Thursday, March 30, 2006

True Grit

Date: March 29
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 210
Year to date mileage: 659

Date: March 30
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 235
Year to date mileage: 684

Yesterday morning I got all amped up for some reason and rode the entire way in to work instead of taking the train. Call it spring fever, call it temporary insanity, I don't know. I rode in on Minnehaha Ave and clocked about 12 miles. I ended up staying later at work than I wanted to and so I was in a hurry to get home and took Minnehaha again that night. I got home and checked the odometer. 23 point something. Huh. That's only 3 miles more than my usual day where I take the train.

So today, by way of an experiment, I rode in again. I took Minnehaha and clocked the same 12 or so miles. I didn't get rained on, much, but I was covered from the knees down with a fine layer of grit. When I got to work I doused the entire drivetrain with the contents of my water bottle to get the gunk out before the ride home. I think I need to get some fenders on this bike or get the studs off the Raleigh so I can ride it in the rain. On the way home I took my normal river road route. Got home, 25 miles. Huh. That's only 5 miles more than my usual. For some reason I'm amazed that taking the train from Ft Snelling to Franklin only saves me 5 miles of riding. And the weirdest part is that both mornings I got in about 5 minutes earlier than I usually do when I take the train. Go figure.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Best Ever

Date: March 28
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 187
Year to date mileage: 636

I did some laundry over the weekend and took my neckwarmer, headband and wool socks out of my pannier for good. They're washed up and put away in the winter clothing bin. Next is the green Canari jacket. I switched to my vest instead of the jacket, but I'm not ready to move greenie to the basement closet just yet. Just like I'm not ready to take the studded tires off of the Raleigh just yet. I'm still waiting for that last gasp of old man winter, I guess.

This is pretty much the best bike riding time of year for me. I love riding in the spring. When it's just cool enough that you need some kind of shell and a long sleeved something underneath it on top, and tights on the bottom, but you can still wear just your short-fingered cycling gloves and regular shoes. It's such a great contrast to winter. And it's not so blasted hot that I break a sweat just pedaling out of the driveway like it is in July. I could deal with these temps year round.

The bike cleaning on Sunday was totally worth it, by the way. Even though I pedaled through a few puddles on the way home today and splashed some fresh gunk back on it was still nice to look down and see that shiny front hub spinning all the way home.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Look, up in the air! It's a bird...

In case anybody thought I was kidding about my daughter nearly falling out of the tree from nearly 20 feet up, my wife got a pretty good picture of the kid.
emma in the tree
You can see, near the bottom right, Morgan standing near Nancy's dad. He's probably 5'9" and Emma's way above him. Nancy has a couple more pictures on her blog too, including a close up. Even more impressive is that she's doing this in mittens and snow boots.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Weekend Update

I had a nice, mostly bike free, weekend. Friday night we went over to my brother and his wife's house to celebrate Christmas. Christmas in March? Yes, Virginia. A few years ago the four of us stopped exchanging gifts and started going out for a nice dinner and then drinks. This year we were going to extend the custom to include Nancy's brother and his wife. But then the scheduling got so crazy that it ended up being March. We still will need to go out with them sometime too (Christmas in July?). It's nice because it's 4 less people we need to shop for, and it's a great excuse to get together and have a good time.

This year instead of eating out we went shopping at Kowalski's and cooked. Matt and Mandy each got a new york strip steak, and I got a top sirloin. All three of us used a Swiss steak rub called Pride of Szegeo. The guy at the meat counter had nothing but good things to say about this stuff, and was he right. It was great. I tried googling it and couldn't find a website, but you can get it at Kowalski's in the spices section. Totally worth the $1.79 they're charging for it. Nancy had a cajun marinaded catfish which was also very good. We broke the seal on the summer grilling season and cooked everything on the grill in the backyard. We also had twice-baked potatoes, cous cous, cheese, stuffed mushrooms and dessert. The only bad part of the meal was this bread we bought. It was supposed to be seasoned with herbs and olive oil, but it tasted like fish. So we skipped most of the fishy bread, but nobody went hungry. Yum.

Yesterday we went to retrieve the kidlets from their grandparents. We spent the night in Lamberton and had a great spaghetti dinner courtesy of my MIL. After watching my daughter nearly fall 20 feet out of a tree she'd climbed we all hunkered down and watched Chicken Little Saturday night (which I found vaguely annoying) and then watched Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (which I found highly amusing). We had great french toast for breakfast with sausages and bacon. Fast food was eaten on the trip there and back. I'm gonna start waddling soon if I keep this up.

When we got home it was a beautiful evening. I hauled all the crap from our trip out of the van and cleaned it out. I nearly vacuumed it too, but the shop vac was buried in a corner of the garage and I didn't feel like digging it out. So instead, I showed my two wheeled vehicles a little love. I spent an hour and a half or so cleaning up the Raleigh and the Schwinn with a washcloth and a bucket of soapy water. The Raleigh deserved it after being encrusted all winter. It's not in showroom condition, but all the moving parts are crud free and it looks clean upon casual inspection. The Schwinn wasn't too dirty, but I decided to start the season out on the right foot. So now it's sparkly and shiny. I'd forgotten what a headache it is to clean white parts on a bike. I'd like to know whose bright idea was it to put white cranks, bar tape and brake hoods on a bike. OK, so I have some blame for the bar tape since I retaped them. But come on, they needed to match the hoods!

Do yourself a favor. Go clean your bike. It'll make you feel good. I promise.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The week that wasn't

Grand plans, I tell you. I had them. My kids have been at Nana and Poppa's house all week, meaning that I can get up whenever I want to and go to work whenever I want to and ride my bike whenever I want to. Big Mileage, here I come! Or, not.

Monday: I didn't ride because I have school. No problem, planned that one out. I'm not riding to school until the Big River Regional Trail is snow free.

Tuesday: I rode in the morning, first step of my Big Mileage week is a success! But, being at work 12 hours later took the fight out of me and I trained it most of the way home (remind me not to blog when I'm tired and cranky. See previous entry as to why).

Wednesday: I offered to help a friend move a chair after work, so I drove the van. Minor setback, but no biggie, right?

Thursday: Due to continuing work headaches I went in at 6:00am. Totally wussed out and drove. I can't come up with an excuse or rationalization for this one. Sorry.

Friday: Dinner plans with my brother and his wife, so I drove again so I could meet the Mrs. and be ready to go.

Now today we're heading out of town to retrieve the kids. 21 Big Miles is the official tally for the week. Grumble. Insert pithy quote about the best laid plans of mice and men here. See you next week.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Crosstown Traffic

Date: March 21
Mileage: 21
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 167
Year to date mileage: 616
snowplow on the bike path

Man, traffic was horrible today. And I don't get to say that very often. The truck pictured above was driving down the river road bike path this morning. The truck was weaving from side to side plowing back what little snow there was that didn't get plowed from the edge of the path last week. And every time he'd hit a patch of snow he'd slow down and I would be right on top of him. There was no quick pull over and let me by manuver like KM experienced with the sweeper. I followed him from just north of Minnehaha Park to about 28th where he finally pulled over to the side. Which was right after I got my camera out, so I couldn't get a better shot of me tailgating him.

It's a good thing I rode all the way in this morning. I did it because the kids are away on spring break and I can leave whenever I want to. So I woke up, put my cycling gear on and headed out. Once I reached downtown I stopped at the YMCA for a quick shower and then on to work. I ended up getting in about 8:30, which is a little earlier than my usual. Blah blah, I did work stuff until about 3:30, when I got a call. A project (that I wasn't working on) was having a post install problem and the project manager was out of the office. So I get on the bridge call. Fast forward to 7:30 PM and I'm just getting ready to leave. So by the time I take care of stuff, it's quarter to 8. After that I would have gladly gotten into my car, turned the radio up loud and driven home. But I didn't have that option.

Instead of my original plan of riding home I decided to take the train. I just wasn't in the mood to ride. I got on at the Warehouse District stop and rode until I started to get restless, around 38th. I finally got off the train at the 50th Street/Minnehaha Park station and rode home from there. My computer (yes, I rode the Schwinn again) said 14.5 miles in the morning so that route is about 7 miles, including the downtown piece to get to LRT. It's not a bad option for when I want to tack on another mile or two.

I got home and started working on my homework, which is due tomorrow. I got as far as I could get, and now I'm throwing in the towel. It works, but it's not complete. I'm going to lose some points, but at this point I'm not really concerned about it. I'm just ready for bed.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's a killing machine

OK, sorry. Things got sort of busy and some of you were kept in suspense for too long. Plus, I had to wait until I had good light during the day to take pictures. I got a new bike!
jamis side view
I ended up finding a good deal on a bike that is, in my opinion, a pretty good value even at MSRP. I bought a 2004 Jamis Satellite. I got intrigued by Jamis a few months ago because I saw a Quest on eBay for a reasonable amount that I could almost afford. When I was researching it I found out that the Quest had won Bicycling Magazine's 2005 Editor's Choice award for best value road bike. Pretty impressive for a brand I'd never heard of. So that put them on my radar. What I found was a 2004 Satellite that was new old stock. It sat in a warehouse somewhere, unsold, unbuilt, unridden, until somehow somebody found it and sold it to me.

The Satellite is the little brother to the Quest. The frame on the Satellite is Reynolds 520 where the Quest is 631, and the components are bottom of the barrel Shimano Sora instead of the Quest's 105 gear. But hey, let's be realistic. I'm not Lance Armstrong. I don't race. Currently the best bike I have has Suntour downtube friction shifters. Sora is a quantum leap up for me. And it's got a carbon fiber fork. I've never owned a carbon fiber anything before. Thrillsville, let me tell ya. It weighs a whopping 3 pounds more than the Quest too. Which I'm finding humorous. My winter bike weighs in at almost 50 pounds, not including the big commuting pannier I strap on it every day. This bike lists out at 23 pounds. But fortunately it's got a triple front chainring so I can really granny down if I struggle getting that extra weight up a hill.

I took it for a small spin this morning, just down the street in my neighborhood. Nor far enough to really get a feel for it. Not really even long enough to say I've ridden it. But just enough so I'm not quite so antsy to ride it. Don't worry, the streets were dry and I carried it over the snow in the driveway.

When's summer going to be here??

More pictures available my flickr account.

Happy St Paddy's Day!

Date: March 17
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 146
Year to date mileage: 595

So what did I do to celebrate St Paddy's day? Nothing. I got home, had dinner, watched some TV with the kids, then switched to college hockey and dozed off on the couch before the Gophers were able to let St Cloud State beat them in overtime. Such is the life of a mid-30's guy who's married with kids.

The morning ride yesterday was The Worst Ever. The roads were fine, the problem was the bike path. When I got to the point where I leave Sibley Memorial to cross the Mendota Bridge, I saw that the plow had been by and plowed out the parking lot. But nobody had plowed the path, so there was a huge plow barrier at the bottom of the hill. I gamely decided to ride through it. And to my surprise, I went right over, easy peasy. But going over took away just enough of my momentum that I couldn't make it up the hill. No big deal, I walked it up. At the top I tried to ride and couldn't. So I walked a little further to where there's a slight downhill. I thought "With a downhill to help, I can get started and once I'm rolling it will be no problem."

I was wrong.

There was something about the consistency of this snow that just would not allow it to be ridden. The snowfall from Thursday was nice and easy to ride in, but this stuff wasn't. I think it was a combination of the overspray of salty slush from the adjacent roadway and the fact that the sun had been shining on it all afternoon Thursday. There was a hard coating that I couldn't penetrate. I did see the tire marks of one other cyclist who tried before me, so I soldiered on. I walked the bike down to the bridge itself, thinking that the snow would be easier there.

It wasn't.

It was also here that the other cyclist's tracks stopped. So he/she had been defeated too. The other cyclist hadn't turned around though. The single track just stopped in the middle of the trail. So I did what I assume they did. I lifted my bike over the concrete wall and rode on the shoulder of Highway 55. Once I crossed the bridge I lifted it back to the path and continued. The rest of the path was rideable, but deep.

I was all set to rant and rave about the plowing folks shirking their duties. But on the way home last night, badda boom. Everything was cleared out! Good job and a hearty thank you to whoever took the time! We (me and at least one other person) appreciate it!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I have a surprise for you! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Ides of March

Date: March 15
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 126
Year to date mileage: 575

Today was my first ride of the week. Not because I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes to snow, but because of the daughter who is sick but then isn't but then decides she is again saga. Not that I'm blaming her. She really has been ill. Monday morning when she woke up she was near 102 degrees, and she was warm yesterday too. But this morning when I woke her up she asked me "What day is it?" When I told her it was Wednesday she practically squealed with joy "Show and tell!" Any kid that happy about show and tell is well enough to go to school.

Unfortunately, I may have been hasty. The school nurse called my wife around 11:30 and said the fever was back up. Nancy went and picked up the feverish one (who wanted McDonald's for lunch). The feverish one remained sick for all of 1 1/2 hours, and then became well again. But I'll be home with her tomorrow morning, because the Nazi school nurse told us that a kid with a fever can't come back until she's fever free for 24 hours. And She's Putting Us On The List. Maybe the kid and I will find something fun to do tomorrow morning.

The ride today was pretty uneventful. It was a huge change from Friday's ride with no jacket, but still nice. The city of Minneapolis does a kick ass job of clearing the bike path, but they've got a way to go on the bike lanes. The bike lanes in downtown were still completely full of snow tonight. With an additional dump coming tonight if the weather gets a few degrees colder they will be unrideable. The cynic in me says that the city is subtly trying to herd the cyclists off the city streets and onto the bike paths. But the realist in me says that the guys who plow downtown don't care, whereas the guys who plow the parks and trails are more outdoorsy types and make more of an effort. Oh, and somebody better have a talk with the guy who was plowing down in the northern part of Minnehaha Park. They plowed a whole section of trail that really isn't trail, but just grass. Rookie.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Snow Day!

My daughter Morgan woke me up at 6:30 this morning and told me that my other daughter was sick. I could hear Emma coughing, but it didn't sound too bad. While I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and brain, Morgan went into the kitchen and got the thermometer from the cupboard. She then went and took Emma's temperature. 101.9 degrees. OK kid, you're staying home. Then Nancy called and told me that school was closed. OK kids, you're both staying home.

snow day

This is the view from my living room. Welcome to March in Minnesota. Friday it was near 60, today we've got a snowstorm that's closing the schools. This would be your regularly scheduled snowstorm, just arriving a few days late. This weekend was the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey Tournament. All of this stuff normally blows in during tourney weekend and screws up travel for everybody. With the mild winter we're having I can see how management would slip up and forget about a thing like that, then have to scramble at the last minute to push a product out the door for a delayed delivery. I suppose it's too much to hope that somebody will go out and plow the Highway 55 bridge. Good thing I'm lazy and haven't taken the studded tires off yet. Memo to the boys at storm central: Nice work, job well done, now lay off the snow.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Public Nudity!

Date: March 9
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 106
Year to date mileage: 555

I feel like things have been rolling along at a breakneck pace lately. Thursday I rode to work on the Raleigh. It was a beautiful ride home, and I could tell it was warm by the number of runners wearing shorts. Normally I see a few guys wearing shorts even whenever it gets above 35 or so. But Thursday's public nudity was remarkable in that 3 of the 5 people I saw in shorts were women. No matter what the internet has let you to believe, men are still more likely to take off their clothes in public (women who want to disprove this claim are encouraged to e-mail photos). So when the shorts wearing women outnumber the men I know it's a nice spring day in Minnesota. My wife called me when I was in Minnehaha Park and said that she and the girls were out for a ride. So I kicked it up into high gear (both on the bike and in my legs) and met them at the Big Rivers Regional Trail trailhead overlook. The kids were thrilled to see me ride up unexpectedly. After we fooled around for a while I "raced" them home. It's only about a mile, and I left while they were still buckling seat belts but they still beat me. Not by a lot, because I pulled into the driveway while they were all piling out of the van.

Date: March 10
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 126
Year to date mileage: 575

Because it was so ungodly nice I couldn't resist taking the Schwinn out on Friday. Repacked bearing be damned! And it was totally worth it. On the ride home I managed to stuff my jacket into my pannier and rode wearing a jersey with a long sleeved shirt over it on top, and bike shorts with tights over them on the bottom. Perfect. The Schwinn is so much faster than the Raleigh! I had a fairly decent headwind on the way home, but still made it home faster than normal. And it was a joy. It was also nice to have a computer to see how many actual miles this new route was. I was a little mistrustful of my google maps estimate, but the computer clocked in at 19.97 miles, so that's close enough to 20 for me.

Nancy called me from the Y when I was on the Highway 55 bridge. She and the kids were swimming and she wanted to meet me at Granite City for dinner. I was home early enough that I was able to shower and change before heading over. I had their Smothered Beef sandwich and a nice glass of their MaiBock. After riding 5 consecutive days, a glass of beer and a good, heavy meal I was out like a light. I spent the rest of the weekend either working or doing homework, far from enjoyable but you gotta do what you gotta do.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Confessions of a Teenaged Bike

Dear Diary,
Today Pete rode me to work. After being neglected for so many months I can't tell you how delicious it was to be ridden again. I found myself thinking about it all day, and I can't wait for the ride home. Squee!

The Good Bike

P.S. You're sworn to secrecy, so don't tell the interweb!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset

Date: March 8
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 86
Year to date mileage: 535

This morning I went past the Franklin Ave stop that I usually exit on, and stayed on the train. I instead got off at the Downtown East/Metrodome station. I rode past the Kirby memorial that had appeared outside the main ticket window. I saw Bob Sansavere (pictured in black) talking to folks and taking notes for his next story. I didn't want to talk to him so I just slowly cruised past the site. I'm not sure what compels people to take their treasured memorabilia and leave it out on the street when a celebrity dies. There were homer hankies, Wheaties boxes, hats, t-shirts and jerseys. Obviously these people cared about Kirby in the way only a fan can. But I would think they would want to hang on to that stuff now that the celebrity is gone. I don't get it. Of course I'm not sure why I felt compelled to go look, so who am I to judge.

On the way home I stopped and took a photo of yet another sign that spring is nearly here. This shot is what I believe to be the U of M rowing club getting their shells out of storage and into a rack by the river. Soon we'll see rowers going up and down the river getting ready for the season.

I'm getting the itch to take the Schwinn out. But I really shouldn't. There's too many puddles. And it could still snow at any time. But I'm getting really tired of riding the Raleigh. So here's my promise to you, interweb: I will not ride the Schwinn until I have repacked the bearings in the front and rear hubs and the bottom bracket. It's the least I should do before I start riding it. Keep me honest, interweb.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just keep dragging on

Date: March 7
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 68
Year to date mileage: 517

It was a brutal one tonight. My first clue was that on the ride in I was able to switch up to the high gear, and pretty much had to to keep my ass from bouncing on the seat while spinning. That's a tailwind. Which means on the way home, that's a headwind. Reading that back, I'm not sure the term "high gear" is entirely appropriate. I'm riding the Raleigh this winter, and the salt has been taking it's toll on the components. When this bike originally began life it had 21 speeds. 21 seemed like an overabundance at the time, and it probably is. Though with the new bikes it's middle of the road. Anyway, the shiftig was sort of out of whack before winter began and the front derailleur would only go to the smallest two of the three chainrings. Not a big deal, since I rarely used the big one and didn't plan to increase that usage in the winter. Then as the grime piled on and the rust rusted further the rear derailleur started to malfunction. So now it's to the point where it doesn't shift at all. So I can move from the "low" gear, which is really #7, to the "high" gear, which is really #14. And for this bike, with the studded tires and all 50 glorious pounds, that's about all I need. It would be nice to be able to downshift a bit on the hills, but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, back to the ride.

When I got home my neighbor made a comment about how it "must have been a wet one" coming home. I told him that I would have gladly traded a little more wet for a little less wind. It really wasn't raining that hard for most of the way, but the wind was killing me. Instead of taking the river road home I took Franklin to Minnehaha Ave. I did this for a couple of reasons:

1. The wind. Minnehaha is a lot more sheltered than the River Road. It may not make much of a difference, but any little bit helps.
2. Distance. The Minnehaha route is about 2 miles shorter. Again, not much of a difference but any port in a storm.
3. The wind. Did I mention that it was windy out? Cripes amighty.

One good thing about the rain, it washed away a lot of the crap that's been collecting around my bottom bracket. And I found out tonight that my neoprene booties are pretty darn water resistant. I wouldn't want to go wading in them, but they did a good job keeping some larger than expected puddle splashes off and keeping my toes dry. Before this winter booties weren't real high on my list of priorities but now I'm a fan. Though the way they get torn up I'll probably go with the cheap $20 ones from Performance in the future. They got a pretty decent review on bike forums too.

Ride on, y'all.


Monday, March 06, 2006

RIP Kirby

I've never been a huge baseball fan. I usually catch a few games on the television during the season, and every couple of years I go to the ballpark. But it's to see the Saints more than the Twins. The Twins are playing some great ball these days, and any year it feels like they could make a run at the Series. But it's not something I obsess over. I can't keep track of stats for sports. I just don't have the head for it. You can get away with that with many sports, but not baseball. To be a true baseball fan, you've got to be a numbers person. Batting averages, box scores, Earned Run Averages. It's like a statistics class with athletes.

Yesterday I heard that Kirby Puckett had a stroke and had been taken to the hospital. This morning when I checked the news there was little more information. But one thing caught my eye. An employee of the hospital he was admitted to anonymously stated that Puckett was in critical condition. Call it a premonition, call it a feeling; I was sure he was going to die after reading that. And he did.

The Vikings went to the Superbowl four times and always came home as losers. The North Stars made some admirable attempts, but their names never went on Lord Stanley's cup. Neither has the young Wild team, yet. Wolves, nope. The Twins are one of the few hometown teams we have here in Minnesota that got it done. They went to the big dance and came home a winner. Not once, but twice. And a huge part of that was thanks to Kirby Puckett. Thanks for the memories, Kirby.

Date: March 6
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 50
Year to date mileage: 499


Friday, March 03, 2006

Non Sequitur

Date: March 3
Mileage: 10
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 30
Year to date mileage: 479

I cut my ride short today because the school nurse called and said my girls were sick. So I rode 6 miles in the morning by riding from home to the Ft Snelling light rail, then getting off at the Franklin station and riding the additional 2 miles into work. When I left work I took the LRT from downtown to Ft Snelling and then booked it home, got my truck and picked up the girls. They laid on the couch for a couple of hours and then, like a miracle, they recovered. Grrrr.

I saw this bumper sticker the other day near the Franklin Ave LRT station. I'm not sure who Bertha is, or why I should be eating her mussels. My brother-in-law used to have a Volkswagen Golf with a bumper sticker that read "Eat My Fish" We were never sure whose fish it referred to or how to find out. For some reason people in this area are compelled to give seafood recommendations from the back of their car. I'm not even going to try to understand. But Bertha, if you're out there, give me a holla' and I'll try your mussels.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Party Animal

Date: March 2
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 40
Year to date mileage: 469

I swear to god, there was no posing. I found him, and the can, exactly like this.
Rocky Raccoon

Perhaps he was depressed and like his smelly brethren the skunks, he committed suicide. Perhaps after a few too many Lites he staggered in front of the wrong moving vehicle. Either way, as the weather gets warmer it's gonna get smelly riding past this party animal.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What is it with the meat theme this week?

Date: March 1
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 20
Year to date mileage: 449

For the first day of March, not bad at all. The promised freezing rain/rain/snow never appeared and even though the day was overcast it made for a nice commute home. I did have one interesting problem getting ready to go home. I normally don't blog about work, but this is related. I've been helping another project manager out with some tasks for her project for the last few months. She keeps telling me that she's going to buy me a steak as a way of saying thanks. One day last week we were talking about brisket, and I honestly couldn't tell you why. But it inspired her. Today, she brought me a brisket.

Now this is a piece of meat. 4.12 pounds. And I'm riding my bike. The single pannier I use for commuting (the other was run over by my wife) isn't the largest bag on the market, but it usually does the job. Though in the winter I'm usually pushing maximum capacity with all the warm clothes. So quitting time rolls around and I go and get my brisket from the fridge. Huh, that's funny. It's wider than the opening of my bag. I had to squeeze it in just so. I could barely get the top closed. And while four pounds may not sound like much, coupled with a full day's worth of work clothes, a repair kit, a 3/4" socket, a spare tube and various other sundry items it makes for one heavy as hell pannier. When I attached it to the bike it caused the bike to lean so quickly I almost dropped the whole thing. I was amazed that it didn't fall off on the way home. But the brisket is now safely in my refrigerator at home. Now I need to figure out what to do with it.

As long as I'm breaking the "don't blog about work" rule, here's what else happened today. A few years ago (this is backstory, hang on) when we first moved into our new building there was a urinal in our bathroom that was out of order. It remained out of order for over 7 months. Dust settled on the thing. The people in charge had clearly forgotten all about it. My friend Tim called building services and got the thing fixed. So I nominated him for an award using our company's internal recognition program. In that nomination, I made sure used the word "urinal" as often as I could. It was a proud moment when our team leader got to read the entire nomination in front of our department. She turned several shades of red. It was beautiful.

Fast forward several years. Tim and I are now in different departments, but we've both moved from the 7th floor to the 8th floor. There was now a urinal on 8 that would flush for well over a minute every time it was used. Once finished, you zip up and walk away. Most urinals are done flushing before you're done washing your hands. This one was still flushing when you walked out of the bathroom. It has the autoflush sensor thing, so there was no avoiding this. What a waste of water. I mentioned it to my buddy Tim at work, and he had noticed it too. So he promised to call building services if I would submit another nomination. The terms were agreed to. He called, it was fixed, I nominated. We have a new recognition program so I was limited to 500 characters this time around, but I think I captured something.

The roar of rushing water. It makes one think of falls. Niagra Falls. Angel Falls. Closer to home, the sound of St. Anthony Falls. It should not, however, make one think of urinals. However for the last few months this has sadly been the case. The #1 urinal in the 8th floor men's room was showing signs of being an overachiever. Most urinals are content to flush for approximately 20 seconds. Thorough, yet not overkill. Once business had concluded at #1 it would begin a hearty flush. Not content to stop at 20 seconds it continued on, recklessly exceeding the advertised 1 gallon per flush emblazened on the top of the unit. Our #1 was clearly going above and beyond the call of duty.

Speaking of above and beyond the call of duty, we turn to Tim (nice segue, eh?). Tim noticed the existence of a problem. Tim called building services. Order (and the promised 1 gallon per flush) was restored. Huzzah!