Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

One Evening in a Bus Station.

It's so harsh, but his expression is priceless. - and he's walking away... Hilarious. Don Martin. Mad 199, June 1978. Just grabbed the first 500(!) issues. Searched through to find the Sex Pistols parody that I read as a kid and didn't really understand: Johnny and the Commodes.

And so how was your xmas? Wii (fit+) had a great time with Nerf guns and a Keyboard-piano. Bought eye-protection tonight after an epic battle today.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Demonoid is Back!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Neighbors afro skull house.

Lacuna coil.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Long Story Short

What a week! I've jumped though so many hoops in the past 8 days that... that... I don't know; something-something-trained seal-something... I'm tired. but tonight it was all worth it. Tonight our home is being heated by a new high-efficiency, state-of-the-art, boiler, and I only have to pay for half of it.

About a week and a half ago the furnace (boiler that is- we have radiators) was acting up again; it wasn't firing up when it should. I fiddled a bit but finally called a guy to come have a look. He said that he could take apart the thermocouple and clean it to help the weak pilot light. The thing was - and he wanted to be very up front about it - that if he broke anything while he was doing that, there were literally no parts available for the near-100 year old furnace and we would be having an immediate emergency. Google found some documentation from the burner manufacturer, but it was in the Smithsonian collection, otherwise no trace - no lie: in a museum. We decided to continue manually starting it each morning and evening, while we looked into getting a new one. The money had to be spent, good thing there is a $1500 tax credit available right now.I scrutinized the internet for the best installers, got two detailed estimates from two highly rated local companies. Their overall prices and un-offensiveness were similar but the decision was easy and known 10 minutes into the conversation with the winner. Had the final price been the same I would have still chosen him. Had they been slightly more expensive I would still have chosen him. I don't usually get excited about appliances but this unit is sweet: a 2 by 2 by 3 foot wall-mounted "box", with integrated stainless steel tank water heater - that's right: that size includes a water heater with a minimum 20 year life span! - and the whole thing vents out the side of the house so they cap off the troublesome squirrel and pine needle filled chimney too. The asbestos octopus and it's 40 gallon neighbor are gone. In it's place, the industrial grey and white robot stands by the stair, it's copper brains connecting to the old fat steel of the house.
But the prices weren't similar. The second guy had done his homework, and immediately after showing me a nice before and after photo book he told me about a brand new program that gives Minnesotans a great-rate loan for energy efficiency home improvements and then covers 35% of it. -And that's not just the furnace hardware, it's also the installation, the water heater and the asbestos-covered box removal, permits, details: everything - then you add the tax rebate and all of a sudden you're paying 6k for a 12k system. You do pay all of your loan money to the installer up front, and then file for your "loan rebate" after, and at tax time get your last bit. Pain in the ass, kind of. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I love my robot.Now finally the boiler-estimators and the phone-loan officers and closing agents and abate-ors and boiler-installers are gone. we've cleaned up the crazy mess with vacuums and mops and brooms and rags and paper towels... and put the pieces back, approximately. and! we weathered abatement-night with no heat(er) until tomorrow. ..

The basement is a bit colder now without the virtual campfire but the heater by my leg is perfect. 1952 octopus checkup tag. Ridler's Uptown Heating and Cooling

Ready for the next 50 years.

and so what were you up to last week?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It Might Get Loud: Movie Review

Finally watched It Might Get Loud last night. I really wanted to love this movie. It was three stories, of three histories, and you would imagine because of their huge contributions; destiny had brought them together to sit down and document this magical event for the great musical archive. But it wasn't like that. It felt like you could have swapped any or all of them and you would have come out with the same movie. Yes; you could see the chemistry increasing over the course of the film, but at the end the maker suggests the three's (only) connection is as songwriters and storytellers, and that's, disappointingly, essentially true... it seemed like when they were together I could always feel the movie crew just off camera, and that they could too. I think I was just expecting too much. I'll have to watch it again and see if it feels the same.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surf Night at the Hex is gone

When I got to the bar I was sorry to learn that I was at the last Surf Night at the Hexagon. I won' t miss that sad, dirty dive for sure, and nearly six years is a good long run for any band, anywhere, granted, but I know I'll see Steve a whole lot less from now on.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures

I like Led Zeppelin of course, and Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters - but somehow I didn't expect to like this all that much. Listened last night and it knocked me out! Or maybe it was the beer, one of the two, get it here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Super Secret Mission: Torrents

As children, my brother and I spent many hours trawling though the alleys of our suburban Chicago neighborhood, bringing home treasures that amazed and horrified our parents. I remember there was an apartment building half way to our elementary school that consistently had top quality magazines just inside the dumpster lid: Swank, OUI, Cheri, High Society, Club International, Chic, Gallery, Genesis, Penthouse all of the best 1970’s titles - "tasteful nudes” by today’s anything-goes standards. Current issues, mint condition, every week. We had huge stacks under our beds. Wish I had them now.

As an adult I have continued to roll though the Minneapolis alleys treasuring other men’s trash and laughing all the way to the bank: bicycles, vintage furniture and industrial miscellaneous. It’s built in now, it’s natural. If you and your neighbor are standing there when I ride up, I won’t be shy – if it’s out there it’s up for grabs. As it should be. Thanks! I love getting great stuff for free.

Torrents is where the modern scavenger goes to look for music and movies and other cool random stuff - and to try new stuff. The computer’s digital format has allowed for capture and storage of several primary art forms; video, music and photography. When we can create three dimensional objects, I will have everything I’ve ever wanted - some day that will happen, isn't that exciting and scary? Unlike Newsgroups, torrents is not under the radar, Torrents is huge with literally millions of users world-wide. As far as legal, it’s not; It's stealing copyrighted content. Well that's not always true... Did you know that Buddy Holly’s music catalog became public domain this year? 50 years dead now. Wow.

One interesting thing about this kind of stealing though, is that for me to get it, you don't have to lose it, in all other types of stealing you do.

So, how do I get some?

A “Torrent” is a simple text file, with instructions on where (from which other computers around the world) to gather the pieces of a particular file - mp3s of ABBA's Greatest Hits for example. When you download the torrent file from the tracker, you are added to the list of places to get the file pieces from. The servers that provide the torrents are legal because they don’t provide stolen content, they provide text files. Tracker = the computer that knows who has the pieces of the files.

To do it, you need two free pieces of software and a website:
  1. Software to download the pieces and put them together. (Utorrent).
  2. Software to block certain organizations that are providing pieces but capturing your IP address. (PeerBlock).
  3. A website to search for and download the torrent files. Currently the best trackers are: ISOhunt, BTJunkie and PirateBay. Demonoid is currently off line.
When deciding which torrents to DL, read the comments and go with your intuition. There are lots of spaz-zy naysayers just as there is good information that is not always well said. The thumbs up/thumbs down icons give you your first clue as to the general quality. Download the - sometimes very inconspicuous - torrent file. Open with: Utorrent. Don’t be afraid of signing up for private trackers if they have something you want.

I don't really want to steal, but more importantly I don't really want to get caught: How safe am I doing this? When running away from the bear, you don’t have to be faster than the bear, you have to be faster than the other guy. Blocking known RIAA servers makes you faster than the other guy. Could I still be stripped of my worldly possessions and face jail time? - theoretically, yes.

Tonight we watched the IMDB top 15 of the decade: Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (the fabulous destiny of...). A french movie with subtitles - doesn't sound great but it was. A movie that I would probably never have seen if I had to rent or buy it. A good one. Thank you torrents.

After your torrent has downloaded and you are enjoying the results, continue to allow others to get pieces from you (seeding) by leaving your application running. This is what makes the community work. The tracker knows how much you have downloaded and how much you have uploaded, having too low a ratio will eventually get you banned from private trackers. The rule of thumb is at minimum run it until you've uploaded as many bytes as you've downloaded.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bad Music for Bad People.

Minnesota River crossing is WAY better!

Like Wow Scooby, -Why didn't they do that two weeks ago? Thanks Sean!

Crappy phone-vid from that day - didn't want to miss the splash.

changed to a picture.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This past Halloween

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4 Wheel Drive... Guns...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Scorpions In Trance. 1975.

Uli second from right. Rudi far right. Klaus fourth from right. and the other two guys on either side of him. it's true, it was a rock-star band. and they were. Crazy good.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome to Winter

This is the last good weekend I would guess - I hope I'm wrong. Enjoy it.

Jack White said:

I'm coming through the door
but they're expecting more
of an interesting man
sometimes I think I can
but how much can I fake
I'll speak until I break
with every word I say
offend in every way

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welcome Kendal Rae Ringat

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hot Summer Train To Vacation

July 2009 to CO. Light Rail to the Airport. Loves of my life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One more for the Road...

Morning ride out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Luce Line 2009

Do you see the horse?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Wayfarer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Well, I'm sitting outside, grilling my dinner. It's lightly sprinkling and the temp is dropping now after dark. I put my new freewheel on, after repacking the cheap grind-y thing, those White Industries are expensive but worth it - 20 teeth should be just the ticket. Sounds like the weekend is only going to be slightly warmer, but fortunately dry. Steve isn't coming.

Despite these potential negatives I'm finding myself getting pretty excited to go!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Next weekend is coming fast. I took a ride today, made myself take a ride in the cold -that is. I have a sore throat/sore lungs thing going on so it was kind of painful, but I had to go. I pulled out my winter commuter gear and got set up - cold weather riding is a past-tense conversation now I realized; I didn't ride to work last winter and I'm probably not going to this year either. 35 degrees at the start felt really cold, but would have been a nice day mid-season, I told myself. Other than breathing I was comfortable but my legs weren't easily on top of the gear. I think I'm going to get a "20" this week rather than my usual 42/18. I'd rather spin more than suffer, I'll bring both.

My goal was simply to find where the new Luce Line trail starts at Theo-Wirth and check it out. Turns out it's just that dirt road along the golf course that goes from the parkway to the main TW trail start. Only now it's paved. As I rolled up I saw other riders, several of them, serious looking. 40 yards past the MTB entrance I ran into an in-progress Cyclo-Cross race. Steel single-speeds and carbon dream bikes for the most part. Definitely a Minneapolis vibe. I sat and watched and felt overdressed and under-fit.

I rode home resolving to get on my bike more this fall and winter. I really want it to be warmer next weekend, but if it's not I still want to go. If it's raining, maybe not. If it's snowing..., I guess we'll have to play it by ear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fair Hair

A Kathleen pic.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

News Flash...

Steve may actually be going. He thought it was next weekend rather than the following. Give him some love people.