Thursday, January 29, 2009

messin' with hope

It's hard to come up with clever little words to put under your picture. It at once feels vain and suffocatingly cheesy. Like those ridiculous inspirational pictures you still see in people's offices...the only thing good to come of was their parody.

But misgivings aside, I still did it. And I still posted them here for all to see. So. I guess that means that I'm vain and suffocating.

Oh well.

I also made one for a old hero:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

option #3

Yesterday: Option #3, Urban Assault.

I was thinking of skiing, but then came home to a belated Christmas present from my brother:

Are you getting a good look? Do you see that these tires have studs? Metal studs embedded in the knobs. Nuts, man. These things are gnarly.

So how couldn't I give these things a test ride in the newly fallen snow? (These tires say let's keep the snow fallen and not the rider.)

I gave them a two-hour test ride. I want to call it two hours of urban assault. However, as there's nothing remotely "urban" about Shippensburg, I guess I'll have to call it a "rural assault." But that doesn't quite fit either. As far as the descriptive image, I think "suburban assault" would describe the ride best, as I was riding through subdivisions, vacant lots, wooded parks, construction sites, people's back yards, and the occasional farmer's field, but doesn't there have to be the urban to have the suburban? I guess we need a new word to describe the modern American small town--the town that's big enough to feel the icy grip of evil Waldamort, but small enough to count the number of stop lights on two hands.

Anyway, the tires are pretty sweet. The sidewall reads "Klondike XT," but from the Kenda website they appear to be the Kenda Klondike Wide (gotta write the whole thing out to pick up the internet searches).

They are obvious good grippers. There were several points on my ride that I was sure my other tires would have failed, both climbing and side-hilling. They ride along smoothly and quickly on the snow, but rolled onto the asphault you get the sensation that your brake calipers are rubbing the rim. So for what they are, my first impression is good, though for the extra traction you sure pay a price in weight--I weighed them, and these tires add a solid 3.5 lbs to my bike! Though I should say I didn't really notice the weight when I was riding.

The real test will be the mountain fire roads after an ice storm. I'm anxious to exeriment (though I may bring along my motorcycle helmet).

Thanks, Eldon! (Now I get why you were all in a panic about my buying new tires. You need not have worried. It takes me forever to make decisions on things like that.)


Unrelatedly (and rather randomly), a picture of the tread pattern of my winter riding shoes:

I'm so glad I bought them, by the way. One of those things that while it's initially hard to pull the trigger, you know you're not going to regret the purchase afterwards.


Finally, the other day our little hodini hampster got out...again. This is where I found her:

an ice cream morning

I awoke this morning to an ice cream craving.

This is not particularly unusual. Ice cream is a common prelude to breakfast in this house. What is unusual is my telling you about it. I sit, enjoying the creamy, refreshing goodness of some mint chocolate chip, which, minus the chocolate chips, is as white as the world outside (it snowed more last school for the girls [smile], but still school for me [frown]).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


What a day. I woke up to about two inches of snow and it is still (I just confirmed from my window) snowing. So what's a snow-lover to do? Options:

(1) Ski (downhill) all afternoon.

(2) Ski (cross-country) all afternoon.

(3) Rip tracks all over town on the mountain bike.

(4) Rip tracks in the hills on the mountain bike.

(5) Load either (a) tele gear or (b) cross country gear on the pack, ride the mtb up in the hills, ditch the bike, ski.

(6) Go night skiing.

(7) Some combination of 3 & 4.

(8) Some combination of 4 & 5.

(9) Some combination of either 3, 4, or 5 and 6.

A parenthetical thought:

How would you write that last bit formally? Like this?

((3 or 4 or 5) and 6)

Can you make the "U" sign and the arched, upside-down "U" in html? Maybe it can be written like this:

((3 ^ 4 ^ 5) U 6)

Hmm... That looks pretty lame.

The choices... It's almost too much to bear!


Bringing the girls into school today, and then again at the office, I've had to listen to every variation of moan and groan about the snow. And here I am, just about bursting with glee. The same environment experienced with such radical difference. Come to think of it, that reminds me of a conversation (it was barely a conversation--they're masters of dodge and evade) on politics with my parents Sunday.


Don't let the soggy-bottomed boo-hooers get you down. It's snowing, man. Get outside and play!

Friday, January 23, 2009

mtb - pics!

Ok, Marky. I've finally got some pics for you.

Played a little bike-fix-it today. New wheels. So I (finally) installed a rear disc brake! But, more importantly, getting that mangled old rear wheel off the bike means that I have rear brakes. This is a good thing.

I also got creative (not really) and hacked off a centimeter of handlebar from both ends. (I found I wasn't using why have it?) Also, wrapped my bars with new tape. (I don't understand why mountain bikers don't use handlebar tape. So comfy. Bar grips just seem so...I don't know...fourth grade?)

The other day I got three flats, each less than a couple of miles after the last. I thought the culprit was my dinged up rim. Rather, I discovered today, one of my super-cool green tires was ripping apart at the seems. I'm so sad.

So now I'm sporting the super-ghetto two-tire, two-color look. I suppose I could have completed the look with rubber bar grips (har, har).

Seriously, though, since I don't know where I can buy these tires anymore, I'm very, very disappointed. I guess it's back to boring ole black.

Now to find a file tread 26" mtb tire with aggressive cornering knobs. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

that pesky collarbone - pic

I was cleaning my desk and found the CD they gave me at the hospital, back in October, when I broke my collarbone.

The break is clear enough, but what's interesting to me is that it looks like it broke on the edge of the healed portion from the previous break. You can sort of see how, from the first break, it didn't heal straight, but with a big lumpy ball of bone...and in this picture that big lumpy ball of bone is just hanging out, there, in the great void of flesh that is my shoulder.



I watched Obama's inauguration address yesterday. I liked it...yet couldn't help but notice that a lot of the tough-talk rhetoric seemed straight out of Bush's playbook. Last night I caught the first bit of The Daily Show and apparently they picked up on the same thing.

Still, there's no doubt that it felt different coming from the Prophet of Hope than it has coming from the Master of Disaster. Proof, I suppose, that who you hear a message from and how you hear it are just as much a part of the text of the message as the words themselves. Context is everything.

My favorite part of the hoopla, hands down, was this bit near the tail end of Rev. Lowery's benediction: us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.

I am also fond of the triple "amen" the enthusiasm of the crowd built with each sucessive amen.

Black preacher, as an oratorical style, has a corner on delivery effectiveness (a conclusion I first reached after hearing Cornel West speak at Vandy).

Good stuff.

You can watch the whole prayer here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I set up a slackline for the boy scouts on a campout last week. We're not yet this good:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

easy carelessness

I ran into these two short films from Jeff Scher:

You Won't Remember This (2:21)

You Won't Remember This Either (1:45)

I like the second one best. A fuzzy little vision into the not-so-distant future.

I also like this, from Scher's introduction of the second film:

When toddlers are first walking, their every step is filled with suspense, and the exercise soon degenerates into a vaudeville act worthy of a Borscht Belt drum roll.... Toddlers toddling in their never-ending battle with gravity is a comic ballet...


Though I'm also moved by the observation that 50 percent of the behaviors caricatured in that second film I associate with "boy." The easy carelessness. The oblivious disregard of consequence in every muscle movement. These are attitudes of which I am unaccustomed with my girls.

Sometimes I worry I won't much like my small male human.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

lemond: the good ole days

I love this photo. What an awesome bike racer.