Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lost, Season 31

Where in the Sam Hill are my other black shoes?
And that extra bicycle we had around in the fall?

And what else have I lost without yet realizing it?

Spoilers in the comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday catch-all

All the news that fits in a 5-minute post (warning--all bike content):
Tuesday night ride report: good fun, but 'urban singletrack' (that's the rut in the park full of mud, grass, chunks of asphalt, and sand) would be more fun with company. Yes, I'll advertise again for next time. (We don't quite have the momentum for going without, yet, I guess.)

Read this. It will give you goosebumps. Hat tip to Surlyblog whose Ms. Bloggins it made cry.

My old rear wheel died last week. Time to build up that new set of wheels for next winter, a bit ahead of the planned schedule. Owen at Blackstone Bikes set me up with a SRAM three-speed internally geared hub, and it's sitting on a shelf in the living room where I can gaze fondly at it until I pick up my rims and start making a wheel. Further updates on this adventure in wheelbuilding as events warrant.

Since the demise of the geared rear, I put my fixed wheel on the Surly. The only gearing that worked without shortening my only 1/8" chain is 36x18. There's a coffee out there called 53x11; they're bikers, of course, and they, inter alia, support a cycling team. I'm thinking the coffee must be really strong. After riding 7 miles on Monday with a 25 mph tailwind, I'm thinking that they should make a supercaffeinated blend called "36x18." I was spinning like mad to keep up with myself. But I could pull the trailer without feeling like my knees would fall off.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"The Loop" v. "Downtown"

It's called "The Loop." Really. If you want to talk about "downtown" you have to go down. And down again. Here's a helpful guide:
for full-size version.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Random is as random does...

$5 says this is the future. I'm posting this so I know for whom to root in case I find myself watching some games.

..or Snow!

The ride tonight is on, the usual place (Powell's) at the usual time (9:30). The snow isn't supposed to start until after midnight, anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


"The result is above all simple and big: a basic bloody-great-sack, innocent of compartments..."(Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III, p. 124.) My bag is the second largest Timbuk2 messenger bag, in a patriotic maroon. Let's take a look at the outside before delving into it.
There it is. The big ol' bag. Phone pocket on the strap, along with a couple of ankle straps, and--this is the real genius of the thing--my keys, on a neck lanyard. It's long enough to be able to use the keys without disattaching them, and I can throw them in my jacket or pants pocket or the bag itself. Wherever they are, I can yank them out by the strap. And, most importantly, my bag makes the biggest key fob I've ever had (you'll gather that the guiding principle of this bag is that if I don't have something attached to myself, I forget it). Similarly attached by a lanyard to the strap is my Leatherman, which lives inside the bag.

Now, if we're feeling bold, we can reach inside:
Here's what we've got. Items marked with an asterisk I've used within the past 48 hours.
  • Rain cape*
  • Wool hat (Jamaican Bobsled Team)*
  • Underseat bag--usually lives in the trailer, but I'd put it in my sack for the TuTh evening ride--and used its contents: spare tube, tire levers*
  • Burpee plant catalog+
  • Wallet*
  • Sign-up sheet for dinner trip four weeks ago+
  • Pictures of Western White Pine needles (yes, P & R, I'm still working on your Christmas gift)
  • Planner*
  • Towel* (for drying off seat if it's been rainy or snow and I haven't put the next item on it)
  • Seat cover* (On the seat while I'm inside if I realize or remember that it's going to rain or snow, or, keeping a wet seat from my butt if I don't)
  • Two bike headlights* (Usually I have one, Dr. Fledermaus has one, but for the weeknight rides, and with the lengthening evenings, I've had both)
  • One bike taillight (for the trailer--I broke one of the mounts on Monday, but my man J set me up with a new mount) to be put on in the next couple of days or before we bike anywhere in the dark.
  • One SD card USB drive (you're enjoying the benefits of it now)*
  • One book of Bat Jr. photos*
  • About 30 bike registration cards, UCPD*
  • Glove liners (it looked like spring, for a while)
  • Random pens, markers, pencils, papers.
  • Chicago bike map
  • CTA map
  • Metra schedule
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Miniature decks of cards (2)
  • Lip balms (some number greater than or equal to 1)
  • The aforementioned Leatherman
  • Study cards
  • One dime
  • The number 3 (no, really, a stick-on foam number. Pink)
  • One churchkey can opener/caplifter
  • iPod Shuffle--so that's where it was!
There we go. A lot of stuff, until Chicago weather hits. Or you get a flat. Or you eat onions at lunch. That list has evolved over a year or two, to the point where I find that if I travel (by bike, foot, PT, or car) without it, I miss something inside. May you find it as useful as I do!

Maybe I'll leave the glove liners in my bag....

Winter Storm Watch Issued by the National Weather Service at 3:49 PM CDT on March 19, 2008

... Winter Storm Watch in effect from late Thursday night through
Friday evening...

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Winter Storm
Watch... which is in effect from late Thursday night through
Friday evening.

.Snow is expected to overspread the area after midnight Thursday
night and continue through the day Friday before diminishing early
Friday evening. There is a potential for storm total snowfall
accumulations of around 6 inches from late Thursday night through
early Friday evening... with a potential for some higher amounts.

A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant
snow... sleet... or ice accumulations that may impact travel.
Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.


Why is it that I make principled decisions when practical ones are called for? Why do I decide, "now's the time to simplify my bike ride; I'll leave my under-helmet-hat and glasses home at lunch time," when that (Monday) is the day that it starts sneeting (that's the Bat family term for 'wintry mix' at 4:00?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rain or Shine!

It's genuinely crappy out there now, but it's supposed to stop raining by nighttime. 9:30 ride is still on. 40 degrees-ish, with a 12-13kt NNW wind. Headwind on the way out, tailwind home: the best kind.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Book Design

My man Jon Bruner just posted on the various presidential candidates' books (and their sales!) here. How about a bookshelf debate amongst the covers?

Clinton: I love me!
Obama: If you liked the English Patient, you'll love me.
McCain: If you like hot hot men, you'll love me.
Huckabee: I love me more than I used to.
Clinton: No, really, I'm a hottie. Annie Liebovitz told me.
McCain: You got nothin, bitch, I'm the hottest muthafucka in a flight suit.
Obama: Please, can't we all rise above this?
Huckabee: Not only am I a presidential candidate, I'm a voter. And I vote for myself.

Ok, that's played out. serious observations:

Clinton's design says, I'm Hillary Clinton and that's all you need to know. You've made up your mind about me, probably some time in 1991, so wtf, I'll sell to the lovers and hate on the haters.

Obama's: I've got something for everyone, and a vaguely pretty landscape here that you can populate in your mind's eye however you like. This design, though, is weakened by the posed shot of Barack between the snapshots of his parents--it frames him as the inauthentic one, living off the real achievements of others. Not to say that he doesn't have other virtues--I'm probably going to wind up voting for the dude--, but that's what a critical reading of the cover suggests. I'd rather, of course, have had this photo of him.

McCain's: this has gotta be the most interesting in terms of political imagery: In contrast to Obama's, it's all about authenticity. It says, "All that stuff that George Bush is faking? I'm the real deal." He plays airplanes? not when people are really shooting at him. His daddy was in the navy? My daddy and grandaddy were goddam admirals!

Huckabee's cover shows his appeal: If I can do it, you can, too! We can all become better people! And this resonates with the conservative message of self-reliance (institutional support? bah! all you need is WILL! we won't dwell on how it helps to be wealthy and white in order to get what you want).

By party lines: the democrats have women (my, how shocking!) on their covers; the Republican covers show evidence of personal achievement.

And I'll repeat here what I said in 2005: No one can beat John McCain in a general election.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Bat Jr. had her two-year check up on Tuesday (and impressed her pediatrician by naming her body parts: "What's this?"..."hair!"..."What's this?"..."ears!"..."What's this?"..."Suprasternal notch!").

By the numbers: 27 lbs, 10 1/4 oz; 34 1/4 inches tall.

Night Ride- happening again

Once again, Powells to The Other Side. We're going to go with 9:30, though next week we may shift it a bit earlier. Social pace, though if enough folks come to get a double paceline going, we may gain some speed (and speed=sleep, something I've learned to live without but people keep telling me is a good thing).
Here's a map:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2-dollar indecision penalty

At a local brunch restaurant, you can get an order of Eggs Benedict for something like $6.50. You can get an order of Eggs Florentine for $6.00. You can get a half-order of either for $4.00. If you split the difference, and get one of each, your bill comes to $8.00: the 2-dollar indecision penalty.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Yes, this is another biking post. Biking's on people's minds nowadays. There's a new club (click "Readme" above the photo--and bonus points if you can name the location of the photo--it took me a minute or two) in town, a big-tent club with all sorts of foci. And not ten hours before that announcement I was thinking, "shoot, I can't make the morning rides with the bike club or the bike shop; how about some evening rides? I'll invite some people!"

So the spirit of the time is not in cycling, I think, but in biking together. I won't even try to throw out ideas why (tempting as it is), merely post the invitation here: Tuesdays and Thursdays, we'll meet at Powell's at 9:30 and bike for about two hours. In an eerie parallel to the morning coffee rides, we'll aim to bike to Handlebar, have a pint, and head back. Am I forgetting anything? Let me know in the comments.

EDIT: the default destination will be The Other Side, 2434 N. Clark. Take the Lake Front Path to Fullerton, ride west about four blocks to Clark, turn right (north) on Clark, and it's half a block up on the left.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Just added to our Netflix queue

The Monkey Hustle, filmed, in part on 63rd street, back when it was a living city street. For commentary and some stills, see here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Weather or not...

It's got to be the length and thoroughness of the winter, but depression is everywhere. Not, happily enough, among our own students, but it's hitting students across campus, other friends and's been a hard couple of weeks. What to say? How to light a hopeful little fire? Jeez, how to get outside for a couple of hours?