Monday, October 31, 2005

Homie Fall Fest '05

Beer, single-track trails, kabobs, peanut butter and jelly and prizes all around a fire. This wasn't your father's biking event. A fun time was had by all. I left before the extravaganza got completely out of hand.

Halloween Party '05

A large bad dog with Alice Cooper eyes and Cruella Deville. The coat to Mrs costume is huge. Add the right pair of glasses and you could go as Elton John.
This my ex-neighbor Spencer. He's like 7 years old and already a big fella. He's going to play football soon. I bet those scrawny little kids can't wait to get hit by him.
The hosts of the party. I think Cindy is the only person I know who loves Halloween more than I do.
Kids grazing. They're all smiling so the mangy dog can take their picture.
I guess I just liked the wings and they showed up so well on film.

Rumor has it that the large dog will be passing candy out tonight in South Minneapolis. I think I'm going to do one eye as a star like Paul Stanley of Kiss. I hope it's cool so my makeup doesn't run.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm Going Home

This is what my work area looks like now. No phone and basically a disaster area. There is, however, a black Surly crying to be ridden on a beautiful fall day. No work tomorrow. See you in church.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Our Interior Decorator Also Plows Snow

We're getting new carpet so I have to pack up my mess so the partitions that form my little work area can be moved. It seems like I just packed up my crap for the last office reorginization. I think I still have stuff in boxes from the last time. Walls are being painted by two guys from the Parks Department. I liked the shade of yellow listed as Main Street Lights. My boss over-ruled me in favor of a more nursing homish linen white.

X marks the spot. I did one skid mark with my Salsa last Friday. I had about a 25 foot run from down the hallway. The boys told me I couldn't cross the X because I didn't have enough of a run to skid. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Only needed about eight feet to complete the job on Monday with my Salsa. The industrial grey is being replaced with a dogshit brown. Hopefully, this color will hide all the mud, blacktop and slush the boys bring in on their boots.

Rode the Parade Bike to work today to show it off. Even the boys who care nothing about bikes were amazed by the fenders. Today was a nice sunny day so I took my bike out for a little six mile cruise at lunch time. Treatment tonight. That means playing on the way home. I'll ride my black Crosscheck. I'm not too keen about locking the new bike up at the hospital, out of my sight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This Time I Brought In The Heavy Hitter

Debbie and I stayed with Ella while Kris ran some errands. Mommy appreciated the break. Candy and plastic Halloween toys. Oh goody! I limited myself to one bag of M & M's, one plastic bat and a little jar of lime green Play Doh. I don't think Kris is going to be happy until I report to her that I have indeed eaten the Play Doh.
Chester who's like 15 years old and slowing down somewhat. Dogs are quite regal at this age. They know how the world works and don't miss anything.
Harry who's like 6 or 7. He's the black version of our Snowy. Harry escaped and had to be picked up at the pound the first hour after he was brought to his new home 2 years ago. Dogs are so photogenic and sit like these two were when they're waiting for a treat. I gave them the doggie sandwich cremes. I didn't try one myself but there's always next time.
Ella dining on my specially prepared formula mixture. This picture is after a short crying session. The girl's got lungs!! Dining produced sleep. Gosh, I wish we had a couch that was that big.

The star of the show on the dining room table. A very photogenic young lady who is now much more squirmy and giggly. She's also able to see everything and follows you with her eyes when you move. She's also able to vocalise her baby cooing on a pretty regular basis.

So, the short time with Ella went quite well. She was unhappy for a brief time, fell asleep after dining and was coaxed back to sleep shortly after Mommy got home. Almost time for my lunch. Damn, I forgot the Play Doh.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cyclocross, Mileage Goals And Bike Pyramids

Mill City Cyclocross Challenge at Powderhorn Park. Fun to watch. I can see why you'd want a pretty light bike since you end up running with it on your shoulder quite a bit.
An official photo to commemorate riding 6000 miles so far this year. The goal of 7000 needs to be reached by November 30th. Then, there will be a larger celebration with a cake and some type of entertainment. Shit, Johnny Cash is dead, or I'd of flown him in. It was cool to hit 6000 miles on my new Surly aka The Parade Bike.
Saturday Night Ride bike pile at Psycho Suzi's. The ride was fun complete with scolding by law enforcement and a fire.
More running up hill with bikes on shoulders. Do they have a division for 47 year olds with crappy knees?

My little bad ass standing next to her bike. She was quite entertained by the cyclocross races.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Afternoon's Alright For Fighting

Yikes, has this been a long week. Tree inspections have tapered off considerably in the last week or two. That's not so bad for a while until the grind of winter paperwork starts. Marked $2800 worth of private elms on Wednesday and now the homeowner called to say the trees aren't on their property. Some of them are close to the lot line so maybe she's right. But the one directly behind the garage is kind of hard for her to argue. She's called six times including a call about three minutes ago and has faxed me the lot survey two times. Hmm. I'm not much for fighting these people on a Friday afternoon. My boss and I are stopping by the property this afternoon. We do a pretty good rendition of good cop-bad cop. I'm almost always good cop. I think I'll be bad cop today.

Mill City Cyclocross Challenge is Sunday at Powderhorn Park, a five minute ride from my house. I'm sure Debbie and I will ride over to check it out. I've never seen a cyclocross race. Dying to see how they set the course up. Should be fun, especially if it's cold and rainy like they're predicting.

I think a ride on the tandem is in store for this evening. Hoping there's no rain tonight. With the temperature hovering around 50, I'm guessing the only cyclists out will be commuters.

So. Have a great weekend. Time is running out for you to decide about your Halloween costume. Rake leaves after most of them have blown into your neighbor's yard. Ride your bike. Ride it farther if you're eating like a condemned prisoner.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Arm Warmers And Sunblock

It's that time of the year. When I leave for work it's 38 degrees and you need to dress warm. I wear arm (not dress socks) and knee warmers, long fingered gloves and a warmer hat for under my helmet. I'm still riding in shorts so the knee warmers come in handy. I'm wearing fleece socks because my Shimano bike shoes aren't all that warm. I think I'm going to try a pair of those shoe covers. We'll see. By the time I go home I'm ready for a lot less clothing. Different socks, shirt and of course no hat or warmers. I usually wear a bandana under my helmet to buffer my head from the helmet. These clothes changes are made possible by the size of my bag. I'm sure glad I bought the big one.

Glad I'm riding so much because I'm eating like a condemned prisoner. I think I could lose some weight if I could just slow down on the chowing. At least I'm not gaining weight. Eliminating those 1200 calories a day from the boozing hasn't hurt either.

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Carol. Make my brother put on one of those shirts I gave him, and have him take you out for a nice dinner.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Just The Thought of It Hurts

This is my co-worker's hand. He had the ends of three fingers removed by a piece of moving large equipment in a non-surgical procedure. His fingers look pretty good now. The accident happened two months ago. He's a really nice guy. I guess your life can change in an instant.

As you can see we can remove trees with many methods. We don't need no stinking saw. I'd like to do this more often. This tree was removed next to the ice arena for some type of paved practice area. It was just about dead so it's no great loss to the tree world.

Treatment tonight. Slow ride there and ride like a banshee on the way home with an extended period of play in my neighborhood before I shower and go to bed. I don't think guys my age are supposed to have as much fun as I do playing at the end of my ride home from treatment. As Donut Guy says, 47 on the outside, 12 on the inside. Sorry G, I know you're only 46. Young punks!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Working The Bugs Out Of New Cell Phone

My new cell phone has taken a while to iron out the kinks. I switched from Cingular to T-Mobile and added a phone for Debbie to the account. Really nice picture flip phones with all kinds of little bells and whistles I didn't have with my old phone. I think most of my problems stem from switching carriers and keeping my old number. First, the caller id wasn't working. I stopped back at the place that sold us the phones and they had no luck getting it going. They said to give it 24 hours because of the carrier switching. That didn't help. I then spent 15 minutes on the phone with the T-Mobile customer service lady which didn't solve the problem. She transferred me to technical service. The recording told me the wait would be 49 minutes. I don't think so. I called customer service again the next day and the guy I talked to got the caller id operating. Awesome! Yesterday, I notice that the phone just kept ringing and didn't go to voicemail. Time to call customer service again. 10 minutes on phone with the first person and then I was transferred to technical service. 10 minutes later the technical service person came on the phone and within 5 minutes the voicemail was working. Today, the phone would neither send or receive calls. I stopped at the T-Mobile store and 40 minutes later the phone was working. For now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What To Do With A Lying Little Shit

It turns out that my buddy Bolstad was lying to me about a number of items. Lying about not drinking. Lying about having cancer. Lying about items too numerous to count. So after not hearing from him for two weeks, he calls yesterday. Says he's been to detox and has been kicked out of the half-way house he had been living at for the last two years after the last round of treatment. Drinking alcoholics can be really good liars. Lies are usually used to cover drinking. So, I understand the whole lying process. Hell, right before I quit drinking I was lying quite a bit to cover the increasing amounts of booze I was consuming. I can't be mad at the kid. I love him like a brother. Hopefully the sobriety will stick this time. Hopefully he'll stay employed this time. I hope he gets some money together soon. I don't think my wife will let me pay for more than one week's rental at the crappy motel he's staying at. Yeah, I'm a softy. I can't turn my back on the lying little shit.

Weather today is fabulous. Sunny and in the 60's. I rode the Salsa today so I think a long route home is in order. Through the lakes, Cedar Lake Trail, downtown and then home along the river.

Only two weeks to Halloween. We have a party to go to on the 29th. I'm thinking of going as some type of big fluffy animal. Cookie Monster? Big Bird? Always open to suggestions.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Happy Anniversary Darling

My dearest Debra,

You always knew I'd find the right time to use this picture on my blog. I thought today would be perfect. To me, the picture represents what a good sport you are. I don't think that coat and open flames mix. It might melt. I should've bought it when we saw it the first time. I hear someone actually paid money for it. Enough already about that coat. Thanks for 25 great years. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Being young and broke, watching Dallas and ordering a pizza on Friday nights, being late for work every day when we first got married. Thank you for your love and friendship. We're not 22 anymore. But we're still the same fun loving kids 25 years later. The same two kids the maid walked in on 25 years ago.

Love always,


Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Guess You Couldn't See That Front Blinkie

Had to swerve this morning to avoid getting hit by a van. I was riding west down 42nd Street at about 6:30 when this guy turning right sort of paused at the stop sign and started to make his turn. It really took a pretty good swerve and I was lucky there was no traffic coming behind me. I screamed some foul language at him and he got the hell away from me as fast as he could. This brings us to a few of my ideas about riding in the dark.

1. As San Diego 81 posted after a near miss he had, assume cars don't see you. It doesn't matter that you have blinking lights and reflective clothing on. They're not looking for bikes to be out in the dark.

2. Right before daylight comes assume they just got up about 20 minutes ago and are basically still asleep. After about 2 blocks on my bike in the morning and especially when it's cold I'm plenty awake. That wasn't the case when I was drinking, but we don't need to go into that.

3. After about midnight and in many cases before and especially on Friday and Saturday nights I pretty much assume that a large percentage of motorists have been drinking.

4. Cars don't run over bicyclists. Idjits on cell phones who happen to be driving a car hit bicyclists. Like I said before, if you just left the house 10 minutes ago, who do you need to call at 6:30 in the morning.

I'm sure you night riders have other ideas but those are a few of mine.

Rode to treatment and showed the boys the picture of my new bike. I don't think they understand the whole single-speed mentality. It was raining so I left the new bike at home. Leather seat and rain don't mix. Played in the neighborhood for a shorter time than usual last night. It was still fun slopping around in the puddles. Almost hit a pedestrian who was in a trance as she walked from her car. Good thing I didn't hit her when I was going 17 mph. She would've been injured and unable to ride the bike I'm giving her.

Off tomorrow. 25th anniversary is Saturday. Will put on a clean shirt and take Mrs out for dinner. She's a loving girl and rides a Surly. What more would you want in a woman?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday to PW and George

Wonders never cease. My nephew Paul and Bike Riding Donut Guy share the same birthday. I sure hope both of you have a fabulous day. I lived in Chicago when my nephew was born and remember the day they brought him home. I was 20 at the time. Geez, time flies by fast. So, go out to some place swanky and drop a shitload on dinner. I parked illegally every time I went to Minoqua trying to get a ticket to mail you for your birthday, but was unsuccessful. That wouldn't be the case here in Minneapolis.

George, does a baker have to make his own birthday cake? That would be kinda wrong, even if he's very gifted at his craft. I wish we could go on a long slow ride and shoot the breeze. But, this will have to do. So, from one 12 year old to another, have a great day. For guys like us, age is just a number.

I picked up a cake for guys but since you're so far away I had to eat it myself. Isn't it the thought that counts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

No, I Can't Leave The Bag. How Would I Get My Dirty Underwear Home?

Finally got the Surly patch I got as a gift from Corson (and Derrick-QBP) at Surly sewn on my bag. I think it looks pretty good and the sew job was half the fun. Debbie called around yesterday to find a place that would sew it on while I waited. There's a place called Sew What here in beautiful Richfield so I went there today. The lady made me take all the crap out of the bag and tried to get me to leave it. She relented on the overnight and loaded black thread in the machine. She grumbled and pissed and moaned through the entire 45 seconds it took to sew the patch on. Being the smart-ass that I am called for me to give her shit every time she made eye contact with me. I asked her if she enjoyed doing the work because there will be more patches for her to sew on. This brought on more crabbiness. I think I got my money's worth.

Ride on new bike was wonderful after work last night. It's quiet and very smooth. Coaster brake is not going to be an issue. Still breaking in the Brooks saddle or is the Brooks saddle breaking my ass in. Time will tell. Anyways, what you give up in cruising speed is more than made up in hill climbing ability on this bike. I think I'll have the boys at Freewheel adjust the stem so I'm not so hunched over. Other than that, it's damn near perfect.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Latest Addition To The Fleet

Here it is! My new Surly Crosscheck in the blood red color I always coveted. Moustache bars, single speed, coaster brake and Brooks saddle. Thank you goes out to the good folks at Freewheel and especially Josh, Patrick and Tyler. I'd also like to thank Scott from QBP for hooking me up with the coaster brake. Sometimes you're not sure if the bike is going to look as good as you hope when you are picking out the components, but this one pleased me beyond my wildest dreams. Tyler suggested the honjo fenders and I think that's one of the items that really sets the bike off. The gear is a 47 x 17 and seemed perfect when I rode it the nine miles home from Freewheel. Donut Guy always says he wants to be buried with his Crosscheck and I'm thinking this one will be buried with me. I'm not going to put this bike through the daily beating of commuting. My wife is reading this right now and saying, "yeah, sure".

Friday night ride for pizza was great and got interviewed by Rick Fuentes for a piece he was doing about people bike commuting because of the high price of gas. That's not why we do it. We just like to ride.

Saturday Night Ride ventured to Saint Paul and then to Crosby Farm for a fire. Glad I rode the Salsa because the kids were intent on a fast pace. Went to bed at 4 am and got up at 7 for the Sunday Morning Donut ride. I was jonesing for pancakes so we went to Uptown Diner for breakfast.

Upper Northeast bar tour was fun. I had a cool t-shirt for about 3 hours but gave to some guy who had latched on to our group and begged me for it. He put it on right away and I'm sure he'll cherish it forever. I left the group at 331 Bar and hauled ass home. Got home at 11:15, had a shot of aerosol whip cream and hit the sack.

Rode 153 miles from Friday through Sunday and am currently quite sleep deprived. Early to bed tonight. Time to pack up my bag and head home right now. I can't wait to get there. I've got a shiny new bike that I'm dying to ride.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I'm Way Taller Than The Jockey

As promised or threatened, here's a picture of what the boys at work call the Pippi Longstockings look. I don't care what they think. The arm and leg warmers do the job and I'd rather wear shorts as long as I can. I also got a pair of sweater arm warmers from Kris yesterday to go with my dress sock (hereNT has the patent) armwarmers. The sweater armwarmers are black and must of come off the sweater of a woman with alligator arms. The sweater didn't belong to Kris, I think it belonged to her down the block friend.

Posting this at work right now and counting the minutes till I get the hell out of here. Sat in some guy's living room with my boss this morning while he read the definition of a hedge to us. My boss and I gave each other the WTF look to each other. The guy is pissing and moaning about the height of his neighbor's hedge. I hope I've got something better to do when I'm his age than start pissing matches with my neighbors. 12:57 pm now. About two and a half hours to go. Somebody shoot me.

Dragger ride (tandem) scheduled tonight with a stop for pizza. Donuts in the morning and pizza at night. That should get our cholestorol up into four digit territory. Sounds like my new Surly is getting close to done at Freewheel. I'll let you know how bad that Brooks saddle hurts my ass after I ride on it. I bought a pair of cheapie padded bike shorts on E-bay this morning for the break in period of the Brooks saddle.

Pizza and new bike tonight? Take Mother to bank tomorrow. Mow lawn. Not. Sunday Morning Donut Ride. Sunday evening Upper Northeast bar tour ride with no alcohol for yours truely. Pictures of weekend activities on Monday. Solid.

Have a great weekend


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Never A Dull Moment

Pea soup humid on Monday. Monsoon on Tuesday. Falling temps and gale force winds on Wednesday. You get the full range here as far as weather goes. It was about 39 degrees when we left the house this morning and quite windy. Anytime I had to ride directly west was brutal pedalling. Average speed for 13 miles was 13 mph. I think I dropped my ice cream cone at 46th and Portland. I was plenty warm because of my new arm and knee warmers that I picked up cheap in Wisconsin. I wore them with my Oakland A's jersey and a pair of camo shorts. It's quite the look. Maybe I'll have Mrs take a picture of it when I get home. I was called Pippi Longstockings by one of my co-workers. Hey, style goes out the door when it comes to riding your bike and staying warm.

I rode 46 miles yesterday in 5 periods of riding. 13 miles to work in the morning. 4 miles at lunch time. 9 miles back home from work. 9 miles to the hospital for group and 11 miles home from the hospital. I hope that adds up to 46. It was windy and cold after group and I stayed out till 10 o'clock. I felt really good and could've stayed out all night. But 5 am is a nasty time to get up so I went home to get some sleep.

It's 3:45 pm right now. Temperature is 42 and the windchill is 34. Time for Pippi Longstockings to get his shit together and saddle up.

A Puddle Is More Fun Than Any Toy

Hi young ladies. Thanks so much for letting me take a picture of your children. They looked like they were really having a good time. I would've ridden through the puddle several times if I hadn't had my main biking shoes on. Yes, life is short. They won't be little kids forever. Thanks again. Do yourselves a favor and don't read any further down than this. My language can be colorful at times.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'd Rather Of Been Out On My Bike

From reading Minneapolis biker blogs today it seems that a fair number of you were out in last night's monsoon on your bikes. I wish I had been on my bike. After a break in the rain for a good period of time yesterday afternoon it started raining as I left work. Oh goody, three pairs of soaked shoes. Good thing I've got like 40 pairs of shoes. Got home, gulped down a salad, shaved and showered and drove Mrs to her family group treatment meeting. They sit around and talk about what a jerk their alcoholic/chemically dependent spouse or son/daughter was when they were using. Then I stopped by Freewheel to get her a new headlight. While I was there I picked out a saddle and bar tape for the new Surly. I also rode some $3100 full suspension mountain bike. I took it down to the Riverside LRT station and rode on the platform for shits and giggles.

Was instructed to do a load of laundry before picking Debbie up at the hospital at 7. So I'm still at Freewheel at 6:20 with my load of laundry waiting for me at home. I bust ass to get home and at least throw the laundry in the washer so I don't look like a total loser. I get back to the hospital at 6:50 and meet her inside. I stop on the way in at the parking garage to talk to two young men in the attendant's booth entertaining themselves with acoustic guitars. Told them I never have the damn camera when I really need it. We run up to the floor she works on and I show her a post I'd put on my blog and a post from San Diego 81's page.

We are now ready to leave the hospital and stop for coffee at a place on 38th and 42nd. We wait till the monsoon slows slightly and run to the car. I leap a 6 foot puddle at the curb and drive away. Almost every street on the way home has standing water. The air conditioner quits and the alternator light comes on. At this point I'm hoping like hell that the car won't die and have to be towed. Coffee stop doesn't sound so good at this point. We meander through the side streets and end up at the coffee shop nonetheless. I'm wondering if the car will start if I shut it off so I run in for some type of sweet. Ran back out with two cookies and tried to navigate home. Car is now in garage and not sure if it will start. Riding my bike to my group treatment session tonight. It's much safer than driving a car.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Drenched, Saturated, Soaked - Take Your Pick

Moments after my arrival at work dripping from the deluge I rode 11 miles through. Of course I didn't get off my lazy ass to walk Snowy before it started raining so I had a wet dog to deal with before Mrs and I headed off to work. We actually had a break in the rain when we left for work. I felt like a full escort service this morning so I rode all the way to the hospital. Locked up my bike and waited for Debbie to change clothes and hit the hospital cafeteria for their world-renowned breakfast sandwich and some coffee. Called work to tell them I'd be late and then stopped back at home to see if my wallet was there. It wasn't. Changed shoes at home and headed back out in to rainstorm. My wallet turned out to be in another compartment of my bag. What a doof. Everybody gets off the freeway when it rains hard here so traffic on Portland was extra heavy. I was riding close to the curb and some screwball honked his horn at me. I think I yelled something containing the f-word back at him. We have a clothes dryer in the repair garage so everything is dry except my shoes and gloves. I'll wear my work shoes home. Loads of rain still out there on radar so it might be a soggy commute home. No big deal.

Footnote to vacation: The keys to the cabin were inadvertantly locked in the cabin on Friday. Gosh Debbie, who did that? Luckily, every kid who grows up in Chicago has to prove he/she can pick a cheap lock with a credit card before being allowed admittance to high school. My Discover card was a little too stiff but my Sam's Club card was perfect. Because I had to try a second card my time was increased to five minutes. Aah, breaking and entering at the cabin. It beat the hell out of throwing a brick through one of the windows.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wind Powered Bad Ass

Trying to amuse myself and take my mind off a serious issue. My friend Bolstad in Missouri called from the hospital to tell me that the cancer that started in his colon has spread to his pancreas and kidneys. I'm even smart enough to know that's some bad shit. The day I posed for this picture it was cold enough to wear all the stuff I've got on. It was about 35 degrees when I left the cabin and the bridges on the trail over creeks had ice on them. 35 won't seem cold in January, but it sure is chilly after riding in 80 degree weather. Windmill schwag item will be mounted on Red Trek when it's given to my friend Kris. She should get a kick out of that. Kinda hard to look like a bad ass on that particular bike. Easier to look like a BA on a Next than on a recumbent.

A Few Vacation Pictures

Debra here in front of Dor Way. It's a bar that I've spent about a million dollars at. The owner was quite surprised that I quit drinking. I know his cash register weeped for my decision to quit.
A boy and his dog. Damn, I look comfortable. Makes me want to put on my spider man pajamas and go to bed right now.
There are a number of spots where the bike trail looks like this. Now I like the jazz of riding in rush hour traffic but riding on this trail is pretty relaxing. You almost forget to pedal.
My Wu Wu on the kitchen floor of the cabin. The sun shining on her was what made me grab the camera. She's going to be 14 this month and probably doesn't have many Wisconsin vacations left in her. Whoa! Just writing that made me emotional.
My rental bike for the week. Chain was bone dry. I lubricated it with snowmobile oil I found at the cabin. I think my water bottle is worth more than the whole bike. Oh yeah, I took this picture to show the utility poles in the center of the trail. There's five spots like this. Eyes forward kids.

If you want pictures of deer you don't have to look too far. These are "town" deer that are used to being fed by the locals. You can practically walk right up to town deer.


This guy looks like Joliet Jake, but I don't believe Jake played the saxophone.
Like the picture above, this is from the Parade of Roasts.
This kid was so focused on the puddle at his feet before the parade started. His mother told me he made a bigger mess of himself at the zoo the day before in a mud puddle. Future mountain biker?
Mrs crafting. I don't believe she bought anything at the craft show. She must of been saving her money for that spectacular calendar holder she bought later in the week.

The kid on the snowmobile looks like he's enjoying himself. They're nutty about snowmobiling up there.