Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Sunday technically-stunned hecklers called for RUSH. Drummer had to play the cliche YYZ intro twice before they got it. Guitarist's slow, off-tempo Fly By Night went way over their heads. I think they meant it as a math-rock slam more than true influence-appreciation - fuck them. This Friday, Minnesota State Fair, playing their landmark Moving Pictures in it's entirety, ladies and gentlemen RUSH! Tickets purchased the day they went on sale, I can't wait!

Monday, August 23, 2010

DaiKaiJu Rocks!

I was feeling kind of lazy with the usual Sunday evening depression, but the 501 wasn't too far and Steve insisted that these guys kicked some serious ass. I didn't know what to expect since he couldn't really describe them in any way that made sense, and they looked pretty typical as they set up their gear...

When the lights went down, the power-trio (yes just three) hit the stage with their masks in place and proceeded to blow my mind. It was kind of like surf, it seemed to have surf-progressions and it was all-instrumental, but it was surf meets punk meets metal meets wall of noise - and they were tight, very tight. Clearly skilled musicians all.

The guitarist's set-up was a page from the sound in my head (just before I plug in and ruin it): two amps, physically separated and running in stereo. Loads of delay swirling back and forth. Vintage tube amps on the cleaner side, but cranked, and with super touch-sensitive single-coils, producing a beautiful snarl when hammered. The delays continuing what the hands had started. The rhythm section relentlessly pounding a jagged groove through the sonic layers. The music was unbelievably hard, technical and catchy.

But there was something else - the masks. The band doesn't talk to the crowd, at all, there are no microphones on stage. -but their connection to the audience was one of the strongest I've ever seen. The guitarist (photo center) does this thing - I see why Steve had trouble describing - It's bizarre. Now keep in mind that he's playing these really challenging pieces of pulsing dynamic grind-storm all the while, but he's like slow-motion gyrating, then he just whips 90 degrees and freezes, and makes eye contact with you for like two or three seconds. Swirling, spinning, jumping, running... He moves constantly, slowwwwly starts sticking his butt out, then jerks, turns, holds, and looks right into your soul. It's nearly uncomfortable. His eyes so clear and emotional but his mask-face perfectly placid. Blank. Cold. And he's looking, right, at me. I couldn't stop watching him, the crowd couldn't either. When we talked to him after, he was very friendly, easy-going and gentle - that mask really seemed to set him free on stage.

Near the end of the show, the cool style-punk bartender that we'd been ordering from poked us in the back and we toasted his shot glass against the un-ordered ones he was handing us. When the band finally left the stage with their idle amplifiers hissing low-level white-noise, he said that in the year that he'd worked there they were the best band he'd ever seen on a Sunday night. I think they're the best band I've ever seen on a Sunday night too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shut down the guilt machine and wash your conscience clean of yesterday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

QBP Catalog is on the Internets

I discovered today that Quality (Bicycle Products) is now publishing their catalog on-line, in a very browse-able/search-able (or PDF-download-able) format. Seems like it took them a long time to decide that this was a good idea. No prices, but if you want to know what sizes and colors are available before you go to your shop, it's very handy. The link is right on their main page, and hard to miss. Much nicer than the old Harris Cyclery text-search link version. You can get yourself a brand-spanking new Dimension pie plate.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Raven - All For One - 1983

Nick Drake - Pink Moon - 1971

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bike Weekend - Sunday

As stable and floaty as my FSR is now, there was one more setting that needed evaluation. Saturday night Sean and I flipped the linkage over, slightly slackening the head tube and lowering the BB. You're not really going to know until you get it on dirt - I agree. Sunday I flipped the lock-outs and made my way though the hot and humid air up the Green-path, thought the old Cedar Lake jump spot (now ghost town), and on to the Theodore Wirth trails.

You were right Sean, it's better. It's more stable at speed, it corners better, and my center of gravity is lower over obstacles. Right on! Combined with the fork-fix, the brake fixes, the suspension tuning, the saddle-swap and the new 2.3 rubber - it's like a freaking new bike. I'm astonished how awesome it rides now (and kind of horrified that I didn't do these things years ago). Even in today's hot heat I was wanting to push it up hills, as it felt like it was actually helping me climb - I swear. I was charging though the trees, it was giving me chills. I was staying off the brakes and confidently linking turn to turn to turn to turn.

The balance between parts-upgrades and new bike, has totally swung back the other way now - thanks again man.

Bike Weekend - Saturday

I called Harbor Freight again on Saturday and learned that not only did they still not have the cheap digital hanging scale in stock, they never do because it's on-line only. That sucks. The last two times I was at Fleet Farm they were out of their version too. Damn, I wanted to weigh my bikes today! There has to be a way to use my nice digital package scale, but how?

This is how. A simple wooden dowel screwed to an off-set platform (or if you don't have a dowel you can make one by slowly rotating a square piece against your spinning table saw blade :)). Flip it over, clamp it into your work stand, and put the scale on top. Put the nose of your saddle on the center of the scale and let the bike dangle underneath, the offset keeping the bike clear of the stand. Weighed every bike in the garage. Next, the metal version.

Madone: 18 lbs 12 oz. Mercian 21 lbs 9 oz. 1x1: 27 lbs 8 oz. Cross Check: 29 lbs 9 oz. Tall bike: 32 lbs 1 oz. FSR: 32 lbs 8 oz. Wait for it. Wait for it. RM6: 44 lbs 7 oz.

Bike Weekend - Friday

Went to the second annual local handmade bicycle event with Heath on Friday. Talked Capricorn's Brad's ear off about him stopping by sometime for a beer and to see my bikes, or to take me to his studio to see his works-in-progress, or just to become best friends or something... He did recognize me as his neighbor who's head he sees passing by his kitchen window on the tall bike. I'm pretty sure he's now planning to discover a new way home that doesn't go past my house...