Friday, February 27, 2009

Bell Museum - University of Minnesota

Cool old-school museum on the U of M campus. Free on Sundays. Lots of dioramas and knotty-pine paneling. With a huge cool hands-on room: horns, elephant skulls, snakes & snake handling, pelts, fossils, plants, large-scale photography, and much more great stuff. Well worth a weekend visit, call us we'll go with you.

One of the best pictures I have, Thanks G.

This may explain it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Night Snowboarding at Afton

When I dug the jacket out of my gear bag, the attached ticket said March 2005. I knew it had been a while, but 4 years? - I guess it could be: I remember thinking I didn't go snowboarding this year, more than once. I will go this year for sure - more than once too. Today I did. Got my board ground, waxed and sharpened at the Alt first thing this morning - the guy said; it'll be fast and those edges are sharp - Be careful! It's just like riding a bike, I'm telling myself. It's just like riding a bike... And it was. By the third run I was about 80% back, later on I was tearing it up, launched into the air 4 times on one great run. I'd forgotten the adrenaline rush that flying down the hill is - and carving huge-wide turns like surfing on snow. So fun. It was a beautiful crisp night down in the Afton valley and morning-bed-warm inside my layered clothes; with the easy step-in bindings and the never-ending ipod it soon became a continuous circle of thrills and satisfaction.

Now, late night, my eyes feel like they are continuously filling with sand. My mind is satisfied, my body is tired. I think I'll be going again this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Big-Boy Single Speed Chain Tensioner

Two pieces of aluminum, two pieces of steel, three bolts, and a derailleur pulley.

Once upon a time in South Minneapolis, discarded bikes were as thick as the spray paint layers on the garages they lay in front of, and I wanted to build single speeds. Most old steel road bikes only needed about 8 pounds of componentry removed and some tweaking, but many others – mountain especially – could not achieve the necessary chain tension without lots of ring-and-cog-swapping trial and error – and often not even then. The NEW Surly Singulator worked perfectly but cut too deeply into the profit margin. The solution – three bucks worth of metal, a drill and a tap: the Queasyfish Big-Boy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ah, childhood memories...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Large Fella On A Bike

There is a blog I’ve been reading called large fella on a bike which sometimes stirs up my emotions. The blog’s “plot” is that just over three years ago Scott weighed 500 pounds, and at that point he and his wife made some radical changes to their lifestyles, including diet and full-time bicycle transportation, and are much healthier and happier, sub-200 pound, people today. At least that’s the surface story.

He rides his bike everywhere and never drives (but he also doesn’t have a job and hasn’t for years). He home-schools his 9 year old daughter (depriving her of peer society, but maintaining his stay-at-home value). They’re vegans (who complain about how penniless they are but buy their organic meals from the coop). There is no shortage of self-righteousness at their house.

Now Scott is undoubtedly an inspiration to many people who would love to follow in his footsteps. His story of waking up one day and living his life differently is the dream that sells a million TV products and inconveniences everyone at the gym each January. Scott is a very sarcastic and outspokenly critical person though –but that’s ok, lots of cool people are, right? He writes and punctuates well, he’s clever, he’s funny, and he can be warm and personal, but he is also very entitled and egotistical – he is a living breathing pillar of inspiration and model of alternative lifestyle and he damn well knows it.

That last part is what kills him. He’ll write a sarcastic and critical and humorous post and then have to defend himself by saying that people just don’t get his sense of humor. - It’s hard to know when to laugh though - when the post before is re-telling his dead-serious proactively-aggressive or hipper-than-thou interactions with motorists, or pondering whether it’s true that a statue of him is being built somewhere in Minnesota. He claims bicycle-society celebrity status, demands it; writes blog posts about how he contacts companies asking for free gear because of “who he is” in the bicycle world, and then turns around and writes furious, scathing posts about how a local frame-builder had the nerve to charge him to install a headset after all of the free press he gave him on his blog. -As one commenter said “almost as if he worked on bikes for a living”.

His writing can be so self-serving, so childishly self-centered and egotistical, that sometimes strangers on the street, recognizing him on his bike, tell him exactly where to go and how to get there.

Now in Portland, but without steady employment (Amy, his wife that is), they are feeling the economic pinch and write consistently about how poor they are and how things aren’t working out for them like they planned (or didn’t plan as the case may be). The personal criticism has gotten to the point where he has recently stopped blogging and his wife has begun, begging for those who don’t have anything nice to say to say nothing. I guess if you can dish the hummus out…

Probably most sadly telling to me is: he writes stories to and about bicycle friends in Minneapolis – friends that I don’t see reciprocating or even commenting, friends that seem to be keeping him at arms length across the burned bridges?

Even though all of this, I still want to like him, I want him to succeed. I think he’s just still riding on the crest of this wave of positive success and happiness and confidence and physical fitness - that you might expect after years of feeling bad. I think he’ll come back down to reality at some point, I hope so. You go Large Fella, you jerk!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Big Surf First Saturday

Fresh Memories here at 1:30... A good show, place is packed full of everyone. They played "Green Eyed Lady" (ocean lady... Setting suns and lonely lovers free) you know that song - instrumental of course. And a new song that was really good too, branching out. Leaning against a table after, talking about what's new. Big fight breaks out, both bartenders ejecting people, one throwing punches. Leave a bit after, cops and combatants milling around outside and circling around in cars, pee on a tree and get the hell out.

That's the flyer from tonight. Peeled it off the wall before leaving, it's so easy when there's a million people standing around.

Steve says he rode to work twice last week. 18 miles each way.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I want to build one of these.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Super Kozar - To the Rescue!

Eugene and Mac

Eric's not the only one who goes both ways, Eugene likes 'Em too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hackin' Up a Bloggie

Like the new look? I've been wanting to have something different for a while - different from other people's, different from a stock template; a little weird at first but it's grown on me. Perhaps I'll change it from time to time just because.

No other blog looks exactly like it I'm betting! - because it isn't just a different template, I hacked the HTML code of my original. Well, hacked, implies skill and code manipulation, virtually neither of which were involved in what I did - I intended to hack the code though - I thought: I'll change some of the dot colors or something - but when I took a look at it, I realized that what was required was even easier.

In fact, I couldn't change the dot colors because there weren't any colored dots. There was however, a small picture of about 8 dots, repeated over and over to make up the background, and another to surround the content and sidebar links - or more precisely, there were links to web pages where the pictures were hosted. I simply went to Google Images and found myself some new pictures, then replaced the links in my template code with the links to the new pictures. Voila!

Sunday, February 1, 2009