Thursday, July 31, 2008

My New Source of News

From now on, I'm getting all my news from the SPAM mail subject lines.

Here's what I learned today:

  • Someone's got a video of Hillary Clinton naked

  • Lindsey Lohan died in a car crash

  • A man shot churchgoers because they were liberals

  • A man died after participating in sex after sports

  • Torture is widespread in Palestinian jails

  • The US budget deficit reached a record of 500 billion

  • Britany and Paris are lovers

I suspect some of these are not accurate. For example, I read that the next U.S. president will inherit a mere $482 billion deficit. $500 billion is clearly an exaggeration. Let me know if any of the others are fabricated -- after all, I can't be expected to check the veracity of them all by myself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't Ride on the Sidewalk

I have a funny story, at least I think it's funny.

Last night I was admiring the extensive sidewalk replacement happening in a neighborhood along my route home. Workers had dug up the broken sidewalk sections and were building the forms to pour the new concrete. Every house had lots of torn up sections. No one escaped the forced sidewalk replacement. I’ve been through it myself and it’s a lesson in local government. Homeowners own their sidewalks, but the city controls them. The city will force you to replace the sidewalk when it has defects like cracks and bulges. I’m not complaining – just explaining.

I was riding pretty slowly admiring all the hard work that goes into a project this large. Another cyclist flys by me without a word. He rode in a manner that I can only describe as “better than you.” I don’t know what told me that, but it was my impression. He wore a backpack, headphones, and rode a cyclocross bike. I saw the knobbies and cantilever brakes. He cut past me and headed for the section of downhill sidewalk ahead of us. I assume he planned to use the sidewalk to align himself with the bike trail entrance just ahead at the end of the block.

He noticed a little too late that the sidewalk he was heading for, was missing. He locked up the brakes and skidded sideways. He brought down his speed pretty well, but not quite enough. He piled up on his front wheel and stopped short of an full endo, instead doing a low-speed sideways flop onto the road.

As he clattered to the ground, I said, “Oops” as I passed by. His crash was at a slow enough speed that I knew he didn’t need any help from me. I had some advice for him, but he didn’t need that either.

The photo? That's irrelevant. I found it on my phone after my son had been playing with it. My mole is not nearly that big.

More Glove Talk

My search for the right cycling gloves reminds me of some old Cannondale gloves I used to own. They were made of really nice leather and lots of it. They had multiple layers of rich looking, dark brown leather. They had crocheted backs and lasted forever. They were so thick, they felt like pulling on small baseball mitts.

Because they lasted so long, mine were very nasty given the years of sweat they absorbed. When I wiped my brow, I gagged at the smell as they passed near my nose. But I loved those gloves. Cannondale stopped making them when lycra took over. I checked their website and only found the typical lycra-based gloves that I go through like toilet paper.

Do you have any favorite gloves that are durable?

To Glove or Not to Glove?

I've discovered something about gloves with regard to my hands. This may not apply to your hands.

When I don't wear gloves, my hands feel sore. When I wear some gloves, my hands get tingly and numb. I think this is due to either the gloves constricting my hand or the padding cutting off blood flow or maybe they pinch a nerve. My current short-fingered gloves have gel padding. When I wear these, my hands get tingly and numb. That's pretty ironic isn't it? Gel padded gloves are supposed to help my hands feel better. They are good for absorbing road shock, but something about them is not right for me.

When I wear my long-fingered, cool-weather gloves that are not padded, my hands feel fine.

I'm going to buy a pair of too large, lightly padded gloves. I'll report back so frequently that you'll want to quit reading my blog.

Thanks for your suggestions on gloves. I'm still listening.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gloves or Not?

When I began cycling I bought a pair of cycling gloves and have used them ever since.

This spring, I grew tired of some of the complications that go along with my cycling habits. Gloves, for example, need to be washed, kept track of, put on, and taken off.

After about two months without gloves, I decided to wear them again this weekend.

What has the little experiment revealed? I'm a whiner and a malcontent. Without gloves my hands get sore. With gloves my hands tingle and go numb.

I'm not sure what to do, but I'll definitely continue whining.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Farmer's Market

The Saturday HC ride rolled to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Two of the riders brought their toddlers along. If you look closely, you'll see two kid seats among the bikes locked to the yellow railing.

I bought some more beets. I've never tried the orange ones.

Hiawatha Cyclery had a sidewalk sale. I bought tires and some little stuff. These tires are for the Raleigh roadster. It uses 28" tires (aka 635 or 700B). The tag on the tires, indicates it comes with a pre-installed tack, but I couldn't find it.

I intended to find parts for this green bike.

It plan on building it into a monster cross bike. I need mechanical disc brakes, long-pull brake levers, a rear derailleur, a tire, and a 40 degree rise stem. I forgot to look for any of those items. I have a rule that I need to make a list before going to a bike swap meet. I forgot the rule and got distracted.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Historic Ft. Snelling Visit

Last Sunday, my family and I went to Ft. Snelling State Park (Minnesota) to hike on Pike Island. We parked near the hill that goes up to Historic Ft. Snelling and my daughter wanted to see the fort again. She'd been there before on a school field trip. So we walked up the hill to the fort and found it closed. We poked our heads in the main gate and someone came over to talk to us from inside. He told us they would open in a few minutes and we could buy tickets at the visitor center. I felt the tug on my pocket already.

We ended up buying the annual family pass with extras. I'm an easy mark.

The soldier who greeted us made us feel welcome.

This is the view from the tower.
The soldiers dressing to fire the cannon.

A view of the gate from the inside. The guys in red are musicians. I took their photo, but it's out of focus.

The woman through the doorway showed us how they made bread.

This is the fort store.

Pots and beaver pelts.
This is the store owner.

My favorite part of the visit was listening to the story of Dred Scott. He lived in the fort for eight years. We sat in the room in which he lived and listened to the story of his fight for freedom told by a historian. The story is so compelling and important that I didn't remember to take any photos of his room. I left the fort feeling a bit low after hearing the historian recite the Supreme Court decision. The justices essentially decided who gets to be human and who doesn't.

I suppose most people remember something about the Dred Scott case from History class. Unless you are still very familiar with it, I recommend you review it. It's still relevant.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Video of Cannon at Ft. Snelling

Here's a video of the cannon firing at Historic Ft. Snelling. I took a few photos of our visit to the fort and will post those soon. The video is longer than it should be, but I didn't edit it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kunstler's Latest Made Me Laugh

I admit to reading a blog by James Kunstler. I'm not sure if I read it for the "end time" thinking or the really funny insults aimed at our current way of life.

Here's an example from this week's post by Mr. Kunstler about the mortgage industry situation, "It's hard to imagine what kind of melodramas were unspooling on the Hamptons lawns this weekend, while everybody else in America was watching Nascar, or plying the aisles of BJs Discount Warehouse for next week's supply of mesquite-and-guacamole flavored Doritos, or having flames and chains tattooed on their necks, or lost in a haze of valium and methedrine."

I enjoy his writing, although frequent reading of his blog leaves me with a depressed feeling. Small doses are the best way to handle hist gloomy stuff.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hiawatha Cyclery Ride, July 12, 2008

The Hiawatha Cyclery ride meandered East to the St. Paul Farmer's Market. I've been to a couple markets in this area, but this is now my favorite.

But before I reached the HC World Headquarters, I had to cross the LifeTime Fitness triathlon route. It's a major event, with the winners of each gender class being awarded $60,000. That's right, $60,000! If you click on the photo, you can see their green swimming caps.
Here some of the triathletes passing beautiful Longfellow gardens, but they may not have noticed.
I arrived and lots of people were showing up for the HC ride.

On the way to St. Paul, we stopped for a break at the little blue buildling.

This bridge going into downtown St. Paul is longer than I remembered.

The St. Paul Farmer's Market is located in downtown. It was a beautiful day.

Here are the beets I bought. Have you ever seen maroon pee?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dangerous when mixed with strong coffee

Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live commercial for Colon Blow?

I found a real-world version:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Photos from Nazi Occupied France

Browse through these photos:

Someone posted this link on the iBob list. I looked at the photos and found so many things to comment about that I don't know where to start.

  • Nice color in the photos
  • Cool bike trailers
  • Crazy high-heeled shoes with springs in them
  • Woman with yellow star
  • Nazis
  • etc.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Folding Bikes

The Bicycle Design Blog has a guest post by a bicycle designer. I really enjoyed reading what the designer has to say about folding bikes fitting into the urban transportation system.

He mentions a new folder and links to a video. Here's the video if you just want the "wow" part. But if you enjoy bike design, read the blog entry too.

Air Conditioning

I'm forcing my family to not use the air conditioner in the house. No one has put up a fuss or really even mentioned it. Yesterday was the test -- it reached 89 degrees and was a bit sultry.

My plan is to let us acclimate to the warmth and then we won't care about air conditioning. It seems to be working.

We leave the windows open, use a couple of ceiling fans, and setup a floor standing fan to cool my daughter in her bedroom. She's like a furnace. Winter is her best time.

This morning I noticed a north wind blowing. Usually during the summer this means cooler weather is moving in. As always, heat is short lived in Minnesota.

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