Wednesday, December 31, 2008

assorted 2008 photos

Not really the year in review, but the best you'll get from this blog. Miscellaneous pictures from the year that (almost) was.

The Tour of Pennsylvania...shots from the front porch:


Also Tour of PA, but not from my porch:


What Shippensburg looks like the rest of the year:


Broken mountain bike crap:


Father's day present (yes, it's a wallet made from a bicycle tube...and it's awesome):


The three natural-born goats (before there were four) on a ride through campus...Marian's taking the picture from her trailer:


Assorted shots of me, with others, engaged in my third favorite pass time...at home:


...at the hospital:

...camping:


...and with the new kid:


A shot of Mare and I with a lamb in the yard (yes, the lamb is wearing a pull-up):


The autumn rake-up (I'm not kneeling):


The lovely and ever-accommodating:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

this nasty shoulder

All y'all remember that I broke my collarbone (again) in early October. Last Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I was headed out to deliver cookies to a few friends and fell on the ice.

My shoulder today:


(The bump, where it looks like my clavicle just ends, is from the first break. It's the bruising I want to highlight.)

I should have known better. It had been raining all night, the rain began to freeze, and upon closer inspection there was about a 1/4 inch of ice on my back steps. I should have known better, but apparently I don't. First step down--I didn't stand a chance--first step down and I was on my back.

Well... Not directly on my back. I saved the cookies in my right hand. Broke my fall with the left forearm. In retrospect, I would have been better off on my back, because what happened left my collarbone hurting like a mother.

After I determined I hadn't broken the bone again (at least not clean through, I'm not convinced that I didn't somehow crack it but probably just strained the new growth, the bone "patch"), muttered half a dozen words I didn't learn from my mother, repeated dozens of times, I grit my teeth, put on a plastic smile and made the deliveries. Once home, I took two oxycodone and went to bed.

But it can't be hurt that bad. That was Wednesday, and on Friday I rode 80 minutes on the trainer, learned to ride a Ripstik, and tried for about a half hour to ride a unicycle. Saturday I got 56 miles in on the road.

Collarbones... Definitely a human skeletal design flaw.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a few pics...

A couple of teaser shots for Mark of the new rig (and my unattractive basement ceiling) after a wet night ride:



And a shot of the fool who loves to go out and ride in the dark:


Actually, that ride just finished in the dark. From a couple of Saturdays ago. About three and half hours of Michaux's finest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

weather here = craptastic

(Valerie has told me that "craptastic" is my new favorite word. Might as well embrace it...)

Yesterday, while hurriedly finishing my grading, I watched the snow accumulate on the grassy lawn that my office window overlooks. I was getting so excited. I made plans to ski today--if not at a resort, then cross country atop the mountain. And I was getting antsy to get my ride on. I love me some fresh (mtb) tracks.

But it was a busy day, and I didn't get out until 9:30pm. And by then it was raining.

Yes. Raining. After snowing all day, the snow turns to rain a few hours after nightfall. Unbelievable.

So it was a wet, not-really-that-fun ride. I could only manage about 40 minutes.

This morning: more rain.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

reminiscence

Growing up, my dial was tuned to the Boise classic rock* station KJOT, J105, "Idaho's Best Rock"--which, I was surprised to learn, is still on the air, playing, it would seem, more or less the same tunes it did 20 years ago.

Every Monday morning at 6am, about five minutes after I was supposed to get up to deliver the paper, the morning show would kick off with this little ditty from Fleetwood Mac.



Before today, I'm not sure I'd heard this song since I was a teenager. But for some reason (odd...it's not even Monday) the song popped in my head today.


* Born in the early 70s and coming to a popular music awareness in the 80s the moniker "classic rock" made sense to me as that really great era of popular music that immediately, and only coincidentally, predated my interest in music. But now, more than two decades later, it seems odd that a certain kind of popular music recorded in the 60s and 70s would qualify as "classic rock" and everything since...something else. Which leads me to wonder, who coined the term "classic rock" in the first place?

There's so much power in definitions...

...

I got a flat yesterday...riding the trainer. Isn't having to ride a trainer crappy enough without having to worry about flat tires? Insult to injury...

Monday, December 8, 2008

notes from the trail

(1) Rifle season is over. Hallelujah.

(2) I've said it before: Pennsylvania winters suck rocks. It is a "crappy dark-cloudy-northern-dreary-craptastic-cold-funk of a winter." I'd forgive the cold and windy and constant overcast-dreary if we could get a decent snow cover. But here in south-central pee-aay, even though it's been crazy cold for the past several days, we won't get precipitation again until it warms up.

It's become a predictable pattern.

(3) On Saturday's ride I looked down to notice that drips of sweat had frozen in a slick little sweat-spattered pattern on the flat black paint of my top tube. Cold.

(4) I bought winter riding shoes. From Wiggle. Some stuff is way cheaper bought in Europe, especially with free shipping deals.

(5) My new mtb tires, Michelin Wildgripper Sprints, are awesome.
I have the green ones (on my monitor, this picture makes them look teal, but they're more green than teal). Why are they awesome? One, green...and they look awesome on my otherwise black mtb. Two, prefect tread pattern for how and what I ride. Three, they do that cool optical illusion thing where it looks like the wheel is rotating the other direction. I'm exceptionally pleased with this.

Look, act quickly and you can get your own. Other than that, I suppose your best bet at finding a pair would be to clean out the inner recesses of your local bike shop's dusty back closet. That's where I found mine.

(6) I heard more gunfire in the mountains two Saturdays ago (two days before rifle season) than I did this last Saturday (the last day of rifle season). Damn poachers.

(7) Self-imposed moratorium on cycling-related spending until Feb 1 (with the exception of a rear mtb wheel I already have on order). Think I can make it?

Monday, December 1, 2008

saturday's happy sunshine of a mtb ride

I need to get a picture of the new ride up here soon. I feel guilty...and I'm not even accountable--in any meaningful way--to anyone reading this blog. (Guilt...I loath you!)

Anyway, I'm really liking the new hardtail. Saturday, Big E and Andy guided me on some south Michaux singletrack I hadn't ridden before. Three and half hours of it. I liked the trails. I liked my bike on the trails. And that earlier comment about having a hard time keeping the rear wheel on the ground with the new ride? I had forgotten that I rode that day with over-inflated tires (I was initially planning to stick just to the fire roads). Saturday, with my tires properly inflated, I was much more satisfied with my bike's handling.

But as much as I liked the trails and my bike on the trails, I mostly just loved the weather and being outside in it. Saturday saw a few clouds, but mostly sunshine. Temperatures probably got up to 41 or 42 degrees. And when it's been so cold and dreary, even if just for a few weeks, temps in the low 40s with sunshine can feel wonderful.

Rainy today, but looks to be clear tomorrow. Hoping to take advantage of the girls' day off and get Audrey and a friend or two out for hike... In this crappy dark-cloudy-northern-dreary-craptastic-cold-funk of a winter season I gotta get outside in the sun as much as possible. It's like I'm really, really sick and sunshine is the cure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a bucket over my head and a marshmallow in each ear

I looked at the 10-day forecast, noticed that the temperature is expected to creep above 40 degrees a couple of days this week and I found myself excited.

Yup, this is winter, getting excited about 40-degree weather. (Of course, if it would snow and keep snowing, I'd be all for the colder temps.)

The worst of a PA winter to this son of the cold western deserts? No sun.

...

It was a bad football weekend. Vandy, BYU, Denver...all disappointed. And the Oklahoma-Tech game wasn't worth the price of admission, which, if you watched it on TV like I did, was free.

...

This song, or the mood of this song, is how I feel right now (follow the link, but ignore the stupid slide show, just listen). If someone asked me how I was I'd say mais ou menos.

...

Today is the first and last day of the school week for me. This is good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

hardtails, cell phones, snow, and weather.com

I spent a delightful two and half hours in the woods yesterday on the new Stumpjumper. A few notes from the ride:

(1) h/t vs. f/s. On relatively calm terrain, including the fire roads and double track that make up much of my "off-road" riding, the hardtail is so obviously superior. But when I got into the super rocky, root infested single track for which Michaux is famous, I began to miss the cushy ride of my full-suspension ride, and did indeed find it more difficult to keep my rear wheel on the ground when climbing.

(2) In south central PA, it's now officially cold. Tuesday night (I tried to write about this in my last post) it was cold. Atop the mountain, high teens. Yesterday it was cold. Atop the mountain, high 20s. It takes me a while to get back into the swing of cold-weather riding. Fortunately, yesterday I remembered to bring along a change of clothes--at least a change of clothes from the waist up. It doesn't matter how technically advanced your clothing is, wet is wet, and if you sweat like I do when you're working out (like when you're climbing 1500 feet out of the valley on your mountain bike) you're going to get wet. About an hour and a half into my ride I stopped and stripped off the wet stuff, put on new dry stuff, and was completely comfortable the rest of the ride. (Except my feet, but I've given up on trying to keep my feet warm.) In my opinion, an essential trick to staying warm on a long winter ride, ski tour, or whatever.

(3) With t-mobile, I have super crappy cell phone coverage in the woods. I'm told from Verizon and Cingular users that their coverage in Michaux isn't too bad. If you spend any time in Michaux, I'd be interested to know how your cell service is. I'm afraid it's time for me to change service providers.

(4) When it's cold (like now), and in the middle of the week (like yesterday), I don't mind riding my bicycle on the AT. I've never encountered a hiker. Whadda y'all think? Is this anti-social behavior?

...

It's snowing outside right now. Snow is beautiful.

I'd like to see a couple of inches of accumulation. That would mean cutting fresh tracks this afternoon. I love that.

...

I also love (well, maybe not love, but I'm feeling good about) the new look at weather.com:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what is fear

[I decided this post was too dumb to keep up. Count yourself lucky that you didn't get to read it.]

Monday, November 17, 2008

grrr

So the weather was so bad Saturday that I spent most of the day in my basement putting together my new bike...which is to say ripping components off the Fuel and putting them on the Stumpjumper.

This stuff never goes smoothly.

First, I realized that if I was going to do the job right I needed the use of three tools I didn't have. So off to the bike shop. Merv was kind enough to let me throw my frame on his stand and play with his toys. I effaced my headset and bottom bracket (well, I attempted to, then Merv took over because I didn't know what I was doing). Then I pressed my headset.

I would have thought that in buying a used frame the headset or at least the bottom bracket would already have been effaced. But no.

Second, in either pulling off or installing my rear brakes (I've disc brakes in the front, linear pull in the back) I broke off that little metal pin that goes in the frame to engage the spring. Crap. Brakes are now useless.

Luckily (sort of) I have a spare set of linear pull brakes from my cross bike (I replaced the linear pulls on the cross rig with cantis). I put those on...but the arms are about a centimeter shorter than the brakes they replaced, which gives me about 3-5mm clearance between the rear tire and the brake cable. So this falls into the category of a short-term fix. I've now got to get a new set of linear pulls...or a disc compatible rear wheel (I actually have a disc brake caliper to put on, I just don't have a disc compatible rear wheel--did have, but sold it to Kris).

Third, who knew there were so many standards for bottom bracket shell widths? I didn't. Turns out the Fuel has a 73mm bottom bracket shell and the Stumpjumper has a 68mm shell. In the long run, I think this is good news. The very wide Q-factor on my mountain bike always bugged me, but I figured it was just a factor of the triple chainring. I didn't realize that the shell added 5mm.

In the meantime, this has caused a headache. Of course it took me way too long to figure out that it was this difference in BB shell size that was keeping my bottom bracket from installing correctly. When I did figure it out, and when I figured out that the shell on the Stumpjumper is the same as on all my road bikes, I had a brainstorm: pull the compact crank off my tt rig (remember I bought a new crank for that) and use that for a while. That seemed like a good idea until...

Fourth, I now know that a 50-tooth outer chainring on a double crank will not fit on an '07 Specialized Stumpjumper. The 50-tooth chainring won't clear the chainstay. Ok, so I'll just take the outer chainring off. A 34-tooth single chaingring crankset will work just fine for a few shakedown rides. Right? Wrong.

Fifth, hardware stores are about the worst place in the world to shop for anything even remotely related to a bicycle. Since I don't have any crankset bolts that will accommodate a single ring setup I figured I'd throw a couple of washers on the outside of each bolt to take up the extra space. My local hardware store only sells washers that are very wide. So a 5/8 inch washer clears the bolt, but then is too wide to fit the indentation on the spider where the outer chainring nests. So I've got this funky looking crankset with five washers sitting at weird angles holding on my single 34-tooth chainring.

Last night, after I finished grading my papers and then finished adjusting brakes, installing the chain, and throwing on the saddle (by now 1:30am), I'm finally ready for a test ride.

Awesome. It feels much lighter than the one kilo difference in frame weight*. And the hardtail feels like a real bike. It GOES when you pedal, like a bike is supposed to, instead of that f/s wooshy sluggishness. But, when I pedaled hard...

Sixth, the chain drops. Apparently my five skewampous oversized washer crankset fix was a failure. At least at high torques. All that work for nothing. I'm just going to have to wait for that properly fitting bottom bracket.


* A Rival compact crank w/ bottom bracket weighs a lot less than a Bontrager mountain triple with a cartridge square-taper bottom bracket axle, which may account for some of the perceived weight difference. Also, no front derailleur.

An amendment: I am truly awful at verb tense agreement. I remember my sixth grade teacher getting after me for it and I still can't tell a story in a consistent tense. I don't know, maybe if I write well enough otherwise the error can be dismissed as a creative eccentricity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ice cream: I like it

It's true. I do. A lot.

But my cravings seem to ebb and flow. And, ironically, I usually crave it much more when it's cold outside than when it's not. So I'm a winter ice cream eating man (goat). And I could really use a bit of that sweet, creamy goodness right now.

A couple of thoughts on making the most of your ice cream eating experience.

(1) In my opinion, ice cream is at it's best when it's at its coldest. Melted ice cream? Blah. So a while ago I took to keeping an empty mug in the freezer. A cold mug keeps ice cream cold longer. I'm not sure why I stopped doing this because it's a really great idea.

(2) Lately I've taken to eating my chocolate ice cream alongside my hot chocolate. I highly recommend this. A few bites of the cold chocolaty deliciousness, then a few sips of the warm chocolaty deliciousness. Mmm... But never mix the two in the same container. That would be sacrilege. Also, end the ritual with your last bite of ice cream...or you'll be headed back to the freezer for more in a minute or two.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the wee goatling -- pics

the hero (before)


the goathead (after)


the man paw


the fish eyes


the stretch



the reality I



the reality II

BABY!

The little goatling wriggled his hornless head from his uterian sleeping bag this evening and emerged victorious.

Election day '08. Born on the day the first black man is elected president of the United States. That association won't soon be forgotten. Remarkable, methinks.

...

Valerie woke up this morning with distinctly different contractions. We sent Audrey to school cautioning her that today might be the day, and that she may be going home with a friend. We voted. We packed up last minute items. We farmed out Marian. Then we headed off to the hospital. Checked in around 12:30. The baby was born at 5:56. (At 2pm I told Marian's babysitter we'd have a baby by six. Uncanny predictive prowess.)

Mama is a very brave, strong, powerful woman. She went unmedicated (if you know her: of course she did). And she was remarkable. It's nuts how a woman's body just knows what to do. And the kid too. I've watched three goatlings emerge from that vagina and it still seems pure slight-of-hand. Magically, it just all works out.

And our midwife was fabulous. A calm, relaxing, empowering, peaceful influence.

Last night I had a dream that Valerie's water broke at the polls. Close enough!

Reuben Anders Wilde Goates, welcome to this big, wide, crazy world!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm a winner!

Of auctions. Two of them.

I'd been commenting (complaining) that I have been bidding on and off for years, but have never won anything on eBay. Sunday, I won two auctions. (Which is to say that I shopped victoriously.) Also, that dude with the brakes took me up on my offer. So now I've spent way too much money. And I'm a little ashamed. (But just a little.)

What did I get? It's show and tell time.

(1) A Dura-Ace 7800 crankset...

...for the TT rig. I built it up with what I had on hand, which was a Rival compact. Compact cranksets are not for TT bikes. Now I'm on the lookout for a real TT frameset. ;-)

(2) The Negative Gs...

Again, the TT bike has some very old (circa 1990) 105 calipers on it. Brakes that came off my '90 Specialized Allez Epic. I think I'll put the Negative Gs on my road bike and my Rival calipers on the TT bike.

(This was totally a luxury impulse buy. Or, better put, an impulse negotiation buy. I made an offer that I didn't think would be accepted. But when it was...)

(3) Finally, a third Specialized to add to my arsenal.


Except the one I bought is a more charcoal/quasi-black color. My Trek Fuel broke. I decided to replace it with a hardtail. I'm pretty stoked.

...

As you can see, being injured has not been cheap.

...

I am finding this idea increasing interesting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

ebay etiquette

I was watching an auction for a pair of "slightly used" Zero Gravity Negative G SS brakes. I was interested, but not at the reserve the seller set. It turns out no one else was either and the auction ended without a single bid.

So I emailed the guy, told him I noticed his auction ended and that he hadn't sold the brakes. I also told him I was interested, and told him I would bid if he listed the item again with a lower reserve...or that I would be willing to buy the brakes straight up for $X.

I would think it bad form to offer a seller cash for an item up for bid in exchange for the seller canceling the auction. But is it bad form to make an offer on an item after the auction has ended and the item went unsold?

He hasn't yet replied.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

back in the saddle

Some three and a half weeks since the break and today, officially, I'm back on the bike. Ninety minutes of blowing two loaded barrels of snot around the roads south and east of Shippensburg. It felt really, really good.

...

Listened to last week's This American Life, about the election and campaigning in Pennsylvania. Recommended.

Two thoughts.

First, there's a story in there about the energy, emotion, and exhaustion of State College democrats in their voter registration drive.

Sarah Koenig tells us about Jonathan Berkhart (sp?), sent by the Service Employees International Union to register 2500 voters on his own. He's sick. He's had an eye infection. His eye infection got so bad it had to be operated on.


SK: Right now taking a break is out of the question. He's still less than halfway to his goal. He's got what you might call "The Shindler's List Syndrome."

JB: I mean, there's an infinite amount of work I could be doing all the time. You can never, like, overdo it.

SK: Right, so you could look out over all of these people and just start asking them, like, are you registered? Are you registered? Are you registered?

JB: Exactly, you know, the sort of...ok, so you registered half the student body, why didn't you register all of the student body? You register all the student body, why didn't you convince ever single one of them to vote for your candidate. You convince every single one of them to vote for your candidate, why weren't you in other areas where you could have been convincing other people? Like, you just...it just keeps on going.



I found myself listening to this today and it sounded eerily familiar. Really familiar. Familiar in a way that left me with little empathy for Jonathan because his guilt-motivated campaign for the good seemed, in a way I can't quite explain, like a reminder of an almost daily personal emotion. And then I realized why. He was talking like a missionary. A Mormon missionary. I know that feeling because I've lived that feeling. I'd go so far as to say I've lived that feeling to a degree about a thousand times as intense as what Jonathan's describing. So what Jonathan's describing doesn't seem particularly unique. In fact, it sounds like the hand-wrining of a greenie, a novice, someone who hasn't yet developed the complicated (and often conviluted) psychological coping strategies that allow you to deal with the mountains of guilt you take on whenever you allow yourself to get swept up in a cause that you believe is much bigger than you.

"Give him another 23 months," I found myself thinking. He'll get over himself.

Second, the TAL episoid closed with an unfamiliar rendition of a familiar song.



I very much remember this song when it and I were both young, how it was played and replayed on the radio. I must have been only nine and ten. To me, it was just a tired pop song. I was young, but my musical tastes were already firmly planted in the "classic rock" of the 60s and 70s. But of course I couldn't understand the song.

I understand it now. And it's a moving song. It's upbeat tune belies the depth of the message.

Too much powerful prose is lost in the trivialities of its musical packaging. For instance:


A modern-day warrior
Mean mean stride,
Todays Tom Sawyer
Mean mean pride.

Though his mind is not for rent,
Dont put him down as arrogant.
His reserve, a quiet defense,
Riding out the days events.
The river

And what you say about his company
Is what you say about society.
Catch the mist, catch the myth
Catch the mystery, catch the drift.

The world is, the world is,
Love and life are deep,
Maybe as his eyes are wide.

Today's Tom Sawyer,
He gets high on you,
And the space he invades
He gets by on you.

No, his mind is not for rent
To any god or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent,
He knows changes aren't permanent,
But change is.

And what you say about his company
Is what you say about society.
Catch the witness, catch the wit,
Catch the spirit, catch the spit.

The world is, the world is,
Love and life are deep,
Maybe as his skies are wide.

Exit the warrior,
Todays Tom Sawyer,
He gets high on you,
And the energy you trade,
He gets right on to the friction of the day.



If I taught poetry, I'd teach pop music. (I'm sure I'm not the first to say that.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

palin visits shippensburg u.

Or she's going to visit. We're told. A little after 4pm. But thousands are already waiting. The line to get in the field house formed around 11am. Now it stretches north at least the length of a city block then around the Luhrs Performing Arts Center and west the length of another city block. Everyone lining up already has a ticket. The line is orderly. Very straight.

Our field house seats less than 5,000. But there is to be no sitting. No bleachers. No chairs. I don't know how many our field house stands.

A small group of Obama supporters have congregated on the basketball courts across the street from the field house.

News trucks from CNN and all the local network affiliates have made a parking lot of the grass.

Unmarked silver-gray police cars with large (compensating) antennae patrol the streets.

It's not a warm day to be standing outside. Forty-four degrees with 30 mph winds. Wind chill of 34 degrees. A chance of rain. Some of these people will have waited outside four hours to get into this rally. Four hours. To listen to a political figure they already know they're going to vote for.

An undetermined number of the people waiting outside will wake up tomorrow with the sniffles. Some will get the flu. They'll stay home from work. School. They'll have to drag themselves out of bed to vote next Tuesday. They'll cough on their ballots. On their punch tools. Others will get sick. Some of us already are. Sick. Of. Politics.

Friday, October 24, 2008

google is just cool

I really try hard to disassociate myself from brands. I don't like wearing logos. I told the car dealership they'd have to pay if they put their name on my car.

But google is just cool. Latest example: they map your polling place, then provide links to all the voting particulars in your state, like how to register and whatnot. A simple thing, but so cool.

...

I've been down and out with a nasty cold, fever, sore throat for the past several days and have been watching a lot of television. NBC has been serving up a Brian Williams interview with McCain and Palin piecemeal through their various news programs. It's been interesting...and, I think, revealing. (I did a quick search for some clips available online and came up empty. I'm sure they're available somewhere.)

...

Also, The New York Times editorial board's presidential endorsement.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

bachmann's overdrive

One of the more disappointing characters to emerge as a national figure in the 2008 presidential campaign is this woman, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (recent news, website, wikipedia).


On a personal note, I'm troubled by a concern that my dislike of this woman may be in part a tacit sexism. I can't stand her smile. Just like Sarah Palin's nails-on-chalkboard voice, whenever I see this woman and her plastic smile on TV my esophagus burns a little with bile. And so I ask myself, are there men to whom I react similarly, or is this sexism? In other words, do I hold persons like Bachmann and Palin to the same standard as I do men, or is there some deeply engrained cultural bias at work here?

Well, whether I'm sexist or not seems slightly less important than Bachmann recently associating "liberal" with "anti-American" and her call for media inquiry into which members of congress hold "anti-American" views.



(This is my first embedded youtube clip, by the way. Are you proud of me?)

What!?

(I'm no great Chris Matthews fan, but I loved how he just let her hang herself, which she seemed all too eager to do.)

So let me get this straight, if I don't like something my country is doing or has come to stand for then I am anti-American? McCarthy would be proud of this woman. He also saw no value in dissent. What is it that breeds this kind of absurd rhetoric?--the rhetoric of the unreasonable, as I've taken to calling it. (Note: McCarthy was from Wisconsin, Bachmann from Minnesota. Does that mean anything?)

I'll try to put as objective a hat on as possible and say that I'm pretty sure this woman is mildly insane. (Though, now that I think of it, she's probably not saying anything half as absurd as one might hear daily from the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity--people who I'm pretty sure are more than just mildly insane. Hey, maybe I'm not sexist afterall!)

stupid boys...



Song to Be Sung by the Father of Infant Female

by Ogden Nash

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
When little boys go by.
For little boys as little boys,
No special hate I carry,
But now and then they grow to men,
And when they do, they marry.
No matter how they tarry,
Eventually they marry.
And, swine among the pearls,
They marry little girls.

Oh, somewhere, somewhere, an infant plays,
With parents who feed and clothe him.
Their lips are sticky with pride and praise,
But I have begun to loathe him.
Yes, I loathe with loathing shameless
This child who to me is nameless.
This bachelor child in his carriage
Gives never a thought to marriage,
But a person can hardly say knife
Before he will hunt him a wife.

I never see an infant (male),
A-sleeping in the sun,
Without I turn a trifle pale
And think is he the one?
Oh, first he'll want to crop his curls,
And then he'll want a pony,
And then he'll think of pretty girls,
And holy matrimony.
A cat without a mouse
Is he without a spouse.

Oh, somewhere he bubbles bubbles of milk,
And quietly sucks his thumbs.
His cheeks are roses painted on silk,
And his teeth are tucked in his gums.
But alas the teeth will begin to grow,
And the bubbles will cease to bubble;
Given a score of years or so,
The roses will turn to stubble.
He'll sell a bond, or he'll write a book,
And his eyes will get that acquisitive look,
And raging and ravenous for the kill,
He'll boldly ask for the hand of Jill.
This infant whose middle
Is diapered still
Will want to marry My daughter Jill.

Oh sweet be his slumber and moist his middle!
My dreams, I fear, are infanticiddle.
A fig for embryo Lohengrins!
I'll open all his safety pins,
I'll pepper his powder, and salt his bottle,
And give him readings from Aristotle.
Sand for his spinach I'll gladly bring,
And Tabasco sauce for his teething ring.
Then perhaps he'll struggle through fire and water
To marry somebody else's daughter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

barack hussein obama

The most emailed NYTimes story of the week. It's a goody.

...

About the debate last night, everyone (I should have several links here, but I'm too lazy) seems to think McCain came out ahead. But I'll tell you what I saw: an old man with a misguided sense of entitlement getting increasingly cranky about the fact that he's going to lose this election (after _finally_ getting oh-so-close) to a young upstart with such an un-American sounding name.

It's too bad. A year ago I had positive feelings towards McCain. Now, not so much.

Unfortunately, McCain's place in history will forever be that of the man who tried to keep the first black president of the United States from becoming the first black president. A milestone chapter in the progressive history of the country is being written, and the McCain/Palin parts will forever be that of the ineffectual villains.

Which part will you play? ;-)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

beating the deceased pony

Courtesy of someone's Garmin Edge I can pinpoint the location of my quickly-becoming-all-too-tragic accident. Highlighted in the first figure by a green (teal?) circle, in the second by red.


It's Day Four of no riding and depression is setting in. I think tomorrow I may join the fitness club down the block and spend my evening doing leg presses.

I hate not being able to do anything. I can't even go for a walk...the jarring movement still hurts too much. Probably next week...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

kelley acres

Some shots from the fateful event, courtesy of W. Browne.

Early in the first lap, running the log barrier...


This next was the sketchest part of the course. Down a steep little drop, over a straw-covered wood bridge, then in and through a mud pit. A lot of people struggled though this, some getting off and running the whole thing, but remembering to gear w-a-y down prior to the drop I managed through three times without a bobble.



I think I was in about forth position here, but soon made short work of this NVCC rider.

And this must have been mere moments before the mishap...

So I didn't really get to make short or long work of anyone.

Anyway, I thought it was a really fun, original course. The atmosphere and trails reminded me a bit of Granogue, just not quite as grand as all that. I would have loved to take away my first cross win on that course, and I nearly did. But the butterflies... The previous three times down that fast left-hand turn I felt like I could have taken it faster, so on the fourth pass I did, and now here I am, typing incomplete thoughts with one hand...

Monday, October 6, 2008

c-r-a-c-k

Just when it was shaping up to be a great cross season I go and snap my collarbone. Again.

The first time it was sort of novel and interesting. I'm afraid this time it will be unbearably boring. No Iron Cross. No cyclocross season at all. So lame. Lame as an arm in a sling.

Friday, October 3, 2008

wheel lechery...and that darn sarah palin

I have a serious wheel problem. Which is to say I have a serious problem with my desire to purchase wheels.

Weighing all interests (weight, aerodynamics, convenience, cost), I had all but decided on these (Reynolds Assault), which can be had for under 1k, new, on eBay:


But then Reynolds goes and introduces these (Reynolds Strike), which in a few weeks I assume will also be available on eBay for probably around $1100 or $1200:

Nuts. What a decision. What's an indecisive wheel lecher to do?

(The right answer is the Strike.)

...

The vice presidential debate last night...

I don't even know what to say about Sarah Palin. That nails-on-blackboard voice, the persistent folksy colloquialisms ("darn," "heck," "ya," etc.), her blatant refusal to answer questions directed to her... Most commentators seem to agree that she did well in the debate (if only for not doing poorly), but how a rational, thinking person could want her for President of the United States, or anything close to it, is beyond me.

If not on this blog, I've often complained about the strong tenor of anti-intellectualism in the public sphere in general, and in politics in particular, and I can't help but believe that this current of anti-intellectualism has fueled Palin support...or that it is the reality of anti-intellectualism that makes a Palin VP choice even considerable and perhaps strategically sound. In any event, the reality of it angers me and, worse yet, tests my empathy. I want to believe that differences in political opinion are a consequence of reasonable people having reasonable ideological differences (or if not ideological, reasonable differences regarding particulars of practicality), but I question the reasonableness of someone who supports Sara Palin for high office.

(To be clear, I'm not a McCain supporter, but I can acknowledge that reasonable people would prefer McCain leadership to the alternative. It's the Palin component that baffles me so.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

as predicted...

I guess it was really more a combination of options #1 and #2, though a bit more forcefully delivered than I had anticipated.

Whatever...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

well played

How about this gambit by Prudhomme, et al.

Dramatic.

How will LA respond? I suppose the best play is either (1) to dismiss the thing with some unsatisfying nonsense about the past being irrelevant, which is how he responded to Greg, or (2) to construct some story about how those now ten year-old samples are damaged in some way that would compromise the results.

My bet is some variation of #1; a kind of snobbish brush-off. Very Lance.

Is there a better move?

I hate being busy

So much crap going on lately, and there's so much I want to write about.

Like this. Which is to say that I am fascinated by both the politics and and the political science of this whole "bailout" deal. (One question worth considering, which I'd like to ask this dude, is why $700 billion? Why that number. Since the money appears to be coming in waves, on an as-needed basis, where and how did this seemingly arbitrary number come from? And a second question, why isn't the press corps asking that? It seems an important question in the context of the larger point which our politicians and government officials are having a terribly difficult time explaining--why is so much government intervention needed at all?) I want to write so much more about this, but no time...

Also, I love this site. When I wake up in the morning I check my email and I check this site, clicking on the little "next report" link on the right. I just love this stuff. Why? I'm sure it's for the same reason that I like sports, but that's a conclusion that requires a good deal more explanation than I have time for. Alas...

Finally (news flash here!), I love riding my bike. I had such a delightful ride yesterday. This ride has become a training staple. I discussed it earlier here. I think I've done this exact ride four times in the past couple of months. That may not seem like a lot, but it's a hard ride, so you can't do it that often, and usually longer rides are group rides which means riding from and to other locations. Yesterday I rode it in 3:15. Last week I rode it less hard, but finished in 3:08 (last week the wind was blowing the opposite direction from what it usually blows, I assume due to that tropical storm weirdness last week, which made the last fifteen miles or so blazing fast).

Anyway, when I got home yesterday I thought to myself, man, I just love riding my bike. So I just wanted to share that bit of childlike glee.

Yeah. That's it. Back to work...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a view from behind (and below)

On Thursday, Marian and I went for a ride. The trailer doesn't get to ride behind the Tarmac, so I put my road wheels on the cross rig and hitched her up. We were out for about an hour and twenty minutes, easily Marian's longest ride (it's been a source of frustration to me that Marian hasn't taken to the trailer as I hoped she would).

Marian brought her camera, and these are some of her in-ride photos.


I'm pretty surprised at how good these pictures actually are. Every time I turned around to see how she was doing I saw her hand bouncing up and down as she tried to focus in on something. Plus, I ride like lightening so you have to expect the blur.

These next two pictures I didn't see her take, and I didn't prompt them at all. I guess she wanted to document the vehicle(s) she rode in.


Below, the last three pictures she took before we went inside.

The first may be my favorite shot of the trip. It's her most artsy. The second is a picture of bird's nest that the girls found somewhere and brought home and that will likely be sitting on our back porch until spring. The final shot Valerie's back-door bumper sticker.



On the ride, Marian let me know with her excited little voice every time she saw an Obama sign in a yard--and since this is south-central PA, that isn't often. But the excitement speaks to how malleable these little minds are, which is all the more reason not to vote Republican. Ever. ;-)

(In case you're wondering, her political excitement comes 100 percent from her mama, who is crazy stressed/distressed about this election. I rarely talk about anything political at home--I just can't get that worked up about it anymore--and when I do I think it's usually issue-oriented, not candidate or figure-oriented. Though I certainly could talk about candidates, if prodded.)