Thursday, August 23, 2007

Elvis needs boats

"And she remembers the day that Elvis died" --"She's Happy" by The Gear Daddies

Last week, August 16th to be exact, marked the 30th anniversary of Elvis A(a)ron Presley's death. I'm not one of those people who has one room of their house devoted to being an Elvis shrine. I happened to read about the date in the news, otherwise the day would have come and gone without any notice. I happen to like most of Elvis' music, and think that the way his life ended was a little sad. But I feel a little sorry for the people who still get weepy about it.

I grew up with Elvis. Not literally, mind you. Though I'm sure I would have been happy growing up in Tupelo in the 1940s. But instead I grew up in a world where Elvis had already overcome his beginnings as a shy, stuttering "mama's boy" and left his mark on the world. His career had gone through most of it's productive arc. I was 8 years old when Elvis died. I didn't grow up with Elvis the Pelvis, or Elvis the Corrupter of Youth. I grew up with Elvis the Product. By the time I started to become conscious of popular music Elvis was pretty much working full time in Vegas paying the bills and, from what I've read, spending most of his time hopped up on one drug or another.

On Thursday,Turner Classic Movies Filled their entire program day with Elvis movies. Did you know that Elvis played a race car driver in three different movies (Speedway, Viva Las Vegas, Spinout)? And between 1956 and 1968 Elvis starred in a staggering 31 movies. More than two per year, even including the period from 1958-1960 where he was wasn't making films due to being drafted (take that, Michael Caine)! After we finished watching High School Musical, I flipped over to TCM and started watching Viva Las Vegas. Elvis plays a race car driver named Lucky who courts a young Ann-Margaret. Lucky, indeed. I then followed this up with Clambake, where a decidedly more jowly Elvis plays a rich oil tycoon's son who switches places with a waterskiing instructor and courts a young Shelly Fabares. By that time it was getting late and I couldn't find it in me to stay up and watch Wild in the Country (Elvis at his untamed bad boy best!). I thought that I had done enough to honor Elvis' memory at this point.

I sort of forgot about Elvis for a few days after that. I had a three day weekend and didn't spend a lot of it in front of the TV. However, I did find myself watching something forgettable one evening. So forgettable that I've forgotten what it was. But that's really not the point. As I was watching whatever it happened to be (and I do wonder what it was) a commercial came on. It was 5 or 6 guys sitting around in what looked like a bar that had closed for the evening. They all had guitars or other musical instruments. They were doing the TV commercial version of jamming. And the tune was strikingly familiar. The guys were all middle aged. And happy. Extremely happy. Erectile-disfunction commercial happy. It was a cover of Viva Las Vegas, but the chorus was now "Viva Viagra". You can watch it on youtube if you really feel it's required. I was a bit stunned, but not completely surprised. Elvis has been a product for as long as I can remember. Viagra is a product that apparently has an unlimited advertising budget. A match made in heaven. Hell, if Elvis were still alive he'd probably be the company's spokesman.

Tuesday night I decided to eschew broadcast TV and settled in with an old friend, The Big Lebowski. I was off following the story that was being unfolded, when it hit again. As Bunny Lebowski and her green painted toenails drive up the highway in a flashy red convertible, what song is she blasting through the stereo and singing along with? Viva Las Vegas, naturally. Perhaps Mojo Nixon said it best: Elvis is a perfect being. We are all moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvis-ness. Soon all will become Elvis. Everything everywhere will be Elvis.

Milwaukee's Premier Girl Bicycle Gang

The last two days have been very productive for me, blogwise. On the way home the creative juices have been flowing and pure Blog Gold has been running through my brain. But when you find something like this, even Blog Gold needs to be put on the back burner.

Date: August 21
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 251
Year to date mileage: 2610

Date: August 22
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 277
Year to date mileage: 2636

Date: August 23
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Suburban
August mileage: 295
Year to date mileage: 2654

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back atcha!

As I was riding in this morning, trying to make the light at the 28th/Hiawatha crossing, somebody on a bike headed the other direction said Hello to me.  I'm not sure, but they may have even said "Hello Pete."  I have no idea who it might have been.  But if it was you, and you read this blog (redundant, I realize), Hi!
Date: August 20
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 225
Year to date mileage: 2584


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Biker Down

I was riding in this morning, coming out of Ft Snelling and transitioning into Minnehaha I noticed that traffic was unusually bad on Hiawatha heading into Minneapolis.  "Glad that's not me!" I thought.  As I got closer to the intersection of 54th and Hiawatha I could see why traffic was backed up, there was an accident.  I could see a fire truck, an ambulance and at least one squad car all in the middle of the intersection.  As I got closer to 54th I noticed that I could only see one car in the intersection and started to get a bad feeling.  I turned and rode over to the intersection and confirmed my fears.  A cyclist had been hit by a car.
I couldn't see the cyclists much from my vantage point because he was blocked by the ambulance.  The way the car was oriented it looked like the driver was travelling eastbound on 54th and trying to take a left turn onto northbound Hiawatha when the accident happened.  If I was forced to make a guess based on what I saw, I would guess that the cyclist was proceeding through the intersection and the car turned in front of him.  There could be many extenuating factors, such as the light changing from green to yellow or yellow to red, or the cyclist doing something boneheaded. But I'm inclined to think that it was the driver's fault.
I watched as they loaded the biker into the ambulance.  He was wearing a Team Postal jersey, but I didn't recognize him.  His knees were up and he was holding his right arm across his body and he didn't appear to be seriously injured.  But it's hard to tell. Be safe out there.
And if this wasn't a scary enough way to start the day, I saw Ray on the Greenway.
Date: August 16
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 199
Year to date mileage: 2558


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Weekend update

I finally had a Saturday free and was planning on making an appearance on the Hiawatha ride this past weekend. But we had some monster storms roll through Saturday during the wee hours, and we were without power from about 3am to approximately 3pm. I don't naturally wake up at 6:30, it requires a loud alarm clock with a persistent snooze function. I must have been tired, because I ended up sleeping until almost 12:30 Saturday afternoon. My wife and I went out to lunch since the power was out and the kids were at their grandparents. We wandered around Grand Ave for a while, fought, and generally had an unpleasant Saturday. It was partially redeemed by the fact that I found and old Columbia 3-speed at a garage sale for $20. I'm going to clean it up for the Mrs. because she thinks it looks neat.

Sunday redeemed the weekend. The grandparents complained, so we allowed them to keep the kids overnight until Monday. So about 3pm the Mrs. and I got on our bikes and went out for a ramble. We rode to Ft Snelling and spent a couple hours just riding around in the state park, looking at all the amenities that are so close to our house. After looking at the underside of the Mendota Bridge (it looks solid) we made our way out of the park and into Minnehaha. It was getting toward 6pm and we were feeling a mite peckish. So we decided to try Sea Salt, the restaurant in the Minnehaha pavilion. It's quite the happening place. The line was long and the post it notes that indicated the approximate wait time for food (varying from "15 minutes" to "better get a pitcher") was set at 20 minutes. We decided to get a pitcher of Surly Furious. For dinner I had a po'boy sandwich with grilled, batter fried fish. Nancy had the fish tacos, and we split an order of clam fries. The total for the meal was just over $37. And the food was worth it. A little more than we had planned on spending at the park, but how often are the kids gone?

After finishing the meal and the Furious we checked out the newly falling Minnehaha Falls (they were dry last week due to lack of rain) and made our way back home again. On the way we stopped at a Native American pow-wow that was taking place on the east side of the Mendota Bridge. The colors of the costumes and teepees were very striking. Everything was winding down for the day, so we didn't stay long. Plus, it was starting to get dark and Nancy only had prescription sunglasses and neither of us had lights on our bikes. We rode about 17 miles in the course of just under 5 hours. Not a great average speed, but one of the most relaxing and enjoyable rides I've been on this year.

All photos taken by Yon Saucy Wench

Date: August 12
Mileage: 17
Ride type/Bike: Ramble/Suburban
August mileage: 95
Year to date mileage: 2454

Date: August 13
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 121
Year to date mileage: 2480

Date: August 14
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Trike
August mileage: 147
Year to date mileage: 2506

Date: August 15
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 173
Year to date mileage: 2532

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gosh it's hot

It's not the heat it's the humidity, right?

Date: August 7
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Suburban
August mileage: 26
Year to date mileage: 2385

Date: August 8
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Suburban
August mileage: 52
Year to date mileage: 2411

Date: August 8
Mileage: 26
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Premis
August mileage: 78
Year to date mileage: 2437

Sunday, August 05, 2007

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I'm back from my whirlwind tour of North America. The day we headed west was the day that the I-35 bridge collapsed. It was kind of surreal to be watching the coverage from far-flung locales like Billings, MT and Boise. We took in both Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks on day 2 of the drive, and didn't arrive in Boise until after 11. A grand total of 27 hours in the car. Then due to mechanical issues I ended up stuck in Denver overnight, and had to fly to Minneapolis by way of Cleveland. I arrived at the Boise airport around 3pm Friday and got home to Minneapolis around 8pm Saturday. I kind of feel like I've been hit by a truck at this point. I'm in the process of recharging my mental batteries and uploading my photos to flickr. I'm not sure which process will take longer. But when they're both complete I'll write something more coherent with full color glossy photos. Right now I'm just glad to be home and know that me and mine are together and safe.