November 11, 2013


So yesterday it was 43ºF and soggy outside. I’ve been feeling a little stir crazy lately, despite the amount of travel that we have been doing, and I decided that it had been too long since I had done some sort of zen-like experience through exercise.

I most readily find my zen when I’m riding my bike.

Despite the temperature and other weather conditions, I decided that I needed to go on a bike ride. So I bundled up in several layers of clothing, put a wool cap on under my helmet and off I went, headed for the Canal Trail. I was the only one down there.

A couple of years ago, the local Department of Public Works abandoned a bridge that connected the Utica Marsh area to the rest of the world, claiming the land under the auspices of Eminent Domain. While there are still ways to get to this area in a motor vehicle, it’s no longer an easy task, and the roadway is starting to look quite abandoned.

Barnes Avenue

I rode the mile or two to the abandoned bridge before turning around and heading back to the canal trails. It was a little spooky. I then continued eastward on the trail.

The trail ends at a busy street, so I decided I would just do a U-turn and head back home. This would bring my ride to about 12 miles or so and I was feeling every mile; it’d been a while since I’d ridden my bike. When I turned back and looked at the western sky I picked up my pace significantly.

The sky was very dark with a storm blowing in. Since it was 43ºF when I had left, I knew that it would be interesting.

I was about a mile from home when the skies let loose with a little bit of rain and a lot of hail. This was my first time riding in a hailstorm and I can confidently say that it’s not really that pleasant. Hearing the hail pinging your helmet is an interesting phenomenon, having the hail hit your exposed face is really interesting.

I laughed about it all. I ended up having a ball. However, I was happy that I only had a mile or so to go to get home. If I had to ride any further than that in those conditions I probably would have been a little less jovial about the situation.

Despite the weather I really enjoyed the experience and cemented (for the billionth time) that I am happiest exercising when I’m doing it on my bicycle.

I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity, come rain or shine.


As a baby DJ in the 1980s, I always tried to find some fun songs that you wouldn’t hear on the radio every 10 minutes. I always tried to fill the dance floor with a track that the audience might know, could probably be able to sing to but more importantly, would get them moving. I like to think that this approach made me a successful club DJ back in the day. One such song was from 1985. It was a top 10 track called “Don’t You Want My Love” by Nicole, sometimes billed as “Nicole McCloud”.

If you follow along with me on Twitter, you probably know that Earl has somehow roped me into watching “The X Factor” with him on selected evenings during the week. Over the past several years shows like this have made me cringe for a number of reasons, including the fact that there is way too much in the way of urban-yodeling, people are screaming more than they are singing and quite frankly, sometimes it feels rigged. Once in a while a story will come along that tugs at your heartstrings and this makes it feel worthwhile. For instance, 54-year old contestant Lillie McCloud.


Ms. McCloud can definitely sing. She has a very impressive voice and when she gets a record contract, I’m sure her album will be impressive. She has the gift and she knows how to use it.

The folks at “The X-Factor” have shared the backstory about Lillie, she’s a 54 year old grandmother who is anxious to share her artistic abilities with the world. She has experience.

Mother of three and grandmother of 7, Lillie McCloud has experience on her side. Find out what went through her head when her first audition made the judges cry.

She has a beautiful stage presence. Kelly Rowland has even commented about her seemingly very natural presence on the stage. Well there’s a reason for that, Lillie McCloud is the aforementioned Nicole McCloud.

I thought shows like “The X-Factor” were touted as a vehicle to showcase otherwise unknown talent. Now granted, Ms. McCloud has been out of the public spotlight for over a decade, and one can not deny her gorgeous talent, but I have to admit that I feel a little cheated when the folks at “The X-Factor” don’t really mention her previous abilities in her backstory.

Earl says I worry too much about little things. I probably do.