Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just a Picture

(click on image to enlarge)

I love this picture of Evan (in the orange shirt), it pretty much sums up his personality as of late. He got a strike by the way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Soughegan River Fall Century

Ed, Ray, and I rode the Soughegan River century last Sunday. This is put on by the Charles River Wheelmen, and is one of my favorite rides of the year. 106 miles through rural Massachusetts and New Hampshire, lots of climbing, great views, and not one stoplight the entire way. The morning started out cold, in the low 40's, but by lunch it was in the 70's, perfect riding weather. This will probably be my last long ride of the year, I'll miss the long hours in the saddle, but am looking forward to doing some mountain biking and getting out on the cross bike in the coming months.

Listening to: Sun Kil Moon- "Tiny Cities"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not Sure How I Feel About This

I just read that Disney is buying Marvel for 4 billion dollars. I don't like the idea of the Silver Surfer, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four being owned by Disney, it just doesn't sit well with me for some reason.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Providence & Waterfire

Just returned from a quick 24 hour getaway (sans kids) to Providence, Rhode Island. The more time I spend in Providence the more I like it- tons of public art, with a downtown that is less polished than Boston and still a little rough around some of it's edges, yet with plenty of great restaurants and amazing architecture. We stayed at the newly renovated Renaissance Providence Hotel, which was originally a Masonic Temple, cool mix of art deco and modern architecture. Started the afternoon at one of my favorite bars, Cuban Revolution, for drinks and apps. The bartender turned me on to Caipirinhas (recipe below), which is a Brazillian cocktail made with Cachaca rum. This could become my new summer drink of choice. We returned to the hotel and had another drink at the hotel's basement Temple Bar, before heading out to Waterfire. How do you describe Waterfire? This was my first time experiencing this art installation, which is part public sculpture, part performance, and unlike anything I had ever seen before. Thousands of people look on while volunteers light the one hundred floating bonfires along the Woonasquatucket River. Walking through the crowds, and listening to the music that seemed to come from the river itself, you couldn't help but feel part of the experience. Fabulous dinner at Local 121, small plates of grilled striped bass, scallops, and stuffed clams, then back to the river to watch more of the fires. The crowds had died down a bit, but the fires were still burning well after midnight, and the whole scene had transformed into a carnival atmosphere. Very cool. This morning we slept in, which is unheard of at home. Back to the Temple Bar for a lazy brunch before driving home. A much needed respite, and a good way to celebrate the "unofficial" end to summer for me before I have to head back to work next week. Thinking about that makes me want to have another Caipirinha.

Here is what you need to make a Caipirinha:
1 lime
2 ounces Cachaca Rum
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Here is what you do:
Cut lime into 8 pieces. Muddle lime and sugar in the bottom of a glass or cocktail shaker. Add rum. Add about 1 cup ice. Cover and shake vigorously. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Enjoy the last days of summer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Searching for Lead Belly's Grave

Every summer I get the urge to hit the road, call it restless energy from being home all summer, and now that it's August, and the humid weather has settled in like a wool blanket, I am itching to get out of town and feel the wind in my hair. Suzie and I are heading to Rhode Island this weekend, sans kids, and hopefully it will cure my traveling bug, at least for the time being. While searching for places to eat in Providence, I started thinking about road trips. I've always wanted to visit Lead Belly's grave, in Shreveport, Louisiana. I first became aware of the music of Huddie William Ledbetter from the Nirvana cover of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?", which was on the 1993 MTV Unplugged album. From what I can tell, Lead Belly didn't write the song, but he did record it on many occasions. Much of the folk music that has been recorded can be linked back to Lead Belly, from Pete Seegar's "Goodnight Irene", to CCR's "Midnight Special", just to name a few. Now a road trip is nothing without a destination, and what better destination than the final resting spot of one of America's most notable musicians? I've heard that his grave site is actually pretty difficult to find, no signs on the highway or other markings, which makes it all the more intriguing. The following video beckons you to gas up the old Subaru and hit the highway.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thought for Today

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 8-9

Today I installed the windows and finished up the trim and railings. The metal roofing arrived also, so hopefully I will get that on tomorrow. The last thing I need to do is build a door and a safety gate for the top of the ladder. This has been a fun project, but I'm ready to move on to something else.

In other news, I recently washed my cell phone with some laundry, I don't recommend that. The phone is really clean though. I've been without a phone for almost a week, and I have to say, I don't really miss it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hello Big Dummy

I finally got a chance to take a spin on a Surly Big Dummy, and though it was only for five minutes I can tell you that this is one fun bike to ride, sort of like riding a longboard. Super solid, you can barely tell you are pedaling a cargo bike, I really didn't notice the longer wheelbase or extra weight. My six-year old daughter loved riding on the deck, and it felt so much safer than the trailer we used to have. I could see myself using the Big Dummy also for commuting, hauling all the shit I usually save for the days I drive. And no more excuses about having to drive because I have to pick up something from the store on the way home, this thing has tons of room. Sounds like I am talking myself into buying one, eh? People who own an Xtracycle say "they will change your life", and I can see what they mean now. Could be a fun winter project...

I know I've posted the following video before, but I have to think that anyone who owns or rides an Xtracycle must have this song playing in their head all the time. Pure bliss.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 7 (and PMC)

The pictures don't show it, but today was hard. I finished framing the openings for the windows and put up the siding. I used T1-11 siding, mainly to save some time, and money. Man that stuff is heavy, especially when you are working alone and lifting it ten feet into the air. Not to mention it was about 90 degrees and humid today. It was a two t-shirt day.

I don't want to complain though, because the PMC starts tomorrow night, so I am taking off for three days of bike riding. Two of my teammates and I are riding to the start tomorrow, about 70 miles from Boston. We will then ride 110 miles on Saturday (Sturbridge to Bourne), and about 90 miles on Sunday (Bourne to Provincetown). Whatever you find yourself doing this weekend, please stop for moment and think about those in your life who have been affected by cancer. You will be part of a tremendous circle of positive energy that transcends the bounds of cancer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boston Red Sox - Pan-Mass Challenge’s Starr spokesman for important cause - The Boston Globe

Two days until the PMC. The Boston Globe published this story today, history of the PMC and it's founder, Billy Starr. Please join Team Luca by taking a quiet moment this weekend to think about or remember those in your life who have been affected by cancer. Thank you for all your support, it means more than you can imagine.

Boston Red Sox - Pan-Mass Challenge’s Starr spokesman for important cause - The Boston Globe

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 6

Today I built the ladder and started on the roof. The ladder is made with 2x6 and some leftover mahogany from a decking project I did a few years back. With the rafters installed, it is finally starting to look like a treehouse. This thing has taken on a life of it's own, I never imagined it would take this long, and cost this much, but I keep telling myself that the kids are going to enjoy it for many years, and since it is in our backyard, I want it to look nice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Treehouse:: Days 4-5

Finished framing the walls yesterday and today, fastest part of the project so far. I was able to frame the walls on the upper deck, so it made the job easier. Next up is framing the roof trusses, not quite sure how that will go, as I have never built a roof before. I'm taking a few days off from the treehouse, tomorrow is my son's birthday party, and I am riding to Yarmouth on Sunday to visit some friends from Brooklyn that are are on the Cape for vacation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wilco (The Concert)

We made our way up to Lowell Saturday night to see Wilco, who were playing at LeLacheur Park, home to the minor league Lowell Spinners. I haven't listened to their new album, only a few songs, so I was looking forward to hearing some new tunes. One of the reviews I read referred to 'Wilco (The Album)' as "Dad Rock", and this made me laugh, given the fact that the six of us making the journey to Lowell are all fathers, as well as long time Wilco fans. Lowell is an interesting city, in the early 20th century it was the thriving center of the New England textile industry, but now it is best known as the birthplace of Jack Keroauc, and rumor has it that Edgar Allen Poe allegedly wrote "The Raven" in a local tavern. Today, Lowell is a pretty rough town, but in the past few years it has been going through a bit of urban renewal, centered around the Western Avenue Studios - a converted mill which houses over 160 working artists and musicians.

LeLacheur Park is not the best venue (band in center field, small human corral in front of stage, unoccupied wasteland in the infield, grandstand seating for those not in the corral) but the music was outstanding. Jeff Tweedy was all smiles and Nels Cline blew us away with his guitar playing, mindblowing stuff. My favorite part of the show came when the band played Via Chicago>Impossible Germany>Spiders (Kidsmoke). It's hard to imagine Wilco without Nels Cline, he seems such an integral part of the band now, and I have to believe that he is a big part of the reason they are making some of the best music going right now. The show ended just as the skies opened up, and the driving rain forced the band to call the show after only one encore song. Everyone got the feeling that they wanted to keep playing, but we also felt satisfied that we got to see such a great show. We decided to grab a drink at an Irish Pub, and then headed back to the hotel, because those of us who listen to "Dad Rock" still like our sleep. Sunday morning found us at the Owl Diner for some eggs and coffee, before heading home. In the end, we never found Jack Keroauc's birthplace, or the bar that Poe liked to drink at, but Wilco definitely swung for the fences and hit a home run.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 3

Picture doesn't real show much, but I made some progress today. I finished framing the upper and lower decks, and started work on the railings. Next up is framing of the walls, but that will have to wait until Monday, now it's time to play. Bike rides planned for the next two days, and heading to Lowell Saturday afternoon to see Wilco.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 2

Yesterday I had a few hours to continue work on the framing of the treehouse. In between rain showers I was able to frame the upper and lower decks. We are heading to Maine tomorrow for three nights of camping, so work on the treehouse will continue when we return.

Have a great Fourth!

Listening to: Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse- "Dark Night of the Soul"

Monday, June 29, 2009


I picked up Steve Earle's new album, "Townes", today and have been listening to it pretty much nonstop all day. As the title suggests, this is Steve Earle covering the songs of Townes Van Zandt. Most of the time cover songs have me wishing I was listening to the original, but this one is different. Earle is one of my favorite artists of all time, I've been listening to him since high school, when "Guitar Town" came out, and I own most of his albums. I am going to go so far as to say that "Townes" is one of his best albums, if not his best. It's right up there with "Transcendental Blues" in my book. Highlights include "Colorado Girl" and "Lungs" (with Tom Morello on guitar), the latter sounding like it could have been a bonus track on Earle's last album, "Washington Square Serenade". Somewhere Townes Van Zandt is smiling at his old friend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Treehouse:: Day 1

After what seemed like 4 days of nonstop rain, I was finally able to get started on the treehouse yesterday. I had dug the holes for the posts the day before, so today I was able to get the framing up and all the holes filled with concrete. Working alone posed some interesting challenges, especially when it came to lifting 12 foot long 2x6's overhead and attaching them to the 4x4 posts, all at the same time trying to keep everything square and level. I used lots of clamps and bracing to keep everything level, and Suzie's dad stopped by and helped out for a few hours. For now everything is screwed together, but once the concrete sets up, I am going to use bolts to tie all the framing together.

As you can see, the treehouse is not actually supported by a tree, rather the tree will pass through the deck, so all you treehouse purists out there may not consider this a true treehouse, but lack of a big enough tree forced me to use posts to support the structure. Not to mention simpler to build. The main floor of the treehouse will be almost 8 feet off the ground. The four posts that stick up above the frame will later become a hand rail for a small deck. Next up is installing the floor joists and laying down the decking.

Listening to: Two Johns Cycling Podcast

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Felice Brothers- Frankie's Gun

Can't get enough of this song lately. Good stuff.

The Felice Bros. will be playing in Boston on August 5 with the Dave Rawlings Machine and Justin Townes Earle (Steve Earle's son).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summertime Plans

Haven't posted anything in awhile, been busy with the craziness that is the last few weeks of school. Only two more days, then 9 weeks of summer vacation. No big travel plans this year, hoping to get some shit done around the place and spend some quality time with the family. Being the list maker than I am though, this is what I have on tap for the summer.

1. Build a tree house. L & E have been asking for a tree house for months now, so that is first up. And yeah, it's going to have a 70 foot zip line.
2. Camping in Freeport, Maine over the July 4th weekend with some old friends and our collective 15 kids. For those of you without kids, spending 4 days and 3 nights with 15 kids may sound like hell, but it is actually pretty low key. This will be our third year at the same campground, cool spot right on Casco Bay. Lots of swimming, biking, campfires, and good old fashion fun.
3. I'm gutting our downstairs bathroom, and hopefully will finish remodeling it sometime in August.
4. Picked up a few hours at the local bike shop, only one morning a week, mostly doing inventory and minor repairs. I'm not really doing it for the money, more for the discount on bike stuff, plus it's a chill place to hang. Good people, music, and coffee.
5. Riding my bike as much as possible, still commuting to work, but am looking forward to some longer rides now that I'll have the time. Besides training for the PMC, I want to continue getting out on the mountain bike at least once a week as well.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Orange Single Speed For Sale

I recently completed restoring a vintage lugged steel road bike into a single speed. It was a fun project, but this one has to be sold. I am riding as part of Team Luca in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge this coming August, and am selling this to help in my fundraising commitment (every rider agrees to raise $4200!). The PMC raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

I stripped the frame down, and had it sandblasted and powder coated metallic orange by Long Beach Custom Fabrications in Plymouth, MA. New parts include a SOMA moustache bar, white bar tape, brake cables, Jagwire housings, chain, and a Shimano 17t rear freewheel.

If anyone knows anyone in the Boston area looking for a well-built single speed, feel free to send them my info.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I've Seen The Future:: Shimano's Dura-Ace Electronic Di2 Groupset

I stopped by the local bike shop this afternoon, to replace a lost spoke wrench of all things, and I find the shop's mechanics drooling over a Fuji outfitted with Shimano’s new Dura-Ace Di2 electronically-controlled shifting system. I've read about this groupset in all the bike magazines, and though I consider myself somewhat of a Luddite when it comes to new bike technology, I was still excited to see how it worked in person. New bike shit is still cool. The sales rep offered to let me take it for a spin so I jumped at the chance. I'm not going to offer a full on review, I was only on the bike for 2-3 minutes, but the first thing I noticed is how quiet the whole system was. The shifting really is seamless, no chain rub, over-shifts, or other typical derailleur issues that you would expect with a mechanical system. The front derailleur is only slightly larger than a traditional one, and the rear looks the same. The shift levers are mere switches, hidden behind the brake levers, and shifting is as easy as clicking the button. The feeling is like clicking a mouse on your laptop, it's that easy. The lithium-ion battery mounts on the frame below the water bottle cages, and I was told it is rated at 600 to 700 charges, and should hold a charge for up to 1500 miles. Now, like I said earlier, I've been accused of being a retro-grouch when it comes to bikes. Both of my road bikes are steel, and I've ridden a fully rigid mountain bike up until last Fall. I don't see myself switching over to electronic shifting anytime soon, especially once the rep told me the groupset would be selling for $4500! Come on now, if I have that much cash to blow on a bike (which I don't!), I'm getting a new Ti Moots with Campy Super Record. It was still very cool to test out something so new, and it will be interesting to see the trickle-down technology over the next few years.

Listening to: Led Zeppelin- "BBC Sessions"

Monday, April 20, 2009

1o Things to Do Before I Die (Revisited)

I love lists. One of my very first posts listed ten things I felt like I wanted to accomplish before my time was up. My life hasn't changed much in four years, I'm still living in the same house and teaching 5th grade, but I thought it was time to revisit and possibly update the list.

Here's the original from 2005:

Below is a list of ten things I want to do before I die, in no particular order.
  1. Travel to Cuba.
  2. Build a house.
  3. Kayak the entire length of the Columbia River.
  4. Really learn to play the guitar, not just the 3 chords I know now.
  5. Surf in Hawaii.
  6. Attend Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
  7. Work at a winery.
  8. Spend a month without seeing or speaking to another person.
  9. See my kids graduate from college.
  10. Retire in Hood River, Oregon.

And here's the new list:
  1. Travel to Cuba.
  2. Build a boat.
  3. Bicycle across the northern United States.
  4. Learn to sail (I've done some sailing, but would not feel confident with others on board).
  5. Hike in Patagonia.
  6. Live off the grid in Maine with my family for a summer.
  7. Work at a bike shop.
  8. Have something I've written be published.
  9. See my kids graduate from college.
  10. Retire in Bend, Oregon (more sunny days than Hood River).

Friday, April 10, 2009

CCY Junior Cycling

I recently read somewhere that junior development makes up something like 3% of the membership in USA Cycling. That is sad to me, we need more younger riders to keep the sport going. I grew up in Eastern Washington and started racing mountain bikes back in the mid-1980's when I was still in middle school. I won the first race I entered because I was the only one in my age category. My parents drove me to the races, and I remember borrowing a helmet from one of my teachers because it was required to race and I didn't own one myself. I would have given anything to have a local junior development team to steer me in the right direction, but nothing like that existed in my hometown. Last year I stumbled across RJ's blog, An Adventure Called Bicycling, and have been checking in almost every day to see what kind of shenanagins she is up to. Besides spreading the Xtracycle love, RJ also coaches the CCY Junior Cycling Team in Walla Walla, Washington, which is less than 60 minutes from where I grew up. Walla Walla is a beautiful little town, tons of great wineries, and plenty of riding to be had. Check out this video of the CCY team, makes me miss the Palouse hills, and the look on the rider's faces says it all. Good stuff.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Commuting Record, and Mountain Bike Envy

I almost didn't ride to work today, was running late, and it was a bit chilly, but boy am I glad I did. From the moment I left the driveway I had that feeling, you know the one, when you just know it is going to be a good ride. Everything seemed perfect, the sun was low over the ocean, not much traffic on the roads yet, and I knew in the first mile that I had the wind in my favor (this never happens), so I decided to try and break my commuting record of 25 minutes (set last Fall). I usually don't push it in the morning, but I just put my head down and hammered it the entire 6.5 miles. When I reached the doors of work I hit the mode button on my computer and it read 22:06 minutes! Now I have to break the 20 minute mark, but I can't imagine that happening anytime soon. Oh the little things in life.

In other news, I have been trying to get out on the mountain bike whenever I can. Last Fall I borrowed a used Devinci Moonracer from the owner of my LBS, and he seems in no hurry to get it back, but I know eventually he will ask for it back. I could probably buy it from him for short money, and the full suspension is pretty sweet, but I think I really want a hardtail. I've been checking craigslist for a lightly used Stumpjumper or something similar, but I know if I brought home another bike right now I'd be sleeping outside for a long time coming. I had a titanium mountain bike back in the early '90s and loved it, but sadly it was a tad small, I replaced it with a '94 Stumpjumper (which I just sold last September). I'd love to have another Ti bike someday. While cruising around the net tonight I came across Carver Bikes. Have you seen these bikes? The owner, Dave, lives in China with his wife, and builds Ti frames starting at, get this, $1,000! Please don't tell him that he could easily sell his frames for much more, at least not until I get my hands on one of his 29'er frames. That isn't happening anytime soon, but it sure is fun to think about it.

Listening to: NPR- All Songs Considered Podcast

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My New Favorite Blog

OK, I'm over the whole grunge flashback, though it was fun while it lasted. Been trying to catch up on all the new music from last week's SXSW festival (I wasn't there, but loved reading all the posts from bloggers who were). My new favorite music blog just might be Carrie Brownstein's Monitor Mix, she's got great taste in music, and writes well. Good stuff. I'll be checking back often.

Listening to: Ladyhawk- Shots

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grunge Is Not Dead:: Hammerbox- When 3 Is 2

Maybe it was out of nostalgia, or maybe boredom, but I just spent the last hour watching YouTube videos of bands that I used to see all the time living in Eastern Washington during the late '80s and early '90s. I was lucky enough to have seen Soundgarden, Mudhoney, The Screaming Trees, Hammerbox, Tad, and Treepeople numerous times at local all-ages shows. This Hammerbox video is from a 2004 (I think) reunion show in Seattle, but it brought me back to 1990 in about 2 seconds.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Independent Crown Jewel Finds A New Home

Not the best picture, the sun was in the wrong spot, but you get the idea. Click on it for a close up.

The sun was out this afternoon, so I was finally able to take out my new road bike (well, new to me) for it's maiden voyage. I've been lusting over Independent Fabrication's bikes since I got back into road riding three years ago, but I knew I would never be able to afford a 2 grand custom frame (worth every penny in my opinion, by the way). And if I did, I sure wouldn't want to be riding it to work. I ended up building up a SOMA Smoothie ES last winter, and it has been my do everything (commute to work, training rides, riding the PMC, errands around town, and the occasional race) bike. The Smoothie is a great bike, but it's relaxed geometry had me longing for something a little lighter and faster. Plus after riding it to work all week, it just wasn't as much fun to ride long distances on my commuter. My new IF Crown Jewel is a mix of old and new parts. The frame was made for my local bike shop 4 years ago, but it only has about 1100 miles on it, most of it's life has been spent hanging on the shop's wall. It's built up with a lightly used Campagnolo Record 10 speed groupo with similar mileage as the frame, I can't get over how smooth it shifts. We added a new Reynolds fork, bars, stem, Chris King head set, and Fulcrum 3 wheels. A big thanks to George at Corner Cycle, I think I owe you some home brew for everything. I like to call this my "Captain America" bike, the paint scheme would not have been my first choice, I probably would have gone with something a little more subdued, like a burnt orange, but the price was right and it was my size. After a quick 25 mile ride today, the only thing I might want to do is swap out the stem for something a little shorter, I felt a tad bit stretched out. Maybe a 120 cm, instead of the 130. I will do a more comprehensive review after I get a couple of hundred miles under my belt, but I can tell it is going to be so much fun to ride, it climbs like a sherpa, and loves to go fast. My average speed increased by almost 2 mph on today's ride, and that was with a Belgian headwind both ways. The SOMA will still be my go to bike Monday through Friday, but the Crown Jewel will see plenty of road miles this spring and summer, we've got plans to ride some classic routes out in the western part of the state, which means plenty of long mountain climbs.

I love Chris King head sets, and they are made in Portland!

Listening to: Fleet Foxes- "Fleet Foxes"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Team Luca Rides the Pan-Mass Challenge (or, Help Me Raise $4,200 to Fight Cancer)

This coming August 1st and 2nd, I will once again join the other 19 members of Team Luca in riding in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a 200 mile, two-day bicycle ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown. The PMC, which celebrates it’s 30th anniversary this year, raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Team Luca was formed three ago by Jeff De Lisi in honor of his son, Luca, who died at the age of three after a courageous fight against Medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor. We ride to honor Luca, and in hopes that other kids don’t have to go through what he did.

Because of the generous donations from individuals, Team Luca raised over $90,000 in 2008! All money raised by Team Luca will be used toward research for pediatric brain tumors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The PMC raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country. For 2009, every rider must commit to raise a minimum of $4200. This year’s goal for the PMC is to raise $36 million to help fund much needed research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

There is no question that we live in uncertain economic times, and I struggled with whether I could actually call on my family, friends, and local businesses once again to help me raise such a large sum of money. In fact, I almost did not register to ride this year, but I knew it was something that had to be done. In the end, I decided that, for me, nothing is worse than complacency, and that given our country’s current financial situation, the need is even greater this year. Hospitals such as Dana-Farber are surely feeling the stress of budget cuts and loss of valuable donor money. Cancer does not care that we may be in a recession. Our temporary burden pales in comparison to the anguish cancer inflicts on so many lives. I have known a few people who have had cancer, and it isn't an easy road, but it is a battle we can win. This became very clear to me while riding the PMC last August. 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 boy, standing alone, and it simply read, "I turned 12 this year because of the PMC". It doesn't get any more real than that. Luca never got to celebrate his fourth birthday.

How can you help?
There are three easy ways to donate money to the PMC and support me in my fundraising goal:
1. Visit the Luca’s Light website, to learn more about Luca De Lisi and Team Luca. While visiting the site I encourage you to watch the video, “Why We Ride”, which introduces Luca, the riders of Team Luca, and explains why we ride in his honor. From the site you can make a donation by clicking on my name in the right hand column.
2. Go to the Pan Mass Challenge website. Click the eGift link at the top left hand corner of the site to get started. You can find my profile and make a donation by entering my eGift ID (JH0303), or my first and last name. The average eGift donation takes less than five minutes of your time.
3. For those of you whom wish to donate, but do not want to donate online, you can mail a personal check directly to me. Checks may be made payable to Pan-Mass Challenge, The Jimmy Fund, or DFCI.

Unlike generic Jimmy Fund donations, 100% of contributions to Team Luca benefit the innovative pediatric brain tumor research conducted by Dr. Mark Kieran's Pediatric Medical Oncology team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Regardless of how you give, I encourage you to visit Luca’s Light website, and watch the video and read the message from Jeff. It is a powerful piece that will undoubtedly touch your heart. Despite these difficult times, I know I made the right decision to register with the PMC. We all have causes that are close to our hearts. This one is mine. Whether you can donate $200 or $20, please know every penny you contribute will be used to help beat this awful disease, while at the same time honoring the spirit of little Luca De Lisi.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rapha Rides The Tour of California

Great video of some West Coast Rapha riders pre-riding portions of the Tour of California routes. What I love about Rapha isn't their $200 jerseys (though I dig those too, just can't afford them), but the epic rides they highlight, the sweet bikes, and the smiles on their rider's faces. That's what cycling is all about for me. Long miles, seeing some new sites, and comrades to share in the suffering with. Looking forward to the warmer weather and getting back into riding more. We have plans to do the New England classic Fitchburg ride later this spring, plus others. Come join us.

Rapha Rides The Tour of California from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California starts today. Closest thing we have to a grand tour here in the U.S. All eyes will be on Lance and Team Astana. While searching for videos of Lance I stumbled across this gem from a few years back:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Your Ride

Cool little video from the folks at Hutchinson Tires. The snow has finally melted for the most part here in New England, and I am hoping to ride to work tomorrow. Spring won't come soon enough this year.

It's Your Ride from Cinecycle on Vimeo.

Monday, February 02, 2009

London Calling

I somehow missed this at the 2003 Grammy show; Springsteen, 'Little' Steven van Zandt, Dave Grohl, and Elvis Costello paying their respects to Joe Strummer, who had recently passed away. As far as covers go, it's not the greatest, but I love the energy. I'm pretty sure Joe never would have played the Grammys, but I know he and Springsteen were friends, so I'm sure he would approve.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Best of Burning Man: Art on Acid

I've never been to Burning Man, but the following pics (and the fact it is -6 degrees at the moment) make me want to go. Truly amazing art, more here.

Mankind's Most Important Moments (In Lego)

My son has been totally into his Legos lately, so when I saw this over at Year of the Bike, it made me smile.

Friday, January 02, 2009

(Another) Best of 2008 List

No big surprises here, most of these made their way onto many a “best of” list this year, I’m laying low and playing it safe.

(Alejandro Escovedo)

Alejandro Escovedo- "Real Animal"
I've been on a serious Alejandro Escovedo kick lately, been digging into his early punk days in the Nuns, Rank and File, and the True Believers. I missed out on seeing Alejandro twice this past year, I won’t let that happen again. This album proves just how good rock-n-roll can be.

The Black Keys- “Attack and Release”
Upon first listen I wasn’t sure about the almost too slick production by Danger Mouse. The thing I love about The Black Keys is their raw, bluesy sound, and this one is definitely more polished (as polished as greasy blues can get). While still not as good as “Rubber Factory”, this one did grow on me. The title track, “All You Ever Wanted” pretty much sums it up.

Delta Spirit- "Ode To Sunshine"
As I sit here typing this it is 7 degrees outside, listening to this album makes me feel like I am driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, with the top down, somewhere north of San Francisco, maybe Mendocino, but it’s summer for sure. I guess the title is spot on.

The Hold Steady- "Stay Positive"
Nothing really new here, and that is fine by me, still one of the best bar bands today. I would love to see them in a bar actually. Everyone has to have their guilty pleasures. That, and they name drop Joe Strummer in “Constructive Summer”.

Mudcrutch- "Mudcrutch"
From the fine cover of “Shady Grove”, to the roadhouse country of “Six Days on the Road”, this one from Tom Petty feels like a classic, and makes me want to take a road trip.

The Pretenders- "Break Up The Concrete”
Those of you who know me, know I have a thing for Chrissie Hynde. Rockabilly rhythms and outstanding percussion make this one a winner.

The Raconteurs- “Consolers Of The Lonely”
Brendan Benson and Jack White put down some raw and energetic rock, much better than their first attempt. The first couple of tracks start off sounding like they could easily fit on a White Stripes album, later tracks recall early bluesy southern rock, check out "Top Yourself".

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals- "Cardinology"
I lost track of how many albums Ryan Adams has put our that past few years, the last album I bought of his was the Dead inspired “Cold Roses” back in 2005. “Cardinology” didn’t fair well with many critics, but I am no critic. Well crafted songwriting and Neal Casal’s guitar playing always blows me away.

TV On The Radio- “Dear Science”
After seeing TVOTR in 2007, I will always be a fan. These guys can do no wrong in my book. Doses of punk, funk, jazz, soul, and world music thrown in make this one of the most original bands playing today.

Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
Come on, how can you resist? Even my six year old daughter says “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” is her favorite song, and it has nothing to do with us living on Cape Cod. Catchy as hell lyrics, reggae beats, and David Byrne is a fan. What more can I say?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Ears

Happy New Year. I am working hard on getting my second wind here. Working hard.

Funny thing, this morning I told my 3 year old son that we were having a New Years party tonight, he thought I said "new ears" party, so all day he is telling his sister we are all getting new ears tomorrow.

I had good intentions to post my Top 10 of 2008 tonight, but I can blame it on too many homebrews. Stay tuned. Or not.