Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm kind of a big deal

I love Project Runway. It's Wednesday, it's on tonight at 9pm. Christian Siriano is my favorite designer so far. He's arrogant, young, and a phenomenally talented designer. He says, 'I'm pure raw talent, and I'm kind of a big deal'.

Short week in review:
Went skate skiing and got an ish blister on my foot. Fast=clumsy for me right now.
Practiced more BB gun marksmanship.
Had my Environmental Science final. One of the memorable moments of that class was garbage clean-up in the neighborhood around campus. It was the day after Halloween, a classmate and I found a grocery cart. We put our garbage bags in there, and picked up a hubcap, half bottle of vodka, two unopened beer cans, a wig, two packs of menthol cigarettes, and the other usual sidewalk litter. We pushed that garbage cart around the neighborhood and guys in a car driving by yelled, 'Bums!!'. I've never been mistaken for a bum until then, but there will be no mistake about getting an A in that class.
Watched Goal! The Dream Begins. I love sports movies, this one was no exception. It had the initial character struggle, by the end of the movie Santiago Munez was living the dream. Kuno Becker who played Munez, has some serious moves and has a serious new fan.
I'm off to Duluth. Don't expect updates with any regularity for the next couple of weeks. Au Revoir, Joyeux Noel!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chicks on Sticks is not for me!

Chocolate, Wine, Cheese, Coffee and Ski Instruction...for ladies willing to shell out $200 for a weekend! Ooh la la!!
I miss Idaho when the whole alpine, snowboard and xc ski team would rent out a condo in McCall for a whole week. It was nothing but skiing twice a day, eating food that was bad for you, drinking tons of beer, hot springs and playing cribbage. The whole week probably cost $150 or less, none of this silly silly $200 for a weekend business. Although for $200 I might become a better skier and have to ditch the jean skiing.

Safety First

If you haven't read BikeSnob's article about falling down in public while bike commuting, check it out. It is the funniest thing I've read all week. I haven't been commuting via bike lately. I've been walking 20min one way to school, walking itself isn't that dangerous, but there was an incident last Friday on the bridge I use daily. A girl was spat on by 3 white male Nazi sympathizers. Swastikas have been appearing around campus, too. It's interesting to know that the Nazi party wasn't the only group to use the swastika. It's been around for ages, long before the Hitler regime, and it carries a completely different meaning. For the Hindus it meant peace, here's an article from

The bridge has seen a few incidents. Last summer I rode home drunk at 2:30 in the moring, I made it home fine. I know I shouldn't be riding drunk in the first place, but the next day I heard about a girl who was physically assaulted by a male only 30min after I passed through. She was fine, just a little roughed up, but scary and violated nonetheless. I would have been too drunk to defend her, but not too drunk to call 911. My only defense would be throwing up on the bastard.
All of my co-workers know how much I hate driving to school and will ride my commuter, take the bus or walk to school/work. I don't like driving to school for a number of reasons, economics, environmental, and health. I have explained all this before and I will continue my misunderstood commuting. If I worried about all the possible dangerous things that could happen to me on my 2mile route to school, I would never leave the house, and never leaving the house? Never leaving the house would surely kill me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I ended up going to Duluth for the weekend. It sounds like I missed a night of Cycling Girls Just Wanna Have fun in Minneapolis. I'll make the next one. I have really enjoyed the company of all the racing ladies this past season. It has been a blast. We should try and get together for a xc ski since most of us ski.

One of my best friends in Idaho, Allison and her leading man, Ted, made it out to CXNats. Looked like a sloppy mess! Good job to Allison, I bet she wished she wore the pleather jacket for easy clean up.

Friday night I went out for pizza with some of the family, we were 3 tables wide, 8 people deep in Superior's Godfathers. We're like the Native mafia family, we're big in numbers, love to eat, close-knit, no one ever had it easy getting into the family but once you're in--you're in.
Saturday I unfortunately missed the unofficial team xcski in Superior. The Mikes were helping Shawn with his technique. I went classic skiing at Spirit Mtn instead. Corners were worn out on the track and snow was hard like cement. It was nice to be outside in the crisp weather though. Then Big Mike and Shawn came by the bikeshop to work on Shawn's new fixie. That thing is going to be interesting coming together.
That evening my sister Paula, aka Raspberry Beret, listened to some music at
Carmody Irish Pub. They have Newcastle AND Smithwicks on tap there, yummy. Down the block stumbling distance from the pub is Fitger's Brewhouse and the Communist Club. I tried Amsterdam Ale, which was amazing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Level 5 Druid

I liked the CyclingNews story today about impressive MIT student cyclists powering a supercomputer. I bet the average IQ of that team is 150. Several of the students research nuclear fusion. Wow do I feel like a loser compared to them. I'm an average student, average wouldn't cut it at MIT. I have above average classmates who could hack it at places like MIT, they go to LAN parties, storm chase on the weekends, and carry spare calculators. I must only be a Level 5 Druid, as I heard one of them say, a Level 5 Druid is something to be scoffed at.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hang Me Up to Dry


Cold War Kids is one of my indulgences. The video is 4 minutes long, it's 4 minutes of your life you will never get back, but never regret.

Tire Bead Jack

My favorite tool is the Tire Bead Jack made by Kool-Stop. It is a special tool used to get that last tire bead onto the rim without damaging the tire, tube, or rim. It is the greatest tool of all tools. This was the greatest moment of enlightenment since the Enlightenment. After millions of pinched tubes gone to waste and many a frustrated bike mechanic wrestle with the last tire bead onto an unforgiving rim, it happened. Someone said enough’s enough and Kool-Stop came through solid and sure. No more sore fingers and thumbs, cheaters no longer have to use tire levers to finish the job.
I get the opportunity to demonstrate the Tire Bead Jack weekly during the summer months at Twin Ports Cyclery. The weary customer enters the shop doors with a flat tire and wants it fixed while he waits. These customers either don’t know how to change their own tire, don’t have the tools, or are too lazy. Whatever their reason I don’t care, I get paid either way and don’t hesitate to take their money or tips. I swiftly change out the tube, doing the usual procedure, check the tire to make sure there’s no more glass, rock, staple, or debris inside the tire to make it go flat again. Tire goes back onto the rim, working my way around the rim, tighter and tighter the bead gets until at last I ask the customer, ‘Have you ever seen this?’ I coolly pull out the sleek tool, black ribbed handle with two short arms, one fixed, the other pivots. I let the pivoting arm swing to catch their curious eye. ‘No’, he answers. ‘Well allow me show you, have you seen the way the tire bead gets tighter and it gets harder to get the tire on the rim? This wonderful tool will get the last part of the tire on for you.’ I place the fixed arm on the rim opposite the open bead, while the pivoting arm reaches over the other side of the tire grasping the open bead, I firmly pull the pivoting arm toward the opposite side. The bead makes a very satisfying ‘pop’ on the rim. The last part of the tire is on. Customer looks in awe. I know he’s primed and thinking, ‘I have to get myself that tool’. I swiftly pump up the tire back up to pressure. I say, ‘The tool is only $14. It will save your fingers and you will never pinch the tube when you change your next flat. Do you have the tools to fix your next flat? We have tire levers on sale. What about spare tubes? Here’s the correct size and valve type. You should really carry a patch kit while you ride. Let me show you some pumps, too.’ It’s another good day at Twin Ports Cyclery in the friendly West End district of Duluth.

Everyone should own a tire bead jack, it should be a standard tool next to owning a good solid floor pump. However, there are several types of candidates that are identifiable when walking into the bike shop that would use a tire bead jack. My ideal customer is the new cyclist, one that doesn’t have all the necessary tools to get the job done. Other favorites are furious novice flat tire changers, these are usually the garage Dad. Lazy guys like the Big Lebowski aka, The Dude, are an ideal fit for the tire bead jack user. He drinks Caucasians, wears heavy wool sweaters and clear jelly shoes. The Dude likes less work for himself. It fits his lifestyle. Another candidate is the smart consumer. He smirks because he knows things that other people don’t. He has a plan. He now has an edge when it comes to changing a flat tire. He knows the struggle is over.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Not feeling pro?

It's ski season and finally we have snow to ski on. Snow is beautiful and romantic, it softens the hard edges of the world, it places a quiet upon everything it makes people feel like idiots when they don't know how to xc ski.
If you've ever felt inadequate on a pair of xc skis like one of my teammates, I suggested that he wear a pair of jeans next time he ventures out onto the snow. That way people won't have any great expectations of your unpro snow flailing. You can be the guy who wears long wool socks over jeans, with a long scarf flapping in the wind. Flail away!
I'm not feeling pro either. There are some things I must do in preparation. My skis are in desparate need of waxing, and I have to find the perfect pair of jeans that I can ski in.
Then afterwards I can call up my teammate tell him about my jean skiing exploits on my Jordache Mom Jeans Phone.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Raspberry Beret

What a weekend! Friday night I met my family at the Duluth DECC for the mens UMD Bulldogs/Anchorage Seawolves game. I parked on Michigan St so I didn't have to pay for parking and could walk through the skywalk system. With all the recent snow in Duluth it makes for 3-4ft high snowbanks everywhere and for creative walking, when you find a good break in the snowbank--you gotta take it! I climbed over a fire hydrant covered in snow and found the sidewalk. Anytime my family goes somewhere it's a 10 deep crowd, we're a big family. I saw my sister Paula first, actually I saw her hat first. It's big, mauve colored, knitted with a ball on top, sags to the side and it's so big it has to be supported by the rim of her glasses. I don't even say hi to her, the first thing I say is, "What on earth do you fit in there? That thing has a song written about it, Raspberry Beret."
The game was exciting and we had seats at ice level. My 10yr old nephew Noah's hockey team had a scrimmage against another team during the 1st and 2nd periods. Those kids are just cute and floppy. One falls then 3 more fall on top of the first.
Bulldogs and Seawolves tied in OT. Didn't matter to me though, I was having a great time with the family.
Saturday I met a couple of friends at Burrito Union, where a teammate works. My glass kept getting refilled with Apricot Wheat and Lake Superior IPA--tasty!
I also went to my bike shop, Twin Ports Cyclery. Since it's wintertime, business is slow and I don't get to work, but I still go and use the shop area to work on my bike. Bruce and Sarah were working so I got to hang out them. Sarah brought a couple of her small dogs, Pom-Chis(Pomeranian/Chihuahua), Little Dog and Atom Ant. Atom is my favorite dog of hers. He is narcoleptic and you always know when he's about to pass out. He starts yawning, blinking his eyes, and bobbing his head. He has fallen off the work bench several times because he can't stay awake.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Casino Lights

A couple of Friday evenings ago I approach my Mom's house in Duluth. I can see the glow from christmas lights before a round the last corner. Where did the casino come from? As I'm unpacking the car I'm waiting for Sam 'Ace' Rothstein from Casino to greet me at the door. Pretty soon people driving by will stop in looking for the blackjack tables and bingo hall. Sorry to disappoint potential customers, no, this is not the casino.

Week in review:
Had a couple of lessons of BB gun marksmanship. My teacher is the best.
Watched Dirty Dancing, when Johnny says, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." 20 years later I still get a chill down my spine. Girls love a man that can dance.
Spent hours on Hydrology homework learning 'Puls method for reservoir routing'.
Updated this lame blog--we'll see how long before I lose motivation.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

As an Earth Science student at St. Cloud State University I feel it is my responsibility to keep up with current climate events. This Steaming Head Phenomenon happening later in the season is a definite sign of global climate change.
Ozone depletion is happening in St. Cloud. The higher occurrence of girls with orange skin and unnaturally white teeth are signs of the thinning ozone.

Friday, November 30, 2007

John Forest Gump

John Forest Gump
John Forest Gump
Rode his bike over a hump
It shook him so much he had to go dump
John Forest Gump
John Forest Gump

Wearing dark denim you ride in
Dark denim pants, dark denim coat, dark unwashed long hair
Upon the ten speed with bolt-on axle wheels you ride
On a rainy West End day your rear tire flat
Bike wet and dirty, denim wet and dirty
Pays in cash pays in cash

My dear loyal customer
Our toilet plumbing it fails sadly
Our toilet seat you leave a streak
Your dump it leaves a stench
My weary hands now must clean
Never again will you see the porcelain of the shop

John Forest Gump
John Forest Gump
Rode his bike over a hump
It shook him so much he had to go dump
John Forest Gump
John Forest Gump