting invited to compete at the X-games than Tiger Woods. 

5)   The more calories you burn the more calories you must consume.

4)   You can only attain your Max Heart Rate when using your quadraceps.

3)    When you get back in your car you feel like a race car driver.

2)    No green’s fees.

And the #1 reason....

1)    It makes me crave Twisted Sister more than Talk Radio.