Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Portland bound

...and not to the North American Handmade Bike Show since we'll be there a couple of weeks early.


Oh well, we'll just have to make sure that the beer y'all get is really, really super fresh 'cuz they just made it 'cuz they were out 'cuz we drank it all.

So there.

If anyone has any tips on things that we (MDM and I) just have to see, hear, smell, touch or taste, please drop me a line in the comments. Things you shouldn't bother to mention:

Anything else is fair game. 'Specially beer. We're all over the beer. Oh, and coffee. And a good place to rent bikes since we're not going to rent a car.

I'll attempt to take pictures and/or blog if I figure out the computer situation -- I'm not really keen on lugging the work laptop (IBM A31) since it weighs about 900 pounds.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And opponents in this country also, Governor Huckabee...


"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

It's now time that we bring back the term "Jesus Freak." The quaint notion that Evangelicals are, shucks, just a bunch of God fearin' 'murikans just like the rest of us has now been blown out of the water by a candidate. I have to admit I appreciate his honesty, but I do not appreciate his sentiment.

Not. One. Bit.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis

Destruction (and, hopefully, rebuilding)

Our bathroom is gone. We think we're getting another one in its place.

We hope we're right.

We're so happy...

Image stolen from Jim at Unholy Rouleur

Thursday, January 10, 2008


A coworker asked me about winter for our company newsletter and here is my reply:

Winter survival comes in two fashions; hate it or deal with it. Hate it: pout, stay inside, watch TV and eat. Don't complain to me about being fat in the Spring, though. Deal with it: go outside and stare down Ol' Man Winter. Winter here has a beauty that you really need to see to appreciate, a silence and alien (to inside-folk) world that is really worth the trouble to venture into. So here's three things to consider about winter:

First thing is to dress for the weather, since there isn't any bad weather, just bad clothes. Real winter survival depends on you keeping yourself warm and dry. Wear a hat and good boots and keep moving and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll get warm. Keep sweat from staying next to your skin with wicking underwear ("base layers" to outdoor geeks). Wool is best, but polypropylene or silk work well too. Layers are the way to do it, with the last layer windproof. Keep it light because you may want to shed a layer after a while.

Second thing is to do something you like. I'm happy to be outside, so I don't care what I'm doing and I have a bunch of winter toys. You needn't go out and spend a bunch of money on gear or go all that far since Winter tends to have a wide delivery area. A walk in a regional or state park is cheap (free), sledding with kids, boot hockey or walking a dog are cheap too. Rent snowshoes -- they're great for going to hard to reach places and you'll probably get the hang of them in about 5 minutes. Heck, the hardest part of snowshoeing is putting them on followed by taking them off. You don't have to buy a bunch of stuff or go far

Last thing has to attitude. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you hate the cold, the dark, the snow, the whatever. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is treated in lots of ways, but one of the most effective ways is exercise. And, right now, do you really want to go to the Gym with all the Resolutionists staring at themselves in their new work out clothes and iPods? Wait in line for a stair machine and try to read the closed captions of a show you don't really care about? A little fresh air won't kill you. You don't have to camp in the Boundary Waters for a week, just walk around your neighborhood. Work into it slowly, and you may possibly find out that those skiers and shoers aren't as crazy as you first thought…

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Where a streak ends

Well, the streak ended quickly. I got up and dressed for a ride into work and found out that another spoke had broken on the Icebike. This is getting depressing -- am I so fat that bikes crumple underneath my ample arse? Or, was the over-exuberant curb hopping to avoid grumpy drivers on Lyndale at the choke point under Crosstown?

Either way, the wheel was potato-chipped and nigh unrideable. I bailed and caused the Mrs to bail too. At least we'll carpool, so it's one less car either way. I've still ridden to work more times than driven this week, and I hope that I can repair the spoke and keep it that way for tomorrow.

I have a rare weekend off from both jobs and when that happens, we take off for some far away corner of the state, but me Darlin' Mrs. came up with a great idea: let's act like tourists in our own town! What should we do?

Some ideas I have are to go outside -- biking, skiing, shoeing -- it matters not. Or a trip to the Russian Art Museum, because:
  • it's something the Mrs wants to do

  • it's something I've always wanted to do

  • it's two freakin' blocks from my house

Also, go out for breakfast somewhere different. I'll take care of the lunch and dinner, but I like to have someone cook my breakfast. I"m not sure what else, so I'll happily take suggestions from the great Ether. And, no, I won't be going to the MOA.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Coldest commute yet

Unlike Doug, I'm not a winter commuter. I'm trying though and today was a real test. Radio alarm goes off and I immediately hear "and currently, it's minus four outside."


Well, if you're gonna ride every day, you ride every day. So, I did and I'm glad. Nothing was cold except my big toe on my right foot (that's where I had tendon surgery a couple of years ago and it's never been much for the cold since), so I think I've got the clothing part right 'cept for the undershirt. This includes (taking a hint from Pete)
  • Columbia under helmet hat with ear flaps. It's fleece with a windproof shell -- light and warm
  • Fleece pants with windproof pants
  • Fleece top with long-sleeved cotton t-shirt (dumb, I know, I know)
  • Novara bicycling rain jacket
  • Merino wool socks and Mukluks (short Ojibwa)

I don't have a balaclava since my beard works well and it's a lot of fun after a couple of minutes. It becomes completely frosted from my breath and turns white and people give me quite a look when I ride past. Ol' Man Winter, indeed...

Mrs and I went for a ride yesterday and she found out the beauty of studded tires, so now I need to get a pair for her. I knew that, but she had to make the call and after see the night and day difference, she called loud and clear. Time to pick up another pair.

The bike is really stiff to ride when it's this cold. I need to find a better lube (or maybe just use the stuff I have) so that things turn better and I'm not fighting the bearings and chain besides the snow, ice and traffic.