Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fat Bottomed Girls

Like I needed any more motivation to keep biking...

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fatter rear ends are causing many drug injections to miss their mark, requiring longer needles to reach buttock muscle, researchers said on Monday.

Standard-sized needles failed to reach the buttock muscle in 23 out of 25 women whose rears were examined after what was supposed to be an intramuscular injection of a drug.

"There is no question that obesity is the underlying cause. We have identified a new problem related, in part, to the increasing amount of fat in patients' buttocks," Chan said.

"The amount of fat tissue overlying the muscles exceeds the length of the needles commonly used for these injections," she said.


Cold November Rain

I didn't ride yesterday because it was raining cats and dogs in November. Nearly December. I don't mind a little rain, more or less, but it was really coming down. The last time I drove my truck I had gotten fed up with trying to tune in 89.3 on my crappy radio, so I still was on 93X (I was coming home from the bar). When I got into the truck last night on my way to class they were playing G&R's November Rain. How apropos. They were playing a differend G&R song when I got back into the truck after class (Paradise City, I think). This lack of imagination is why I don't listen to a lot of commercial radio any more.

When I got home from class, my tireflys had arrived in the mail! I found them on eBay brand new for $5 and free shipping so I decided to give them a whirl (ha). I have read that these things are kind of temperemental and they seem to be living up to that billing. They were both blinking when I opened the box, so I know they both work. But when I installed them on the Raleigh I could only get the rear one to come on intermittently. Yet this morning on the ride in it appears that the front one was working and the rear wasn't. It was pretty bright out so it's hard to tell for sure. I'll see tonight on the way home. If they light up fairly well I may spring for a set of the tirefly pros, or maybe even give the Reflects a shot. They're great for side visibility. It's probably dorky to admit, but I think they look kind of cool. You may now mock me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Building a Mystery

So I've been busy the last week or two, starting work on a new commuter. I was able to find a bike to begin with for free after scouring twincitiesfreemarket.com and craigslist.org for months. It started life as an ugly green Gitane. No markings to indicate which make it was. Once I got it home I tore it down to the frame and started to figure out why it was free. It had a broken rear axle. This also explains why it rode kind of weird. Another thing I noticed is that it's got two different size wheels. The front is a 26" wheel, but the rear is a 27". This explains why the brakes were nowhere near the rim on the front. It also had all the original components from when it was built, probably in the 70's. I'm thinking even the brake pads are original. Not that that's a good thing.

After everything was stripped off of the bike, I started working on the frame. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures until I got to this point so I'll never have a before and after series. By the time I thought of the camera I'd stripped most of the paint, except in those hard to reach places. I'm not doing a professional job by any means. It will have a new coat of paint, but it's still going to be a winter beater.

I'm slowly working on a plan to get this thing road-worthy. Right now, I've got the frame stripped and primed. Paint will have to wait until I get back from the in-laws' place or maybe even until next weekend. I've been slowly getting the parts I need from everybody's best friend, eBay. I got a new Titec saddle for $12.85 and a single speed 16 tooth sprocket for $8.85. Quality on a budget. I'm still trying to decide what to do for a crankset and bottom bracket. The front small sprocket is only a 38 tooth, which is a little small for a single. The big sprocket is a 53, which is bigger than my puny legs can push. I'm thinking I'll try for another eBay deal for a crankset and a sprocket.

This summer I got a free Cannondale from my neighbor. He saw me biking in from work one day and we got to BS-ing. He said the bike had been in his garage since he moved in and he'd never used it. It's way too small for me, but the frame seems to fit the wife nicely. It's a weird bike. It's an aluminum road frame with super skinny 700x23 tires on it. But at the same time it's got a straight bar with mountain bike bar ends on it. Split personality? I dunno. I may take the straight bar off that bike and put it on this thing and then replace the bars on the Cannon with some drops this spring if the Mrs. wants to ride it. As I'm riding my Raleigh in the little bit of snow we have I'm finding that I like sitting upright. Then, I gotta find a steal on some rims and tires and I'll be ready to ride. I'll take the rear rack off of the Schwinn to get me through. There's some cute gold shorty fenders on eBay right now that I think would look pretty boss on this bike, but I think I need to lay off the eBay for a bit to avoid incurring the wrath of the spouse. Oh well. So, we'll see how long it takes me to get this thing on the road. It may not be ready to be a winter commuter until next winter at this pace. More to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Week That Was

This is the week that was in matters musical...

1960, Patsy Cline waxes the classic country weeper "I Fall to Pieces" ... "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs holds down the #1 slot on the Billboard Pop Chart ... the song is notable for being the shortest single in the rock era running a mere one minute and 37 seconds ... a number of covers later reach the chart including Jackson Browne's 1978 rendition...

1968, the queens of Detroit, The Supremes, perform at the Royal Variety Show in London while Queen Elizabeth looks on...

1972, Danny Whitten, guitarist in Crazy Horse, Neil Young's backup band, dies of a heroin overdose ... the talented axeman and songwriter provided a perfect foil for Young, trading licks with him on the extended guitar jams on Young's long-form rockers "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand"... Whitten's OD will loom large in Young's dark album Tonight's The Night as well as in his song "Needle and the Damage Done"...

1974, John Lennon scores his only solo U.S. #1 single with "What Ever Gets You Through the Night"...

1976, Jerry Lee Lewis is busted for drunk driving after plunging his Rolls Royce into a ditch...

1979, Chuck Berry is released from the slammer following a stay on tax evasion charges...

1980, Don Henley of The Eagles is arrested after paramedics are called to treat a nude 16-year-old girl suffering from the effects of illicit drugs at his Los Angeles home ... he is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of an array of drugs...

1987, adopting the guise of a country-rock band called The Dalton Brothers, U2 opens for themselves at an LA show...

1988, Stan Love, brother of the Beach Boys' Mike Love and former manager of the band, is sentenced to five years probation after being convicted of embezzling more than $300,000 from the singing surfers...

1989, during Queen's performance of their hit "Fat Bottomed Girls" at a Madison Square Garden show, the band is accompanied by semi-nude women riding bicycles...

1990, in the wake of revelations that they had lip-synced their way to fame, the faux pop duo Milli Vanilli is ordered to return their Grammy award... "singer" Fabrice Morvan unrepentantly claims, "We can sing as good as any other pop star in the Top Ten."...

1993, Nirvana tapes an MTV Unplugged session in one take ... the show is aired with warts and all one month later...

1994, David Crosby gets a glistening, fresh liver...

1995, The Ghost of Tom Joad, Bruce Springsteen's 13th album, is released ... the title refers to a character in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, about the 1930s Dust Bowl emigration...

1997, rapper Coolio and his appropriately named backup band 40 Thevz are arrested in Boblingen, Germany, on charges of assaulting a boutique clerk and ripping off $2,000 worth of apparel...

1998, discount chain Kmart launches it MusicFavorites.com website offering 100,000 songs for download ... despite its early entry into the electronic commerce arena, the site soon is eclipsed by competitors ... ska saxman Roland Alphonso of the pioneering Skatalites collapses in mid-performance during a show at the Key Club in West Hollywood and later dies ... Motley Crue fans have cause for celebration when the S'Crue, a store stuffed with Crue-related merch, opens on LA's trendy Melrose Boulevard...

1999, Doug Sahm--who led the The Sir Douglas Quintet in the 1960s and was fluent in many music forms including Texas blues, Tex-Mex, rock, Cajun, and Western Swing--dies in Taos, NM, at 58 ... late in his career the singer and guitarist was a member of the critically acclaimed Tex-Mex supergroup The Texas Tornados ... pop singer Jewel pulls the plug on her planned Anchorage, AK, New Year's Eve show citing concerns over possible Y2K problems ... word has it, however, that the cancellation is due to weak ticket sales ... only 1,000 of the 8,000 available seats have been sold ... country star Patty Loveless rides a train across Appalachia distributing 15 tons of Christmas gifts to poor families in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia...

2003, Phil Spector is charged with the murder of Hollywood starlet Lana Clarkson...

2004, The New York Post reports that former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth is training to become an emergency medical technician ... the story recounts how Roth, while riding with an ambulance crew, saved the life of a Bronx heart-attack victim using a defibrillator ... according to his tutor Linda Reissman, "You would never know you were dealing with a rock 'n' roll guy. His commitment really is touching. He wants to help people." ... The United States Postal Service settles with the group Postal Service following more than a year of legal wrangling over the band's name ... in a creative compromise the duo, comprised of Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard and electronic musician Jimmy Tamborello, agree to let the Postal Service use their music to promote the use of snail mail and refer to the USPS deal in Postal Service CDs ... the musicians also promise to perform at the Postmaster General's National Executive Conference in Washington ... Bill Wyman, the 68-year-old former Rolling Stones bassman, announces he will retire from touring with the Rhythm Kings, his current band...

And that was the week that was.


November 16: W.C. Handy (1873), Atlantic Records veteran Jesse Stone (1901), Toni Brown of Joy of Cooking (1928), folksinger Bob Gibson (1931), long-time Howlin' Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin (1931), Nashville producer Felton Jarvis (1934), Garnett Mimms (1937), John Ryanes of The Monotones (1940), George "Smitty" Smith of The Manhattans (1943), Winfred "Blue" Lovett of The Manhattans (1943), Will Ackerman (1949), Patti Santos of It's a Beautiful Day (1949), Mani of The Stone Roses (1962), Diana Krall (1964), Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd (1969), Trevor Penick of O-Town (1979)

November 17: Gordon Lightfoot (1938), Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons (1942), Gene Clark of The Byrds (1944), Martin Barre of Jethro Tull (1946), Jim Babjak of The Smithereens (1957), Harry Rushakoff of Concrete Blonde (1959), RuPaul (1960), Jeff Buckley (1966), Ben Wilson of Blues Traveler (1967), Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe (1967), Isaac Hanson of Hanson (1980)

November 18: Sir William Gilbert of the Gilbert and Sullivan writing team (1836), Eugene Ormandy (1899), Imogene Coca (1908), Hank Ballard (1927), Bob Sanderson of The Royaltones (1935), Herman Rarebell of The Scorpions (1949), Graham Parker (1950), John McFee of The Doobie Brothers (1953), John Parr (1954), Michael Ramos of The BoDeans (1958), Kim Wilde (1960), Kirk Hammett (1962), Duncan Sheik (1969), Fabolous (1979)

November 19: Tommy Dorsey (1905), J.D. Sumner (1914), Ray Collins of The Mothers of Invention (1937), Pete Moore of The Miracles (1939), Graham Parker (1950), Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses (1960), Travis McNabb of Better Than Ezra (1969), Tamika Scott of Xscape (1977)

November 20: Dick Smothers (1939), Tony Butala of The Lettermen (1940), Norman Greenbaum (1942), Duane Allman (1946), Joe Walsh (1947), George Grantham of Poco (1947), Jim Brown of UB40 (1957), Todd Nance of Widespread Panic (1962), Mike "D" Diamond of The Beastie Boys (1965), Sen Dog of Cypress Hill (1965), songwriter Kevin Gilbert (1966), Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest (1970)

November 21: Coleman Hawkins (1904), R&B producer-manager Buck Ram (1907), blues and jazz pianist Lloyd Glenn (1909), vocalist-saxophonist "Big" John Greer (1923), Malcolm John Rebennack AKA Dr. John (1941), Lonnie Jordan of War (1948), Steve Ferguson of NRBQ (1949), Livingston Taylor (1950), Peter Koppes of The Church (1955), Stacy Guess of Squirrel Nut Zippers (1964), Bjork (1965), Blur's Alex James (1968), Pretty Lou of Lost Boyz (1974), Kelsi Osborn of SHeDAISY (1984)

November 22: Hoagy Carmichael (1899), Benjamin Britten (1913), Foghat's Rod Price (1940), Terry Stafford (1941), Steve Wahrer of The Trashmen (1941), Jamie Troy of The Classics (1942), Steve Caldwell of The Orlons (1942), Floyd Sneed of Three Dog Night (1943), Aston "Family Man" Barrett (1946), E Street Band's Little Steven Van Zandt (1950), Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads (1950), Craig Hundley (1953), Jason Ringenberg of Jason & the Scorchers (1958), Rasa Don of Arrested Development (1968)

November 16: British pop pianist Russ Conway (2000), Kid Rock sideman Joe C. AKA Joseph Calleja (2000), Gospel Music Hall of Fame member J.D. Sumner (1998), Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service (1994), Francis Donia of Tavares (1984), raw-voiced soulman O.V. Wright (1980), music journalist Mike Leadbitter (1974)

November 17: Terry Stafford (1996), blues scholar, producer, and label owner Pete Welding (1995), co-founder of RPM Records Jules Bihari (1984), John Glascock of Jethro Tull (1979)

November 18: Doug Sahm (1999), Alan Hull of Lindisfarne (1995), Cab Calloway (1994), prolific session drummer Freddie Waites (1989), Tom Evans of Badfinger (1983), Doug Roberts, drummer for Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs (1981), jazz singer Teddi King (1977), Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse (1972), Memphis bluesman "Little" Junior Parker (1971)

November 19: producer Terry Melcher (2004), songwriter Bobby Russell (1992), songwriter Carolyn Leigh (1983), Claude Feaster of The Chords (1975)

November 20: album cover artist Gene Greif (2004), Roland Alphonso of the Skatalites (1998), rock critic and blues producer Robert Palmer (1997), Chess and Vee-Jay Records session drummer Earl Phillips (1990)

November 21: Alvin Cash (1999), Matthew Ashman of Adam & the Ants and Bow Wow Wow (1995), Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant (1995)

November 22: jazz impresario Norman Ganz (2001), Michael Hutchence of INXS (1997), Epick Soundtracks of The Swell Maps (1997), June Abbit of The 5 Royals (1995), Janet Ertel Bleyer of The Chordettes (1988)

Courtesy of Musiciansfriend.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Safety Dance

My lovely wife told me tonight that she's concerned for my safety out there on the roads. It's dark and it's icy she says. I'm afraid other people won't see you. She's probably right. Riding a bike is probably much more dangerous than riding the train or driving a car. But at the same time, is it?

In 1999 (a popular year for traffic statistics on the net) over 40,000 people were killed in automobile accidents in the U.S. In the same year, 750 bicyclists were killed. Bicycle accidents accounted for both 2 percent of all traffic accidents and 2 percent of traffic deaths. So I could be riding, or I could be driving. And part of me says that hey, I want to be in the group that only accounts for 2 percent, not the group that accounts for 98 percent.

massbike.org has some interesting statistics about why bikes get hit by cars:
Category 1: When the motorist and bicyclist were on initial parallel paths, either in the same direction or opposing directions, the three most frequent categories of crashes were:
Motorist turning or merging into the path of a bicyclist (12.1 percent of all crashes). Almost half (48.8 percent) of these crashes involved a motorist making a left turn in front of a bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction.
I'm always on the lookout for the left turn from the opposite direction. These people are pretty easy to spot once you're aware of the behavior.
Motorist overtaking a bicyclist (8.6 percent of all crashes). Of these crashes, 23 percent appeared to involve a motorist who misjudged the space required to safely pass the bicyclist.
I do try to stick to the roads where there is a bike lane, which most cars respect. If there's no bike lane, I either ride on the shoulder where possible or ride fully in the lane so the car can't pass. If they can't pass, they can't misjudge. But, if they don't see me they don't see me. It doesn't really matter what I do.
Bicyclist turning or merging into the path of a motorist (7.3 percent of all crashes). Within this category, 60 percent involved a bicyclist making a left turn in front of a motorist traveling in the same direction.
During the MS150 this year, I saw a fellow cyclist get hit by a truck when he did this. It was one of the scariest things I've ever seen. I stopped, ran over to him and the first thing he said was "That was stupid. I knew I didn't have enough room to make it, but I tried anyway." He was holding another guy's jersey to his face to stop the bleeding at the time. He was lucky, the truck swerved at the last minutes and managed to just barely clip the guy's back tire. It could have been a lot worse. But let's just say that, while I was cautious about this move before I'm now downright chicken about doing it. I have to cross highway 13, a fairly busy road, every day on my way home. I look both ways for cars, and if there's not close to 1/2 a mile distance between me and the car, I pull over to the side and wait. There's a little pull off spot just up the road from our place that's perfect for this.

Category 2: When the motorist and bicyclist were on initial crossing paths, the three most frequent categories of crashes were:
Motorist failed to yield right-of-way at a junction (21.7 percent of all crashes). Of these crashes, more than a third (37.3 percent) involved a motorist violating the sign or signal and drove into the crosswalk or intersection and struck the bicyclist.
So most of these, the motorist failed to stop for a red light or a stop sign. So if I were driving I would get hit too. I never assume they will stop until they do. And until I see some sign of an impending stop, I start to prepare to stop. This one isn't high on my worry list.
Bicyclist failed to yield right-of-way at an intersection (16.8 percent of all crashes). Within this category, 38 percent involved a bicyclist who had stopped for a sign or flashing signal and then drove into the intersection and was struck by the motor vehicle.
Again, I never assume they're going to stop until they actually do it, so not a big worry.
Bicyclist failed to yield right-of-way at a midblock location (11.7 percent of all crashes). Almost half of these crashes (43.4 percent) involved a bicyclist riding out into the roadway from a residential driveway.
This is why I try to stay off of the sidewalk as much as possible. Joining into the traffic flow makes me nervous, so I try to avoid it. Once I'm in, I stay in.

Another interesting thing in the 1999 statistic is this one. Ninety-eight percent of bicyclists killed in 1999 reportedly weren't wearing helmets. This is why I wear a helmet. Religiously. My helmet isn't cutting edge cool. In fact, it's border line dorky. But it's on my head every day. Now that it's cold it's making headgear a pain since I still haven't found a hat that fits under the helmet well. But I'm still wearing it.

There's also another side to this coin. The health benefit. Mayer Hillman of the British Medical Association has estimated that the total health benefit of cycling is twenty times the risk. In other words, for every life year lost through accidents, 20 are gained through improved health and fitness. He's a fascinating guy, and cycling is just one of his transportation interests. In the linked Guardian article he's got an interesting scheme on "carbon rationing" to decrease pollution.

So, is cycling safe? Depends on who you listen to. Clearly, there is a chance of injury or death. Our friend was hit by a car walking across the street earlier this year. She was in the crosswalk, the car just didn't see her. Cars and busses crash, trains derail, walkers and bikers get run over. Shit happens.

I'll probably end up catching the bird flu and making this all a moot point.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bus Stop

It's 2:30 and still no sign of snow. As a matter of fact, it doesn't even appear to be raining. The streets are wet, so I know it's rained but nothing currently. The TCF time/temp clock says it's 41 degrees out. It said 43 degrees at 9 this morning. Could it be that we have our first "meterologist overreaction to storm potential" of the year?? I'm starting to think so. According to the weather folks, traffic should be sliding through intersections about now.

Since nothing interesting is happening weather-wise, here's a little tidbit of "Today in Music History." On this day in 1959, Johnny & the Moondogs - made up of future Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison - takes part in the finals of a talent competition in which the winner appears on English TV's Star Search. Unfortunately, the last bus back to Liverpool leaves before the judging is due to occur, and the band is forced to pull out.

And yes, I know it was Herman's Hermits that sang Bus Stop, not the Beatles. So sue me.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Slip and slide up the icy walkway

I was going to post something about the impending 4-8 inches of snow that's coming this morning this afternoon tonight tomorrow, but I see that the good folks at Surly have beat me to it. And said it better than I would have. So without further adieu, a friendly reminder from the good folks at Surly:

Old man Winter - who I believe has been on a bender in the Bahamas for the past few weeks - is set to power slide into our fair Minnesota this week. Tomorrow the weather dice-rollers are calling for a "90% chance of snow with significant accumulation likely."

When they say significant accumulation 'round these parts, folks take heed. Personally, I'm stoked. You can't really live here if you can't deal with snow. And that first dumper of the season (I said 'dump') is always so fancy.

Remember this, though, dear Surly devotees, Winter makes folks into even crappier drivers. They'll forget (even here in the North) that snow makes things slippery and they'll slide soundlessly through intersections. SUV drivers will be excited because no "significant accumulation" is going to stop them. Unfortunately, their brakes will also not be stopping them.

I think SUV drivers have that same sort of dream that snowmobilers have - that one day, the snow will be SO bad that they, and only they, will be mobile. "I'll go out for the diapers and insulin!" "My hero!"

So, the theme really is: be on the lookout for the 2 ton slidey chunk of death shusssing past your local stop sign.

I'm thinking of petitioning the appropriate governing board who makes these decistions to change the name of the season from "Winter" to "Pugsley."

Have a snowy and safe Pugsley.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

She's a Lady

Today it's November 10th, and I'm still riding. And, weirdly enough, I don't really want to stop. Over the last few years of commuting I always seem to hit a wall where I'm just not emotionally invested enough in riding to keep going once it gets too cold. I would need to go back and look at my logs, but I think I usually crap out sometime in October. But this year I'm not feeling that. I'm thinking that hey, there's a chance of snow next week. How am I going to deal with that on the bike?

I was browsing craigslist.org today, and saw an ad for a Bridgestone 300 mixte for $30. I'm thinking that would be a good bike to build into a winter commuter. I was thinking about riding my Raleigh through the winter. But I don't know if I've got the heart to do it. It's already starting to rust in spots, and I think a winter spent commuting could easily be it's death knell.

The Bridgestone seems like an ideal candidate for a winter commuter. It's a 22" bike, so it would be a little small on me, but rideable. Keep my feet closer to the ground for those icy spots. It's a 10 speed with 4130 cro mo and all stock. I could flip the handlebars and ride it as is or single it out. But, would I get beat up by the big kids on the playground for riding a "ladies" bike? Or does it make me a daring iconoclast? Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Vote with Pedro

Last night I dropped by the local elementary school to vote on my way home from work. I brought my pannier in because a)I figured I would need my wallet. It turns out I didn't, apparently they trust anybody who bikes to the poll. Poll fraudsters take note. And b) I didn't want to leave it outside to get stolen because my wallet was in there. Since this took up one free hand, I decided to leave my helmet on so I still had the other hand to open doors and whatnot. Plus, I was sure I had a less than attractive case of helmet-hair.

The place was deserted, so the folks working the poll were desperate for entertainment. Fortunately, I was there to provide it. I got the feeling that they didn't get a lot of bikers showing up to vote. The conversation went something like:
Older gentleman: Wow, I didn't realize it was summer!
Me: It's not!
First Woman: So you biked here?
Me: [thinking, Well duh!] Yes, I stopped on my way home from work.
Second Woman: How far did you come?
Me: About 13 miles.
First Woman: [horrified] Each way??
Me: Yes.

I then got my ballot and went to vote. Once this was complete, I had a nice conversation with another woman who was sitting near the voting machine about how mild the winters have been here for the last few years. I waved goodbye and went back out to my bike.

While I was unlocking and getting ready to go, a younger couple came out of the school. They said to me, "Did you only get to vote for school board members?" I told them that I had. They thought there should be more. They had even asked the Older Gentleman if perhaps they didn't get part of the ballot. "I thought this was supposed to be a big deal." the woman said to me. I asked if maybe they were thinking about the Minneapolis and St. Paul elections, where they were electing Mayors and city council people and other 'big deals.' Ah, the light of recognition shone in both their faces. "Yes, that's probably what we were thinking about." said the man. They wandered off, still slightly puzzled but pleased that the mystery was solved.

Welcome to voting in the 'burbs.

They call the wind Mariah

Received via e-mail this morning:

Here is a current Wind Advisory for (Minneapolis, MN) until 11:30am, Wed Nov 9 2005, from your local National Weather Service office.


Fortunately I wasn't driving, I was riding. Does that mean I fall into the category of "unsecured objects"? All I know is that it was a tough ride in.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Weekend update

I'm nearly midway through a four day weekend, go me! The kids don't have school on Friday or Monday, so I'm not working. But, yesterday afternoon we drove to Belle Plaine and turned over custody to the grandparents until Monday. So we've been doing our best impression of being irresponsible kid free people.

Last night we finally went to see Serenity. I found it very enjoyable, but the Mrs. really really liked it. I'm sure that we'll be the proud owners of both the Firefly DVD and the Serenity DVD once it comes out. We barely made the theatrical showing, both in date and time. The movie came out September 19 according to Nancy and already it's only showing in three theaters here in the metro. We hauled butt in the minivan over to Hopkins 6 and just barely made it. Joel and I missed the first couple minutes standing in line for popcorn. Because we were late, we sat in the second to last row. When you go to the movies, there are pretty much three rules to live by:
1. Don't talk
2. Turn off your cell phone
3. Don't take young kids to inappropriate movies

Fortunately for us, we had folks behind us who were not aware of any of these rules. They brought two small kids with them. Kids who probably shouldn't have seen the movie because it's got a fair amount of violence. And they were certainly old enough to figure out what was going on. One of the kids talked through a lot of the picture. And, both the mom and the dad had their cell phones ring during the movie at separate times. It was fabulous. After the movie we went to the Big 10 bar next door and had a few beers and appetizers.

Tonight we were supposed to go out with Nancy's brother, but they called around 1:00 and asked if we could do lunch instead (sure, we don't have kids this weekend, we can do whatever we want!). So we went to Don Pablo's and had a couple of really big margaritas. Tonight we've been mostly sitting around. I'm working on a website for my web development class. The margaritas were a big help in that effort.

Tomorrow, I've gotta finish the site. The project is due Monday. Plus, I should act somewhat responsible and rake some leaves before it snows.

Friday, November 04, 2005

la Machine

Birthplace: Taiwan
Height: 22" (center to center)
Weight: 35 lbs
Ambitions: To ride cyclocross
Turn ons: Bike lanes
Turn offs: Angry drivers, potholes
Biggest Weakness: Heavy, low top end gearing
My Best Asset: Ability to go anywhere and do nearly anything

This is the first real bike I ever got as an adult. I got it in college (thanks Dad!) and used it as my main mode of transportation for several years in the Fargo/Moorhead area. I was doing year round commuting on this bike way back when, and it gets cold up north there. This is also the last new bike I've purchases. Everything else I own has been a used special.

Over the years I've added on a few items, the rack, lights, bar ends, old school toe clips. This is the only bike I own with a kickstand. It's a cross bike that was made when mountain bikes were newer and popular, and it came with bigger tires. I've since replaced them with skinnier Ritchey 700x30 Speed Max tires. They've got better rolling resistance and go through light snow better than the big meats.

This is the bike I probably should be riding for day to day commuting all year round, but I've relegated it to just a foul weather/dark day bike since I like riding the Schwinn. But I feel much more secure on this bike, I know it's probably going to be able to handle just about anything I come across during the commute. Especially now that the time change has me riding home in the dark, I can't see the bumps in the street as well and this one handles them better than the Schwinn.

There's something comforting about riding this bike. With my other bikes, if I haven't ridden them in a while it takes me a few miles to readjust to the bike's individual handling and feel. But every time I get on this one it's like putting on that favorite pair of shoes that fit just right. I know it won't last forever. It's a steel framed bike, and there are subtle stress cracks near the head tube indicating that I've hit a few curbs or other low lying objects a little too hard. And if I continue to ride it during the winter the salt is going to eat it alive. And that will make me sad. But, it's better than just letting it rot in the garage.