Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives

I just finished watching the NOVA documentary film “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives”, which follows the journey of Mark Oliver Everett (leader of the band Eels), as he tries to unravel the theories and writings of his late father, quantum physicist Hugh Everett III. The film follows Mark as he meets with his father's old colleagues and contemporaries, slowly unraveling the life of one of the greatest scientists of the last century. I have a hard time wrapping my head around quantum physics and parallel universes, but for me the real story is that of a son trying to learn more about his late father. I’ve been listening to Eels music for years, but now the lyrics, many of which reference his father and the suicide of his sister, make more sense to me now. Great film, and highly recommended if you can catch it on your local PBS channel.

View the PBS trailer for "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives” below:

Eels- Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Live):

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trying To Slow Down the Clock

This post was inspired by my old friend, the Rambling Canuck. Recently the Canuck wrote about the Clock of the Long Now, on his blog. I had read something about this project in some scientific journal somewhere, but had never really thought much about it, until now. The Clock project was started in the mid-1990’s by a group of people attempting to get the rest of us to consider long-term thinking, beyond the “here and now” that most of us live in today. The clock idea was put into motion by scientist Daniel Hillis, who said, "When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 2000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 2000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium." How cool is that?

The group at Clock of the Long Now have been building models for the last ten years or so, eventually they plan on erecting a clock high up in the mountains of eastern Nevada. They have even purchased some high-desert land adjoining Great Basin National Park, one of our county’s newest national parks. I love the fact that with everything seemingly going down the shitter these days, there is a group of people looking 10,000 years down the road. I believe we need more people like this, maybe we wouldn’t be in the dire situation we are now as a country if we more folks thought on a grander scale.

I have been trying to slow down my own life the past couple of years, so this talk of 10,000 year clocks came at just the right time for me. Simply put, I want to spend more time with my wife and kids, to play more and work less. I want to spend less money on junk, and see more of my money go to things of quality. I’ve been living on the east coast for almost 10 years now, and like most of you, I can’t believe how fast time has gone. We are seemingly speeding into the future, and I don’t like the direction we are going. It is easy to get caught up in our crazy world, we are constantly spoon fed information and things that we are led to believe we “need”. You can argue that much of this stuff is supposed to make our lives simpler and more efficient, and I will be the first to say that some of it has. Cell phones and digital music are great examples. I cannot imagine life without a cell phone, but is my life better now that anyone can get a hold of me 24/7? Unlike my cell, I could survive without my iPod (it would suck, but I would survive). Sure, it is great having 10,000 songs at my disposal, but I really believe it is just a luxury, nothing more than another toy. The convenience of digital music comes with a downside too. I miss the hours I used to spend in record shops (I love the smell of record shops), browsing the aisles of used cd’s on a rainy day. It was quality time, usually spent with a friend, searching for that one album you’ve been looking for. Now I buy most of my music online, because it is cheaper. That’s the problem, everything is cheaper. We have become a society of plastic, disposable shit. Nothing seems to last more than 5 years. What are we passing on to the next generation? When I look at all the shit I have bought in the last 10 years, the only things I see myself still owning in 10 years are some music, books, and my bicycles.

So what am I doing to slow down my own clock? I’m trying to read more. a little bit every night. I’ve never been a big TV watcher, but even less so these days. Biking to work also helps. I am lucky, my commute is rather short, and most of it is along the ocean. The ocean, much like a giant clock that only ticks once a year, is a constant and continuous thing in my life. Have you ever watched the ocean for any amount of time? It is like staring into a campfire, time just seems to stop. No beginning, middle, or end. Biking is the same thing for me. When I ride my bicycle to work, it adds that little adventure each day that makes my life more interesting and fun. A few weeks ago I got caught in a torrential downpour on the way into work, I’m talking thunder and lighting, I was completely soaked to the bone. At first I tried to steer clear of the quickly expanding puddles, but by the end I was riding right through the middle of them, loving every minute of it. You know what? I will probably look back at that morning as one of my best days of the year. I wouldn’t want to ride in rain like that every morning, but I am so glad I did that day. It was real, and I would have missed it all if I was in the car. It’s the little things I guess that make the difference for me. That, and knowing some smart people are building a really huge freaking clock out in the desert.

Take it slow.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Century

Completed the Charles River Wheelmen Soughegan River Century on the 21st. It was a very scenic route, rural back roads, mountain views, and not one stoplight for 100+ miles. To say this ride was a "little hilly" is the understatement of the year. It was pretty much uphill the first 50 miles, the second 50 had less climbing, though it still had 3 or 4 long sections, and my knees were paying the price by then. My goal was to finish in under 6 hours, and we rolled across the finish line in 6 hours 20 minutes. Averaged 17 mph/hr., not too bad considering I wasn't expecting all the hills, and I hadn't trained much since the Pan Mass Challenge back in August. Commuting to work 12 miles a day just doesn't prepare one's legs and lungs for 100 miles of climbing. Hopefully I can sneak in a few more long rides before winter closes in. Fall is a great time for riding here.

Listening to: TV On The Radio- Return to Cookie Mountain

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PMC 2008 Recap

We ride bicycles for many reasons; we commute to work and school, we ride to the beach, we ride for exercise, we run errands, go to the bank, get a haircut, and stop by the farmer's market. But for two days earlier this month nearly 5,500 people rode their bikes 200 miles to help raise money to fight cancer. The Pan-Mass Challenge, now in it's 28th year, will raise in upwards of $34 million this year, which will go to aid research and treatment at Boston's Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Many people beat cancer, little Luca De Lisi did not, and if you ask me, that just sucks. If you don't know about Luca, click here. I chose to join Team Luca because I wanted to honor Luca, and help out in my own small way. I am so very lucky, I have a great family, and a simple, fulfilling life. I am able to ride my bike to work most days, and I get my summers off to play with my kids. Life is good for me. Life isn't so easy for someone fighting cancer. I have known a few people who have had cancer, and it isn't an easy road. This became very clear to me while riding the PMC. First off, I have to say that the ride is the icing on the cake. I felt lucky, and at times guilty, to ride with such a great group of people. The ride itself was amazing, though it almost became secondary to the inspiring stories from the people we met along the way. As we passed through town after town, many families and people stood alongside the road, holding signs thanking us for riding and raising money. Nobody said congratulations when we passed, instead we heard "thank you" over and over, and they meant it. One sign that stuck with me for many miles was held by a young kid, standing alone, and it simply read, "I turned 12 this year because of the PMC". It doesn't get any more real than that.

As far as the ride itself, we rode 111 miles on Sunday, and 85 miles on Sunday. It wasn't a race, but any time you get that many people together, all on bikes, it becomes a race. I love passing $6,000 plastic bikes on my steel SOMA. I am not that competitive, but I found myself pushing myself to ride fast and keep a good pace. Day one provided the most varied terrain, the first 50 miles consisted mostly of long climbs, before dropping down the last 60 miles into Bourne. Day two, though the mileage was less, was probably more challenging. The last 2o miles, from Wellfleet to Provincetown, were a constant uphill, with a steady headwind, so it was necessary to draft off other riders, and to let others draft you. At this point I had dropped back from the two guys I had been riding with for most of the day, and I hooked up with four other cyclists who were also looking forward to the finish line. We spent close to an hour taking turns drafting along the final stretch of Route 6, each of us taking turns upfront. Once we got close to P-town, I reconnected with some other teammates, and we waited for the rest of the team to catch up, so that we could cross the finish line as a team. We crossed the finish line around noon, then quickly split up, meeting family that had gathered to greet us. The day ended with the team reconvening at Race Point Beach for some food and much needed rest.

With a couple of weeks to reflect on the ride, I can say that it was inspiring in so many ways. It's no secret that I love bikes in a big way. The long training rides I did this spring have turned me on to long-distance riding and possibly some touring in the future. I am riding a century next month with the Charles River Wheelmen, and am considering entering a cross race this fall. But more importantly, the ride made me look at my own life in a new light. I am pretty damn lucky, and I need to remember that. Later this month, the PMC will present Dana-Farber with a check for $34 million, I am proud that Team Luca raised close to $75,000. We rode to honor a little boy that I never met, yet I feel he was with us the entire ride. Luca would have loved bikes, that I am sure.

Listening to: The National- Boxer

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ride to The Ride (and other Pan-Mass Challenge News)

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I still find the time to check other people’s blogs, but just haven’t felt like updating mine lately. We’ve been pretty busy with company from New York, some camping with the kiddos in Maine, and general summer time laziness.

This past week has been all about bikes here, gearing up for the Pan-Mass Challenge this coming weekend. I feel strong, and am not so worried about the distance; 111 miles on Saturday, and only 84 miles on Sunday. I’ve been doing 60-85 miles training rides by myself for the past couple of months, and though I actually enjoy riding by myself, I am looking forward to riding with the team. One of the other members of the team and I have decided to ride to the starting line in Sturbridge on Friday. It’s about a 60 mile trip from his house in Westwood, so we are planning on leaving early Friday morning and taking our time. Some people think we are nuts for wanting to add a third day of riding onto the weekend, but for us it makes the most sense, neither of our wives are able to drive us, and we don’t want to wait until everyone else gets off work to leave. Some other members of the team are transporting our camping gear, so we are able to travel light. From what I hear, quite a few teams and individuals ride to Sturbridge, so we shouldn’t be alone. I just hope we don’t have any mechanical problems (see below) and we should be all set.

Over the past couple of months of doing longer rides, I’ve learned the importance of staying hydrated and eating. You just can’t ride for five and a half hours and NOT eat. My problem is that I don’t like to stop and eat, and I don’t like to feel weighed down carrying, then eating, “real” food. I’ve been trying all sorts of energy gels, and find the GU ones to be my favorite, not as sweet tasting as the Power Bar gel, which are a little hard to get down. I have also been digging the Clif Bar Shot Bloks, which are almost like gummy bears. They also contain 50 mg of caffeine, which gives you a little boost.

When I get sick of all the electrolytes and organic ingredients of the gels, I plan on stashing a couple of these in my jersey pocket, from what I can tell they just may be the perfect cycling food:

Check out the ingredients of the bar; applewood smoked BACON and milk chocolate! What more could you want? I wonder if they come in dark chocolate? Thanks to Sean for the heads up on this one.

To get ready for the ride I decided to splurge and buy some new tires last week. I went with Panaracer T-Servs (700 X 25c) again, which are closer to 23c when you actually measure them. I’ve been training on 28c T-Servs and felt the narrower tires would be a little faster. On Sunday I went for a ride, and 50 miles in the rear tire failed, not a flat mind you, but the tire actually began to separate from the bead. I felt something wobbling in the rear end, then a loud crack, just like a firecracker going off. I think the sound was the tube pushing through the opening in the tire, then bursting open. Scared the shit out of me. Check it out:

I don’t think I was in any risk, glad I wasn’t bombing down a hill at 35 mph, but it definitely makes me nervous, wondering if it could happen again. Needless to say, I am getting new tires tomorrow. The guys at the bike shop said they have never seen anything like it before, probably a faulty tire to say the least. I am just glad I went for that ride, because it would have really sucked to have it happen this weekend (or worse, on the ride to Sturbridge). The good news is I'm getting two new tires, so I will have a spare tire to fold up and keep under the seat, just in case anything like this happens again.

I’ll post an in-depth review of the ride next week. Thanks to all of you who have supported the cause, I am getting close to my goal, and the team has raised almost $50,000! Go Team Luca!

Now I got to go find those bacon bars!

Listening to: Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Surly Big Dummy Video

Cool video, made with 1000 still images. Makes the car free lifestyle tempting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

SOMA Fabrications Smoothie ES Update

It’s been just over a month since I brought home my new road bike, I’ve got about 200 miles on it, so I figure it is time for a proper review. First off, I have to mention that I have not bought a new bike since 1994, when I bought my Specialized Stumpjumer, a bike I still own and use as my daily commuter. So when I made up my mind to buy my first real road bike, I wanted to do my research, because I knew I’d probably be riding this bike for a long time. I am signed up to ride the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge in August, so this was my motivation for buying a new bike. I wanted a bike that would be comfortable for long rides, capable of doing 100+ mile days, while at the same time still suitable for commuting. That meant tire clearance for fenders, and longish chainstays so my heels wouldn’t rub if I added a rack and panniers at some point.

My first thought was to get a cyclocross bike, something capable of handling the daily grind of commuting, but still suitable for long training rides and the PMC. After some internet searching, I narrowed it down to a Surly Cross or Bianchi Veloce. These two bikes are similar in many ways- steel frames, Shimano Tiagra components, cheaper wheel set, and both priced at around $900. I had ridden a Cross Check and it was my first choice, though I found a Veloce online for $675. I was tempted to pull the trigger on the Bianchi, but I just wasn’t sure a cyclocross bike was for me. Cross bikes are great, for cyclocross racing. I never had any intention of riding my new bike off-road, and was never going to enter a race, so why was I looking at a cross bike? The Cross Check and Veloce are marketed as “do everything bikes”. Yes, they can do everything, but not everything well. The bike I was looking for was somewhat unique- I wanted a steel road bike with relaxed geometry (but not as relaxed as a touring bike), plenty of tire clearance and room for fenders. Bikes like these exist, but they are usually custom frames, and I knew that wasn’t in the cards at the moment. As a compromise, I decided to buy a steel frame and build the bike up, handpicking the components.

I had stumbled across the SOMA site while searching for bikes online, their frames seemed similar to the Surlys I was looking at- both made in Taiwan, and both priced about the same. The SOMAs are made with a little better tubing (Tange Prestige vs. plain old cro-moly), and they retail for about $50 less (paid $365 for the frame). That made the decision easy, a SOMA it was. After getting fitted at the shop (highly recommended), I decided on a blue 58 cm Smoothie ES frame. SOMA describes the ES frame as an “ideal choice for multi-day charity rides, centuries and credit card touring.” What really sold me on this frame was it’s versatility. It fits 32c tires with fenders, and has rear rack and fender mounts. The frame has less aggressive road sport geometry than a traditional road frame, making it better suited for all-day riding. The rear end is beefier than other road frames I had seen, which must add some rigidity to the bike. I am a fairly large guy (6’0”, 185 lbs.), and I haven’t felt any flexing in the rear end. I also have to mention the color of the frame. While maybe not as stealth as the trademark Surly black, the Cobalt Blue on my SOMA is very sweet. The blue has some purple undertones that really shine in the light, and the decals are subdued and not too flashy. The paint quality is good, better than the Surlys I've seen. The paint does seem a little thin around the bottom bracket shell, like they forgot to do a second coat down there. On a sub-$400 frame you can't expect perfection.

I was originally going to go with the steel fork that SOMA sells on their site, but the bike shop had a new Bontrager carbon fork that was taken off another customers bike, so I scored it for less than the steel fork would have cost. I’ve only ridden road bikes with steel forks before, and the carbon really sucks up a lot of the road vibrations that are normally felt while riding.

My next decision was what wheel set to use. Because of my budget, I knew I had to skimp a little on the wheels. We found a good deal on some Salsa Delgado Cross wheels, laced to Campagnolo hubs. The wheels are not the lightest, but they are bombproof. In the future I may save up for some lighter wheels, but in the meantime it is a lot easier to shave a few grams by laying off the dessert at night.

I wanted decent components that would hold up over time. I dig the Italian design and tradition of Campagnolo, and unlike Shimano, when a Campy part breaks, you can rebuild it versus having to replace the whole part. I knew I couldn’t afford a Record or Chorus group, so I settled on the mid-range Mirage line. From what I can tell, the biggest difference between all the Campy groups seems to be weight and the amount of carbon bits that are present in the higher end components. A complete Mirage group, minus brakes, was less expensive than the similar quality Shimano 105. Call me a snob, but having an Italian drivetrain I couldn’t bring myself to slap Shimano brakes on my bike. Campy brakes were too expensive, considering I needed 57 mm long reach calipers, and were not available in the Mirage line. We found some Tektro calipers that are similar to Shimano, but the fit and finish appears to be a little better. I’m not completely satisfied with the brakes though, there is some irritating chatter and squeaking that happens from time to time, but it could be simply a matter of swapping out for some better pads.

Rounding out the rest of the components I used a Bontrager Race Lite seat post, stem, and bars. These were items that the shop had in stock so I saved a little money on them. My only complaint about the bars is I wish the drops were a slightly longer, they seem a little too short for my hands.

The bike weighs less than I'd expected, 21.25 lbs. Not bad for a steel frame. At first the top tube felt a little high, but I think I am just so used to my mountain bike, which has a much shorter frame. The first ride I did on the bike was just under 30 miles, and it felt like 10. I’ve been doing 30-50 mile rides at least once a week, and the fit seems to be spot on. The bike handles great, stability is excellent, and it feels so solid. I’ve had the opportunity to ride some really nice bikes (which also happen to be really expensive), and the Smoothie rides like a bike costing much more. It's hard not to like this bike.

So here's the skinny on all the bits and pieces:

Frame- Soma Smoothie ES 58cm
Fork- Bontrager Satellite Carbon
Crankset- Campy Mirage 34-50
Bottom Bracket- Campy Record
Rear Derailleur- Campy Mirage 10 speed
Front Derailleur- Campy Mirage 32mm
Hubs- Campy Mirage
Cassette- Campy Mirage 12-23
Chain- Campy Veloce
Brake Set- Tektro Long Reach Calipers
Brake/Shift Lever- Campy Mirage Escape
Headset- Cane Creek S-3 1-1/8” Black Threadless
Seatpost- Bontrager Race Lite 20mm
Bars- Bontrager Race Lite 46 31.8
Stem- Bontager Race Lite 31.8 120mm +7
Saddle- Selle Italia Flite XP Trans Am (best saddle ever!)
Wheels- Salsa Delgado Cross
Tires- Panaracer T-Serv 700x28c

Listening to: Pink Floyd- Obscured By Clouds

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CETMA Rack for the Commuter

Even with the new road bike, I am still using my single speed mountain bike for most of my commuting, old habits die hard I guess. One of the problems I am still having is how to get all the shit I need on a daily basis (clothes, shoes, lunch, books, papers, laptop, etc.) to and from work. I usually use a messenger bag or backpack, but now that the weather is getting warmer, I am looking for a way to get all this stuff off my back. I thought of buying a rear rack and panniers, but instead decided on a front-mounted cargo rack made by Lane Kagey of CETMA racks in Eugene, Oregon. His 5-rail powdercoated rack seemed perfect for commuting; very utilitarian, simple, and able to withstand the day to day abuse that comes with riding. A front rack has many pros; the load is up front where you can get to it quickly if needed, and there is no issue with heel rub as there often is with rear panniers. I've been using the rack for about a month now, so I thought I'd post a few pics and comments:

The rack attaches to the handlebars and fork ends. The rack is hand-built by Lane, but the stays and hardware that attaches the rack to the bars appear to be cheap (and heavy) Wald parts that you'd find on a much cheaper rack. I wish Lane would fabricate some better hardware, because his work on the rack itself is top-shelf.

The 5-rail rack measures 11"x11", perfect for strapping on a backpack, 12 pack of homebrew, or a 5 year-old.

The galvanized stays are designed to attach to the axles, but I really wanted to utilize the eyelets on my forks so that I could still take the front wheel off without disturbing the rack. The solution was to use some chainring bolts (as spacers) and rack bolts to connect to the eyelets, and grind down the ends of the chainstays a bit to make room for the quick-release. Super custom.

It took some time to get used to having a load up front, and I am still searching for the perfect bag, but I like having access to everything while on the bike. The rack does add some weight to the front end, which can effect the steering while cornering, but I don't notice it much anymore.

In the future, I'd love to see Lane design some lighter weight hardware and stays, and this may seem minor, but I also wish the stays were powdercoated the same color as the rack. Overall, the CETMA racks seem almost perfect for commuting, the current design is practical, strong, utilitarian, and I do enjoy hearing "nice rack" from other cyclists.

Listening to: The Black Keys- Attack & Release

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

For as long as I've known my wife, she's never owned a bicycle of her own. Her last bike once belonged to my ex-girlfriend, and we all know how that goes over. Needless to say, we sold the "ex's" bike a few years ago on Craigslist, so she has been bikeless for the past two years. For Mother's Day this year we surprised her with this sweet Bianchi Milano; celeste green, Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal hub, and basket. Perfect for rides to the cafe and beach.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Gas prices hit $3.54 in my neighborhood today, and it isn't even summer yet. All of a sudden the money I spent on my new bike seems like a good investment.

Listening to: Pet Politics- The Ghost Mary and Her Friends

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Since signing on to ride the PMC this coming August, I have been in the market for a new road bike. I searched high and low, but the bike I really wanted didn't seem to exist off the shelf. I was looking for a steel-framed bike, with less-aggressive touring geometry, quality components (Campagnolo or at least Shimano 105), and since this would also become my daily commuter bike, I wanted the ability to mount fenders and 32c tires if needed. Oh yeah, and I only had so much money to spend. I looked at Surly's Long Haul Trucker and Cross-Check (I dig the Surly ethos, plenty of tire clearance, but rode like a tank, and low end Shimano Tiagra kit), the Bianchi Volpe (great price, I love Bianchi, but this one just didn't fit, and same cheap Tiagra components as the Surly), and the Trek 520 (quality components, but too much of an all-out touring bike for my needs). Most off the shelf bikes that seemed to fit my needs were cyclocross bikes, but I was really looking for something with more relaxed geometry, longer chainstays, better suited for centuries and light touring. I considered a custom bike from Ira Ryan, Circle A, or Independent, but I knew it just wasn't in the cards this year, someday. The solution was a frame from the good folks at SOMA Fabrications in San Franciso, and handpicking the components from my local bike shop. I ended up going with the Soma Smoothie ES frameset, Campagnolo Mirage kit, Salsa Delgado wheels (bomb proof), and rounded out the ride with Bontrager Race-Lite bars, stem, and seatpost. All said and done, I spent a little more than I would have for the Trek, but I now have a bike that fits me and my needs. I have to thank George and Sam at my LBS for hooking me up with the Bonty carbon fork (for the same price as a steel fork), and for helping me pick everything out and making it fit like my favorite pair of jeans. I will post a real review after my first long ride this coming weekend, but for now I feel like an 8-year-old again, who just received his first BMX. Remember that feeling? Bikes rule.

Listening to: Tool- Undertow

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stonedog Brewery/Waquoit Bay Brewing Co.

After a lot of talk and a little research, my buddy Dan and I brewed our first batch of Pale Ale in February. We bottled it up last week, and it is currently aging in my basement. I have to admit that I cracked open a few bottles Saturday night, and was quite pleased with the outcome, nice hoppy aroma, and time will only improve it. Dan's got a Pilsner fermenting now, and I brewed up five-gallons of an Oktoberfest yesterday. Below are a few pics of the beer in the primary fermenter.

The wort (unfermented beer) just after I poured it in the glass carboy.

8 hours in the fermenter. The yeast has settled to the bottom and is really starting to go off.

30 hours in the fermenter. The airlock is bubbling once every second, which means the yeast is doing its thing.

Once the fermentation stops, I will transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter, and let things settle out a bit before bottling. Next up is a hoppy IPA, lots of Cascade hops if I can find them. I would also like to try a Stout or Porter before the warm weather arrives. We haven't settled on a name yet (all brewers need a name), but for now beer brewed in Dan's kitchen will have the Stonedog label, and I'm calling mine Waquoit Bay Brewing (named after the tidal bay near my house).

Listening to: The Clash- London Calling

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why Ralph, Why?

I am sure you heard already, but this morning on NBC's "Meet the Press", Ralph Nader announced that he would once again be running for president. Now Ralph, don't get me wrong, I am a fan. I voted for you twice, I've read your books, and I agree with your disenchantment with the Democratic and Republican parties. There most definitely should be a third-party, and all parties should be allowed to participate in all debates, this we are on the same page. Maybe I am still bitter from what happened in Florida in 2000. I know that having Nader in the race isn't going to have much of an impact on the outcome, but why risk it? We need a change in Washington, and I finally feel that this year there is a Democrat that I can get behind, someone with a chance to make some changes. Please don't mess with that.

Listening to: Burning Spear- Calling Rastafari

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Someone recently asked me why I blogged. Fair enough question. I thought about it for a few moments and gave them the standard answer- it is a fun way to keep in contact with a few far-off friends who also blog, and a way to share ideas with people who may be like minded or share similar interests. The truth is, who doesn't like to see their words in print? It is all self-serving really, no? I think that bloggers blog because we have something we want to share and we like to see how others react to what we have to say. That's not so bad really, in today's world we often live in a bubble, and the net is a way for people to connect to the rest of the world. When I was in college I was enrolled in a creative writing class and one of my classmates and I started a "zine". Remember those? It was nothing more than a collection of artwork, short stories, and poems written by those of us in the class. We typed them up on a word processor, made copies, and "published" them in a small twenty-page magazine. I say published because I think we printed something like fifty copies in my friend's basement and handed them out to friends, nobody beyond our small circle of friends ever read them. I see blogs as the 21st century version of the "zine", the difference being that blogs have the potential of reaching a much larger audience. When I started this blog three years ago I didn't have a goal, and not much has changed. The blogs I tend to check daily are way more defined than mine; blogs about music, bicycles, travel, parenting, and brewing beer. Others are simple time wasters. Not sure where mine fits in. Sometimes I wish I was more focused, maybe then more than four people would actually read what I have to say. I sometimes think about giving it up, I could be using the time I spend on the computer more productively; spending time with my wife, reading, playing music, building something, riding my bike, but I really like the idea of putting my thoughts out there for others to read, even if it is only a handful of folks. So why do you blog?

Listening to: The The- Dusk

Monday, February 04, 2008

RIP Sheldon Brown

The cycling community of New England (and the world) lost a real icon last night. Sheldon Brown served as the parts manager of Harris Cyclery, a bike shop in West Newton, Massachusetts. Though I never met him in person, his incredible website helped me when I built up my first single speed, and I truly believe his interest in English three-speed cycles is responsible for the resurgence in the Sturmey-Archer hub in New England. He will be missed, but because of the wealth of information he left behind on his website, he will not be forgotten.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Kids Are Alright

I work with ten and eleven year-old kids all day, and lately I have become very concerned about how pop-culture is affecting them. There seems to be so much crap being fed to kids today. High School Musical, Hannah Montana, and the Soulja Boy dance seem to be the only things on a ten year-old's radar these days. What will my kids be into when they are in 5th grade? It's scary to think about. Who knows, but today my five year-old daughter gave me hope. This is a transcript of an actual conversation that happened on the way home yesterday:

Me: "What do you want to listen to?"
Kid: "I want to listen to that band you like, you know, Spoon."
Me: "Cool, okay, let me find it on my iPod."
Kid: "I want to hear that song, The Underdog."

3 minutes and 42 seconds go by. We are both bopping our heads and singing along.

Kid: "I really like the horns and clapping. Play it again."

Repeat 3 times.

There is hope for our future yet.