Friday, December 30, 2005

The best laid plans...

Yeah, remember how amped I said I was about the snow? This morning it was mostly beautiful. I rode in and didn't have any problems at all. Dakota County could do a better job of plowing the shoulder on Sibley Memorial, but it wasn't a big deal. The snow was sticky and the bike cut through it like a hot knife. It was a thing of beauty. Downtown was a little treacherous though. Lots of slippery hardpack. I had a hard time getting going at a couple of intersections, but I made it in unscathed.

Then this afternoon I decided to leave work early, because there was just nothing to do. I got down to the parking garage and started getting the bike ready to go when I noticed that the rear tire was flat. D'oh! So I pulled out my pump and tried to air it up. My pump wouldn't work! After about 20 minutes of messing with it, I gave up. I wanted to call my wife, but my cell phone battery was dead!! So I went back upstairs and called her on her cell and at work, but got not answer in either place. So I left her a message saying that I was taking the train home and would she be kind enough to meet me at the station?

I pushed my bike to the train station and just missed one. Then the next car was so packed there was no way I could get on. The train after that was out of service. So I finally got on the next train and wondered the whole 25 minutes whether she would be at the station when I got there. She was (thanks honey)! She was getting worried about me, and had decided that she would wait for three more trains before she went looking for me. Good thing I managed to get on the one I did. But my long leisurly ride home was not to be. I shoveled snow instead. Sigh.

Weird Science

Right now there are two bikes on eBay that are intriguing me. One is an older Trek, I'm guessing something like early 80s-late 70's vintage. The interesting thing about this bike is it has been upgraded to Shimano Ultegra Flight deck brake levers/shifters. Which would be kind of cool. It's currently at $51, which is probably cheaper than I could get Ultegra levers for by themselves, even figuring in the shipping.

The other bike is a 2003 Trek 2100 aluminum bike and carbon fork with no other components. It's currently selling for $125. I'm half tempted to bid on them both and move the components and wheelset onto the 2100 and have a decent road bike for about $200.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

On and on

Man oh man, are all y'all missing out. Yesterday afternoon while I was at work I had a great post all composed in my head. It had humor, wit and was super shiny, unlike most of my posts. But I thought to myself, save it for when you get home. I thought this was a good idea because after a good ride I always feel much more clear-headed and I figured the time would make a good post even better. But the other thing that happens during a ride is that I stop thinking about anything other than riding. I'm fully involved in the moment, dodging potholes and road debris, keeping an eye on wayward drivers like the woman in the Mustang who totally cut me off yesterday. I knew she was going to do it, but I was upset anyhow. As she passed me I saw that her right turn signal was on. We were so close to the intersection that I knew there was no way she could not cut me off. So I slowed up and shook my fist at her when she did exactly what I knew she would. She drove on, oblivious.

Anyway, thinking about the ride is almost a type of meditation. Unlike the rest of the day when I'm usually thinking about whatever I'm doing with 80% of my brain and the other 20% is thinking about various other things I feel like I'm 100% focused while on the bike. And sometimes the side effect is that I forget about unimportant stuff. Like the post I was going to make. So you, gentle reader, get stuck with this.

There's snow in the forecast for tonight. I'm pretty amped up about it, since the roads have been completely dry ever since I mounted the studded snow tires. They're loud! Riding these on dry pavement sounds like I've got an amplified bowl of rice krispies on my rear rack. Plus, it's got to put some wear and tear on the studs. So I'm looking forward to the 5-6 inches we're supposed to get over the next 24 hours. So you can probably expect my next news to be that I've fallen down somewhere.

Product Reviews:
So far, I've mixed feelings on the Innovas. But I haven't used them in snow so it's not a fair assessment. Yesterday when I rode them I was working like a dog. I realized when I got home that I only had 50psi in them. So I bumped up to 75psi and this morning's ride was a little easier. Still not as good as the Ritcheys with 100psi, but I'll live with it.

I'm totally digging the booties. I'm doing the Lake Sandals/wool socks/booties combo, and my feet have been warm (but it's in the 30s, so this isn't surprising) and most of all extremely comfortable. Unless it doesn't hold up when the temps drop I'm thinking it's a winner.

I used the Alias light on the way home last night. I'm still not sure of the helmet mount. I may adjust the light down a little bit so it shines somewhat closer to me in my normal riding position. But it definitely lights up the road.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas time is here

Greetings from post-christmas-land! Me and mine had a nice holiday spent with family relaxing and enjoying each others' company. I also had a nice 11 day stretch of no work. And no work means no commute. I did manage to get my studded snow tires mounted, just in time for a winter warm up and snow-free roads. Yes! I was told not to ride my bike today because we are meeting some folks for dinner tonight after work and I need to be ready. So I took the train/drove. Which is hard to do when you've got brand new tires just waiting to be ridden. And even harder when you've got a brand new pair of Trek Neoprene Booties to try out! I found my wool sock stockpile while I was on vacation, so I was going to give the bootie/sandal/big sock combo a try. Tomorrow is another day.

In other news, a photographer in China got some amazing pictures of a cyclist doing a mean faceplant after hitting a pothole on his bike. This first picture is my favorite. The cyclist is in mid-fall. He's got the nice commuter bike set up with the oversized chain guard and rear rack. And he's apparently cycling with an umbrella.

The next picture hurts. Face down, in a puddle. No helmet. At least, I believe that he's wearing a white baseball cap rather than a helmet.

And finally, insult is added to injury. Just as the poor guy jerks his head away with a grimace of pain, the blaze orange briefcase on his rear rack comes down to smack him in the head. Plus, his foot is about to become horribly tangled in the front spokes. The umbrella looks like it will fight to see another day, but this poor guy may need some recovery time. Ouch.

The photographer has come under criticism for lying in wait to take his pictures rather than warning the cyclist of the danger. While I agree that he was a complete bastard for allowing this to happen, I'm not sure he was 100% obligated to warn people either. Karma is going to get him in the end, one way or another. If the pictures prompt the government to fix the pothole, perhaps he'll be rewarded with total consciousness on his deathbed. Which is nice.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him until he sang
Felis Navidad, Felis Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension chord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, Marlboro Lights
Haleluja everybody say Cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Mary's
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop 'N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Haleluja, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the Family

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I've been hearing from old friends and aquaintences after the biking story went out. But this has to be my favorite response to date:

Next time the paper wants to do a story about winter biking, call me. I can re-tell one my favorite winter biking Pete stories to the reporter.

It was the time in college I was sleeping on the couch in our house and I woke up to a burglar coming through the front door wearing a ski mask. I rolled over, pretending to still be asleep in the hopes the burglar would leave. When I heard the burglar sit down on the other couch, I was a bit surprised. I peeked over my shoulder, and it wasn't a burglar at all, but Pete. He looked at me and questioned, "Hey Montie, got some beer?" Pete had been out doing some winter biking at 1:00 am in Moorhead Minnesota.

So those of you who live between Eagan and Minneapolis, don't assume its a burglar if a man in a ski mask pops him after work. It might be Pete. Have a beer ready.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

In my mind and [not] in my car

So I thought the Cities 97 thing went well. I didn't feel like I embarrassed myself and the feedback from others was positive. Though I'm sure y'all are just being nice. In case you missed it, the mp3 of the interview is available on the cities 97 website. Just in case you're starved for entertainment. And just by reading this blog, you're admitting as much.

I do feel a little bit dirty about this. When the phone rang this morning, the caller ID said Clear Channel. I had forgotten that Cities 97 is owned by The Evil Empire. Oh well. I'm sure they're not trying to breed a super race of DJs by crossbreeding monkeys and humans. At least, I don't think they are.

I was also e-mailed by a friend yesterday who said I got mentioned on Paul Harvey yesterday. I know there's several people out there, including most of the other people interviewed, who are much more hard core than I am. Rock on with your bad selves. Keep riding. I will. I don't have much of a choice now, do I? ;)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

My phone rings tonight.
Me: Hello?
Caller: Hello, is this the gentleman who rides his bike in the winter?
Me: No, I wouldn't be that foolish.
Caller: Oh, sorry to bother you. Goodbye.

A few minutes later, the phone rings again.

Me: Hello?
Caller: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit redial.
Me: It's OK. I think I am the person you want to talk to. I said no before because I thought you were my brother-in-law screwing with me.
Caller: No problem. Would you like to be on Cities 97 tomorrow morning?
Me: Um, sure?
Caller: OK, we'll call you at about 8:15 tomorrow. Thanks!


I haven't worked since last Thursday, and I won't go back to work until next Tuesday. So naturally I won't be commuting much over these couple of weeks. I'm home with the kids sledding and trying to stay out of trouble (with mixed results). I'm also doing some upgrades.

A week ago I stopped off at Boehm's Cycle in Mendota to see what they carried for studded tires. Nothing in stock, but they could order Nokians for $65 each. OK thanks, I'll think about it. But then I saw a Planet Bike Alias light on sale for $69. I looked and left the store empty handed. I got home, did some googling and found that this is a heck of a deal on a pretty good little light. So Saturday afternoon on my way home from running errands I stopped by and bought it. It's a nice little unit. It came with a helmet mount, which I'm a little unsure of. My biggest fear is that I'll crash and break the light in the process. A handlebar mount seems more protected. I'll see how the helmet mount treats me, and if I don't like it I can order a handlebar mount for $10 from Planet Bike. What's also cool is that Planet Bike donates 25% of their profits to bike advocacy. When I'm ready for a new set of fenders for the project bike I'll probably get a set of their Freddies for that very reason. I hooked up the light to my helmet, charged up the battery and went for a quick spin around the neighborhood last night. This thing is bright! I couldn't even tell that I had my other LED light on because of the light the Alias threw out. So I'll probably run the LED in blink mode just to attract attention. The real test will come on the first commute. My neighborhood streets are better lit than some portions of my commute.

So I thought about the Nokians more now that crashing could mean wrecking a light. But I decided that $140 after tax is just a bit rich for my frugal nature. So today I ran down to Erik's and picked up a set of Innova 700x35 studded tires. They were on sale for $29 each, so two tires and two new tubes ran me $74. I'll have these mounted and be ready to roll when I head back to work. I've read a lot of reviews by people who say they've worn out the Innovas in only a year or two, but I'm going to take my chances. I guess I'll see how they hold up. And, the studs are replaceable if it comes to that. I know that I could still wipe out, and probably will. But these will definitely help.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Too cool to fool

Don't look now, but there were some familiar sounding folks in the paper today.

Associated Press writer Patrick Condon rides his bicycle along 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis. To fully understand the phenomenon of winter biking, Condon decided to try it for himself. Ann Heisenfelt Associated Press


Here's what I did this afternoon.

View this clip on Vimeo

Repeat roughly 120 times.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ring of Fire

If you're not already reading the Fat Cyclist blog, you should be. Where else can you get links to somebody experimenting with propane, bike tubes and fire all set to Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire?

In other news, I watched two snowy documentaries last night. The first was Blizzard: 16 hours the story of the 1984 blizzard that hit Fargo/Moorhead and killed 22 people. Having lived in the F/M region for nearly 7 years (what can I say, college took a while) this movie was great. Lots of sights and sounds from way back when. Plus, lots of talk of towns I haven't been to in years.

The second movie was Touching the Void, the story of two english mountain climbers and their trip to Peru. They decided to climb a mountain via a route that others had tried and abandoned. Why? Because, in Joe Simpson's words, "We thought we were better than them." Long story short, they made it. But on the way down (where 80% of mountaineering accidents happen, btw) Joe broke his leg. Bad. His partner Simon attempted to do a one man rescue down the mountain by lowering Joe 300 feet at a time with their rope, then climbing down to him and repeating the process. But, at one point Joe slid over a ledge and was dangling out into nothing. Unable to pull his partner in, and losing his grip, Simon cut the rope. This much of the story is fairly common knowledge. But the next 4 days where they both made their way off the mountain, are amazing. Makes winter cycling look like a weenie sport.

Both were on PBS. And, being PBS, both will probably be run again. Take a look. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I think the universe is trying to tell me that I should have ridden my bike today. This morning, it took me 35 minutes to drive the 4 miles from my house to the park and ride. I know I could have made it faster on the bike. Then, just after I left work for the evening I realized that I forgot to put my boots on and was still wearing my "leave under the desk shoes." I turned to go back, and while waiting for the light to change some jagoff in a big Yukon drove right by me and splashed crap all over my pants in his hurry to get through the yellow light.

There was the nice bonus of finding this snowy little friend at the Government Plaza light rail station though. It was made of found items, though it's hard to tell in the lousy cell phone camera picture. The eyes are pennies, there's a cigarette butt hanging out of it's mouth, and there's a long leaf or some thin bark wrapped around the neck like a scarf.

When I got to the park and ride, I got my jumbo extendable ice scraper out and did my windows. Then I did the windows of the lady in the van who was parked next to me. She was quite pleased, as she rolled down her window afterward to thank me she told me she couldn't find her ice scraper. Let's see, a snow advisory was broadcast all day yesterday. No reason to make sure you know where your scraper is, right? Ah well, I guess maybe I was meant to be there instead of on the bike after all. After she pulled away, I drove out of my parking spot and spun a great big cookie in the parking lot. No matter how old I get, spinning cookies is still fun as all get out. Though I only do it about once per winter now, instead of nearly every time I got the car in high school. There's just something about that sensation of being in a controlled spin, but yet at the same time you're somewhat out of control, coupled with the centrifugal force that makes it unique.

Yesterday was my first commute with the new fenders. The best part? No more salty road spray on the top of my water bottle. I had clean tasting water for the first time in nearly a month.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pugsley Sighting

I saw my first live in person Pugsley this morning on the train. There was a guy who wheeled it on at about the 38th St station. The pictures of this thing don't do it justice. It's huge. Even the non-bike normal commuters were staring. I think this was the first time this guy had brought his Pug on the train, because he tried to put it in the bike rack. The Endomorph tires on the Large Marge rims were too big to fit into the rack thingie. Clearly a design flaw. With the train rack, that is. I was busy doing some last minute cramming for tonight's final, so I didn't chat with the rider. He got off one stop before me, otherwise I would have asked if I could give it a try.

If I thought Santa could lift the big bugger, I'd put the Pug on my Christmas list. But I don't want the old guy to strain his back.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weekend update

I spent my three day weekend not biking. I had every intention of layering up and riding to Kaplan Brothers to see what their selection of warm clothing was like on Friday, but I got a call from the school that my daugher had thrown up. So I scrapped my ride plan and went to pick her up. Boy, when you puke in an elementary school you're a celebrity. As we walked down the hall from the nurse's office every kid we saw wanted to know what was going on. And Morgan was more than willing to tell them. A typical conversation:
Random Kid: Morgan, where did you go?
Morgan: I threw up!
RK: Where?
M: In the bathroom. I'm going home now.

This conversation was repeated over and over, at least 15 times and always over 100 decibels. I could tell that the news was spreading like wildfire. The excitement was palpable. Fortunately it was a short-lived illness. She was feeling better later that afternoon.

Saturday we visited Santa, and afterward I spent some time in the garage looking at the bag of loot I bought a couple of weeks ago. I decided to install the fenders on my Raleigh, since my project bike is proceeding at my predicted snail's pace. As a side note, here's a picture of the project bike from this afternoon.

I reassembled the fork and added the new stem and wicked cool cruiser bars that I picked up at The Hub last Friday. $11 for the two items. I don't know that I'll keep the cruiser bars on there for the winter, but for $6 I couldn't pass them up.

Anyway. Most of my Saturday in the garage was spent looking for an appropriate bolt to secure the fenders. The Raleigh has cantilever brakes, so there's no center bolt for the front fender. The rear fender is a clip-on Mt Zefal, but the rear rack was causing problems with that one. You can see the cross member under the rack in this picture. It goes right where the thumbscrew on the Zefal fender is, so there wasn't much hope of drilling a hole for it.

I finally gave up and set the whole project aside until this afternoon. I went to Home Depot and spent $10 on some zip ties and a few nuts and bolts, and the fenders went on in about 15 minutes. The rear fender is clipped to the frame in front and then held to the rack with two zip ties (wonderful little inventions!). In this shot you can see one of the zip ties before I trimmed the ends. I also had to mount the reflector on top of the rack instead of underneath.

If you look at the very top of the picture toward the left, you can see the velcro band that's supposed to keep my pannier in place. I was riding to work a few weeks ago and the pannier just fell off, leaving the velcro strap on the rack. So one pannier got run over by my wife and now this one is trying to commit suicide. I think I need some new bags.

The finished front fender. Nothing remarkable here. I did use wing nuts to attach the stays to the fork, so if I ever need to take the fender off it's nearly a quick release. I couldn't find a wing nut that fit the center bolt, so I would need one tool. This fender's a whole lot shinier than the rear one. I don't think it's ever been used. After being off the bike for over a week, I'm feeling kind of itchy to get out and dirty it up.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What a short, strange trip it's been

As many of you know, I was laid off the Friday before Thanksgiving. It came as a complete surprise to me. Our entire department was reorganized in August, and my particular group was moved into a new area. It seems kind of foolish to go through all the headache of transferring us just to let us go. There were 8 people in all who were laid off. We were told that our jobs didn't "fit" in the new organization, but that there would be 3 new jobs posted. Let's see, 8 goes into 3 how many times? So like the good corporate drone that I am, I posted for one of the jobs. Wife, kids, mortgage, you do the math.

I found out on Tuesday that I will be getting one of the jobs. My boss sent me an e-mail asking if we could get together to "touch base." Touching base is apparantly code for "offer you a job." Don't I need to interview? I asked. Nope.

However, I can't tell anybody yet. So people keep seeing me in the hall or the elevator and they go "Hey, how are you?" And then they get the sad look on their face and go through the routine. It sucks what happened to you. I was so surprised! Are you looking? What are you going to do? Good luck! I just smile and agree and tell them I'm working on a few things.

So, I was potentially unemployed for 2 1/2 weeks. And now, my future is secure. For the moment. G.I. Joe with the Kung-Fu grip for everybody!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I didn't ride today. Yesterday, I had a Perfectly Good Excuse for not riding. I totally overslept and as a result the girls missed the school bus. So I had to drive them to school. And, once the car is warmed up and out of the garage there's really no point in putting it back, is there? Plus, I had school.

But today? I sort of have an excuse. I wasn't feeling well last night. I could be coming down with something. But, a part of me still wanted to ride. If I could have found my other wool sock (missing sock? a potential excuse!) I might have. But it's not really a good reason. The real reason I didn't ride is that it's butt cold out. I heard on the radio that the wind chill was -20. So, while I went through the motions of looking for the socks my heart wasn't really in it. So I drove. So sue me.

But the good news is, somebody rode this week. Yesterday my wife sent our kids outside to play. About half an hour later one poked her head back in the house and asked, "Is it OK if we ride our bikes?" So here they are, on the coldest day of the winter, riding. How awesome is that??
My wife has titled this picture "Lunacy, inherited".


A great big thanks goes out to everybody who helped me with my web site yesterday. I was able to use all of your comments and reactions in my final report. Does the web site suck? Yes, it does. I could have made it a lot better if I'd started working on it when we got the assignment 3 weeks ago instead of waiting until three days before it was due. But all in all I was fairly happy with the outcome.

Don't forget, A Charlie Brown Christmas is on tonight on ABC. Check your local listings for time and channel. It's 7:00 on channel 5 locally. Grab a blanket and snuggle in with the one(s) you love. Wah-wah-wah.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Web Design

Hi all!
I made a website for school this weekend. It's due this evening, and I need a little user feedback. So if you have 5 minutes or so to help me out, I'd appreciate it. Below is the link to the site. If you're interested, please explore and e-mail me the answers to the following questions:
1. Say you wanted to buy a hat. Time yourself to see how long it takes you to complete the transaction. Send me your time along with any positive or negative feedback about the transaction process.
2. While buying, did you need to back up using the back button?
3. How long do you estimate that it takes to get from the home page to any
desired page, on average? 5 seconds? 10 seconds?
4. Any feedback in general about the site. Specifically the navigation, usability, or overall impression.

Nothing fancy, just a sentence or two will do. Send any feedback to frosti AT gmail DOT com. If you're looking at the site after Monday, you can still send me feedback but I won't be able to use it in the report. Thanks! Here's the link:

Third Wave

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Week That Was

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

1956, Elvis drops in at Sun Studios to visit with buddies Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, who are working on a Perkins recording session ... Johnny's wife calls him away to go shopping before the "record" button gets pushed, but the others lay down some historically significant tracks that will be released under Presley's name as The Million Dollar Quartet ... Cash appears on the album cover even though he didn't record (some argue the point, but Cash is certainly not audible on the album)

1957, Ed Sullivan hosts the TV debuts of Sam Cooke singing "You Send Me" and Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing "That'll Be the Day"...

1965, the infamous blue flame strikes Keith Richards down on a stage in Sacramento when he grabs an ungrounded mic ... the indestructible Stone is on his feet and performing again inside of seven minutes...

1967, pop singer Jimmie F. Rodgers cracks up his car and is found with a fractured skull ... he will survive but his career is over...

1968, Graham Nash quits the Hollies ... three days later he announces the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash...

1969, this week sees the infamous Altamont Speedway concert with the Rolling Stones; Jefferson Airplane; Santana; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young on the playbill ... violence erupts and four people are killed, at least two in deliberate bloody assaults...

1970, a gold record goes to Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills for Supersession, an album they put together out of an extended studio jam session...

1970, the documentary film Gimme Shelter, documenting the 1969 Stones tour and the Altamont debacle, is released on the occasion of the fateful concert's anniversary...

1971, The Montreux Casino in Geneva, Switzerland, catches fire during a show by the Mothers of Invention, inspiring Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" ... Deep Purple was across Lake Geneva from Montreaux watching the fire from their hotel ... the smoke drifted across the lake, hence the song's title ...

1972, Carly Simon releases "You're So Vain," a song which sets the whole country to wondering exactly who is so insufferably vain ... candidates for the post include Carly's relatively recent famous conquests Mick Jagger (who sang on the record), Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson, and Warren Beatty ... when asked if she's "gone with" Beatty, she says, "Hasn't everybody?" ... "I felt I was one among thousands at that point--it hadn't reached, you know, the populations of small countries" ... in 2003 Carly Simon volunteers to tell the highest bidder at the Possible Dreams charity auction who the song is actually about, but only if the winner will abide by a confidentiality agreement ... NBC exec Dick Ebersol wins the bidding at $50,000, but he's not talking...

1973, the Who and friends trash a Montreal hotel suite to the tune of $6,000 in damages and spend a night in the pokey for their troubles ... John Entwistle later writes a song about the occasion, "Cell Block Number Seven"...

1976, during a Battersea Power Station photo shoot for the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals, a 40-foot helium-filled pig breaks loose from its moorings and floats up to an estimated 18,000 feet before finally touching down in Kent...

1976, Bob Marley and the Wailers are rehearsing at Marley's house in Kingston, Jamaica, when seven gunmen appear and shower the house with a hail of gunfire ... Marley, wife Rita, and manager Don Taylor are all hit but miraculously nobody is seriously injured ... the band plays a gig two nights later...

1976, the Sex Pistols' Glenn Matlock uses the "F" word during an English TV interview and the resulting uproar proves that the Brits can be every bit as priggish and sanctimonious as the Yanks ... most of the Pistols' upcoming gigs are cancelled and by the next month they can't book a date anywhere in the U.K....

1978, Ian Druy--the hot new British new waver--releases "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick," which will sell two million copies worldwide and hit number one in the U.K. without ever charting in the U.S....

1986, Annie Lennox, lead singer for the Eurythmics, gets so carried away at a concert in Birmingham, England, that she rips off her bra, which is the only thing covering her breasts ... this does not cause a national scandal...

1988, early pop/rock crooner Roy Orbison dies of a heart attack while visiting his mother in Henderson, Tennessee ... after huge success as a songwriter and performer in the early '60s, Orbison lost two of his three sons in a house fire and lost his wife in a motorcycle accident in 1966 ... he emigrated to Europe and remained famous in the U.K., returning in the late '70s ... his gig with the Traveling Wilburys, a movie deal, and several of his songs charting for other artists had Orbison almost back to the top of his game by the time he died ...

1993, revered rock weirdo, musical wizard, and spokesman for lyrical freedom Frank Zappa meets his demise from prostate cancer at the young age of 53...

1996, Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury--who made a career of singing old '20s and '30s tunes in a decidedly unmasculine warbling falsetto accompanied by a ukulele--dies of a heart condition at a Minneapolis hospital after collapsing while performing "Tip Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me" at a nearby women's club meeting ...

2004, Marianne Faithfull cancels the remaining 12 dates of a European tour following her onstage collapse in Milan ... her health has deteriorated due to exhaustion after working herself to the bone for the previous year ... America's oldest teenager, 75-year-old Dick Clark, suffers a mild stroke ... doctors say he'll be on his feet soon, but he will not make the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, which he has hosted for 32 consecutive years...

And that was the week that was.


November 30: bluesman Brownie McGhee (1915), Dick Clark (1929), Johnny Horton (1929), Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary (1937), Leo Lyons of Ten Years After (1943), Deep Purple's Roger Glover (1945), The Little River Band's George McArdale (1954), Billy Idol (1955), June Pointer of The Pointer Sisters (1956), Japan's Richard Barbieri (1957), John Ashton of the Psychedelic Furs (1957), Stacey Q (1958), Jalil of Whodini (1963), Paul Wheeler of Icehouse (1965), Des'ree (1968), Mindy McCready (1975)

December 1: Billy Paul (1934), Lou Rawls (1935), Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult (1944), John Densmore of The Doors (1944), Bette Midler (1945), Jaco Pastorius (1951), Japan's Steve Jansen (1959), Brad Delson of Linkin Park (1977)

December 2: Pop Staples (1915), Tom McGuinness of Manfred Mann (1941), Michael McDonald (1952), Joe Henry (1960), Def Leppard's Rick Savage (1960), Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters (1968), Jay-Z (1970), Nelly Furtado (1978), Britney Spears (1981)

December 3: D.J. William "Hoss" Allen (1922), pop crooner Andy Williams (1930), Ralph McTell (1944), Ozzy Osbourne (1948), "Buffalo" Bruce Barlow of Commander Cody (1948), Mickey Thomas of Starship (1949), Molly Hatchet's Duane Roland (1952), Steve Forbert (1955), Montell Jordan (1971)

December 4: film singer Deanna Durbin (1922), Freddy Cannon aka Anthony Picariello (1940), Chris Hillman of The Byrds (1942), Bob Mosely of Moby Grape (1942), Beach Boy Dennis Wilson (1944), Southside Johnny (1948), Tommy Bolin (1950), Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd (1951), Bob Griffin of The BoDeans (1959), Vinnie Dombroskie of Sponge (1962)

December 5: Little Richard (1935), J.J. Cale born Jean Jacques Cale (1938), Jim Messina (1947), Great White's Jack Russell (1960), Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls (1965)

December 6: Broadway lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896), Dave Brubeck (1920), Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five (1943), Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown (1947), Joe X. Dube of Looking Glass (1950), Jam's Rick Buckler (1955), Peter Buck of R.E.M. (1956), Randy Rhoads (1956), Dave Lovering of The Pixies (1961), Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl (1962), Ace of Base's Ulf Ekberg (1970)

November 30: jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd (1999), Tiny Tim (1996), Doors producer Paul Rothschild (1995), crossover country singer David Houston (1993)

December 1: jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli (1997), the "Unforgettable" songwriter Irving Gordon (1996), metal singer Ray Gillen (1993), balladeer Harry Ray (1992), Lee Dorsey (1986), Westside Chicago bluesman Magic Sam aka Sam Maghett (1969), bluegrass guitarist Carter Stanley (1966)

December 2: singer-songwriter Kevin Coyne (2004), guitarist/composer Michael Hedges (1997), Aaron Copland (1990), folk singer David Blue (1982)

December 3: jazz pianist Mal Waldron (2002)

December 4: MC5 fret man Fred "Sonic" Smith (1994), Frank Zappa (1993), Deep Purple's Tommy Bolin (1976)

December 5: tenor saxist Bob Berg (2002), New Orleans session sax man David Lastie (1987), multi-instrumentalist jazz behemoth Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1977)

December 6: Memphis bass man Busta Jones (1995), Roy Orbison (1988), Leadbelly (1949)


Blatently stolen from Matt. A quicktime Miller High Life commercial that is cool beyond cool. You need sound.

Alternative Fuel

I think I'm going to go shovel the driveway and then have a beer.

Let it Snow

I've certainly got no place to go, and it certainly doesn't show signs of stopping. It's been snowing since before I got up. It looks to be more of that light fluffy stuff. Easy to shovel, easy to ride through, slippery as all get out. If you're out riding today, take warning. My elbow's still a little sore from when I wiped out on Tuesday. Tuesday was a pretty good ride, my first true snow commute this year. I made it almost all the way home without incident. But when I got to Sibley Memorial Highway I decided to take the trail instead of riding on the shoulder like I usually do. There's a little hill to descend that gets you onto the trail. The little hill faces south and was, I discovered later, covered with a clear layer of ice. I was down before I even realized I was going to go down. My old headlight exploded in spectacular fashion. Not a first for this thing, but it will be the last. I couldn't find the lens or the bulb, so it's done. Other than that, no permanent harm done. I took the shoulder on Wednesday with no issues.

If I didn't have a huge project due on Monday I'd be tempted to take the fat-tired Miyata out for a spin. It looks like a fun day to ride.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just It All

I scored some parts tonight off of craigslist. A mixed bag, to be sure, but how can you go wrong for $5. There were two fenders in there that were worth the price of admission. I've got the day off tomorrow so I may try to get them installed on the Raleigh during the day when I need a break from my school project. I got:
TWO FENDERS: One really nice one, one clip on mountain bike style
WATER BOTTLE HOLDER (NEW): Nice enough, I guess
RAT TRAP: Rear rack that I'll most likely never use.
4 REFELECTORS: Who needs more reflectors??
2 BRAKES: Pads, that is.
RACING SHOE CLIPS: Ancient. Leather straps, for ghod's sake.
AND AN ANKLE BRACELET: Metal. Kinda cool.

If anybody needs reflectors, cheap brake pads or clips let me know. They're yours. You're welcome to the rat trap too.

Oh, and if you've got nothing better to do check out the Queen's Greatest Hits/50 Cent mash-up, Q-Unit: Greatest Hits. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Fiddy with the Freddy moustache will make you grin, if nothing else. But the songs are kinda catchy too.

The wonder of Altoids

I'm starting to go through my stuff at work, getting ready for the impending move. I'm scheduled to be moved from my lovely window seat on the 5th floor to a cube with a lovely view of the men's room on the 8th floor. This will occur on December 9th, so I need to start winnowing. Yesterday I threw away a whole bunch of useless crap. Or so I thought. I threw away a bunch of empty Altoids tins, not realizing how useful they could be. Examples:

Survival Kit
USB charger
iPod Nano case
computer mouse

I'm feeling pretty guilty now that I've thrown away such useful items. I'm also looking at the nearly empty Altoid tin currently on my desk and wondering what I could make with that. I'm thinking a bicycle survival kit would be tres cool.