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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pinched Nerve, HFF, Geno, Arrogance, and a mention of the CRC west

So I jacked my back pretty good a few days ago - pinched a nerve. Pain indeed. Visited the chiropractor twice now, doing better but need a few days to recover. I think the WNR is a no go for me tonight - gonna miss the 5th ride of the month unless I'm feeling much better in a few hours, which could very well happen. And furthermore, based on events planned for the weekend, please don't go calling me on Sunday - even I require a bit of rest, from time to time.

Kris pointed out this article in the local paper to me this morning. Good for Gene and Jennifer, I'm glad to see proof of them doing well - as if the addition on their home wasn't an indication by itself... And why is it popular for anonymous people to say they were treated with arrogance when walking into 1/1, and then always citing Freewheel as the preferred place to go? I can't speak for Freewheel, because I haven't walked into that place in years, but the characters at 1/1 are some of the friendliest in town (even to people they don't know, believe it or not), and I routinely see them all go to great lengths to help out a customer - even occasionally sleeping uncovered on the benches and hardwood floors to ensure they're on time for work in the morning - now that's dedication you don't see at those chain branches like the CRC, unless you're at the CRC west, because that's occurred a number of times - believe me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

darkness is upon us

So it's dark getting to work, gonna be dark on the way home soon as well. My hands were numb from the cold this morning - note to self - pack better gloves and I'm gonna need something to cover the ears soon. Make sure to freshen the batteries on your red blinkies - they keep working but get too dim and now's when you need 'em, my friends.

High Life update: 5160, with a stack of points sitting on the counter, just a waiting for bonus point days. Update: they're giving away a cruiser bike for 31-thousand points - only 108 cases to go!

Yep, they started giving out points for drinking beer and the wrong guy found out about it.

Scored a 3-speed English rider last night - looking forward to giving her a few laps around the block.

Friday - God Came From Space at Stasius. When you see me, offer a drink - I think this goes without saying.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

back on the topic at hand

First of all, let's take a look at the Pack-Max Duo cargo bike brought to us by De Fietsfabriek - I really like this:
Pack-Max Duo

Next up is just another Carrier Bike, again from De Fietsfabriek:
Carrier Bike

Next up is a pair of Cargo Bikes - these are all over the place in Amsterdam - I want one of these:
Bakfiets

Finally, there are quite a few rides locked up with beer cans stacked upon them - I imagine them used as trash cans, similar to pick-up truck beds here in the States:
Heineken Tall Boy Rack

That's all for now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bologna with a splash of bidet

So I get a rental car to drive to my destination from the Bologna airport a few days ago. Upon return I decide it a good idea to refill the tank - but it's 2100 and the stations are closed, so I drive up to the next one I see, see something that looks like it could be a sign for 24 hour self-service operation, and proceed to attempt at inserting my credit card into any number of cracks and grooves in the side of the gas pump - to no avail. Hmm. Oh well, I go to the next one - voila! It looks like my Master Charge is not accepted, but the old tried and true cash money is (several stories about how credit card machines seem to be "broken" when traveling in Italy), so I go and get some cash money, put a 50 euro note into the central machine(smallest I note on hand), more problems trying to figure out that my car is not a diesel (I could have sworn it was), and find the pump stops filling at 37 euros - OK, I'll go get my change - nope, this thing ain't setup for giving change. No problemo, I guess I'm expensing that loss... Seriously, it took me 30-minutes to fill the tank of the Ford Fiesta before I could return it. Oh, and there aren't AM stations on the dial over here for shit - static and squealching, nothing else.

In other news, I met a couple from Ukraine this afternoon while at work - very nice, although none of us shared a common language - but I could tell they were good people, and I could tell they thought the same of me.

In other other news, I ate at a restaurant last night where they had on display 4 wine bottles above the bar - one named after Mussolini, one with Hitler(no shit), one with the Pope(JP2), and one with somebody else I can't remember. Great pasta, but I hadn't noticed the bottles until on the way out. Fascists.

OK, one link - my body hasn't felt fresher in years!

1223

OK, next time I'm sitting outside my hotel at 2am trying various combinations of a possible pass code to get in, it's 1223 - and is not a combination of 1, 3, and 5 like I insisted to myself. Because if you don't remember the code, you have to buzz the owner, a 90-year old man who comes out in his bathrobe with a smile, but surely not crazy about the whole situation - evident by him grunting and murmuring for the 5-minutes it takes him to get out of bed with the intercom left on at his end.

Ciao.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

this time I'm fully with it - sorry about that other night thing

I'm checking the news for the first time in more than a day - yeah I know, way out of touch. How the hell did Obama just get a 53-36 lead over Hero-boy? And I see my departure from the country hasn't saved the economy - I was hoping there would be some influence.

I'm just walking through the Amsterdam airport when two airport cops come flying past me at full speed on their Segway scooters, pants flapping in the wind, which paints a picture of GOB into my head and I can't stop laughing in their direction.

My custom bag, hand made by Eric at Banjo Brothers is complete - see me sporting it on my return.

But seriously - I'd move to Sweden in an instant - the food, the people, the beauty, the culture - in an instant...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

re-energize America

Hello, my name is Sarah Judkins. I'm an organizer with a project called the Trek to Re-Energize America. The Trek to Re-Energize America is a bike trip to Washington D.C. to demand real action on climate change. Riders will depart for D.C. from all across the country, leaving from their home states and sweeping up media attention and grassroots support as they go. Upon arrival in D.C. the riders will rally and lobby for action on current legislation by asking their representatives to be leaders in the fight against climate change. A massive number of organized passionate people who have biked across the United States for something they believe strongly in will make for a statement that politicians and media will be unable to ignore. I was hoping that you would be willing to put up a link or banner for the Trek on your blog to help us spread the word and continue to engage more people across the country. The website is www.TrektoReEnergize.org I can send you a banner if you'd like to put one up.

Thanks, cheers,

Sarah Judkins

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last night in Belgium and whoa is it a doozy

So I'm almost falling asleep today at work - go to dinner right next to a 1446 castle outsite of Leuven - can't seem to find it right now.

Go to some bar. Visit with some guy from Romania, a couple from Antwert, who are going to the hospital tomorrow for a visit - she's very nervous as well as he - but it's down to the wire and they're gonna find out what's wrong and probably not a lot of sleep - oh, and he bought me a Duvel and a shot of some "Geneva" wheat liquour.

Oh, and then a bunch of Manchester guys show up - I buy a few of them beers, no wait - a few Canadians show up - I buy them a few beers, one of them stays around, a bunch of Manchester guys stay around - I buy a bunch of them a bunch of beers - some are from the RAF, but I doubt it. Bunch of damn dentists, anyway.

God I love Belgium - and spell checker...

How did the cross race go? Seriously.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

night 1 in Belgium

OK, meeting Karim's 2.5 year old daughter makes up for the escalator excursions I endured on Saturday afternoon. Cutest girl possible. I don't speak her Tunisian, but she's a total sweetheart.

Got a chance to briefly see the following landmarks: NATO headquarters, the Royal Palace of Brussels, the Manneken Pis, the Cinquantenaire, and the Atomium. And when I say briefly, I mean drove by in the passenger seat.

Just came back from having an in-depth discussion on beer with Willem tending bar - no, Bram is not working tonight, but Willem just happened to have Michael Jackson's great beers of Belgium book in his bag - a publication I've desired since it's first printing in 1991. Unfortunately the hardcover I just browsed is in Dutch, so I didn't get a lot of information from it, but the photos alone are deserving of the purchase. Willem just finished writing an article on Delirium Tremens for the beer tasting club he's a member of. It seems that Willem and I have similar hobbies and interests - bonding but no physical contact, sorry readers.

I got a few sweet photos of bikes this afternoon in Amsterdam - will post them when possible - I left the camera cord at home and flickr is blocked from my work laptop - land of the free, eh?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

escalators, Amsterdam, Wirth race, Dow, beer

where to start?

bridge club Friday night - rode by a gas station, saw gas at $2.89 per gallon - wasn't it just 4-bucks recently? Shit, get out there and drive.

heading on a trip - my colleague sends me a list of stuff to bring him and family - so I'm trucking up and down escalators at Pennies looking for pajamas and the like for size 4T and 6T children - out of my element, dude. and those escalators aren't a ride, people - keep on moving, it'll help to rid the cellulite. I'm gonna have to have a talk with him - no more shopping mall excursions.

fast forward a bunch of hours - sitting in the AMS airport.

anybody going to the wirth cyclocross race today? I'm bummed I'm missing it.

Wednesday the 15th - there's a birthday ceremony and tree dedication for Rachel Dow from 5-7pm at her bench on the W river road at Folwell Ave.

get out there people, we've all got beer to drink.

Friday, October 10, 2008

they're taking my Chloe away on Tuesday

this just in from Freaky Friday:

Hey Folks-

Big News, Weird & Odd News, Bizarre News:

As I'm sure many of you know, after all the flip-flopping back and forth on relocating out of MN for Portland, OR [and then it was Northern Cali, and then Portland, and then... ] and then calling the whole enchilada off [too much shit wasn't coming together, and Amy had resigned from her gig here in Minneapolis and couldn't un-resign (hiring freeze) and then money was getting very sparse, and then Amy landed a gig at Abbott... ] we decided to stay here in Minneapolis for -at least- the winter.

Well, much has changed in a short time.

We have to be out of our current place this Sunday, and into a new crib in Seward. That didn't work out [dump, over-priced] and we were prepared to go to our "Back-Up Plan". That being staying with our good pal, Bob Brown, at his crib until we could find a place for Nov. 1st. And that's what's happening... 'cept it will be for precisely 3 days.

Huh?

Yep.

In our latest episode of "Jebus Christ on a cracker with aerosol cheese": Amy got a call from the place in Portland that -way back in August- needed her [us] to be there with Oregon Nursing License in hand ASAP [but her license wasn't here yet, so they had to hire someone else]... as of two days ago, they have a position for her, in a department that's her specialty and with housing included in the deal.

So... her start date is Oct. 27th, we take the new apt. on Oct 24th.

So to the folks who care [and the ones who might not, but we care about you anyway], it looks like 'next Spring' is actually 10 days away. We are hitting the road w/bikes, cat, daughter, wife, me, gerbils and assorted crap that constitutes Life on Oct. 14th westbound for Portland [getting there a little bit early will allow us time to explore, get all of our stuff into storage and ride around... we'll be staying in motels on the Oregon coast while waiting for our crib to become available].

We hope we bump into you before then [residing in the Battle Creek area of SP will seriously cramp our day to day rollin' thru the 612 me thinks/not to mention the short amount of time we are around before splitting], but if we do not... anyone receiving this email, well you mean, have meant, will always mean... a great deal to us. We hope you all know this. We do.

Good thing we had two parties... twice as many memories.

We will think of you all back here rollin' thru winter, think of us out there rollin' thru rain [it's all wetness in the end].

Rubber Side Down, and much Love-

-Scott, Amy & Chloe Cutshall

PS-->> Nick & Kevin J, all systems are still Go for Sunday, I'll be in touch with you both, Thanks

All this from a guy who spends his nights peeing on high voltage lines. We'll miss you kids - godspeed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Ladies of Team Pegasus & Friends Calendar

this just in from The Minx:
The ladies of Team Pegasus and some of their ladyfriends (like me) are banding together to put out a calendar for 2009 that will benefit World Bicycle Relief and Team Pegasus. This may be of interest to your readers...would you mind reblogging this? We're trying to spread the word far and wide. As in farther and wider than it's already been spread.
do it people.

In other news - have I mentioned that Monday is the new Friday - because it sure was yesterday, from what people tell me, anyway. I think I'm going to hell. Is Tuesday the new Friday? Stay tuned and find out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

bicycle bill, my sweet 401k, and farmer mark

So I'm browsing recently passed HR1424 this afternoon, as few citizens and a few congress-people have done as well, and randomly find a resolution for the employers of bicycle commuters, as follows:

SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS.

    (a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
        `(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.'.
    (b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking `and' at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting `, and', and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
        `(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.'.
    (c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
        `(F) DEFINITIONS RELATED TO BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT-
          `(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term `qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement' means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment.
          `(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term `applicable annual limitation' means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.
          `(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term `qualified bicycle commuting month' means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--
            `(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee's residence and place of employment, and
            `(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).'.
    (d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting `(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)' after `qualified transportation fringe'.
    (e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.
So I do a quick search and find this little known addition hasn't gone overlooked by everyone in the country. $20 bucks per month for each commuter - shit, that's gonna help my company write off in the neighborhood of 1000 big ones every year - time to rejoice for one Earl Blumenauer, at least.

Speaking of money, let's take a look at how my 401k is doing this year...
Whoops, I guess leftover Ramen and stolen sprinkler water is what I've got forward to in my golden years, assuming that ever happens.

Here's me last week after three or so hours of gardening at a farm in Colorado. That bike will soon be mine - perhaps as early as when my 401k picks up a bit...
on the BOSS

Friday, October 3, 2008

debates, cargo bikes, killer breath, and mason jars

Rode over to the Rose's house for a gathering to watch the debate - most of us are all "on the fence" here in Minneapolis on who to vote for, dontcha-know. I ended up watching 15 minutes or so of the debate - really, what's the point? During this time, I did get a chance to ride Marlin's latest fabrication - a custom brazed front-load cargo bike, which I would be more than happy to take off his hands.

Quote of the night while at the BLB, peering at the 85-90 narrow riser-barred, deep-V'd, 650b'd, bladed spoked, fixies in front of the place :
"...the biggest cock I ever saw, dude had poop breath."

On a side note - if any of the listeners has any extra Mason jars - hand them over to me for some canning and preservation - seriously. I'll also be needing a pressure cooker for said canning operations.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ghost Bike Memorial Ride This Saturday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ghost Bike Memorial Ride to Honor Fallen Bicyclists

Minneapolis / St.Paul-October 2008 - This Saturday, the bicycle community will come together to honor the memory of cyclists who have been killed in recent accidents on Twin Cities streets. A memorial ride will visit the sites of three of the most recent crashes, where "Ghost Bikes" have been placed as a memorial to the victims. For more info on Ghost Bikes please visit http://www.ghostbikempls.org.

Family, friends and cyclists are invited to participate in this group ride. Organizers are asking that participating cyclists please wear a black shirt with orange ribbon around their arm or handlebars. Ribbon will be provided for those who need it.

What: Memorial Ride to Honor Fallen Bicyclists
13.6 miles for Twin Cities route
14.3 miles extra for Blaine route

Where: Meet on the traffic island at Summit and Snelling Avenues in St.Paul

When: This Saturday, October 4th, 2008. The ride will meet at 10:30 am; depart 11:00 am

Contact: ghostbikempls@gmail.com or 612-276-1008

The ride will begin at Summit and Snelling Avenues near the ghost bike memorial for Virginia Heuer Bower. It will then head west down Lake Street to Excelsior and West 32nd Street, the ghost bike memorial for Jimmy Nisser. The ride will then head back up Excelsior/Lake, then northeast on Hennepin to the ghost bike memorial for Nik Morton.

There is an unrelated "group photo" event at 3pm at Gold Medal Park (the red square on the bikemap) and participants are welcome to continue on to be part of the "Unite Bike" group photograph: http://www.unitebike.com/

In the afternoon, another ride will head to Blaine in order to place a Ghost Bike at Central and Cloverleaf, where cyclist Dale Aanenson was killed.

Riders are expected to be orderly and respectful of traffic. If you are riding recklessly, you will be asked to leave.

More discussion on the memorial ride can be found on the community message board Minneapolis Bike Love.

Information about the victims of these tragedies can be found here:
Dale Phillip Aanenson

Virginia M. Heuer

Nik Morton

Jimmy Nisser


Handbill here (pdf)

relax, I'm back

First of all, that last post I posted - about the Jana winning that race deal - yeah, she didn't win. She did come in first behind the winner, so that's pretty damn good. Not sure what she got for prize swag, but I like to think it was good stuff.

I was out in the CO west for a few days, visiting the former shockspital intern and now Naropa monk:
Had a great time - rode my bike around a lot, also rode a Bianchi BOSS with orange Paul hubs, stayed at a hippie co-op house, found an amazing used bookstore with an incredible selection, finally drank at Mountain Sun, and ended my stay by seeing the sun disappear behind the mountains as my plane exited the gate. Now I have to take advantage of my super lungs seeing that I'm about 5000-feet (1500m) lower in elevation.

But seriously, I did my best to find a Subaru in affluent Boulder without some sort of bicycle/kayak/ski/something-or-other rack on top - simply can't be done, at least with the power of one person - I think this might be a good distributed computing problem, like finding the next largest prime number, but in this case I think it's a losing proposition.

In other news, did I miss anything while away? And on a completely unrelated note, I wonder how my stocks are doing...