Monday, September 29, 2008

Stupid? Crazy? Or just another driver?


It was the ultimate expression of road rage. A furious woman driver died after ramming another vehicle and spinning her wheels so fast that her own car burst into flames.

Serena Sutton-Smith, 54, burnt to death after refusing to get out of her Vauxhall Nova as she sat with her foot flat on the accelerator.

She spun the wheels so fast that her tyres disintegrated and the metal rims sent a shower of sparks into the engine, igniting the brake fluid and setting the car on fire.

Appalled onlookers urged her to get out of the car as the flames licked around her but she told them to “F*** off”, an inquest in Gloucester was told.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bikin' to da bar (Good Samaritan mix)

Autumn has arrived here in the Twin Cities and it is as wonderful as always. Today's journey to Tippy's Town Tavern (as a co-worker calls it) found me wandering up the Greenway only to pass a fellow that was pedaling slowly and with an obvious clicking sound. I stopped to ask if he was OK and found out that he had recently changed a tire and didn't have a wrench to to tighten down his rear tire. He needed to have 15mm wrench to finish the job and, as luck would have it, I had said 15mm wrench -- it is needed on the Dumvee. We pulled his chain taught, straightened the wheel and tightened the bolts and sent him on his way with the stern admonition to spend the three dollars and carry a 15mm wrench and a patch kit.

I know this because I was caught in the rain without one and I'm a friggin' expert now.

I had beers and went home under a cloudless sky without incident. What a beautiful night to ride. Again, I love this time of year.

The music that goes through my head while riding

Monday, September 22, 2008

Up to my nipples in Cheeseheads

Last weekend's outing was to Chippewa Falls, WI for Oktoberfest. Good German food, watery American beer and one of the funniest bands I've ever seen, The Happy Schnapps Combo. Meine Freunden auf Chicago (aka the Chicago Contingent) booked a bunch of rooms stumbling distance from the Fairgrounds where the Fest was held.

It was a good plan, but no stumbling happened. You see, your humble narrator has developed an immunity to mass-produced American lagers, so basically after a session of this, I just burp and pee a lot and the potato dumplings with gravy and the spaetzle with gravy were just backup. Mmmmm, gravy. But we did have fun singing songs like "I Don't Wanna Do Dat," "The Bears Still Suck Polka" and "Dis Ain't My Toilet:"
Dis ain't my toilet
It's got a funny seat,
The paper's on the left
It should be on the right
so I won't sleep here tonight

I was also surprised to find out that the good people of the Norske Nook have gone into the homebrew business and now have a brewpub in Eau Claire. The beer was better than Leinies' (no big surprise there) and they the have the fantastic pies that they're known for. Beer and pie...

A loverly weekend, indeed. This would have been perfect, but I had a chance to see a psychedelic belly-dance band from Turkey last night at the Cedar Cultural Center to cap it off. A true multi-media presentation; a belly dancer of incredible beauty and skill, a sketch artist rocked a Macbook with an ever-changing drawing in time with the music and a trio of musicians that were so tight they squeaked. Percussion, percussion and samples and an electrified long necked lute called a Saz.

Yo, check it:

This one is "The dance of the Adultress," a piece they wrote to celebrate the overturning of a new Turkish law that would punish a married woman for adultery (there was no equivalent penalty for men). This gives a pretty good example of the evening and what you missed.

Partly, it's my fault, so I'll tell you some of the good shows at the Cedar that are coming up ahead of time to avoid this in the future. Also, I have added the Cedar's music blog since they are better writers and have a deeper knowledge of what's coming than I can hope to scratch into the interweb's electrons. Read it, learn it and, most importantly, go to the shows. You need some culturin'.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If Palin were my mom...

my name would be "Froth Moonshine Palin."

What's yours?

Biking to da bar - Take The Long Way edition

A perfect day weather-wise here in the Twin Cities. Got off of work and rode to and around The Lakes and then down the Greenway to da bar. On the way, it seemed all of Minneapolis had taken an early day and was around the lakes; bikers, bladers, runners and walkers in lazy circles around the lakes. It's easy to love this city during this time of year. I would venture a guess that if you were to ask any long time resident of Minnesota what their favorite season is, a resounding majority would say Fall.

Sat outside and watched the last night of traffic inch its way through Seven Corners. Tomorrow brings the opening of the new 35W bridge over the Mississippi and the happy reduction in traffic.

Sweetie got out of her meeting and we biked home under a waning moon. So very romantic...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bike Lane Closures

From the City of Minneapolis:

Bicycling Update Subscribers,

Two bikeway closures are affecting bicycle travel. The first is the reconstruction of Marquette and 2nd Avenues in downtown. A Bicycling Community Advisory (pdf) has been issued by project staff. Sections of the bike lanes are closed on both streets. Work will continue through the end of 2009. Alternative routes are on Hennepin Avenue (bike lanes) and 3rd Avenue (no bike lanes).

At times general traffic lanes will remain open, and bicyclists may use those lanes. Please use extra caution when bicycling through this area. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

* Ride with the flow of traffic, unless a contra flow bike lane is open.
* Stay visible by not riding in the gutter. Ride where the right wheel of a car would be.
* Follow traffic signals, and signal turns and lane changes.
* Use headlights and taillights after dark.
* If you would rather be on the sidewalk, walk your bicycle. Sidewalk riding is prohibited in the downtown business district.
* Use heightened awareness at intersections, and be particularly cautious around turning motorists. Read more about defensive bicycling.

When Marquette and 2nd Avenues reopen, the bike lanes will no longer exist. At that time Nicollet Mall will be reopened to cycling traffic 24 hours a day. The City Council has directed City of Minneapolis staff to study the possibility of bicycles using the bus lanes on Marquette and 2nd. A recommendation has not yet been made by staff to the Council. For more information on this project, visit the MARQ2 project website.

The second closure is the Washington Avenue bridge over the Mississippi River. Hennepin County has eliminated the bike lanes due to concerns over the strength of the upper deck of the bridge. Because of high pedestrian traffic, bicyclists must walk their bikes through the enclosure. University police are enforcing this rule. Read more about the closure on the University of Minnesota website. A signed detour route using Bridge #9 is currently being developed. The bike lanes on the bridge are expected to reopen in the spring.

Happy Riding,

City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program

You may update or cancel your subscription at any time. All you need is your e-mail address and password (if you have selected one).

This service is provided free of charge by the City of Minneapolis.

P.S. If you have any questions or problems please contact for assistance.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I purchased two Surly front racks for the Green Goddess and the Dumvee. I got the rack on Mrs' LHT without incident, but the disk brake on the Dummy made for a classic effort in frustration.

I first ended up having to cut the brake side offset sliding plate to get it to fit (and these parts are aluminum -- they're stainless freakin' steel) and then attempt to get it centered and with enough room for a fender underneath. I got it on, but it was a case of either I could have a rack or a front brake, but not both. I was hoping to have this done in time for a bike camping expedition this weekend, but between a lot of after-hours work, an allergy attack that ruined the little sleep I was able to rustle up and a bunch personal things that needed to be taken care of also, I bailed and dropped it off with the resident mechanical genius at Hiawatha, Mark.

We're driving to the campground, but that's okay. I'm in such a foul mood right now, I probably wouldn't make it very far by bike anyway. The rain has taken some of whatever-the-hell-it-was-that-was-making-my-life-miserable out of the air, but I'm still so tired I can hardly see. I just want beers and to stare into a fire and not talk or do anything with anything that needs electricity.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Old School

My keyboard at work is the keyboard from my first computer that I bought - a 386/20 from Northgate circa 1989. My keyboard at home is from an IBM PS/2 386SX Model 55 before MCA.

If you don't know what these are, go ask yer dad...

Question: why is the input device that is used most on a home or office desktop computer always the cheapest piece of shit that the company can get away with? If you value your input like I do, get one. They are still available as the Avant Prime keyboard.

Don't ask why I wrote this, I won't tell you. Just accept that you needed to know.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Linky love

If you are a reader and you are not represented in the list on the right and have a desire for some hot link action, please leave a comment and your URL and I'll add you to the list. Recent mods were the addition of Snakepants (as dubbed by da Lunatic, hisself) and Wheeldancer. I've removed Dave Moulton's blog as he feels he's run out of things to say. Jim has too, but his link is preserved as the blogs listed there tend to be quite interesting.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Equipment info bleg

The temps are starting to drop around here and I would like to ask the folks that are kind enough to drop by for recommendations for wool riding wear. What have y'all found useful? Is it worth the money? What brands have been good to you? What should I look for? Where's a good place to buy it (either here in the Twin Cities or on the Web)?

If you're gonna ride every day, you gotta ride every day. I figure that being warm is a pretty good start...