Solving A Dove Problem

We made a small design mistake when we were installing our spa. It has a knife-edge border between the spa and the pool. It's like the Riviera for neighborhood doves, who like to dip stale bread in our water and poop on the tile.


1st Solution: Scary Fake Owl

Naturally, I wanted to prevent doves pooping in my pool. So I got this scary fake owl.

It didn't even work a little bit. If the doves noticed it all, it just helped them relax and move their bowels more freely.

2nd Solution: Scary Real Dog

When we were having some plumbing work done inside and outside our house at the same time, I parked a 90 pound dog inside the pool fence. I figured she would scare the doves away for at least a little while.

It didn't even work a little bit. She slept calmly in the shade and the doves seemed glad for the company.

3rd solution: A Slingshot


I went on eBay and bought a "hunting slingshot." The slingshot is plenty powerful to destroy a dove, but there are 2 problems with that: 1) a missed shot would probably break a pool tile and 2) cleaning up dove carcasses is not much better than cleaning up dove poop.

So I got really light-weight ammo: Airsoft BBs weigh in at a fifth of a gram and they can't really do much damage. I also have some practice ammo. They're also lightweight and mostly harmless, but they bounce really far when they hit a hard surface.

This actually worked well. You don't even have to hit a dove. If a fast-moving projectile hits anywhere near one of them, they all fly off in a rush.

2nd Problem: Doves are quite stupid

It turns out you can hit doves with airsoft bbs over and over and over again, and they keep coming back. They just land on a power line above the alley and wait a minute. Then they all descend on the pool again.

I deem this problem unsolvable.

Go to Stanley's Immediately

Now look, this is very easy:

  1. Go to Stanley's Homemade Polish Sausage on McDowell Rd in Phoenix.
  2. Approach the woman behind the counter and say "I'd like some bacon, please." Be firm, but polite. Do not risk losing your Stanley's privileges.
  3. Take the bacon home, remove the skin, and cook it.
  4. Eat it.

It's awesome. Meaty like ham. Not at all salty, not sweet, and nicely smoky. Buy more than you need because you'll eat more than you should.

A Holiday Message of Meat

orHow the Messenger Bag SavedAndy from the parking nightmare at Whole Foods onChristmasEve

Our holiday tale begins at my house, nestled among the quaint & rustic trailer parks of north Phoenix. A beef tenderloin roast awaits at Whole Foods, a mere 10 miles away. The journey will be perilous, but the reward will be a holiday message of meat, delivered in a genuine Timbuk2 messenger bag.

Continuing a long tradition, I get lost in Paradise Valley. Having lived in the Phoenix area for more than five years now, and bicycled through Paradise Valley more times than I can count, my inability to successfully navigate the area stands as a testament to the warped sense of humor shared by the town planners. Either that or I'm a total dumbass. Either way, I'm not going to let the eccentricities of PV's geography keep my message of meat from reaching the holiday table. Here's a sample of the kind of fun I'm talking about:

I eventually give up on the messy side streets of PV and initiate a Banzai Run. The logic of a Banzai run goes like this: If I keep backtracking on these side streets, I'll eventually dehydrate and starve to death. I'll lose so much weight that even spandex won't cling to my emaciated bones. I'll be remembered only as a starved, naked corpse with a kick-ass messenger bag. My message of meat will go undelivered, and Christmas will forever be remembered as a tragic day in my family. But I'm not going to let that happen to me; oh, no. I'm gonna' point my bike down the busiest road I can find. One that I know doesn't dead end at a golf course or change directions at a community library. I'm going to ride Tatum. The trick will be not getting hit by all those SUVs. So before I turn onto Tatum, I'll take a deep breath and yell "BANZAI!!!!" Then I'll accelerate as close to the speed of the cars as I can (about 29 mph on this day) and at least if they hit me it'll only be with a closing speed of 25 mph or so. Best outcome: I get out of PV alive. Worst outcome: I die, but very quickly instead of withering away at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Mockingbird Lane. I always use a Banzai Run to get out of PV.

Finally, I meet the meat. I ask the butcher for an ice pack, but they don't have any nifty, self-contained ones; just crushed ice. Not a dry cold pack, but stuff that turns wet at 33°F. The ride home has to be quick.

35 min. and one Banzai Run along Cactus Road later, I arrive home, the meaty cargo safely delivered to its destination. The messenger bag performed admirably, showing a much greater load-bearing capacity in the face of this beefy payload than my shoulders (which are still a touch sore).

The colors of the messenger bag tell the story: Brown for the deep chestnut of a perfectly roasted tenderloin, red for the garnet hue of the zinfandel that complemented its meaty succulence, and black for everything that happened after the fifth bottle of zinfandel (I'm told it was memorable).

What You Missed

What You Missed By Slacking on Sunday

0 miles

Est. Temp: 85° F

05:00: It's still dark. Trucks are parked near Pima & Pinnacle Peak. Sunglasses are tucked in helmet vents (just like they do it in Europe), and the ride is underway. Spirits are high and the feeling of invincibility is palpable.

An easy warm-up gets things started:

6 miles

Est. Temp: 86° F

After a quick 700 foot climb, it's time to get down to some cycling. Having reached the summit after only 6 miles, Jayson and Andy figure the rest is really just academic.

7 miles, 4384 ft.

Est. Temp: 86° F

Andy (maybe a touch drowsy from the early hour and lack of breakfast) hits a bump so hard his water bottle falls out and his GPS shuts down.

20 miles

Est. Temp: 89° F

Jayson says "Let's stop at that gas station, I gotta’ take a leak." Buys more Gatorade, does not take leak. Warm, yellow Gatorade in clear water bottle taunts Jayson's bladder for the next few hours.

29 miles

Est. Temp: 90° F

Realizing neither rider had looked at a map, Andy and Jayson take turns trying to find a better road to ride on than Shea. Estimated distance added: 1 mi.

32 miles

Est. Temp: 90° F

An anonymous woman with a friendly dog named Cody decides she's hot, borrows Jayson's cell phone to call for a ride. Jayson will later comment on the surprising durability of said woman's skin care product(s) and/or secretions when applied to surfaces of phone. Good deed done and cell phone greased, both riders set off in search of Sweetwater, the road Andy knows goes to Cave Creek Road eventually.

35 miles

Est. Temp: 90° F

After reminding Andy that Sweetwater does not cross the 101, Jayson engineers a way back to Sweetwater via Raintree. Estimated distance added: 2 mi.

42 miles

Est. Temp: 91° F

Andy remembers something about having to go around PV Mall, but has not, to date, executed the navigational maneuver successfully. Jayson withholds commentary regarding Andy's navigational skills and general level of preparedness. A couple of backtracking loops see the intrepid explorers through to Sweetwater once again. Estimated distance added: 1 mi.

59 miles

Est. Temp: 94° F

The climb back to the trucks has begun. Andy asks Jayson "Is it hot out here or is it just me?"

62 miles

Est. Temp: 204° F

The climb continues. Andy asks Jayson "Is it cold out here or is it just me," implores hypothalamus to regulate temperature for just a few more miles. Hypothalamus reminds him it wasn't his limbic system's idea to get out of bed at 04:00, and tells him to pack sand.

67 miles

Est. Temp: 95° F

Back at the trucks. After a liter of cold water and a pint of iced coffee, Andy and his hypothalamus are on speaking terms again. Jayson withholds commentary on Andy's tendency to converse with his autonomic nervous system.

Now that you've seen the kind of fun you missed, you'll think twice before skippin' the ol' mornin' ride.